CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) is the leading global affiliate marketing network, specializing in pay-for-performance programs that drive results for businesses around the world. The CJ Network helps to reach and connect with millions of online consumers every day by facilitating productive partnerships between advertisers and publishers. Drive more sales and expand your reach – experience the Network Effect with CJ.
Once your hosting is set up, you need to install a content management system (CMS) for your site. We recommend WordPress because it is easy to use and a beginner (like you!) can quite quickly figure out how it works. Most good hosting providers will have a one-click install option for WordPress, which means it will only take you a couple of minutes and you will have WordPress installed on your site.
Ignore the “butterflies” that are sure to fly by on a constant basis. They will just distract you from your project/campaign at hand. One completed and profitable campaign is worth so much more than 50 almost half-finished campaigns or projects.
Always make affiliate links nofollow. Google’s goal is to provide its users with the best possible search results to their search queries. One of the main ways they figure out which webpages are the best is through links. The Google bots crawl the web, reading text. When they come to a link, it’s like an open door. They follow the link (walk through the door) and explore the site you linked to.
This is another big mistake I made when starting out — joining any and every affiliate program I came across. While I absolutely do believe in cultivating multiple streams of income when working online, there is a point where you have too much to deal with and it becomes unmanageable.
The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don’t have enough content about a topic, you’re not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it’s unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you.
For example, when I began teaching others how to start their own blogs in 2010, it was a no-brainer to recommend the hosting company I was already using. I became an affiliate and have made thousands of dollars since.
The more affiliate programs you join, the longer the list of things to track. Affiliates handle this differently. Some keep very close tabs on everything they earn in every affiliate program. Others simply trust the payouts to arrive as they should.
You’ll also need to factor in how your product rates compared to competitors in the same market. If you have the leading product in the space, you can probably get away with lower commissions. But if you are third or fourth in market share and trying to gain some ground, you may need higher commissions to lure affiliates to your program.
Will my target audience realistically buy this product? Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What are they most likely to buy? If your blog is mainly about frugal living, your readers probably aren’t going to buy luxury products, so promoting high-end clothing might not work so well.
For example, The Wire Cutter is focused on writing reviews of several different kinds of products and helping their readers make the best decision about the product they want to buy. After reading a review on their site, if the user clicks through to the product/service using the affiliate link, The Wire Cutter will earn a commission from.
If you purchase your domain and hosting from different companies, you will need to link the two together. Don’t panic, it’s a simple process. Check out our lesson: Linking your Domain with Your Hosting.
Thanks for the tips! I think it is very easy to side track these days with so much marketing noise about Affiliate Marketing especially if there’s too much focus on selling the product instead of promoting a second opinion or solid content.
Let’s face it: technology, especially the internet, can be pretty daunting to try to grasp, and with terms like malware, cursor and spam, it also seems pretty dangerous. So kudos to the guys who decided e-commerce and affiliate marketing should rely on an innocuous technology called a “cookie.”
Do I have legitimate experience with this product? If you don’t, pass. Being unfamiliar with a product you promote is risky for two reasons. First, if it turns out to be a dud, the trust you’ve built with your audience is damaged. Second, if your audience has questions about it, you won’t know how to answer.
If you are building a site that has the potential for information that will never age and remain useful for your audience, you have the opportunity to create what is known as evergreen content. It’s important to carry out extensive keyword research before planning any evergreen content for a site like this, as your site could hugely benefit from the proper usage of keywords within such content.
The beauty of affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to invest the time and effort to create a product to sell. You can begin selling something as an affiliate as soon as you have a platform to sell it on.
There are many places to share affiliate links, but before you do, always check the terms and conditions for affiliate programs. Some prohibit sharing your affiliate links in certain places (the obvious example is Amazon which does not allow affiliate links in emails).
Attach your affiliate link to images. In the age of sites like Instagram and Pinterest, users are accustomed to clicking images. Make sure any post images highlighting the product have your affiliate link attached. Here’s how to make an image clickable.
The AID (ad ID) is a number which identifies a specific link and enables CJ to track creative performance as well as credit the publisher when they earn a commissionable transaction. Because each link has a unique AID, it also allows CJ to identify the appropriate advertiser.
When a user visits a publisher’s website and clicks an advertiser’s creative ad, the visitor’s browser receives the CJ tracking cookie that identifies the advertiser, the publisher, the specific creative and commission amount. This data is stored within the link information in what are called “parameters” and can include even more anonymous data used for attribution.
Mistake #1: Not being aware of the terms and conditions for each campaign. They vary and you are responsible for knowing and following them. For example, your Amazon affiliate links cannot be in emails, closed Facebook Groups or anywhere not publicly online. Ever. Also, you can’t use the Pretty Links plugin with Amazon affiliate links.
Be an affiliate marketer for offline merchants as well. We’ve all seen brick & mortar businesses offer a discount to those who provide a referral. If you have a local blog and promote the products or services of a local business, ask them how you can be included in their referral program.
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Take advantage of affiliate program freebies when available. Many affiliate programs provide free printables, guides, webinars or other lead magnets designed to get potential customers in their sales funnel. As an affiliate, you can share these freebies with your audience using your affiliate link so if they eventually make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission, but if they don’t they still get value upfront.
Many affiliate marketers use paid advertising to generate additional traffic to their site and drive more sales. Paid advertising on social media is often a good place to start, as these networks tend to be more affordable.You may also want to consider taking out inexpensive banner ads on small niche sites. Depending on your niche, Google AdWords could also be a good option to drive some paid traffic to your site.
Keep track of affiliate links. Use a simple spreadsheet. I use Airtable. Some people use the PrettyLink plugin to keep track of their affiliate links. (I don’t use the PrettyLink plugin because I use as few plugins as possible and some affiliate programs prohibit it since it cloaks your affiliate links.)
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