Do you ever wish you’d been able to get into affiliate marketing 15 years ago? Back then, it was very simple. You found an offer you wanted to promote, paid for some adverts to send potential customers to the offer via your affiliate ID, and when they bought the product, you made a commission.
The only tweaking you needed to do was to make sure the amount you spent on the adverts remained lower than the amount you were making in commissions.
Gone are the days of direct linking, both at the behest of Google and of the affiliate networks. The networks prefer qualified customers these days, not just those who are searching for a particular keyword on a search engine.
So how can you run a successful affiliate site these days?
“Content is King” is just as true now as it has ever been. A website cannot exist without content, and good content attracts (and keeps) visitors. The more visitors, the more potential sales, and therefore higher commissions.
But what makes good content? Content must be written specifically for the site, to begin with. It shouldn’t be copied from elsewhere, even if you “spin” it using software, as the search engines are becoming particularly good at spotting “borrowed” content.
Further, simply copy-and-pasting reviews from other sites is often against the terms of affiliate networks, and you risk getting your account banned should you partake in this.
The last thing you need is a banned account when you are trying to make a sale!
Next, the content must be informative and relevant. Writing about something unrelated to the main theme of your site is unlikely to be helpful, and having content that is composed of filler words rather than actual information is to be avoided.
Finally, the content should be written in good English (or whatever the primary language of your intended audience is) as mistakes are easy to spot and will put off any potential buyer, as your site will start to appear unprofessional.
Good SEO is not repeating your keyword of choice 100 times in a single article – if anything, that’s the worst kind of SEO. Your site needs to give the search engines what they are looking for – good content with a natural amount of keywords (unforced), fast loading pages, standards-compliant code, meta tags that are relevant and accurate, and so on.
Off page factors, such as backlinks and social signals, should be built naturally. A site that has no backlinks one day, and a thousand the next day, is likely to set alarm bells ringing at Google HQ. Any negative backlinks you find to your site should be removed or disavowed as quickly as possible.
Optimize images, use ALT tags, use compression, use a CDN, make sure all your links work, ensure your navigation system is actually usable, and always make sure your site is designed to work on mobile devices just as well as (if not better than) desktop devices.
A social presence
Not only are social signals important – the relevance attached to your site via interactions from other social media users – but so are your own social media accounts.
At the very least, running social media accounts on the three biggest platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) will increase the presence of your site and give you greater opportunity to interact with potential customers.
Instagram is the most difficult of the three to use effectively. The visual nature of the social network means it is well-liked by those in the fitness niche, as well as those in vehicle and home niches – the photographs, if taken well, promote your site better than any words could. The downside is that you can’t include links anywhere on an Instagram post, only within your account bio. This means if you want to promote more than one link, eg to link directly to a page within your site, you’ll constantly need to update the link in your bio. It’s also tricky to automate Instagram posts, and you will often have to post them by hand.
Neither of these things are deal-breakers, but should be carefully considered when trying to attract visitors to your site.
A further option to consider is using video sites to your advantage, such as YouTube and Vimeo. You don’t have to appear on camera yourself, as text-and-picture based videos can work just as well depending on your market. Voice-over artists can be hired on the internet, and with the inclusion of links in the description of the video, you should be able to attract a good level of interest to your site.
There are many ways to advertise, with the most popular being paying for adverts on search engines and social media. If you are looking for a quick boost or for a way to launch and increase the appeal of your site, this is the way to go.
Modern advertising platforms allow you to run multiple adverts for the same campaign, allowing you to figure out what works best for your target audience with ease.
Remember that all your advertising must link to your website, or a page within the site. As mentioned earlier, direct linking to an affiliate offer is frowned upon, and may result in the loss of not only your affiliate account, but also your advertising account – no one promotion is worth that.
Some have found success, usually for more local-centric site, with print advertising and leafleting. Yet others have found success with basic business cards with a site address on, given to the right people.
Ensure your site follows all these suggestions, and ensure it remains relevant by updating regularly and making sure any information is up to date. There’s nothing worse than visiting a site with offers that no longer exist, or information that doesn’t apply to the current time.
Follow the affiliate network rules, and follow the guidelines for search engines. You might not make a fast buck, but you will be able to build a reliable income stream.