Just ten years ago, having a Web presence was perceived as something rather exotic. Web pioneers were trying to find a way to bring the Internet to the masses, and email was still in its infancy as people battled to stay online with their dial-up connections.
What a change a decade can make! Today, there are millions of websites and virtually any person can start up an online business. Obtaining domains and web hosting are just a few clicks away, and business opportunities abound. The primary challenge is finding an online business opportunity that can bring in revenues without you having to actually sell products, stock inventory, or deal with customers.
That's where affiliate programs come in. The truth is, one of the best mechanisms for monetizing a website is through affiliate programs. Even if you've never heard of them, chances are you've seen affiliate programs on hundreds of websites. They are the buttons and banners and links that advertise e-commerce sites both large and small. Every time a person clicks from your website to that of an affiliate website and that person buys something, you get a percentage of the sale. Although the percentage is relatively small, the more traffic you drive to your website, the higher your clickthroughs and the higher your sales.
Although some people are willing to invest an incredible amount of time signing up for individual affiliate programs and building their own websites, there are actually companies that will do the legwork for you. In fact, they will provide you with your own domain or domains and you can reap the rewards of a variety of affiliate programs.
The best online business affiliate programs will set you up with an interesting website with a variety of affiliates. Here are some examples:
Auctions: One portion of your home page can be a portal to eBay auctions, and actually list many of eBay's main categories. It also might have a banner ad that lists auctions that are ending soon, as well as an in-banner search box so visitors can search for items of interest.
Shopping Malls: Another section of your home page might be dedicated to affiliate ads from a big company like amazon.com. As with the auction section, the navigation bar will list a number of amazon.com categories and will take your website visitors to the area in which they're interested.
Nutrition: You might also have several smaller graphics that are affiliates of nutrition companies, and that sell, for example, bodybuilding or weight loss supplements. Similarly, you may have affiliate links for e-commerce sites that book vacations or that sell flowers, electronics, or supplies for pets.
Beyond the affiliate links, your website will also have interesting and useful up-to-the-minute information for your site visitors. For example, you may have a news banner that provides visitors with headline news, world news, and news about technology and entertainment. It may also have stock quotes and weather information.
The money you make from your online business comes from two sources: affiliate links and from referrals to others who join the business opportunity through your website.
Now that the barriers to successful online business opportunities have been broken, there's no reason that you can't launch your own online business and reap the rewards from affiliate programs.