I taught myself web design about 12 years ago. And over the years, I got involved in being an Affiliate for many, many online companies. Now, setting up an affiliate account can go from being as easy as filling out an online application to signing up through a 3rd party and waiting days to get approved. In either case, you need to have a website in order to promote these Affiliate Programs.
What is an Affiliate Program? An Affiliate Program is an online program that gives you a set commission in return for you promoting their products or sevices on your website.
There are 3rd Party vendors out there like LinkShare and Commission Junction, as well as many others. I belong to them and also many independent company affiliate programs.
If you choose to go this route to make an income and career, be prepared to do a whole lot of work. And sometimes, or maybe most times, going this route will cause a lot of wasted hours and time on your part.
My overall feeling of many Affiliate Programs has deflated tremendously over the past 5 years. What happens is that you spend your days finding product images or text links and sometimes web page banners from these vendors and online companies. The problem is that you need to make sure your product links are fresh and up to date. Most of the time you are not warned by the company that a link has changed and if you aren't watching your websites, you could be advertising a dead link, which means you make no money (commission) and therefore also leave your website looking stupid.
Over the years, I have had companies use 3rd party vendors like I mentioned above and after about a period of two years, these companies will pull out of the program and you have now been left to redo your whole website or change your product links because you can no longer promote them. Not only that, I can't begin to tell you how many of these companies dropped out of an Affiliate Program and left without paying out commissions. I have had huge companies walk away owing me from as little as $8.00 to amounts in the hundreds. This is upsetting because I went in trust to help promote these companies online and increase their customer base through my customized websites and once they get these customers through you, it always happens that they pull out of the programs.
Yes, there have been times when I could count on several hundreds of dollars coming in each month and honestly, this took care of my car payment each month and also some business expenses, such as software and hardware costs. What many people don't realize is that there is a lot of time spend designing a website. People will look at a site, such as Shared Reviews, for example. You see images, text links, pages, etc. But what you don't realize is that behind every image or text link, there is at least one page. And from that one page, there could be several more feeding off of it. So another key thing here is when you put your keywords on your articles, those keywords help to generate income for this site and in return, helps to pay YOU and ME. When you fail to write enough information on your reviews or add all the keywords necessary to generate an ad on this site, you are cheating yourself but many people blame the website and designers.
Affiliate Programs can be rewarding and can bring in a nice amount of income. But if you aren't willing to put in the work to promote them or if the companies that allow you to promote them just up and walk away, it hurts us all.
I ran a candy website for about 8 years. I made a lot of income from people and movie theaters buying candy through my links. I had a great domain (website name) and always kept it up to date. But, as you may have guessed, up until this past year, the companies started to pull out. My last big vendor I was promoting had changed vendors, so it took me a week to update everything to their new program. This was well over 60 hours of work on my part, probably even more. Within 3 months of making these changes, the company dropped their program and I was left waiting with an empty website that to this date, still has nothing to promote.
In closing, be as careful as you can on Affiliate Programs. Try to choose carefully and try to not put too much trust into only one online store or vendor. Make sure you know that you are going to work very hard at promoting these online stores and companies and be prepared that after your hard work, the programs may change or close completely. And in the end, you may end up not getting paid.
I would recommend taking time on your Shared Reviews reviews and article writing. I am NOT saying Shared Reviews is an Affiliate Program, but they do utilize our writings and keywords to generate Affiliate ads and links. Make sure your grammar and spelling are correct and not hurried. Put ALL the keywords that apply to your article or review and then you will notice more people finding your writings and also find when SR makes more money, YOU make more money too. This site is a win/win situation, but only if utilized properly.
Hurried articles and reviews that are pumped out or made up, just to get to the top, only hurt all of us. If people come here and start reading stuff that is sloppy, it reflects on all of us and we all lose in the end. So please take time to write well, post your pictures of the stuff you write about so we know what it looks like, and then the Affiliate links on this site will work for us all and we can make this the BEST website out there together.