Affiliate marketing is great, because you can sell anything. You don’t need to be a developer, a producer, a manufacturer or a marketplace. All you need to do is pick a few products, make a website, and run ad links. It’s super easy.
Well, then, if it’s so easy, why isn’t your affiliate site making money? You’ve followed all the guides, you’ve bought a bunch of copy, how come the cash isn’t rolling in?
If you’re trying to advertise and sell an affiliate product, that product needs to have sufficient demand to support a marketer getting in on the business. If it does, typically that means there are other marketers trying to do the same thing. The larger and more lucrative the niche, the more competition it has.
If you’re trying to market, say, survival tents, you need to be aware of the competition. Check out who else is trying to market survival tents, and how they’re going about it. Can you compete? Can you do something they don’t, or are you just a pale imitation of their site? You don’t want to look like the lesser option.
This is even worse. People like to think that they can market to diverse interests and get people to browse their site. This might have been true in the early days of Neatorama and other general interest blogs, but it’s not really true any more. These days, when people have three different interests, they go to three different sites, one specializing in each.
You can’t make a general interest blog and make it an affiliate marketing powerhouse. You might be able to make a successful general interest site, but it’s not going to make you a lot of money in affiliate sales until you have a significant volume of users.
No, I don’t mean aching for some McDonalds. I’m talking about the desire to buy, the intent to purchase. You can find an empty niche pretty easily. The hard part is finding an empty niche that has enough people in it who want to buy things. Remember, with affiliate marketing, you live or die based on your ability to sell products. If the people you’re marketing to don’t want to buy, you can’t sell,
The early days of the Internet were positively riddled with low quality, thin affiliate sites designed with one goal in mind; get users to click on an affiliate link and buy something. It doesn’t matter what they bought, the affiliate cookie would give the site owner money, so they tried everything just to get that click.
These days, affiliate sites are really not that much different from successful blogs. You need to look good, you need good content, and you need to be trustworthy. If a user can’t trust your site, they aren’t going to buy through you.
As I said, a good affiliate site is basically just a good blog that monetizes through affiliate links rather than through banner ads or text ads. Though, really, most blogs these days monetize in more than one way, and using affiliate links is a great easy way to get it done.
If all you’re doing is putting up a few basic comparison tables and hoping you’re going to sell from there, you have another thing coming. Or rather, you have nothing coming, because you won’t be making sales.
I don’t mean they’re actually going to 404 pages in this case. Though a broken link in that sense is going to be useless, you might also accidentally have links that drop off your affiliate tag. You also sometimes encounter links that go to products that have been discontinued or are perpetually out of stock; you can’t make money selling something that can’t be bought.
They key to a successful affiliate site is sales. The key to a lot of sales is having a lot of traffic. The key to having a lot of traffic is having a high ranking for your keywords on Google. The key to having a good Google ranking, in addition to all of the basic SEO and quality indicators, is having an active site. Google loves fresh content, and they love sites that keep up to date.
Yes, I know this is hard. It’s difficult to keep writing about the same topic day in and day out, particularly if you’re in an industry that doesn’t really move that much. When you can’t post about new updates, you have to get creative. It’s possible, but it’s difficult, and it’s part of what makes affiliate marketing so difficult these days.
As the saying goes; you have to spend money to make money. Well, you don’t, but it certainly helps. Spending a little bit on advertising is a great way to get a boost of traffic, and if you’re getting that traffic from a legitimate source, it can convert into more than enough sales to turn a profit after the expense. The problems only begin when:
Over-spending is a common problem. It’s easy to think you can just spend more to make more, and while it’s true in a sense, you often have diminishing returns. You’ll find that writing better content, optimizing your site for conversions and putting up more compelling offers will typically result in better profits than just dumping money into advertising.
Affiliate marketing is a good way to make money, but you can’t fall into the trap of thinking that it’s going to be easy. It takes a lot of time and effort to find a good niche, set up a compelling site, build a rank and a readership, maintain that readership, and turn a profit. You can use money to circumvent some of these steps, but not all of them, not if you want to turn a significant profit.
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