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Affiliate Revenue  

Affiliate relationship: visitor goes from your website to another site and you earn money. 

Pay-per-click advertisements are a major source of income for websites, but affiliate relationships may also contribute considerable income.

Let's say you have a travel website that describes hotels. If a hotel company has established an affiliate program, you can register for the program, then get some HTML link code to put on your pages that describe the company's hotels. If a visitor follows the link to the company's website, reserves and pays for a hotel stay, you earn a commission on the transaction (similar to a travel agency).

Many, many companies have affiliate programs: florists, wedding service providers, cars, all travel services, online bookstores... the list is nearly endless.

Among the most prominent is Amazon.com. You see Amazon.com links on many websites. If you click on a link and buy something from Amazon.com, the website on which you clicked the link earns a bit of income.

You, as a visitor and purchaser, pay no more, but Amazon.com pays a flat fee or a percentage of the sale to the website owner. (In my experience, this is one of the least productive affiliate programs, but your experience may be different.)

When I set up my websites, I also set up dozens of affiliate relationships: links to all sorts of travel and reservations services, telephone roaming services, translation software, even wine sales.

Most were disappointments, yielding no income or very little. A few were good: helpful to the visitors who came to my website, and helpful to me in producing revenue.

Whether or not an affiliate program is helpful depends very much on your website, its content, its visitors and what they need. I know of no way to tell in advance which affiliate programs will be helpful and which will not. Experimentation tells you.

How do you register for affiliate programs? Go to the website of a company that provides goods or services in which you believe may well serve your website visitors. Scroll to the bottom of the homepage and look for a link labeled "Affiliates," "Affiliate Program," "Work with us," or some such. If there is no such link, click on the "About Us" or "Contact Us" link which may lead you to information about the company's affiliate program.

Also, look at the Commission Junction website. "CJ," as it's called, is among the more prominent affiliate program clearing houses, providing services to both company affiliate programs and to website publishers (that's you).

Many other affiliate program clearing houses exist. I especially like Europe-based Trade Doubler.

As with pay-per-click ads, with affiliate relationships it's important to consider long-term earnings.

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Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising Revenue

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Tom Brosnahan