Thursday, 15 March 2007
I had a chat to a couple of affiliates last night and between us, we all seemed to have the same problem.
This industry is too good!
There are (dare I say it) too many good opportunities and affiliates find it difficult to choose the right programs to promote.
Firstly, your affiliate map should be in sync with your own personal map.
Are you trying to run an e-business or is this a hobby? If it's a hobby, you can dabble in this, that, and the other.
If you are trying to run a hobby site, there's a little more science behind your decisions.
If you carry on dabbling in this that and the other, you'll have hundreds of sites all earning very little. granted, when you combine the earnings, you should have something reasonable. But the chances it won't be tremendous.
So, here's another step by step guide to planning your affiliate website arsenal.
Find something you are truly interested in, excited about and knowledgeable about. Dare I say it, pick something that turns you on. I wouldn't choose loans or mortgages as a website to spend every hour of every day on. Loans are great for PPC campaigns but not so for website campaigns.
For this example, I'll pretend I'm setting up a dating website.
Look at the revenue potential. Some would argue that you look for the money first, then look at creating content. That's why so many of us have websites about loans or credit cards.
But you need to tie in your ideas with suitable merchants.
Don't be tempted to tie the merchant's or network's ideas to a site of yours. Yes they may offer lucrative payments or bonuses. But they take time to generate traffic levels that you can be proud of. Time and effort.
Time and effort you could be spending on your core website(s).
Dating merchants pay around £1- to £2 per signup. Not a large amount but that's what I was explaining above. We have picked a product/service (in this case dating) that is of interest.
Become an authority on the topic.
The best known affiliate sites are the ones that have become synonymous with authoritative content.
Money Saving Expert and ShopSafe are two examples of sites which are authoritative, successful, and revenue generating through affiliate schemes.
Check the Alexa and PageRank values for these sites and you'll soon see that authoritative=success.
In our example, we would have a site that is jam packed with dating advice, tips, special offers, newsletters, forums, get-togethers, etc.
AVOID things that have been done before.
It's easy to fall into the trap of doing something because a) it's easy or b) it's what you've always done.
If it's easy for you, it'll be easy for any other affiliate.
Parsing an XML or CSV feed is a doddle (with the right software). Creating a price comparison site is a doddle. Creating a catalogue of other people's products is easy. I should know - Compare Sat Nav, UK Price Comparison Search, Gift Finder and Lingerie Helper are all exactly those. Why have I made them? They are easy!
But what I have forgotten is that because they are easy, they are not terribly unique. There's not a lot of authority on these sites.
Price comparison sites, review sites and catalogues have all been done before. We need to start looking at the next generation of affiliate sites.
I'm not saying something like How To Solve is the answer. It may be or it may not be. It may only be the start of the next generation. Who knows.
As for our dating site, we need to look at doing something smart with it. Perhaps do a video tour of the website or have an audio interview with people who use the site. Look at clever ways to integrate content, stickiness and advertisements.
Audio and video content will be the way forward so jump on that bandwagon quickly.
Keep adding content daily, if not several times a day. Don't just look at the content. Look at the design. Areas that are proving popular in your stats should be hyperlinked from your home page. Send out a newsletter that tells people what is hot on your site.
For dating, constantly updating profiles would be handy. I suppose there should be an XML feed somewhere with prospective men and women. A blog section that talks about people's experiences would be good.
I usually write these guides to help me clarify what it is I'm trying to do.
I am trying to run an e-business from affiliate marketing and I'm currently stuck on Step 3. I can come up with ideas. Too many ideas. I need to make a site with ideas for other people. How about collaborating other people's ideas into one big idea pot?! There's another idea!
To get anywhere in affiliate marketing, you need time, patience and you need to put a lot of effort in.
Your affiliate marketing chain is only as strong as the weakest link.
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Is How to Solve the site you are stuck on Step 3 with? Because just a quick look shows that it doesn't have any users comments (which it obviously needs to make it work). And a look at the register page gives me the shivers - just too much information asked for! Simplify the registration to asking for the *minimum* information needed, and you will find your users will grow much faster.
Written on Monday 19 March 2007 at 16:31:19 GMT (Permalink)
I agree that it needs people to register to grow the site. That's what I'm working on now.
As for registration, I need to verify that only UK citizens register, hence the need for an address. Other than that, it's a quick and painless form.
Written on Monday 19 March 2007 at 20:28:36 GMT (Permalink)
Thank you to all previous commenters.
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