Many webmasters think of affiliate programs only as last ditch attempts to make money. They serve affiliate program banners as defaults after exhausting the ad networks, make little money on them, and decry affiliate programs as poor earners. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The most successful affiliates usually don't even use banners, instead they integrate affiliate links within their content, and sometimes the affiliate link is the content. These people can make more off affiliate programs than off advertising, much more. However, it takes a lot of planning to be successful at affiliate programs, and I'm going to show you how to do it.
The most important thing with affiliate programs is to choose the right one. I don't mean choosing the one that offers the biggest commission, because a big commission won't mean anything if you never make a sale. You need to choose the right program for your users, and that means understanding your visitors. You must be able to answer the question: "Why do people come to my Website?" If you answer "to get information", think again. You need to know why they want that information: you need to know their motivations.
Why do people come to your site? Think long and hard on that question, it may seem simple but in reality it is very tricky. If you ran a video game cheats site you may say that people come to your site because they are interested in video games. That would be wrong. Sure people who visit your site are interested in video games, but that's not why they visit your site. They visit your site because they are looking for cheat codes.
Would you think that people that go to a classic literature site are interested in classic literature? The fact is, they aren't. Most of them probably hate classic literature. So why do they visit the site? They're students, they're working on homework.
An affiliate program selling video games would do okay on the video game site, and a program selling books might make a few bucks on the literature site. However, if you want to make good money off affiliate programs you need to use programs that will help your visitors reach their goals. In both of the examples listed above that means you need to help your visitors cheat. Obviously if you're looking up video game cheats you want to cheat at video games, selling a product that helped you cheat would something that would interest your visitors. And of course students often want any help they can get, especially when they have a paper due the next day, so an essay affiliate program would perform very well.