E-commerce businesses are the newfangled way to make money.
Every Tom and his wife Sally, who own a computer and have an internet connection, are on the lookout to earn money online and affiliate websites are the easiest way to do it. Or so they think.
An affiliate website makes money by displaying advertisement banners on its sides. They also have text links that take you to the website where you can purchase a product or a service. Affiliate marketing is performance based, meaning that the website will only receive a commission if the reader who clinked on the link also buys the product or service.
So, for example, you are reading an article about Disney’s movie Frozen’s mugs which links to Amazon. If you click the link and end up buying a mug from Amazon, the website that sent you to Amazon’s website will earn a commission.
Affiliate marketing is not just about stringing a bunch of words that link to websites and pasting a whole lot of banner ads on every page. Such a website would not generate a lot of traffic and traffic is essential because every reader of your website is a potential customer.
The more potential customers you have, the more revenue you can earn. Hence, the key to making money, from an affiliate website, is to increase traffic.
And here is how you can go about it:
1. Find Your Niche
If you try to please everybody, you will end up pleasing nobody.
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You need to know your audience and work on publishing relevant content. For example, if your website focuses on coupons, do not try publishing content of meteor strikes. Having relevant quality content is not enough, the content needs to be updated regularly, as well. There is no incentive for visitors to keep coming back if you do not continue to provide fresh content, periodically.
Deciding on a niche should not be too difficult. There are millions of ideas that you can tap into, from nutrition to pregnancy, from how-stuff-works to product reviews. Making your website on something of interest to you is more likely to keep you dedicated to your work and give a higher sense of job satisfaction and fulfillment as well.
Finding your niche is not limited to the topic of your website. Choosing the right products to promote is important too. You can start by scanning affiliate marketplaces such as ClickBank and ShareASale. If a product is going viral, it is more likely to generate traffic to your website and be sold to visitors.
You can use BuzzSumo to figure out which products are getting the most social shares. Finally, there is always YouTube where there are tons of videos available on niche marketing and how to use it most effectively.
2. Power of Social Media
Use social media effectively to encourage more visitors to your affiliate website.
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Post often and keep your posts limited to helpful, reliable and relevant information, to keep visitors interested.
Communication lines should remain open at all times, so be available to answer questions in a timely manner. Communicating and networking online with people that have shared interests also helps draw more eyes to your web pages and, hence, results in more organic traffic headed your way.
Blogs works in two ways to drive traffic to your affiliate website.
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Firstly, well-researched and/or funny blogs are great for posting high quality content. Try blogging as much as possible; we are talking about posting 3 to 5 times a week. But also maintain a schedule so that you become a disciplined blogger and so that your regular visitors know when to expect fresh content.
Blogs can be anything, from rants about why people cut into lines and Monday morning blues to solutions of problems targeted towards people within your niche. Incredibly long blog posts don’t hold people’s attention span for long and they may miss the links in the article as a result. Your aim should be for balanced articles that are informative and helpful.
Regularly check your analytics to get an idea about what type of devices the majority of your audience is using to view your content. For example, if the bulk of your visitors read your blogs on the mobile, you will lose them if you post long articles with bulky paragraphs. Break the topic of blogs down into a series and use smaller paragraphs if that is the case.
Secondly, blogs also work hand in hand with social media, since they get liked or shared. This also increases the traffic generation to your website.
4. Pay A Visit – Guest Blogging
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Your guest blogs should be strong with a wow factor high enough for visitors to go to your website to check out your content.
Think quid pro quo. Allow guest posts on your website so that you can have a symbiotic relationship with other websites linking to you and your website linking to others. To do so, familiarize yourself with websites that also target your niche.
Read their rules for publishing guest content and contact them with your piece along with a suggestion, for a reciprocal relationship.
There is no point wasting your content on websites that do not have a lot of traffic to begin with. A good way to gauge whether the website you are pitching to is popular or not is the number of comments on most of its posts. If they have at least 10 to 20 comments on most of their blogs, then it is worth investing time and effort in.
Who doesn’t love free stuff? This strategy works for brick and mortar stores as much as e-commerce websites.
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Hosting a giveaway on your website is one surefire way of boosting your traffic. However, your giveaway should be relevant to your niche and useful. No one wants something that is of no use, even if it’s free of charge. If you have nothing to give away, you could write an eBook or record a webinar that is pertinent to your field.
6. Keyword Pitfalls
Since linking keywords is what enables a website to earn commission, site owners may be tempted to focus on words that have high buyer intent. The risk with this strategy is that it ignores the necessity of keyword diversity.
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If you rely too heavily one a few keywords, your site could be penalized by search engines because of which you will stop showing up high in lists of search results. For example, if a customer is researching the effects of drinking red raspberry leaf tea and your website is buried on page 25 of Google search results, no one is going to visit it. So, when building links, keep in mind to vary the anchor text and not weigh it down too heavily with the use of keywords.
7. Title Tags
As important as traffic is, it is not the end all and be all of commission.
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Just because a lot of people visit a shop doesn’t mean that everyone is buying something from it. Yes, it increases the probability of it but most sales occur when the people visiting the shop are the ones with an intent to buy. For example, having a very pretty shop front in a locality with a lot of female traffic would not result in sales if you are selling power tools.
Similarly, you do not just want a lot of visitors to your website, you want qualified traffic, which means visitors who looking for what you are offering on your website. This requires properly written title tags that will help search engines locate your site and generate quality traffic for it.
Title tags that are deceptively written may generate traffic in the beginning but it could result in search engines penalizing your ranking. Using correct keywords in titles, captions and content can effectively filter visitors and direct those to your website that are ready to convert from lead to sales.
Affiliate marketing is a business model that allows you to go straight to marketing and sales, forgoing product development. You don’t even need to carry the risk of unproven products; you can build your website around products and services that have a proven track record of solid sales, resulting in solid commissions for you.
The success of this model may result in you building several affiliate websites. In that case you may need a CRM pipeline management system to effectively juggle qualified traffic for all your websites and products. Not only would it enhance customer experience for your clients whose third party products you link to your website, it would also streamline your internal customer care related processes. Once all your customer data is in one location, handling interactions becomes a lot more efficient.
By finding your niche market and posting relevant content on it along with using social media efficiently will help you increase the traffic on your affiliate website by leaps and bounds.
However, don’t forget that guest blogging and giving giveaways and avoiding keyword pitfalls will make you even more successful in growing traffic and generating sales from your affiliate website.