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|How do you promote your affiliate site?|
PPC, SEO, other methods...?
The year 2007 is well underway, so time for a quick survey.
It's been bothering me for a while that certain AM networks talk to their publisher communities as if everyone is doing PPC and there isn't an alternative.
I don't know a thing about PPC - I've never touched it. From the point when I launched my site at the start of 2003, I was only ever interested in SEO. That's still my mainstay, though I indulge in some "social marketing"... and word of mouth down the pub never hurts, I've found (especially if I have a couple of spare business cards on me).
Who else here has yet to take up PPC or only uses it as a minor promotional tool (ie. PPC makes up less than 50% of promotional efforts)? Is there anyone who has been a PPC pure-player until now but who is now starting to think about other methods of promotion?
While we're on the subject, does anyone want my Adwords vouchers? >;->
Thanks for agreeing with me. But I do have to disagree on one of your points. It was brought up somewhere else (can't remember), but if you attain the "blue box" position above the natural SERP's in PPC, you can/should attain a 30%+ CTR. I've gotten over 50% ctr, which means I get the click for every two impressions on that term. It is my understanding then, that for listings that have PPC "blue box" ads, that they get FAR more clicks than even the #1 natural SERP for that term (showing up underneath). However, if there are no blue box listings, then yes, the top SERP would get more clicks.
May I ask the ones who are using PPC, how long have you been doing this? It seems like if you started early (a few years back) and have established a good history (high CTR), it is much easier. But if you want to get to a high position for competitive keywords now, you have to spend a lot more to stay on the first page. It does not seem to be profitable unless the program pays very well.
I tried PPC for half an year in 2005, then got frustrated because with my low bid price ($0.05 to $0.2), I could not get a high position for most keywords. In addition, Google keeps changing their policy, like you cannot bid on trademark, brand name etc.
Now I build my own sites and use SERP primarily but it does take a long time (almost 1 year) before I can actually make money from the sites.
|take a long time (almost 1 year) before I can actually make money from the sites. |
It may take a year with Google - actually longer, if you're not pursuing links; I'm just starting to get traffic on one site launched last year, and Yshoo wasn't as fast either, but now they've surpassed MSN for traffic.
But as of a few months ago, you could be making decent money with MSN traffic alone. They're taking a bit longer to index lately, but still - it's worth studying up on what they like, because their traffic converts.
For people who do multiple sites, at this point in time I think it's a pretty good idea to do a site launch every few months, diversifying verticals and keeping seasonal factors in mind (but that's a whole subject in its own right).
I do use both PPC and SEO, but usually the PPC comes first, as it proves wich keywords convert.
The trick to establishing a high CTR is to bid high first, then quickly prune out the keywords that don't convert. Then, over time, you can gradually reduce your bids.
A keyword with a high CTR will outrank one with a low CTR and a higher bid, because the PPC engine sees the higher CTR ad as being more profitable to them.
Anyone utilizing the social networks or any sort of web 2.0 sites to promote their aff stuff?
Yes: MySpace, Orkut, Friends Reunited (!), Google Groups, a whole bunch of social bookmarking sites and plans for more including flickr this year.
My market involves consumable goods, i.e. repeat purchases. Email marketing is huge for me. Once I've acquired a customer via PPC or SEO I can usually keep getting more purchases through email. I guess this only works if you capture contact info (like I do).
I might try some targetted offline media this year. I'm thinking magazine. Anyone tried this? I suppose it varies so widely by market.
Rufus...I've often thought that myself. Older accounts seem to have a slight advantage in terms of "built up" CTR history. For new accounts, you have to prove in a hurry that your keywords are legit and get good ctr. The bidding high, bleeding for a while, trimming, and then being profitable bears some repeating.
Ronin..How do those social networks convert for you? Or, is it dependent on industry as to whether they are effective or not?
|Ronin..How do those social networks convert for you? |
From running three groups on Orkut (which involves very little work - a little moderation and the occasional post), I get a couple of new visitors (4-5) per day to my site. On average I have a retention of 9-10%, so for every twelve new visitors I can expect to see one new regular reader.
The other sites are almost negligible sources of traffic - but then I don't put any effort into them either. If I get one visitor a week to my site from them though, that's one visitor I wouldn't have otherwise had.
|I might try some targetted offline media this year. I'm thinking magazine. Anyone tried this? I suppose it varies so widely by market. |
depends on the product/service you offer probably.
we used to do it from time to time and it was always a failure.
Three more or less possible reasons come to my mind:
a/ our service is bad for that - unlikely
b/ you need to advertise on steady basis, i.e. ads in several issues of the magazine in a row, to get noticed. - likely
c/ our ads were always pants and people were not interested in what we offered - maybe
Need to prepare a longer campaign to be successful. One shot will never be a success IMO.
So if you plan anything get more money and negotiate a campaign in more than one issue of the target magazine.
I applaud those who have managed, over time, to build quality affiliate marketing sites. I've done it in the past, and it has worked and should continue to work for older, well established sites .
However, my experience persuades me that in order to succeed today in the affiliate game with new, or purchased domains, you have to sacrifice quality for quantity. I define the affiliate game to include anything that will generate revenue, aside from being a merchant, including Adsense, etc.
Here's a ten part simple strategy that will run contrary to much of what you see on this board:
1. Stay organic and accept underachievement. Its cheaper.
2. Build a multiplicity of underachiever sites in as wide a variety of niches as you can find. If you have 500 underachiever sites earning an average of $1.00 per day each, that's $3,500/wk.
3. Optimize each site using keywords and on-page stuff (good internal linking,etc). Long tail is your salvation.
4. Submit the sites to lots of directories.
5. Rewrite plr articles about the topic with links back to your relevant sites and submit them to article directories.
6. Cast all caution to the wind and do link exchanges. This can be expedited in category specific ways.
7. As an option, as time allows, do blogs where you evaluate affiliate products and services with links to your money pages.
8. Above all, don't spend too much time on any one phase. Make it only good enough for "government work" which is good enough for the SEs. Move on!
9. Keep building! Keep Building!
10. Don't be a perfectionist.
I know there are those who will regard this as blood sucking, webmastering anathama in violation of all that's held dear in purist ivory towers. None of what I suggest is blackhat, although you could choose to toss some of that into the mix if you're willing to risk the odd banning.
Do all this consistently and you'll be diversified and not so much in jeopardy of Google, Yahoo and MSN hiccups. Your bank account will be pleased as well.
[edited by: Go60Guy at 10:21 pm (utc) on Feb. 3, 2007]
So, how long does it take to get your sites earning tha $1 per day
with adsense, it seems that 100 pageviews gets about $1,
With affiliate ads, nothing seems to work for me right now, so i'm guessing one needs far more traffic to get affiliate marketing to work
|So, how long does it take to get your sites earning that $1 per day |
Obviously it depends on a myriad of factors. Not all sites will earn $1.00/day. Some will earn more. With newly launched sites, assuming you do what's suggested, a rule of thumb would be about six months.
The task is to keep the pipeline filled with sites that are maturing and getting more traffic and better rankings.
"If you have 500 underachiever sites earning an average of $1.00 per day each, that's $3,500/wk. "
And if you have one site properly promoted with PPC, then you could make that every day, with a whole lot less work. 500 sites! What an utter waste of time.
|And if you have one site properly promoted with PPC, then you could make that every day, with a whole lot less work. 500 sites! What an utter waste of time. |
Hehe, yeah 500 is not nearly enough. To make big bucks one needs 50,000. :)
PPC? Ehh, i read through your forum and it seems there are maybe 5-10 guys making $20-80k a month (maybe one or two a bit more). Thats a horrific month on SEO. $20k monthly is like ONE decent term in google.com, lol. The other hundreds of members in your affiliate network seem to make like $400 a month and work more than the clerks at 7-11!
Other than the large scale arbitrage guys, I have yet to come across anyone doing PPC only that does remotely near what the larger SEO guys do.
Anyway, I noticed a few times when people mentioned quite a few sites you screamed back that it was this huge waste of time. You do realize that their is technology that makes this process take less time than it does for you to finsih typing your sentence, correct?
One thing I've appreciated, thankfully, in hanging around WebmasterWorld for a number of years is the respect that almost everyone displays for the opinions of others. Occasionally, you'll come accross an an exception. There are plenty of other boards where you can flame to your heart's content.
[edited by: eljefe3 at 3:48 am (utc) on Feb. 5, 2007]
go60, i think the advice you gave is useful, and I am 100% positive it can help some here. Nothing worng with many, many stream of revenue. Diversification is key IMO.
It is useful in the sense that it might lead what could be future competition into making low quality sites. So I encourage it. Make 1000 $1 a day sites, then you'll be rich. 1000 is low, aim high.
"However, my experience persuades me that in order to succeed today in the affiliate game with new, or purchased domains, you have to sacrifice quality for quantity."
Of course you can succed today making quality sites, quality lasts. Quality has a better chance of staying and generating traffic in the SERPS. It's easy to advertise for a quality site than a not so quality site. As far as diversification, have a few quality sites. But to each his own.
[edited by: eljefe3 at 3:54 am (utc) on Feb. 5, 2007]
I never said a word about making garbage sites. That's your unwarranted assumption.
"Build a multiplicity of underachiever sites"
That's just my definition of a non quality site. $1 a day underachiever sites. But if you think that's the road to riches, the go for it. If you think that's the way to make it today, it's just one of the topics we're just going to have to agree to disagree on.
[edited by: eljefe3 at 3:52 am (utc) on Feb. 5, 2007]
Good grief! We're talking about the affiliate game here, not expecting the Pulitzer Prize. If I want to make a gem, and I've made some IMO, I'll do it, but not in the affiliate arena. Quantity succeeds. Don't listen to me, listen to mfishy. He's put it all into practice. That's a fact.
And, IMO, there isn't a speck of gibberish in any site I've done. Its just that it makes no sense to waste time bringing affiliate content up to my more exacting standards.
This thread has had some real good tips and ideas in here and i'd like to see the thread stay.
Can we please try to stay civil and not be disrespectful to other members with whom you happen to disagree with.
I think what it comes down to is that there isn't just one "right" way to go about being successful, and likely you'll be even more successful if you implement more than one technique as a diversification safety net.
I personally appreciate the posts that encourage others not to be perfectionists and bury themselves in a single site. That advice works for me because I like to think that I have high standards and don't want to produce junk, and so my risk is in not diversifying enough. I have a few money-making sites now and the experience of building a bunch more that didn't make money.
Being encouraged to keep trying new stuff is what I need to hear to keep me headed in the right direction. I doubt that I will get near 500 money-making sites, but I now operate in a way that might make that possible. I try to build frameworks and tools that I can reuse in different ways on different sites. Keeping in mind that I'm creating something that's not just a solution to the problem at hand, but something that might fit in other future solutions has come to me in part from postings that suggest achieving success by building many sites that each produce a small income. Thanks for the tip!
In reality, what this thread should be about is developing business models for affiliate marketing.
Early in internet history and website development, the term "affiliate" carried a very bad connotation. Its very mention conjured up the stereotype of "banner farm", and, indeed, there were many of those. At most, serious web developers might put up a link or banner on their site in the hope that a little revenue would be gererated to defray hosting and other costs. As things evloved, however, some experienced web folks began to see that there may be a way of turning affiliate marketing into a business in and of itself.
For a while, it was easy, and " instant overnight success" operating as an affiliate was not just legend, but reality. Nowadays, its only the provence of infomercials.
I'm not suggesting that a having limited number of quality sites will not yield good results, nor that PPC isn't a viable option. But, all approaches carry risk.
Over the years here on WebmasterWorld, the stories are legion of superb quality sites with lagoons full of high quality back links, etc. getting tanked on Google or elsewhere for no apparent reason. That's impetus enough to insulate against risk by spreading things out as broadly as possible.
So, if you're going to diversify into a multiplicity of sites, your going to have to cut some corners. Does this mean that you have to produce junk. I say no.
Look at it this way. In the law schools, they say that the A students become professors, the B students become judges and the C students make all the money. Spend enough time on each site to get a C and keep moving on into niche after niche.
I am also a fan of having a variety of sites. Nowhere near 500, but enough so that, at least so far, I've been at least somewhat insulated to most algo changes. Usually if one sites goes down with an algo change then a different one will go up. Each year my income stays fairly steady, but the sites that bring in that income may change a fair bit. All of my traffic comes from either the free serps, bookmarks or from links on other sites.
I do have some sites that make only $1 or $2 a day, but they aren't junky sites. They are just ones I don't have a lot of time to work on right now. But if any of my major sites got wiped out for some reason, then I have some indexed and not sandboxed sites I could start expanding.
Discussion of business models is great, and it's fantastic to see differences and how each person is having success with different models and methods.
I think it's always most productive to see each person talk about the success they are having with their method, and leave out the bashing of someone else's method.
If you're just starting out, dabble and experiment a bit with each model. Figure out through experimentation and experience which way you enjoy the most and which way you're most successful. The best way to learn is through experience and doing, and keep your mind open to other approaches.
I don't know how one can maintain 100 or 500 sites at the same time. I only have 5 sites but I already feel I don't have enough time to do what I want to do (keyword research, writing content, articles, getting links, etc.). I try to think what information / content my visitors would like to see for that niche and write content about them.
Sometimes, it puzzles me how people can write hundreds or thousands of pages of unique, original content or maintain hundreds of sites at the same time.
I suppose if you use software to generate hundreds of microsites, PPC would be the only way to promote it as I don't think you will get good ranking or enough visitors from search engines?
I can see how I could have hundreds of sites. I developed a site that is an affiliate for a business with a broad range of different products. I promote one kind of product on one site, and a different kind on another site. The sites are developed using some common elements and techniques, yet they look quite different from each other.
I wish that I had more time to devote to that effort, but along the way I decided to create a big, daily task for myself with my main site. It's making money and satisfying work, but it keeps me from doing more with my other sites and with new sites that I'd like to build. The nice part is that I'm really enjoying what I'm doing, even if it does mean making less money or not being more diversified. Not such a bad problem, I think...
I have never tried PPC ads, and rely completely on SEO, other sites, etc. for my traffic.
|I try to match buyers with sellers. If I were to promote a program that featured hotels in Kalamazoo, I would not write about the place, publish photos, articles and throw up ads about hotels. Rather I would do everything I could to avoid people looking for information and find the people looking to book rooms and get them to the "order" page ASAP. |
I was given this excellent advice 6 years ago by one who watched me getting hung up building sites that were supposed to be the end all. Told me to cut the fluff and target that buyer who is on a mission to buy. Then once he gets there, get out of his way and dont sidetrack him on his way to the register.
Agreed. In my experience the best aff sites are those that offer the visitor 2 options; buy something or go away.
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