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Create compelling content that leads to SALES
One of the biggest problems with many affiliate sites is that they're too ORDINARY. There's nothing remarkable about them. There's no compelling content.
If your affiliate site is unremarkable, here's a wake-up call.
As an affiliate, you're not just a compiler of facts, you're a marketer. And one of the first rules of marketing is that you must be noticed. If no one notices you, nothing happens. No links. No visitors. No sales.
I don't mind admitting that I own some fairly ordinary affiliate websites. If you put together enough mediocre affiliate sites, you can earn useful money. If you just want to earn pocket money, one or two mediocre little sites should do the job nicely.
However, I also own better, larger authoritative sites which attract compliments, links and steady streams of visitors. They attract not just visitors but targeted visitors who buy things. Such a site can bring in 10 times, 20 times and sometimes even 100 times the revenue generated by the average mediocre little affiliate site.
Also, such sites can generate good revenue for years and KEEP ON attracting traffic and generating revenue, even if you relax the pace a bit.
That's why I recommend you think big. Aim to create compelling content, link-worthy content, remarkable content. Owning a site that people talk about is like having money in the bank.
Look to the future...
Who wants to link to boring little affiliate sites? Only the owners of boring little affiliate sites desperate for a link. So, if that's you, you're telling Google that your site belongs to a community of low authority, low traffic sites.
Where do you want to be five years from now? Do you want to own mediocre little sites competing with thousands of other mediocre sites?
Yes, it takes more work to develop a good quality, authoritative site. That's GOOD, because the extra work scares away most of your potential competitors.
What would Google do?
Try to think like a Google engineer. If you worked for Google, how much importance would YOU place on sites that belong to a community of low traffic sites? Not much, right?
Google now says it considers more than 200 factors when ranking sites. No matter what other changes Google makes, getting good, relevant links to your site is still vitally important.
The most powerful way of getting good links is to ATTRACT them, by creating compelling content - stuff that people talk about.
You want to attract good links to your site for several reasons...
- To attract direct traffic when people click on the links to your site.
- To boost the PageRank of the page which is linked to, helping it ranking higher in Google.
- To boost the PageRank of OTHER pages. For example, if the page links to your main page, it gets a "Google juice" boost, too.
- To gain traffic from "word of mouse" as people email their friends to recommend your page.
- To enhance your reputation, making it more likely that more people will link to you. With a bit of luck, social bookmarking and tagging helps the word spread virally. As more people link to you, more of your pages rank higher, attracting more links and the whole thing snowballs.
If all you own is a mediocre little affiliate site, none of this good stuff ever happens.
Going beyond link bait
More than likely, you've heard of "link bait". It's anything you create to try to attract links to your site. Long before the term was invented, website owners were providing genuinely useful lists, resources and free tools which were the "bait" that attracted heaps of links from other sites.
As the "link baiting" craze caught on, we've seen more and more outrageous commentaries, rants, deliberate conflict, personal attacks on high-profile people, controversial articles, shock tactics, exposes, debunking of exposes, bad taste videos and other rude and bizarre attention-getting gimmicks. We also have bloggers who race each other to be controversial about controversies.
If you want some ideas for controversial topics, such as cloning, capital punishment, censorship and more, here's a good place to start:
But hang on... Where's the money?
While you're creating all this time-consuming, entertaining stuff, is anyone buying the products you recommend? Are your visitors merely staying long enough to read your latest contrarian article and then disappearing?
Here's my recommendation... Concentrate mainly on creating compelling content that is CLOSELY RELATED to YOUR NICHE. Google will love you when you attract links from sites that are within your industry. Those site owners are also likely to link to your pages using on-topic anchor text (the clickable words in links). Google loves it when people do that.
You'll attract targeted visitors - people who are likely to be interested in buying the products you recommend. These targeted visitors will also sign up for your newsletter or RSS feed.
Here are ways to create compelling, original content...
Be consistently brilliant
Oh well, maybe YOU can do that.
Don't be too quick to assume you can't provide funny content. You can hire a funny college student or hire a funny writer from somewhere like Elance. You can ask your readers to contribute photos or anecdotes about your industry. You can compile collections of funny stuff (reprinted with permission, of course).
Funny Toilets From Around The World
Be first with the news in your niche
If you're an expert with your finger on the pulse of your niche, perhaps you can do this. If you do, other sites will link to you without being asked. If being first with the news is too difficult, you can provide commentary on the news in your industry.
Help your readers
Publish articles that are genuinely useful, that help your readers in some way. Keep asking yourself, "Is what I'm writing merely entertaining or is it helpful?"
Interview an expert in your niche
Interview an expert via email or over the phone. If you do it by email, make sure you ask follow-up questions if any of the answers aren't clear or detailed enough. Keep thinking of your reader and make sure the interview is genuinely useful, not just a plug for a product.
An Interview With My Doctor: Kate Lemmerman, MD
This one's easy - create a list
People love lists and link to them readily. Here are a few examples...
13 Bargain Websites That are Cheaper than eBay
65 Bite-Sized Web Marketing Tips
49 Amazing Social Media, Web 2.0 And Internet Stats
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If you're going to provide expert commentary and insights, do so in your niche. You'll impress your readers, enhance your reputation and your readers will spread the word. You'll attract industry-specific links.
When most of the experts are saying the same thing, find an expert who thinks differently. While most experts were predicting flat economies during 2009, a friend emailed me a link to an article which describes how sharemarkets rise markedly after a panic.
Post-panic stock rallies
If you can post PROOF that experts in your niche are wrong, your article will attract links. If you publish ideas that people talk about, you'll generate links.
Create a free useful tool that people will use and recommend, and tools that website visitors will see. It can be web-based, or downloadable software, a WordPress plugin, a free HTML template or a blog widget.
Search engine optimization companies are really good at doing this. For example, here's a web-based application that helps you find web pages where you may be able to get a link to your site.
Link Search Tool
For years, SEOBook has been really good at producing free SEO tools that thousands of sites link to. For example, a rank checking tool which is brilliant - and free. It's a Firefox extension. You type in a keyword and your domain - or a competitor's domain - and see where you rank in Google, MSN and Yahoo!
Create a forum/community
As I've learned first-hand, a forum can be high maintenance and you may have to find moderators to keep it under control, but the traffic generated can be significant. You need to have a passionate interest in your topic.
There's phenomenal interest in anything to do with Google. About 56 million Google searches a month are for "google" and 124 million searches include the word "google". Microsoft, Apple and all large companies are likely targets. However, make sure there's a strong connection between the subject matter and your niche.
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Publish videos showing people in your niche how to do something. The easiest way to do this is to follow the instructions at YouTube, post your video there, and then paste the YouTube snippet of code into your page.
This idea is really old, so see if you can come up with an original angle. Darren Rowse points out that awards can generate buzz on several different levels: "In the first part they generate links from those hoping to be nominated - then they generate links from people who have been nominated who try to get votes - then they generate links from winners showing off and others complaining about the winners. The waves of incoming links to good awards can be quite fascinating to watch."
Publish resources your visitors will USE and recommend
A few examples...
Crossfit publishes a new fitness workout each day.
The Universal Packing List helps you plan what to take on a trip.
Musicovery helps you choose music to suit your mood and your tastes.
UK-GolfGuide reviews Britain's golf courses, giving all sorts of details, such as prices, par, accommodation, tuition and competitions.
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SEO companies are clever. They make it a rule that contestants have to link to the contest rules.
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Here's a good definition from Wikipedia of a white paper: "A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions. They are used in politics and business. They can also be a government report outlining policy."
These days they're often used as a marketing tool. You study the authoritative report, which ends with the conclusion that you need to buy a particular product.
If the material you're giving away is attractive enough, you'll attract links to it.
Start a niche directory - collect fees
If you've chosen an obscure niche with very little competition, you may be able to start a niche directory on your site of businesses in your industry. You can charge businesses, say, $97 a year for a listing in your directory and collect the money via PayPal. These listings provide more keyword-rich content for the search engines.
Go beyond being an affiliate
Be a merchant as well as an affiliate. Write a very useful 20-page report and sell it. The fastest way to do this is to interview an expert in your niche.
Provide some type of service to your visitors. Check forums and anywhere your niche is being discussed, find out what they want and sell it.
You need MORE than compelling content
It would be nice if you could succeed on sheer talent alone. But it's a tough world out there. Merely writing compelling, useful, helpful stuff isn't enough. You'll have a better chance of getting your publicity rolling if you've made friends with high-profile folk in your niche. Getting to know newsletter publishers, owners of popular blogs and ebook authors is a good start.
Traditional advice on making friends with the movers and shakers in your niche includes interviewing them, networking at conferences, posting intelligent comments on their blogs, writing guest posts for them, and emailing them intriguing questions to start a conversation. And finding some way to help them.
However, there's one action that's likely to impress influencers MUCH more: Join their affiliate programs and sell a significant number of their products. Then they'll take notice.
If it all seems too hard, use our article writing service
If you're not comfortable with writing, or if you simply want to get more leverage, you can hire writers to write original articles for your site. Our writing service, created in conjunction with super affiliate Dan Ho, will create original articles custom written for you.
Our articles are well written. Perfectionists improve them, adding extra research and their own voice. Most affiliates are happy to use them just the way they're written.
Don't be afraid to ask for a link
If you've created remarkable, compelling content, don't be afraid to ask your friends for a link.
Did THIS article give you useful ideas? If it did, I'd really appreciate a link. Thank you!
YOUR NEXT STEP: Take action. Re-read the article. Choose an idea that appeals to you and start today creating compelling content to add to your site.
Remember, do something EVERY DAY to improve your business.
Learn from an affiliate veteran.
Your host, Allan Gardyne, has been earning a good living from affiliate programs since 1998.