VIEWS: 2 PAGES: 11 POSTED ON: 11/3/2012
What are Advanced Monetization Strategies for Blogs? In the past, the only extra revenue an affiliate marketer could make from a blog was through running AdSense ads, which are easy to install. You select a few options, such as color theme and preferences for text boxes or banners, and Google returns a line of code that is easily copied and pasted onto your blog. Then ads start appearing on your blog. It’s as simple as that. The ads look like they belong there because they are relevant to your site’s topic. Therefore, for any targeted niche, the traffic coming to your blog is already interested in whatever is displayed in the ads. In this case, getting a lot of clicks is a good thing, as you get paid for each click on an ad, even if the visitor doesn’t subsequently buy anything. Today there are many advanced ways to make money with blogs. Unfortunately, too many marketers are still stuck solely in the old AdSense ad era. Advanced monetization takes your blog to the next level. Here are just a few of the types of monetization we’ll be discussing in this course: • eBay auctions • Amazon product listings • Product datafeeds Using one of these techniques, or combining a few of them, can help improve conversions rate by: • Giving customers a range of buying options. • Leading customers to sites where they can buy other products, as well as the ones they are specifically interested in. • Making your site more attractive to the casual viewer. • Encouraging impulse buys. • For the most part, these strategies pay much higher commissions than AdSense ads – if done correctly. Benefits of Advanced Monetization Methods Today's technology makes it easier than ever to offer your customers a range of targeted, complementary products that are appropriate to your niche. Better targeting and wider selection leads to better click-through and conversion rates. In turn, these improvements will also improve your income. If you have a site that only includes AdSense advertising, you're likely to get paid just a few cents for each click. Your customers may then buy from the site that paid for the advertisement. You make pennies while the merchant makes the majority of the profits. Advanced monetization is all about taking advantage of the opportunities for you to receive a larger percentage of these sales. Using eBay, Amazon, and GoldenCAN for Advanced Monetization It's fortunate for affiliate marketers that Amazon, eBay and GoldenCAN, leading ecommerce websites, have developed advanced tools to help market their products. These tools are extremely easy to work with. You can add a variety of different types of product listings to blogs or websites. In addition, you can create various styles of advertising and promotions, from text links to full shops that display a range of relevant items for your niche. Amazon Store Builder Here is an example of a site that uses Amazon Store Builder to add a complete line of products to a gift site. The site was easily set up in the store builder and then the code was simply copied and pasted into the gift site. After you’ve done this once, a complete store can be built in about 10 minutes. You can see that the page offers the most popular items on the first page (including images). It also offers a search box and an option to “Browse by Category.” If you click on any image, you are taken to a page that is formatted exactly like the starting page. Here’s what you see if you click on the “Grey Arabian” link: The user is never confused by being transferred immediately to Amazon’s site. They can add items to their shopping cart and continue shopping on YOUR site until they are ready to check out. It’s only when they click on “Proceed to Shopping Cart” That they are redirected to the Amazon site to process payment and delivery. This ensures that the affiliate makes a commission on all products ordered. This tool uses a datafeed from Amazon to display these items, which means you, the website owner, never have to update the text or images! Amazon also offers a variety of links and banners, as well as a widget tool. All are easy to use and require very little (if any) technical knowledge to customize. You can sign up for their program at: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/ eBay Partner Network eBay also has a variety of tools for affiliates to use. Here are brief descriptions of their tools, taken from their website (https://www.eBaypartnernetwork.com/files/hub/en-US/tools.html). Here is a list of some of these helpful tools: • Creatives — Choose from a variety of colorful graphic and interactive ads to enhance your site and attract visitors to eBay pages from your website. • Link Generator — The link generator allows you to create a trackable link to any of the eBay Partner Network's program pages and is great for all types of business models. • eBay To Go (United States Only) — Showcase your favorite eBay discoveries directly on your website with eBay To Go. Use any of the widgets to easily display eBay listings, search results, or store items across the web. • RSS — Easily generate trackable RSS feeds with dynamic eBay content that provides users with live eBay listing information. • Custom Banner — Add a customizable flash banner with relevant, real-time eBay listings to your web site. • Editor Kit — Add relevant, real-time eBay listings to your website or blog in just seconds. The editor kit works a lot like a datafeed (but much easier to set up). Of course, other companies offer datafeeds through affiliate networks such as ShareASale (http://www.shareasale.com), Datafeedr (http://www.datafeedr.com), or Commission Junction (http://www.cj.com). However, if you’re not already established and making a good level of sales, you might not be authorized to use some datafeeds. In addition, datafeeds require technical knowledge to set up. If you’re not an expert, or don’t have the software required to make things easy, you might give up on this experience before getting started. That’s why you might want to check out an alternative called GoldenCAN. GoldenCAN Golden CAN was the first easy-to-use datafeed site (http://www.goldencan.com). With GoldenCAN, you can select the products you want to display on your site and the software will return one line of code for you to copy/paste onto your site. And since this is an active datafeed, your site will be updated automatically when a merchant updates the feed. GoldenCAN offers datafeeds for a huge variety of products and merchant s found in larger networks (ShareASale, Commission Junction, LinkShare, etc.). You must be signed up with the merchant through the network in order to use the feed, but after that, GoldenCAN makes it easy. Helpful Plug-Ins For eBay and Amazon affiliates several plug-ins are available that will allow you to simply add related products to your site. These include PhpBay (http://www.phpbay.com ) and ReviewAZON (http://www.reviewazon.com). Video Lesson: Advanced Monetization Strategies for Blogs Learning What Works As you can see, many of the advanced monetization strategies are easy to incorporate using merchant-supplied tools. But before you give up your AdSense ads, you should determine which method of monetization works best in your niche. Take some time testing the different advanced monetization options available to you. Test with and without AdSense ads, and consider testing these options: • Various ad positions. • Different ad sizes and colors. • Combinations of ads. Remember, test only ONE thing at a time, otherwise your results may not be reliable. Test until you’ve had about a thousand visitors. Then change the monetization methods and see which is more profitable. And lastly, don’t get carried away. It’s best to have only one or two methods of monetization on a blog at one time. Any more can be distracting for the visitor. If visitors feel like they are just being sold to, they will leave a site in a minute! So be sure to provide valuable content on your site along with the datafeeds and store builders. Some of these tools provide search engine optimization, some (as in the case of datafeeds) do not. So be sure you always add keyword specific content to your site when using any tool. Stay on Topic We've stated that datafeeds and store builders work in real-time and never have to be updated. However, it's a good idea to check your site every few days to make sure everything is up and running and working as planned. One important thing to check is that the datafeed displays the items you requested. Bloggers should always ensure that the types of products appearing through the feed are relevant to their sites and tie in with the content. Over time, since products can be updated or become obsolete, you must stay up to date. This is especially true for banners and text links. Two simple ways to stay up to date are: 1. Subscribe to the merchant’s newsletter. 2. Create Google alerts for every merchant or product you sell. Google alerts enable you to subscribe to any information that Google finds for the product or merchant you select. This way you get advanced notice of new products and can prepare for the launch. The same applies to signing up for press releases and emails from the merchant. It’s always nice to be able to ride the wave of a new, exciting product when you get advance notice and have time to prepare your site for maximum conversions. Get Paid for Reviewing Sites or Products As your blog grows and you begin to gain a steady readership, you can earn money by being paid for reviews (pay per review). With this strategy, marketers pay you to write a review of their product and then send your visitors to the merchant’s site to complete the sale. Since you are getting paid to write the review, there may or may not be an affiliate commission available. If you’re interested in writing reviews, there are a few sites that make finding marketers who need reviews easy. Here are two sites that bring advertisers and bloggers together for this marketing strategy: 1. http://www.reviewme.com/ 2. http://payperpost.com/ Most of these advanced methods do require more of a time commitment than just using AdSense ads, but the monetary benefits can far outweigh the time involved – especially if you can outsource some of the work. The Next Big Thing? Another promising opportunity includes the ability for a blogger to post a toll-free number that provides information and sales support. This would be a great feature for review sites, which could review a product and then have visitors call a number to learn how to purchase. Like online sales, these sales are tracked to the affiliate. This is currently being tested by some networks and is achieving very good results. The call tracking is proving to be more accurate than normal affiliate links and the calls are being converted to sales at a much higher level than click- through traffic. One of the companies involved in this new trend is Ring Revenue (http://www.ringrevenue.com). HubPages On HubPages (http://hubpages.com/tour/affiliate/), “Hubbers” (HubPages' authors) earn money by publishing their “Hubs” (content-rich Internet pages) on topics they know and love. They earn recognition among fellow Hubbers through the community-wide HubScore ranking system. You’ll need to set up an account and create your web articles. Then, when a visitor clicks on your article’s (Hub’s) ads, you share the revenue. It’s all done by linking affiliate IDs from eBay, Amazon, and Google. Your Hub actually displays products as if it were a professional website or magazine – and it’s free to sign up! Let’s Review Before you move on to the quiz, let’s take a few moments to review some of the most important information in this course. Summary Using advanced monetization methods, alone or in combination with AdSense ads, gives the marketer a unique opportunity to easily offer more products on his or her blog site and increases the amount of time a visitor spends at the site. These methods can increase commissions by helping bloggers make the sale directly from their sites. Bloggers get a higher commission payout, and may also be able to build a list of loyal subscribers/purchasers. Quick Tips • Use the tools that have been developed to easily incorporate advanced monetization strategies into a blog. • Always test changes to make sure profits increase. • Sign up for Google alerts on a merchant or product to keep up to date on changes. Keep a watch on the industry for new developments and strategies. Glossary AdSense — The program in which a web owner places Google ads on their site and Google pays them a few cents each time one of that site's visitors clicks through the Google ad. Datafeed — A listing of merchants or products with images and descriptions set up in a format that allows affiliates to incorporate products on their page and linking directly to the merchants’ sites. Pay Per Review — Marketers pay affiliates to write reviews of their products then send readers of the reviews to the merchants’ sites to make the sale. Action Steps __Sign up for Amazon and eBay affiliate programs. __Find appropriate feed settings for your niche. __Check into GoldenCAN for easy incorporation of datafeeds. __Incorporate one or more feeds into your website. __Track and test your results from various feeds. __Stick with the most profitable merchants and feeds. Resource Links Amazon Store Builder — https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/ eBay Store — https://www.eBaypartnernetwork.com/files/hub/en-US/tools.html ShareASale — http://www.shareasale.com Datafeedr — http://www.datafeedr.com Commission Junction — http://www.cj.com Golden CAN — http://www.goldencan.com PhpBay — http://www.phpbay.com ReviewAZON — http://www.reviewazon.com Reviewme — http://www.reviewme.com/ Payperpost — http://payperpost.com/ Ring Revenue — http://www.ringrevenue.com HubPages —http://hubpages.com/tour/affiliate/
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