Increase Your Affiliate Marketing Earnings

When it comes to Affiliate Marketing, people tend to focus too much on creating good copy and finding the best affiliate products to serve, and there’s nothing wrong with that – those are two important things that you have to consider if you want to succeed as an affiliate marketer. The problem is that people tend to overlook one other important matter: if no one reads your blog, no one will lick your affiliate marketing buttons and you won’t earn a single cent.

We’re not just talking about driving traffic, it’s pretty much a given. Rather, it’s about engaging your readers. You can drive as many unique visitors to your site through any means possible – that is the easy part. But if they just take a brief look at your site and then click away, it’s useless. You just wasted bandwidth and opportunity. What you need is both: to drive traffic to your site while at the same time engaging them enough that they will be convinced to click or buy from your affiliate links.

If you’re suffering from poor engagement in your blogs as well, you might want to take a long hard look at how you approach your blog, you may be doing a few things wrong, resulting in poor user response and no affiliate sales. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Make it Easier for Your Visitors to Participate in the Discussion

You see this all the time: well-trafficked sites with healthy textual content, but very little actual feedback from the visitors. There’s usually one thing they all have in common: they require user registration before a user can comment on the blog entries.

You can see where the blog owner is coming from with this one: they want to require people to put in some effort into registering an account in order to avoid drive-by postings by trolls and bots, but there’s one thing wrong with this – trolls and bots are usually more willing to exert effort and spend time than the average reader. Most readers will be greeted with a registration prompt and decide that giving away their information and spending minutes on account registration is not worth the time when they only want to say a couple of sentences’ worth of comment, and so they leave – probably never to return again.

The main lesson here is that you want people to put the time and effort into engaging with your site, but do not put the cart before the horse. They’ll only be willing to commit to your site if you build a relationship with them, and you’re not going to build anything if you inconvenience them from the start.

If you really want to deter spam, you can just install some of the spam filtering tools like Akismet or install a captcha input. It still requires human input, but doesn’t take as much time. Or you can use one of the social networking sites that lets visitors use their social networking accounts as identification, such as Facebook and Google+.

Take the Time to Respond to Comments

While there is no need to stay in front of the computer 24/7 and answering each comment as they come, you should take the time to sit down and respond or acknowledge comments, especially ones that require an answer. Commenters who get acknowledged – whether you agree with them or not in your response – will be more than willing to return and to engage more. As long as you remain civil and don’t resort to flaming or outright rudeness, people will approach you on a similar manner. So don’t be afraid of engaging the visitors who are giving their two cents.

If your readership is so large that you can no longer keep up with all the comments, you can choose to only reply to the comments on the most current entries and leave old ones to be answered by other commenters. Additionally, you can create skeletal templates of your replies, which you can just modify a bit for different occasions. It will save you a lot of time when responding to frequently asked questions or random greetings.

Don’t Lock Content Unnecessarily

This is a slightly worse variation of the previous tip, but you see a lot of blogs start to hide their content behind a subscription system, wherein users will only get to see a small portion of the article before they get prompted with the need to subscribe and/or register for a fee. That or there is a time limit before the screen is obscured by a registration prompt.

This is not exactly a bad thing, as it can be a good source of income and can create a sense of scarcity that will make your readers want to read the article even more. Better yet, the user registration is a good way to build a list and track all sorts of metrics. But before you implement content locking, you need to ask yourself one thing first: is the content you are locking so valuable and so unique that the user won’t be able to find a similar one through Google?

If the answer is no, then don’t bother locking the content. The Internet is all about convenience and most of the time they would rather leave your site and find another source of information through a search engine because it takes a lot less time than bothering with account registration.

Don’t Hijack the User Experience

This is a common problem among really skilled web designers, in the sense that they get so enmeshed in the act of creation that they only design websites that conform to what they deem beautiful, without even thinking that users usually don’t want beautiful if it means being inconvenienced with all sorts of gimmicks. These include all sorts of design tricks that prevent users from taking full control of their browsing experience, such as:

1. Windows that have fixed sizes and cannot be resized – this is particularly loathsome because different people have different computers with different resolutions, which means some of them may find that the fixed-size windows fall outside of their comfortable viewing space. Give people control over how they can view your site by leaving the window sizes alone.

2. Pop up windows – people in general don’t like pop-ups, as exemplified by the fact that all browsers these days come with automatic pop up blocking capabilities. This means you’re effectively preventing your content from being viewed by a large number of people (those who have their pop up blocking enabled). Some browsers may even crash with this behavior, especially those that are being used by people with underpowered devices.

3. Disabling of right-clicks – a lot of webmasters disable right-clicks out of fear that users will steal their content, under the misguided notion that removing the ability to right click and select “copy” will keep their content safe. The truth is that people who really want to steal your content have other means of stealing the content (including using keyboard shortcuts, saving your webpage as offline content, and viewing the page’s source). All you’re doing when you disable right clicks is inconvenience legitimate users who prefer to rightclick links and load it in a background tab while reading the current page.

4. Auto-loading background sounds – this practice should have died back in the late 90s, but sadly some webmasters still do it. Think of it this way: people who want to hear music while browsing already have a music player running in the background, because it gives them control over what they want to listen to. Having a music file load automatically – particularly one that you didn’t choose – on your website is very annoying. There’s also the fact that sound files will make a page slower when loading, and may result in crashes if the browser encounters a snag or is poorly optimized. So unless your site is an online radio station, check the music out the door.

The best approach, if you don’t want to make the mistake of hijacking the user experience is to put yourself in the shoes of your visitors, then work from there, while keeping in mind that your website is meant to make it easier for readers to consume information, not show off your coding skills.

Write to Express, Not to Impress

Some webmasters, particularly those with above average command of the language, have a tendency to use flowery words and fluff content, just to show off their writing skill. This may be a good idea if your site is a literary site or a purely entertainment-oriented one, but for an affiliate blog site, you should go for brevity and writing styles that don’t require a thesaurus to understand. Besides, not everybody who will visit your site is a native English-speaker, so going off the ‘deep’ end may result in some of them being confused and not understanding what you really want them to do (e.g. click the affiliate links and buy something.)

Don’t Try to Cheat the Visitor

Everybody understands – and even expects – you to have “profit” as a priority when you have an affiliate marketing blog. Nothing is free these days, so if you’re providing great content, people will excuse your use of affiliate links and ads, and may even buy from them out of gratitude. So don’t try to treat your visitors like idiots by cheating them in the following ways:

1. Keyword stuffing – some search engines may still fall for keyword stuffed content, but people can spot a worthless keyword-stuffed entry at first glance. That’s not to say you shouldn’t optimize for keywords, but do it sensibly and make sure your content still reads naturally.

2. Misleading anchor text – it’s become a common practice for a lot of shady affiliate marketers, but it’s detrimental to the long term success of a blog when you purposely mislead people into clicking an affiliate link by using deceptive descriptions in the anchor text. Make sure the anchor text is an accurate description of what they will get when they click the link.

3. Scripts that load content or pages automatically – everybody hates this, not just because it’s a way of forcing your content on people who might not want it, but also because it’s similar to the behavior of sites that distribute malware. So if you use these types of scripts in order to eke out more pageviews or participation from visitors, people are going to start avoiding your site either out of principle or out of fear.

Take Advantage of Social Media

Almost all major social networks these days have tools that let you embed their widgets on your website, and you should take advantage of them. For starters, they are extra channels for communication and promotion that most of your readers already frequent. Additionally, it helps you personalize the experience for your users. New users will not be greeted by an unfamiliar sight when they visit your page. Rather, they will be greeted by their own usernames, content that the social network has already tailored to their preferences, and maybe even a list of their friends that are already frequenting your site. This is a very powerful way of encouraging users to engage your site further, and gives you a small semblance of credibility compared to a website that is completely unfamiliar.

Lastly, Be Upfront About Your Site’s Purpose as an Affiliate Marketing Blog

This is important, because a lot of affiliate marketing programs already require full disclosure from their partners. Don’t try to pass off your site as a non-affiliate marketing one and while you don’t need to flagrantly admit that you’re promoting a product because you get commissions, you should avoid any statements that give the impression that you’re completely objective and recommending the products because “you used it yourself and found that it works, so buy now!”

One Response to “Increase Your Affiliate Marketing Earnings”

  1. […] Many businesses are missing out on a lot of opportunities because they don’t target boomers or seniors, opting to go after teenagers, single moms, kids, or any other demographic that’s more closely associated with trendy or pop culture-related products. While there’s no sense in abandoning their existing target demos in favor of seniors, it’s also illogical to disregard seniors when they are actually a demographic that can bring in a lot of revenue when targeted correctly. […]

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