It seems that the VERY popular fashion of article writing is not unlike real world clothing fashion in that; the same things keep coming around with seasonal regularity. In fact, more so with the fast paced development of the ‘home business’ or ‘work at home’ article topic conveyor.
I’m probably guilty of the above for writing on this specific subject itself, having seen a few others lament the continual rehashing of the ‘same ol’, same ol’. Although in my defense, today’s comment is not so much the same lamentation but, in my eyes at least, an attempt to put the record straight about a specific subject, of which I’ve read far too many articles about recently.
To be fair, I’m sure only good intentions (and a need for something to write about) are responsible for the latest round of ‘Affiliate marketing is simple’ and ‘You’ll be earning online in no time as an Affiliate’ type articles. In so many of these articles, Affiliate marketing is touted as the ‘way to go’ for anyone who has a website (or EVEN NOT, which is rubbish for all but a few).
I currently run seven Affiliate websites, recently ‘trimmed down’ from twelve because of the amount of time involved in all that was required to keep each website competitive in the Search Engines and interesting to visitors, both new and returning, chasing PR and generally maintaining what have become known as ‘affiliate content websites’. Some merchants supply complete website templates, which are helpful, provided you have total SEO control, but even so, they are not generally well packed with content and certainly they don’t have ‘ready to go’ RSS feeds, news updates, blogs and articles etc. So even though, as I said, they do help, there is still much to be done initially and maintained continually to end up with a comprehensive, interesting and SE friendly Affiliate website.
I had to ‘trim down’ my activities simply because, even though I am fortunate enough to be a full time Internet home businessperson, I did not have the time to keep that number of websites producing viable ‘income for effort’. When you consider the amount of work involved in just one affiliate content website, I’m sure most will understand why I have had to ‘streamline’. At the same time, I hope a realization of the effort and time involved will also become apparent.
Of course, before we even start any of the following, we assume we have the ability to build our own websites with a degree of professionalism and functionality, templates aside. Without these two aspects at least, anyone who does visit, will leave shortly after. For the sake of the exercise, we have magically received the knowledge and experience to achieve this… overnight!
Our website will need to be nurtured through a period of at least 3 – 6 months of little or no activity (unless we also happen to be, again miraculously, well versed, experienced, and game enough to throw money at PPC engines). During this period we will be setting up and making use of the advantages of RSS feeds, blogs, content articles (both other’s and hopefully, some of our own). We’ll be updating and changing things almost daily in order to achieve some targeted traffic through the SEs, when we’re finally out of the ‘sandboxes’ etc. While this is all coming together, we’re spending a lot of time on a link exchange program (not so much for PR, but because back links are an important component in the SE results). This needs to be done manually because the automatic programs do more harm to a website’s SE chances than help (but that’s another article!).
Slowly, our website is gaining some targeted traffic, the only kind of any use to an Affiliate website. We may even have managed a few sales, provided we have, again miraculously overnight, become confident and made good choices of Affiliate programs and products around which we have built and nurtured our website.
The traffic and occasional sale, although exciting to the ‘first-timer’ serve only to create more time consuming work. These ‘hits’, as we call them, need to be analyzed. We need to know where they came from, what particular promotional method brought them to us, what part of the world they originated, the referring URL if any and so on, so we can concentrate our efforts in the right places and forego those which don’t seem to be successful.
No serious Affiliate relies on a single product or program for an income. We all know about the security and sense in ‘multiple income streams’? Well, the concept is a very important aspect in Affiliate marketing., so this ONE website we’ve just managed to bring to a point where it MAY BEGIN paying for some of the time effort and expense involved in it’s inception, really needs to be one of a number for an Affiliate to hope to became self-sufficient through Affiliate marketing.
Of course, luck plays it’s role in all things and some do make good quickly and sometimes, one product or program WILL be sufficient for the desired income. Maybe, with some, the whole exercise is more a hobby or interest and a little pocket money to pay costs is all that’s wanted. These are all personal aspects, which are of no consequence. We’re talking about people who are being told how easy it is to become an Affiliate for ‘income’ purposes. Having now totally destroyed the Affiliate dreams of thousands, I will now say that it IS a marvelous Internet home business model and you can start and progress to the point where you are making some income, without spending very much at all. In fact, the only outlay that is absolutely necessary, in my opinion, is the domain and hosting for your website. In that respect, Affiliate marketing is TRULY the ‘no-risk’ home based business model.
Still again, there is much to know about the domain and hosting aspect of the preparation, which will have consequences if not considered correctly, before we even think about what I have spoken about above.
Do yourself a favor if you’re relatively unfamiliar with Affiliate marketing or even halfway there, get the right advice from the right sources. The right sources are people who have been, and/or are doing it themselves and aren’t afraid to explain that it’s not all that EASY, but certainly possible for those who really WANT the ‘work at home’ dream for themselves and their families.
By Steve Brennan