1. How to build a good site that converts
2. SEO – you need TONS of traffic since only maybe 1 out of 200 will buy and your commission per sale may only be around $10. SEO help your site get top ranking in the search engines so more people can find you. There may be over 1 million pages competing for a search term relating to a product you are trying to sell so you have to be really good. Thousands of people already know how to do this, so you have lots of catch up to do.
3. Then there is lots of trial and error in picking the right merchants and learning the best ways to promote them.
I’m not trying to be negative, just realistic. Too many people think affiliate marketing is a “get rich quick”. They throw up a couple banners and wonder why they never make a single sale.
How long? Depends partly on how much money you need to make. My best guess (trying to be realistic not pessimistic) is that if you were EXTREMLY fast at learning this and EXTRMELY good and EXTREMLY lucky you may hit 2000 in 2 years. That’s based on the fact that you are starting at 0 and based on the fact that if you have another full time job you won’t be able to devote much time to working on affiliate marketing.
If you decide to try – the biggest challenge will be the 1st few months – checking your stats and seeing 0 or $5 here and $5 there and wondering if all the work was worth it. But once you get some sales rolling, if you stay committed and work hard the commissions should very gradually continue to grow.
One of the biggest deciding factors in affiliate marketing is going to be the traffic through your site. Many of the posts so far are great advice, and are part of the affiliate marketing mix, but without having TARGETED visitors to your pages, you will not have pre-qualified visitors that will click on your affiliate programs.
The key to this part of the affiliate mix is knowing your visitors, and then being able to determine what affiliate programs you can offer that will meet their needs. Beyond that is the concept of pre-sell, which is the ability to put your visitors into the required open and receptive mind set required for them to click on your programs.
Without trusting visitors that accept your advice and offerings, and without knowing what interests and needs you can fulfill for these visitors, you will have a rough time at the affiliate marketing game. Yes, you can have tons of traffic coming through your site and offer a wide variety of programs for them to click on, bit it lacks a targeted direction that will not leverage your visitor traffic, and the results will fall short of what you could actually be realizing in affiliate marketing income.
Learning SEO and driving traffic is the key so you will need to get really good at that. Also keep in mind that just putting some banners on a site won’t do much for you. Datafeeds is the way to go to generate more income. That takes some tech expertise and a program like WebMerge.
So here is some advice if you want to start affiliate marketing:
1. You must be passionate about the site or sites you are developing. You’re going to spend a lot of time with the subject – better like it.
2. If you just don’t have any ideas what to design a site around, use Wordtracker.com and Wordspot.com to see what people are searching for online. You’ll get an idea of what’s popular and then find something in that list that interests you.
3. This isn’t about “selling” people something. There are 2 kinds of sites online, “Commerce” sites that have something to sell, and “Content” sites that have information. Content sites need to make money from their labors of love and so make great affiliates. They have developed a site with great content about a niche topic and then they have learned how to get traffic and a following about this topic. Then, AFTER that happens, you can begin to recommend products or place relevant ads that your traffic is interested in from Commerce sites that run affiliate programs and will compensate you for sending them traffic that THEY sell to.
The ability of the Commerce site to “convert” the traffic you send is your #1 priority. If they cannot turn the interested people you send to them into buyers at a reasonable rate (2-5% of more) drop them and find a site that can. Conversion isn’t your job, it’s theirs. Traffic is YOUR job. Learn search, pay-per-click, developing newsletter lists, link pop, and stickiness.
Good luck – imagine the day when you can earn money while you sleep! It DOES work. Trust me.
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