Pretty much everything you can buy today on the Internet has a referral program. This post isn’t a ‘what is affiliate marketing’ post, it assumes you know that already. You’re here because you want a quick break-down of what it takes to earn money-making referrals. So here it is – be warned, I ain’t gonna sugar coat it.

1. HARD WORK – LOTS OF IT
This IS NOT what you want to hear, I know that. You see others doing affiliate marketing and figure it looks easy. It’s not. If you do not have a crap load of time on your hands affiliate marketing is NOT for you. There may be a time in the distant future when you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor via a nice passive affiliate income, but that will not happen overnight and it won’t happen without WORK.

2. There is NO QUICK ROUTE 

Do your reading – you do need to do more than read this post because you need to learn how to do all those things that you need to do to earn money-making referrals. You want to do it right, if not you’ll waste a lot of time and you won’t earn any money doing it.

3. You need to have a blog or website that has a clear function – it needs a domain name that represents you or the niche you have chosen. This requires a small financial investment.

4. You need quality content – can you write? Writing for the web requires a different kind of skill to writing off the web. Blog content tends to be more informal. Also consider that people reading your content may come from all over the world. Keep the language fairly simple for those for whom your language isn’t their first language.

5. You need products to refer – your products need to match the function and purpose of your site. You will find most sites have an affiliate program that you need to apply to join. The merchant will want to know how you intend to promote their products. They will want to see your website or blog and they will want to know it is a quality site that abides by the rules and laws governing sponsored content. Not all affiliate programs work this way – the better quality ones generally do.

6. You need to understand SEO marketing

You need to know how content (text and images) is ‘read’ by search engines as knowing how will help you write content that appeals to human readers and helps search engines direct them to you.

The way search engines find and rank content tends to change each year. This is because search engines want to ensure they are always directing searchers to the BEST possible sites that answer their search query. There are many sites that find ways to manipulate the search results – this never works well in the end. Don’t do it! Learn what type of content is regarded as quality by search engines. Try to keep on top of any changes.

Be wary of people trying to sell you SEO services. If you don’t know what they are doing, they can do your site more harm than good. You need to know what good SEO involves.

7. You need to choose who to promote VERY carefully

The long game is to become a reliable source of information. If you promote shoddy products and services, that isn’t going to happen. Research the merchant you believe is a good fit your site. Don’t get over excited and apply for many merchant programs and start promoting them all at once. You may want to ‘test’ the services they offer by being a one-time customer.

8. Be sincere

Don’t chase the programs offering the largest incentives. If your royalty is the bulk of the retail price then the customer clearly isn’t getting value or money. Not by MY reckoning! Royalty rates can vary from 5% up to 60% or greater. eBooks tend to have those higher royalty rates. Does anyone still buy eBooks? I guess so. If you’re going this route, make sure it’s a good read. I’ve seen some real clangers.

Meanwhile don’t promote anything you wouldn’t buy yourself or buy for a family member or friend. So always ask yourself that question when considering what to promote. BELIEVE in what you’re selling! It makes selling it so much easier and of course is sincere.

9. Don’t copy

Don’t copy other affiliates. Doing what they do isn’t going to guarantee you success. You have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. It also dilutes any chance you have of being successful – remember, they did it first! Searchengines will know that. Do not be tempted to plagiarise or steal images – bad bad form, it’ll get you booted.

10. Write about what you know – this makes the hard work, long hours a more pleasant experience and of course you can write with some authority. If you’re aiming to build a following, authority on the subject matter helps – a lot!!

If this hasn’t put you off, good luck and have fun 🙂

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