This is a 3 part webinar series from Fresh + Coffee on website monetization strategies. Chris M. Cloutier and I talk about how we monetize our affiliate sites, and ideas or thoughts we have on existing or possible strategies we'd like to implement. Link placement, amount of links, types of products promoted, and a million other things can affect conversions. This is not the final word on affiliate marketing, but these vids should give you some ideas on where you might be going wrong (or how you could improve existing sales).
Monetizing Your Website Episode #1
Topic 1: Best Ways To Monetize A Website
Adsense & ad networks
Adding ad networks like Google Adsense, Chitika, or similar, means that you don't have to actually sell anything on your website. Write your content, and let the networks do the work of finding relevant information for your audience. The downside is that you get paid very little, the ads aren't always good for your audience or relevant to the information on the page, you may have competitors advertisements on your page, and there is a very real risk of getting kicked out.
Affiliate links directly link to an affiliated companies page. You make a commission based on how many sales you make, and there are often options to link directly to specific products. This means you can tailor the position and type of ads, as well as provide relevant information for the potential buyer.
The downside is that you have to place each link manually, and if overused, you run the risk of looking like a giant advertisement instead of a legit website.
With email marketing, you need neither ad networks nor do you need to advertise any affiliate products on your website. You will need an autoresponder like Aweber, and you will need an opt in somewhere on your site. When someone opts into your list, they are sent a series of emails (created by you), that lead to an offer somewhere down the road.
The advantage is that you do not have to put any ads on your site, and your sales funnel is done automatically, via email. With good copy and personalized emails, you can create a sense of exclusivity, and if you gain enough trust, one person on your list can result multiple sales across many years.
The downside is that you need to write effective ad copy, and convince people to join your list. You need to be able to track conversions, and be sure to provide value to your readers that is different from just ‘writing a blog'.
Flat fee ads
This is where a person puts an ad on your website, or vice versa. The only exchange I know of is called BuySellAds, but there may be more. I haven't done much of this, but if you can hunt out relevant sites to your, you could be able to get some decent traffic from these sites. If you are not worried about monetizing your content but want ads, you can also charge a fee relevant to the position of the ad and the amount of traffic you get for any advertisers that want space on your site.
Content locking + More
Chris and I talk briefly about this. This is a bit more advanced, and specific to CPA offers. Remember, there are many ways to make money from your content! We talked a lot about blogging techniques and free ways to monetize your site, but there are many paid advertising techniques that we do not go into for these webinars. There are some sketchy techniques that I don't necessarily agree with, but hey, I'm not judging.
I also mentioned Traffic Blackbook. You can read my full review of Traffic Blackbook here.
Monetizing Your Website Episode #2
Topic 2: Location of Ads, More Monetization
Links at top vs bottom
Should you warm up your visitors and go for the sale near the bottom of the page, or give people an immediately clear choice of what they should buy or not buy near the top? There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Images, buttons, text links
You have a choice of how to display your affiliate link. Will you make it a button with a call to action? Will you display a link within the body of text or at the end of your text? Will you use some kind of an image? Which one you use will depend on your niche, audience, and whether you are going for a hard sale or soft sale (see below).
Long links vs short links
Just an idea, but what works better, long or short links? Should you just use “click here” as anchor text, or “Click Here To Get Your Free Report” as anchor text. What about position of these links (discussed above). I don't have any actual data on this, but these factors can influence your conversions!
Monetizing Your Website Episode #3
Soft sale vs Hard sale
What type of sales pitch to you like? Do you think your audience will appreciate a nonchalant “I don't care either way” comparison or an extremely informative, all out, sales pitch? As usual, there are advantages to both. Sometimes your readers need that extra push, AKA a “call to action”. Helping them decide which product is best, or what provides the best value can increase your sales and make people feel at east with their buying decision. But overdo it, and you might turn into an hype-man, pushing people to buy something they don't really want.
Making use of side bar, header, footer
Don't forget all this space above, below, and around your content. What are you doing with it and how is this affecting your sales. Linking to more relevant content in the areas that get the most eyeballs could lead people to your list, an important sales page, or some other place. Linking out to external content might reduce conversions, but increase authority.
Post with no links, then add them later? Does this work?
A technique that's been used before is to rank a post with no affiliate links, then add them in later after you get a high ranking in Google and enough traffic to maintain that rank. Does this work and is it worth your time?
Save links for a few pages only? Does this work?
Another tactic used in the affiliate marketing world is to create a few “affiliate pages”, and just link your blog post back to these pages. It means you have fewer affiliate links on your site, and you are more of an authority, rather than a salesman. But does this really increase rank in Google? Chris and I speculate.
Nofollow affiliate links. Does it work & Is it necessary?
I've heard several times that adding a “nofollow” to affiliate links is necessary. But is it? If you are unfamiliar with this technique, you might want to consider it. Here, Chris and I discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and speculate on what's really happening behind a nofollow.
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