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You’ve made some affiliate income, so now what?
by Jonathan Kraft

Many people venture into Internet affiliate marketing a bit nervous about what they’re doing, but they are very excited about the possibilities before them. 

This was the case with my girlfriend.  She started a site about one of her favorite topics: books!  Naturally, when a person thinks of books, they think of Amazon.com, and after a bit of prodding from me, (she’d probably tell you after A LOT of prodding from me,) she really got down to the business of creating her site using images and links from Amazon. 

She put a great site together, complete with reviews, links to, and recommendations about all of her favorite books.  She created a lot of unique content for visitors, and used FrontPage to put the site together. 

(As a side note for beginners, FrontPage is the kind of program that, if you sit down with it for a while, and you know Microsoft Office programs, you really can figure out how it works.  This is especially true because of all the tutorials you can read online about how to make the program do the things you want to do.  So, back to the story.)

My girlfriend then signed up for the Amazon.com affiliate program, (Amazon actually calls it an ‘associate program’), and began creating individual product links to resell the books she’d reviewed. 

Six months later, she’d not spent a lot of time with her site, but was getting about 10-15 visitors/day from Google and other search engines, and eventually, she made her first affiliate sale!  This was awesome, and resulted in about $10 in commissions to her.  She made her first $10 of passive income! 

Today, it’s 6 months later, she recently renewed her site for another year, and it’s left her wondering; Okay, I’ve made some income from my site, so what now? 

There are many people who find themselves in this position today.  They’ve made some money on a web site from affiliate programs, or from their own products, but they don’t know what direction to go in next. 

The next direction to go, is to take your site a bit more seriously.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun working on your site, or that you have to increase the amount of time you spend working on it every day.

What it does mean is that you have got to inspect what you expect.  If you don’t know how people are ending up on your site, what they’re doing while they’re there, and what causes them to leave your site, then you can expect to continue wondering “Now what?” as you go through the process of building your site.  However, if you inspect and know what your traffic is doing, and how it comes to your site, then you can change your site to more effectively meet the needs of the people who visit your pages.  When you give your visitors what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to purchase, which means an increase in commissions and income to you.

So here are three simple things to review, and some tips for increasing your traffic, your sales, and ultimately, your income.

#1  Review Your Site
It’s time to step up your web design, copywriting, and sales skills a bit. 

Check out your web site, and have some friends check out your site.  Have everyone try to take an objective view, as a new visitor would, to viewing your site. 

Web Design

  • Does every page of your site have a <title>, <description>, and <keywords> tag?

  • Is the site easily navigable? 

  • Can visitors see where they’re at on the site, and see how to get where they want to go?  Remember, when someone comes from a search engine, they can come to any page of your site, so you want them to be able to get exactly where they want to go in as few clicks as possible. 

  • Is the color scheme okay for visitors? 

  • Are you providing legitimate content, or are you trying to “trick” the search engines into brining you traffic?  (I’ll give you a hint on this one - If you want long-term success, focus on providing excellent content long-term.)

 

Copywriting and sales

  • Are you asking for visitors to buy something in a way that’s annoying or pushy?

  • Are you making a recommendation and letting visitors decide for themselves? 

  • Are you just putting a link on the site hoping that eventually, someone will click and purchase? 

  • Does the site offer incentives or encouragement for visitors to purchase whatever it is on that page?

By knowing the answers to these questions, and reviewing your site for a lot of the little issues with sales and web design, you really can improve the experience for your user, and improve the numbers of visitors who actually become customers.


#2  Review Your Affiliate Programs

  • Are there other relevant programs you can add? 

  • Are the programs you originally signed up for paying you the same as you can get elsewhere? 

I recently found out that the author of a book I was selling through Amazon.com’s associate program had his own affiliate program set up to resell his books.  I immediately switched, so that I was reselling the book through him, when I found out he would pay me a much higher percentage than Amazon.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I like the Amazon affiliate program a lot.  However, by switching directly to selling the book through the author, I can sell the same product and make double the money. 

As long as the information is presented in an accurate and ethical way, and the product being sold is the same, I will change affiliate programs in a heartbeat, if the income makes it worthwhile.  You should consider the same for every affiliate product you sell, because the difference between 10% and 15% can add up in a hurry, even on small ticket items.

 

#3  Review your traffic

If you, up to this point as an official web site owner, haven’t been tracking your traffic, then you have to start!  You have to start now!  I mean it!

If you’re not tracking the traffic that comes to your site with a good statistical method, then stop reading this article right now, go set up a tracking method on your site, and come back to this article when you get statistics set up on your site!

Statistics are the ONLY way you will know what is working and what isn’t.  Let me give you an example of why you must have statistics available to you.

UPS is today a multi-billion dollar company.  UPS knows how many employees are in a given area, how many boxes can be loaded on a truck, how long it takes to load the truck, how long it takes for the driver to drive the truck, and how long it takes to get everything delivered.  This is all statistical information that they have available to them.

Now let’s just say that UPS’s goal for next year is to improve what they do by 25%.  They want to ship 25% more packages, offer 25% more employee benefits, and increase sales by 25%.

The numbers suddenly become very important.

Your online business is no different.  Your online business can be a multi-million, or multi-billion dollar business, just like UPS, but you have to treat it that way, and you have to know how to improve your numbers.  The only way you will know how to improve your numbers, is if you know what your numbers are today.

So track your traffic. Your tracking program should give you lots of useful information, like:

  • what keywords people are searching for

  • what page of your site is the most popular

  • how long people spend on your site

  • what page they are most likely to leave from

  • when and what search engines are visiting your site

  • etc. 

Knowing all of this information then enables you to ask two very important questions:

  • Why are things this way? and

  • How can I improve this? 

Then you can try experimenting with some new ideas for the pages that have good traffic.  Some of the new pages you build will do well, and some won’t.  Take what works, change what doesn’t, and then re-evaluate.  Then apply the things you did that worked to other pages or future web sites.  Through this process, your site(s) will get continually better.

So there you have it, three ways to stop asking "Now What?," and to move forward and make your web site a happy little place on the Internet that people like to frequent.

As I close out this article, I want to remind you of one very important thing someone reminded me of recently. 

You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going.  Within this article, I’ve given you many specific suggestions for ways to improve what you’re doing with your site.  This might lead you to think that you have to get it all right.  You don’t have to get it 'right', you just have to get it going.  So what if you learn about something you should have done differently.  If you never did it in the first place, you would never know how to improve it.  So remember, you don't have to get it right, you just have to get it going.

Commit to becoming better through the process, and let the process of action teach you what you can do better.  The principle of trying it until it works, and committing to learning along the way, will lead to Internet affiliate marketing success, and ultimately success for you in your life.

Jonathan Kraft currently helps other people learn affiliate marketing on the Internet and works to share information on great affiliate programs through http://www.usaaffiliateprograms.com/affiliate-program-articles.html

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