If you are new to the blogging world you might not be familiar with the world of affiliate marketing. Most top bloggers and websites have some sort of affiliate program where they sell or promote other peoples’ products. Why would someone want to sell someone else’s products? To earn money online of course!
For example, you are in the market for a gym membership. You don’t want to go directly with the gym because they charge you an arm and a leg for a year membership. You do what any intelligent person would do, research online. It so happens that your research brings you to my health website where I offer a year gym membership for 50% off of a normal gym membership price. You like the offer, so you click the link to the offer from my website and purchase a year membership. That is called an affiliate sale.
I personally may not sale direct gym memberships, but I find an affiliate program that I can promote on my website and I get paid a commission off of that sale allowing me to earn money online. There are different types of affiliate marketing that you can find on the internet specific to your niche.
The two major ways to promote and refer people to different products to earn money online are:
Pay Per Lead (PPL): Whenever you can promote a product that generates a lead or a signup to something, you get a payout for this lead or signup. You will hear around the internet it being referred to as Cost Per Acquisition or CPA. This is a simple process because it can be as easy as getting someone to sign up to a newsletter or enter a drawing to win a prize. The payout ranges from $0.50 to well above $100 promoting the right product. You will have more of a challenge trying to push products that will generate higher returns because of the uniqueness of the product.
Pay Per Sale (PPS): You are paid when someone you refer makes a purchase. This method of affiliate marketing generates the highest payout, but it’s the hardest one to convert. There’s no range on this type of marketing, it just depends on what commission the advertiser pays & how expensive the product is. PPS is the toughest affiliate marketing method, but it will be the most rewarding with higher returns.
Now that you’ve had a crash course on the basics of affiliate marketing, take some time to reflect and think about how you can use affiliate marketing on your own websites to generate income. If you just started a blog, concentrate on the content and focus on this later. If you have had your blog up for a few months now and are starting to generate some traffic, then consider the above methods and find the right affiliate for your niche. You don’t want to sale gym memberships on a technology website (despite many technology readers needing it) :-) You want to promote products that you believe in, that you have used, and would benefit your readers. If you sell a crappy product to your readers, you’ll only have a mob full of angry people chasing you down.
The more blogging becomes mainstream the more bloggers are finding ways to generate traffic to their blogs. Social bookmarking is not a new phenomenon, nor is it something that’s a secret. But there is an art to social bookmarking that once perfected, can be very profitable for you. With websites such as Digg, Netscape, Reddit, Del.icio.us and StumbleUpon available for bloggers to submit articles to, bloggers are seeing the power of mastering this art. What power am I talking about, the power that brings 37,000 visitors to your site in one day. Bloggers have come to find that if they can get their blog on the front page of one of these social bookmarking sites (digg, netscape, reddit), thousands of visitors will flood to your site within minutes.
How Do I Get Started?
Create an account for each bookmarking site you want to submit articles to. You can be as detailed as you want. By disclosing information about yourself and making yourself personable to others, you are more likely to have people add you as a friend. Make sure to include a unique picture for your profile. Using a default avatars makes you blend in with the masses. Having a unique picture makes you identifiable and even brandable.
Navigate. Take some time to navigate through the site and your settings. Get to know how to make submissions, where to check your messages, etc.
Make Friends. You can make friends on these social bookmarking sites in different ways. Some people might have similar voting habits as you, so you may want to add them as a friend. There are some sites like Digg that only allow you to add a certain amount of friends per day. But there are others like Netscape that do not have a maximum number of friends you can add a day. Each site will vary on the amount of friends you are allowed to make per day.
Vote. If you want others to vote for your stories, you should do the same. Take some time and read the stories that people are submitting. You may have a favorite topic, like careers, sports, or money; whatever the topic, be sure to vote since social bookmarking sites are a community with many people and many personalities. If you want others to read your article, it’s only right for you to read others’ articles as well.
Submitting your article to one of these bookmarking sites is a good way to start getting some exposure and generate a little extra traffic. Once you submit your story people see your post through the “new stories” feature that many of these sites have. If it’s a popular post, you will get a vote or a “digg” for your story. The more people that vote or “digg” your story, the more likely you are to have it on the front page of the website and generate mass exposure. From my experience, Netscape is more time based and requires less votes than digg to get on their front page. However, the content that is popular on Netscape is not the same as the content that is popular on Digg. Having about 10-15 votes on Netscape in a short amount of time will probably get you on front page.
How Can I Get On Front Page?
Catchy titles. Having catchy titles and descriptions helps your article stand out from the crowd.
New content. Do not use the same story everyone has already written. If you do, be sure to have a very unique twist to it to make it appealing to others.
Help readers. Bookmarking sites love lists and guides on how to make things better. Focus on a clean format when writing a post that is easy to read and follow. Having numbers and bold headings helps guide the readers through the article.
Test the waters. Try submitting your story to one of these sites and see what happens. When starting, you probably won’t hit home page. You will find things that work better than others. Best case scenario, let other people submit your articles to these sites, especially StumbleUpon, it tends to bring you more traffic.
I have found another way that works well in getting your post to the front page. Even better, it gets you ranked higher on the page with fewer votes. You are probably asking what in the world can place your article with fewer votes higher than an article with more votes. Well, simply having more comments can place your article higher on the front page (Netscape). There are many ways to solicit comments, but the best is to start out the comment thread yourself by asking a question to all readers.
I do want to caution you. Don’t leave comments so you can link to your website or just leave meaningless words. Everyone can see right through this. Leave something that is constructive and adds value to the post itself. The best comment to leave is one that provides valuable information to the community. If your comment does not add value to the post or the community, then leave it out.
We all know about the success that one of the best link bait ideas of all time had. A while back, John Anthony and I tried the same promotion. We patiently kept at it, taking in reviews with our chosen anchor text and giving backlinks to those who wrote reviews, and a week ago it finally paid off! In one month we moved from being not ranked at all for a very popular keyword to being the 12th search result in Google out of 191 million other pages!
Here’s How We Did It.
We set out to run this test on a career oriented PR6 site. We started out by doing a keyword search on Overture’s free tool. We entered the keyword “career” to see what the top searched terms were.
The 7th highest searched term was “career development”. When doing a search, you usually don’t want to pick the top few keywords because competition is just too fierce and ranking on the first page would take too long. The number of searches that the Overture tool gives you is much less than what the results would be for Google, so the rule of thumb is to multiply Overture’s number by 10 to get an approximation of monthly Google searches. According to these standards, “career development” gets searched for almost 300,000 times per month on Google alone. If anyone can sit on the front page of Google during those 300,000 searches, chances are pretty good that they will get a lot of clicks.
After a month of no results, here is what we found last week:
We were ranked 12th on Google! The serp tool above is great for a quick check to see where your site ranks for any keyword on the major search engines, although I think it only ranks the top 50 or 100 results, so if you see “Not Found”, it does not mean you are not ranked at all, it just means you’re not in the top few.
Hey guys! I have some great news and some quality posts coming up today and for the next few days. I know I haven’t written in two whole days, but I’ve been busier than ever with web related work and you’ll know why shortly! Check back in a few hours
An important statistic that is often overlooked is the amount of time the average user spends on your blog. When the amount of time is high, it is likely that they have enjoyed reading your content enough to search around a little, and they will most likely make a return visit soon. The average amount of time spent on this site according to Google Analytics is 4 minutes and 55 seconds.
This is considered fairly high because keep in mind that this counts all the visitors who click your site and then leave in less than 5 seconds. I personally think anything over one and a half minutes is good and over 2 minutes is great.
How Can You Have Readers Stay On Your Site Longer?
Interesting Content. Nothing beats interesting, new and unique content for your readers to read. You don’t have to be an excellent writer, you just have to give them unique information they cannot find in many other places. Everyone writes about having unique content, but this point cannot be emphasized enough.
Visible Links To Other Posts. Give your readers a reason to continue reading. Once you have shown them one interesting post, be sure to include “Related Posts” at the bottom to show them other related and interesting material, or have a “Top Posts” link so your readers don’t have to search through hundreds of other posts.
Easy To Navigate Layout. Don’t clutter your site, especially if you have just built your blog. In fact, it is best to keep your blog private until you've got all the kinks worked out. Here is a helpful tidbit on how to make WordPress private until you are ready for primtime. There is nothing worse than not knowing where to look to find the information you want. First clean up your content area and then be sure your sidebar is easy to navigate. Place the most important links toward the top of the sidebar.
Engage Your Readers. Create an open environment for your readers to communicate with you and with each other. Encouraging comments is a great way to engage readers.