How To: Create a Content Strategy For Your Niche Site

April 23rd, 2014 Comments off

With every passing year, content is becoming even more important than before. “Content is king” has been iterated to death but it hasn’t made it less true. But as an affiliate marketer, do you REALLY need a content strategy? 

Unless you plan on spending thousands of dollars on paid advertising alone, you need to put serious thought into how you’re going to market your site. For most affiliates, this starts with creating good content. But you already know that, right?

The problem is knowing isn’t doing. Most affiliate marketers know they need a good content to truly make their niche site shine. So they start out with a bang, put out some great pieces of content and then slowly it starts dwindling out. Some completely stop while others just do it ad hoc (when or if they have some spare time).

When you’re doing content marketing half-heartedly like this, your results are also going to be half-hearted. Setting out a content strategy from the very beginning will help you stay on track with your content. If you want your niche site to benefit from content marketing, you need a content marketing strategy to back you up.

Here are our top tips to help you get started.

Identify Your Target Demographic

This is the first and most basic step for any marketing plan, so this is where you should start for your content strategy as well. You need to have a very clear idea of exactly who your audience is before you can work on content ideas and how to market it to them. 

Sometimes this target demographic is really easy to identify. For example, if you're running a site on yoga for athletes, you know your ideal audience is athletes. However, at other times the audience is not obviously spelled out and you need to spend some time figuring it out. For example, if you run a travel blog, it may not be immediately obvious who exactly your travel blog appeals to.

You need to really grill yourself and answer some important questions about your audience. The more you narrow it down, the better it is for you. Picture them as being one person and your job is to describe this person as best as possible. 

target market cartoon

To help you determine who your audience is, here are some sample questions to ask yourself about your site:

  • What gender are they?
  • What age group do they belong in?
  • Where do they live?
  • What language do they speak?
  • Do they belong to a specific ethnic or religious group?
  • What is their relationship status?
  • What is their income level?
  • What interests do they have?
  • How do they spend their leisure time?
  • Do they have any common problems? 
  • What type of books do they read?
  • What movies do they like to watch? 

Obviously, keep adding to this with questions that are relevant to your site and niche.

Answering these questions may seem silly but the answers will help you paint a very realistic picture of a person. Having an actual person in mind will make it easier for you when you're trying to plan your content. 

What is Your Goal?

Creating content for the sake of creating content is pointless. From the very outset, your content strategy should clearly outline your goals. What is it that you want to achieve from the creation of this content? You can have one or multiple goals — just as long as you know what they are!

Example of content goals: 

  • Generating an awareness for the new site
  • Sending traffic to the site
  • Link building
  • Social sharing 
  • Audience engagement
  • Building thought leadership

Knowing your goals will help when you're actually creating the content. Every piece of content will work towards achieving your goals and you won't be wasting any time on unnecessary content.

Do Your Research

Once you have settled on a goal and identified your target audience, it's time to get into some hardcore research. 

Competitive Research

Check out competitors in your niche to see what they are doing. If you come across competitors doing content well, make a note of it. You don't need to copy them, but if you both share a common target demographic and your audience likes their content, you should find a way to replicate the formula.

Audience Research

Now that you know who your audience is, it's important to research where they spend their time online. By having a clear idea of what your audience is doing online, you will be in a better position to reach them. 

So with regards to your audience, how would you answer the following?

  • Social networks most used?
  • Blogs read?
  • Forums frequented?
  • News consumed?
  • Sites most visited?
  • Types of content shared? (e.g. blog posts, memes, news stories etc)

Determine Types of Content

Armed with audience and competitor data, you are in an excellent position to start planning the types of content you will create. If your audience is one that seems to only enjoy visual content, your focus should be on developing imagery that will be appealing to them. On the other hand, if your audience is one that appreciates long form, informative content then you need to spend your energy on creating quality posts. (Check out my post, "How to Never Run Out of Blog Ideas," if you need a little help.)

You will obviously have more than one type of content. In your strategy, you can plan out how often you should be publishing each type of content. 

Create a Content Calendar

Finally, with everything in place, it's now time for you to create a content calendar. This is an excellent tool used by newspaper and magazine editors, social media managers and blog publishers alike. It is a calendar that helps you plan out your content in advance.

My advice? Do this once a month and plan out your content for the month ahead. You don't have to publish something every day. So if you're publishing a blog post every Tuesday and a new infographic every third Thursday of the month, mark it on your calendar. Be as specific as possible so put in topics, the person creating the content, due dates and anything else that would be relevant.

Being organized with a content calendar will make sure you regularly produce content and not just when the inspiration hits you.

A content strategy isn't a fancy term for big corporate offices. It's also a real and very useful tool for affiliate marketers like you. Make some time today to put your content marketing strategy into place, and your marketing efforts will start becoming much easier.

Any thoughts? Have you ever created a content strategy? How did that work out for you?

Niche of the Week: Parenting Advice Affiliate Programs

April 21st, 2014 Comments off

Being a mother of two young girls, I know from first-hand experience that children can drive their parents crazy. It starts from infancy and continues on through your child's adulthood. Children will do things that can irk, annoy, and exasperate you.

They can also make you laugh with their antics and see at the world in fresh, new way.

Being a parent brings on the pressure of making sure you're raising your child well and issues that come with child-rearing can oftentimes drive parents up the wall. Some parents find a good piece of advice, whether from other parents or professionals, can really make a big difference.

An infographic by the Frugal Dad talks about "America's Billion Dollar Baby Scam." It points out how willing parents are to spend on their children, and how the baby advice industry has grown since the 1970s. Judging by the number of parenting advice sites and books on the Internet, there is a high demand and plenty of competition in the parenting niche.

"Parent" Keywords

"Parenting advice" is a good keyword to target, but there are a lot more other keywords you can target and use in this niche. Most of the keywords you'll find in this niche are "crisis" keywords; phrases that emerge from a certain crisis or challenge parents may face.

Potty Training - Traffic Travis Results

A good example is "how to potty train boys," "when to start potty training," and "ready for potty training." These keywords are crisis keywords because they are about a specific problem parents want resolved. These keywords have good monthly search values and are between medium and high competition.

Some keyword variations have easier competition or better monthly values than your original target keyword, so make sure to check out sites such as Ubersuggest.org and check out possible variations for your target keywords.

Parenting Advice Affiliate Programs

There are parenting affiliate programs in ClickBank, but only one caught my attention: StartPottyTraining.com. Affiliates receive 75 percent commission and it offers several up-sells where affiliates can earn the same commission. This is the only parenting affiliate program in ClickBank with a very high gravity.

Start Potty Training - Parenting Advice Affiliate Programs

Potty training is also a major issue, especially with new parents, so it's easy to see why the product is popular.

I ventured online and looked for other affiliate programs. Following are some of the good ones I found:

Simplicity Parenting

Simplicity Parenting - Parenting Advice Affiliate Programs

Simplicity Parenting believes in simplifying the four areas in the home: the environment, the rhythm, the schedule and the unplugging. The program offers parents training through MP3s and CDs. It also has published books on parenting.

The affiliate program is through E-Junkie and affiliates receive 30 percent commission for every CD/MP3 sale. New sign-ups to the training program can earn you $45 for each sign up.

 

Positive Parenting Solutions

Positive Parenting Solutions - Parenting Advice Affiliate Programs

Positive Parenting Solutions is a training portal for parents. It offers live webinars, coaching and books on how to carry out daily challenges in rearing children. You need to be a ShareASale affiliate to promote the training courses. You get a 15 percent commission for each product purchased through your affiliate link.

Parenting Powers

Parenting Powers - Parenting Advice Affiliate Programs

Parenting Powers is like a combination of Simplicity Parenting and Positive Parenting Solutions: it offers books, CDs and digital products on parenting and coaching, too. Affiliates receive 15 percent commission for each sale through Parenting Powers' own affiliate network.

Amazon.com

Amazon.com - Parenting Advice Affiliate Programs

There are plenty of parenting books that you can recommend on Amazon. Since there's a lot parents can choose from here, it's best to recommend two to three books and let them decide which one to get.

Get Parents to Your Site

It’s not enough that you get your website up. You need to drive traffic to it and let search engines and the rest of the online community know you've got your fabulous site on parenting advice up and running. Here are some of the methods you can let readers, particularly parents, know that your site has great information for them:

Content Strategy

Before promoting your site on social media sites and forums, make sure that you've got the right content to tempt them to visit and stay in your site. This is where good content strategy comes in. If you're not a parent yet, will soon become one or just really want to be in this niche, you need to read up and write about everything parenting.

You need to research the problems parents face these days and write about those. If you have good content strategy, then planning, research and publishing these articles should be a lot more easier.

Link Indexing

This is probably one of the least used off-page SEO methods—probably because once we've built links, we just leave them there and move on to the next inbound marketing method.

After building your links, it's a good practice to make sure that search engines are aware of these new links to your site. You can ping them, or submit them as an RSS feed, or use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Social Media Marketing

Of course, it's important that you do social media marketing. This is where most people converge these days, including parents—and their children, too!

Once you have your site up, make sure to set up a Facebook or Twitter page for it. You can then share any new content on your site on these social media sites, and gather followers. You can share parenting information from other sites in the niche on your website's social media sites too.

Parenting Advice Affiliate Programs: For Parents Only?

The best people to start a parenting advice site are parents, but if you're well and truly interested in this niche, then there's nothing wrong with starting one of your own. There is plenty of literature on parenting you can read through, and I'm going to say the odds are good you know a parent who can share their experience with you: your own parents, for example.

This is a competitive niche, though, so it's important that you've got a clear idea of what your site would be and look like. Having back-linking and inbound marketing strategies before starting the site will be a great help too. You need to make sure you do your research well and know your target market.

Some affiliate programs offer more than others, but the commissions you can get from the products on this niche are good enough. With a good site and strong linkbuilding and inbound marketing efforts, you can earn well in the parenting advice niche.

I hope you enjoyed this week's niche! If you did, please make sure to share it using the Share buttons below. Feel free to leave me a comment, too!

Check out Affiloblueprint for a complete step-by-step guide to building great affiliate marketing websites!

Using Analytics To Motivate Consumer Interaction Across Devices

April 21st, 2014 Comments off

Rowan Atkinson, star of the “Mr. Bean” movies, said that, “marketing is what gets you noticed.” That may be enough for the film industry, but any executive of a company that sells products knows that marketing needs to translate into sales. In this day of mobile technology, WiFi everywhere, and unlimited data plans, metric tracking is simple. What you do with the information is another matter.

Website traffic tracking

Marketing Analytics Versus Financial Metrics

Marketing data draws on the number of times that a prospect sees a particular marketing message. It focuses on brand recognition and awareness. The use of marketing metrics has been criticized as unrealistic and impractical. A new suggestion coming out of the business world is to blend marketing metrics with those of finance. By doing so, the marketing information can be strategically honed to yield tangible sales and sales opportunities.

What researchers are finding is that the metric orientation, which gives consumer patterns that are specific to the company, are more useful that general managerial characteristics of sales. Make sure that you are collecting data that is useful for your industry and business. Knowing the number of website page views means nothing; your analytical tool needs to help you to understand the value of each page view, which will then translate into sales or service delivery.

Get Sticky

The age of technology has made the consumer more and more active in the supply and demand chain. More importantly, the consumers do not know how active they are. Mobile tech does things that we once thought was the realm of science fiction. Looking at smartphones and tablets, many contain functions that users do not understand or use. While applications on tablets offer a great way to market and track analytics, pulling behavior data from applications that are kitsch can be dangerous. With unlimited data plans, a user can allow an app to run indefinitely without actually engaging with the product.

Instead of looking for stagnant data like page hits, analyze your brand’s stickiness across mediums. Stickiness is the longitudinal strength of a change in the attitude of a consumer towards your company. If your company is sticky, then a small amount of advertising will easily remind a consumer of your brand appeal. The stickiness metric translates well into long term sales.

Get Them Moving

Metric analysis must show causality or a definitive lack thereof. Marketing’s goal is to move people towards a cause. This relationship is best seen in the film industry where marketing has a rapid pre-release/release phase and a protracted digital sales phase. Name recognition for movies is simply not enough. The film industry, relying heavily on social media advertising, uses nodal transaction analysis. Each node is a user or potential consumer and each connecting line is the media message being delivered. In some cases, the lines go in the opposite directions, indicating that a conflicting media message is being sent. This metric analysis allows filmmakers the ability to track the flow of positive response versus negative and change the marketing mix accordingly.

UX Design Tips for Affiliates: Optimize Your Site for Functionality

April 18th, 2014 Comments off

As an affiliate marketer, your site is where your money comes from. This means you should be making every effort to make it the best available site in your niche. You want users to come to your site, use it and go on to make a purchase via your site. To make all of this possible, your users must like your site.

Web design has evolved and in some cases become more complex. Understandably, it can be hard to keep up, especially if you're not a designer. However, your designer isn't the only person who should be worrying about your site. Your number one concern should always be to make your website as user-friendly as possible, and this is where UX design comes in. 

What is UX Design?

First things first, what is UX design and why should you, an affiliate marketer care about it? UX is an abbreviation for User Experience. UX design is the practice of designing while keeping the end user in mind. This means always thinking about how the user is going to feel when visiting and navigating your website. 

Why should you care? 

  • Your users are the source of your income. By improving their experience, you're enhancing your chances of increased profits.
  • Design isn't just about aesthetics. By thinking about UX design for affiliate sites, you're thinking about how to make exploring your site easier and better. 
  • Accessibility of your site is key. By taking this into consideration when designing a site, you're likely to attract more users.

UX Design Tips for Affiliates

You're not running a huge brand: You're running an affiliate marketing site. How can you make your site better, more useful for your users? Here are some UX design tips for affiliates that you will find useful.

Always Put Accessibility First

A common mistake many site owners make is to offer way too many options and site features. They think the more, the better. But no, simplicity is the key. 

Simplify your site and make it easy for users to access the features you offer. Always keep this accessibility in mind whenever you make a change to the site. How can you do this?

  • What is the most important thing you want the user to do? Make this prominently visible.
  • The path from your homepage to the next most important task should be clear to your users.
  • How many clicks does it take for your users to get to where you need them to go? Can you reduce the number of clicks? Make every click count.

Design for Purpose

When thinking about accessibility, it's also really important that you think about the purpose of the site. Ask yourself, why are the users on my site? What information are they searching for?

Now, are you making this information easily available to your user? Imagine that your affiliate site is about the benefits of green tea. Your users visit your site to find more information about the subject. They click through to land on a site that has great graphics and is a pretty sight to behold, but is that what your user is there for? 

They just want the information, and they want it quick. Don't annoy them with unnecessary graphics. Just design for their purpose and get to it quick. Otherwise they will leave and go elsewhere.

Limit the Reading

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: Reduce the text on your website. The 5,000 words on your homepage might seem super interesting to you but trust me, your users aren't reading it. They don't have the attention span for it! To be honest, neither would you, if it wasn't your site. 

Get rid of text where it isn't needed. Where you do use text, make it easily scannable: 

  • Write short paragraphs.
  • Use bulleted lists where necessary.
  • Incorporate relevant images and tables.
  • Make use of sub headings.

Incorporate a Search Bar

It's simple, but it works. After you've put all the work into designing a site that is easily accessible and user-friendly, there will still be people who may not find what they need. Don't risk losing them. Incorporate an easily visible search box on your site.

People of all age groups use search boxes and are familiar with it. If, for some reason, they can't find what they need on your site, they can simply search for it — so make the bar easy for them to find.

Test, Test, Test

Finally and very, very importantly, keep testing. A website isn't great just because you think it is. Your users need to think so too. Start by asking real people (friends? family?) for their opinion of your site. See whether they find it easy to use and ask them to complete the most important tasks on your website.

The next step is to make the site live and test it with users. Track your users with Google Analytics to see how they're using the site and how long they're sticking around. Then analyze their exit points. This will help you gain an insight into what is working and what isn't.

By constantly testing, you will constantly be improving. This will ultimately give you a winning website.

UX design isn't just a web designer's domain. Sure, they can worry about the technical details, but as the site owner, you should always be thinking about how to make your site as user-friendly as possible. A well-designed, well-planned site is going to be much more profitable to you than a poorly designed one. 

Do you have any more UX design tips for affiliates you'd like to add? Do share with us. 

Niche of the Week: Wine Affiliate Programs

April 18th, 2014 Comments off

Wines have always fascinated me, mostly because when I was growing up, it used to be a drink reserved to special occasions like weddings. It was a drink reserved only for the "elite," until recently, when a local winery opened and began distributing wines for the average consumer.

We are far from becoming the next largest wine consumers. However, it's a different story in the US, which now dominates the wine industry in both consumption and sales. According to Dr. Liz Thach's website, the US is the leading wine consumer in the world. The US wine market has experienced a continued growth for 19 years in a row. Statistics I've come across point that this industry will continue to grow as more and more American adults discover a love for this elegant, aromatic drink.

Intoxicating Keywords

Any keywords with the word "wine" can be a target keyword: where to buy wine, recommended wines, which wines goes with what, wine online store, etc. These keywords have good global monthly search results and most are in the low to medium competition.

Any wine keyword that has the word "buy" tends to have a high competition so try and find other keywords through sites like Ubersuggest.org. You can also target "wine reviews" and "wine comparisons."

Wine Affiliate Programs

ClickBank has wine-making affiliate programs, but none of them look to be good enough. Most have zero to about 5 gravity. It could be these products are not making enough or do not have enough affiliates to promote. Or maybe they are all new.

Since there aren't any solid wine affiliate programs in ClickBank, I used Google to look for some instead. Below are some of the affiliate offers I found:

Wine.com

Wine.com Wine Affiliate Program

Wine.com is a California-based online wine store. It carries various types of wine from several different regions, including well-known brands like Dom Pérignon and Moët. The site also has members-only daily wine sales and offers a wine gift shop.

The affiliate program is through LinkShare. The affiliate page does not state how much commission affiliates receive, but looking at similar online wine stores, it's probably between 4 percent and 10 percent commission for each sale.

MajesticWine.com

MajesticWine.com Wine Affiliate Programs

MajesticWine.com is similar to Wine.com. Even the products offered are similar, and you'll find a wine gift selection too. The main difference is that MajesticWine.com is based in the UK and mainly serves UK consumers.

Affiliates receive 4 percent commission through Affiliate Window.

CellarsWineClub.com

Cellars Wine Club - Wine Affiliate Programs

Wine clubs provide its members with a couple of wine bottles each month or quarter. They usually follow a theme and give members a set of reds, whites or combination of the two. Wine clubs are a great way to discover wines, particularly local ones, since they are usually available through vineyards or local specialty wine shops.

Cellars Wine Club is one such wine club. It does not require membership, and you can chose to send the wine to yourself or to someone else as a gift. The site also has a 100 percent "no bad bottle" guarantee, meaning they will replace any damaged or bad bottle of wine.

The site offers affiliates 15 percent commission for each order through ShareASale.

Organic Wine Company

Organic Wine Company Affiliate Programs

 

I recently did a Niche of the Week post that featured organic clothing and I came across organic food and wine during the course of my research. The Organic Wine Company is one of the merchants I came across the offer organic wine.

Organic wines are wines made from organically grown grapes. This means no pesticides are used on the soil and water used to grow the grape vines.

Organic Wine Company has a wide selection of organic wines as well as wine clubs. The site manages its own affiliate program and give affiliates 5 percent commission for each sale, or 10 percent of the sale applied to your next purchase.

Corkcicle

Corkcicle Wine Affiliate Program

Corkcicle does not sell wines, but it does offer a unique wine accessory. Corkcicles help you maintain your wine's temperature. They keep reds at just the right temperature for drinking and chill whites for up to an hour.

The affiliate program is through Commission Junction. Affiliates receive 15 percent commission for each sale.

Get People Interested in Wines

After getting your site up, the next step is making it known to people that you have a fabulous site filled with awesome content. The best way to do this is to build links to the site and promote it through various social media networks and sites within your niche. Below are a few methods you can include in your link building strategy:

Social Media Marketing

Is there any link-building strategy out there that does not include Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest? These are some of the most popular social media sites, and your link-building strategy will not be complete without an account for your site on at least one of them.

Make sure your site has a page on one of these sites, and that you're continuously engaging your target market. Don't just post content from your site — share related content you find on other websites within your niche.

Blog and Forum Commenting 

Blogs and forums within your niche are a great way to not just build backlinks, but to build a name for you and your site too. Always make it a point to look for forums and blogs where you could share your knowledge and expertise about your subject.

Look to forums such as WineHQ.org and WineLoversPage.com to participate in and share your love for wine. Make sure to read the forum rules and to follow them at all times. Keep in mind that blog and forum commenting isn't all about backlinks: It's about building your site's online reputation, too.

Link Baiting

There's plenty to say about wines, and you will find that there are plenty of sites on the topic. Most likely, you will be in competition with these sites, but not with all. You can pick out the best sites from this niche and use them as references on your own site.

Link baiting is all about writing excellent content, then referencing the sites you used as sources within the article. You can then let the site owners know you've referred to them on your article, and hopefully, they will link back to your article from within their site.

Infographics are a great way to link bait. You can create an awesome infographic on the history of wine for example, reference sites you want to link to, and then share the infographic with them. You can also share the infographic through your site's social media accounts to attract more traffic to your site.

Wine Affiliate Programs and the Affiliate Marketer: Balanced or Acetic?

The wine niche is interesting and any affiliate marketer would learn much from this niche, all the while earning from it too. Unfortunately, this is not for just any marketer, but for someone who possesses at least the basic knowledge about wines. This is one of those "passion" niches similar to the photography niche, for example.

If you have a website about wines, or are considering building a site on wines, then go ahead and start making money from your passion!

I hope you enjoyed this week's Niche of the Week! Please make sure to share them using the Share buttons below. Feel free to leave a comment too if you have a question, or simply want to share your thoughts. I'd be happy to hear them!

Doing Business That Matters

April 18th, 2014 Comments off

Ever since 1974 when Carr & Associates International, an organization owned by John Carr, started the first popular case of Cause Marketing, this 122020phenomenon has continued to grow in leaps and bounds all around the world. Cause Marketing is simply explained as any marketing effort made for the purpose of social and charitable causes. It is also referred to as Cause-related marketing and it involves the mutual cooperation between a profitable and non profitable organization to promote various causes and business that matters.

I incorporate both Cause Marketing and Corporate in my company, Affiliate Mission.  The difference is that the former covers a lot besides money donation while the latter is based on specific donations which are tax  deductible. The benefits of this type of marketing to both the company, non-profit organization and the general populace are numerous. Below are convincing reasons that will encourage your company’s participation in Cause Marketing.

Very Positive Public Relations

The impact of a very good perception of your company by the general populace is something money alone cannot buy. This is because both your present & potential consumers and even workers will all be drawn from this general populace. In fact, a study in 2006 by Cone Millennial found out that more than 80 percent of Americans between the ages of 13 & 25 would pick a brand which is associated with a good cause out of different of such with the same function and cost. The same research also revealed that a large percentage of people covered by the survey would also prefer to work with a company with a well known good cause.

Improved Customer Relations

Relationship between people is always stronger and better improved when they tend to have more in common. Cause marketing by your company will give you the opportunity to have more than a seller-buyer relationship with your customers. You will give them more utility, by them having it in back of their mind that a proportion of their spent money is used on a good cause. Your company can even motivate your customers and engage them directly in these causes especially in ones that involve direct human participation. You will be surprised at how the graph of your company’s customer relations and satisfaction will soar in a very short period of time.

Additional Marketing Opportunities

This type of marketing also creates a very effective channel to market your business, products and services. Most times companies pick a cause which is related to the products or services they render. For example a packaged water manufacturing company can partner with the government agency responsible for water resources to help in constructing water plants in areas suffering from water scarcity. By this you can easily increase your brand awareness and visibility. You could use the organization’s name, logo and other insignia in your campaigns while the organization could use your own in their events, press releases, websites and lots more.

More Profit

More returns to your company will come as a result of the improved public perception, better customer relations and the use of the additional marketing opportunities. Cause marketing might cost you a lot but it will sure gain you lots more. The American Express can testify to this, they recorded 17 % and 28 % increase both in new users and card users respectively as a result of their Cause marketing.

With all the points raised above, there is never a better time to engage your company in Cause marketing for business that matters. Tomorrow might be too late, the benefits are right there waiting for you to come and get them.

 

Is your site healthy?

April 18th, 2014 Comments off

You've made awesome, evergreen content. You've received inbound links from authority sites and industry giants in your niche. You've done everything by the book.

So why haven't you made it big in the search engines?

Unfortunately, while you were out doing the real money-making activities, you probably didn't realize that your site was gradually accumulating more and more technical errors and SEO issues.

The problem is that these errors can make or break your site. Each issue might be small, but they add up fast. Combined, they can make it really difficult or impossible for the search giants to crawl your website, and see how awesome your content is.

Not good.

Fortunately you can now locate and banish those sneaky, difficult to notice SEO issues permanently, with our newly overhauled "Site Health" module in AffiloTools!

 

Check it out

Start with the big picture

Don't get slowed down by data, data, data; check your site's health at a glance with your overall score! High Score = Good. Low Score = Bad. (It's all out of 100)

Of course, there's also a breakdown into different types of issues, for seeing where your specific strengths and weaknesses lie.

No site is perfect though [heck, even Affilorama only scores somewhere in the 90s], so we've also added general color coding: site in the green? You're probably pretty good. Yellow? Maybe a few things need fixing. Red? Hoo boy, you've got work to do.

Only your most important pages

We don't want to bother you with useless information about every page you've ever written. Instead, like you, we focus on scanning just your most important pages for issues.

Besides, in our experience, if you can solve the SEO and technical issues for your top pages, you'll probably solve them for the rest of your website as well.

High impact issues first

There's little point knowing that you have a missing H1 tag on your homepage, if half your site is inaccessible.

That's why we put the really important issues at the top of your list, and leave the less important stuff out of the way until you're ready for it.

Not just 'what', but 'how'

Not everyone's a tech whiz, so we've focused Health Check on providing actionable steps and useful links, so you can easily understand and fix any issue on your website.

Delegate!

You're a busy person; even though you know how to fix your site issues, you have more effective things to do with your time!

No problem – send an email from inside Health Check, so your own developer can get it sorted quick smart!

Ignore unimportant stuff

No two sites are the same, so sometimes an issue we show won't be relevant to you (or you just don't care). Just click "Ignore Check" next to any check, and you won't be bothered again!

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Two Mistakes that Will Derail Content Marketing

April 9th, 2014 Comments off

Don't derail content marketing“Having good content on your website is an important factor in gaining credibility, trust and ultimately sales from the people who visit your site.” This statement provides the lead for a story on The Guardian’s Small Business Network and sums up what every business should be looking to achieve with their content marketing strategy. The problem is, too many small businesses get all jazzed up over content marketing without really knowing what it is or what it can accomplish for them. They read about it on the Internet, there is no lack of “content” that covers content marketing; they see the statistics and they see the potential it has but then they go ahead and take a wrong turn somewhere and their strategy falls apart. So let’s take a look at some of the most common ways small-medium sized businesses sabotage their own content marketing efforts.

The wrong people creating content for marketing

There was a time when content creation followed the “more is better” mantra. If you could crank out blog posts and guest posts everyday you were doing a good job. This provided a steady stream of income for content mills to crank out 300 word posts provided by writers who were making as little as 5 to 15 dollars per piece of content. These writers might know next to nothing about your business or products but they were providing your business with content that was supposed to strengthen your brand and educate your customers.

Instead of looking to create content on the cheap, businesses need to look to create content that works. Some businesses find themselves dedicating people who are current employees towards content creation. They are familiar with the products and they know the business. This works rather well in many cases, but not everyone who knows your business can write well. To avoid poorly written content businesses can work with a reputable service to have content written and created. They will charge a great deal more than five dollars for a blog post, but they will get it right. Make sure that they either have an expert in your field writing for them or they are willing to spend time with someone on your staff to learn what they need to know about your brand and products.

No call to action

The other reason the wheels often fall off a content marketing campaign is that when the visitor is done consuming content they aren’t directed anywhere. In one study it was found that 72 percent of small business websites don’t have any calls to action on their interior pages. That is unacceptable but it is understandable.

Businesses are often warned that content used in content marketing should not be advertorial in nature. It should inform the reader, thus building the reader’s confidence in the brand so that they will become a customer.

A call to action doesn’t have to be an advertisement, it can be a subtle nudge to register for additional information or connect with a business through a social network. Calls to action can even point to products in the catalog without lessening the quality of the content like Water Damage Defense does. They simply mention some of their products that contain the feature their content is talking about providing the reader with an easy way to make a purchase without losing trust.

Content marketing works because it helps decision makers and customers make better decisions about what they are buying, but it only works for your business if you take the time and dedicate the resources necessary to be successful.

Don’t Overlook Images in Content Marketing

April 8th, 2014 Comments off

eyes-overlookMention content marketing nowadays and you can safely assume that people are thinking of articles and blog posts. That is because these are the tactics most often used by businesses as a part of their content marketing strategy.

According to The Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks report these are the five most commonly used tactics:

  • Social media, other than blogs – used by 87 percent of all respondents
  • Articles on the company website – used by 81 percent of all respondents
  • eNewsletters – used by 80 percent of all respondents
  • Blogs – used by 76 percent of all respondents
  • In-person events – used by 76 percent of all respondents

Unfortunately, with the exception of infographics, images and pictures did not make the list. Could it be that most people don’t think images work as content marketing? It’s quite possible, but when you consider the fact that videos, infographics and games all made the list it is hard to make a case for images to be left out in the cold. It’s easier to assume that people just forget about images because they are just a part of written content.

The worth of a picture

We all know that a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, but let’s take a look at some more quantifiable statistics to prove the point.

In a blog post on his site Jeff Bullas provides six reasons why images should be incorporated as part of the marketing strategy:

  • Articles with images get 94 percent more total views
  • Including a Photo and a video in a press release increases views by over 45 percent
  • 60 percent of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results
  • On an ecommerce site, 67 percent of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product
  • Customers shopping in an online store think that the quality of a products image is more important than product-specific information (63 percent), a long description (54 percent) and ratings and reviews (53 percent)
  • The engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37 percent where text only is 0.27 percent (this translates to a 37 percent higher level of engagement for photos over text)

So if you are still not using images as part of your content marketing strategy, then quite frankly you’re doing it wrong.

Doin’ it well

It’s relatively easy to slap a picture into the middle of a blog post’s text, but is that really more effective?

Images should be used to compliment, and break up, long form content. If the piece of written content exceeds 700 words two or more images can really help keep the reader engaged; if the images are relevant that is. Longer content would obviously benefit from more images; and if a chart or graph can be used to represent the data mentioned in the content all the better.

But what about images as a stand-alone marketing tactic, can that work? Take a look at this page on the smokeymountains.com site and see how effective their collection of nighttime images is.

So the next time you are preparing a piece of content for publication, remember these simple words from Jeff Shjarback, an Internet Marketing Consultant/Manager, “By placing one well taken, well conceived, and well thought out picture, a piece of content marketing can draw in many more viewers and potential customers than a simple article or word laden ad may.”

Niche of the Week: Organic Clothing Affiliate Programs

April 7th, 2014 Comments off

I featured green energy affiliate programs back in November, and while doing research for that post I came across organic clothing affiliate programs. It caught my interest and I made a note to look more into this niche.

Organic clothing, or sustainable clothing, is clothing made from methods and materials that have low impact on the environment. Organic cotton, a primary component of most organic cloth/textiles, is grown following strict organic agricultural requirements. This means no pesticides or artificial fertilizers are used while the cotton are grown. This results in organic cotton that is softer on your skin and healthier for the environment.

According to the Organic Trade Association, the Organic Cotton Market Report 2009 shows a significant increase in the global sales of organic cotton apparel. The 2011 Organic Industry Survey reports that there is a constant 16 percent growth in the organic fiber industry, with a value of USD $605 million in 2010. Given these numbers, and the increasing popularity of organic clothing, this niche has a high earning potential.

Organic Keywords

"Organic clothes" has a good monthly search results at 9,900, but has high competition. This is the same for all of its variations. Looking at just the keywords, you can easily see there is tough competition within the niche.

Organic Clothing - Traffic Travis Results

Ubersuggest can give you a lot of variations of this keyword that you can target and you can get some good topics for your articles here, but again, competition for these keywords is mostly high. You need to be creative in the keywords you're going to target in this niche. Looking at sales pages of the products you will promote can help a lot in building your keyword list.

Organic Clothes - Ubersuggest 1 Organic Clothes - Ubersuggest 2

Organic Clothes Affiliate Programs

Although ClickBank has a Green Energy category in the Marketplace, it does not have organic clothing. The green energy products are mostly sustainable energy products like solar panels.

GreenAffiliatePrograms.net has plenty of affiliate programs on sustainable energy and organic products like clothing and health supplements. I featured several of the products in the network when I did the green energy affiliate programs niche of the week. Some of the products listed on their directory are:

CleanSpirited.com

CleanSpirited.com is an eco-store that sells clothing and jewelry for men, women and children.It also sells eco-friendly home decor. The site offers affiliates 10 percent commission through ShareASale.

Clean Spirited Affiliate Program

Econscious

Econscious is another eco-store offering eco-friendly apparel and accessories. The site offers affiliates 15 percent
commission for each sale; the highest commission in this niche. You can sign up for the affiliate program through Performance-Based.com.

Econscious Affiliate Program

YesItsOrganic.com

YesItsOrganic.com is a one-stop eco-shop. The site doesn't just offer clothing like CleanSpirited and Econscious. You'll also find furniture and and bedding. Each sale gets affiliates 10 percent commission. The affiliate program is also through Performance-Based.com.

Yes It's Organic Affiliate Program

Other organic clothing affiliate programs are:

Frugi

Frugi is UK-based online store selling organic clothing for mothers, babies and children. It offers the affiliate program through Affiliate Window and rewards affiliates with 6 percent commission for each sale on their website.

Frugi Affiliate Program

The Natural Store

The Natural Store is a UK-based online earth-friendly store that sells organic clothing, home decor and medicine. The store runs its own affiliate program so you need to sign up directly through the site. The Natural Store affiliates get 5 percent commission for each sale, with a chance to earn higher commissions for larger sales within a month.

The Natural Store Affiliate Program

How to Push For Green

The next big step after getting your site up is to build links to it. Link building is not just to increase links going back to your site. It's also a way to increase users' awareness of you. It's best to have a good link building strategy from the get-go, when possible, so you do not lose time figuring out what link building method to use.

Content Strategy

Having a good content strategy helps you schedule when you will publish new content on your site and when you need to search for new content to add to your site. Both users and search engines love new content so it helps to update your site with new information on your niche from time to time.

Content strategy is most important if you're running a blog that has acquired a following. You need to make sure that you have fresh content to keep old visitors and attract new ones as well.

Press Releases

Press releases can help you get traffic to your site. A well-written press release can help you rejuvenate your site by driving new visitors there. You can write about any upcoming sales on any of the brands you'll be promoting and then link them to a related post on your site.

You can also share new information about organic clothing like up-and-coming brands, or any major events concerning related niches, like the cotton/textile industry.

Social Media Marketing

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are websites with large memberships where plenty of information is shared everyday. These sites are great places to promote an idea, an image, an app, etc. If you want to build a following for your site, then your site needs to have a page/account on these sites.

You can share information on organic clothing, or feature "looks" for the month or season. If a particular brand you're promoting is having a sale, then share it on these social media sites with a link back to the relevant article on your site.

Is Your Site "Ready To Wear" Organic Clothes Affiliate Programs?

There is no doubt this niche has earning potential, but the high competition is what makes me think twice about this niche. Promoting an organic clothing site is going to be a real challenge.

If you have a parenting blog, or a "green" blog where you promote sustainable energy products and the like, then you can branch out and promote some of the products above. If you're getting consistent traffic already on your site, then it would be easier for you to promote the products versus starting from scratch.

A good link building strategy is a must for any website, but all the more so if you're going to enter this niche. Expect and be prepared for the competition.

I hope you enjoyed this week's Niche of the Week. Please make sure to share it using the below Share buttons! I would love to hear your thoughts on this week's niche, so please leave your comments!

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A-B Email Testing Basics

April 7th, 2014 Comments off

Email TestingWith spam emails being such a problem you would think that email marketing should be dead by now. Not only are the nice shiny email appliances that IT departments install blocking out emails that look like they are advertisements, but the recipients themselves are becoming immune to the noise that an abundance of email email creates.

But consider these facts:

  • Email marketing spending grows 10% year over year.
  • For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.
  • 82% of consumers open emails from companies.
  • 27% of consumers were more likely to say their favorite companies should invest in more email marketing

When you see statistics like this you might wonder why more businesses aren’t using email as a marketing strategy.

One thought is that small-medium sized businesses don’t quite know what works when it comes to building a list or sending out effective marketing emails. This can be addressed through some basic A/B testing. Not only will this exercise help a small business fine tune their basic email marketing strategy, but it will give them a foundation on which they can eventually build on.

To get started with A/B testing it is best to undergo an extremely simple test to get your feet wet. One way to do this is to test which type of call to action will work best for your email campaign.

The simple approach

Building a list can be as easy as including a call to action on the bottom of a piece of content on your website. Take Trophy Central as an example, a small graphic with a link to their sign up page is all they use to capture contact information. The reader knows exactly what they are signing up for so the lead is already going through a basic pre-qualification. There are no promises of free gifts, discounts or anything else that might convince someone who isn’t interested into signing up.

Dressing it up with incentives

Other companies opt for a more glamorous approach to their call to action. They offer incentives that are delivered immediately in return for the visitor’s email address. Maybe they enter the visitor into a raffle or they provide them with a report or white paper that can provide useful information. Others use coupons and savings as an incentive to sign up. The drawback to this you have to wonder how many people are signing up because they want to hear back from you in the future or if they simply want what you are offering as an incentive.

Email testing

The simplest way to find out which method works best for your business is to perform a basic A/B test. First, measure how many emails you are able to obtain with each method. To keep the results a pure as possible, find a tool that allows you to rotate the two different calls to action so that they are both displayed an equal number of times on the same content.

Once you have your two lists segmented, one captured from the basic call to action and the other that used incentives, begin pushing out your newsletter or other emails. Now start measuring the following from each list and compare:

  • Number, or percentage, or subscribers
  • Open rates
  • Unsubscribe rates
  • Conversions

Once you are comfortable with the method that works better for your business you can start thinking of ways to increase your sales using emails. Different A/B tests can be set up to track the performance of sales and incentives in the newsletter, different newsletter formats or even different types of content. The key is to get comfortable with a couple of easy tests before you move on to the more sophisticated ones.

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Niche of the Week: Get Your Ex Back

April 7th, 2014 Comments off

The relationship/dating niche is one of the biggest evergreen niches in affiliate marketing. This niche includes dating/relationship guides, online dating sites, and the "get your ex back" sub-niches. These are all popular niches and I've done a post on online dating and dating guide affiliate programs already. Today, I'm looking at the "get your ex back" niche, to see whether it's still worth going into (or getting back into, *wink, wink*).

"EX" Keywords

The obvious target keyword here is "get your ex back" and all its variations. It's a great keyword with a 33,000 global monthly search volume and low competition. Most of the variations of this keyword have low competition.

Get Your Ex Back - Traffic Travis Results

Visting KeywordBuzz.net, I found other variations of my main keyword, such as "get your ex back ebook," and "win your ex back coach." Other keywords I could target are "how to get back together," "can I still get back with my ex?," and "can my ex and I be friends?"

Get Your Ex Back - KeywordBuzz Results 1Get Your Ex Back - KeywordBuzz Results 2

"Get Your Ex Back" Affiliate Programs

All of the following affiliate programs are in the ClickBank Marketplace. I tried to look for "get your ex back" affiliate programs in other affiliate networks, or independent ones, but was not able to.

The following affiliate programs have great gravity and commission:

Ex Recovery System

Ex Recovery System - Clickbank

The Ex Recovery System offers separate for men and women. Affiliates receive 75 percent commission. They also have a membership program where you can earn an additional USD $12 for each member who signs up through your link.

The Magic of Making Up

The Magic of Making Up - Clickbank

The Magic of Making Up is another popular "get your ex back" product in ClickBank. Unlike the other products in this niche, the Magic of Making Up helps stop the break up. Affiliates earn 70 percent commission for each sale.

Meet Your Sweet 

Meet Your Sweet Affiliate Program

Meet Your Sweet is one of Mark Ling's websites. It is mainly a relationship/dating site with products ranging from attracting men and women to repairing relationships and getting your ex back. Affiliates get 75 percent commission on each sale PLUS a 50 percent recurring commission on some of the products.

Howtogetexback.com

Howtogetyourexback.com Affiliate Program

Howtogetexback.com is another "get your ex back" affiliate program offering 75 percent commission per sale. The only major difference it has over some the other products in this niche is that its methods are applied through text.

The Ex Factor Guide

The Ex Factor Guide Affiliate Program

The Ex Factor Guide is one of the "get your ex back" products in ClickBank with a high gravity. It has "get your ex back" guides for men and women. The commission is similar to Meet Your Sweet: 75 percent for each sale and 50 percent recurring commission.

Text Your Ex Back

Text Your Ex Back Affiliate Program

Text Your Ex Back has the highest gravity in ClickBank for the "get your ex back" niche. Like Howtogetyourexback.com, the "get your ex back" method is through text. Text Your Ex Back also has other relationship products, like how to attract men and women, similar to Meet Your Sweet.

Text Your Ex Back affiliates earn 75 percent commission for each sale. They also give 50 percent recurring commission on some products.

How to Get Them to Your Site

Amazon Kindle Traffic

People who are looking to get back together with their former lovers are mainly looking for solid information on how to do so. You can write a short eBook that shares a few pieces of information on getting one's ex back and put that up on Amazon. Make sure you've got links to relevant information on your site within the eBook so that users who want more information will be directed to your site.

One of the perks of this method is you can either charge a fee for the eBook, or make it free. Either way, you get traffic to your site.

Blog and Forum Commenting

This link building method is perfect for this niche because there are plenty of relationship blogs and forums out there that you can participate in. Make sure to contribute to the discussion, because you're not just building backlinks here: you're also building your and your site's reputation. Gaining the trust of other members help you get more clicks to your site.

Social Media Marketing

This particular inbound marketing method applies to practically any niche, and it's because social media sites are now the norm. Thousands of users are logged in 24/7 to these social media sites so it's only natural to join these sites to reach out more of your target market. You can set up a Facebook page for your site or a Twitter account, then engage your target market by posting links to relevant information about your niche.

Your posts don't always have to contain links to your site. You can refer to other sites within the niche too. Social media marketing is one of the best ways to build your site's online presence.

The "Ex" and the Affiliate Marketer: Too Good To be Together?

The "get your ex back" niche has some products with good commission. There isn't much competition in the keyword department either, which indicates that if you put real effort, you can rank for these keywords quite easily. The main challenge here is how you can vouch for these products. Unless you've separated from someone and got back together with them using any of the above products, confirming they work is going to be a challenge.

There is only so much you can write about the niche, too. This is the kind of niche that you can eventually branch into, or branch out of. You can start with this niche then move on to promoting other relationship products, or you can start a relationship site and then move on to promote products from this niche too. That way, your effort is maximized along with the earning potential.

I hope you enjoyed this week's Niche of the Week! Please make sure to share it with your friends through the Share buttons below. Comments and suggestions? You can leave them after this post and I will be sure to get back to you.

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