Joining Affiliate Programs – Why Less Is More

October 18, 2010 | By | 80 Replies More

Hi all, I know I have been neglecting this site – and all my others, too.

It has just been so busy in my life lately, my partner and me are running several “offline” businesses, and I am trying to bring all the paperwork up to date, because we are soooo far behind it’s not funny. So whenever I am not at my TAFE college studying bookkeeping, I am sifting through piles of paperwork and purchase dockets trying to make sense of it all. In between I do all the stuff around the house (boooooring….) and take the dogs for long walks at the beach for relaxation (much needed!). In my other little free time I take care of the kids (slowly growing up, but still in need of lots of Mama ;) ) and occasionally meet my friends (yes, I too do socialize!).

With the result that at night, when in the past I sat down to take care of my blogs and learning about Internet Marketing, I am just so tired once the kids are in bed that I fall asleep in front of the TV!!!! I guess it’s a little burn-out syndrome….

So that’s why you have been missing out big time!

Never mind, I will eventually get back into it. But for today I wanted to talk about one of the first steps you have to do when you are starting out with affiliate marketing, and that is “joining affiliate programs”.

When I started my very first website in February 2008 (Beach Decor), I had no idea about nothing. I was being taught by a company over the phone once a week, got homework and just had to build the website step by step, including writing content for the pages and – you guessed it – joining affiliate programs to promote products on my new site.

So I jumped right in and searched high and low for affiliate programs that fitted with my beachy decor theme. I was so excited by it all that I ended up joining 16 +/- different affiliate programs and plastering links to them all over my site. Mind you, the site did not look spammy or overstuffed or anything like that, I just had different programs for different pages on my site, depending what the theme was. It actually came together quite nicely!

Since those early days I have not touched the site too much apart from adding a page here and there, changing some “Feature Items” and adding a blog post occasionally.

But the other day I sat down and had  a think about how successful this site has been, and what kind of results I have had with the different programs, and what I could do to improve my site. And when I looked at my affiliate programs and their performance, I have to say it was a bit of an “AHA” moment.

There are only very few programs that have made me consistent sales and brought in consistent affiliate commissions. There are quite a few that have not had ONE sale in the past 2 1/2 years, not ONE! Even though when I look at the statistics they have had quite a good visitor turnout. And then there are some that have made some sales, but don’t seem to be able to reach the payment threshold that’s been put in place.

So what does that mean?

I think that one of life’s principles also applies to Affiliate Marketing: If you want to be successful, you must focus and concentrate your efforts, instead of spreading yourself too far and wide. Meaning, if you put all your efforts into a few select affiliate programs and promote their products on your site, you are more likely to receive more commissions more easily, and faster, than if you have your efforts spread out over too many.

If I had made the few sales that my “minor” programs have made through one of my better going programs, I would have reaped the rewards already! Instead, I might have to forgo the money I have earned in these programs, as I don’t think I can wait another 5 years before I make the next sale! :(

I hope you get what I am trying to say here. Just work out which programs will suit your site, sign up and then stay true to those few select ones, don’t get carried away because you see another great site with an affiliate program attached where you could possibly sell something on your site.

I found that if you have a site which might promote products in several different areas it will be best to join one of the bigger networks like Amazon, Commission Junction, Linkshare or Shareasale (this is my favorite right now, it’s made me a few really good sales lately 😉 ). They have a huge array of different businesses within their system which you can promote (apart from Amazon, but they just have every product under the sun…), and every sale you make will be thrown together in the one pot. Easier to track, and a quicker way to get a payout, for sure!

So, time for me to start working on overhauling my Beach Theme Home Decor site!

Please, let me know what you think.

Well, I have been working overtime tonight (it’s 10pm…), so I am off to bed!!! Ready for an early paperwork start tomorrow…. Nite Nite…

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  1. Petra, this is a nice post, I have not tried any affiliate yet, cos, i do not really understand how to make it work without. irritating the reader. I like your articles Petra and I’ll come back definitely to read more posts. Thanks :-)
    geld mit homepage recently posted…5 Möglichkeiten- Geld zu verdienen onlineMy Profile

  2. Seb says:

    Hi Petra, what you have to say is food for thought. I have 4 sites now and have made very little money. I signed up to Nicheblitzkrieg when I first started. Through that program I learned about wordpress and bulding a website etc. The philosophy behind that program is to build as many niche sites as possible. That way if you make $1.00 a day off each site and you have 50 sites, you get the point. My problem is learning how to make my sites look professional so that people stick around and buy something. The other problem is finding all these niches. I think concentrating on a few as you recommend and doing a good job is probably the way to go.
    Seb recently posted…Pedometer Watches and Pedometers Their Uses and FeaturesMy Profile

    • Josh Ray says:

      I understand the philosophy of having as many nets out there as you can but can you realistically take care of 50 sites? Doing SEO for 2-3 sites is a full time job for me. And is $1.00 a day from 50 sites really worth all that work?

      I’m new to affiliate marketing and trying to see if it’s right for me but when I read stuff like make $1/day from 50 different sites I don’t know if I want to put in the work.

      Sorry for the really long comment, I just have 1 more question. How much do you think the average affiliate marketer makes per year? Thanks for the info/advice.
      Josh Ray recently posted…What is RSSMy Profile

      • Petra Weiss says:

        Josh, I hear you! To me, it’s the same – I have 3 blogs and 2 websites, and if I wanted to keep up with maintaining these (especially the blogs) I would have to put in a lot more hours than just doing it for a few hours here and there. If you create niche websites which have mainly static pages but have a blog in the background (like my Beach Decor), you might just get away with posting on a very irregular basis.
        I would not have a clue what a “average” affiliate marketer makes per year. It’s completely different for everybody. But I think that most affiliate marketers make maybe around $50 a month, if that? It all depends on how much time you can put into it, as you said before.

        • Coach says:

          I don’t know what the “average” affiliate marketer makes, but at one point back in 2003-2004 I was earning about $50,000 per month from affiliate programs that sold viagra, dating subscriptions, and anti-virus software. But it took nearly 2 solid years of not sleeping plus the help of some part time staff as well as a network of others that helped work synergistically to get to that level and then keep it going. It was stressful sometimes but quite a bit of fun. All of the original group broke apart where all are basically doing travel blogs or other white hat web things now that they have a foundation. I run a couple of fitness centers so my main web activity is primarily just keeping the interest in our gym for potential members. But sometimes I miss the thrill of the “Google Dance” that happened each moth or so…it was like waiting for Christmas when we knew we were on to something. Ah those were the days….

          I admit that I haven’t gone affiliate hunting for almost 9 years now but I still get residual payments from webmaster I’ve referred in the past even if I’m not active in the SEO field to support my livelihood anymore. The best programs to get into are those that pay a residual commission for any resales or royalties. I put Google ads on our site now just as a way to encourage the staff to help market the gym website to our niche since I basically give them the proceeds in full. It’s not much right now but they definitely don’t mind a couple of pizza parties a month :)
          Coach recently posted…Kettlebell Swinging – The Hot New Swingers Lifestyle For HealthMy Profile

        • Petra Weiss says:

          Very interesting, “Coach”! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. Choosing a product that converts well is a very difficult task.It gives me head ache at times.Using PPC to find out is like taking a gamble too.
    unlimited reverse phone lookup recently posted…If You are paying for Reverse Phone Lookup Service -Then WhyMy Profile

  4. abgajoy says:

    Affiliate is good way to make money online because all you need to do is to make sure people buy from your affiliate link. You no need to worry about the payment process etc and that is good =)
    abgajoy recently posted…Multiple Domain Web Host updated Sun Oct 3 2010 12-39 pm CDTMy Profile

  5. vintage tees says:

    I agree, you should choose a good affiliate program and to concentrate only on him, and not to give up. If you choose the right program, it will all pay off.
    vintage tees recently posted…Thatsmyshirt Model Contest InfoMy Profile

  6. Si says:

    Hi Petra, I produce stress-management and SEAL themed relaxation music CDs to relax kids and adults together. They are the best guided visualisations in the world – totally different from anything else in an otherwise saturated market. I need to affiliate to expand awareness but if I affiliate, won’t I get lost in a quagmire of competitive products and links?
    Si recently posted…Unwind Art Prize DrawMy Profile

    • Petra Weiss says:

      Si, not if you choose the right keywords to get your products out there. If your products are totally different from anything else, then you should advertise them with different keywords, too, keywords that people look for who are looking for your kind of product. Then you will not get lost :)

  7. Alice says:

    Hi Petra,

    Great post! I know what you mean about getting spread out pretty thin. I am now trying to concentrate in one area and get proficient at it before I move on to other areas. I have been in affiliate programs but seem to need more traffic to make sales so this is the area I need to focus on now so that I can make more out of the any affiliate promotions that I make.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    Best Regards,
    Alice

  8. Chris says:

    You said that you searched for affiliate programs. Did you just use Google or something else? Thanks for the article, I have been thinking about affiliate programs myself.
    Chris recently posted…Luxury Holiday Cottages from Around the WorldMy Profile

    • Petra Weiss says:

      Chris, just Google “your keyword Affiliate Program” or “your topic affiliate program” and you will usually find some to choose from. So I googled “beach decor affiliate program” or “tropical decor affiliate program” and dug around a little. It also pays off to go past the first page on Google. :)

  9. jhon says:

    Welcome back I am newbie in this field but I only know consistency in any field leads you towards the pinnacle of the career. If you start one job, you should fully concentrate on it as different people affiliate with you.
    jhon recently posted…La Meilleure Mthode du Moment :My Profile

  10. Sean says:

    I think affiliate programs work best if they’re appropriate to your website. It seems an obvious thing to say, but I visit so many websites where the ads are totally irrelevant to what I’m searching for and are just an irritant. And I think you’re right in saying don’t spread your net too widely.

  11. Tracy says:

    Too many sign up for several affiliate programs and end up making a sea of varied products that is just too hard to market. I have always done better when I stuck to one carefully selected program for my site.
    Tracy recently posted…massagechairs- Start Thinking About Holiday Massage Chair Shopping!!- I don’t think I need to tell you that we are now fast appro http-bitly-a0VVNfMy Profile

  12. James says:

    The smart thing to do is what you did. You should concentrate on affiliating yourself with certain products that go with the theme of your site. If you put up too many affiliate sites on your page it will look really spammy and in some cases a site full of viruses.

  13. Jeremy says:

    I completely agree that you should limit how many affiliates you deal with. There are many reasons for this. It is easier to check stats. It is easier to concentrate on programs that are making money for other sites. It is easier to get on those affiliate companies’ good sides and qualify for performance bonuses.

    When I’m choosing an affiliate program to promote I like to check network stats on sites like Commission Junction. I also check out what other competitors are already promoting. They may have already done testing to see what works best.

  14. We all get bogged down sometimes. I have been enjoying your archives while you have been away. But hopefully you will start posting more!

  15. jenna says:

    It’s true that less is more. It is better if we focus on just a few affiliates. It’s like branding you site or blog.
    jenna recently posted…Why Rankings Aren’t the End GoalMy Profile

  16. perry says:

    There is a lot of effort in affiliate marketing I agree. It is much more than just put a couple of banners on your site and the money rolls in. From my experience the banners are fairly ineffective and thus you need to write good sales copy and at the same time offer something useful to your readers. Not as easy as it sounds and something I am still trying to perfect. I am enjoying your blog and have found a few really helpful articles so keep up the great work. I just installed the keyword luv plug-in which I found here and hope to experience similar results to yours. Time will tell.Cheers
    perry recently posted…Pin Bar-Inside Bar Combination makes a great Trade EntryMy Profile

  17. Stephan says:

    I agree. Using many affiliate programs isn’t recommended, but only focusing on one should work. Right now I a using two programs, takes a little bit more time but i am happy with the results.
    Stephan recently posted…Sony breaks the silence and confirms the existence of the PlayStation Phone!My Profile

  18. Pete says:

    There are some valuable points here. I find most of the posts you make are very useful and I also enjoy reading what you write. Keep up the fantastic work and I will see you again soon

  19. Thanks for the post, appreciate all the help I can get Best of luck to you
    Red Nintendo DSi XL recently posted…Red Nintendo DSi XL Bundle with Mario KartMy Profile

  20. Such an excellent post my friend! I think successful affiliate programs require significant work and maintenance. Having a successful affiliate program is more difficult than when such programs were just emerging. With the exception of some vertical markets, it is rare for an affiliate program to generate considerable revenue with poor management or no management. thanks for sharing this post and God speed to you!

  21. There are all kinds of affiliate programs for all languages and all niches. All you have to do beside signing with the vendor is to make sure you have a good site and you can be a valuable partner for him.
    Laptopuri ieftine recently posted…Dell XPS L501xMy Profile

  22. Brandon says:

    So glad you mentioned shareasale. That is a great one, and an even greater interface. Much better than ClickBank in my opinion.
    Brandon recently posted…Make Money Blogging With List PostsMy Profile

  23. Hi Petra… Thanks a lot for sharing… This is definitely worth the read!

  24. Pablo says:

    Hi Petra,

    I think you’re spot on with sticking with a bigger network, specially to start with. I too had to let go of some sales I had with individual programs to make way for better ones (usually found in the bigger networks) exactly for the same reason as you’ve stated.

    The bigger networks are also cumulative so you don’t necessarily loose what you’ve already made if you have to drop a product/company for another within the same network.

    Sometimes you just have to cut those little ones off as you go forward.

    Cheers.

    -Pablo

    • Petra Weiss says:

      Pablo, that’s exactly right. You have hit the nail on the head. I had to forego some of my commissions because they were so little and sat there for months… Now I make sure I earn enough to get paid every time! But that means to let go of some of the smaller Affiliate Programs.

  25. Alvin says:

    Continuity/consistency is much important in blogging now i know how to make a blog successful but not too much about affiliate marketing,,,,Please suggest some good networks with your experience detail.
    Alvin recently posted…3 fast-food fatloss-tipsMy Profile

    • Petra Weiss says:

      Alvin,
      – Shareasale
      – ebay
      – Commission Junction
      – Amazon
      Basically I think it better to join Affiliate Networks which have lots of publishers as all your earnings will be pooled. So even if you just make a little in every program you have joined within the Affiliate Network, it will amount to more overall and your payout will be sooner.

  26. Hi! Thanks for sharing your story with us! I agree with most of what you wrote and congratulate you on your curriculum of becoming a website author.
    I am online since 2002 and I have whitnessed the start of online affiliate programs from the very beginning on., The most intriguing (in my niche online casinok) affiliate programs werte teh ones that dind not pay you via cost per click but rather on a revenue share basis.

    I believe taking part in such a venture is a great means to make money even in such fields as online casinos and online poker.
    Thanks!

  27. Nawaz says:

    You have presented a good debate on affiliate marketing. My question is ” you have neglected this blog for long time and what are the effects of traffic on this site?”
    Nawaz recently posted…Louis Vuitton Croissant MMMy Profile

    • Petra Weiss says:

      Hi Nawaz, I know I have been neglecting this (and other) sites. Traffic wise it has not had an effect yet, but I think if I keep not posting, eventually the traffic will get less.

  28. logos says:

    Really very nice tips for affiliate marketing. Its a reality, this way of marketing can generate much revenue if they are used in properly way & after reading this article I think I can earn more with affiliate marketing. thanks for the help…!
    logos recently posted…Logo Design Software – What do you gain and loseMy Profile

  29. James Fulton says:

    Commission Junction is an wonderful place for affilitate marketers, its way better than other marketplaces like click bank and others. I am using it for last few months and the sales are wonderful.

    BTW you have a nice home decor website there, i was thinking for a while to get into dropshipping business,hope this helps me.

    James
    James Fulton recently posted…Deramaxx For Dogs ReviewMy Profile

  30. Greg says:

    This is exactly what I was reading in a book the other day. The power of the focus and concentration is so very important. There was an example how in a battle between France and some other country, the other country had spread all their massive number of tanks every where in a wide area, but the french tanks got all together in one group and concentrated their attack to one point of the enemy lines. Of course they got through. (Sorry if I am not explaining very well, it is a little hard to make complex sentences in english).
    Regards.
    Greg recently posted…Икономичен хостинг план от ICNbgMy Profile

  31. Pavan says:

    Nice tips Petra. While joining any affiliate program, I think, a first thing to see is, landing page. If isn’t catchy, i wouldn’t promote them. Another thing is affiliate managers and their willingness to help. With big networks, i always had problem in working with AM, They just don’t help until you reach reasonable amount of sales.

  32. Jasmine says:

    Petra, this is a great argument here for affiliate marketing, but I really haven’t gained anything from using any affiliate programs like silver bullet or clickbank. I see a rise in conversion, but no jump in sales at all.

  33. affiliate marketing programs are a real treasure that needs to be explored in the right way!

  34. chris says:

    I havent heard of shareasale or linkshare, will check them out. I can sympathise trying to do internet marketing, with the demands of life as well, especially when kids are involved. It can be hard to keep going

  35. You really made your point so clear. You can get wise by your own experience and you’ll get wiser if you had learned and applied what you’ve learned. And I greatly appreciate your effort in sharing what you have learned. Thank you! Choosing what affiliate programs you’re joining may really burn you out but at least you’re rest assured that you can actually sale the product that you are advertising. Really a helpful sharing.

  36. GPAT says:

    Can you suggest some free affiliate marketing scripts

  37. SIMo c says:

    good post i really like the way you post such a useful blog to all of us thanks…waterproof camera
    waterproof camera digital

  38. Ives says:

    hi Petra! I would like to say thank you for writing a review about joining affiliate programs. I’ve been contemplating whether I should join one or not.. and after reading this post, I’ve made up to include affiliate marketing in one of my marketing strategies.

  39. David says:

    Joining an established affiliate program or company is one of the best ways that you can start making money online for free.

  40. Adamjames1 says:

    Petra, thank you for your comment here today. There was indeed an error with the check marks next to a few of the services earlier. This has been corrected…thanks again
    Adamjames1 recently posted…Science Museum Virtually Indestructible Radio Controlled RC PlaneMy Profile

  41. Hello petra What a time you thought about internet marketing so interesting.Your view is about affiliate programs is good piont you caught .I think this most needed part of internet marketing affiliate program is safely and we are get more of solution about internet marketing .your point is clearly you are present .your act of writing article is so meaningful.Thanks for share this information .
    Web Design Philadelphia recently posted…Importance of graphic design in web developmentMy Profile

  42. Jeremy says:

    Since I am always apprehensive about affiliate commissions, I have remained a newbie in this aspect. But what you mentioned is true, if I know each and everything about my website and the visitors it will attract, I might well sign up some of the programs. These programs can be rewarding in the future!

  43. Nicole says:

    Petra I just love your blog. I am thinking of getting into affiliate marketing and this post just may have saved me a lot of time and head ache thanks and a great post!
    Nicole recently posted…Self Help – Natural BalanceMy Profile

  44. Interesting and helpful knowledge you share with us.Affiliate marketing is an internet based marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliate for each visitor,s or customer brought about by the affiliate marketing efforts.If we succeed is to make our business affiliate program is apart of success.Thanks for share with us informative knowledge .

  45. John says:

    I’ve been with CJ for a couple of years and I make some good revenue with them (not enough, of course :) ) and recently I joined Amazon (still nothing there). Do you think it’s worth to join also Linkshare or Shareasale in addition to CJ? Or would they just bring me more work to do?
    John recently posted…3D Blu-ray Movies- Top 5 Essentials ListMy Profile

    • Petra Weiss says:

      Hi John, I am a member of both, LinkShare and Shareasale, and so far Shareasale has brought me better results. But that does not mean anything, as I get many more people to click through to my Shareasale ads than my Linkshare ads. I personally do like Shareasale better, though. CJ I have not had any luck with yet.
      If you have enough programs for your Affiliate Marketing on CJ, I would not necessarily join another big Affiliate Program.

  46. It’s very nice information who want promote their services over internet. Where that affiliated marketing play important role for that services. it provide a way to earn online money without any additional efforts.

  47. By far one of the better posts I’ve seen in quite a while. The information is very convincing, it holds your attention too, glad I found the blog. Thanks for the information.
    Worst Movies Ever recently posted…127 Hours ReviewMy Profile

  48. Very nice post full with useful infos.
    I am an affiliate and i have CB account.
    I want to expand through some CPA campaigns and i think i will look at neverblue CPA offers.
    What do you think about CPA and do you have some experience in that field?

    • Petra Weiss says:

      Peter, unfortunately CPA is not something I have tried yet and i am not likely to, I want to stick to niche marketing. Good Luck to you though! But sorry that I can’t help you with that.

  49. Website says:

    I alsways think it is hard to choose which site is the best. I think tackling my unique product is a good way of looking at things. Check out the conversion rate etc.
    I did use Tradedoubler many years ago and found them to be very professional, and offered a good service. It is something I will be looking at again in the future so I thank you for sharing this information with readers.

  50. Awesome info and straight to the point. Thanks a lot!

  51. Good and very informative post Petra,
    Personally I think Review website is the best affiliate money making website.

    One more benefit is , we can do Seo for review website while doing Seo for seals page is quit hard

    so i prefer review website and they gave me lot of money

    warm regards,
    Michael Harris

  52. Sony NX810 says:

    Great post, I’ve learned a lot from it, thanks!

  53. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail. I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.
    nyc immigration lawyer recently posted…September Visa Bulletin – Employment BasedMy Profile

    • Petra Weiss says:

      I have a contact page, basically with my email address displayed – I might have to think about adding Kontactr to my site….

  54. dave says:

    I can never seem to make money off affiliate marketing unless it’s with Amazon or eBay – and that’s over a network of 50+ blogs and static sites that get a good amount of traffic – just checked out ShareaSale though and they seem pretty promising with some good affiliates.

  55. you are more likely to receive more commissions more easily, and faster, than if you have your efforts spread out over too many…thanks

  56. gabriel says:

    less really is more! great website guys

  57. Ive experienced the same with affiliate programs. There is a lot of fraud gooing on in this business. On all sides, affiliates, merchants and even the networks.

    I closely monitor click/sale statistics and every affiliate program gets kicked out if the click/sale ratio isnt right. Every Affiliate should do that :)

  58. Uriy says:

    Thanks for post) In Ukraine not so simple to finde real interesting information))
    P.S.I am from Ukraine -country without minde!))

  59. Its been great that I landed on this blog. I got to know much from here. Thank you for sharing your efforts.

  60. Steve says:

    Personally, I check my sites out once every couple of months. I make adjustments and place things in different spots to see how well the links do. If they still don’t do well in a different location, then I get rid of them.

  61. hi, i guess you are right about having lesser affiliate sites. This is definitely much better because you tend to focus more on these. You can take care how you can improve with your sales.
    Rizza Gamutan recently posted…Bitzio’s Top 12 App Predictions for 2012My Profile

  62. I had also same story like you. When I started affiliate marketing I had no idea which product to choose and how to sell it. But google and warrior forum helped me a lot. I started searching in Google about how to make money with internet marketing. Which I learned from there I discussed that knowledge on the warrior forum with top internet marketers. They gave me much helpful information about affiliate marketing. Which I learned from them is that you have to be patient and just focus only one things to become successful. Affiliate marketing takes time.
    Money Making Ideas recently posted…Make Money With Internet MarketingMy Profile

  63. Brett says:

    I would take Amazon over CJ anytime. Amazon affiliate + zencart + adwords = profit. Simple :)

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