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Newbie advice on Affiliates

     
2:04 am on Apr 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Please bear with me... I'm starting out.

I'm an IT professional that wants to move into online sales. After years of commuting, I want to increase my quality of life by doing something I can do at home.

I'm not keen on writing content etc. for blogs etc.

Question is, can affiliate programs be lucrative enough to earn your main living from?

I also have ideas of becoming a merchant, but feel that it's a bit premature to go spending around 30k GBP on goods before I have a busy website.

Ultimately, my goal is to earn around 75k GBP/year online.

I am self sufficient in my IT field and have no problems working with complicated databases/unix/datafeed/html etc.

Are affiliate programs the way to go, or are there other areas I should also consider?
3:52 am on Apr 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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no problems working with complicated databases/unix/datafeed/html etc


Those skills are useful, but they're not what matters most here. IMHO the skill sets that are of central importance for a would-be affiliate are:
(1) market research (so you're aiming at a worthwhile target), and
(2) promotion (because it takes traffic to make anything happen).

Getting started as an affiliate is harder than it used to be.

Some people do indeed earn their living from affiliate marketing, but it takes lots of well-targeted traffic to achieve that.

If you're not keen on writing content, then you have a challenge, because it will take intelligent content to draw the traffic you'd need.

Do some thinking about what topics interest you, and also do some careful research to locate affiliate merchants that have products or services that would relate to those topic areas. You want a topic that is of personal interest to you but even more important, you want an area with enough commercial activity that you'd have a reasonable chance to monetize your content.
3:58 am on Apr 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Living wages off the web are becoming more difficult. Right topic, right content, it can be done. Just not easy to do.
5:13 pm on Apr 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I know it's not niche, but I was thinking of a travel website with a dataload feed. My plan was to customise it so it would be very unique to use. The idea being that once it is all setup, I can automate a data feed that I think would be required for such a site.

Initially, I was thinking of an ecommerce site. But then I'd probably get tied down with orders and staff if it went well. Besides, I did the sums and for the chosen widgets, I found that I'd need to sell around 20 units a day to make it profitable. More sums meant that I'd need to generate a lot of traffic to achieve this.

Anyways, I'm still positive ...
12:05 am on Apr 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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My plan was to customise it so it would be very unique to use.


Okay, so far so good ... but ...

But ... (this is the killer question): how will you attract traffic cost-effectively?
12:13 am on Apr 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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How will I attract traffic cost-effectively? Frankly, I don't know at this point. I need to establish firstly if the plan can be profitable. Secondly, to identify suitable affiliates (I know about affiliates but haven't looked them up).

I know I'm on the first rung of the ladder, but rather than end up failing, I'm reading up as much as possible and asking for advice where possible.

Of course, I'm grateful for all advice received.
12:52 am on Apr 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The cost of traffic would be a major factor in whether a plan could be profitable.

Here are some rough thoughts:

Assume that .5% of the people who see your link or ad would click through, and assume that .5% of those would "convert" ... that is, perform whatever action it is that puts money in your pocket. Then figure out if you can acquire traffic at a cost that would break even based on those assumptions. If you can, then you might ... repeat might... have a realistic chance to turn a profit as you get better at targeting and fine-tune your conversion funnel.

The picture becomes more positive if you can improve your CTR, your conversions, or both, and also if you start gaining traffic from sources that you don't have to pay for.

If you're planning on working with someone else's data feed, find out how many others are using the same data and study what they're doing with it. If there's a lot of near-duplicate content out there, that will make life harder in the search engines. You'll need a solid plan for developing traffic that doesn't depend on the search engines. You'll need to establish more authority and trust than your competitors have before you can count on getting much free traffic from the search engines.
2:54 pm on Apr 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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There seems to be many affiliate directories out there - can anyone recommend a good site that lists reputable ones in the UK? I think I need to start there (initially to then try and identify the competition).
9:12 am on Apr 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I don't know if we are allowed to mention any here. I use the big A on a music related site and earn enough linking to relevant artists to pay for the hosting and domain name. I have tried other affiliate links for items that I thought were good spin offs but with zero return.
10:28 am on Apr 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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uestion is, can affiliate programs be lucrative enough to earn your main living from?


late to the party on this one, but yes you can make a good living from affiliate sales but the trick "if" you want traffic is to find that niche

I make all my income from the back of sponsors and do OK although its down of previous years but I put that down to current economy and people not spending that will hopefully return

As for a trusted sponsor in the UK try AW
12:10 pm on Apr 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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One thing I would say after 10 years as an affiliate is dont even bother trying.

I have been ripped off, scammed, conned, slammed by google, hated, shaved and kicked down so many times that I wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy.

Almost all of my 600 affiliate domains are hammered down in google and thats a hell of a lot of work down the pan. They went from 70 grand a year to about 4 grand a year over the past 5 years.

I too am a programmer, I can write programs which write programs and handle feeds / databases and all that.

You need (well one way to earn anyway) to start with a niche product. Buy it in china, (say buy 10 at a time so no real outlay) and then create a website around it. Then get links to it and try to rank on Google. Then watch as google plays with your life on a daily basis as it moves your site up and down.

If you can get your site to stick up top though, then rinse and repeat for the next product.

Earning online is HARD.
 

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