Tips for the Webmaster Preparing a Site for an Affiliate Program

An online business can be difficult to maintain without proper marketing. The World Wide Web is fast becoming crowded, and the online marketplace is more a haven for noise than a virtual mall for shoppers. There are large companies with aggressive marketing campaigns that can drown out the efforts of smaller companies at getting heard. There are scams and schemes aplenty, all of them disguised as get-rich-quick strategies that may seem like miracles to naïve business people, until the methods backfire.

The World Wide Web, however, is not so dangerous a jungle as it seems. With the right marketing schemes, the right technical know-how, and the right website, you can earn money online. One such technique involves joining an affiliate program.

An affiliate program is simply a collection of businesses with the same aims, products, and services. All these businesses are clustered underneath a main affiliate, which markets its goods and services through advertisements posted on affiliate sites. These advertisements may be in the form of text, such as those found in Google’s AdSense affiliate program; graphics, such as those found in various banners posted online; and streaming media, such as music or video, that can give life to an entertainment or adult site.

Whenever these advertisements are clicked on, seen, or followed, and whenever the main site earns money or gets responses due to the efforts of its affiliate, the affiliate is paid a certain amount of commission. This referral scheme may make affiliate programs nothing more than online multi-level marketing schemes, but affiliate programs are different. Unlike multi-level marketing schemes, affiliate programs operate on only two tiers, and involve less effort at making sales.

Affiliate programs are simply about effective marketing. In this case, effective marketing can be carried out by posting advertisements that are provided by the main affiliate site. All the effort at marketing, however, cannot come from the main site. Your website must complement the advertisements, and you as webmaster must make sure that the website is prepared for affiliate marketing.

If you are a webmaster of a business website that wants to engage in affiliate marketing, take note of the following tips before you redo the layout of the site.

o Some affiliate programs will give you advertisements to post based on the density of keywords on your site. This can be easy if your site’s contents are already dense in keywords related to the business to which it caters. However, if you find that certain keywords are being misinterpreted, then you may have to re-engineer your site’s text to fit both search engine and affiliate program requirements.

o Examine the nature and look of the affiliate program’s advertisements. If you are allowed to change the look of the advertisements, or if you are allowed to add graphics or color to an advertisement you would otherwise deem as boring, then do so. However, do not make your advertisement box appear gaudy or overdone, as it can also cheapen the look of your website. Make sure that color schemes match, so that your customers will keep coming back to your site, and will click on the advertisements that you post.

o If the affiliate program will not allow you to tamper with the advertisements, then place the advertisements in a place where they will blend with the color scheme of the site, and where they will still be conspicuous enough to be noticed, visited, and clicked on. Do not place your text-rich advertisement next to text, or your graphics-rich advertisement side by side with other graphics.

o Your site has to be attractive and useful before your company plunges into any affiliate program. You must gather visitors and loyal customers before you can expect anyone to click on your advertisements. In web design, content is always king, so fill your website with useful text, perhaps with facts or tips that can help your website visitors. Make your layout attractive and easy to view.

o Tables add weight to a website file, and this can make your website load much longer on browsers. If you add advertisements, your website may take even a longer time to load, and your customers can be turned off. Instead of using tables, find a way to employ style sheets. These can lighten your HTML files and allow your prospective customers easier access to your website.

As a webmaster, you are confronted by the daunting task of making your website appeal to even more customers. If you follow these tips before making the affiliate program plunge, however, you can be sure that your efforts at affiliate marketing will truly bring profits to the company you work for.

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