Directories are also a good place to research POTENTIAL PARTNERS. An interesting place to start is...
Search It! > Specialty Hubs and Directories > Yahoo! Wide (STEP 2) > fashion (STEP 3) > fashion design (STEP 4)
Since this is a large directory and there is a substantial annual fee, it has only serious merchants. Many of the sites listed here will have affiliate programs (so widely advertised on many job search sites) so this search is like hitting pay dirt in a gold mine. Simply enter your Site Concept word and hit Search It!.
4.1.3. Grow Through Specialized Affiliate Directories
Now let's investigate your POSSIBLE PARTNERS and add some new merchants, too. How? Easy...
Search It! > Monetization (STEP 1) > Find Affiliate Programs (STEP 2) > fashion (STEP 3)
This search takes you to the affiliate directory of AssociatePrograms.com, run by Allan Gardyne, the #1 affiliate guru on the Web. Allan offers objective reviews based on his extensive experience in affiliate marketing. His forum is also a helpful source of information.
For each listing in this directory, you will see two numbers. The first number is the average rating that those who voted gave the affiliate. The second number shows how many votes that specific affiliate received on this site.
Visit a site that appeals to you. If it has an affiliate program that fits your Site Concept, first enter what kind of merchandise it sells and then enter the URL of the "join page" into POSSIBLE PARTNERS for that keyword (as explained above). Check the top ten sites -- twenty if you are feeling ambitious -- and record those with potential.
Repeat the process for each keyword in your MASTER KEYWORD LIST (i.e., replace "fashion" above with another keyword like "fashion model"), starting with your specific HIGH-PROFITABILITY keywords and then following up with your general Concept Keywords (ex., "accessories" and other "concept-level" keywords that you develop, such as "design," etc.).
Read the review of each potential match. Look at the ratings and take advantage of any other evaluation services the AssociatePrograms directory may offer. You can also look for "cross-concept companies." These are companies selling products that, because of their nature, fit with most or all Site Concepts. For example, whether your concept is about "Renaissance art" or "pricing" or "fashion," you'll find books about it. So always include a bookstore in your group of affiliate programs.
Still in the searching mood even after all that?
Try this final suggestion. You already have a list of POSSIBLE PARTNERS. Use the search tool at AssociatePrograms to check out partners. Just enter each domain into the search tool.
If you want to be really, really, really thorough, and you have more spare time than I do, you could check out these affiliate directories...
4.1.4. Grow through Affiliate Backend Providers/Networks/Aggregators
There are several companies that provide the tools, technology and services that online businesses need to register, track, report and pay affiliates. In other words, merchants don't have to "do it themselves" because these companies provide all the backend functionality necessary to run an affiliate program.
The "backend providers" prefer to call themselves "affiliate networks." Why? Because they do more than just provide merchants with affiliate software. They also provide merchants with affiliates, and vice-versa. Since they have a pool of hundreds of thousands of affiliates, a merchant's program gets instant exposure to potentially interested affiliates.
And affiliates get exposure to a wide variety of merchants. It's a good idea to join each of these backend providers. You will likely come across many of the same merchants that you found in the affiliate directories. But you will also find new ones. So it is worth checking to see whether they feature any programs that fit with your concept....
If you find merchants with products that fit, enter what kind of merchandise they sell and also enter the URL of the "join page" to the POSSIBLE PARTNERS column in your MASTER KEYWORD LIST for each keyword that is relevant.
4.1.5. Grow through Alexa
Do a search for the Web site you are evaluating. In this example, we are looking at modaitalia.net . This was the first result in our Search Engine affiliate search. Now it's time to use Alexa to find potential affiliates.
Search It! > Popularity (STEP 1) > Alexa Rankings and Review (STEP 2) > modaitalia.net (STEP 3)
When the page opens, click on Related Links on the left of the page. Alexa also displays traffic ranking, in-pointing links, and even visitor reviews! Once you establish which sites in your niche are the big players, use the Related Links tool from Alexa to expand your horizons!