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Now - can you use a site that is not your own domain? While not preferred route to take, it is "head and shoulders" above link you get from affiliate program. Most ISP's give you web space free. Learn a little HTML code and you're in business. Or, if push comes to shove, hire someone to do it for you. Let's face it, if I see a URL that I recognize as an affiliate program, and I've been there before, I will simply "click away".
The old saying, that if a "salesperson sells themself first, sale of their product or service follows shortly thereafter" is certainly true. Establish yourself on web and in newsletters/ezines as someone who can be trusted, and is knowledgeable in their field. If people get to know and trust you, your recommendation to join your affiliate program will carry a lot more weight.
Now that you have control over your web page, you should have a guest book that visitors can sign. Now you have their email address. Folks, these are literally worth their weight in gold. You can now send them email about upcoming events on your web site, and not be accused of spamming.
Run a contest on your web site - prizes don't have to be off wall. An ebook (and there a number available free) can be your prize - and again more email address. Write a free newsletter/ezine and publish it on a regular basis - even more email addresses. As long as there is content of interest, they won't mind a gentle reminder to visit your web site.
Consider a "non-competing" partner to help you with site or to write articles for ezine. It makes no difference to you if there is another link to another affiliate program on your site. If they are willing to share work in return for link, it is to your advantage. The key here is "non-competing".
So - are affiliate programs a "boon" or a "bust"? If you simply join and sit back waiting for money to flow, it is later. If you are a "take charge" type of person and are willing to work a little, it can be a great opportunity.
Bob publishes the free weekly "Your Business" Newsletter Visit his Web Site at http://adv-marketing.com/business to subscribe. As a bonus, get 40,000 FREE E-Books from Larry Dotson, when you visit http://www.ldpublishing.com