If you are involved at all in internet marketing, you will likely have joined one or more programs as an affiliate, whether that program is multi-level or network marketing, sells a product, either physical or electronic, sells a service, or simply provides you a direct or indirect share of the actions of someone you recruit, like InfoBarrel does.
When you join an affiliate program of whatever type you will usually be provided with either your own customised referral link, for example
or maybe your own "sub-site" on their domain, such as
which you can then customise to your liking. Why, then, would you need a website as well?
If you are using web directories to help promote your online business, many do not like affiliate links and will reject them out of hand. Those that will accept affiliate links will usually only accept the first such link submitted. Most web directories do not want their categories filled with what is, essentially, identical links. Some will accept the submission, but will remove the affiliate part from the link. This will not aid in getting links, and, therefore, visitors and sales to your affiliate site. Those directories that accept anything are not worth bothering with, as they are usually so full of rubbish that they contribute little if any value at all.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the art of adjusting your site, both onsite and offsite - offsite consisting of things like link promotion, article marketing and commenting and posting on blogs and forums - so that it performs better in the search engines and ranks higher, generating more traffic.
When all you have is an affiliate link, you have no control over the onsite part. You cannot add or tweak content or do anything that can improve the sites' performance, because the site isn't yours. Although you can do offsite marketing, affiliate links may not have much effect with search engines either, and your marketing efforts won't necessarily improve SEO, although they may generate direct traffic.
On your own site, it is unlikely all you are going to do is just slap in you affiliate link and hope for the best. If this is what you are doing, change your strategy. By designing your site carefully - a constantly evolving process - discussing your own experiences with the affiliate program and providing payment proof to mention just a few ways, any visitor who does click on the link will more than likely be of higher quality, having to some extent been pre-sold on your own site before visiting the site of the program you are promoting. The more you explain how you use the product or service, and what benefits you get from doing so, the better.
Building a Brand
By having your own website, you can build your own brand. If you behave honestly and people trust you, they will be interested in other things you promote. A website therefore can be used to promote a whole host of affiliate programs. It is essential to ensure that people do not lose their faith in you when doing this. If you have a problem with a service you have used, write about the problems, don't hide them simply to sell more of something you yourself may have lost faith in. Blogs are an ideal platform for this type of thing, but it is time consuming and will not happen overnight.
Rather than specifically promoting a particular product or program, which, for best results, really requires specific marketing related to that product - for example, an article related to the type of product being promoted, with your link in the resource box - you can in addition use more generalised marketing to promote your site.
This type of general marketing might not have performed as well when used to promote a specific product, but can perform well at directing traffic to your site, where you can then tailor some pages to specifically market certain products. An article on internet marketing in general can be used to promote your internet marketing blog, where specific products that you recommend can then be promoted.
If you spend a lot of time promoting an affiliate link, and the program you have promoted ceases for any reason, you may then find that a lot of marketing you have done becomes worthless overnight, simply because all those efforts were promoting a specific program, URL or page that no longer exists. By sending the traffic to your own site first, that marketing has not been wasted. If your marketing refers to a particular program, although that may not exist, by sending people to your site you can tell them this and, hopefully, offer a replacement that interests them.