It’s really struck me this past few weeks.
There’s this one thing that I’ve never heard talked about, that is a huge component of the divide between more successful and less successful affiliate marketers (and online marketers in general).
Here’s what it is…
So if you want to make money as an affiliate there are all these little tasks to be done. Finding niches, getting keywords, building sites, etc. They are many pieces of one big puzzle.
People who’ve been making money as affiliates for a long time know that some of those tasks are more important than others. They know that certain puzzle pieces are bigger than others; take up more room than others; contribute more to the puzzle than others. And they focus most on those.
Frequently we receive emails from people, frustrated at not understanding certain pieces of the “affiliate income” puzzle.
Often I implore them “Don’t get bogged down in the small details like this. What you decide on that part doesn’t make much difference”. I’ll talk to Josh or Elysia and be like “Why is he/she worrying about that so much? Why don’t they just get moving so they can get on to X part of the process?” But only recently does it hit me:
“Unless you’ve reached a certain level – namely, you’ve been through the whole process and actually made money – you don’t know which are the small details and which are the large details. You don’t know which parts of the process ARE going to matter a lot to your bottom line, and which aren’t. You don’t know which parts ARE vital to understand in depth, and which parts you can scrape by not knowing as much about.”
So I thought I’d take this post to draw some clear distinctions. As far as making money as a free traffic affiliate goes, what’s important and what’s not? Keep in mind that we’re talking in relative terms here.
More Important: Picking A Product To Promote / Keywords To Attack
If a student told me they’d spent a month looking for the right product to promote as an affiliate I’d not be upset. Whether or not you choose an offer that converts & keywords that you can rank for is literally make or break stuff. It’s part of the reason we did a whole course about it. You do this wrong, and everything else goes wrong afterward. The importance of a high converting offer in a low competition keyword market can NOT be exaggerated.
Less Important: The Appearance Of Your Website
That’s your theme, your plugins, your layout, your banner placements & more. They all have importance, it just pails in comparison to the importance of your niche/offer/keywords. There are some themes that are better than others, but at the end of the day as long as the text on your website can be read, it doesn’t matter. There are plugins that can help your site but at the end of the day even a site with no plugins can be highly profitable. You can’t say the same for a great niche/offer.
In the perfect niche, with the perfect offer, your visitors will find your affiliate links. They WANT the thing you’re selling. As long as your site is clean & easy to read, you’ve done your job. If you’re spending too much time on these elements – LET THEM GO. Make a quick decision and move on. They’re small puzzle pieces distracting your time from bigger ones. And don’t spend forever learning about them either. Don’t bother learning about altering theme code, or finding the perfect wp plugin for 100 different purposes. That stuff doesn’t pay – other stuff does.
More Important: The Content On Your Website
What your website says… the articles you publish there etc. They determine whether you make a sale or not.
They’re NOT as important as the niche you pick, because even average content can convert in a hot market, but you need to pay some attention to it and make sure it’s done well. If you divert attention from some other activity (besides niche research) to this, I won’t be angry at you.
Less Important: The Content You Use For EVERYTHING Else
That’s article submissions, guest posts, content distribution, forum posts, tweets, ANYTHING else you do with your content. That content is for building links and nothing else. It doesn’t matter what it says as long as it’s mildly relevant, and contains the right backlink to the right blog post of yours. Don’t commit more than minimal effort to it’s QUALITY. Of course you need to commit a lot of effort to it’s CONSISTENCY, but that’s a different story.
(the one exception may be if you’re writing a piece of content for a big important authority site and you want to impress them for the sake of a relationship – then produce some good quality content for them. For EzineArticles on the other hand? No. (Sorry EZA :=( )
More Important: Link Building
You can build a lot of links to a fairly average site/page and have it rank and make money. (I don’t advise that, but it’s possible) You can’t on page optimize the heck out of a site with no backlinks and make money. Difference.
Building links is going to make you money (assuming you’re in the right niche) period. It takes the most time out of any of the other (free traffic) affiliate marketing tasks, and that’s for a reason. To separate the winners from the losers. You can pick a niche and set a site up in a day. Anyone can do that. But to build links, get rankings and make money takes weeks at minimum, years at maximum.
If you told me you got a site up in a day and are now committing all your time to building links not worrying about anything else, I’d be happy about your progress. If you told me you’re ignoring header design and focusing your time on learning the ins and outs of various link building methods, I would congratulate you.
Picking niches and building links might be 80% of this business model.
Less Important: On Page SEO
On page SEO is very important, and with this one more than the others marked “Less” I don’t want to denigrate it’s importance. I simply point out here that it’s not AS important as link building. That’s for the reason listed above.
So if you’re deciding whether to commit the time you have available today to changing your meta descriptions versus building a few extra backlinks, I’m going to advise you to do the latter (unless your meta descriptions are just completely horrifying).
No one (really) cares what your alt tags say, or what’s in your h1 and h2 (sorry hardcore SEOs). Me and many others have made more than enough money as affiliates without giving things like that a second thought 98% of the time.
Those are my main ones but there are other distinctions too. What do you think? Do you see what I mean here?
If you truly grasp what I’m saying in this post, you will have just climbed 5 rungs up the ladder to making a full time income as a free traffic affiliate marketer.