October 04, 2006Volume 5 Number 36 Issue 123     
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How to Choose an Affiliate Program

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I forgot that today is Wednesday, so I am a little late sending out this newsletter. I spent most of my time this week researching AdSense claims instead of working with the Impact Web Audio program. After many hours of research and review, I believe that there is merit to both sides of the AdSense arguement. Yes AdSense as we know it is dead. Yes it is still possible to make money from AdSense.

Google has make significant changes to the program so that the big dollars are being spent on ads on Google itself, and much smaller sums are being offered for ads on content sites. If you have built a junk site or two or three, your earnings have probably already dried up. On the other hand, if you have a quality site that has turned big bucks for you every month, then it will continue to make you some money.

Although I had AdSense ads on most of my sites, I never got any large cheques from Google *8>)   Since AdSense was not making me a lot of money, I was in the process of removing the ads from my sites prior to the big changes, so I just finished the process a little more quickly. I would be loathe to invest a lot of time and money in making sites specifically for AdSense, but I might ad it to a highly focused content site.

Let me know how your AdSense sites are making out, and if your data changes my conclusions, I'll revisit the topic. Meanwhile, here is today's article.

The correct affiliate programs can bring a lot of revenue to your site. Today, I am going to look at how you might go about choosing which affiliate programs to join.

How to Choose an Affiliate Program

Joining and promoting every affiliate program that comes along is a sure recipe for disaster. You need to pick the few that are the best fit with your site(s) and have the potential to make you the most money. Ask questions first before you join an affiliate program. Do a little research about the programs that you are considering joining. Gather as much information as possible about each program to help you make an informed decision.

Fee?

Will it cost you anything to join? Is buying the product a requirement of affiliation? Most affiliate programs being offered today are absolutely free of charge. So why settle for those that charge you some dollars before joining. Then again, can you honestly push a product that you have never seen or used? Sometimes it is necessary to own the product so that you can offer your own opinion and endorsement.

Frequency of Payments

When do they issue the commission checks? Every program is different. Some issue their checks once a month, some twice a month, others every quarter, and so on. Many will hold back a percentage to cover potential returns. Be sure that you are comfortable with the payment schedule before you join a program. Many affiliate programs are setting a minimum earned commission amount that an affiliate must meet or exceed in order for their cheque to be issued.

What is the hit per sale ratio? This is the average number of hits to a banner or text link it takes to generate a sale based on all affiliate statistics. This factor is extremely important because this will tell you how much traffic you must generate before you can earn a commission from the sale. Although your site might not match this ratio, it is good information for comparing programs.

Referral Tracking

How are referrals from an affiliate’s site tracked and for how long do they remain in the system? You need to be confident enough in the program’s ability to track those people you refer from your site. This is the only way that you can credit for a sale. The period of time that those people stay in the system is also important. This is because many visitors do not buy initially but may want to return later to make the purchase. Find out how long after the initial visit you will still get credit for a sale. Will you get credit for subsequent purchases by the same visitor?

Available Statistics

What kinds of affiliate statistics are available? Your choice of affiliate program should be capable of offering detailed stats. They should be available on-line anytime you decide to check them out. Constantly checking your individual stats is important to know how many impressions, hits and sales are being generated from your site. Impressions are the number of times the banner or text link was viewed by a visitor of your site. A hit is one click on the banner or text links.

Does the affiliate program also pay for the hits and impressions besides the commissions on sales? Depending on the commission rate on sales, and length of time you receive credit after the initial visit, it may also be important to be paid for impressions and hits. This will offset and loss to your earnings due to purchases not made until after your credit date for the visitor has expired. This is especially important if the program you are in produces a low sales to hit ratio.

Who are they?

Who is the on-line retailer? Find out whom you are doing business with. You need to know whether it is really a solid company that will be around to pay your commission, or a fly-by-night scam artist that will never send you a cheque regardless of how many sales you generate. Know the products they are selling and the average sales volume that they are achieving. The more you know about the retailer offering you the affiliate program, the easier it will be for you to know if that program is really for you and your site.

One Tier, Two Tier, Three Tier, Four

Is the affiliate a one tier or two tier program? A single tier program pays you only for the business you yourself have generated. A two tier program pays you for the business, plus it also pays you a commission on the sales generated by any affiliate you sponsor in your program. Some two-tier programs are even paying small fees on each new affiliate you sponsor - a recruitment fee. If the fees start going past two tiers, look carefully. You may have become part of an MLM scam.

Commission

Lastly, what is the amount of commission paid? 5% - 50% is the commission paid by most programs. .01% - .05% is the amount paid for each hit. If you find a program that also pays for impressions, the amount paid is not much at all. As you can see from the figures, the average sales amount and hit to sale ratio is important.

These are just some of the questions that need to be answered before you enter into an affiliate program. You should be familiar with the many important aspects that your chosen program should have before incorporating them into your web site. If you get answers to these questions, it can help you select the right program(s) for your site(s).

Until next time…

warmly,



P.S. If you're looking for more traffic and more sales, check out Neil Shearing's Spider software. It's a very easy to use piece of software that makes grabbing great Joint Venture partners and Super Affiliates child's play.

I'm sure you know that the fastest way to generate traffic and sales is to tap into the power of someone else's email list and have them do a mail out promoting your product. Well, Neil's software makes *finding* those "power players" simpler than ever. Now there are no excuses... go out and get some super affiliates to work for you!

Neil's been on-line for over a decade and has an excellent reputation for honest business on-line. In fact, he founded the ScamFreeZone in 1997 to help people make money on-line without falling victim to scams. That's why I am happy to endorse his software.

Here's The LINK to find out more about the Spider...


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