Six Things I’ve Learned About Affiliate Marketing

I’ve written on this blog many times that I’m not the best affiliate marketer in the world. Well, I’d have to say that part is true, based on my history. However, what I can’t say is that I haven’t learned how to do any type of affiliate marketing, and if I decided to redo a few things, I believe I could actually start making some nice money at it. It would probably take some time to get to a point where I could be making enough to pay all my bills, but I actually do believe I could do it.

So, if I were going to start today with something brand new, what would I do, based on what I’ve learned thus far? Let’s look at my list:

1. I’d take time to think about a niche where not only could I write at least 100 articles about it, but that would somehow surround a product. I mentioned this in a comment on Sire’s blog once in response to a question someone else asked. I know someone who created a blog about hydroponic gardening, which means it was truly a small, defined niche. It was the only subject she wrote about on that blog, as it was new latest hobby. And, along with pictures she took herself, she had Adsense on her blog, but also had products related to hydroponic gardening. She was earning close to $1,000 a month on just that blog alone. She recreated that type of thing a few times, and was living fairly well. However, this wouldn’t only have to be a blog; a nice website might do the same thing.

2. I’d take more time to think of a domain name that people might actually know what it is they’re visiting for. With my Medical Billing Answers site, I did this very thing. It’s been making consistent Adsense money for me over the last five months, which is really nice. The problem is that there’s no consistent product that relates to it other than some books, and books aren’t quite a great seller, plus they have a low margin of return.

3. Set up internal linking from the beginning. When I started this blog, I had no real concept of internal linking. When I created my Reviews Of Everything site, I knew to create menus with categories, but I didn’t do a great job of setting it up for proper internal linking. Now I’m good at internal linking as it pertains to this blog, but I haven’t gone back to do it with my business blog, and I haven’t done it for most of my other sites. I have done it for my main business site, which has helped greatly, and I did it from the beginning with Top Finance Blog. I think if you create a niche site or blog, that will work wonders for you.

4. Join more than one affiliate program, but have an idea of what and how you want to market those items. I’ve only done this well for my Top Finance Blog, where I knew I would only market finance related items. With my medical billing site, I never thought about anything except for Adsense initially, and with my Services And Stuff site, I never thought out how to lay out my product advertising, so it’s a mish-mosh of stuff that just doesn’t work well. Even with my Reviews site, I have laid things out properly, but not matched up items well, which messes up sales greatly.

5. Research better. I’m supposedly the king of research, but when all is said and done, when I created the sites I’ve created thus far, each was more of a whim than any concerted thought of how I would market anything. Even with Top Finance Blog, I didn’t think about monetizing it until two months after I started it, and I wasn’t sure then how I was going to do it. My medical billing site was the best planned site of all of them, and it makes the most money, and, oddly enough, it was an industry I didn’t have to research because I know it pretty well. For my next site, you can bet I’ll research, then select a niche, then pick the right domain name, select products beforehand, then I’ll set it all up and go for it.

6. No matter how well you set things up, you still need traffic. The most perfect site in the world won’t generate anything without traffic. There are really only two ways to drive traffic. One, through search engines, which means you need to not only do great search engine optimization, but hope to have a niche that will drive either lots of traffic or has loyal readers who’ll buy because they like your information. Two, through efforts such as what we bloggers try to do, or email, or things like Adwords, or hooking with folks who will help to drive traffic.

I think that’s enough for now. Of course, add anything you’d like to the mix, because that’s what we do around here, we share information and ideas. And I could have added a seventh, though it’s more negative, that being that sometimes affiliates drop you because they don’t feel you’re making enough sales, as I’ve been dropped recently by Apple stores and Newegg, though Newegg dropped me because I’m in New York state; so, those two will never be mentioned around here again.


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Purchasing An Existing Domain Name

Today was a day of interesting frustration as it pertains to doing some things online. I’m sure I’m not the only one to go through something like this, so I’m sharing my tale with you. On Friday, I purchased an existing blog, which I’ll be bringing up pretty soon. Actually, I’ve already tried bringing it up, but I don’t want to jump ahead in this story.

On Tuesday, someone posted on Twitter that there were two websites that someone was selling for a relatively low amount. I’m the curious sort, so I figured I’d meander over to see what all the fuss was about. Indeed someone had posted on the Warrior Forum that they were selling two websites, and one of them was a blog. This particular blog is something I know a little bit about, but want to know more about, and it was relatively new. The owner had decided he didn’t have enough time to work on these two projects and decided to unload them. I wanted this one, so I wrote him. Actually, I had to write a comment on one of his blog posts, because he hadn’t created a contact page, so I had no other way to reach him.

The next morning, he responded to me and said that no one else had put in a request for it, and if I wanted it then it was mine. I was happy; I figured this would be an easy conversion, it already had a couple of posts, and because he had written basically every 10 days or so I could take some time with it, as it hasn’t really built up any following yet. I finally wrote him and asked if we could take care of the transaction over the weekend, since I was packing so I could go to my mother’s for the Thanksgiving holiday. He agreed, so we said we’d contact each other on Saturday.

Instead, I ended up coming home relatively early Friday afternoon because I had another commitment planned, but that got canceled. Sitting around on a Friday night with nothing else going on, I wrote him to see if he was available, and he was. So, here’s the process of purchasing and transferring a domain name to someone else.

I started off by paying him the amount he’d requested for the domain. He gave me his Paypal email address, so I went into my Paypal account, clicked on the option that said “Send Money’, put in his email address and the amount, and away the payment went. I got an almost immediate notice saying the payment had gone through, so I felt pretty good about that. Then I sent him an email mentioning the payment, and I gave him my GoDaddy account number, since that’s where he’d purchased his domain name. That’s all he needed; he didn’t need my password, which was a good thing. Now, if we hadn’t had accounts at the same place, I’d have had to create one wherever he’d purchased his domain from, and then I could have transferred it to whomever I wanted to at that point.

Within minutes after he’d set the transfer in motion, I had an email from GoDaddy saying there was a transfer in motion, and I had to sign onto the site to accept it, which of course I did. About five minutes later I received an email saying the transfer was complete; it can take up to 48 hours in some instances, so I was pretty happy.

The next step for me was to go to my host and set it up for acceptance of the new domain. As usual, when you do this you get the DNS servers for you to put in where you’ve temporarily parked the domain name, and while you’re doing that your account is being created by your host. I went to GoDaddy and did what I needed to do, then waited. The first notice I got was from GoDaddy saying the nameserver transfer had gone through. I then went back to my host, 1&1, and saw the message that my account had been created and was ready for full processing; sweet!

I went into the domain account, created a directory and set up a password, waited about five minutes for it to be created, then I started loading the database that the guy who’d sold me the domain name had backed up. That took awhile, since it’s a WordPress blog (most of you know it’s an easy process, but can take awhile sometimes). When it was finally loaded, I was ready to go see the fruits of my labor.

This is where the problems started, but they’re not going to be what you thought; don’t jump ahead. I typed the domain name in, expecting to see the blog fully set up, and instead I had this message that said “Error establishing a database connection“; I was not a happy man. I thought that maybe I had done something wrong, and indeed I had, as I hadn’t saved the correct files in the correct place. So I had to load all the files again, knowing that this time around it was all going to be good.

Nope; I still had the same error message, and now I really wasn’t happy. I wondered if I was supposed to run the blog process through the host first, as they have a program which will create a WordPress blog for you on your domain. So I signed into my account and selected that option, figuring that I didn’t mind if it overwrote what I’d uploaded, since I could always upload whatever I wanted to again. This time it was going to work, right?

Nope; it still didn’t work. Now I was frustrated, so I called the hosting company to ask for some assistance. One of the problems you sometimes have with customer service when it’s based in another country is that you may be using the same words, but you’re not speaking the same language. In this case, the person on the other end first said that I’d created the wrong kind of directory, which didn’t make sense since I’ve done this many times before, and then he said that maybe I need to make some corrections in my data.

I took that to mean that I needed to go into my account through my ftp server and delete some files. I ended up deleting all the files, which, unfortunately, takes much longer than uploading them, because you can’t delete a folder until you’ve deleted everything in that folder first, and of course some folders have multiple folders themselves. I spent pretty much just over 3 hours deleting every single file I’d uploaded so I could try the process again.

This time, I decided to call customer service back to ask about this directory thing, which I knew had to have been correct the first time around. I got someone else, still in another country, but we were understanding each other better. He said the directory was fine, but said he didn’t see anything in it. I told him that was because I’d deleted everything in the directory, based on the previous conversation with another representative. He then said the system was showing that the full transfer of the new domain to the new nameservers was still in process, and could take from 24 to 48 hours. I said I thought it had already completed, and he said no; that explains why I couldn’t see anything online. Ugh!

So, I had to upload everything again, and this time I guess I’ll be patient and keep checking over the next 24 to 48 hours. I hope it’s sooner than later, but until I see it for myself, I’m not going to mention the name. But there’s another lesson learned, and now I hope I’ve helped y’all learn a thing or two also.
 

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