Affiliate marketing on the internet is everywhere. Products being sold range from exercises to help with plantar fasciitis to video game copying software. There are countless ways to market products, so we're just going to take a brief look at a few of the places people can use to get started, some startup tips and you'll be ready to start on a road to recycling, free "money.
One of the best ways to get started in affiliate marketing is to sign up at an affiliate site. Examples of this are ClickBank and Commission Junction. What these sites do is get together people who want to sell products and people who are interested in advertising for them. To refer to the examples above, you can promote pretty much anything from medical help to entertainment and computer software. I'm personally planning on doing solar panels next, as a system to reduce heating and cooling costs as well as general electrical overhead.
Most of these types of sites have a list that's quite extensive, and you can chose any product you like. Then you have the site create what's called a Hoplink for you. This is a personalized link to their product that tells the seller that the patron came from your link. This is what gets you credit for the sale. Sounds simple enough right? But how do you get that link out there?
Of course, it's important to do some research about the product you're selling. Once you can speak about it on a reasonable level, it's time to build a base of operations. Websites like Squidoo are wonderful for this. Squidoo is a ready-formulated lens building site. A lens is a website, but one with a specific purpose. It's called a lens because it focuses specific attention on the keyword chosen to target it at. Basically, you take a keyword people are searching on the internet related to your product, and you make that keyword the base for your lens.
So now you write up a fairly simple site promoting the product in question. There's tons of websites now promoting products and everyone has their own particular way of doing it so we're not going to focus attention on that. Go nuts, make something creative and jazzy, or serious and solemn.
Now you have your site trying to promote that product. How do you get people to look at it? The first thing to do is get your site indexed by search engines. There's products and services out there to do this for you, but you can easily do it yourself by finding and submitting to an RSS feed. Basically these sites link themselves to you so that search engines can just go through them and find new web sites.
Building multiple websites with different keywords and linking them to each other does not hurt, but the best way to get traffic is to get bumped up the actual search results list. The way to do this is to create backlinks. Backlinks are links from other sites directly to your lens site. Search engines see other people linking to you and bump you up result lists. So where can you get links to your site?
Well forums are a place to start. You have to be careful though, most forums do not appreciate people taking up their space with ads, especially if they're not getting a cut. There are some forums out there that are specifically for posts of that nature, however. Finding these and submitting to them is a great way to get started. Some people buy their own web domains and use these both for the "lens" site as well as backlinks. Free domains like Yahoo Geocities can be useful for this.
So to recap, first you pick a product you wish to promote, and find some good keywords that describe it. Push those keywords on a lens site, and use social networking sites, other domains and forums, etc. to get the search engine's "attention" and you're on your way. Of course, it's still a matter of getting the right people to your information, buyers. Google and others offer "readers" and the like to tell you what some good ones might be.
I hope this helps to clarify what affiliate marketing on the internet is and how it works. Good luck on your first dollar!