Across the internet, there are over 1.5 billion websites and those that continue to do well keep investing time and effort in their product or service. So, how can a new affiliate looking to start out in the industry stand out from the crowd?
Finding a niche that will work is not an easy task. In the affiliate industry, sites like VoucherCodes and CashBack stemmed from an idea to help consumers become savvier with their shopping habits and earn money whilst shopping online. Meanwhile, technology companies like Skimlinks invested their efforts in building a product that could help mass media partners monetise their links and earn additional income.
Whatever your site focuses on, there are key factors to consider that will help with the overall success of your site and ultimately help drive more traffic.
Domain and rankings
Ensure your domain is as relevant as it can be. This helps drive organic search when users are looking for a topic of interest. Generally, the click-through rate will be higher if the URL is associated with the topic or focus area of your site. Another thing to consider when purchasing a domain is whether you want to scale into other geographies.
If you’re engaging with a global audience then a ‘dot.com’ domain would be better. If you’re trying to reach a UK audience then a regional domain is best and will help your site appear on Google.
Finally, have relevant and useful links to improve SEO rankings with Google - it is important for Google to consider your site as worthwhile - as well as fresh content and a balanced mix of keywords.
Any new brand should utilise best practices in paid search to maximise brand awareness and traffic to your site. It’s important to make sure your site is not violating any brand infringements and be sure to negative match advertiser brand names in your paid search activity. Keep testing different keywords to optimise your strategy; it can become expensive if you don’t keep an eye on what’s not performing well.
When launching any new site, social media presence shouldn’t be forgotten. A large proportion of traffic can be delivered through channels like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Social media is a great way to keep your target audience engaged with your website and encourage a loyal user base. Keep your social channels updated and engage with well-known public figures or organisations that relate to your niche and site content. Once you have an engaged social following and they share your content, this will increase traffic levels to your site and overall brand awareness.
Entering the affiliate marketing world
Once the site is built and there is a decent amount of content, plus an engaged audience, you can start looking for suitable affiliate programmes to add to your site.
These should be complementary to the site and add value to your audience - a user would expect to see links to relevant brands based on the type of content on site, rather than seeing lots of completely unrelated links.
Here are my top tips to maximise advertiser relationships in the affiliate channel to build a profitable partnership.
1. The devil is in the detail
When registering your affiliate account with a network, it’s important to ensure you give as much detail as possible and try to tag your site as best as you can. Some clients have automatic decline filters to help them with the volume of applications.
When you first apply to an affiliate network, your site may get rejected by advertisers. Networks and SaaS platforms provide advertisers with basic performance metrics about affiliate sites and if they can’t see any performance they tend to decline. If so, email the network or the client and explain what the site is about and what you are hoping to achieve. More importantly, highlight the benefits of why they should work with your site.
2. Sell your vision for your site
There is an increasing request from advertisers to work with content-based affiliates. If your site has a good synergy with brands, always reach out to the advertisers providing reasons why they should invest more of their budget into your site.
It helps advertisers get on board with sites if they go the extra mile to ensure that when contacting advertisers, they have pre-prepared a thorough proposal. People often buy into the person and their passion for a topic.
3. Attend networking events
Networking events are a great way to meet clients face to face. It is also a great opportunity to give greater detail on your site. You may even walk away with ideas that make your site even better.
You might find the first website you build does well although often it takes several attempts to get it right. Building a brand is important, as is ensuring that there’s a balance of affiliate links and unique content on site. It may take several months of hard work and dedication before you see efforts paying off but the affiliate industry is a great platform to try new things, test and learn. You may find brands are open to testing with you since they only pay on performance.