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Where's The Money? Adsense vs. Affiliate Programs

Aug 17, 2007
The main question I get from my clients when coaching them on building content sites is wether they should use Adsense or affiliate programs. It's a great question, and one that I haven't seen addressed often. Hopefully this information will help you in making your decision.

My rule of thumb is always go where the money is, but in making the decision to use Adsense or affiliate programs, there are a few things you should look at. Let's take a look at those things right now, so you know exactly what you should be putting on your site. Google Adsense or affiliate programs.

First, it will depend on your niche. If there is an affiliate program for your niche that converts well and pays well, then you should take the affiliate program route. I'm sure you would rather make dollars than you would cents, so using an affiliate program in this situation would be your best bet. However, if there isn't an affiliate program, using a pay-per-click service such as Google Adsense will at least allow you to earn a little money from your content site.

This leads to another question though. How do you tell if the affiliate program you are looking at is a good one or not?

The answer to that question will take some research, but will be well worth your time. The first thing to do is to contact the site owner or affiliate manager and ask what the average conversion rate is for the affiliate program. You could also ask if they have any affiliates that would be willing to email you their experiences with the product. Once you have the answer to that question, visit a few affiliate marketing forums and ask if anyone has promoted the program before or if they have any experience with the owner or affiliate manager of the site. Usually if it's a bad program, many people will tell you about it.

Now, if you don't find any affiliate programs for your niche, then I would use Google Adsense or any of the other programs like it. Always check though to make sure you can't make more money from something else. You don't want to be making pennies on a site you could be making dollars from. Most of the time Google Adsense just pays pennies per click. So if you got 100 clicks on your Adsense ad, and made say $5, but you got 100 clicks on an affiliate link and made $50, wouldn't it make more send to use the affiliate link on your site?

Using this as a guide will help you, but you still must test and track what works best for your site. You could put Adsense ads on your site for a few weeks, and then replace them with affiliate links for a few weeks. See what does better, and use the one that makes you more money. Just remember to keep testing and tracking!
About the Author
Liz Tomey runs an affiliate marketing website that focuses on educating people about the different ways of making money through affiliate marketing.You can enjoy reading tips, tricks, and other information about affiliate marketing and finding the best affiliate marketing program on her site at http://affiliatemarketinginformation.wordpress.com
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