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Archive for Affiliate Marketing

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When I first started out in internet marketing, affiliate marketing(old style), was at its peak. What we would now call ‘thin’ affiliate sites were everywhere.

All an affiliate had to do to make a decent income, was slap up an exact match domain for some product, or group of products and write a few pages in the form of a review site. Many marketers didn’t even bother with that and took visitors straight to a sales page. Then if you were to buy a few backlinks from the likes of Fiverr and hey presto, in no time at all you could rank on page one of Google giving you free traffic all day long. 

As long as your reviews or sales pages were well presented you would see a constant trickle or maybe a torrent of revenue depending on the offer and keywords you were targeting.

Then along came the Panda, Penguin, EMD updates etc. from your friendly neighbourhood Google. In one cataclysmic shift, hundreds of affiliate sites which had very little substance, disappeared off the radar completely. I should know ’cause some of mine vanished and have never returned. Google was trying to send a message to us marketers loud and clear. Give visitors value. Give them a good visitor experience so that they return to your site again and again. Provide quality stuff so that they ‘share’ or ‘like’ your site.

It’s true that there appears to have been some casualties along the way who didn’t appear to deserve it. However, it also seems to be the case that for highly competitive and generally lucrative keyword based sites, it appears slightly easier to get ranked highly without masses of great content in the very short term. At least that seems to be the evidence of marketers who analyse these things. Over the medium to long term these thin content sites do tend to lose traction and disappear off the radar.

So the message is potentially this….only potentially as second guessing Google isn’t an exact science….. you can build thin content affiliate sites for short term gain. A constant turnover of new sites would seem to be the way to go as their shelf life appears limited. As a business model it certainly has its merits as far as ROI is concerned.

On the other hand creating a quality site and quality content seems a very attractive alternative to me at the moment. As long as your site isn’t fighting one of the really big boys, then an authority status site carries with it the prospect of high rankings in low and medium competition niches pretty much from here on in. It is unlikely that in the foreseeable future that a site that has gained authority and hence high ranking, would suddenly see this ranking lost.

A word of caution though. I really wouldn’t put my eggs in one basket. All well and good following the authority model plan as opposed to the short term multiple and repeated thin site approach, just as long as you don’t create just one massive site that carries with it all your monetization. For me the whole reason for building an authority site would be to flip it(sell it) at some later stage. You can only flip a site if its monetization is rock solid. ie it’s traffic source must be rock solid.

An unexpected adjustment in Google’s alogrithm at any time could see your entire business sent down the tubes. I’d suggest a number of authority sites of lesser magnitude and in different niches together with a few thin sites might be the order of the day.

Anyhow, food for thought.

It would be good if you have experience of authority sites to see you post some thoughts on here so that we all could learn from each others experiences.

In the mean time why don’t you check out Lisa Parmley who has a membership site: Authority Site Model. Alternatively her Inline SEO course which is also excellent for authority sites. Lisa is a master at authority site creation and how to drive traffic and monetizing it. I’ve learned loads from her over the years.

Speak soon,

Andy Lunt

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Hi guys,

I’ve found a real pearler of a video for you to look at today

if you’re struggling with the whole keyword thing.

There’s three videos for you to look at and hopefully after watching them, the old cogs in the head will start turning and perhaps some of you will get an aha moment. 

Video 2 is by a marketer who I follow quite closely in the SEO field and have learnt loads from. There’s certainly an opportunity for some of you to make good money if you make use of this. Hope you enjoy it.

Firstly let’s consider what affiliate marketers often do. In fact this is what I did when I first started out.

I decided to build a product review site for various keyword tools that were available.

Video 1 : Choosing an Exact Match Domain(EMD) for my keyword tool site

 

So, after literally hours and hours of research using various keyword tools such as Market Samurai, I came up with an EMD that gets around 880 exact matches for the best fit keyword phrase “keyword selector tool”. Thing was though, that I even had to use a hypenated version as all other exact matches were taken!  I proceded to then spend hours and hours building my site and a small fortune backlinking to it.

And for what?

IF I managed to get top spot in the Google rankings(Less likely with a hyphenated exact match domain), I would attract around 50-60% of the searches per month. Namely around 500 visitors per month…..about 16 or 17 hits per day!!!!!!!!!! Well just do the math about conversion rates and you’ll soon figure out that I was never going to retire from my day job (even with a 50%+ affiliate commission) using this keyword phrase.

So I binned the keyword phrase and looked for another? Well this was the best phrase with an available domain match, so I decided to scrap the whole product review site. Errrr no.

Like so many beginners at internet marketing I figured I would cut my teeth on something which might not make money but would be quite easy to rank for.

What?????? Was I mad? What was the point in that?

Answer:  There was no point when there is a much better alternative that can make you good money.  I learnt the hard way. I made some money from the site but I reckon I was getting around $0.20 per hour for my efforts. A total pittance!

Take a peak at

VIDEO 2: Untapped

by a guy called Alex Becker, it’s so cool

 Source: YouTube

Distributed by Alex Becker via Source Wave Videos

So for hardly any research Alex located untapped keywords that were bringing in heaps more traffic. Monetise any of these types of sites and because the usual SEO brigade is not in town there are FAR easier pickings. Cool eh?

So I thought I’d try this research for myself

Take a look at

VIDEO 3 : Researching for Untapped Keywords

 

Well this was my very first attempt…..honest. A really thought provoking experiment!

Can you see the potential here for an unlimited supply of new domains that have lucrative keywords in them? This is very interesting stuff indeed.

Anyhow, at the very least some food for thought.

Speak soon,

Andy

 

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 Thought I’d share a few thoughts about that old chestnut which is affiliate marketing. I guess that if you are relatively new to online marketing then it is quite likely that not only will you have heard about affiliate marketing but also you will be considering trying it, that is if you haven’t tried it already.

If you have had a go at it, then it will probably come as no great surprise to hear me say that it’s not as easy as most people think, especially for newbies.

Watch the video below to hear my thoughts. Part two and three of this series can be viewed from links in this video or from future blog posts.

Hope it gives you food for thought.

 

Speak soon,

Andy

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Some of my time spent brainstorming at the coffe shops is devoted to planning my long term strategies and long term projects. Creating authority sites falls into this category.

If you are interested in building a valuable resource for visitors which can then be monetized and you have a passion for the site that you have built, then you might be interested in building what is known as an “authority” site.

The name “authority” should tell you what these sites are all about. You pitch yourself as an expert in your niche or market and build a site with a lot of quality content, preferably unique. Google, theoretically, likes these type of sites that offer a valuable resource to the visitors and reward them with good rankings. Or that’s how it’s supposed to be at any rate. The recent Penguin updates has actually seen some quality “authority” sites be hit quite hard in their rankings because of the backlinking being used. Authority sites can be very lucrative as you can adopt many forms of monetization on the site, affiliate marketing being one obvious method.

So back to the point of this post……affiliate marketing.

Promoting affiliate products of one form or another on your authority site, is a simple, yet effective way of making money from your site. Most affiliates find it hard to sell to visitors because people tend to buy from those they like and/or trust. Gaining this trust isn’t easy. If your site is seen as a reputable resource and offers visitors lots of unique information with interesting articles, videos, features, quizzes, free tips, tools and ideas then they are much more likely to bookmark your site and return over and over again. Trust develops only over time. If they keep returning to your useful and interesting/entertaining site sooner or later they will start to develop this trust.

You may decide to promote affiliate products on your site perhaps in the form of a marketplace of relevant products…using Amazon physical products for example. On the other hand you may simple offer some free report or newsletter to capture emails and build a list and then as part of your autoresponder series, promote various affiliate products to your list.

The beauty with an “authority” site is that it is so much easier to build this trust, build a list and hence make sales. It is also true to say that once your site achieves “authority” status with Google and/or visitors then it will probably retain the good reputation and ranking for a long time to come no matter how much work you put into the site thereafter.

However, if you do create an authority site, which you may have a long term plan to sell for a healthy profit, then be warned. Don’t devote all your time just to this site and promoting it for free traffic. Leaving yourself open to the whim of Google is a dangerous game. Google can change the rules to suit itself at any time. An authority site as part of a mixed portfolio of sites is probably a better option. Using a variety of monetization techniques including promoting affiliate products is also a good idea.

In part three I’ll talk a little about what can only be described as the affiliate marketers’ right hand man…….Clickbank.

 

Speak soon,

Andy

 

Categories : Affiliate Marketing
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If you are new to the world of internet marketing then it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with affiliate marketing as a starting point. It is by far the most popular of the monetization techniques that you can adopt. There is a lot of talk amongst marketers about the fact that affiliate marketing has had its day and other methods of monetization are more lucrative.

Well it is true to say that the halcyon days of affiliate marketing are no more. Long gone are the times that you could slap up a two bit exact match domain site and start making money from organic traffic within a few days. The competition from literally an army of affiliates is fierce these days and its much harder to get your site ranked with Google. So traffic is harder to come by all round and hence it’s harder to make money.

However this doesn’t mean that you can’t make money as an affiliate….you either have to work harder or better still, work smarter. If you are a complete novice at all this business then I still suggest that acting as an affiliate is a good place to cut your teeth so to speak. Learn the ropes of marketing, all the tactics of free traffic generation for example, and then if you make a little money you can then reinvest in paid traffic techniques.

So, just in case you’re not sure, thought I’d outline just exactly what affiliate marketing is. I’ll also give some affiliate marketing tips for beginners.

In a nutshell all you have to do is promote someone’s product for a commission or % of the sales price. So basically you can either act as a salesperson whereby you make the sale and when a visitor clicks a buy link on your site for a product you get a cut of the price…..or you act as a connector to a marketers website where they make the actual sale but you get the commission for referring the visitor to their site.

You can easily promote some Amazon products(US) or some Amazon products(UK) through their affiliate scheme or as is the case for most beginners, the Clickbank Marketplace provides some tempting commissions. Clickbank are great for finding ebooks and the like to promote, Amazon are cool for physical products. If you visit either of these sites the ins and outs of being an affiliate is explained in great detail. If you are a complete newbie to internet marketing they are well worth a visit.

One approach that you might want to adopt for affiliate marketing is to simply target one specific type of physical product….usually a high ticket item. If you set up a site which targets this exact product,  then you are able to use what we call an “exact match domain”. If you’re new to this business then this is simply whereby the product you are promoting is part of the domain itself.

I’d avoid using actual make and model variations eg www.SonyHDX300.com as there may be some legal issues over the use of the name in your domain……….although some marketers ignore this fact. Rather I’d suggest you target a precise description of the product. An example of this might be www.silverchandeliers.com.

If you are familiar with WordPress then you’ll know just how easy it is to set up a simple product site. If you’re struggling with the technical aspects of site building either get help or take a look at WordPress here. I’d definitely recommend getting your own domain as opposed to just setting up a blog through WordPress themselves. If you do want a WordPress blog then click here.

The traffic you get for these simple one product sites may not be great, although if you have done a little keyword research and chosen wisely you will get a steady stream of visitors. More importantly the traffic you do get will be very interested in actually buying the product, which of course gives you better conversions.

These sort of sites which target an individual type of product are known by marketers as Sniper Sites. Some marketers have literally dozens of such sites and have made a good living from them. I too have some in my porfolio but be warned.

If you depend on organic or natural traffic from the search engines as opposed to paid traffic then you are at the whim of every subtle change in Google’s alogorithm. The recent Panda, and more spectacularly, the Penguin updates………honestly where do the names come from?…… have seen many marketers’ portfolios of Sniper Sites take a massive hit in their site rankings. As a result their traffic has dried up.

I’ll talk more about Panda and Penguin in another post if they are a complete mystery to you, but for now just be aware that depending purely on SEO(search engine optimization) to get traffic might be a dangerous game. By that I mean merely relying on Google in the main to send you the traffic from people searching with them is fraught with problems. Many Sniper Sites took a big hit recently as Google supposedly wants to reward quality sites as opposed to sites targeting one product. Hmmm, not sure it totally works like this though as one of my Sniper Sites went up to three in the rankings for the relevant search term from page two, whilst two others fell off the radar completely after Penguin. The dust has yet to settle in this respect.

For Sniper Sites, the Amazon affiliate program is ideal, even if the commissions aren’t great. Just pick popular high ticket items to make the returns worth while. If you combine the Sniper Site with some videos about the products posted on Youtube and pointing to your site then some good money can be made.

So if all of this is new to you go and check out the relevant sites and think about whether Sniper Sites are likely to be part of your strategy.

In part two I’ll talk about using affiliate marketing with authority sites.

Speak soon,

Andy

 

Categories : Affiliate Marketing
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