One of the aspects of setting up a new project that I find most interesting is investigating and deciding on the best affiliate networks and affiliate products to monetize my new baby. Finding the best affiliate networks is an area that is sometimes not given the amount of consideration it really deserves. It needs research to see what affiliate networks are available for the niche products that you wish to promote, and amongst other things, you need to consider the returns you are hoping to make and the promotional tools that the affiliate networks provide.
This post aims to highlight some of the areas you may wish to consider when deciding how to monetize your blog or site.
What Affiliate Products do You Want to Promote?
For any niche web-site or blog that you hope to make money from, I would say that answering this question should be high on your list of priorities. For a personal or general interest blog where money making is not its primary reason for existence, this is less of a consideration, but where money making is your primary goal then establishing need and connecting your visitors to the solution via relevant affiliate links is vital.
This sounds simple, and with careful planning it can be, but make sure you do it up front at the start of your project because I can say from experience that it is far harder to reverse engineer and correct a badly monetized project afterwards!
How do You Want to Display Your Affiliate Products?
By this I mean, will you be displaying banner ads, or do you want direct product links from within a blog post or perhaps on a product review site? On a recent product review site I was setting up, I had an idea of the retailers that I wanted to use from my previous knowledge of the market. It turned out that whilst two of these retailers did have affiliate programs, they only supplied banner ad resources and not the product links I needed.
In the above case I managed to find two other suitable affiliate partners, so it was a minor problem, but it pays to always make sure the affiliate advertising resources you need are supplied by the affiliate network. This may mean you have to set up an association with that supplier first, but do this early as it can take several days to get approved and it can waste you valuable time.
Which Affiliate Marketing Networks Are Available?
Some companies have their own in-house affiliate programs whilst others prefer to outsource via the larger affiliate networks such as Clickbank, Commission Junction and others. It is useful to sign up with a couple of the larger networks so that you can research the huge number of companies and markets that they usually have on their books. You can also find out a lot by researching your competition (which I’m sure you will have done right at the outset of your project).
What are the Highest Paying Affiliate Programs?
This is another very interesting question, and many people have very fixed views on the matter. Surely if Clickbank typically offers me around 75% on any sales I make, then wouldn’t I be stupid to waste my time on Amazon which can return as little as 4%? Well as usual, it isn’t quite as simple as that. Amazon and other huge retailers have built up a significant amount of trust with the general public over the the years, and in my experience it is much easier to get my visitors to follow a link to Amazon than to follow links to less familiar sellers. Many times 4% can often result in better returns than a few times 75%.
Therefore, the correct answer for you may well lie in how good your skills are in pre-selling. Someone with great skills as a pre-seller may get great returns on more difficult affiliate offers with higher percentage returns, others may do better with lower returns from more trusted affiliate programs. Only experience will let you know which of these types you are!
The other things to consider in deciding on the highest paying affiliate programs are the length of the lifetime of their tracking cookies, whether they pay for repeat business and whether they pay for sales which switched to telephone or other methods to complete the transaction.
Affiliate Commission Payment Methods?
Last, but by no mean least, you should pay close attention to the payment terms and conditions for any new affiliate program you sign up to. When and how often do they payout? What is the minimum payout? What payment methods are available. If you are using US based affiliate networks but you reside outside the USA, double check that the payment methods they provide are suitable for you.
Finding the best affiliate networks and offers is a vital part of any niche marketing project. I hope the information provided here helps you to decide how best to monetize your new projects. If you have any other suggestions for areas to consider when selecting affiliate networks, please leave a comment, as always, your input is valued and appreciated.