I remember a few years ago when Affiliate Marketing blogs weren’t as common as they are today. It was a lot easier to attract an audience, generate traffic, and monetize your blog considering there were only a few out there that were doing it right and had the traffic and engagement to not only stand out to advertisers, but also generate them a lot of exposure, sales, and leads.
Today is a whole different story. Affiliate Blogs are popping up faster than me in last year’s Affiliate Summit Toilet Bowl race (which was pretty damn fast if you ask me ). No longer does slapping a quick theme together and throwing some content up get you the golden ticket to a successful blog. You actually have to hustle to get some attention (imagine that?), and those who are too lazy to do so will be left in the dust.
If you are reading this, then I imagine you are interested in taking your blog to the next level and eventually turning it into a business that generates a steady income for you. If so, then here are 9 tips that will help you transform your blog from a hobby into a serious asset that can help your affiliate marketing career in more ways than you can imagine (We’ll get into that in another post).
First off, You Have To Look the Part. Now I’m not saying spend $2000 on designing or re-designing your blog, but it is important to have a professional looking site if you want to be portrayed as an expert authority to both your audience and potential advertisers. Do you really think Shoemoney.com would be where it is today if it looked like this? There are so many great themes out there that do the trick and aren’t very expensive, for example: Thesis (one of my favorites). There are also a bunch of well designed FREE themes all around the web, so you really have no excuse. If you are really serious about taking your blog to the next level, spend some time making sure your design looks clean and professional and I guarantee your audience and advertisers will take you a lot more seriously.
Get Your Guest Post On. In my opinion, guest posting is by far one of the best ways to grow your audience and establish credibility (for you and your blog) quickly in the space. Not only that, but most blogs will also give you a link back which will help your SEO efforts as well. So where do you start? For one, let people know you are looking to guest post. You can do this via Twitter, Facebook, or even a post on your blog. You’ll be surprised at the number of inquiries you will receive just by doing that (just ask Finch from FinchSells). Another thing I’ve done in the past is just written a post I knew would be relevant and beneficial to a certain blogger’s audience and sent it to them via email letting them know I wrote this for their blog and if they liked it they could post it. This has worked almost every single time I’ve done it. Guest Posting is HUGE if you are looking to build your audience and take your blog to that next level; so I highly suggest you take advantage of it right away. To get started, here’s a site I came across that showcases 101 Blogs that accept Guest Posts.
Get on AffBuzz. I remember when I first interviewed Justin Barr about Affbuzz early last year. At that point the Affiliate Marketing News Aggregator wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today but still drove a decent amount of traffic to the blogs that were on there. Today it’s become a household name in the affiliate marketing industry and THE place for affiliates to get their daily affiliate marketing news. To this day, AffBuzz has been a great source of traffic for the blogs that are on there. Not only that, but being on a popular site alongside other top affiliate marketing blogs in the industry can do wonders for your credibility too. So if you think your blog deserves to be listed among the other top industry blogs on there, you can submit your blog here and/or reach out to Justin on Twitter and plead your case
Make it Easy For Advertisers. Both to contact you and to purchase ad space. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across blogs that have taken me FOREVER to find their contact info. Some bloggers don’t even include a way to contact them- no email, no twitter, no Facebook, nothing! So guess what I did? Moved onto another blog and advertised with them So unless your goal is to turn away every potential advertiser that visits your blog, include the obvious (i.e. your contact info and a link to your social networking sites) on your home page and/or contact page. Also consider these other suggestions to encourage Advertisers to purchase ad space on your blog.
- Have a dedicated Advertising Page on your Blog - It’s there that potential advertisers should see the demographics of your blog, the different advertising options available on your site, what inventory is currently available, pricing, and the stats of your blog (Alexa Score, Page Views, Unique Visitors, and other Social Proof.)
- Allow them to purchase advertising directly from your site. Using a product/plugin like OIOpublisher allows advertisers to check inventory, purchase ad space and upload their banners without ever having to get into contact with you to do so. Then you simply approve the banner or deny it, in which case their money will be automatically refunded.
- Testimonials. You’d be surprised at how a well-written testimonial from an authority figure can sway the unsure advertiser towards spending money on your site. I’ve always been more than happy to provide bloggers/webmasters with testimonials as long as I truly found value in the partnership. Find the clients who have benefited the most from advertising with you and showcase their stories on your blog. It will have a bigger impact than you think.
Expand Your Presence on Other Blogs. Sure guest posting is a great way to do that, but it’s not something you can do everyday on the same blogs. What I’m talking about here is using Blog Commenting as a strategy to not just generate traffic but to also establish authority and a presence in the space. Participating in conversations happening on other blogs boosts your credibility (as long as you’re leaving well thought out comments that add to the conversation) and, in turn, entices people to check out your blog to find out more about you. Just ask Jeremy from Profit Addiction how being the first to comment on almost every new affiliate post that came out helped him get noticed in the community and also establish a larger audience. Sure this does take some time and work, but in the end its all a game of who wants it more. Is that you?
Don’t Post Just To Post (Create Quality Content). Now this may sound like a double edged sword as most “experts” will preach “consistency” over and over and over again. While I do agree that consistent posting is very important for a number of reasons, I will never advocate posting something just to post or stay consistent. If you are really looking to move your blog up in the rankings, one or two EPIC posts a week will benefit you way more then slapping half-ass posts together just so you can “stay consistent”. The affiliate blogs that I have found to do this the best are AdHustler, Mr. Green, and FinchSells. They may not post every day, but when they do post, the traffic floods in and almost everyone spreads the word to their friends and community. (Note: Something to think about when following this strategy is to not include the dates on your posts so that new visitors or advertisers don’t think you’ve been slacking when there hasn’t been a post in over a week.)
Network with Other Bloggers. This is a big one. In most industries, it’s all about who you know, and Affiliate Marketing is no different (especially as a blogger). When you have a well-rounded network of “blogger friends”, the opportunities are endless. Think about it; you are constantly seeing Shoemoney promote John Chow’s stuff, and John Chow promoting Zac Johnson’s products, and Zac promoting Jonathan Volk’s products, and vice versa. Sure they make money doing that, but would they really open their list like that to just anybody? Maybe if the price was right, but the short answer is probably not. They do it because they’ve all established relationships with each other (through meeting at events and engaging online) and will help one another out when they need it because they are friends.
Now don’t go sucking up to Shoemoney and every other successful affiliate blogger just so they’ll promote your blog or next big product. But rather understand that having a group of friends/peers who have similar successful blogs in your niche is extremely powerful and a great asset to have. It’s also something that separates the small fish from the big fish. So stop being lazy. Attend that next local meetup, or save up so you can go to the next Affiliate Summit, Ad Tech, or BlogWorld and start engaging in some face to face networking! I guarantee you it will be worth every penny/minute of your time down the line.
What are you waiting for? Start Building That List! If you’ve been an online marketer for any reasonable amount of time, then you already know how important list building is. As a blogger, your list truly is your bread and butter. Why do you think bloggers like Zac Johnson and Jonathan Volk create really valuable ebooks that take A LOT of time an effort to put together, only to give them away for free on their blog? It’s because they understand the power of building a large, highly targeted email list and the HUGE opportunity it presents for monetization down the line. So how do you build a huge email list? David Risley exposed the secret a few months back which you can find here. All in all, building a solid list is one of the biggest assets of your blog and if you simply choose to ignore doing it, then good luck reaching that next level with your blog.
Self Promotion Will Only Take You So Far. It’s easy to get caught up in always promoting your own stuff, but in the long haul it won’t get you anywhere. Personally, I try and share other people’s work 10x more than I do my own stuff throughout the day. I do this through re-tweets, link backs, interviews, including them in blog posts, etc. When you do this consistently without asking for something in return, you will start to notice that people are much more inclined to share your stuff and include you in their own posts etc, when the time comes. It all goes back to building a large network of friends helping friends, and there’s no better way to do that then constantly sharing other people’s work without asking for something in return.
So there you have it, 9 tips that will help you take your Affiliate Marketing blog to that next level. Of course, I know I didn’t touch on everything. What else can you think of that I forgot to mention? Share your advice in the comments section below so we can turn this into a great resource for all the new affiliate marketing bloggers out there looking to carve out their place in our mini section of the blogosphere