I'm often contacted by my website visitors, readers of my articles and others who've ‘tracked me down’ in some way or another, who are generally looking for advice or guidance in some form or other. One of the more common requests seems to concern their need for information about how to go about getting their ‘planned’ Internet home business started. More specifically, in fact, are those wondering about Affiliate Marketing.
It's not surprising at all, given the level of exposure that this particular home business model enjoys online. Certainly, every website with a home based business theme promotes or at least suggests Affiliate marketing as a possibility for the thousands of budding ‘Netpreneurs’ (not being a fan of ‘buzzwords', I really do hate that expression!).
There would also seem to have been a recent increase in ebooks and tutorials etc promising the recipe for success in Affiliate Marketing. Having written one myself and read many, I can say firsthand that some are valuable, helpful and useful products which will go a long way towards getting a budding Affiliate up and running and, provided they have the necessary drive, perseverance and ‘certain other qualities', on the way to success in their dream of working from home. Of course, some (IMO probably about 50%) are total rubbish, a promotional vehicle for some other product or program, or both.
One article is certainly not going to go anywhere near giving the necessary advice to the information hungry ‘Newbie’ who is chasing the promised dream of a successful home business. Nor will it suggest much in terms of the necessary requirements and facilities etc. However, after recommending a couple of the better (and more reasonably priced) tutorial ebooks, I will generally suggest that their initial Affiliate endeavor should include, at least, the following:
Domain and Hosting Package - Although it is possible for some to achieve a level of success in Affiliate Marketing without a website, the chances of a ‘Newbie’ having the knowledge, experience and abilities in the required areas is unlikely (i. e. copy writing ability for email ads and Google Adwords® and knowledge and skills in areas of promotion outside of website promotion etc).
Domains are priced from as little as $5 to about an average of $12 per year. Certainly don't ever pay more than $20 for your standard .com, .net or .biz domains. A hosting package with the necessary facilities for a new Affiliate should cost no more than $3 to $5 per month. If it does, you're being charged too much, or paying for things that you simply don't need, nor ever will. A hosting package, which includes free ‘sub-domains’, is a must for any Affiliate.
Safelist Memberships - I know that many say that Safelists are not very useful for promoting anything, as they are populated primarily by other home business people who are all there to promote rather than buy. This is true however, the fact that most are others in the same position as yourself, Safelists are a good opportunity for a new Affiliate to promote products, which may well be of interest to others who are also building or promoting their Affiliate activities thus, they are also useful for building your downlines.
Membership and activity in at least, a couple of larger ones, plus a few of the smaller (they can tend to be more responsive ‘pro-rata') is a good idea. Safelists also offer the opportunity to see how others are writing their email copy and seeing what other opportunities are available can be an educational experience for the new operator. Safelists are also very much a good way to simply stay in touch with what is happening in the Affiliate/Home Business industry.
Traffic Exchange - Again, there are some who may doubt the usefulness of the Traffic Exchanges however, again, I see them as a useful facility, especially for the new Affiliate. Admittedly, the traffic that your website will receive from the exchanges is ‘non-targeted’ and very unlikely to consist of anyone other than those who are, again, in the same position as yourself. However, as in the case of Safelists, Traffic Exchanges are useful for building your Affiliate downlines and also for the very same opportunities and experience that the Safelists present.
Imaging Editor - In my opinion, a good image editor is essential for anyone involved in building and maintaining their own website/s (for a new Affiliate to pay for this service would be financially crippling). The good news is that there are a number of imaging programs, which will perform all the modification and adjustments that most webmasters would need and the one I suggest as the best is freeware. It is called ‘Irfanview®’ and can be downloaded free at their website Irfanview.com.
Website Editing Program - As I just mentioned, having to pay someone to build and maintain a website (let alone more than one) would be financially crippling. Most of us have managed, over time, to gain a reasonable working ability with programs such as FrontPage® and DreamWeaver® and from there, at least a working knowledge of the common codes.
It can be daunting for someone who has had no experience with these programs or ‘html’ coding but this is where the ‘perseverance’ I spoke of earlier becomes useful. Besides, there are relatively cheap tutorials available and a ton of free advice in the ‘Webmaster Forums’ etc.
Of course, these few ‘tidbits’ are simply what a new Affiliate will need, in my opinion, just to achieve an online presence. There is far more to getting to the point where you will be attracting ‘targeted’ visitors to your website or actually referring paying clients to your merchants. In fact, there would probably be another dozen or so articles (or a good tutorial ebook) in just that alone. Did I mention that patience was another necessary requirement?
The 2005 Edition of Steve Brennan's popular ebook title ‘The Affiliate Guide Book’ is available now. He also operates a number of Affiliate wesbites which include Quit Smoking OnlinePlus and The Home Based Business & Affiliate Center .