Last Updated: 3/2/10
There are two basic types of ads you can put on your site. The first are ads that you control. That means, you request advertisers, and they pay you directly to have a banner, link, reference, etc. on your site. I have a few of those on my main site. The second type of ads are run by other companies. Here are some of those sites. They usually let you have some control over what kinds of ads come up but they are generally going to pick up key words on your site and put up sites that involve those words, even if they are contrary to the point of your site. Be sure to read all their rules and regulations.
Yahoo Publisher Network
Having an affiliate ad is like having a specific ad for a specific company where you gain a percentage of their profits. Normally, with the ad groups above, you can gain money per click or various percentages. Affiliates tend to be specific companies instead of a group of advertisers. Search for affiliate companies related to your own. If you are a business, you obviously do not want to get an affiliate that conflicts with what you are selling. Otherwise, search the internet for your topic. For example, if you are writing tips on how to play a good golf game, search for "golf affiliates." I just did that, making it up off the top of my head, and already found a golf supply store with an affiliate program! It is that simple. Filling out their forms usually takes some time though.
You can see in my footer on each of my webtip pages an affiliate link for Bravenet. The ad next to it is not an affiliate. The visitor will not know the difference. I use various pet stores and Amazon for affiliates. Amazon.com is a good one for most sites since they carry so many books and products. Here is the link: Amazon Associates.
I joined Link Connector in 2010:
Valueclick has a huge list of available companies who will let you be affiliates so it is a place to start: Valueclick. My previous affiliate host, Petco, used Commission Junction which was part of Valueclick.
Many companies that should have affiliate programs do not. I often e-mail them to say that they should. If I think a company is worthwhile, I link to them anyway. I have sent a lot of business out to many companies for no return. If it were all about money, I would not even have a web site after all! My site cost me money until I started ads (the previous kind, not affiliates), not too long ago. The income does not cover my time but does cover the web hosting costs.
Most affiliates will not send you a check or gift certificate until you sell a minimum amount of things (items, services, or hits) from visitors who went to their site. For this reason, I have yet to see a single penny from the, I think, four affiliate programs to which I have belonged for about a year.
Non-profit organizations should certainly ask for donations. People with generic sites can also ask for donations but if they are not non-profit, they must pay taxes on those donations. People have asked me to add a donation option to my site which I finally did. So far, no donations. Do not expect a lot of income from donations. You will get more response if you offer a "free" gift or something with the donation. For individuals, the easiest way to take in donations is to join Paypal (business option) which is free and put up a donation button as I did. Donors do not have to pay with Paypal and can use credit cards if they wish. Here is the link: Paypal.
If your web site is there as a business mostly to do on-line sales, you should arrange for a secure shopping cart and store from your web host. They will know the details. If you are an individual or a small business, you have a few options. If you still want to ship things from your place, you can set up a free (or pay for more options) Paypal store. Or, you can setup individual things for sale on Ebay with details about them on your web site. If you want to design things like shirts, mugs, etc., then you can use Cafe Press (enter through the banner below). They give you a certain percent of the sales. You upload photos of whatever to apply to a few dozen kinds of products.
Here are some other sites claiming they have free web stores. I have not looked into them so I have no details, or if they are okay or not.
V Store - free store; you can only sell what they have in their inventory; enter via the banner
Getshops - free for first 30 days only.
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