The other day, a friend asked me how I got Flipkart to advertise on my site. I said, “because they realize how great I am and want to be part of my blog.” He looked at me cockeyed so then I ‘fessed up and had to explain what affiliate marketing is.
That led him to ask a follow-up question of how I would know if Flipkart is ripping me off. Of course, I had to explain the magic of affiliate networks then.
It’s amazing how little the general public knows about affiliate marketing and systems. We all had to start at the clueless stage at some point, but if you’re a blogger, you better get ramped up quick.
Monetizing your blog is more than just slapping Google AdSense all over your pages. You’ll want multiple revenue streams and affiliate marketing is one of the must-haves on your site.
Affiliate Networking Basics
If I did a bunch of research and found ten companies’ ads I want to run on this site, I could reach out to each of them and work out a deal.
That, of course, would be an incredibly inefficient way to spend my time. Many of these companies also don’t want to deal with me at that level either; remember, there are over 100 million blogs all trying to take a piece of the online pie.
Welcome to the world of affiliate networks, the middle man of affiliate marketing. Affiliate networks add value by playing the role of a liaison between bloggers who want advertisements on their site and companies who want to advertise.
They offer a one-stop shop with a variety of businesses in just about every niche. As a blogger, you’ll get access to all the links, codes, and images you’ll ever need.
Moreover, you’ll also get tracking tools, payout reports, and a peace of mind that you’re getting your fair share (since a third party is helping facilitate the money being passed around).
Affiliate Network Companies
Depending on your niche, some affiliate networks may be better for you than others. If you are running a blog for Indian audience, then I will recommend you to join VCommission.
But if you are targeting international audience then you can join networks like Commission Junction, Clickbank or other provided on MoneyConnexion. I am sure, and you can easily find the best advertiser as per the niche of your blog.
Approvals To Become An Affiliate
Just because you want to put an ad on your site doesn’t always mean that the company wants their ad on there. As a result, some companies will want to review your site before giving you the approval to use their ads. This usually involves a quick submission of your site, and you’ll get a response in a few days.
Additionally, some affiliate networks only work with established sites. For example, if you just started your blog last month, there’s a good chance that an affiliate network like Text Link Ads will ask you to reapply a few months down the road.
This is one of the Amazon widgets that I use as an affiliate.
Affiliate Networks Are Not Your Only Option
Remember when I wrote earlier that I wouldn’t want to reach out to all ten companies? Well, some of them may require you to do that if you want them on your site.
A perfect example is Amazon. They run their affiliate programs (and do a great job of it). I use Amazon on another blog of mine, one that prepares people for certification exams. It makes perfect sense that I also market books that I endorse on the site. I’m even able to add my verbiage to the widget, which is a nice feature.
And BTW, you do have to make sure that these companies are legit. Amazon, for example, has too much to lose to slight change their affiliates. Digital Marketing Trends Other companies running their affiliate marketing programs may not be as honest.
Next Steps If You’re New To Affiliate Networks
Sign up for several affiliate networks and see what companies they work with. You only need one or two affiliate networks in the beginning. After all, 5-10 ads are all you’ll need, and each of these networks can give you access to thousands of companies.
It can seem overwhelming with all these choices, but you really can’t go wrong by working with any of the affiliate networks I mentioned above. You’ll also find that as your blog matures, you’ll want to experiment with companies, types of ads, and even other affiliate networks.
I prefer Commission Junction because they have many of the companies that I want to work with, excellent interface and nice reporting tools. Those of you already using some affiliate networks, who are you using and why?