Affiliate networks are a big deal when it comes to online marketing success. Without an affiliate network, it’s difficult to reach the massive audience that is just waiting at your fingertips. But first, you need to know what to look for in choosing affiliate networks for your business.

An affiliate network is the entity between you and others who want to engage in affiliate marketing (exchange of compensation for product promotion/sales). If you are an affiliate (merchant), the affiliate network offers valuable tools for you to track activity, process payments, and obtain access to a huge database of websites searching for affiliates. Affiliate networks offer access to tens of thousands of potential customers. You can check out a listing of potential affiliate networks at Profit Puppy.

Determine your goals for your online business and what you want to achieve. Some online marketers envision a full-time career through online business, while others view it as a hobby with a little extra money. Depending on your personal and business desires, you can decide how aggressive or passive you want to be with affiliate networks. Whether you want to include one or more affiliates is totally up to you. Affiliate networks, such as the well-known ClickBank, offer everything you need to get started.

When evaluating affiliate networks, consider these important aspects of the network:

1. What are the terms of service and how will you be compensated? Some affiliates pay you for a simple referral, while others only pay when a sale is actually closed (conversions). Make sure you understand these terms before you venture further.

2. Obtain a clear understanding of products that affiliate networks have to offer. A good array of high quality products is recommended. Competitive pricing, excellent product descriptions, ease of purchase and check-out, and other customer-friendly options should be evaluated. The easier it is for your potential customer to find what they want, the more likely you are to reap the rewards of high conversion rates.

3. Evaluate any feedback or testimonials about the affiliate networks. Make sure that they have a good reputation and they can provide you with the products or services you desire. If you’re happy with their historical performance, it’s likely you’ll be happy with their future potential.

4. Determine the fees for joining affiliate networks. Many affiliate networks charge a fee for merchants to join, but they don’t charge for the affiliates. These terms should be clearly spelled out in their registration process.

Affiliate networks are an excellent way to boost your online business potential and grow your business. Do your homework before you move forward with an online affiliate marketing network, and then focus on your customer’s needs for the highest rate of return. Leverage affiliate networks to increase your online marketing potential.