how to choose fine affiliate network
While signing up with an affiliate network can be done in a matter of second with a few mouse clicks, picking the best affiliate network for your sites isn't always quite as easy. Let's look at some of the different factors you should consider when weighing the options as far as the affiliate networks you choose to work with for your affiliate sites.
3 Tips on Finding the Best Network
It's tempting to just leap in and sign up with the first networks you find, but a little research can save you a ton of money in the long run, so it's definitely worth it to carefully consider all of the options before you.
1) Not All Affiliate Networks Are Created Equal
Like pretty much anything in life, there are usually pros and cons to each affiliate network you might consider. The best way to get the inside scoop about various affiliate networks is to spend some time on any of the affiliate webmaster forums that are out there on the Web. Nothing beats advice from experienced affiliates who have worked with various networks, and with a little legwork you'll get the inside scoop on all the major affiliate networks.
As far as factors to research, some key areas include how many affiliate programs are offered at each affiliate network, how well those programs convert for affiliates, how reliable are payments to affiliates, what type of stats reporting do they offer, and what type of tools and promotional content do they provide affiliates with. All of these areas are very important and can vary widely from network to network, with some excelling in some areas while lagging in others. Keep in mind your own strengths and weaknesses as well; if you're a graphic design whiz and will be creating your own customer banners and graphics, you won't need much help with promotional or marketing content.
If you can't find a specific thread devoted to what you want to know, don't be shy and start a new thread, explaining your situation, your planned sites, and ask what affiliate network other webmasters think will work well for you. You'll likely be surprised at how helpful many affiliate webmasters can be, as most remember exactly what it was like to be in your shoes and just starting out.
2) Your Search Should Start with You
This sounds a bit backwards but actually makes a lot of sense. Start with your own goals and the types of affiliate sites you operate or plan to operate. If you're going to target certain regions or countries of the world, you'll need to limit your search to affiliate programs with a strong roster of affiliate programs that operate or are well-known in that area. If you plan on building affiliate websites for online poker and casino sites, don't sign up with an affiliate network that only has one online gaming affiliate program available.
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One of the best ways to find the right affiliate network for you is to go to the websites of products you plan to feature on your affiliate sites, and find the link for their affiliate program. While some may be run in-house, most will be run by a large affiliate network, so note which one each site is part of. If you're finding that a majority of the sites you plan to feature on your affiliate websites are part of one affiliate network or another, well, you have an obvious choice as far as an affiliate network that likely will work well for you.
Many successful affiliates let their websites dictate what affiliate networks they join, as they'll want to promote a certain product or service on their site and find that they need to be a member of a certain affiliate network to do so.
3) Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
All major affiliate networks are free for affiliates to sign up, so don't feel like you have to pick one (and only one) affiliate network to promote on your sites. At the same time, don't go overboard and sign up with every affiliate network you can find. One issue to keep in mind is that you'll work more efficiently as a affiliate webmaster if the programs you promote are primarily on one or two affiliate networks, as you'll be able to check stats and get links and banners more easily if you're just working with a few networks. That may seem like a small issue but it's something affiliates do constantly, and lost time digging up the login info for this affiliate network or that one can really add up over time.
It's also a good idea to work with at least two affiliate networks so that your entire affiliate business doesn't ride with just one company. Like it or not, sometimes companies do go out of business or run into issues with delayed payments to affiliates or network outages. If you're only promoting programs from one affiliate network, you'll suffer right along with them if any of the aforementioned troubles arise; if you promote multiple networks you won't have all of your eggs in one basket in case misfortune strikes. You'll still take a hit, but you'll have income from other affiliate networks to help soften the blow.
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