Monday, February 12, 2007

Money Making on the Web - Affiliate Marketing

Making money on the web is still very much possible, even for the hobbyist webmaster working in his or her spare time from the computer in the corner of the family room. Affiliate martketing is alive and well, albeit in a diffferent form than is was a few years before. Heck, if you've gone through all the trouble to learn ASP, you might as well try to put it to your own use!

For those of you who don't know, affiliate marketing is a method of promoting web businesses in which you are rewarded for every visitor, subscriber, customer, and/or sale you drive through your efforts. So it's sort of like traffic directing - you send the traffic, and if the custoemr completes a transaction, be it a sale or sign up, you get a cut.

Merchants like affiliate marketing because it's "pay for performance", meaning the merchant doesn't pay anything unless there are results. Some merchants run their own affiliate programs while others use third party services like Linkshare, Commission Junction, or Performics for tracking.

At it's most basic level, it works like this: You build a site about widgets becasue you collect them. You talk about them and rate them and, on your review pages, you proviode an affiliate link to a store that sells widgets. If any visitors to your website click throguh that special link and buy a widget, you get paid. Sweet.

Getting started with an affiliate program is easier than you think. Just head over to Amazon and sign up (it's called their Associates program). Then, on your blog write a review of a book you just read or a DVD movie you just watched. Amazon makes it simple to look up that product and drop in a bit of JavaScript code that will put an image of the book or movie up along with a coded link. Visitors pour into your site, read your glowing review, and hasten over to Amazon (through your link) and snap up the book. Viola! Instant Taco Bell money!

Stay tuned for more advanced money making conversations....

Friday, February 09, 2007

Some of My Sites

I’ve been pretty lax about adding new stuff to the site. I’ll try to change that. A few encouraging emails have convinced me at least more than on person is reading this thing.

It also occurred to me that visitors might be interested in seeing some of my projects. All the new ASP work I do nowadays is for my own personal projects, At work, we are on .Net 2.0. I cracked my first book this week, having finally decided that if I want to keep my job, I better get caught up!

Anyway…. Here are a few of my sites, some new, some old. WARNING: I’m a programmer, not a graphic designer! Try not to vomit on your keyboard. – this is a book review site for science fiction, fantasy and horror. It was my first ASP site and the one I used to teach myself programming. It launched in 2000. It’s grown a lot since then, with the addition a few years back of a forum that has become quite popular with SF fans and writers. It started on Access, but about a year back I finally ported it over to SQL. It gets about 500 visitors a day and remains my most popular (though one of my lowest earning) sites. You can get a free web page if you are a writer or fan of SF. I run an annual short story contest with cash prizes, and the Mother of All Speculative Fiction Directories is slowly getting bigger. It’s a fun site and I get all the free books I can read from the publishing companies! – my take on a directory site. I used some cool AJAX stuff here (yes, you CAN use AJAX with ASP!). Still offering free premium listings for kick-off, so if you have a site, submit it. – the mother of my price comparison sites. This one pulls from ALL the products in my database, which is populated with data feed inventory from over 40 merchants. For a while there, this and the niche site where doing REALLY well. Not so well any more…. Stupid search engines…. When I noticed a particular product doing well (like duvets for example), I’d break that product out into its own site ( I’ve got about 50 of them, but they are slowly expiring. Since the SERP debacle, some of them didn’t even earn back the $9.20 I paid to GoDaddy to register the name! My first SQL server site. I taught myself how to use full text indexing and how to write stored procedures with this one. – great domain name, sucky site. Pulls from the iShopHQ database. Someday I might do something worthwhile with it. Still pulls about 200 visitors a day, but I don’t know what they do there. They obviously aren’t buying anything….

So those are a few. I’ve got a ton of others, but they are all iShopHQ niche product knock-offs. The CPA and CPL I’m doing with Freetastic has given me a lot of great marketing ideas though, so I’m not done yet! I might post a little here about it, even though it’s not really ASP related.