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What is an Affiliate Programme?

An Affiliate (program) programmes and affiliate marketing are the ideal way to make your web site profitable if you have one. An Affiliate programme provides you with the opportunity to promote and sell other people's products and services on the internet without actually having to physically buy the products or services upfront.

You effectively get paid commission on the sales without having to worry about the cashflow needed to purchase products in advance. You will be paid a percentage of the sale of those products or services according to the terms of the business owner.

There are quite clearly mutual benefits for joining an affiliate programme. The merchant sees affiliate marketing today as the chance to advertise their products at a lower cost. The affiliate, on the other hand, sees affiliate marketing as an easy way of earning additional profits online by tying in with what they like most.

Many huge names have affiliate programmes. For example did you know that Amazon had an affiliate programme offering up to 10% in referral fees?

If you have a website or on online business of any kind then my advice to you is that you should definitely consider some form of affiliate programme.

Why bother with affiliate marketing?

If you own a website and advertise affiliate programmes and products, you will increase your own prospect of having a profitable online business.

The aim is to ensure that anyone visiting your website finds products and services that may be of interest to them. That way, even if they are not interested in your own products or services, you may at least be able to tempt them with someone else's product and earn some commission in the process.

Every visitor to your website will leave your site; the key is to ensure that you earn some money from them as they leave! Whether it is via a click on a googlead or via an affiliate link, you will have ensured that their visit profits you in some small way.

How do I become an Affiliate?

In order to advertise affiliate products, all you need to do is register with the Affiliate programme. Most sites advertising affiliate programmes will have a link for you to follow advertising "become an affiliate" or something similar.

The sign up process is usually pretty simple although a few systems require you to sign up to and be approved for every affiliate product (e.g. Commission Junction). You will be given an affiliate link which you will then use to refer people to the product or website concerned.

How to promote your Affiliate Links

Many of the affiliate programs provide you with excellent advertising tools such as banners, widgets and adverts. If you look at the right hand side of my page you will see some examples. You can place them on your site and they look like regular adverts with the added twist that you actually make a small commission if anyone goes on to purchase something.

Careful use of such affiliate advertising is critical however. It is pointless lighting your page up like a Christmas Tree and putting off your readers so a few carefully placed adverts should suffice. Make sure that the advert matches the content of your site. Have a look at my page on Starting a Website There is a link for Hostgator which is a brilliant place to host your site. Assuming that someone looking at that page is looking to host a website, they might consider the use of Hostgator. In addition, there is a link within the text that takes the reader to Hostgator following my own link.

Amazon even allows you to specify key words and place a link on your page. For example, if your site is about cookery, you can have an Amazon link that will advertise cookbooks. You can even advertise a specific book so if you have an educational site that discusses particular texts, you can place a link for those texts on the site.

Be sure that anything you recommend or advertise as an affiliate meets with your own high standards though!

Anyone considering seriously taking up Affiliate Marketing should check out Site Build It! This link shows how you can realise the promise of affiliate marketing. Site Build It! shows you to publish a theme-based information-jammed content site and monetize with the cream of affiliate programs, blend in additional AdSense and other revenues. Finally... build an affiliate site that WORKS.

What to consider when choosing an Affiliate Programme

There are many, many affiliate programmes out there. Click here for an explanation of the different types. Also have a look at my short article on choosing an affiliate programme. For now though, here are a few things to consider when choosing which to join.

  • First and foremost join programs that fit with your own ethos and complement your own business. Do not spread yourself too thinly, choose carefully or you will not be able to keep track of everything.
  • Choose schemes that do not require you to purchase products in advance.
  • Check what the terms of payment are. Most schemes will not make you wait long before paying commissions. Some will wait to pay you until you have reached a threshold payment amount. Others will have a cooling off period depending on the product to allow for refunds.
  • See what follow up is provided. Some schemes will automatically follow up customers for you ensuring you receive commission for any further purchases
  • How many levels do you get paid over? Some schemes are two-tier programs which allows you to also receive a smaller commission on any products purchased one level down.

Some recommendations

Affiliate programs vary from those offering one product to whole systems with hundreds of products to choose from. Some offer a one off commission whilst others offer extended commissions on recurring billing products.

As already stated, there are hundreds of affiliate programs out there. Just do a google search for affiliate programs and you should find plenty to research. I have listed a few here to get you started. They fit well with my business and I am able to make a reasonable commission with them all. By all means consider those that fit with your own business and explore the many other options out there.

Essential to join - including my favourites!

Commission Junction

This is arguably one of the top affiliate programmes for companies that sell physical products like computers, credit cards, clothing etc. Some of the biggest internet companies in the world have products and programmes here. This system requires that you register and gain approval for each product so I suggest that you only try this once you have a decent website or you may find yourself initially being refused affiliate memberships.

UK Site

US Site


ClickBank is a great system to consider. There are literally hundreds of products listed by category that you can promote and sell on your site. The nice thing is that all the commission is paid together.

If you have your own e-goods, ClickBank is a great solution for selling them. It also enables you to take credit cards. ClickBank's biggest assets are a built-in single tier affiliate program (as above) but additionally you can offer your own e-goods to their huge network of affiliates that can market your product to their respective audiences.

Pay Dot Com

Linked with ClickBankPay Dot Com is an up and coming affiliate program that is free to join with some really great tools like the widget on this page. It currently has a great offer which means you get $1000 in credit. I'm not sure how long it will last so join up now.


Some of the top companies on the web have programmes with LinkShare.


I couldn't write something about affiliate programs without including SiteBuildIt. Whilst it is a specialised product, this is the product that my web site is written and hosted using. Good referral commission and a fantastic product! Also a system with recurring commission from annual subscriptions.


Needs no further explanation. What website couldn?t find somewhere to advertise something sold by Amazon?


HostGator is another personal favourite given that it hosts my sites that SBI doesn't!

The Renegade System

This is one of my personal favourites and was the first one I encountered and the first one that I earned a commission from. The great thing about this is that it is more than just a standard affiliate system and helps you to generate leads too. Advertise the system using a great free ebook which converts to sales of the system itself. Not only do you earn commission on the sale of the book but you also earn affiliate commission on anything that they join in the back end of the system. There are over 30 affiliate products in the system and it is a fantastic advertising and training resource too. If you are only looking at one system then consider The Renegade System.

Magnetic Sponsoring

Another of my first programs. Aimed at the network marketing sector to generate leads but has a number of great products and fantastic email follow up so that you don't need to do anything to promote further sales yourself. Take a look here

Worth Considering

  • Performics. Recently acquired by Google, this has some decent companies on board.
  • Shareasale is worth a look.
  • ClickxChangehas smaller advertisers but accepts programmes such as foreign pharmacies.

Affiliate Tools and Resources

As I said before, there are many affiliate schemes. This is a small selection of products that can help you with your affiliate marketing.

Link Cloakers

If you are going down the affiliate marketing route, you might also want to consider using an affiliate link cloaker. This prevents unscrupulous competitors hijacking your affiliate link and stealing your commission. Here are a few to consider.

Affiliate Cloaker

Samurai Stealth Cloaker

Secret Affiliate Links

Free Affiliate Masters Course

Affiliate Masters Course

This Affiliate Masters Course will teach you all you need to know about affiliate marketing. Click on the image to get started now.

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