Affiliate Marketing – An Overview

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!

Web Branding – Make A Name For Yourself

There really are three different levels of marketing significance when it comes to your online business.

There are three different levels of strategy that result in three different sets of results.

1) Advertising – This role is primarily designed to elicit short-term results on a specific campaign or site performance goal.

2) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – This role is designed for long-term growth by getting search engines to recognize your site and view you as trustworthy and describing of a high ranking.

3) Web Branding – This role is also designed for long-term growth, but may have more to do with customer confidence in your product and less to do with driving new traffic to your site.

In web branding the idea is to develop a confidence in your product and or service.

Did you know it is possible to develop a strong web brand and find customers returning even if that means paying more with your site?

Why is this true?

If you develop sound web branding strategies a customer will have no problem returning to use your services or buy your product. Customers will pay the extra if for no other reason than they are confident you can and will deliver on your promises. These customers have seen your track record and they are satisfied you will do what you say you will do.

In times past there was greater brand loyalty for house cleaning products, food items, clothing and even vehicles. Branding of most products is becoming harder to do, but it's not impossible.

Web site owners who have taken the time to really understand the core of their business begin to gain a clear picture of how they can take the uniqueness of the business and leverage that special something into a means of branding their company online.

This is important because there are businesses that stop at advertising. Other businesses will add an impressive array of SEO strategies that will eventually get them noticed. While both of these are important strategies the miss the mark in defining the difference between online businesses that sells a product and THE online source for a product or service.

The end goal is to have customers view you as the only reputable seller of whatever product you specialize in.

There are many too many businesses that are content to simply sell a product without ever really making a name for themselves.

Is not it time you started taking steps to make a name for yourself?

It’s Easy To Buy The Perfect Gifts For Men With Extreme Adventures

It's a myth that buying gifts for men is hard. Just take a quick trip to the local department store or some other big shop and you can grab gifts for men in no time flat. In fact, it's very easy to buy ordinary gifts for men. Now comes the time for him to open the big gift. He does and what do you see on his face? Is it pure joy and anticipation or is he thinking "oh, same old thing." That's not the kind of reaction you were looking for, is it?

The real truth is that buying gifts for men is not hard, but buying GOOD gifts for men is hard. It really does not have to be. The way around this problem is to scratch off all those typical gifts off your list of gift ideas for men and replace them with unique adventures. Now you are moving beyond simply buying a gift to buying an experience. An experience is something that will last a lifetime since the memories of that special adventure will be etched in its memory forever.

Ok, so now you know the truth about buying good gifts for men and you agree that an adventure is the way to go. But what adventure? You have all sorts of options. If the person you are buying for is the type of man who likes to feel speed when he's behind the wheel of a car then the decision is easy. Go to your list of gift ideas for men and write down rally car driving experience. Below that write V8 supercar driving experience. If your guy is more the kind that wants to get his adventure on the high seas, pull out your list of gifts for men and jot down whitewater kayaking or jet boat riding experience. Or maybe your special someone is the type that prefers his excitation in the air. How about skydiving or parasailing. The point is when you buy gifts for men they do not have to be boring and ordinary. In fact, they can be absolutely spectacular.

All that's left now is to go to that list of gifts for men and make your final selection. Purchase the gift you have selected and wait for the fireworks when he opens his gift. If you can not decide which gift will be just right then you can still get him the gift of a lifetime. Just buy and open ended gift voucher and he can select the adventure that best suits his tastes. Either way, you have made his day.

No matter which man in your life you are buying for, adventure gifts for men are the perfect way to show him how much you care. They show real thought and a desire to get him something that he really wants. Somehow a necktie just does not stack up when compared to the adventure he's always dreamed of. Your gift will be the talk of the family as all the men in the family wish they were so lucky as to have someone who cares enough to purchase extreme gifts for men for them. So go ahead and splurge on your special man. You'll be glad you did.

A Recipe For Outsourcing Your Software Development

Outsourcing your software development can save you time and money if you know what you need. Too often US companies attempted to outsource without a good understanding of what their software should do, and this is the biggest cause of outsourcing failure. It is unreasonable to expect your outsourcing team to have a menu of software, pre-prepared, so you can just select the items you want.

Ever go to a restaurant with a picky eater? They tell the waiter in excruciating detail how they want their food prepared. And heaven forbid that the food arrives different from what was requested! Back to the kitchen it goes to be "fixed" to make the picky eater happy.

Sometimes US companies hire an outsourced partner as if they were going to a restaurant. They select the cuisine based on the flavor of the technology they require. Chinese .NET or Indian Java? How about some Russian C ++? Unfortunately there is rarely a menu for the exact items you might like to order from an outsourced team.

Are you approaching outsourcing your software like you are walking into a restaurant? Are you expecting the outsourcing team to advise you, like an attentive waiter, on the way your software should look, be prepared and presented to your customers?

Instead, bring your own recipe when you start work with an outsourcing team. Unlike your dining experiences, you can not ask for the daily special. You have to provide a specific description of what you would like to have, and how it should be prepared. Without such a recipe, your outsourced software development efforts can be starved for success.

Poorly specified software is often the result when "subject matter experts" are involved. Subject matter experts, or SMEs, know a lot about a particular subject, like IC design, business process workflow, inventory management, etc., but very little about designing software. SMEs can struggle to get their ideas encoded in the software. They need to work with someone that knows the best way to design and develop software.

Sometimes, there is a fear of getting bogged down in the details. Since some software executives are great with people, they feel much more comfortable hiring a person to handle the details. They know how to manage a person here, better than they can manage an offshore team of programmers in a remote offshore location.

One Accelerance client is in this situation. The CEO wants to outsource the development of a new software product. But there is no specification. In this case Accelerance is acting as a virtual CTO, responsible for the design, and development of the client's software.

The client is essentially saying, "Design the software for me, and I'll tell you if it matches what I am thinking." This can work because the cost of outsourcing is so low that rework and multiple design iterations are affordable.

This type of arrangement only works when paying on a Time and Materials basis. There is no way to offer fixed pricing because the end product is not defined.

Of course, not having a specification may not stop you from asking for a fixed price bid! In this case, you can outsource the creation of a specification that defines your software for a fixed price. Then the resulting complete design specification is used to create a second fixed price bid for writing your software.

Another factor comes into play when you pay a fixed price amount for a software design specification. You usually have to pay at least half up front. This is to protect the outsourcing company from delivering a specification for creating the software and then not getting paid.

Because software design often occurs at the beginning of a relationship, both parties seek to minimize their risk. You minimize your risk by selecting an outsourcing team with a proven track record and great references. The outsourcing team reduces their risk by getting partial (sometimes full) payment before starting.

There are multiple deliverables that should be produced during the design phase of creating your software, whether you do it yourself, or outsource the design:

* Marketing Requirements

* Storyboard Demo

* Functional Specification

* Multiple Release Milestone Schedule

* Detailed Task Schedule for First Release

* Detailed Design Specification (optional)

Unfortunately, software development has not progressed to the point where ready-made modules are available to order and combined to create your software. There is not yet a menu of choices available to anyone that is hungry for new software. Instead, you must provide your own recipe for what you need. The good news is low cost outsourced software design and development resources are now available to create your custom software to meet your exact specifications.