The advice here can help you make money on affiliate programs, maybe even as much as a few thousand a month. But what about people who make six figures off of affiliate programs? What's their secret?
Well, I call that Affiliate Gold, and really it's a very simple principle: Build a site around an affiliate program. The easiest way to do this is have a review site. For instance lets say you make a site where you review all of the online dating websites, and each review is an affiliate link. So basically every visitor comes to your site looking for information on which program to sign up with, and every time someone signs up you make money. Chances are 90% or more of your visitors are going to signup with someone, that's why they're at your site in the first place.
Reviews are not the only way to do this though. You can also make a site that sells anything via an affiliate program. The site can even be one page with only a few paragraphs of content and a link to a place to buy the product. The real trick here is not in making the site, it is in promoting the site.
Going back to our original example of a photography site (if you're reading this article as part of the website success guide), lets pretend Ray makes a page that gives a brief overview of Digital Camera's and then includes prices on popular models from leading e-tailers, like Amazon.com and Buy.com, in the appropriate affiliate fashion. He might earn some money from it, but not all of Ray's visitors are interested in digital cameras, or are interested in buying a camera at all. However, now imagine that this page is #1 on Google when you search for "digital cameras." Ray will likely get thousands of visitors to that page each month, visitors who are looking for digital cameras.
There is no greater partnership than that between an e-commerce site and a content site. A site that offers photography information, and a site that sells photographic equipment, would be a perfect match. However running an e-commerce site is complicated, and often requires a large investment to setup inventory. So for the small guy the best partnership is a content site and an affiliate site.
So you make a small site selling a single product, or group of products, via an affiliate program, that's the easy part. The hard part is getting it to the top of the search engines. If you think back to the chapter on search engines you'll remember that to get to the top you need incoming links, right? But then, who would want to link to your small affiliate site? Well, you will.
You can build a content site related to the product you are selling. You don't even need to put advertising on this site, as your sole purpose with this site is to gain incoming links. People link to free content, directories list free content, you can offer free content and get a large page rank. Then, using your knowledge of search engines and link popularity, you link from your content site to your affiliate site.
If you can get ranked #1 on the search engines for the product you are trying to sell, you've struck affiliate gold and you will make very good money.
Now you shouldn't just link from any site to your affiliate site. Off topic links made specifically to increase rank are frowned upon by search engines and may result in negative action taken upon you. This is why you build an on topic site to link from, there is nothing wrong with cross promoting two on topic sites.
Sure, building an entire site, or maybe two or three sites, just to promote an affiliate program does seem like a lot of work. However the payoff can be huge. Imagine how much you'd make if you ranked #1 for "Viagra?" Additionally your affiliate site need not be only one page, nor need it be a separate site, you could promote it as a subsection of your content site just as easily.
Before you try to make an affiliate site like this you need to research your keywords and the competition. You should first of all figure out which terms related to your product are searched the most. For instance which is searched for more often, "Digital Camera Deals," or "Digital Camera Sales." Once you find the most popular set of keywords for your product (the keywords you will use to link to your affiliate page) then you need to find out the current competition for those words. So do a search on Google for those words and check the PageRank of the first site to come up. If your Overall PageRank Power is greater than the PageRank of the current #1 site then you will likely have the #1 spot if you make this affiliate site and cross-promote it with your current site. This is especially true considering that 100% of your incoming links will be using your keywords for the anchor text (afterall, you will have complete control over that) and for your competitors this isn't likely to be the case. Using your Overall PageRank Score in calculations like this is a good way to decide when to create a new site, and also to predict how successful that site will be.
So, to summarize, there are two main steps for reaching affiliate gold.