Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Online dating – A lucrative business for affiliate marketers

If you are using online dating sites to meet new people, you could easily make quite a bit of money using the information gathered. Making a blog – or website – about dating, is one of the most lucrative niches available for an affiliate marketer. Use your knowledge.

Most people who are using the Internet to meet new people know have much information about the dating industry. This information is useful for pretty much anyone curious of meeting someone online, but without any experience.

Just as in other competitive niches, most keywords are very hard to target, simply because of the many sites targeting the same words and phrases. But, similarly, the variations of search terms are many, making it more than possible to make a small profitable blog or site about dating.

If you - like most online daters – have tried multiple communities and dating portals, you have a great chance of reviewing them, grading them and give detailed information about all dating sites you have tried. Even though this is not nearly the potential of a dating site, it can be sufficient for making quite a bit of money.

In order to utilize your knowledge, you need to map out your site or blog, trying to figure out what sections to cover, and what keywords to target for each section. Using a keyword tool – such as Overture or similar – will make this a very easy task. Some of these tools can be bought for a short amount of time, making it very cost efficient if you are only researching for a few search terms.

One important thing to consider before actually building your site is NOT to limit your website. If you are successful in targeting the right phrases, and traffic are flooding, an easy-to-expand website will be a lifesaver. Once you get the ball rolling, you do not want to spend more time re-building your site’s structure just because you didn’t think things thru before you launched it. The task of re-building something often takes even longer than the initial work building it.

The dating sites you are familiar with probably offers affiliate programs, most of them do. But if you can’t seem to find programs good enough, try a few other dating sites out. When looking for dating sites to promote, you should look at both the quality of the affiliate program and – of course – the over all quality of the sites. As usual, sending visitors to any affiliate program with overpriced products won’t do you any good, try to find a dating community you, your self, would consider.

After building your site, adding the affiliate banners and links, it’s time to promote it. This is no easy task, but with a little imagination it should pose little or no problem. As this is a very lucrative and competitive niche, finding sites of similar nature to exchange relevant links with, should be easy. Be sure not to place links to direct competitors on important pages, as this might send potential commission elsewhere.

The nature of online communities – dating or other – makes most people used to writing fairly much text. This is a great advantage both when you build your site and when you are trying to promote it. There is nothing as effective as the written word when promoting websites. Very few websites will get big relying only on word of mouth. Use your writing skills to make an interesting site, on target reviews and – more important – to write articles and/or press releases appealing to potential visitors.

Advertising a poker affiliate program offline

Many poker affiliate programs offer the opportunity to promote their services offline with the use of fliers and such. If you move in the right crowd, promoting a poker room this way can earn you quite a bit of money.

Even though poker attracts people from all ages, the typical online player is a young male. If you are a student, in the military or involved in a team-sport, you are surrounded by potential poker players. Most probably, a few of them are already involved in online gambling, but if you handle your cards right, you can make them join a new one, thus making you a commission when they play.

If you have a lot of friends somewhat interested in poker, why not suggest a weekly game? But, instead of meeting at someone’s house, find an online poker room offering private tables and/or private tournaments.

Many will object to the idea, stating it’s not the same thing. They are right, it’s not, but there are upsides you should point out;

You do not need to shuffle the cards.

After a night of poker, quite a bit of time has been spent just waiting for the cards to be dealt. Online poker doesn’t require shuffling, and the process of dealing the cards are done in a fast manner.

No more discussion of rules

In many home games, there are added rules. For people not used to them, they can be very surprising and sometimes extremely costly. With an online poker room, standard rules apply, and there is no room for discussion.

Much more poker

When attending a home game, it’s not rare people get drunk, or are more interested in talking about Bob’s new boyfriend, than playing cards. When you are there to play, this can be annoying to say the least.

Invite whomever you want

Home games are limited to the room you are playing in, the amount of tables etc. Online, you can virtually be any number of players, while most home games tend to max out at 10 players or so. If some of the regular players isn’t housebroken, playing online takes away the problem of explaining to your wife/husband why there’s beer and chips everywhere, including the children’s room and in the shower.

Long lost friends can join.

If you had a game with your college friends, why not email them and invite them as well? Playing online makes it possible for anyone, anywhere to join your game.

If you are inviting your friends to play poker online, you might want to share the rewards with them. Nothing can break a friendship faster than someone cheating the other. Telling them about your plans or sharing the reward eliminates this risk. If you are actively promoting the poker room to colleagues, classmates or acquaintances is a whole other story, that’s about actually making money.

Due to the high competition of online poker, you stand a very good chance of finding an affiliate program offering good incentives for players (i.e. high sign up bonus, rake-back or such) and good commission for recruiting new players. Depending on who you plan to invite to the poker room, you should check out the special features available. Many poker rooms offer private tables and tournaments among other things.

Just inviting your friends can make you quite a bit of money, if you manage to actually promote it to a wider audience; you stand a chance of making a small fortune.

Make some money loosing weight

If you are one of many struggling with a few extra pounds, and are constantly trying new diets, exercises or training equipment, you have an excellent opportunity to get some of your spent money back, if you only make a small blog or website about the issue.

If you do a simple search on weight loss, GI-method, diet or any other weight loss related term, you will find yourself with more results than you can imagine. The only reason so many webmasters are competing for the same search term, is the enormous upside in that particular niche. Many of the webmasters competing have little insight in the actual topic, but are very good at search engine marketing and/or SEO.

If you have tried at least one popular diet, you can easily write down your experiences and your success – or lack thereof – using that diet, exercise or equipment. For others in your position, this information can prove very valuable, saving them time or money. If you can find products or services to promote - using online affiliate programs – you can get a commission every time you refer a customer their way. If you have tried numerous ways of loosing weight, why not write separate pages – or even different websites – covering all the methods you’ve tried.

A blog is the easiest way to go, but a website is easier to make profitable once established. If you have no, or limited computer skills, a blog would be a good start. For those of you with experience in HTML or any wysiwyg-editor should focus on making an easy website.

Although blogs can be very lucrative, a real website will often be more trustworthy, simply because it’s obvious someone has put some effort into it. The fact that a website can be made in just a few minutes is often – if not always – forgotten.

It’s possible to download some free blog software, to install on a domain you own. This is a great way for beginners; no HTML or coding needed, but you still reside on your own domain. When your website is successful enough, you can redesign it without having to move it from one URL to another. If you had your blog hosted somewhere else - on or such – you would have to hope people would follow the link to your new domain.

Finding affiliate programs related to weight loss is easy, the hard part is to choose the right one. A good idea is to use a few programs, evaluating the commission earned periodically.

The very nature of overweight makes it very likely for people to keep trying to loose weight, making recurring commission very important when choosing affiliate program. If you can recruit a few new customers, you could make a very nice commission if some of them stay true to the program over a period of time. If a method of weight loss is effective, chances are good many customers will stay loyal, thus making you even more money.

Figuring out what keyword to target may be tough for people inexperienced in affiliate marketing, but if you write good and unique content, visitors AND search engines will find you sooner or later. On top of naturally generated visitors, there are many ways of attracting visitors and/or improving your search engine placement. Generally this is much easier with a website than it is with a blog, but many marketers are using nothing but blogs to earn online revenue, so it’s not impossible at all.

The bigger your website gets, the more exposure you will get in the search engines, thus increasing your chances of getting visitors thereby. Try to find one or two keywords or phrases to target for each section of your site, and be sure to use that phrase in the internal links to that page. Even without proper research, you stand a good chance of targeting at least one term possible to reach a top placement for. Once you are making a little bit of money, it’s motivating enough to expand your marketing efforts to truly make an online income.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Need help earning online? – Ask grandma!

Sometimes you need a little help to get your online enterprise going – but sometimes help comes from the most unexpected people. Learn how your grandma can help you with your online revenue.

Many people face difficulties when starting an online business, but for those who keep struggling, the upside is enormous. One of the most common problems is how to get started – Everyone knows it takes money to earn money. But how do you get the ball rolling?

If you have a good idea – perhaps you even have a nice site already – but you can’t get the visitors you need, nor afford to buy traffic – it is time to get some help and inspiration. The best way is to get help from an experienced affiliate entrepreneur, but how many of us actually know someone fitting that description?

Everywhere you go, you are told articles are the best way to promote your site, but it’s not always that easy to get started. Writing long articles about the topic of your site might be tough, or the topic might be hard to produce multiple articles about. What you need is a new topic, an easy one – Why not call your grandma?

Recipes are perhaps the easiest texts, accepted as articles, making them excellent as a start. Build a small recipe site, and start filling it with recipes from various article sources. Within a very short amount of time, you should have a simple – yet useful – website, filled with recipes.

Now, it’s time to get granny to work: Ask her for all her family recipes, if you can have her write them down and email them to you, she’s actually doing more than her share of the work – All you need to do is format them correctly and submit them. While you wait for her to come up with all her specialties, why not consider writing down your favorite recipes yourself? If you don’t know them by heart, look them up and alter them to your tasting. This is an easy way to get a few inbound links to your newly made website.

But how does this do any good to your existing – non cooking – website?

If you target your keywords correctly, you might stand a chance of actually making a little revenue from this simple site. While the sites about cooking and recipes are many, so are the keywords – Look at all the different ingredients, strange names of dishes etc. etc. You should have no problem finding a keyword to target. It might not be an avalanche of visitors, but with the correct affiliate program – or contextual advertising for the lazy – you can make some revenue from it.

Another excellent side effect from the endless keyword variations is the ability to point somewhat relevant links to various pages. If you find yourself with a recipe site no one visits, you can instead make use of the various ingredients, linking it to your main site – the one you where struggling with. This does take some imagination, to translate ingredients into non-cooking topics, but it can be done. If you continue to submit recipes, this site will eventually have a very high page rank, making the links from it rise in value. Even if the links are non-related, a little deep linking won’t hurt.

Now – the only thing to consider is:

How much do you pay grandma?

Avoid fraudulent affiliate programs by being careful

One of the worst scenarios for an affiliate marketer is to send visitors to an affiliate program, just to notice you don’t get paid. As in any lucrative business, there will always be dubious characters trying to earn money cheating others, but the easy anonymity online makes the frequency of fraudsters seems larger than in the off line world.

If you rely on only a few affiliate programs, the outcome of just one fraudulent program can be disastrous. While most affiliate programs are honest, the rotten eggs are spoiling it for everyone. If you have a website in a competitive niche, the risk of finding bad programs is higher.

If you look in any poorly maintained affiliate program directory, you will notice tons of dead links or links to sites without affiliate programs. It’s safe to assume these links once pointed to affiliate programs, now long gone. Although poorly maintained, any affiliate program directory would find a dead link at some time, making it probable many links die on a daily or weekly basis. The reason for this is most often one out of two;

Plain fraud

Someone starts a website, buys affiliate program software, sets it up and promote it heavily. Once commission is owed, they either stall or accuse every affiliate of cheating, terminating the account, effectively avoiding to pay commission. This can go on for a surprising long time, before to many angry webmasters alert authorities and the affiliate program and website is closed. Most often it’s hard to find the people responsible for it, so they are free to do it once again, this time with a new domain.

Black hat SEO

Many SEO guides tell you one of the best ways of getting inbound links is by the use of an affiliate program. As more and more webmasters turns into affiliates, the more links the place, all pointing to you. This is true (if you use the right network or software), but many of these – so called – affiliate programs disappear as soon as the amount of affiliates are enough. The commission owed will often be paid in full, but they rarely give you good notice of the program shutting down. They are hoping for many affiliates not noticing the termination of the program, continuing to send visitors, but this time for free. Even when webmasters notice it, they often forget links on pages rarely visited, thus leaving good links, increasing the former affiliate programs link popularity for a long time after the program is gone.

Knowing what programs to join, and which to stay clear of is hard, but it’s possible to limit the risk;

Look at the pagerank

While pagerank isn’t everything, it most certainly is a good indicator of a serious webpage. A new domain is without pagerank, as are domain found cheating google. Staying clear of affiliate programs without PR eliminates much of the risk.

Try to find a good affiliate program directory

Whether it’s Affiliate Ranker or any other directory, finding your favorite site is essential. Most affiliate directories are working hard on sorting out the bad seeds, and they often have a bunch of webmasters voluntarily reporting fraudulent activities. If they are serious about their directory, the amount of fraudsters should be minimal.

Don’t put all eggs in the same basket

If you can, try to find a few affiliate programs instead of one. That way, if one turns out to be cheating, you will still have most of your earnings with other – hopefully honest – affiliate programs.

Oh....the friends

A few friends online:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

New to affiliate marketing? Start out light

Most new webmasters look at the most profitable online niches, instead of focusing on what they already have a deeper knowledge in. Most people have plenty of interests, hobbies or are book-smart enough to build a small, yet profitable site built with affiliate programs, targeting that particular area. A small, non-competitive niche is exactly what the new affiliate marketer needs. The experienced derived from this first site, can prove valuable when trying to target a more competitive niche.

Just as the Internet has brought the information closer to people, it has made every bit of information likely to have readers. No matter how obscure the topic, people will always try to find interesting information. Many sports make for excellent sites, if you are a big fan of a soccer- or football team; why not make a blog about it? If the team is large enough – and you target clever keywords – you will have visitors reading your text, and hopefully clicking an ad or two. Some of the most visited web pages about sports are just blogs, and most of them do very well using affiliate programs to make money online.

The same applies to most sports; Golf, hockey, cricket or even bowling can be a good topic for a site, just make sure to evaluate the competition for each intended keyword before you start, as these are very popular sports, thus making the topic and keywords more popular online as well.

If you have more specific hobbies - such as woodworking, jewelry, pottery or any other craft – the competition are not nearly as hard, but the amount of potential visitors may be lower. No matter what niche you are targeting, make sure there are ways of monetizing your site. There are many different ways, but the most common ones are affiliate programs or contextual advertising.

If you are targeting a very small niche, contextual advertising will be likely to bring you only a small amount for each click, due to the lack of bidding for those keywords. Similarly, this can work FOR you if you are bidding for visitors using contextual ads. Finding an affiliate program in small niches may or may not be hard, but if you find a good one, you will almost always make more with a traditional program, than you would with contextual advertising.

With affiliate programs, you are able to present your visitors with products you decide fitting for them, with contextual ads, the script does this for you. While this is (or should be) highly relevant ads, you still lack the control over the specific ads. With sites in small niches – or with low amount of traffic – the importance of higher commissions are necessary to keep the site profitable. Getting only a few cents per click will not cut it if you only have a few visitors per day, but if you can present them all with a product they want, you can make quite a bit of money.

It’s up to you to decide what products are likely to be of interest to your viewers, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Try new or additional affiliate programs or try some contextual ads once you have some traffic. Find out what suits your site best; every site – and every niche – is unique.

Use Your Website To Pre-Sell Your Affiliate Programs

Most experienced affiliate marketers will tell you that one of the most important factors of online marketing is pre-selling the products promoted. Pre-selling can be difficult at first, but if you choose your affiliate programs wisely, you can have your site pre-sell the products for you.

If you have a site of your own, you are probably using quite a few services to maintain it. This includes hosting, domain registration and other day-to-day services needed to operate a website. Due to the high competition in these areas, most of the sites offering these services will also run an affiliate program to find new customers.

This is an excellent opportunity to use these affiliate programs, promoting them on selected pages on your site. More visitors than you might think will look around your site, perhaps looking for something not expected.

When I build a new site in a niche I haven’t tried before, I always try to do a little research as to the competition. Many times I get ideas from the sites I find; if they are successful I would be foolish not to use what apparently works.

Different people are looking for different things. I for one am writing for Affiliate Ranker, so I tend to find new affiliate programs this way and I suspect others like me do as well. If you are promoting a 2-tier program, this can be a nice addition to your income. Others might be in the market for a new web host. If you are pleased with your hosting solution, why not share it and make some commission in the process? Are you using a template as your website? Even if you are using a free template, many of them offer affiliate commission on their paid templates. People are always looking for cheaper – and better – alternatives. If you are confident you are using the cheapest domain registrar, try linking to it with the (low) price listed. If it indeed is very cheap, people WILL use them, they have little reason not to.

Never underestimate the amount of visitors at your site, thinking they are NOT there for the reasons you intended. The reasons for them seeing your website are many, but if they are actually viewing your pages you have a good opportunity to serve them with some pre-sold affiliate links to click.

There are many services offering some sort of untargeted traffic, some better than others. But if you are using any of these methods – such as social bookmarking – odds are people will view your page without any interest in your actual content. If visitors arriving this way like your site, they will often look around a bit too see what it’s about. These are the people you are hoping to send to the newly signed affiliate programs.

If you have an about-page, why not make a short list of the services you are using, all with affiliate program links, and see what happens over time. Who knows, the results may surprise you.

Link Exchanges To Gain Affiliate Commission

Usually link exchanging is done to raise your link popularity or pagerank – But if done correctly, you may find your self with literally thousands of visitors – with one thing in common. Figure out how to USE this web traffic; don’t let it go to easily.

Exchanging links – weather you do it manually or use a service for it – is mainly to gain more link popularity – thus gaining positions in the search engines. This is perhaps the most common way of improving your page rank, and it’s very effective. But, a side effect most webmasters don’t think of is the traffic they attract while doing so.

If you are using a link exchange service to exchange links, you can – and should – try to take advantage of all the webmasters coming to your site and/or link pages. Most webmasters won’t take the time to check out your offers, but if you can present them with an on-target banner or text-link – promoting a product directly related to webmastering, link exchanging or anything similar – you will find yourself with a new way of making affiliate commission.

The link exchange I used for this experiment - link2me – has the option of upgrading for roughly $30, making it possible to send out unlimited link exchange request. I’m not sure how many sites they have in their directory, but – trust me – it’s plenty. They also have an option at every request, enabling you to present a specific link page to the recipients of your link exchange request. This is where you will have the opportunity to add well chosen affiliate links. This page should actually BE a link page, and I encourage you to actually utilize the service and exchange some links. If you ask for a link exchange with every site listed, you should find yourself with thousands of webmasters looking at your link page to evaluate if they want to accept your exchange request. A good addition might be SimplyLinking, allowing 20 free requests daily.

If you want to take this one step further, it is possible to further target the visitors by making several link pages – each with a more narrow advertisement, and choosing what page to show for each link request. Because you know what their site is about, you can find and add affiliate links on a detailed level.

Choosing the correct affiliate programs for this is easy, but it can take some time to get it perfected though. The best way of evaluating it is by using different affiliate programs on different link pages. Look in your web statistics and compare the traffic on each link page with the amount of sales or clicks to the affiliate programs, then choose the ones with the best conversion rate.

There are many affiliate programs with products or services for webmasters. A webmaster engaged in link exchanging is bound to be interested in others ways of improving their page rank, or other ways of marketing their site. This include services such as; Link exchanges, article submissions, directory submissions, SEO services or simple, everyday products such as web design and hosting. If you are a bit imaginative, you can probably think of many, many other subjects which might be of interest.

Using this method on every new built site will give you both page rank and possible affiliate commission, this while still building your link popularity.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Add more revenue with affiliate programs

If you are selling a service or product online, and you want to increase your revenue even further, one idea is to join a few relevant affiliate programs. No matter what products you are selling, odds are you can find a profitable affiliate program matching your content. But, be sure you do not join a program offering products to similar to yours, that way you do not risk sending your hard earned customers to shop elsewhere.

Knowing exactly what programs to join is hard – not to say impossible – but if worst comes to worst, you can always join another program if your first choice turns out to be wrong.

Most websites have pages not intended to market their products or services directly, but to explain various details of the site, company or area of expertise. These pages are perfect for promoting products closely related – but not competing products. If you have an art site – perhaps selling your own work – you might have a few pages describing the canvas, paint of choice or the technique used to make your paintings.

Assuming you only sell your paintings and nothing more, you can easily add a few banners for selected affiliate programs on your site. Find a program selling the canvas YOU are using, and explain to your readers why you choose it. If you have a good reason for using that particular brand, people may feel intrigued to try it out them selves.

If you are on the other side - selling art supplies - perhaps you can find a few affiliate programs selling paintings made with your material.

Except for really large websites, most sites are somewhat specialized, making it easier to find non-competing products to promote. The easiest way is to search for affiliate programs using similar keywords, but staying clear of the ones targeting your own top keywords and/or phrases.

Start by trying to figure out what areas of your trade you are NOT covering with your website. After you have figured this out, search or browse for an affiliate program matching any of these areas, more often than not you will find many programs matching your criteria. If you can’t find a program matching but NOT competing, you have to broaden your search. The risk of giving your existing customers away – for merely a commission – is worse than the potential profit you can make from the customer. In rare cases, you can find programs good enough to risk it, but that is something every website owner needs to figure out her self.

To broaden your search, try to figure out what your visitors might have in common, except the interest in your website. If you can pinpoint a few likely areas of common interest, you have a good starting point for finding a good affiliate program.

The trick is to find common areas between your site, your customers and the large amount of affiliate programs online. Considering the numerous programs of pretty much all niches, no matter what your site is about, there is a good chance you can find many similar products. For websites with only a few products, this can really help to add to the revenue without risking sending people to competitors.

The Visitors You Never Knew You Had

When monitoring your traffic, especially if you have a large site, you will of course look mainly at the traffic received related to the keywords you have targeted. But is every visitor likely to be there for the same reason? If you take a moment to analyze your traffic statistics, you will be surprised at how many visitors you get from odd places and strange search terms.

If you are working actively with targeting specific keywords within your niche, you are no doubt getting your fair share of traffic from the search engines. But, on top of those visitors, you will get search engine traffic from phrases and words you are not actively targeting. Many of these visitors are most likely derived from searches related to your niche. More often than not however, a web page will have many specific phrases, certain to attract the occasional visitor from Google.

If your site is large enough, or if you are running multiple sites, you are probably getting quite a few visitors like this every day. The problem with this kind of traffic is the lack of information about the visitors. You haven’t actively tried to attract these people, yet they arrive. But, in order to take advantage of this traffic, you need to figure out from where they are coming, and most importantly, what page(s) they are landing on.

The easiest way is to look at your website’s statistics, most information will be found there. First off, look at the search terms that have resulted in visitors. Try to find phrases or words NOT specific for your niche, but instead of a more general nature. Or better yet; A phrase that, taken out of it’s context, will be related to something completely different. If you can find enough, similar or related, search terms, odds are you can use these to improve your revenue with the use of an affiliate program.

When you have figured out what search terms generate the most traffic, it’s time to see where they are landing. Do a few searches on these queries – on ALL major search engines – to see the most likely entry pages for each particular query. If you can find one or a few pages often occurring on various queries, you have an excellent opportunity to figure out what these visitors are looking for. If you can, it’s almost too easy to present them with banners from well chosen affiliate programs. This way, some of the people will click your ads rather than the back button, thus making you some money.

Sometimes the terms giving you the extra visitors will be easy to translate, hence making it clear what the visitors are really looking for. In these cases, all you need to do is sign up for an affiliate program offering products of interest. In other cases, the terms are of a very general nature, making it less obvious what they are looking for. It is, however, possible to experiment with a few text ads, analyzing what ads attract the most clicks. Most free website statistics software don’t enable you to track visitor-behaviour, but if you sign up for Google statistics you’ll be able to see how many times each link is clicked, making it easy to find an affiliate program matching the visitors you never knew you had.

If you have numerous pages attracting odd visitors, you can easily repeat the above for each page getting enough search engine traffic to make it worth your while.

Choosing Commission Model For Poker Affiliate Programs

One of the most profitable niches for an affiliate marketer is with no doubt online poker. If you have a poker website making money it is fairly easy, but make sure you are choosing the right commission model for your affiliate program; fixed commission, revenue share or a combination of both. Use this fairly simple way of calculating which commission to choose.

Sending players to various online poker rooms is a lucrative business. Due to the very high competition, the poker affiliate programs need to offer very high commissions to attract new affiliates. For webmasters, this is as good as it gets.

The typical poker affiliate program offers variations of commission, making it possible for you to analyze your traffic and referred players, helping you choose the best model for you and your site. It is not always easy to know the break-even point for revenue share vs. fixed commission, but if you know your visitors, all you need is a calculator.

You need some information about the players you refer. This is sometimes hard to know, but usually you can use a rough estimate. The more information available to you, the better you will understand your players. Try to find out – or guess – the following:

  • Referred players average limit (player level)
  • Type of game preferred (limit/no-limit, stud, Omaha etc.)
  • Table size preferences (usually 6 or 10 players/table)

To find this information out, you can use any method available; a poll on your page isn’t a bad idea, one or a few easy questions will get many answers, making it easier to estimate the above details. There are numerous ways of getting to know your visitors, but that would be another topic, and therefore beyond the scope of this article. If you have no information about your visitors, or if you are yet to build your site, look at a few different levels (of limit games) to see the impact on your revenue. The same applies with table size and type of game, investigate and evaluate.

What you need to know about the affiliate program is the following:

  • Rake percentage (the percentage the poker room earns from every pot)
  • Revenue share (the percentage of the rake paid to the affiliate)
  • Average number of players on active tables (on the referrer’s player level)
Find the average number of players seated at the tables, as well as the average pot. This information is given at almost all poker rooms. If you can’t find the information in the affiliate interface, log in as a player and look directly at the tables.

Then calculate as follows:

(rake percentage x average pot x revenue share) / average seated players

This gives you the average commission for one played hand.

Look at their fixed commissions and do another quick calculation:

Fixed commission / earnings per hand

This gives you the number of hands the referred players has to be part of, before you make more from revenue share than from the fixed commission.

If you want to know the time each player has to spend in the poker room to make up for the fixed commission, all you need to find is the average pots per hour. This information is also available in almost every poker room. Then simply calculate:

Number of hands (from the calculation above) / hands per hour

Giving you an estimate of the time each player has to spend in the poker room before you start earning more than the fixed commission.

Now you have a few more parameters to consider before choosing your revenue model for poker affiliate programs, take your time – it is well worth it.

Poker affiliate programs – Look beyond the obvious

If you have a site about poker, casinos or gambling in general, you stand a good chance of making a nice profit by using various affiliate programs. But, choosing a program solely on its pay per sale percentage won’t necessarily maximize your revenue. Looking at your visitors – and what they are looking for – will make it easier to choose a new poker affiliate program.

The online gambling industry is one of the most profitable niches for an affiliate marketer. But, due to its potential revenue, the competition is very hard, and you really need to make the most of every single visitor you get.

The more information you can gather about your visitors, the easier it gets to choose the right affiliate program suiting their needs. Much information can be accessed from your website statistics – or from the account statistics if you are buying traffic with contextual ads. What search terms attract the most traffic? Do you know exactly why they are arriving and where? If the most common search term is very general in its nature, it can be hard to know exactly what the visitors are looking for, but if you are getting visitors from more specific search terms, you should have a pretty good idea as to what your visitors are interested in.

Once you have evaluated your visitors’ needs, it’s time to figure out how to meet them. If you are getting search engine traffic for any term related to poker bonuses, odds are many of your visitors are looking for just that. No matter how good the affiliate program’s percentage, if they do not offer a bonus high enough – or no bonus at all -, most of your visitors won’t sign up, hence not making you a commission. Instead, this would give you an excellent opportunity to find as many poker rooms possible with high sign up bonuses, and hopefully many of your visitors will come back to find a new poker room with a good bonus once they are done with their first choice.

In the same manner you can find affiliate programs matching most keywords, if you have visitors you KNOW are looking for one particular thing – no matter if it’s poker bonuses, Omaha tables or stud – you should try to present them with products and services matching their needs on an as detailed level as possible.

Assuming you have a somewhat good knowledge in the niche you are working within, finding this kind of information can be done rapidly, but the more effort you put into finding the correct casino- or poker affiliate program, the better your traffic will convert. Most often the poker rooms offer trial accounts, making it free and easy to check out both the software, type of games and whether or not it’s a busy poker room or not. All this information is highly important for knowing IF you should use the affiliate program in question, as well as for the marketer choosing what commission plan to use.

The more information you can get hold of – both about your visitors and about the affiliate programs – the better. You should always evaluate the programs joined, to ensure they are converting as expected.

Monday, September 17, 2007

5 important factors when choosing affiliate program

Choosing an affiliate program is presumably easy, yet many webmasters won’t find the program best suited for their site. In order to maximize your online revenue, you should – before choosing program – consider a few factors.

When deciding what affiliate program(s) to use on your site, there are many factors to consider. You will, of course, have to narrow down the selection by searching for programs related to your site’s topic. But, depending on site, you will find yourself with a quite long list of potential affiliate program – All with different types of commission. What should you choose, what information is relevant, and most important, which program will make you the most money?

#1 - Size of commission

The size of commission is, of course, the single most important factor. While this is an easy factor to compare, the comparison between a fixed commission and revenue share can pose a problem. You need to look at the estimated average sale to get a figure to compare. This isn’t always easy, but generally speaking the higher the price of the product, the higher your revenue will be. This is easy enough, but sometimes the products are cheap, but people but many items, thus adding up to nice commissions. Try to evaluate the niche you are in, who are you referring? What are they likely to buy? The more information you have about your visitors, the better off you’ll be.

# 2 - Compatibility

Equally important is the compatibility between you site and the program. Are your visitors likely to click the ads? Are the likely to buy? Don’t settle for just any affiliate program in your niche, you need to find the best affiliate program available for your site. Visit the site you are advertising, have a look around. Would you shop there? Is it a nice looking, easy manageable site? If you wouldn’t shop there, odds are your visitors won’t either.

# 3 - Recurring commission

A very important, but often forgotten, variable to look at is whether or not the affiliate program offers recurring commission. What this means is: The customer referred by you stays yours for a limited time, or for life. If you find a good affiliate program with recurring commission, you do not need to send many customers before it really adds up.

# 4 – Promotional tools etc.

A very good way of further increasing your conversion ratio is to look closely at the promotional tools, banners and potential offers the affiliate program are using to convert the traffic you send. In some niches – gambling in particular - the competition is so hard they have to offer their visitors high bonuses or the like, just to stand a chance of converting them. In cases like this, you would want to promote a program offering good bonuses; otherwise you stand a much lesser chance of sending highly converting traffic.

#5 Payout frequency, type and threshold

If you are running a small site, or if you use many different affiliate programs, you will need to look at the payout threshold AND payout method. See to it you will get your commission within a fair period of time, and that they offer easy and cheap ways of collecting your commission. International checks can, in some countries, be very expensive to cash in. No fun in paying $10 dollar to cash in a $25 check, now is it? You should glance on the frequency of payments as well. Most affiliate programs pay monthly or bi-monthly, but be sure to check it out.

Traditional PPC affiliate programs

Due to the popularity of contextual advertising, webmasters often forget the traditional affiliate programs, some offering similar options as far as paying for clicks instead of sales. If you find a program of this kind in your niche – and you have a page with some traffic – this might be a better option for you. If you place these ads on the right pages, you will be amazed how well they can perform. But, be sure to read the fine print before you send them your traffic, sometimes the PPC option is worse than the revenue share model.

With PPC affiliate programs where the publisher (you) places a link with your affiliate ID embedded to the program, you get paid for every visitor you send. You have total control over you own ads, no script are placing them for you, thus making you in charge of the relevance – or lack there of - of your ads. The price per click is mostly fixed, or in some cases depending on the quantity of visitors delivered, more visitors equal higher rate for every click.

In contextual advertising, the advertisers have the ability to set a max price AND a daily budget, leaving them in total control over their costs. For traditional affiliate programs this isn’t an option, they have a set price and static links, delivering traffic around the clock. This is potentially disastrous for any affiliate program, and a problem many affiliate managers solved by use of a required minimum conversion rate to get paid.

When looking at a traditional affiliate program – with a PPC option – you should look closely to see if they have a minimum conversion rate required for your traffic. If you are forced to convert your visitors into sales, and they specify the conversion rate, it’s easy math to see if you would be better off with a revenue sharing model. The amount you earn for sending the maximum visitors per sign-up should be greater than the commission for one sale. If it’s not, you are guaranteed to make more by the use of another revenue model. If the affiliate program offers recurring commission on their revenue share plan, you should think twice before choosing to get paid per click, you will miss out on all eventual recurring sales and commissions. If you plan on using the affiliate program for a long period of time, you will miss out on more than you can imagine.

Traditional PPC affiliate programs offer a very good opportunity if you have visitors interested in what they are advertising. The ads are usually placed on one, or a few pages where the relevance and click thru rate is high, on other pages you will be better off with other types of programs. Always compare your PPC stats with the revenue from other pages, to see if it really is as lucrative as you’d expect. Many times we get dazzled with the fact we get paid for EVERY visitor, not looking closely enough to see we would make more if we went another direction.

However, if you have a page with high click thru rate, you can make good use of any PPC program in your niche.

Contextual Advertisement – Get Paid Per Click

Sending visitors to an affiliate program, and getting paid for every click does sound easy enough, but is it the best option for you? Choosing PPC as a revenue model will be great for some, but not nearly as good for others.

There are different types of PPC programs; traditional affiliate programs and contextual advertising. While both types will pay you for clicks delivered, they have a few differences important to consider before choosing program.

Contextual advertising – where the publisher (you) place some sort of script on your pages, and other webmasters bid for the traffic derived from your – and other publishers – link. You get paid for every visitor sent, mostly as a percentage of the winning bid. While you do get paid for every click, it is hard, not to say impossible, to estimate how much you’ll get, it can very from a few cents to dollars.

Contextual advertising offers a very simple solution, making it a very viable option for webmasters with to little time to focus on monetizing their sites. All you need to do is place the script on your pages, and the ads show. If your pages, and the text on them, have a clear message, you will mostly see highly relevant ads. You need to understand that the very nature of this automated process is reliant on the spider’s ability to understand what the text is really about. If it fails, you will be left with a bunch of ads of low relevance. With a few exceptions, this will be certain to significantly lower the click thru rate, making you loose much of your revenue.

If you are using contextual advertising, it’s a good idea to check your pages to see what ads are showing. If you notice pages with strange ads, you can easily either edit the text or – if the program allows – specify what part of your page the ads should be based on. Making these changes is very important to maximize the return of your efforts.

With contextual advertising, you never need to worry about meeting conversion requirements; all you need to do is send the traffic their way. After that, it’s up to the highest bidder to make use of the newly bought visitor. If webmasters buying contextual ads don’t make money for a specific keyword, they will stop buying those visitors, thus lowering the price. When the price is low enough, it is once again possible to make a profit, the competition – and bidding – for the keywords hardens, thus making the prices go up again. Back and forth, so it goes.

Most programs offer various ways of traffic your performance, often with the ability to customize the statistics to meet your needs. I suggest you try to be as specific as possible at first, trying to pin point where the clicks are coming from. What ads never seem to attract people, and on what pages they can be found. If you have a few pages – with an equal amount of visitors – that don’t work well with the contextual ads, sort them out and add affiliate links to those pages instead.

As soon as you know your site’s behavior, it’s easier to maximize your revenue, whether it’s by use of contextual advertising, or traditional affiliate programs.

Choosing the right niche for affiliate marketing

Many affiliate publishers dream of getting a high rank for keywords in competitive niches, but not everyone can succeed. For those not in the first pages on the major search engines, the revenue will be modest at best. A much better way is to target niches and keywords closely related to highly competitive ones. The chances of reaching the top ten will increase drastically, as will the profits.

Competing with highly experienced affiliate marketers will naturally be a tough task. For a new webmaster, interested in affiliate marketing, choosing an easier niche and/or keyword is essential for success. Finding a profitable niche isn’t hard, finding a niche YOU can profit from is much harder. Many use the affiliate programs offering high commissions on popular products, yet only a few make a real income, why?

In the online pharmaceutical market, the demand for the products – with sexual enhancers as the undisputed no.1 – is massive. This has led to many, many online pharmacies popping up. Some are serious, some are only in it for the quick cash. Most sites offer some kind of webmaster opportunity, mainly in the form of an affiliate program.

For a new webmaster looking to build a profitable site, the ongoing hysteria of Viagra, cialis and other sex drugs will often make it easy to believe everyone will make money selling these kinds of drugs and medicine. This, how ever, is not nearly the case. Instead most webmasters find themselves pulling their hair in lack of enough inbound links to get even close to a top search engine position. At first, you might see a huge impact, climbing from page 20 to 11, but as you get closer and closer to the top pages, the competition tightens. If you would put all this effort into a site of less competitive nature, you would probably find yourself with a nice, steady stream search engine traffic.

If you have already got your mind set on a topic and area for your site, perhaps you can make a few minor changes to make it about something slightly different? In this case, the appeal of human sexuality will always attract customers for the business as a whole, but you need to figure out an angle for you.

One idea would be to find a few keywords related to alternative medicine, or herbal medicine. While the products sold on these sites often are of similar nature as pharmaceutical products, the keywords are not nearly as competitive as pharmacies. In all lucrative businesses, there will be frauds and shady sites, only trying to make a quick buck on a popular product or service. In pharmacy affiliate programs, this is really something to look out for. If you see a commission to good to be true, it probably is. If you choose to try to fight for these competitive keywords, be sure not to loose all your earnings by choosing the wrong affiliate program.

In most cases, finding a slightly different approach to targeting keywords may ease your way to making a profit, instead of seeing your site on the fourth or fifth page on Google. As your targeted keywords alter, you will attract other visitors, and you should find an affiliate program matching their needs in order to get good click thru- and conversion rates.