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Creating an Affiliate Marketing Budget

Your first thought on seeing the title of this article is
probably, "I'm not going to need a budget because I'm not
going to spend any money." I'm sorry, but that's not how it
works. If you don't want to spend ANYTHING, you are not
going to succeed.

Now that you know you must spend some money, it's time to
decide how much money you can afford to invest in your
affiliate marketing business.

There are some expenses that you will have if you want to be
successful. There are others that you can put off until the
time you start earning income from your affiliate products.
The below suggestions are not carved in stone - they are
just a guide. This is an Annual Budget - for the first year
of business. Some items that will need to be budgeted for
are:

* Domain Name. There is quite a span between the low-cost
and the high end cost of domain names. Why does Network
Solutions charge $35 when you can get your domain name for
much less elsewhere? I don't know, but when I got my first
domain name, I went through them because I didn't
know any better. Now, I get my domains through
http://godaddy.com. They're a big enough company that
they're not likely to "go under" and their charges for
domain name registration is only $8.95 per year. If you shop
around, you may even be able to find something less
expensive. But make sure it's a well-established company!
You don't want to lose your domain name once you have
decided on it! You will likely get a better "deal" if you
register your domain name for two or more years in advance.

* Website Hosting. Here again, fees for web hosting can vary
dramatically from company to company. Set up a comparison
chart and write down each company you are considering, with
columns for Company Name, Price, Disk Space, and Bandwidth.
Go to http://google.com and add the
first twenty that come up to your chart with costs, etc.
When you actually get to the point when you will be
purchasing your web hosting, you will drill down further to
see what each company offers. Hosting fees will run from
$7.00 to $25.00 per month or more. Shop carefully.

* Merchant Account. You probably won't need a Merchant
Account, as such, unless you are selling


digital products or
products you'll be shipping to a customer. It is a good
idea to set up an account with http://paypal.com because a
lot of affiliate managers are using PayPal to make payments
to affiliates. There is no charge for using PayPal.

* Software and Scripts. You will need, at the least, some
kind of spreadsheet to track your expenses and income from
your affiliate business. Eventually, you will need a more
robust program like QuickBooks or Microsoft Money. If you
don't have a spreadsheet software application, you can get
one free from http://openoffice.org. This is a suite of
tools that works like Microsoft Office. You may or may not
need website scripts - depending on how elaborate you want
your website to be. Examples would be article management or
"tell a friend" scripts. Let's just set at cost at $50 just
in case.

* Advertising. For the first few weeks, you will not be
spending money on advertising or promotion. But since we are
working on an "Annual" budget, let's estimate it at $50 per
month or $600. I know that sounds like a lot, but if you
want to get the word out, you'll need to set money aside for
pay-per-click search engines and ezine advertising.

* Education. Ongoing education is going to be extremely
important to your affiliate marketing success. You will not
have to purchase a lot of educational materials - if you
don't want to. There are many free resources, such as
newsletters, that you can study. For now, we'll set a zero
budget, but allow a certain amount later for ebook or how-to
videos.

What is the final total? Approximately $800.00. Does that
seem extreme? Remember, this is for an entire year. Where
else but on the Internet can you start a business for under
$1,000? Keep it in perspective. If you intend to have a
"real" business, you must treat it as a real business -
which includes real expenses.

About the Author

-----------------------------------------------------
Jude Wright has been an Internet Marketer for three
years. She has just created a product that will help
other Internet Marketers keep all their marketing
information in one database. Check it out at:
http://i-marketingorganizer.com/organizer.htm