Shai gives some good tips on hope to Make The Most Out of Affiliate Programs:
‘1) Provide good reasons for readers and visitors to keep coming back to your site where you have your affiliate links. Or, if you primarily promote via email, make sure that you give readers and subscribers a lot of reasons to keep opening and reading your emails. It’s just so much easier to delete things nowadays! Just deliver great content, provide user interaction, come up with clever contests… the possibilities are endless.
2) Maximise your visibility. Working on your site’s promotions and SEO is important. If you can’t do it yourself, or if you have limited knowledge of search engine optimisation (SEO), then make sure that you get advice from people who know more than you do on this matter. Always remember that the more people who find your site, the more chances you have in showing your affiliate products….’
One tip I’d add to her great list is to keep your affiliate programs as relevant to your blog’s content as possible.
The success of Adsense contextual text links is that they ads usually match the content of the site so well. At times you’ll be reading about a particular product and then see an ad for it – the naturally thing to do is click.
Often bloggers don’t take this same principle and put it into practice with their affiliate programs. They just leave a generic button on their side bar and don’t make any effort into increasing its relevancy to their site.
The best performance I’ve ever had from an affiliate program is when I’ve managed to be blogging about something and then find an affiliate program that matches it well and have placed links to it inside or at the end of the content (with appropriate disclosure statements). Perhaps the easiest program to use with this strategy is Amazon which has so many products that can be linked via picture or text deep within your site and not just on your sidebar.
For instance on my digicam site I have links to the actual products that I write about on many of my posts on cameras. This does take some effort to set up but is well worth it.