A simply web search will reveal literally thousands of different affiliate programs on the Web to choose from. Some will pay only a few cents for each visitor you send via your affiliate link, while others pay thousands of dollars in commissions for the sale of high value products or services.
So, with the vast number and variety of programs to choose from, how does anyone select the best affiliate programs for their situation?
First, find products you like! You need to feel comfortable about the product or service you'll be "selling" in order to be successful, so before signing up for an affiliate program, take a good look at the products or services you'll be endorsing.
Try to resist the temptation to join an affiliate program that involves promoting products or services that you don't believe in. Obviously, you don't need to purchase a product to endorse it, but if you don't see any value to the product, it's unlikely you'll be successful at selling it to your visitors. More importantly, when your site's visitors perceive that you are recommending a particular product or supplier because you genuinely believe in it, you will be more likely to close sales and earn affiliate commissions.
Spend time researching affiliate programs that match your audience. If your site is related to music, you should try to join affiliate programs relating to music (i.e. music equipment, music instruments, records/DVDs, music posters, etc.). No matter what topic your site covers, there are almost always dozens, and usually hundreds, of affiliate programs relating to that topic. You can search our Affiliate Program Directory by topic to find affiliate programs related to your website.
Be creative in thinking how you might cross-sell and up-sell you customers to related products or services.
Sometimes your biggest paycheck will come from being able to identify products and services that your site's audience will relate to, but which lie somewhat outside your specific theme. For example, a site about fishing might do extremely well promoting boating, or even boaters insurance, since many people who fish also own boats and would need boaters insurance. Always consider ways to cross-sell your visitors with these types of related affiliate programs.
Money isn't everything! There is more to an affiliate program than simply the commission rate it pays. Some programs provide significant support to its affiliates, helping with site setup, providing banners, buttons and other graphics, sample email and advertising text, audio or video clips, affiliate web sites, and more! Other affiliate programs leave everything up to the affiliate. Some consideration should be given to the resources available to develop a professional-looking site and which programs may be easier to implement based on your situation.
An affiliate program in an unrelated subject area may pay a very high commission, whereas one related to your website's topic may pay significantly less. For example, for webmasters willing to dabble in this area, casino and online gambling ads can be extremely lucrative, as can pharmaceutical ads. But if you're site is about fishing, or music, or coin collecting, you'll usually earn more money by joining affiliate programs that directly related or closely related to your theme, or programs which will be VERY relevant to your site's audience - even if the affiliate commission structure is not as attractive.