There are many ways to market your business online. Affiliate programs is one form of marketing online that is sometimes overlooked.

This quick guide to affiliate marketing for beginners will introduce you to this form of internet marketing.

Affiliate marketing is a practice in which a company or a marketer advertises their products or services on other business websites. For the purposes of this article, we'll call the person advertising the "marketer". We'll call the website that posts the advertisements from the marketer, the "host".

The marketer will potentially benefit from advertising on the host's website because the marketer will potentially generate income from visitors to the host site that click on their affiliate advertisement and make a purchase.

The host website benefits because they will receive some form of commission for driving traffic or sales to the marketer's website or product. This website traffic or sales is above and beyond what the marketer might have received if they had not advertised on the host website.

Affiliate marketing is an advertising tool used to gain more web traffic and potentially additional sales for the marketer. It's also a tool for the host website as it allows the website owner to make money from commissions.

You can't use the Internet without seeing affiliate marketing ads or banners. If you've every clicked on a banner or a link for a service or product, you've been a participant in the affiliate marketing lifecycle.

What types of online businesses use affiliate marketing?

- Pay per click sites

- Ad Bars

- Shopping Directories

- Cost comparison sites

- Personal websites

It's important to note that you don't need a business website to be an affiliate marketer. If you have an email list, a Twitter account, or a Facebook Fan Page, you have the potential to post affiliate links by recommending products that you believe in and generating potential income.

There are affiliate management companies that specialize in affiliate marketing, such as Commission Junction and Clickbank to name a few.

These companies feature 100's of affiliate products that anyone interested in finding products to market as an affiliate can choose from.

Making money isn't necessarily simple or straight forward if you are an affiliate marketer. A number of factors will determine your success such your relationship with the audience you are selling to, (people by from those they know and trust), the product that you are selling, and the steps that you take to aggressively market the product.

Regardless, affiliate marketing can be a very profitable method of making money on the Internet or selling your product or service. If you're a beginner, do your research and start slowly. Slow and steady wins the race.

To your marketing success!