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So your website is up and running. If it’s not, then you should check out our website tutorials . Ok so, you’ve got something that people want and you’re getting some traffic. Are you thinking about pumping up your income with some affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a popular side business for many online business owners. It even works for people who have nothing to sell, but have a website that attracts traffic. It’s not a “get-rich-quick” scheme by any means. You have to maintain a powerful and engaging website to get the traffic it takes to make money off affiliate links.

If you think you’re up to the task and your website will support substantial traffic, you’ll want to look for affiliate programs that are reputable and solid enough to generate sales through links you provide. Poor-quality and disreputable companies will hurt you by destroying your reputation, so you have to be careful to screen the companies you link to.

Your first order of business is to make sure the companies you link to are relevant to what you offer. If you run a lawn care service, it wouldn’t make sense to link to a restaurant chain or department store. If you run a restaurant it would be a waste of your time to link to a hardware chain or personal injury lawyer.

Once you decide which types of companies fit with your website, it’s time to go shopping for affiliate links. Here are some ideas of where to go:

  • Online Vendors. Online sales monsters are one of your best bets for affiliate links. Companies like Amazon, McAfee, Dell, and Apple rely heavily on affiliate advertising. Smaller companies and overseas companies who rely on internet commerce are also strong supporters of affiliate advertising.
  • Retailers Websites. Most retailers now have online stores. Gather a list of stores that are compatible to what you offer, especially focusing on retailers you do business with and can stand behind. Remember that your affiliate links need to be relevant to what you offer. Your site visitors are counting on you to NOT waste their time.
    ~~Many retailers openly post opportunities for affiliates on their websites. Look for an “Affiliates” tag on a retailer’s home page.
  • Affiliate Networks. These are online companies that manage affiliate programs for a variety of member vendors. You’ll have access to countless affiliate opportunities without the tedious search through individual accounts. You can search for companies by category and apply for multiple company links simultaneously. It’s also the easiest way to manage your affiliate accounts. An added bonus to using a network is most companies are shopping for you as aggressively as you’re shopping for them. You could receive special offers and promotions just for noticing them on a network.

Here are some of the most popular affiliate networks:

  • Clickbank
  • Commission Junction
  • Google Affiliate Network
  • LinkShare
  • CuttingEdgeOffers

Good luck with your shopping, but keep in mind that your links need to be relevant and respectable, and limited to what you can stand behind. Crowding your page with multiple random links is a turn-off for most site visitors, and breeds distrust. You can clutter your pages with hundreds of links, but if you can’t get visitors to click on them they’re completely worthless.