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These days, it's remarkably easy to set up your own Web site. If you have a computer connected to the Internet, you can simply go to a site such as GeoCities or AOL and use their ready-made Web design templates to construct a simple personal page. These sites will give you a URL, store the content of your page and slap on some advertisements. Just like that, in an hour or two, your page is on the Web! ­

­But what if you want to take your site to the next level? If you have a content-driven Web site, how can you make money off your traffic? If you are an online merchant, how can you get people to your site to buy your products? One popular option that serves both of these functions is an affiliate program. In this article, we'll examine affiliate programs to find out what they are, how they work, who they are for and how you can use them to benefit your Web site. ­