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As an online business coach, I regularly hear from people who want to learn affiliate marketing as a means to creating a better life for themselves but are confused about the basics and need some help getting started. Their confusion is understandable. As the internet continues to grow and change, so do affiliate marketing techniques. The result is a constant and never-ending stream of new information about the latest and greatest way to build an online income, making it difficult to learn affiliate marketing fundamentals in the face of constant distraction. If you're finding that all of this information overload is making it difficult to grasp the nuts and bolts of affiliate marketing, don't panic or give up. Instead, take a step backward to look at the bigger picture. At the risk of oversimplifying, the most common affiliate marketing business model can be broken down into three distinct steps or concepts: 1. Choosing an affiliate product; 2. Creating a simple website; and 3. Driving quality traffic to your website. Here's a quick and dirty overview of each: Step 1 - Choosing an Affiliate Product. There are an almost unlimited number of products that you can promote as an affiliate. If you've just recently started to learn affiliate marketing, ClickBank.com is your best bet. It's the world's largest retailer of e-books and other down-loadable products. Creating an account and getting started with ClickBank is fast and easy. Step 2 - Creating a Simple Website. Creating your own website doesn't have to be hard. Start off with a simple blog or promotional web page talking about the benefits of your product or providing helpful information on a topic to which your product relates. You can literally create a professional blog/web page in less than 5 minutes. For content, do a Google search, find some good resources and use them as a basis for creating a few pages of content for your new site. Step 3 - Driving Quality Traffic to Your Site. This is the area that results in the most confusion. Although traffic generation is a big topic, at it's core, the concept is very simple. Traffic comes from three sources: 1. paid advertising (not usually cost-effective for the inexperienced affiliate marketer); 2. getting your web page ranked highly with search engines like Google and Yahoo by getting other sites to link back to your site ("backlinking"); and 3. Using social networking and media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube to deliver traffic directly. The second and third traffic sources are free and are the best place for new affiliate marketers to start. Although more labor intensive than paid traffic generation, they also produce a great long term flow of steady traffic to your site without further effort or cost. If you take some time at the start to learn affiliate marketing traffic techniques like these, your long term rewards will be much greater. Conclusion As you learn affiliate marketing, remind yourself to step back from time to time and look at the big picture. Doing so will make it easier to avoid information overload and keep yourself moving forward toward the ultimate rewards at the end of the rainbow.
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