Written on November 24th, surf Active Apparel website ariat womens boots zone.at 02:11 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines

Search Engine Optimization 71 comments

christmas
So you’re looking to increase the profitability of your blog for the Christmas period (and beyond). You’ve optimized your AdSense, Chitika and Affiliate programs, you’ve even written a little seasonal content…. but there’s one missing element…. Traffic.

Unless you actually have people viewing your blog it is very difficult to actually earn anything from it.

So how do you drive traffic to your blog?

I’ve written quite a bit of this previously in a number of posts (for example here) but want to spend a little time talking today about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Why SEO?

When you are looking online for information on a topic where do you go first?

While I’m sure there will be a variety of answers given to that question - the majority of average web users would answer with one word - ‘Google’.

Every day Search Engines like Google send many millions of web users to websites in their index. While there are plenty of Web 2.0 web indexing services around that are increasing in popularity - the fact is that search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN are still the biggest source of traffic to websites on the web.

As a result - learning how to be indexed and ranked well by them seems like a no brainer.

Writing for Search Engines and Humans

Some bloggers have a problem with the idea of optimizing a blog for search engines. They argue that rather than writing for search engines a blogger’s sole focus should be that they write quality content for humans.

I personally don’t see that writing for humans and search engines have to be mutually exclusive things - in my opinion both can be achieved without compromising either.

Some bloggers argue that if you write for humans that SEO looks after itself. To some extent I agree with that - if you do write quality content that others like you will find that they link up to your site (a key in SEO) - however I would argue that incoming links from other sites is just one part of climbing the rankings in Search Engines (an important part but not the only one).

There are other factors that come into play also and I believe that by knowing them and naturally incorporating them into your blogging you can increase your chances of being found by readers in Google, Yahoo and MSN.

Of course - some people become a little obsessed with SEO and forget the human reader, don’t fall for this trap and keep a balanced approach and you’ll benefit both from traffic from the search engines as well as a loyal readership who keeps coming back for more quality content.

Basic SEO tips for Bloggers

I’ve written previously on this topic so rather than writing the same thing again in a slightly different way will republish some of my previous tips below. I hope you find them useful.

Before I start - I’ll say that while I do get a lot of SE traffic that I’m not really an SEO expert (it isn’t what I devote most of my time to). If you want to read something by someone who has spent a lot more time and effort on the topic I recommend looking at an e-book by Aaron Wall - SEO Book (aff). I’ve actually been reading through it in the last few weeks (it’s been on my to do list for a long time) and have found it really helpful.

SEO experts tend to divide search engine optimization techniques into off site and on site techniques.

Off Site SEO Techniques

Off site SEO techniques are as the name suggests factors from outside the site itself (ie from other sites) that impact the blog’s ranking in search engines. Many of these factors are outside the blogger’s control - however they are useful to know. The most obvious and probably most powerful offsite factor are Inbound Links (something I’ve already referred to above).

It is generally agreed that the links that point to a website are one of the most powerful way of climbing Search Engines results pages (in fact many argue it is THE most important factor). - To put it most simply - every link to your site is seen by the search engines as being a vote of confidence in your site.

Ideally Speaking - The best inbound links have three main qualities to them:

  1. they are from higher ranked sites than your own
  2. they are relevant to the topic you are writing about
  3. they link to you using relevant keywords to your page

Whilst you may not have complete control over who links to you these are the types of links that you should be dreaming of.

How to generate quality inbound Links?

Of course whilst most of us know this it doesn’t make getting such links any easier - its in the hands of others in many cases. So how do you get such links?

  • Quality Content - There are all kinds of link generating systems out there but in my opinion the best way to get links to your blog is to write quality content that people will want to read. You can solicit links with others or sign up for different link building programs or even buy text links on other sites but the cheapest and probably safest approach is to build inbound links in a natural organic way as others link to your quality content.
  • Notify Relevant Bloggers of your content - Whilst I don’t advocate spamming other bloggers and asking for links - I would recommend that if you write a quality post on a topic that you know will interest another blogger that it might be worth shooting them a short and polite email letting them know of your post. Don’t be offended if they don’t link up, but you might just find that they do and that in addition to the direct traffic that the link generates that it helps build your own page rank in the search engines (more on letting other bloggers know of your posts here).
  • Directories - Another way to generating inbound links is to submit your links to directories. I know of webmasters who swear by the benefits of such a strategy - the first thing that they do when starting a new site is to do the rounds of directories - submitting links to key pages with appropriate keywords in the links. There are loads of directories out there - many of which offer a free submission. Ari Paparo has compiled a list of blog directories that you might want to start with.
  • Inter-link your Blogs - Increasingly bloggers are starting or joining blog networks to enjoy the benefits of multiple sites and writers working together. One of the advantages of networks of sites is that they usually link to one another. In doing so you have complete control over how your sites are linked to from multiple domains. It is worth noting that you should be careful with this approach - if all your sites are hosted on the one server many think that Search Engines will work out what you’re doing and the impact will be lessened.
  • Buy Links - Many professional web masters have a budget to purchase links from other highly ranked and and relevant sites. I won’t go into this too much here but you might like to read more about it in my recent post On Buying Text Links.
  • Swap Links - Similarly many bloggers swap links with other bloggers. Sometimes this happens pretty naturally (you see someone linking to you so you link back) but in many cases the links are strategic ones and formally arranged between site owners. I get daily requests for such reciprocal links (I rarely act on them). Whilst there is some benefit in such link swapping I would again advise caution here as many SEO experts believe that the search engines have methods for tracking such strategies and devaluing the links. Some try to get around this by doing indirect or triangulated links. ie instead of site A and B doign a direct swap they involve other sites. So A links to C in exchange for D (also owned by C) linking to B (also owned by A) - makes your head hurt doesn’t it!?! There are also a variety of systems around that say they’ll take care of such interlinking for you - I know many who use Digital Point’s Free C0-Op Advertising system. Personally I tend to avoid such schemes and have a policy of linking to sites I think are valuable to my readers. If they link back then so be it.

If you’re looking for link exchange/buying/selling programs you might like to look at systems like:

- Link Adage
- Text Link Ads
- Link Worth

On Site SEO Techniques

Having looked at Offsite Search Engine Optimization Techniques I’ll now turn my attention to examining some of the factors you might like to keep in mind as you build your blog - (or Onsite techniques - things you do on your blog that help build a higher ranking). As with all SEO techniques there are many of these and a lot of speculation around all of them so let me touch on as many as I can:

1. Keyword Rich Content - identify a few keywords for your article that you’re hoping will get indexed highly by Google. Don’t pick too many but consider the questions

  • How do I want people to find this post in Search Engines?
  • What will they type into Google if they want information on the topic you’re writing?
  • How would I find information on this topic in the Search Engines?
  • What results come up when I do plug these keywords into Google?
  • What other keywords are other sites using?

The answer to these questions will give you a hint as to what words you’ll want to see repeated throughout your article a number of times.

These keywords will need to be the most common words used in your article. Use them in some or all of the following ways:

  • Keywords in post and page titles (read my post on using keywords in titles)
  • Keywords in URL of page (blog herald wrote on this a while back)
  • Keywords in outbound links. Of course you should always link to sources of content as an ethical consideration but the bonus of this is that many SEO experts think that linking to relevant and quality sites on the same topic of your post with good keywords can also add credibility to YOUR post also.
  • Keywords in bold tags (try do it at least once)
  • Keywords in heading tags (there is debate over exactly how to use them but it’s generally accepted that h1 tags are important and that h2, h3, h4 etc tags also have an impact. Having said that I’ve seen some pages rank very well in search engines without using heading tags. There are many tutorials online about heading tags - here’s one.)
  • Keywords in image alt tags (here’s how)
  • Keywords in the general throughout the text of your post - but especially early on in the first few sentences
  • Keywords in meta tags (they seem to be less valuable these days but many still believe they are useful with some search engines - here’s a Guide to meta tags)

Of course you can go over the top with keywords in posts and let it destroy your content - but if it fits with what you’ve written tweak it to include the words you are targeting a couple of extra times. Most SEO experts recommend getting your keyword density up to between 5-20% - I think 20% is probably bordering on massacring your content.

One last word of warning and disclaimer on keyword rich content (because I can just hear the comments on this post already) - don’t sacrifice your readers experience of your site just for the sake of SEO. Yes keyword density can be important in climbing the search engine rankings - but more important is that your content and design are user friendly and helpful to readers. There is nothing worse than a site that is stuffed with keywords - these sites come off as cheap, nasty and spammy - don’t fall for the temptation.

Keep in mind keywords that might be specific to the season we are approaching. While during the year there might be less people searching for posts relating to Christmas, gifts, presents, new year sales etc - this time of year will see an increase in these types of searches.

2. Themed sites - One of the growing theories of SEO is that you are more likely to rank well if you have a substantial amount of pages on a similar theme. ie a niche topic blog will probably rank higher than a general one that covers many topics. Build a blog with over 200 pages of content on the same theme and you’ll increase your chances of ranking well as SEs will see you as an authority on the topic. The take home advice here is to keep to some kind of a topic/niche/theme for your blog. It is also probably another argument for categories and tagging posts that relate together strongly.

3. Site Design - Search Engines like well laid out, well coded and easily to navigate sites. Make sure your pages validate (I need to work more on this) and that they are viewable on all major browsers. Search Engines don’t tend to like too much Flash, Frames or Java Script in your site - keep it simple and clean and their robots will index your site a lot faster and more accurately. Also try to keep your blog free from dead links (a challenge for those of us with older blogs with big archives).

4. Interlink your Site - The way Search Engines index your blog is to send little robot crawlers to your site to track what you’ve written and follow the links. Make it easier for them to get around your blog by using internal linking wisely. Most SEO experts recommend that you provide some sort of Site Map that means every page on your blog is just a link or two away from every other one. One way to do this for bloggers is to make sure that your category pages are in your sidebars as I do in this blog. Also make sure every page links back to your main page and any other important pages on your site. If you’re writing on a topic you’ve previously written about consider linking to what you’ve written before or use a ‘other relevant posts’ feature at the base of your article. You’ll see in my menus at the top of the page a number of my key categories and articles. One of the impacts of having them highlighted in this way is that they have become some of the most highly ranked pages on enternetusers simply because they are linked to from every page of this blog. This is a key point in the lead up to Christmas - if you have a few seasonal posts that you particularly want to do well in the SE’s make sure they are linked to from every page on your blog.

5. Update regularly - The more you update your blog the more often Search Engines will send their crawlers to your site to index it. This will mean your new articles could appear in the index within days or even hours rather than weeks. This is a natural benefit of blogging - make the most of it!

6. Outbound Links - There is debate over how SEs treat outbound links from your blog. I’m in the camp who believe that relevant outbound links enhance your site’s ranking in search engines. I always link out to quality relevant sites that I think my readers will find useful and have a little anecdotal evidence that seems to support the theory that this is healthy for the way SEs index you (check out Waynes article on the topic for more info). Linking to sites outside your own blog does mean you end up sending traffic away from your blog so you need to count the cost of such a strategy. Note that you should always try to link to reputable and relevant sites to your own page. Also keep in mind that too many outbound could have detrimental impact upon your blog. Like in most things in SEO - moderation is the key.

7. Choose your domain name wisely - there are numerous factors to keep in mind when selecting a domain name. For one you might like to include your keyword in it if possible. Secondly you should do a little research to see if someone else has previously used the domain. This could have both positive and negative impact. If it was a quality site with inbound links you might reap some benefits but if it was a banned spam site you could still be banned from Google for a long time. One service you might want to use to check expired domains is Way Back Machine at Archive.org.

8. Register your Domain for a Lengthy Period - a recent patent by Google indicates that it now looks at the length of your domain’s registration in ranking it. It does this because many spam sites have short registrations and a longer one indicates that you’re building a site with substance and are in it for the long haul.

9. One topic per post - the more tightly focused the theme of a page the better when Search Engines come to rank it. Sometimes you might find yourself writing long posts that end up covering a number of different topics. They might relate loosely but if search engine ranking is what you’re after it could be better to break up your post into smaller more focused pieces.

10. Write optimal length posts - there is some thought going around the Search Engine Optimization community that pages that are too short can get passed over for high rankings. I try to keep posts at least 250 words. Of course there are some posts on my blogs that are shorter, but if I’m writing a post that I want to rank well I try to give it some meatiness in terms of length. On the other hand don’t make it too long either - because in doing so you make it difficult to keep your keyword density up and could end up with a less tightly focused page. Research also shows that longer articles can have a pretty steep drop off rate in readers after the text gets below the ‘fold’ or to the end of the first screen of article (looks like this post is in trouble - is anyone still reading?).

11. Avoid Duplicate content - Google warns publishers in its guidelines about having the same content on multiple pages. This goes for both multiple pages that you own but also pages that others own. This is because a tactic of spammers is often to reproduce content on many pages and/or to steel content from other sites. There is some debate over what duplicate content does and doesn’t include (for instance many bloggers use ‘free articles’ as content on their blogs - these articles often appear on hundreds and even thousands of other sites around the web and to me could be seen as duplicate content) - my advice is to be very careful about how many places your content appears. I do republish occasional posts (or parts of them) but try not to do this too much and attempt to add elements that are unique on each occasion that the posts are republished).

12. Ping - services like Pingomatic (there are numerous others too) will ping a variety of websites for you to notify them that you’ve updated. In doing so you’ll also be letting search engines know that you’ve updated which will trigger their robots to come visit your blog. I’d also suggest pinging Google’s blog search tool.

13. Submit your RSS to MyYahoo - submitting your RSS feed to MyYahoo seems to help with getting indexed on Yahoo. Read more about this at Getting Yahoo Traffic for your Blog. Some also think that doing the same thing to Google’s Personalised pages could have a similar impact.

14. Quantities of Content - I always get into trouble when I write about having lots of content - but I think its true that bigger sites tend to rank better than smaller sites - whilst it is possible to rank highly with a small site - it’s probably not the norm.. Search Engines will see your site as more comprehensive the more content you have. You also better your odds of being found in Search Engines if you have more pages. By no means am I saying just to put up random junk content - be careful about this - rather work at building a comprehensive and large site over time.

15. Submit to Search Engines - You can do all the best onsite SEO strategies in the world and still get no where because the Search Engines have not found you to start with. Each search engine has a way of letting it know about your site - submit your URL to be included in the index. Please note that this takes time and perhaps a quicker and more effective way is to get linked to by a site already indexed by the search engine. I’ve written a post about his previously here.

You might also like to tryout some of the services around that offer to submit your sites to search engines for you - I’d be wary of paying for this sort of service though. I never have and seem to do ok.

The Time Factor

One more element that I think is often overlooked in SEO tips posts is that of ‘Time’.

My own experience of blogging is that you can do all of the above things and still not be ranked well in the Search Engines for months and months. Here at enternetusers it actually took around a year before I started to get significant search engine traffic - despite me doing all the ‘right things’.

This might not be particularly good news for those of you wanting to optimize your site for Christmas this year - but it is yet another reminder that blogging is a long term thing and that it takes considerable time for a blog to become established.

If you’re not ranking well in the search engines - hang in there. Keep posting, keep working on quality content and keep the above factors in mind - as you do this you’ll find that in time your SE traffic will gradually increase.

This post has been a part of the How to Fine Tune your Blog for Christmas Series.

Enjoy this post? Digg it here

Written on November 23rd, surf Active Apparel website ariat womens boots zone.at 07:11 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

How to Drive Traffic to Your Affiliate Programs

Affiliate Programs 6 comments

christmasOne key to affiliate programs succeeding is that you have enough traffic that actually sees your affiliate links. There is little point in actually deep linking to products on pages that no one actually visits. So how can you increase the chances of people seeing and potentially clicking your affiliate links?

  • Cross Linking - a technique that I use quite a bit on some of my blogs is to cross link between posts. I don’t do it for the sake of it but if I’ve written previously on a topic I’ll link to it - particularly if that page is one that I consider to be a page that will convert well.
  • Highlight Key Posts - identify those pages on your blog that have the highest potential to convert and then highlight them in your menu or sidebar. Also check out TLA’s Feedvertising program that lets you set up advertising to any site (including pages on your own blog) in your own feeds.
  • Advertising - if you have a page that converts particularly well consider actually advertising it using programs like Performancing’s Ad Program, BlogAds (blogads.com) or AdWords.

Fine Tuning Tips

So taking all of the above into consideration - a few take home assignments for you to put into place in the lead up to the end of the year:

  • Take some time out to surf your own archives looking for posts that are ideal for linking to affiliate products
  • Add deep links to affiliate programs from posts in your archives
  • Check previously used affiliate links to see if they still link to live pages
  • Identify high converting posts (or potential ones) and work on driving traffic to them.

Tomorrow I’ll continue this series by looking at Search Engine Optimization.

This post has been a part of the How to Fine Tune your Blog for Christmas Series.

Written on November 23rd, surf Active Apparel website ariat womens boots zone.at 11:11 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Put Chikita as your AdSense alternate URL

Chitika eMiniMalls, Adsense 5 comments

Reader-Quick-TipsThis reader ‘quick tip’ was submitted by Antoine Khater from All Day I Dream About Photography

Wouldn’t be nice to have you Chikita emini-mall or ShopCloud$ (aff) showing up as the Alternate URL of Adsense?

Here is a trick I recently learned on how to do it.

Just set up a BLANK page, completely blank no header no footer nothing, on you blog/site with no content at all but you chikita code then use the URL of this page as the alternate URL in adsense.

Written on November 23rd, surf Active Apparel website ariat womens boots zone.at 07:11 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Reflections On A Week in Toronto

enternetusers Site News 11 comments

Img 6197 2-2Well all good things must come to an end and as I write this I find myself at Toronto’s international airport awaiting my flight to LA and then home.

Quite a few people have asked me how I’ve found Canada and particularly how I’ve found meeting some of the b5media gang. Instead of a long series of posts on the different aspects of the trips or a long essay like post on the topic I thought I’d write a list (surprise surprise):

  • While there are some great online tools for collaboration available - meeting face to face is definitely a more productive exercise and adds a completely different dynamic to working relationships. More on this over at Mark’s blog.
  • Online and Offline persona - I’ve had a theory for a few years now that people’s online and offline persona generally match up - this was again confirmed for me. I met 15 or so bloggers and coworkers over the last week and in each case the reality was remarkably similar to what I’d imagined these people to be like.
  • Canadians are a very friendly and generous group of people - Despite their ability to make every sentence sound like a question they are a fun and good natured lot on the whole (or at least those I met).
  • Toronto reminded me a lot of Melbourne - Perhaps it’s to do with the weather which while I was here was either grey and gloomy or stunningly blue skies (although it was a fair bit colder), or perhaps it’s the part of town that I stayed in and the many cafes and restaurants or perhaps it was the people. Can’t quite put my finger on it but while there were obvious differences - there was also a similar ‘vibe’.
  • Jet lag sucks - I thought I was over my jet lag two days into the trip but unfortunately ever second night since arriving I spent most of the time staring at the ceiling. Needless to say that despite the face to face meetings (see point 1) I became less and less productive as the week went along. I hate to think what I’ll be feeling like in 26 hours when I land again in Melbourne (hopefully everything is running on time).
  • Skype Video Rocks - while we didn’t think we would, it turned out that V and I used Skype video calls everyday to keep in touch. It was great to be able to not only hear the voices of her and little X but to see them. Definitely helped a lot with keeping home sickness at bay (although I’m itching to get back now).
  • New Media Opportunities Abound - one of the great things about meeting face to face with some of the b5 gang is that the result of our planning, dreaming and brainstorming was a lot of wonderful possibilities. In fact the challenge for a new media company like ours is not to come up with ideas but is to work out which ones to run with and working out how to implement them. While I obviously can’t speak about specifics of what lies ahead for b5 I’m really excited about our plans that we have as a team but also by the wider blogging space.
  • Is New Media A Global Space? - I’ve been asking this question for a few years ago now. On some levels I would answer yes - blogging in particular has a way of leveling the playing media field and giving people from far flung parts of the globe a voice. However - while there is definitely an global thing going on there are some definite perks of being in a North American locale. The critical mass of people interested in the space is one (going to a three meet-ups in the last meet that would have attracted 250 people illustrated this well for me - at Melbourne meet-ups we’re lucky to get 10 people showing up). As a result of this critical mass people tend to meet each other and are more able to communicate in ‘normal’ business hours and business partnerships tend to flow. I’m still a big believer in the global characteristics of blogging and new media - however at times those of us who find ourselves spread far and wide do face some challenges that others do not (still pondering this one - so forgive my half finished thoughts).

All in all it was a very positive trip filled with a variety of activities, challenges and experiences. I’m feeling quite drained as a result of it having used a lot of brain power and it being a very people oriented time (I’m an introvert used to working largely alone) - but satisfied that we got a lot done. My only hope for next time is to see a little more on a sightseeing level (something that we’ll do as a family in April next year).

I think I’ll leave it at that as my points are becoming longer and more effected by my lack of sleep. I’m more more will come in the weeks ahead as I get home and return to a normal routine.

Don’t expect much live posting from me for a few days - I’ve got more posts coming in the Christmas and ‘Quick Tip’ series to cover the time.

Lastly - we’ve migrated most of enternetusers over to the new server. The job boards needs to be brought across (should be in the next few hours) and then we should be back to normal. Thanks again to Aaron for his work on this.

Now it’s off to catch a plane!

PS: the picture is Jeremy (right), Mark’s (middle) and myself modeling some of our new b5media schwag - ie jackets and caps (and yes - Jeremy is wearing a pink hat).

Written on November 23rd, surf Active Apparel website ariat womens boots zone.at 12:11 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Amazon Include Gift Certificates in Referral Program

Affiliate Programs 1 comment

Amazon have just announced that they are now allowing publishers to earn commission when readers that they refer buy a gift certificate in the Amazon store as part of their Associates program. This is only the case up until the end of the year and commissions will be a flat fee of 6%.

To get your Gift Certificate link (aff) simply head to the ‘build links’ section and choose ‘gift certificates’ either in the text link or banner sections.

Written on November 22nd, surf Active Apparel website ariat womens boots zone.at 06:11 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

Increase AdSense Earnings with Competitive Ad Filter

Adsense 32 comments

Reader-Quick-TipsLuke Meshios from Webmaster SEO wrote the following reader ‘quick tip’:

Do you ever wonder why it is you get low clicks sometimes? 1 cents - 10 cents?

This is because the Adsense Publishers are offering low amounts. Some times they offer a low amount because they have Adsense on their website too. And they might get 10 cents a click for every 1 cent they pay. These sites are known as “Made For Adsense” Yep, it does suck!. But there is a way around this to increase your earnings.

Go to Adsblacklist, Sign Up, put in your URL and keyword, click generate. You will then get an extensive list of 200 sites to block in your AdSense competitive ad filter.

Now go to your Adsense account, Click on Adsense Setup, Then click on competitive ad filter, copy and paste the websites you were giving from Adsblacklist. Now wait till Adsense blocks those sites.

Sit back and let the earnings roll in.

Written on November 22nd, surf Active Apparel website ariat womens boots zone.at 12:11 pm by city of Stanton David Shawver

7 Steps to Better Business Blogging

Business Blogging 5 comments

Reader-Quick-TipsThe following reader quick tip was submitted by Ann Handley from Marketing Profs: Daily Fix.

One of the questions I often field comes from business owners who are thinking of launching a blog but are wondering, “What can I write about…?”

A recent post by Poynter contributor Vince Maher does an excellent job of giving some guidance on what businesses can write about, and, more importantly, how they can write it. All 11 tips are here but here are the seven points most critical for businesses:

  1. A blog entry is a stub for conversation. Think about creating posts that start conversations, have a point of view, and appeal to the interests of your readers. All writing must consider the audience, but for bloggers, it’s critical.
  2. Write tight headlines that pique interest. Think punchy, short, descriptive headlines that will pique a reader’s curiosity.
  3. Be scan-friendly. Bullet points (like these!) are easy to scan and have the useful by-product of lending structure to your thoughts.
  4. Link to the context. This is really important: if you write about something that other blogs are talking about in a post or conversation, offer links back to their conversations to give your post some context.
  5. Troll the blogosphere for secondary conversation. Tools like Google BlogSearch, Bloglines and Technorati will help you track what other bloggers are saying about your post. Try to update your blog with links to those conversations if they add or augment yours.
  6. Be Active in your own conversations. Comment back to your readers. Social media is all about relationships.
  7. Create buzz everywhere. Include lots of relevant inbound links to your post. Via Technorati or other search tools, seek out other blogs that are discussing the same or similar issues, and participate in the conversation there.

So what do you think? Did I miss anything or can you expand on any of these guidelines?

Written on November 22nd, surf Active Apparel website ariat womens boots zone.at 02:11 am by city of Stanton David Shawver

Techniques for Improving Affiliate Program Performance

Affiliate Programs 9 comments

christmasOnce you’ve chosen an affiliate product or program to promote on your blog you cannot just slap a link to it into your sidebar and forget about it. The task then is in thinking about how you’ll drive readers to it.

Similarly to contextual advertising - positioning of your links to these programs is essential - as is the way you actually link to it.

Keep in mind that with affiliate programs you have two tasks that need to be completed in order for you to earn something from them.

  1. Get readers to click on the link/ad to visit the affiliate program’s page
  2. Have readers actually purchase the product

Here are a few techniques that you might want to keep in mind as you fine tune your affiliate programs for the end of the year:

Deep Linking

I’ve had the most success with affiliate programs when I link to them from within contextually relevant content in my posts.

I’m much more likely to get people to click on an affiliate link (and potentially buy it) for a particular model of digital camera if the link is in a post on that camera than if the link was in a sidebar of every page on that site.

Contextual linking to products helps both in getting people to click on your links as well as increasing the chances that they’ll buy the product.

Positioning

I’ve written earlier in this series about the positioning of AdSense and Chitika ads and many of the same principles apply with affiliate programs. As you place them keep in mind that there are key points on your blog where your reader’s eye will naturally be drawn to. In content/posts is a good start but also consider the flow of your posts and at what point your reader might be ready to make a purchase.

For example if your affiliate link was in the first line of your post you’ll probably not get great results - however if it is later in the post once you’ve given some relevant information on the product and have outlined the pros and cons of buying it you might find people more ready to explore buying options.

Link Wording

The way you link to affiliate programs has a bearing both upon whether people click them and what frame of mind they’ll be in as they arrive at the site. A few tips come to mind:

  1. Don’t trick Readers
    The chances of converting a click on a link into an actual sale are very small if you trick readers into visiting an affiliate link
  2. Don’t lie - false recommendations of a product won’t do you any favors if you are trying to build your blog’s reputation. I link to affiliate products in two ways. If I actually recommend the product I say this in and around the link and encourage readers to buy it (giving them both pros and cons of doing so). If I don’t know much about the product and can’t genuinely recommend it I don’t - I simply link to it with a ‘get a price on this product’ link (or something similar).
  3. Genuine Recommendations - I find I get higher conversion rates on people buying affiliate products where I give a review of that product that highlights both it’s strengths and shortcomings as a product. People appreciate you giving them a realistic expectation of the product rather than hyping it up.

Tomorrow I’ll write more on driving traffic to your Affiliate programs.

This post has been a part of the How to Fine Tune your Blog for Christmas Series.

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New Google Ad Placements « John Chow dot Com

Adsense 3 comments

John Chow has posted details of a new AdSense beta which allows publishers to highlight certain ad units to advertisers and tell them what position the ads are in. John writes:

“To use Google Ad Placement, you create and implement a custom channel just as you would before - tracking the performance of your sports pages or your skyscraper ad units, for example. Only now, you can choose to make that custom channel visible to advertisers as an Ad Placement. When advertisers search for sites on which to place their ads, they’ll see the ad placement you’ve created - with your site’s name and description - and can decide to target their ads to your Ad Placement.”

It looks like an extension of Targetable Custom Channels added a week or two back.

Here’s a screen shot of the new control panel in John’s AdSense back end.

Adplacement2

Read John’s post at New Google Ad Placements

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enternetusers Downtime

enternetusers Site News 1 comment

Just a short note to let readers know to expect a little downtime on enternetusers later today or two as we’ll be moving it over onto b5media’s servers. Hopefully this will lead a few of the glitches that the blog’s been suffering the last couple of months being ironed out.

I will post when we’ve finished the migration.

Update: Migration is underway and all seems to be going well so far. It’ll take a few hours all up and hopefully we won’t loose too many comments in that time. There are also a few dead links around and things we need to fix up tomorrow.

Thanks to Aaron for helping out with this.

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