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Who Are The Affiliate Programs On Your Blog For?

Posted by on Jul 29, 2009

Yesterday I stated in my post on who is your blog for, I stated that there was going to be a second part to that post; this is it.

And you see what the question is; who are the affiliate programs on your blog for? It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, as I’ve discussed marketing and advertising and blogging.

I think it’s a fascinating topic because I’ve talked about the ads I put on this blog often enough, even as I go through and change them from time to time. I’ve said enough times that I don’t expect to make money from this blog. And yet, there I go, having ads on the blog because I’m really the eternal optimist, hoping that something will strike a cord in someone’s head sometimes and have them say “hey, I need to check that out,”, or “that looks like an interesting product; maybe I’ll buy that.”

So, I did some thinking about this blog and who the visitors are. It kind of ties in with the purpose of this blog. If you remember, I did this post where I reviewed my visitors, and posted that 64% of the people that come to this blog are totally brand new visitors. Based on Analytics, most people are coming here for the book writing tips, which is pretty neat since it’s the term I rank best for with this blog. Yet, when they get here, they tend to like reading the more personal stuff, the stuff that has nothing to do with anything except me, or my thoughts on things here and there.

I find that interesting. In a way, it’s what my original purpose was with this blog, so I’ve actually achieved what I initially set out to do. So then what about the affiliate programs on this blog? Who are they actually geared for? It seems that they’re geared towards those new visitors, the ones who come for one thing and then switch to the other things. Those are the folks I’m hoping will find something intriguing in some fashion, and might decide to check it out. Those folks aren’t coming here to purchase hosting packages or domain names or most of the computer stuff I have on this blog. They’re here for personal reasons, and I like that.

Doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to change the ads I have on the sides all that much, if at all. But I may change them up in some fashion. But the things I add at the bottom of these posts,… well, that’s already kind of changed a bit. I’m still going to have affiliate links from time to time, especially since some of the affiliates I promote here don’t have specific products I can list individually. And I’m going to start looking for product links that I can add as text links within my posts here and there, as it seems some of the top internet marketers, such as Lynn Terry (who mentioned it on her live webinar Tuesday) says they seem to work best for her, and we’ll see where that goes. Matter of fact, I just tried it the other day for the first time; takes a little longer to post if I do that too often. But if it has the potential to possibly make sales on the back end,… well, who am I to argue with successful people?

So, there’s the question above; what say you?
 

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10 Comments »

John Dilbeck:

Good morning, Mitch.

This is your third great post in a row.

“Who are the affiliate ads on my blog for?”

I think that’s a great question to ask. It’s one I’ve been asking myself for a few months.

Initially, I was thrilled to earn a commission for selling anything from my blogs and sites. Even a few pennies gave me a thrill.

Over time, however, I found that it was relatively easy to sell inferior products to people who were searching desperately for a solution or magic pill that would solve their problems for them.

I did not want to become a mooch marketer, as Ken Evoy calls them.

It’s easy to take advantage of people who don’t know better or who don’t do their due diligence because of desperation or lack of business knowledge.

I watched the never-ending deluge of new products that were no better than what they replaced. Over a couple of years, I realized that I was sliding into promoting some of that junk, too.

So, I stopped.

I seriously evaluated everything I was promoting and dropped most of them. Now, at the time, I believed in them and I was spending several hundred dollars every month “putting my money where my mouth was.”

Over time, I realized that I was doing neither my readers nor myself any favors by advertising some of what I was.

So, I pulled those ads. In fact, I pulled almost all of my ads.

Now, there are only a very few companies and products that I recommend and which I would not be able to manage my online marketing business without using.

I don’t think I’ll make very many impulse sales these days. Now, I’m doing my best to explain why the products I promote are the very best of their breed.

There are many different kinds of successful people, and I am happy to argue with many of them and not emulate what they are doing.

(I am not talking about Lynn Terry — she’s often a breath of fresh air and common sense. I don’t support all the products she does, but that’s understandable. We’re individuals with different opinions and experiences.)

I think each of us has to decide on who we’re writing for and why we’re advertising to them.

I think you are one of the people in my target market. You have experience, technical skills, knowledge, and you’re earning something regularly from your online marketing efforts.

But, you’re still searching for what you want to do and how you want to do it. You’re trying to find out how to multiply what you’re earning now so that it becomes a significant part of your total income.

Yet, you want to offer something of value to your readers, you don’t want to take advantage of them, and you want to be honest and ethical.

I think you’re on the right track. Eventually, you’ll find the products you really believe in and the companies you want to promote.

I think your marketing business will take off at that point.

(Of course, I could be all wet. I can’t prove that what I said above is true. I also want to say that there are always setbacks and dead-ends in business. Success is not an ever-upward curve.)

There are a lot of people who earn much more money than I do from online marketing, but I sleep well and I’m comfortable with myself. To me, that’s more important than huge amounts of money.

I enjoy reading what you have to say and appreciate your views more over time.

Act on your dream!

JD

July 30th, 2009 | 12:27 AM
Mitch:

Hey John,

The thing with me is that I want to learn, but I’m not good at taking things on faith. I’m also not good at doing something just because it works, but it’s against what I believe in some fashion, or wouldn’t like it being done to me. I do take some odd stands here and there. And I know that last year I promoted a couple of things I wasn’t sure about, but also some things I really like, and tried out. It’s kind of a game, a parry and thrust that we do until, hopefully, we find something comfortable that we can handle that may also earn us a few dollars here and there. Okay, lots of dollars, at least enough to live off.

I know that the products I list on some of these posts are good things, whether I’ve actually bought them all or not. They’re coming from quality companies that I trust. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be hooking up with them, and y’all have seen on this blog that I’m not afraid of busting on anyone when I think they need it.

I’m going to have to think about some more things myself, John. The one thing I know is that I’ll have advertising here. How much,… well, that remains to be seen. Thanks for contributing once again.

July 30th, 2009 | 1:45 AM
John Dilbeck:

Good morning, Mitch.

We’re alike in a couple of ways that you mentioned. I, also, want to learn and I’m not good at taking things on faith, either.

I want to understand why something works (or doesn’t) and if it’s worth doing in the long run. I’ve found a lot of things that look good initially, but the luster fades over time.

(That’s not a comment on anything you advertise, it’s just about my experiences along the way.)

I like how you describe it — a game, similar to fencing. We learn, test, try to understand, and decide what to do next.

I’ve reduced the advertising on most of my sites to a bare minimum, for now. After my recent experiences with being canceled by Amazon.com, Commission Junction, and LinkShare, I’m questioning how my affiliate marketing business will change. (For anyone who doesn’t know, I was canceled by Amazon because I live in North Carolina, and CJ canceled me because of lack of sales even though I was sending tens of thousands of people to their merchants every year.)

As I make new decisions, I’ll be adding more advertising back to my sites, but never again to the point of where it was a few years ago.

It’s a decision each of us must make, and it’s even harder for those of us who really care for our readers and want them to benefit from what we offer.

I used to think of myself as a publisher and that the ads I had on my sites reflected only on the advertiser and not me, but I’ve changed my viewpoint on that. Now, I feel that anything on my site reflects on both of us – the advertiser and the publisher.

Most people don’t agree with me on that point, however.

If we’re going to earn a living through online marketing, we have to promote and advertise, without a doubt. What we choose to promote and who those ads are for is a hard question to answer, and one which continually changes over time.

Thanks for bringing up these very worthwhile questions, Mitch.

Act on your dream!

JD

July 30th, 2009 | 2:44 AM
Mitch:

Hi John,

I agree wholeheartedly with this line: “I feel that anything on my site reflects on both of us – the advertiser and the publisher.” At least in general principles. If you set up a site going for a particular niche, and you’re true to that niche, no matter what it is, then you’re still being true to it. But if you’re recommending things just because it makes you money, and you don’t care about anything else,… well, I think it reflects on the person as well, and some of the big time internet marketers have owned up to that from time to time themselves. They get caught here and there; no one’s perfect.

July 30th, 2009 | 10:24 AM
Sire:

Man, it’s not often the comments are longer than the post, especially when the post is ‘wordy’ to begin with, but I’m not at all surprised that John was the one to leave those comments 😉

Now, as to what affiliates I use. At first I would use almost any affiliate that agreed with my sensibilities and I thought might appeal to others. Then I started targeting specific visitors. On my photo blogs I try to concentrate on affiliates promoting photo related products. Wassupblog has a lot of bogging stuff, themes, hosting and the like.

Having said that I still think I can refine the products even more but I just can’t be bothered with doing that at this particular moment of time.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Noel Biderman Vs Top Sexual Aids =-.

July 31st, 2009 | 1:53 AM
Mitch:

I gotcha, Sire, on the time thing. But I wonder how you might refine some of your ads on Wassup Blog, since it’s probably the least niched site you have.

July 31st, 2009 | 2:06 AM

I think that not being a niche blog makes it particularly hard to try and find the right products. Probably more trial and error than anything else, but even then any sale would probably be just pure luck anyway.

Say Mitch, for some reason I’m not getting notifications of replies on this blog?
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Noel Biderman Vs Top Sexual Aids =-.

July 31st, 2009 | 7:43 PM
Mitch:

First, are you sure you clicked the box for it? Yeah, I know, you’re going to tell me you did, but I have to ask.

Second, you’re right, not being a niche blog will make it harder. But we do what we can do, right?

July 31st, 2009 | 10:26 PM

Yep the box is ticked Mitch, and I can tell you one thing mate, your the only blogger that I would continually search the posts to see if there has been a reply. You will have to forgive me though if I miss a few. 😉
.-= Sire´s last blog ..July Stats Up Thanks To Commission Junction =-.

August 1st, 2009 | 8:50 PM
Mitch:

Well, I think I’ve added something now, Sire, so one can only hope that, if both boxes are checked, that it’ll work properly now.

August 1st, 2009 | 9:52 PM