Affiliate marketing is an agreement between two websites in which one site (the affiliate) sends traffic to another site by means of advertising or content.
In return, affiliate receives a percentage of sales generated.
Having worked with affiliate programs for several years now I can vouch that's it possible to make a very comfortable living working from home with affiliate programs.
Sure there are downsides - there can be sales tracking issues; dud affiliate programs, and there's always those dreaded returns and commission chargebacks.
But upside more than makes up for it: you get to be your own boss; you can set your own hours; you're building a potentially enormous recurring stream of income; and there's no workplace politics or overbearing boss to hound you.
But best part is this: potential to make money is unlimited - there is no glass ceiling.
So if affiliate programs are such a great concept - why do statistics tell us that only 5% of affiliate marketers ever make money online?
Why aren't more affiliates making more money?
In my online experience I've seen a few affiliate websites that are genius at selling. Most however make several deadly mistakes that are probably costing them thousands of dollars in sales.
Here are 3 top reasons why 95% of affiliate websites don't make more money and how you can steer clear of pitfalls:
Reason #1: Trying to sell too many products.
Have you ever visited a website and been knocked senseless with sales offers? Banners flashing, moving text - moving up, down, left to right, right to left, bright laughing images bouncing across your screen.
Then pop-ups come - pop-ups, pop-unders, pop-overs. It's non-stop sales-pitch overload - and you can't get out of there fast enough. It takes you a full five minutes to re-focus your eyes once you manage to escape from website
Ok, some affiliate websites aren't that bad but you get point.
While working for a bank several years back, I learned one of #1 rules of sales: "A confused mind always says 'No'." If you give someone too many options, too many choices, or even too much information too quickly - they won't buy anything. They will always say 'No' to sale.
Solution? Reduce confusion and you'll INCREASE sales.
Top affiliates will tell you to focus on one or two products per website (or per web page). Never more than that.
If you want to increase your conversion rate, stop selling so many products on one website. Focus on top one or two that make you most sales. You'll then have a lot more customers saying 'yes' and putting cash in your pocket.
Reason #2: Website theme is too general.
When choosing a theme for your website, think niche, not general. For example, unless you're Best Buy or Future Shop, you might not want to build a website about computers. That's way too general and you're now in competition with big boys. Why put yourself through that?