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What’s An Affiliate Link? A Great Way For Anyone to Make Money Online

Affiliate links are awesome. This modern day ‘referral system’ is used by most every online business.

And what’s better about affiliate links is that anyone can start making money from them.

In this post, we’ll discuss…

  • What are affiliate links
  • How to use them
  • Finding affiliate programs
  • And how to make money from affiliate marketing

After reading this article you will have an excellent understanding of how affiliate links work and how you can make extra cash using them.

Let’s begin..

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What’s An Affiliate Link:


Everybody’s clicked on a hyper-link before, right?

There are links that link within a website to other pages, called internal links (this post will teach you how to properly use internal, external and affiliate links).

And there are external links that link out to other websites.

Some of these external links will link you out to other websites as a resource that compliments the article you are reading.

While other links are affiliate links – these are links that link out to websites for the intention of selling you something.

Affiliate links come in two forms, as a special URL or as a Banner (banners are embedded with html code inside the banner).

photo of affiliate links using an affiliate banner from Expedia.com

An example of an Affiliate Banner from Expedia.com. You put this on your website and earn commissions off it when someone clicks on it and buys a vacation or flight.

Affiliate links are used in affiliate marketing programs and they allow a person/company/website to receive a commission from a product that is sold through affiliate programs.

Confused yet?

If you’re new to affiliate marketing, no worries, it’s very understandable.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work


The concept of affiliate marketing and learning how to use affiliate links is simple.

Someone comes on to your website or social media profile. You place an affiliate link within a posting and if someone comes by and hits that link, then goes on to make a purchase, you make a commission from the sale.

Think of Affiliate Marketing like giving paid for a referral or recommendation.

You can easily profit from affiliate links for products that you know, use, and love.

Everyone knows Amazon, so let’s use them as an example. Say you have a favorite book or product that you like from Amazon.

photo of affiliate links from Amazon.com

You can sign up with Amazon’s Associates Program, once approved to be an affiliate within the program, you can get your affiliate links and/or banners for almost any product that Amazon sells.

Then once you place that link on your website, in a email, or on social platforms like Facebook, you can make a commission from Amazon’s products once someone enters your link and buys something.

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As a matter of fact, if the customer enters your affiliate link and goes on to make several purchases, you earn commissions off everything they buy.

The affiliate link has tracking information that is tied to your Amazon affiliate account that will be recorded by Amazon’s affiliate program.

All’s you have to do is get someone to enter through your affiliate link and then they go on to buy something – IT’S THAT EASY  🙂

Special Note: If you’re thinking of getting an Amazon affiliate account in order to get a commission back from the products you normally purchase on Amazon, think again.

Amazon doesn’t allow that, not even if a family member buys something through your affiliate link.

You could get away with a friend or family member with a different last name I would imagine.

But be careful with Amazon, they watch their affiliate program closely.

How to Use Affiliate Links


You can use affiliate links almost anywhere. Post them to your Facebook Page, other social sites, you can even pin them to your Pinterest photos. And send them through emails and newsletters.

But the most useful and effective method to make money off of affiliate links is to have a website and then use them (sparingly) within a product review or article.

You also need to know that most affiliate programs require you to have a website in order to get approved as an affiliate.

If your rolling your eyes now about having a website, don’t worry.

It’s very easy to get a free website up and running in a matter of seconds. You can make a free website in less than a minute right here.

diagram of affiliate links life cycle in affiliate marketing

Click To Enlarge. The diagram represents the normal flow of affiliate marketing using Affiliate Links within your website to make affiliate commissions

Once you have your website up and running, you can apply for affiliate programs.

Don’t Let Google Consider You to be Spam


You want to use your affiliate links sparingly because if you are trying to get your website posts/reviews to rank, you will have a hard time if your review is sprayed with affiliate links all over the place.

Because your site will come off as a spam site in the eyes of search engines like Google.

Instead, what I encourage people to do is to do a product review (that’s based on keyword research) so that you can get the post to rank on the first page of Google.

You need to write quality content about the product that benefits the user. This is ultimately what Google want to provide people – good search results.

Then place a couple call to actions statement that draw the readers attention within your article and link these call to action statements with your affiliate links.

You also want to use a widget that will cloak your link so that it doesn’t look like an affiliate link.

I use Pretty Link Light.

What this does is disguise the affiliate link so that your link won’t look like an affiliate link to search engines like Google.

For example: Here’s a link to a dating website called Colombian Cupid. After I applied and was approved for their affiliate program, I received an affiliate link that looked like this…

http://cupidlinks.com/?a=135701&c=115&p=r&s1=

Notice all the numbers/letters/symbols within the link – this looks horrible to search engines and they can tell that this is an affiliate link.

Now when I cloak it using Pretty Link Light, I can name the link as I choose. Here’s what my link looks like now.

http://arthousemedellin.com/cupid

See how much cleaner the link looks.

If you’re just sending links via email/social sites, you still want to cloak your link and make it look pretty – so to speak.

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How To Find Affiliate Programs


This is very easy to do, just put in whatever product you want to affiliate yourself with and then do a search of the product name and add a plus + sign followed by the phrase: affiliate program.

Say you want to affiliate yourself with an Apple Ibook Laptop.

All you have to do is put this phrase into Google and you will find Apple’s affiliate program in a matter of seconds. See the search results below.

photo on how to find affiliate programs

Google search results for Apple’s Affiliate Program. Click To Enlarge

How to Make Money with Affiliate Links


You can certainly put up a free website, add some content to the site, apply for affiliate programs and then take your affiliate links and send them to people you know or place them on your social sites.

But this is not the most effective method to making money online with affiliate marketing.

The key to making money from affiliate links is to create a niche website that is based on something that you are interested in or passionate about.

Once you have an idea for your niche website, then it’s just a matter of building out the site, learning how to write content that ranks, and then placing your affiliate links within your content.

As your website traffic increases and your website content gets read, you can start making affiliate commissions.

Affiliate commissions range from 4% to 75% of the purchase price of the product’s retail value.

How To Get Started In Affiliate Marketing


If you’re new to affiliate marketing or putting up a website, I would recommend you check out the educational program offered by Wealthy Affiliate.

They’ve been teaching newbies for over 10 years how to create profitable niche/affiliate websites and you can check them out for free.

They provide an all inclusive educational program that comes with 2 free websites, free hosting, and 10 free classes to help you get your website up and running, as well as understand the basics of affiliate marketing.

You can always find a few affiliate programs that don’t require you to have a website, but this doesn’t happen often.

You also should know that spamming social sites like Facebook with affiliate links isn’t the most effective way to start earning affiliate commissions.

Lastly, if you find any affiliate programs that ask you to pay to enter their affiliate programs, run for the hills.

Real affiliate programs don’t charge you to join. Remember, you are helping them promote their product.

If you find an affiliate program that charges money to be an affiliate with them, you are most likely looking at an online scam.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you have a full understanding of how to use affiliate links, if not, leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you right away.

If you know anyone else who might benefit from understanding affiliate marketing/affiliate links, please share this post via the social share buttons below.

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Todd
 

Todd is a full time online marketer, avid traveler, Occupational Therapist, and currently lives in Medellin, Colombia. He strives to help people make a better life through self education, determination, and following their passions.

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