You've made the decision to start an online business, now how do you proceed?
Starting an online business is in many ways the same as starting any other type of business. You follow good business practices, such as building the confidence of customers through truthful advertising, providing products and services at a fair price and developing long-termbusiness relationships.
If you don't have your own product or service, marketing someone else's products throughaffiliate programs is an excellent and cost effective choice for earning revenue. In fact, a large majority of successful online businesses started out or supplemented their income withaffiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
It is simply a revenue sharing venture between a website owner and an online merchant. In otherwords, a website owner (you) promote a merchant's product(s) by placing links on your website andby using other advertising methods to send potential customers to the merchant's website, in exchange for a share of the profits.
Sounds easy enough, but like everything else in life, it's not quite as easy as it sounds - andthat is why I wrote this tutorial...
I've been successfully promoting affiliate programs since 2001. The 10 steps in this tutorial is based on that experience and is a solid, reliable method to generate a useful income fromaffiliate marketing.
You'll want to bookmark this affiliate marketing tutorial so you can return to it as needed.
Now, let's get started
Step 1: Set a Goal
Many people begin an internet business to boost their income before actually quitting theirday job and earning their income online. If this is you, you'll need to set a goal.
Don't start out with a goal that may be unreachable. Begin with a goal that you believe youcan reach. Acheive small successes first and then increase your goal.
Most Internet businesses fail within the first year, and many fail because goals are set highand frustration takes over, others fail because they have no goals or plan, still others faildue to lack of dedication. Don't let this happen to you.
If your start-up goals are modest and realistic you have a good chance of reaching them andmoving forward. Know where you're going and how you're going to get there.
If you've taken the plunge and started your online business as your total means of support, you will need a full-fledged business plan. Again, be modest, set goals that you can reach, make a plan that is reasonable.
Step 2: Find a Profitable Niche
What is a niche market and why do I need one?
Simply put, a niche market is a narrowed target market. It is comprised of customers having similar interests and needs so that your business can be targeted and reached easily throughdirect promotion.
By choosing a highly focused niche you considerably reduce the number of competitors that you are competing against. This makes it easier to focus your affiliate marketing efforts and to stand out in the search engines to acheive a good ranking.
The problem with niche selection is in choosing the right niche for you to promote. One thatyou have an interest or passion in and one that will be profitable for you as well. Here arethe three steps to take to find your niche.
1. Go for the passion
It is important to choose a niche that you have a genuine interest in because the naturalpassion that you have for the topic will reasonate to your customers and will make contentcreation easier and enjoyable.
To help find your niche topic, I suggest reading Ken Evoy's free Affiliate Masters Course. You'll find very useful information in this course.
2. Narrow your interest
One of the most common mistakes of businesses that fail is poor keyword research. Basically thekeywords used are "too broad".
Rather than choosing a general niche topic such as needlework, you'll need to narrow this down toa topic less general and less competitive. A great way to do this is by using Wikipedia.
I use Wikipedia to narrow down my focus in a specific field simply because there is a lot of information all in one place, and it's well interlinked and very informative. For instance, if you search "Needlework" you will find all types of related subjects with background information on each. Personally, I find this much faster and easier than performing search engine searches.
3. Determine the Profit Potential
To make a living from a niche business you need two things - traffic and a way to turn the traffic into revenue. Not just any traffic will do - you need organic traffic (traffic from search engines) that will drive targeted visitors to your website for months or even years to come.
To get an idea of the traffic potential and profitability of the niches you are considering you will needto do some research. Basically you want to know if there is traffic potential (that thousands of searches are being performed within the niche everyday).
An easy way to get this information is to do some research at Google Adwords. The AdWords keyword research will bring up many more related keywords, numbers of searches foreach, search trends, estimated CPC, and if you click on the magnifying glass next to a keyword a new page will open that shows the top searches, upcoming searches and so on.
Another excellent tool is Wordtracker. The Wordtracker Research Tool is not a free tool, but well worth the subscription. Ifyou sign up for the free trial, you'll receive 7 days free before the subscription kicks in.
If you're a Site Build It! user, you'll find the brainstorming tool an awesome help in coming up withniche ideas.
Keep in mind, that if you choose keywords that are very expensive, your competition will be fierce. Selecting a less competitive topic (as long as there is significant traffic) may be a better idea.
Before you make your final niche choice you'll want to know if there are affiliate products that will support the niche.
A simple way to do this is to Google your keyword(s) plus 'affiliate programs'. Another place to enquire isat Amazon.com. Search for your keyword and see how many products come up.
Next: Build a Niche Website
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