There are so many different ways to make money online these days that it could make your head spin. Although, I earn money online everyday, none of it comes from affiliate marketing. Yes, you read right. Even though the subject of this article is about affiliate marketing, I have not made one red cent from it, yet.. I say yet because I know that in the not to distant future inevitably I will.. Now you might ask yourself, " How can he be so sure ?" That is a fair question.

Before I answer that question with my spin on what really makes a quality affiliate program, let's define affiliate marketing. In simplest terms, affiliate marketing involves three parties, they are, the seller of the product or service, the buyer or consumer, and the affiliate who uses specific marketing tools and resources to bring the seller and buyer together to complete a sale. Once the sale is finished the seller pays the affiliate a certain amount of money for his performance.

One of the most effective tools an affiliate can use to bring seller and buyer together is article writing. Some people call it article marketing or bum marketing. If you are an affiliate, chances are you've probably used this marketing tool as well. Article writing is so popular among affiliates predominately because it does not cost a penny, it helps creates a positive reputation for the affiliate (this is also known as branding), and, if the article is properly optimized for search engines with relevant keywords, it will draw a number of targeted customers to the affiliates article which should have some text links to the sellers product. More targeted traffic should mean more sales. Seller, buyer, and affiliate are all happy.

But I was not happy. Many of my articles made the first page of the Google search engine, which is the goal of every affiliate article writer since most buyers who are searching for a product or service, make their choice off that first page. But I still wasn't getting the sales. Has that ever happened to you?

Now let me qualify here by stating that I am not an article marketing guru. Before I wrote my first article, I spent a multitude of hours researching how to write articles and I spent quite a lot of time and money on tutorials on how to improve my internet marketing skills. But still no results. However, as a result of my research, I did learn that most affiliate programs offer either a good product with very little if any marketing tools/resources provided by the seller or some marketing tools/resources with a product that has little demand.

The only good affiliate programs that have both a quality product and quality marketing tools/resources cost money, sometimes a lot of money, which I was not willing to pay.. Have you noticed this as well? If you have, I'll bet you are as tired and aggravated as I was at trying to find just the right program. But there is good news, so don't give up. I found some and so can you if you know what to look for.

The following are 9 key secrets of an outstanding online affiliate program:

1. The seller is passionate about his product and program - You'll know if the seller is passionate about his program because you'll hear the excitement and upbeat tone in his voice or you'll see it in his writing. He'll also use that excitement to communicate how the affiliate will benefit. This kind of passion is contagious and you 'll start feeling it yourself.

2. The sellers main reason for creating the program must be totally selfless - Sure money is important but to the seller with an outstanding affiliate program it is only a means to an end. The seller/owner of the program I am affiliate of makes it known in no uncertain terms that family is extremely important to her and that's the reason she started her program. My main reason for being an affiliate in that program is to provide a trust fund for my granddaughter. Something I was unable to give my daughter. Other than money, do you have a selfless reason for wanting to join an affiliate program?

3. Marketing tools and resources are provided at very little or zero out of pocket cost - The seller should want to make money with his affiliates, not off of them. Further, inexpensive or free should not mean poor quality. Any outstanding affiliate program should have webinars, tutorials or both to continually help affiliates progress in the program. You would be surprised at how many sellers try to take advantage of affiliates by charging quite handsomely for information, that with a little research, the affiliate could find online himself. That happened to me a few times already, how about you?

4. The program covers the basics of affiliate marketing - This should include all the important aspects of internet marketing (for example, article marketing, classified advertising, social media marketing, and knowledge of traffic exchanges) so the affiliate can effectively promote the program to the best of his ability.

5. The seller makes himself/his associates easily accessible to the affiliate - Any affiliate is bound to have questions or have a problem that needs timely attention. Therefore it is incumbent upon the seller to provide at least an email address and a telephone number where he or an associate can be reached. My affiliate program even has assistants available during specified hours of the day for online assistance.

6. The success of the program is based on a team effort - Have you ever heard the old saying, "In unity there is strength? The chances of an affiliate program not only becoming successful but developing and growing over time is significantly increased when the affiliates work as team players. I've noticed the development of many groups or teams by affiliates of programs that do not have one. That's how important the team concept has become to the success of the program.

7. Positive reinforcement from seller to affiliate - Nothing is more motivating than a good old verbal pat on the back by the seller to the affiliate. That way the affiliate knows that the work he does is important to the success of the program.

8. Multiple streams of income - Wouldn't it be great if there were affiliate programs that provided more that just one way to earn money? Well some do. Mine does and that includes, commissions, profit sharing, and silver and or gold bullion coins.

9. Long range plans - An outstanding affiliate program will always have long range plans. Changes or improvements are always good especially when it comes to providing the potential for affiliates to make more money in different ways over a period of time. The idea is to keep dedicated affiliates while adding more of them.

Since there are so many different affiliate programs available online, you are going to have to do some research in order to find the one that is right for you. Once you find a program you want to join, use a copy of this article to determine if that program contains the" 9 Key Secrets to an Outstanding Online Affiliate Program." It will definitely save you a lot of aggravation and put more money in your pocket over the long run.

Author's Bio: 

Dave Kanofsky is a proud affiliate with Wealth Creations Network. Wealth Creations Network will not only empower you to make money online with your own business but will also empower you to make money online fast by creating wealth for yourself using free quality marketing tools and resources. You will never be asked to spend any of your own money out of pocket. So join now. Membership is free.