The building blocks of affiliate marketing are quite simple and can help create a solid and profitable structure for your site or blog. These 3 blocks are the main components:
1. Merchant (a.k.a. Advertiser or Brand) - A website that markets and sells goods or services. They give compensation to affiliates who provide sales or leads.
2. Affiliate/Publisher - Someone that earns a commission for referring clicks, leads or sales to a merchant.
3. Affiliate Network - A hub which connects merchants and affiliates. For merchants, networks offer tracking, reporting, payment processing and access to affiliates. They also offer one-click application to merchants, reporting and payment collection for affiliates.
Merchants and affiliates work together to market sales and earn a profit. When someone visits a publisher's website, clicks on an affiliate link, and makes a purchase, the affiliate earns commission. Easy as that! Since affiliates are only paid when sales are completed, it's very cost effective for merchants.
If you've already got a website created, all you have to do is join a network, apply to affiliate programs, and use affiliate links to drive traffic to merchant sites. Then, you'll be on your way to earning commission for any products or services you're linking to.