Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
How established is your site/blog/social media following?  Do you already have an audience of 1 million or are you just getting started?  Early on in your affiliate marketing journey you will probably want to have multiple options to make sure you can cover a broad field. You might want to become an Amazon Associate as well as joining one of the networks so you will have a product link to drop into any posts you do.  An easy place to start is to promote the services you are using if you are enjoying their product - web hosting or email management systems like Aweber.
As with many aspects of Web monetization, the exact strategies will vary from site to site. There’s no universally superior affiliate marketing offer or merchant. There are, however, some general guidelines on factors to consider when evaluating potential affiliate marketing offers. We’ll dive into several of these below. We’re using screenshots from ShareASale throughout this article to illustrate the process, but the tasks and terms will be generally similar across the major affiliate marketing networks.

If your audience is looking to launch an online business, migrate their ecommerce platform, or simply interested in ecommerce content, we encourage you to apply for the BigCommerce affiliate program. Our team will carefully review your application. Once approved, you will receive access to support, tracking, reporting, payments, and have your own unique affiliate link to track every referral you generate. BigCommerce is committed to the success of our affiliate partners.
Yep, even if this offer is a no brainer, our team will make sure you remember this purchase for the rest of your life :-) Joke aside, we'll add a new Affiliate Funnel to your account each and every week during the next 10 weeks . We will pick a best selling product during that week and create a new funnel just for you...that's how cool we are! (based on when you join these 10 bonus funnels might already be loaded into your account!
Yep, even if this offer is a no brainer, our team will make sure you remember this purchase for the rest of your life :-) Joke aside, we'll add a new Affiliate Funnel to your account each and every week during the next 10 weeks . We will pick a best selling product during that week and create a new funnel just for you...that's how cool we are! (based on when you join these 10 bonus funnels might already be loaded into your account!
It’s also important to research their payout structure. Not all payouts are the same and tier affiliate marketing often offer different payouts. Some might pay you on the first offer but pay you nothing on any upsells. Ideally, you should be paid for every transaction. In doing your research, you’ll find out which affiliate payout structures are the most profitable.
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