First Things First
Affiliate marketing is the process of selling and advertising products or services online. With incredibly low overheads, this is somewhat of a booming area of interest on the internet. The main goal of internet marketing, is to make as much money as possible for both you and your affiliates.
For maximum success, it is highly advisable to get involved with something you have a personal interest in. Some examples might be:
- Sports & Lesiure
- Arts & Crafts
- Music, Books, Film & TV
- Cooking or Gardening
You can get involved with as many or as few areas as you please. The most important thing is that you have knowledge in your chosen areas, as this will greatly increase chances of success.
Market research is very important. Before beginning, it is worthwhile spending some time getting to know the demand for your chosen areas online. This could be the result of sifting through Google searches to see what results appear, or perhaps reading through various other user opinions posted on forums or blogs.
With successful internet marketing, you will be able to create and increase demand for your products and services.
Where to begin?
There's no point in applying to affiliate programs until you have setup the other accounts first. In order to do this, you must understand the order in which to setup your accounts.
The basic sequence is:
Domain Name + Hosting + Site + Affiliate Program = Online Revenue
Step 1: Domain Name Registration
Since the internet boom of the 90's, a lot of the most popular domain names have already been registered. However, there are still plenty of worthwhile domains out there. You can register your domain name quickly and easily at 123-reg.co.uk.
Choosing a good domain name is the first step in the right direction. Something that is easily memorable and related to the affiliate products/services you will be promoting is also very helpful.
.com or .co.uk?
Either of these Top Level Domains are fine. There is a difference in price however. A .com is around 3 times the price of a .co.uk per annum. Due to the massive drop of domain name registration costs in recent years, most people will register both if they are available.
We register all our domains with 123-reg.co.uk. They provide excellent control over your domain name once registered. Be careful if registering domains with different registrar sites, as some of them do not give you full control over the name you register, which introduces administration charges if you need to change something trivial.
www.123-reg.co.uk also provide website hosting, but we highly recommend www.hostgator.com for website hosting instead. The full benefits are explained in the next section, but it's worth pointing out now that it's always advisable to have your domain names registered with a different company than your hosting company. This will always give you more flexibility should you decide to change hosts or registrars in the future.
You can check and see the availability of domain names below:
Step 2: Website Hosting
All of our websites are hosted with www.hostgator.com.
Even though we are UK based, and their servers are based in the USA, we highly recommend Hostgator for all your webhosting needs. The reason is simple: They have the best customer support on the internet. Other benefits include not having to sign up for a minimum contract, PHP & MySQL allowing for very powerful database driven sites, stats, email and PayPal as a form of payment.
Aside from the exceptional level of support they offer, there are packages that suit all sizes of operations. If you are starting off with your first website, you could go for one of their most basic packages. It will still include the Fantastico installers so you can use WordPress, Joomla and osCommerce with minimum of setup fuss.
Upgrading your account with them is very easy. You can allow your account to grow as your business grows.
Step 3: The Website
After setting up your domain name and webhosting account, you will now want to get your website up and running. The good news with the Hostgator accounts is that they include FREE installers for all popular blogging and Content Managment software.
To start with, the safest route would be WordPress. It's too big a subject to go into here on it's usage, but needless to say it's one of the most popular blog and journal online applications available today. The best thing is, it's free! You can find more information about WordPress here.
After writing a few articles on your chosen subject (books, films, reviews etc.) Google and other search engines will start to index your page. This is where it pays to know about your chosen subject, as the more meaningful content you have on the page, the more visitors it will attract from search engines.
Step 4: Affiliate Networks
Once you have some content on your website, it's time to apply to the Affliate Window program.
There are many affiliate managment programs online, but to start with we recommend Affliate Window. There is a £5 signup fee, whereas with other affiliate networks, signup can be free. However, this £5 is credited back to your account, and the services Affiliate Window provide are unmatched from any other affiliate management site. Of particular interest there is the Shop Window feature:
ShopWindow provides partners with a live feed shopping engine that can be embedded into any site with minimal effort. It uniquely enables users to search Affiliate Window's database of over 4.5 million products from over 700 retailers on a sale popularity basis.
A plugin for the Firefox browser is available, allowing for the creation of affiliate links to the page you are viewing. Custom widgets allow for easy intregration with sites such as WordPress and Joomla.
Finally, Affliate Window is home to some of the biggest names in the UK retail industry, such as Currys, Dixons, PC World, Marks & Spencers, Toys R Us, John Lewis, Sky, Boots, B&Q and many, many more. Datafeeds can provide you with instant access to an entire catalog of products for use on your site and promotions.
So there you have it, a crash course into the world of internet marketing!