Affiliate programs are the Internet equivalent to the old brick and mortar practice of providing a finder's fee to people by arrangement. There are affiliate programs available in most areas of interest. Many stores and etailers have an affiliate program. These can be a good addition to your revenue generating program.
A site needs multiple revenue streams to maximize the income potential from the site. The most common form of remuneration is a commission on a sale that the business makes to the person whom you referred. Few of these programs pay on a per click basis. There is usually an action that must take place once the visitor gets to their site.
The Pay Per Action may be only a few cents for an action of signing up for a newsletter or other service. This can also be a sizable amount as a percentage of a larger ticket sale. The most profitable of these is probably for services, as the percentage of the commission is likely to be higher. Many of the service contract affiliate programs also provide a residual income when the customer renews the contract.
How to use Affiliate Programs with Your Site
When you put up content on your site you can search for a complimentary affiliate program. If you were to write an article about fishing you might find an affiliate program with someone selling fishing tackle. You could also check for charter services or boat rental affiliate programs. There even may be a program out there for a guide service. You need to use your imagination to locate appropriate programs.
It is important to be sure that the programs that you promote compliment the content that you have produced, but try to think of other things that someone might need, like insect repellent for our fisherman. If you can think of something that your reader may need that they may not think of themselves you are more likely to turn them into a customer.
There are also affiliate programs for digital products ie: ebooks, software, and some games. These programs can be very lucrative. You will often send your visitor to a very effective landing page. The commissions are usually higher than for most hard goods and usually if a sale takes place it happens quickly.
A Word of Caution
As with most any form of Internet marketing you are often not allowed to follow your own link to these products to gain an effective discount on the product or service. This can be a cause for termination of your affiliate contract and you can loose any funds that have not been paid to you. Check the terms and conditions of your affiliate contracts to be sure what is and is not allowed.
You should also keep in mind that I, like many others, am an affiliate in many of the programs that I discuss. This is one of multiple revenue streams for a site owner. I try to participate only in affiliate programs in which I believe. If I should find that an affiliate program is undesirable I will discontinue promoting that program and cancel my membership.