So you’ve been doing some research and you’ve been hearing all about these affiliate marketing and how you can literally build an online business around it. If this is you then there is no doubt that you’ve also heard about affiliate programs and you may be wondering how they work, how much do they cost and how can you sign up for them?

Let’s see if I can help explain it in a way that you can understand…

What exactly are Affiliate Programs?

Think of Affiliate Programs as making money through “word of mouth” advertising. There are hundreds of thousands of businesses that have products and/or services that they want to get in front of as many people as they can.

The fastest and most cost effective way to do this is offer affiliates, people like us, the opportunity to market for them. We do this through our websites, emails, social media networks and videos.

Depending on the type of affiliate program is how you get paid.

3 Ways Affiliate Programs work and pay out

  1. Clicks (Pay Per Click): When someone comes to your website and proceeds to click on a link you get paid per every click. (Most popular program for this sort of payout is Google Adsense
  2. Leads (Pay Per Lead): This is where you get paid for each lead you send the company. These are usually offered by insurance companies, mortgage brokers and such with the intent to sell their services. (Most popular program for this sort of payout is Commission Junction)
  3. Sales: When a visitor on your site sees a product or service you are promoting and clicks through to the advertisers site and purchases something you receive a percentage of that sale. (Most popular programs for this sort of payout is Amazon, Commission Junction, Clickbank and LinkShare)

Does it cost to become an Affiliate?

NO! The most popular Affiliate Programs do not charge a thing for you to become an affiliate. All you will need to do is sign up then start promoting the products or services that are relevant with your website.

How to sign-up for Affiliate Programs

For you to start promoting products or services you’ll have to sign up with and Affiliate Program. Below I have listed the TOP Affiliate Marketing Programs and if you follow the link it will take you directly to their sign up page.

How to tell if a website offers an Affiliate Program

Many times you will come upon a site that you fall in love with their products and you want to promote them on your website. To find out if they have a program you can join, scroll to the bottom of the page and look for words like Affiliate Program…Become an Affiliate, Join as an Affiliate.

If you do not see anything at the bottom of the page do a Google search on the name of the website and put Affiliate program after the name. For example, I wanted to become an affiliate of so in Google I typed in Overstock Affiliate Program.

Screen shot 2013-02-18 at 5.23.09 PM Come to find out they are a part of Commission Junction which manages a plethora of Retailers affiliate programs. Sooooo, if I have already signed up for Commission Junction then all I need to do is apply to Overstock’s program.

One other really COOL thing

They give you ALL the collateral you’ll need in order to promote the products. That’s right, images, product info, links with your affiliate id already in it and so much more. I was so excited to learn that I didn’t have to design any banners or ads because this chick right here…can’t design to save her life. Lol 🙂 Hopefully after reading this you have a better understanding of what Affiliate Programs are and how they work.

If you still have questions let me know in the comments below. I’d be more than happy to answer them and help get you started with these amazing programs.