Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
I have taken some time off from updating Online Rookies for the time being. I have been busy working on another online business venture and have recently undertaken a new project. I just launched another site that is dedicated to promoting guest blogging strategies.
Guest blogging is probably the most popular method for people to build links and draw traffic to their sites. Unfortunately, many people have a hard time creating an effective guest blogging campaign. They run into a variety of challenges, which can include:
- Having a hard time generating content that is relevant for the niche they hope to post on
- Having a difficult time finding new guest posts
- Struggling to convince publishers that they are offering high quality content that will benefit their readers
You will need to know what works before you start guest blogging. I hope that you check out my new website Guest Blogging Resources if you want to learn more about content marketing.
I am going to be covering a number of topics on my new site. Among the topics that I am going to cover will include:
- Writing awesome content
- Sourcing sites to guest post on
- Outreach strategies to secure guest posts
- Ways to leverage your guest post to receive the most traffic
- Best practices for incorporating your links into the post for maximum exposure and SEO benefit
Is a Home Based Business a New Way to Financial Freedom?
Deciding to create a home based business is an excellent way to finally fire your boss. You read that correctly. Instead of getting fired or quitting your boring old job, you can now use this different line of thinking. You may work for your boss, but your boss needs you just as much as you need them. This means that you can now fire your boss.
Is a Home Based Business a Good Idea?
Home based businesses are not the best idea for everyone. There are plenty of people who are just not cut out for this type of work. Don’t get blinded with the idea that owning and operating your own home based business is a simple task because it is not. In most cases, you will have to work harder to get your business off the ground. This means that you will often have to put in more hours than you did at your regular full time job. Home based businesses are only right for people that are self-motivated and ready to work. Your business will never get off the ground if you are not ready to put a lot of hard work into it. Not everyone will admit that they consider themselves lazy, but if you do consider yourself lazy, then owning and operating your own home based business will probably not be a good idea.
Giving Your Home Based Business a Jumpstart
Once you have decided that owning and operating your own home based business is a good idea, you will need to do everything you can to make sure that your home based business is a success. There is a really good chance that this is not going to happen overnight, but we have already discussed that it is going to take a lot of work.
However, there are a few great things that you can do to give your new home based business a super boost. One of these things is, creating a website for your business. The benefits of having a website are astronomical.
Your home based business will be able to communicate with people and possible customers from all over the globe. This is something that only large businesses had the opportunity to do in the past. The Internet has leveled the playing field, and it has made it easier for small home based businesses to succeed in what would have otherwise been an impossible task.
Creating Your Home Based Business Website
Having your own website really can help propel your new home based business to success much faster, but not if the website is created incorrectly. If your website is created incorrectly, it will be nothing more than an anchor that holds your business back. This is not what any business wants, especially a new home based business. Anything that slows your business down can really make things very difficult in the long run. The entire purpose of the website is to make your business more of a success. Make sure that your small business website is created correctly. This may mean that you need to hire a team of professionals to do it for you.
Michael Jones is a freelance writer who enjoys contributing his wealth of knowledge to many internet websites and blogs. He knows how important the Internet can be for every business. He also notes how important Web Design Nottingham is for businesses located within that area.
In the SEO game, link building has always been the number one way to earn SEO value for your site. Since the beginning of search engine optimization, this has always been the tried and true tactic of pushing google’s algorithm to view your site as highly valued. In this article, we’re going to explore a new and emerging SEO currency that’s been noticed by top gurus in the past 3 – 4 months. This new currency is called “Co-Citations”.
You see, what these professional SEO’s were noticing, were sites that were ranking highly for a given keyword phrase; yet had little to no inbound links with that keyword anchor text – and no pages with that title text either. What these ranking sites did have, were several relevant mentions across the web within text, where their brand or web domain was featured (not even linked) next to the search keyword phrases. These instances that absolutely do not represent links, but obviously do contribute to SEO value have been named Co-Citations
Why is this change happening?
What this means, is that as usual, google’s algorithm is getting even smarter. … and sure, it’s always gotten smarter – identifying poor quality spam links, or refining the HTML tag quality review of a given site, but this is different. Google is no longer really scanning the web like a robot; their scanning the web the way the human eye would. Think about it; if you were doing research manually on the web for relevant sites in an industry, would you care if the referring site actually linked out to the other site? Absolutely not – you have eyes, you can read and process the mention, or “citation” of that site, and attribute the value on your own. Now that’s exactly what google is doing – so it’s time to start thinking less about SEO “tips and tricks”, and more about creating quality content across the web.
Example of link citation
To further clarify exactly what Co-Citations are, let’s take a quick look at the following example:
Let’s say the following co-Citation example is for an off road tire store called JC Whitney, and the actual citation exists on a tire blog called offraodtireblog.com. The Co-Citation on offraodtireblog.com would look like this:
“For the best off road tires, check out JC Whitney – they rock!”
You can see that in the citation, there is neither anchor keyword text – or even the JC Whitney domain name… Yet in the below screen cap, you can see that they are the number two natural search result for the keywords “off road tires” – and furthermore, the resulting landing page doesn’t even feature the keywords “off road” in its page header, or description tag. This search result predominance is a direct result of the “Co-Citation”, and others like it – that include JC Whitney’s brand name in close proximity with relevant keyword text.
Google is actually smart enough to see a brand name, and then match up the domain URL that corresponds to that brand to attribute the SEO value – without any linking involved.
This is a guest post from Korah with some great tips about using a “Call to action” button. The advice is great for both experts and newbies alike. Here are some tips you should take into consideration.
How does the size affect its page prominence and impact?
The size of your “Call to action” button needs to be consistent with your website’s layout. A larger call to action may be fine if you have a lot of content on your website. A smaller “Call to action” button is going to be buried if you have a lot of content. But a larger “Call to action” button on that page would look out of place. That is why it may be a good idea to put more than one “Call to action” button on a content heavy page.
Make it too big and it will look like an image
If a “Call to action” button is too big then a user will automatically assume it is an image that is hyperlinked to another website unless the call to action is clearly stated (such as a “buy it now” button). A larger button will work if it actually is a link to another landing page. People are more likely to recognize a call to action button if it is a more reasonable size.
Is the color appealing, boring or threatening?
The color of your “Call to action” button is going to have some sort of emotional response attached to it. A blood red call to action that is shadowed with black or darker red is going to look threatening. One that is caterpillar green will look more dull. A dark blue may come across as authoritative or trustworthy, depending upon your user’s cultural upbringing (for example, the Chinese see red as lucky not threatening).
Is the color passive or does it demand attention?
This is a very subjective quality. A number of things determine how well a button will grab someone’s attention. This includes the shape, background, size, text and font. As a rule of thumb, you should try to use the same colors you use for your branding efforts. However, you may find better conversions if the color contrasts to the colors on your website.
PayPal made the brave move of making their calls-to-action dark yellow. It is dark enough to stand out against their white background, but is in-fact a stark contrast color to their dark blue brand colors.
Does it stand out from the background?
Many amateur web designer make the mistake of trying to make their call to action button stand out in a flashy way. However, being too conservative can be a problem too. You need to find a happy medium between being sexy and flashy like Las Vegas and being cultured and refined like San Francisco.
Does the shape fit into the page design?
This question may seem nit-picky, but you would be surprised how many people put a star shaped “Call to action” button on a modular and boxy web page. Many designers use a square “Call to action” button on websites that are built around a more circular design.
Do not go out of your way to match web page shapes with your “Call to action” button, but make sure that the two are not at odds. For example, a web page that is boxy and modular will often look good with a rectangular “Call to action” button that has round edges (like a pill). A distended oval shaped “Call to action” button often looks good on websites with a circular design so long as the text does not look out of place on it.
Does the shape look like a “Call to action” button or an image?
The shape of a button can confuse users as to what its function is. For example, a box shaped “Call to action” button is often mistaken for an image because people are used to seeing images in boxes. Round “Stop” and “Go” buttons are also often mistaken for links or images, instead of being recognized as “Call to action” buttons.
Where it is placed on your page?
The “Call to action” button’s prominence on the page is one thing, as is its contrast from surrounding content. It needs to stand out enough so that a user does not have to search for it, but cannot be so imposing that it puts a person off. Some marketing agents would say that a call-to-action should scream at a user, but this technique doesn’t seem to work as well anymore. A good landing page should be so convincing inspire the user to look for a “Call to action” button.
Is the language used on the “Call to action” button correct?
The text on the button needs to support the message you are trying to convince. You probably won’t sell too many high quality products with a “Call to action” button that reads: “Cheap prices only a click away”.
Does the “Call to action” button look like a malware download?
Some buttons are commonly used by malware designers to trick their visitors into downloading their programs. Make sure you know what these buttons look like so you don’t use them. Your call to action button shouldn’t look intimidating in any way.
Can you make the “Call to action” button look more familiar?
People are more comfortable using something they are already familiar with. That’s why most websites use similar looking shopping carts. Try to can create a “Call to action” button that looks like one they have used before so your users feel safer clicking it.
This is a guest post from Maria Elena Duron of buzz2bucks.com
When it comes to social, there is a right way and there is a wrong way. While it’s easy enough to sign up and create an account, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your social success is going to be that easy. There are a few prominent mistakes made by users that can really hinder their online campaign, costing them not only visibility, but the opportunity they would have to share their brand with the audience.
Becoming the predictable
This is perhaps the number one mistake that users aren’t even aware of. Everyone has their own interests and topics that they enjoy, but that isn’t always what social is about. Consider the fact that old news gets old real quick, especially when it comes to social network trends. If you post the same material repeatedly, the audience may resort to ignoring your future posts.
Generate fresh data regularly through multiple means. While the basis of your brand is important to maintain, how you deliver it and how you can relate it to today’s trends will affect how interesting you are. If you’re constantly posting comments and photos, toss in a question or a video to mix things up. Generating material that the audience can share is the most important part of a social presentation and is the key to word of mouth marketing.
Setting up and forgetting it was there
Another issue is the one we are aware of, but perhaps choosing to ignore. However, it is the elephant in the room, so we need to pay attention to what’s going on around us. Social sites are indeed easy enough to sign up for, but are also commonly neglected.
The basic solution is to tend to your social regularly. If you can’t, then don’t use that social forum. Being unresponsive is something an audience will pick up on very quickly. And when the audience feels ignored, that is the image they’ll have of your brand. Leave a good image by being responsive and responsible with your social.
Using a social site the wrong way
Each social network has its own audience and specific marketing approach. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that everyone understands how to use each social site individually. A Twitter audience may not want to see your Facebook posts. Pinterest followers may not necessarily want to see a picture of your blog.
Pay attention to who your audience is and what media best displays your brand image. It’s good to interlink your social networks, just be sure you aren’t creating posts that a social audience isn’t going to be able to relate to or may perceive as spam-like.
Failure to engage
The most detrimental of all mistakes is the failure to engage. While you might be generating new and fresh posts and otherwise actively using your social network, it is important to note that activity does not mean productivity.
Engaging the audience requires the understanding that you not only share with them, but also interact with them. Do you communicate to them? Invite them? Share with them? Interact with the audience. Don’t just talk to them, talk with them.
Take the time to study your social campaign and ensure that it avoids these particularly detrimental mistakes. As long as you can approach the right audience the right way, your online social experience will be a productive experience for your brand.
Maria Elena Duron, is CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks.com – a word of mouth marketing firm. She helps create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand by providing direct services, workshops and webinars. Maria Duron is co-founder and moderator of #brandchat - a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.
Social media can be a powerful sales tool for businesses; however, many businesses that try to use social media as part of their marketing strategy are disappointed with the results. The problem isn’t that social media isn’t an effective tool for their business. The real issue is that they don’t understand how to invest their resources in social media to ensure they get the best results. Here are some factors that you need to take into consideration when you develop a social media marketing plan for your business to get the best possible results. Getting Followers Shouldn’t Be Your Bottom Line Many people spend most of their time and energy trying to get more followers. On the surface, this strategy seems to make sense. There is an obvious correlation between the number of followers you have and the sales you can gain through social media. But how strong is that connection? There are other metrics that you will need to focus on as you strive to increase sales. Try to increase engagement and popularity with your customers. What Should Your Social Media Marketing Plan Be? Social Media Examiner recently published a post that detailed the core elements of any social media strategy. They found that many people focus purely on building exposure for themselves. This is an important step, but there are three other factors that you will need to focus on: • Holding your visitors’ attention and keeping them engaged so they would like to come back. • Converting your visitors into customers. • Objectively measuring the success of your social media campaign. That is the only way you can fine-tune your strategy and optimize it for better results. Some businesses understand these requirements, but don’t go about it the right way. They believe that they are going to increase engagement by posting interesting information and waiting for conversions to follow. The best way to engage with your customers and generate future sales is to focus on solving problems for your visitors. You will need to get creative about how you go about this. Learn what types of problems your prospective customers are facing and use your social media account to give them helpful information to address their problems. You can use social media search tools to see what people are talking about to help them address these problems. Let’s assume you own an auto repair business. You could use social media to share information with people who want to know how to use their oil more efficiently. Sharing this information will help you look like a more authoritative source and will encourage more people to consider your services than if you simply spammed your followers to buy your services. Measure You always need to have a feedback loop in any marketing plan you develop. Collect data on the conversion rates for each of your social media strategies. This will help you make necessary improvements to your strategy to get better results down the road. Use an Effective Strategy for Your Social Media Plan Too many people fail to utilize their social media plan effectively. Stop looking at your social media campaign as a popularity contest and start trying to get results with it. You will get more out of your social strategy if you invest your efforts in the right direction. This is a guest post from Kalen Smith of Salesdrive.info.
Many people use their iPhones as data storage devices. You can also transfer files from your phone to
your computer if you want to Photoshop them, add them to your database or view on a larger screen.
Transferring files from your iPhone to your computer can be difficult at times. This is because Apple and
a number of other firms are taking measures to prevent copyright infringement.
Fortunately, it is still possible to move data from your iPhone to PC. There are a variety of third party
applications that can help you do the transfer. Many of them require you to pay for their premium
services, but they are affordable and worth the price if you are going to be moving data between your
devices on a regular basis. Below are some of the tools you can take advantage of.
FileAid is a free application developed by CompuWare. You can find it in the app store. One of the key
features of this application is that it will help you move files between your iPhone and PC. All you will
need to do is:
• Connect your iPhone to a computer through a USB
• Enter your computer’s IP address
• Transfer the files over
You can also use a Bluetooth connection to transfer files instead of a USB, but there may be limitations
on how much data you can move.
DiskAid is another app that can help you transfer data from your smartphone device to PC. This is a
great tool for moving large media files such as music and videos.
DiskAid has both a free and premium version available. You can use the free version to transfer an
unlimited number of files to your PC. Many iPhone users feel that they don’t need to pay for the
premium version when the free version already gives you so much. However, the paid version does offer
additional features that may be helpful. You can use it to transfer your text messages and call history as
well. You will need to decide what types of data you will be transferring before deciding which version
will suit you.
I included this product in the list because I want to advise you that you may not want to buy it. There
is a lot of hype about it, but it may not be what you are looking for. I personally haven’t used it, but am
not impressed with the reviews I have read. Lenogo is an application that many people use to transfer
audio files from their iPhone device. Some people have written good reviews online. However, many
reviewers that are on CNet have raised a number of concerns with the device. This product costs about
$30, so you may want to be careful before buying it.
Transferring data from your iPhone to PC doesn’t have to be difficult. You just need to make sure you
use the right application. I think DiskAid and FileAid are good apps to help your migrate date from your
smartphone device to your computer.
Kalen writes for Dotcells.com, where he writes about used At&T cell phones.
According to a recent US based study, unborn babies brainwaves have been found to mess with payroll systems and cause expecting mothers to be shortchanged on their paychecks.
In a word, yes.
Oh, you wanted more than that??? Well, alright then… J
When it comes to promoting your website, you have tons of different options to consider. You can improve your on-site optimization in a bid to secure traffic from the natural search results, you can promote your site using press releases, article directories or social networking sites – or, you can even pay for traffic via pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements.
But out of all of these various methods, one of my very favorites is guest posting. As a guest author, you write articles that will appear on other peoples’ websites. When done well, this technique can lead to an influx of new subscribers and customers.
Here’s why I like guest posting, beyond its obvious potential to drive traffic to my sites:
- Guest posting is “Google-proof.” Plenty of Google’s recent moves – including the Panda and Penguin updates and the devaluation of the blog networks – have targeted low value links and the low quality content that often accompanies them. As a guest poster, you’re contributing worthwhile content to other sites – something that Google has bent over backwards to encourage.
- Guest posting increases your perceived authority. Posting as a guest author on multiple sites gives the impression that you’re an expert in your field who’s “everywhere at once.” As people get used to seeing your name on sites around your niche, your perceived authority will grow – likely resulting in a steady stream of new customers and repeat site visitors.
- Guest posting builds backlinks to your site. Not only do guest posts directly drive traffic back to your site, but they also increase your visitor counts indirectly by providing the relevant, high quality backlinks needed to drive your website higher in the natural search results. It’s a win-win situation!
Of course, you shouldn’t just listen to me. If you aren’t sold on the power of guest posting on other authors’ sites, consider the following case studies of bloggers who have struck it big with guest articles:
- Maneesh Sethi, author of the Hack The System blog, estimates that a single guest post on Scott H. Young’s site will earn him an extra $12,000+/year in profits as a result of the additional email list subscribers his guest article generated.
- Bamidele Onibalusi, the writer of the popular YoungPrePro website, is a major guest posting proponent, who credits this technique with helping his website generate more than $8,000/month in revenue and drive substantial amounts of traffic from some of the top sites in his niche:
- Josh Hanagarne, a librarian, weight lifter and blogger, conducted a 7-week, 42-post guest article writing blitz that enabled him to drive his average monthly visitors from a few hundred to more than 15,000 over a year’s time:
So are you convinced yet? If you’re ready to try out the power of guest blogging for yourself, check out the following tips:
- Be consistent. Realistically, posting a single guest article on another site isn’t going to do much for your website’s traffic flow. And – to be honest – you probably aren’t going to be able to secure guest spots on your industry’s top websites until you can “prove your worth” through past guest posts on other sites. For these reasons, it’s important that you make guest posting a regular part of your website’s promotional plan – not a “one off” activity that you do once before abandoning.
- Be targeted. But while it’s important to post multiple guest articles, don’t take a “willy-nilly” approach to selecting the sites you post on. From both an SEO and a marketing perspective, you’ll see the best results from your guest posting activities if the sites you target for potential guest author opportunities are within your own niche. To find these sites, take a look at the following list of 100+ sites that accept guest blogs, or simply type your industry keywords plus phrases like “guest author” into Google.
- Be valuable. Once you’ve identified the specific sites you’d like to post on, frame your value as a guest author in terms of how you’ll benefit the website owner. Take the time to research what topics are popular on each site in order to draft a well-targeted article proposal, and then – if accepted – go above and beyond to draft and revise the content you submit according to your clients’ specifications. Being a helpful guest author (and not “that guy” who demands placements and submits inferior content) is much more likely to get you invited back for future posts!
What do you think? Have you used guest blogging as a promotional strategy? If so, share your experiences and recommendations in the comments section below!
As I have stated in a previous post, blogging and Internet marketing can be great careers. However, one of the challenges many Internet marketers face is figuring out how to actually make money. Although many bloggers try to monetize their site through advertising, there is another very popular strategy that can be very profitable: affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is similar to referral marketing in many ways. The backbone of affiliate marketing is an agreement between a merchant and an independent marketer. The marketer sells the merchant’s products or services in exchange for a commission on any sales they help generate. The commission paid depends on a variety of factors, including the size and reputation of the merchant, the overall cost of the product and the niche the market is being sold to.
The commission merchants pay their affiliates is about 15-20%. However, the commission can be as low as 1% or as high as 90%. Merchants set their commission on a number of factors such as the price tag of the product, the market size and how exclusive they want the product to be.
Affiliate marketing has become one of the most popular forms of promoting products online.
Advantages of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing can be mutually beneficial to both the merchant and the affiliate. There are a number of reasons affiliate marketing has become so popular:
- Creates exposure for the merchant. One of the biggest reasons merchants use affiliate marketing is to create more exposure. They can use their affiliate campaigns to reach audiences they otherwise would never be able to connect with, because they can take advantage of the reputations, networks and subscriber lists of every affiliate working with them.
- Affiliate marketers don’t need to create their own products. Affiliate marketing allows marketers to escape all the headaches associated with selling their own products. They don’t have to go through the hassle of developing their own products, handle inventory or ship anything out.
- An affiliate marketing business can become self-sufficient. One of the benefits with affiliate marketing is that the business can eventually become self-sufficient. After an affiliate has invested some time setting your business up and generating a sustainable traffic flow to their website, they can just focus on a few basic chores such as maintaining search engine rankings and dealing with bugs on the website.
- Affiliates can create diversified revenue streams. Many Internet marketers attempt to create a handful of their own products instead of promoting those other entrepreneurs developed. Although product creation can be very lucrative, it is also very risky. Affiliate marketers can promote multiple products and collect revenue from each of them. In the meantime, they can still promote products or run advertisements on your website. This gives them the opportunity to create a diversified revenue source.
- Affiliates can adapt to new trends quickly. Many entrepreneurs depend a single product to generate all their revenue. This can be a very big problem, because they can suddenly lose everything if market becomes saturated or the product becomes obsolete. Affiliate marketers don’t face that risk, because they can promote a number of different products.
- Affiliates can create their own marketing strategy. When you become an affiliate marketer, you don’t have to conform to any industry standards. You can create a personal relationship with your website visitors and the followers on your social networking profiles. Therefore, many affiliate enjoy the freedom of connecting with their followers in their own way.
- Can be extremely lucrative. More and more customers are buying products online. As a result, the revenues for affiliate marketers is growing considerably. Due to the lucrativeness of the profession, many affiliate marketers make a lot of money and some have become multi-millionaires.
Although there are a number of great reasons to become an affiliate marketer, there are also some drawbacks you will need to consider.
Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing
As an affiliate marketer, you will have to face some risks and challenges. Some of the drawbacks to affiliate marketing you need to consider include:
- It takes time. You aren’t going to build a successful affiliate marketing business overnight. Although you can create a self-sustaining affiliate business, it can take months to get to that point. Therefore, you should make sure that you have the patient to stick it out and can create a living for yourself in the meantime.
- Revenues are unpredictable. As a freelancer, I get to enjoy having a relatively consistent income. However, after working as an affiliate marketer, I have found that my revenues aren’t quite as predictable. Although many affiliates have found their income to be fairly consistent, it isn’t nearly as stable or predictable as doing freelance or contract work.
- Constant change. Although you can quickly adapt as an affiliate marketer, you are also going to have to deal with constant change. For example, you will have to stay on top of changes with the search engine algorithms if you hope to generate a steady source of relevant traffic. Also, you are going to have to constantly monitor trends in the marketplace to assess what people want. The last thing you want to do is promote a product that outlived its usefulness the previous year.
- You are at the mercy of search engines. Unlike many other types of online businesses, you are going to rely heavily on search engines. This makes you highly reliant on the developments of the search engines. A single change in the search algorithms can wipe your business out overnight. Many affiliate marketers lost everything after the Google Panda update in 2011.
- Your reputation is at risk. Many scam artists rely on affiliate marketing to promote their business. If you are going to be promoting any product online, you must do your due diligence to ensure you are promoting a legitimate product for a scrupulous company. Also, you have to be very careful about how you describe your product. Anything you say that makes you look deceptive or incompetent can ruin your reputation, even if you had honest intentions.
- The laws are complicated. There are many laws related to affiliate marketing and it is imperative you understand them. Many marketers have been charged or sued for violating state laws or FTC regulations.
Affiliate marketing can be complicated and risky. Before you get into the business, you are going to need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages.
Finding Relevant Affiliate Products
There are thousands of affiliate products that you can promote. However, it can often be difficult to find affiliate products that fit into your niche and market.
Darren Rowse is a famous blogger has given a lot of other bloggers advice on this topic. Darren has given a lot of advice to affiliate marketers over his career. One of the biggest mistakes he has seen many affiliates is trying to promote products which are not relevant to their target demographic.
There are a number of ways to find products that you can promote. Some ideas include the following:
- Search affiliate networks. There are a number of directories dedicated to sharing affiliate programs. Sites such as Clickbank, Commission Junction, Affiliate Bot and Logical Media have thousands of products sorted by category. Each of these sites have search features you can use. Also, you can browse different categories to identify products that may be relevant to your niche.
- See what products other affiliates are promoting. Other affiliate marketers are already promoting many great affiliate products. Why not use them to research potential products to promote yourself? Checking out blogs in your niche can give you an idea what kind of affiliate products are out there. Although this can be a great way to research possible products to promote, there are a couple of drawback. One problem is that if you find an affiliate product is launched on a number of different websites, the market may be over-saturated. You may want to consider looking at niche products that have been overlooked by other affiliates.
- Use Google. Google can help you find almost any affiliate product under the sun if you use the right search terms. Try searching the name of your niche followed by the words “affiliate program.” For example, you could find potential affiliate products for your weight loss blog by typing “weight loss affiliate program” into Google.
- Always check out ads. You are going to see a number of ads when you are looking at resources related to your niche. Look at those ads more closely. If you visit the site the ad is pointing to, you may find that the company is launching an affiliate program as well. One thing you could try is typing your keyword into Google and looking at the Adsense ads on the side of the page.
- Network with other marketers. Another great solution is network with other affiliates. Affiliates run across a number of products that may not be relevant to their blog, but may recommend to affiliates in other niches. Participating in communities such as the Warrior Forum, Wicked Fire and ABestWeb can help you connect with other affiliates who can give you some ideas on good products to promote.
There are plenty of different affiliate products that can match the theme of your site. You just need a system for finding them.
How to Promote Affiliate Products
When you promote an affiliate product, you will receive a tracking code which helps you know about all of the products that you have sold. This tracking code is embedded in all links you create, so that the merchant knows to credit you with the sale.
You can put this in any of your links on the Internet. However, you are going to need to be very careful about putting links on other sites. Although some websites allow you to put affiliate links on their sites, others view it as spam and have started to seriously to crack down on allowing affiliate links. For example, Ezine Articles, a well known article directory, has implemented a new policy that significantly limits the use of affiliate links.
Personally, I believe the most effective and safest solution is to create your own website to promote your products on. You will need to assess a niche that people are going to be interested in purchasing. After assessing that niche, you can register a domain name to sell your products.
Once you have registered the domain name, you can start building your site and deciding where to put your affiliate products. You can place banners on your site with your affiliate links. Also, you can create blog posts or pages with your affiliate links embedded in the page.
After you have your site setup, you need to start driving traffic to your site. Although there are a variety of ways to draw traffic, most affiliates will focus heavily on identifying keywords that are relevant to their niche and optimizing for them in the search engines. Attaining a position on the front page of Google will help you make consistent affiliate sales without having to invest a substantial amount of your time.
There are a number of great resources to help you learn more about search engine optimization. However, the field changes so quickly that you will need to keep reading new resources on the topic to keep on top of new developments in the field.
You can experiment with other traffic generation strategies as well, such as article marketing, guest blogging and participating in forums and social media networking sites. Although many marketers debate which strategies are most effective, you should experiment and find out what works best for you.
Common Mistakes Affiliate Marketers Make
Affiliate marketing can be a rewarding business, but it can also be a very difficult one to implement properly. You will have a much better chance of succeeding as an affiliate if you understand the most common affiliate mistakes and try to avoid making them yourself. These mistakes include:
- Targeting a very broad niche. Many affiliates dedicate websites dedicated to very general themes, such as finance, weight loss or web development. The problem with marketing in those niches is that you will be facing a ton of competition. Although it is still possible to run a successful affiliate business within those niches, you will find it much more difficult than if you had a more specific market to target.
- Failing to understand what people want. You won’t get far in any business if you market a product there is no demand for. Therefore, you should research your target market carefully to determine what products people are actually interested in purchasing.
- Failing to match products to your demographic. One affiliate marketer I know had a blog geared towards people who were struggling financially, but tried to market products they couldn’t afford. When you construct a website, you are going to be catering to a specific demographic. You will need to understand what that particular demographic is looking for before you can sell to them.
- Relying on banners. There are two ways you can refer visitors to the product you are promoting: posting banners on your site and actually endorsing the product in post or page. Affiliates tend to prefer the former, because it requires less work. However, affiliates who promote the product through an endorsement make many more sales.
- Selling right off the bat. Most website visitors don’t want to be sold to the first time they come to a site. They need some encouragement, but how do you set the stage to get your visitors to buy from your affiliates? Inform your website visitors about a problem they may experience or are facing already. Then you can casually introduce the product to them within the body of your page.
- Failing to understand the laws. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on many affiliate marketers who aren’t using promotional tools they want to endorse. For example, the FTC prohibits you from misrepresenting your intentions. In other words, you can’t pretend to be an unbiased observer when you are trying to sell a product. A number of marketers have gotten in trouble for this very thing while promoting a product called Acai Berry. Those marketers pretended to be open-minded, unbiased journalists marketing the product. The FTC shut down the websites and seized the assets of 6 affiliate marketers promoting Acai Berry weight loss products in January of 2012.
- Promoting shady products. Many affiliates don’t check the credibility of the products they are promoting. Don’t make that mistake. Promoting a product that fails to stand up to its promises can ruin your own reputation, so make sure you know what you are promoting ahead of time.
- Using obsolete strategies. As the Internet evolves, many of the strategies you try to use are going to become useless. You need to keep up to date on the newest Internet marketing strategies so that you can keep up to pace with the competition.
- You don’t have a plan. Many marketers don’t have any plan for their business. If you intend to get anywhere as an affiliate marketer, you will need to map out your strategy from day one. Otherwise, your chances of making any money will be left to chance.
Affiliate marketing can be a lucrative business, but you need to make sure you set realistic goals for yourself. Although there are millionaires in the field, none of them got where they are overnight. Many affiliate marketers suggest setting the goal of making a few hundred dollars a month for every site that you operate. My goal as an affiliate marketer is to create a steady stream of supplemental income. However, you have the opportunity to make a substantial amount of money if you are willing to work hard and have a solid goal for yourself.