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What Does It Take to Succeed in Affiliate Marketing?

Aug 17, 2007
Becoming an affiliate marketer sounds like a dream come true for a lot of people. Slap up a site and watch the cash roll in.

Yep. Sure sounds nice. Now for that reality check.

If affiliate marketing appeals to you, you have to understand that there is hard work involved. You cannot just buy the latest software and make it do all the work for you. There's a lot more to it than just using software. You have to research, plan, be organized, keep things updated, market and just generally work hard in order to get to that point where a few hours' work might have a high return.

Research is a major step. You can't just slap up a site on any old topic; you want one that can make you some money. That means you need to figure out how many people are interested in the topic, what products are available for you to recommend, and if the probable customer base will even buy the products.

I recommend starting your research by thinking of things that interest you. It really helps to have a solid interest in your topic, especially when you're on unfamiliar ground as you learn about building successful sites.

Do not start out with dozens of sites. Sure, 10 sites each earning $10 a day makes $100/day, but it's not that easy to get all 10 sites earning that well when you aren't experienced. It may also be easier to build a single site that pulls in $100 a day in many niches. Keep things simple as you get started.

Plan your sites well. You want them to be friendly to both the search engines and your future customers. Neglecting one or the other will sharply limit your success.

Plan your time as well. Spend time learning, developing your sites, keeping them updated and keeping an eye on the health of your business.

You need to be organized. You have to know which sites need to be updated how often in order to keep up with what your merchants are currently offering and what customers are most likely to be searching for. Just think about how differently people shop for Christmas versus Valentine's Day, for example.

Marketing is an ongoing process. Slap up an article or three in the article directories, then ignore all sorts of marketing, and you can watch your site sink. You have to keep building, keep working to get attention to your site. Otherwise, someone else will market their site better and away go the profits.

You also need to manage your expectations. If you want to keep building trash site after trash site, hoping that some will do well for a time, go for it! But remember that the search engines are getting smarter all the time, and trash sites are dropping faster all the time.

On the other hand, if you want to build to last, build useful websites that will keep people and search engine spiders coming back for more. Don't use shortcuts - this way can take much longer to succeed, but you have a better shot at keeping the customers you acquire this way as well as being more friendly to the search engines.

In any case, do not assume you will be an overnight success in affiliate marketing. Some manage that but more by far do not. Expect ups and downs and plan for them. Know when you can quit your day job and be ready for long days as necessary.

And don't forget to love what you do. With so many choices to work on there's no reason to work on something you hate.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.aspectsofhomebusiness.com/blog/ about running a home business. She offers a free newsletter as well as more tips on being a successful affiliate marketer.
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