Becoming an affiliate can be a great way to make money online. But, it’s not as easy as creating a website and watching the money roll in. There are plenty of nuances that could mean the difference between making money and languishing in obscurity. These seven tips will help you get the most out of being an affiliate:
1. Promote products and brands you genuinely like – The first mistake rookie affiliates make is to focus their site on what they think will earn the most money. Paradoxical as it sounds, the best way to make money isn’t to focus on what seems most profitable but on what you are passionate about. Furthermore promote products and brands you genuinely like. True passion for a product shines through. Chances are the same qualities that made you a fan will make quick converts of your visitors, too. And if you promote an inferior product, it will negatively impact your authority and your ability to promote other products in the future.
2. Focus on a niche – The Internet is a big pond, and it’s growing by the second, especially now that Google is placing such an emphasis on fresh content. If you want to get noticed, focus your content on a specific niche. You’ll have much less competition, and your visitors will be passionate about the topic. After you become an authority in your niche, then you can expand to cover broader topics.
3. Learn SEO – Before you can make money, you have to bring people to your site. That means becoming familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) which helps sites show up – and rank higher – in search engine rankings. SEO may seem intimidating, but there are plenty of online resources that can teach you everything you need to know. To get started, take a look at Search Engine Land, Moz, and Google’s Webmaster Central Blog.
4. Content is king – The most important component of SEO is fresh, useful content. If your site isn’t updated regularly with relevant content, chances are it won’t rank very well with search engines. Plus, many affiliate program managers weed out spammy sites that aren’t updated frequently. If your site doesn’t have quality content or hasn’t seen an update in months, it could mean you don’t get approved as an affiliate at all.
5. Embrace technology – Although platforms like WordPress have made it easier than ever to start a website, true success still requires a modicum of technical knowledge. Learn basic HTML so you can make improvements to your site. Set up Google Webmaster Tools and explore the available information, especially crawl errors and HTML improvements. Most of these problems are easily fixed with a little technical know-how and can significantly improve your search engine rankings.
6. Utilize analytics – Check out Google Analytics. It’s a powerful free tool that can help you figure out who’s coming to your site and what they’re doing there. Every decision you make – from the information architecture to what you write as content – should be informed by the user behavior reported in analytics. It can also help you figure out which merchant partners perform well. Weed out the low performers, such as sites to which you are sending a lot of traffic, but which aren’t generating sales. And remember, the merchant that pays the highest commission won’t necessarily be the one that brings the most revenue. Be sure to investigate conversion rates, and make decisions based on the bottom line.
7. Use social media – Success as an affiliate involves more than just building a site; it’s about building an audience that trusts your recommendations. In today’s world that means maximizing social media to engage fans and bring them back to your site. Look into Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. They might not all be useful – you eventually might want to embrace others – but they’re a good place to start.
There’s a lot more to it, but these tips will get you started on your way to earning money and ensure affiliate program managers view you as a high-quality partner.