The Insider's Guide to Affiliate Marketing

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The Insider's Guide to Affiliate Marketing Powered By Docstoc
					             The Insider's Guide to
          Affiliate Marketing
                      How to do it right first time

      A guide for anyone who has wondered about
      affiliate marketing and wanted to get involved.
         ●     Learn what a niche site is and how it can help you
         ●     Avoid common mistakes
         ●     Get visitors
         ●     Convert sales
         ●     Identify your topic area and focus
         ●     Avoid weak content and build strong content




                                                                                 By Matthew D Brown
                                                                                           aka Lord Matt




                  CHECK FOR UPDATES
             The nature of the web changes quickly and this document will change with it




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94105, USA.
Table of Contents
Introduction............................................................................................................................................3
   Choose the right program..................................................................................................................3
   Have your own website.....................................................................................................................3
Choosing Your Approach.......................................................................................................................4
   What subject area are you going to focus on?...................................................................................4
Domains..................................................................................................................................................5
   What if your chosen name is taken?..................................................................................................5
   Tools for domain name selection.......................................................................................................5
   Considerations when selecting your name........................................................................................5
Hosting...................................................................................................................................................6
Getting Visitors.......................................................................................................................................7
   Search................................................................................................................................................7
   Syndication........................................................................................................................................8
   Going Viral........................................................................................................................................8
   Adverts and Their Kin.......................................................................................................................9
   Getting the most out of email............................................................................................................9
   Networking......................................................................................................................................10
Building for people...............................................................................................................................11
Niches and choosing a “niche market”.................................................................................................11
Good Content.......................................................................................................................................12
Weak Content.......................................................................................................................................14
The big mistakes...................................................................................................................................15
   Inexperience.....................................................................................................................................15
   Con tricks.........................................................................................................................................15
   Pre sell, do not sell...........................................................................................................................15
   Failure to build your list..................................................................................................................15
   Lack of focus...................................................................................................................................15
SEO / SEM...........................................................................................................................................16
   Site Structure...................................................................................................................................16
   Keyword Linking.............................................................................................................................16
   Back Links.......................................................................................................................................16
   Resources.........................................................................................................................................16
FAQ......................................................................................................................................................17
   How long before I start to get visitors?...........................................................................................17
   How can I get links?........................................................................................................................17
   What's the right price for a link?......................................................................................................17
   How many domains do I need?.......................................................................................................17
   Do I need doorway pages? (no).......................................................................................................17
   What is a landing page? (a bad idea)...............................................................................................17
   What is cloaking and do I really need it? (no).................................................................................18
   What is the best design for the splash page? (none)........................................................................18
   What's a blog and do I need one?....................................................................................................18
   Where can I get help with SEO?......................................................................................................18
   I've just been told about Forum/Blog marketing – what is it?.........................................................18
   What is WYSIWYG?.......................................................................................................................19
About this report...................................................................................................................................20
   About the author..............................................................................................................................20
Useful links...........................................................................................................................................21
Introduction
Affiliate marketing is one of the simplest and effective business models for the beginner. This is why
so many entrepreneurs not only start with but swear by these programs. In theory all you should need
to do is send some eager and ready to buy visitors to the affiliate landing page and carefully crafted
and massively compelling sales pages will close the deal. Leaving you as “just” a salesman for other
people’s products.
This all sounds overly simple and somewhat deceptive and there are a few things you should know to
make affiliate Marketing work for you.

Choose the right program
Be very careful of the programs you sign up for. Not all affiliate programs are created equally.
Famously one of the biggest affiliate centres has conditions whereby they can take all your earnings
away in the event of low performance.
Check each one very carefully and do not be frightened of asking hard questions. Your selected
program should have good support, and real time reliable tracking. Payment should be monthly with
a low limit for payout, perhaps no more than $20 or $40.
Most vitally the products should be of a good and targeted to your niche market. (more on niche
markets later).

Have your own website
Do not rely on your programs target sites. Have a niche website of your own where you can interact
with visitors and build a reputation you can trade from. You will be able to set up your own
newsletter there or promote a site feed to keep them coming back.
A website of your own also allows you to have multiple related affiliate products potentially from
different vendors. So long as you have sufficient quality content in your site your visitors will be
more than happy to stay, subscribe and explore the links you offer.
The very central aim is to draw a large count of people to your website and “pre sell” them to get the
click through to the target sites.
How you send your customer base to these affiliate sites is up to you. Some people use adverts
others direct reviews or embedded links. Others act as an infommercial.
Whatever your method choose one that you can work well with and one that allows you to retain
customers to sell to again and again. It is your business to and you need to build a good base of
clients willing to listen to you otherwise when you stop promoting you have nothing left.
Remember: By holding back a little and saving those clients as if they were pennies you are
investing in your future. But unlike pennies once you have them “saved” you can send them to
affiliate sites again and again.
Choosing Your Approach
If you are new to affiliate marketing then it may seem too good to be true. A real and spendable
income that you earn from home that gives enough money to actually live on. You don’t even have
to bother with products or shipping. It is that good and more but only if you are clear in your mind
about what you want to do and how you will do it.
Many would be affiliate marketers simply jump in with both feet without properly researching or
thinking about what they are doing first and end up frustrated and angry that they aren’t making big
time money within the first few days. It takes time and focus.
Before you start out on your new lifestyle as a rich and famous affiliate marketer you need to take
some time to consider where you are going to take things. You should have in mind at least some
loose plan that you will be working to.
For example - are you going to
   ●   Create a niche blog and monetise it with your affiliate links?
   ●   Use SEO/SEM to draw traffic?
   ●   Invest in feeder sites and PPC?
   ●   Run an email newsletter as a primary source? (not recommended)

What subject area are you going to focus on?
Affiliate marketing is a world filled with opportunity. There are very few other sources of real
income that take such little effort but are still able to lead to big rewards. However, as is the case
with everything in life, what you put into it will dictate what you get out of it.
If you are willing to invest the time and effort it takes to be focused and fixed on the task in hand
then the rewards will be sweat and plentiful. But if you listen to those charlatans that try to sell you
get rich quick packages then you will fail every time.
You need to know what you are doing and you need to know where you are doing it. Pick a topic, a
niche and stick with it. Grow it and it will become a limitless well of possibilities. But you need to
stick with your chosen subject and not flip and flop about like fish on dry land.
For example male enhancement products sell very well and generate a big income quite quickly but
if they are going to pay the rent then you need to be interested and focused on this subject for a long
time. Could you bring yourself to write day in and day out on that topic and it's friends?
Some people can do this easily others find that they just have no heart for it.
Choose wisely because it can be your early choices that will decide your success much later on.
Maybe you feel that you could do better selling domain names and web hosting? Then choose that
and go for it.
But choose and choose well.
Domains
The first tool in your kit is a quality domain name. A name that you can live with for the next few
years and one that will match your niche. It is a name for which you will be building trust and
respect It is the doorway for customers into the garden of delights that is the product and content that
sell the product.
That name is the only place customers will find what you offer and you want to make sure they have
a good time there. Before you can do that though you need to buy the domain.
When people access your site they will want to type in www.YOURSITENME.com so you will need
to find a dot com that matches your site name.

What if your chosen name is taken?
There are a few possibilities:
   ●   Offer the owner a large amount of money
   ●   Pay a small fee and bide your timei
   ●   Offer a solicitor an insanely large amount of money
   ●   Register something else. 

Tools for domain name selection
You can check instantly if your desire name is taken with this tool. But that does not help you much
if you are looking for a good idea. The cult of the dot com is possibly your best bet and they can be
found at http://cultofthe.com – there you can generate long lists of suggestions based upon a few
basic ideas.
Globally Local offer several services worth considering:
   ●   Domain name appraisals
   ●   Business Registrations
   ●   Domain Back Ordering – for a small fee they will attempt to obtain the domain if it expiresi

Considerations when selecting your name
You are looking for a domain that is all of these
   ✔   Memorable – people need to recall it
   ✔   Easy to type – mistypesii cost you visitors
   ✔   Easy to spell – a hard to spell domain name is going to loose you customers
   ✔   Contains your keywords or name so that search engines consider it important - see the section
       on getting visitors
This domain is possibly the first of many that you are going to purchases over your carrier but right
now at least one is needed to get started.
Remember: if you don't already know what you are doing and how you are doing it then you can not
choose the best domain name fr the job.
Hosting
Your first choice as an affiliate marketer is where to place your content. You consider the
possibilities – free hosting, free blogs, paid, VPS, dedicated servers, article sites and so on.
The truth is there is no choice at all!
You need a hosting account where you can put at least one domain but ideally several.
Your host should be well established with a good range of security and backup measures in place.
They should be able to answer all your support requests quickly and they should be able to provide
you with a package that suits the technology your system may need for any server side activity.
Your only choice is going to be Windows or Linux but unless you are determined to use ASP.Net
then you may find it more economical to choose Linux.
If you live in the EU you will also need to choose UK, EU or US. For those in the UK purchasing
hosting from the US means an extra line in your disclaimer and data policy statements but up to 50%
discount once the current exchange rate is considered.
Then you need to consider scale. As an affiliate new comer your best choice is to start at the cheap
end of the scale until your income can allow a step upwards.
This chart assumes that you are seeking a Linux for your hosting needs.
Prices quoted are from http://isp.globallylocal.com/
   Package         Size of site      Approx Price                              Notes
    Type                              Each Year

                                      $48 (£24)     Packages of this size usually limit you to a handful of email
 Basic Hosting   Small Business or
                                                    addresses at your domain so while good for getting started
     Plan           Personal
                                                    may soon require an upgrade.
                 Established Small    $84 – $180    Packages in this range from any good hosting company
  Full Hosting
                 or Medium sized      (£42 - £90)   should be more than sufficient for everything but streaming
     Plans
                     enterprise.                    media
    Virtual                          $360 - $1200 With this level comes a greater level of freedom. Unlimited
                     SME or
   Dedicated                         (£180 - £600) databases, sub-domains, email addresses and web based
                    commerce
    Server                                         applications. Also goo for serious shops or high traffic sies.
                                  $960 - $3200 Some of these computers are insanely more powerful than
  Dedicated      Medium or large (£480 - £1600) the best desktop PC you have yet to experience. They are
   Server          enterprise                   for seriously intensive applications of massively subscribed
                                                and busy sites.


There are some providers that you should not use for you business hosting:
    ●   Free Hosts – this is likely to be pumped up with adverts and gives too little control
    ●   Your Internet Access ISP – this is tied to your Internet access contract and when it expires
        so does your site.
Getting Visitors
Your site is nothing without a regular flow of visitors.
Your visitors are people and those people can for our purposes be summarised simply in terms of
needs. Research indicates that people who use the web are almost exclusively looking to achieve
something and that something is often very specific and unless you are a massive household name
has nothing what-so-ever to do with your service.
Before you convert a visitor into a customer you will need to fulfil their needs. Many consultants do
this providing on-line guides in their area of particular skill. Amazon.com provides book reviews
and “wish lists” so as well as meeting the need for books they meet the need for knowledge about
books.
For you as a beginner you will do it best with quality content. Some affiliate programs provide good
basic template articles for you to modify and this will give you a good head start. Others do not.
To make that sale you need to keep your visitor on your site. To do that you need to give them
something worth coming back for. That something is something that satisfies their need to the point
that they remember you. Your content is that something. It has to be of a good quality.
Remember: that “something” needs to be related to your topic as you want them to be thinking the
kind of thoughts that might lead to wanting to purchase or subscribe.

    Good design can't fix broken business models.
                                      Jeffrey Veen, Designing the Friendly Skies, 06-21-06


Search
There are only three ways to get visitors:
   1. Someone recommends (links to) you.
   2. They find you via search.
   3. They click on an advert which you have paid for.
Somewhere around 98% of your visitors will come from search engines. They might be looking for
your phone number (in which case you've sold already) or just looking for someone from your
industry.
Your site will compete with every site in existence of which there are millions of billions.
A search engine creates an index of your site by reading all the pages with a program called a spider
or bot. Once it has a copy of those pages it process them to try and understand what they might be
about.
It does not read them like you or I would but creates a tally of the frequency (number) and
distribution of words within the document. From this is carries out various calculations and
determines the subject of the site. It then stores it's conclusions in the data store and processes the
next page.
Big search engines never stop processing pages with more computers than is easy to imagine.
Different search engines use different methods to create their index. Google, for example, uses the
number of links in a document as part of the calculations and makes assumptions about the target
documents based on the text the link is wrapped around. It assumes that the number of links to a
page equates to it's importance.
Syndication
One of the driving forces behind the relatively new phenomenon of the blog has been the ability to
subscribe to the content and only the content so that you can read it on your own terms and in your
own way.
This is achieved by embedding the textual content of the site within a structured
mark up that is massively similar to HTML it is called XML. It is not vitally
important that you remember this.                                                      The feed icon
                                                                                        is a de facto
It comes in a number of common flavours RSSiii and ATOM being the most                    standard
common. All you should need to remember is that these are commonly known as
feeds.
They are generally represented by an orange icon.
If you have opted to run a blog then you will be able to take advantage of site feeds to build up a
large following of customers.
Even for the very best affiliate marketers, it takes time to build a customer base. Site feeds don't
make the task easier but they do lower the entry level. You don't need to maintain large lists of email
addresses and craft special mailings and do the hundred other things associated with maintaining a
good mailing list. You just provide the links and let the visitors opt in.
The winners that are legitimately making several thousand a month in affiliate marketing spent years
getting to that level. You should expect it take you just as long. While it might seem like that level of
success is an overnight thing - it isn’t.
Once you pick an affiliate program, after researching it ahead of time, of course, you need to stick
with it. Ask a professional blogger and they will tell you that it takes between one and two years to
break into the top one thousand.
Your site feed is not going to make that any quicker but it will ensure you get the best mileage from
your efforts. With your site producing a content feed visitors who find your content interesting can
read it on their palmtops going to work, on mobile phones, as headlines on their favourite portal or as
headline “live bookmarks” in Fire Fox and this expands your area of influence slowly with each new
subscriber.
This means that you don't need to bring visitors to your site to bring them to your site but can stay
connected long after they leave. It is for this reason that the regularly updated and freshly added
“post” to a site has become the king of marketing efforts.
Remember: Fresh content is king.

Going Viral
Once you have your search engine listings taken care of the next step of promotion may be to get
people talking about you.
This is sometimes called “viral marketing” and it simply involves maximising the chances of people
doing what they have always done – share things. The trick is to get them to share your message.
The idea here is to produce exceptionally good content that is interesting and arresting. Your hope is
that people will want to share it. The people they share it with will want to share it too and so on. In
this way the suggestion to visit your site, the video to share or the link to put up passes from person
to person like a virus might.
The result is that your message and brand penetrate deeper into the market than ever you could have
achieved following unseen paths of communication and seeking out and finding people to whom it
will appeal.
For almost no money (aside from creating the “viral content” you have an ongoing advertisement
that will be massively effective and far reaching.
It is extremely difficult to get right and if it does work the same thing might not work a second time.
Good examples of viral marketing campaign elements are free gifts, downloads, software, digital
guidebooks (such as this one) and funny video shorts.
You can expect to pay a lot of money to have someone come up with a good campaign for you and to
get things started you may need to advertise traditionally.
However, when it happens the effects can be quite striking.

Adverts and Their Kin
If you have a product to sell or a definite and definable action you would like a person to carry out
then adverts will work quite well.
However they are expensive and need to directly relate to conversions.
Expect to convert around 1% of the traffic they generate and expect 0.1% of the people who see them
to click on them.
Some adverts (like adverts in you local trade forum) work better than others (like adverts in a totally
different topical area).
Advertising is big business and you are going to require specific advice from experts if you want to
advertise to get people t your site.
However if they is no call to action (“call us now for a quote”, “click here to get the free software” or
the like) then your site is not suitable for advertising.

    Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know
    which half.
                                                             John Wanamaker, (attributed)
                                                US department store merchant (1838 - 1922)


Getting the most out of email
Assuming some of the other methods of promoting your site are working you should have a steady
flow of visitors.
By providing a regular newsletter via email you can draw potential customers back time and again to
look at new articles.
However to do this you will need to not only get people's email address but their permission to use it
too. There are extra legal requirements to follow so make sure you take some advice before you set
out.
Several sites these days offer to take your site feed (see the syndication section) and turn it into a
news letter. People can then opt in to daily or weekly mailings and opt back out again later.
What this means to you though is that your content is sent to potential customers. No longer do you
have to wait for them to come to you but you can now take it to them.
If you consider running such a service or signing up for a popular provider then remember to ensure
that the subscribe box is on your site. Part of your aim has become getting that list as big as is
ethically possible.
Such a number of clients listening to your every word is every advertisers dream. Do not mess it up.
Networking
Assuming that your site is not a leaflet but has some depth to it then networking could be for you. If
done right it can draw as much traffic in the early days as search engines but it requires a
considerable investment of your time.
Networking is all about people.
To do it effectively you need to be willing to invest quality time in other people as an end in itself.
Fortunately there are many sites that will help you link up with other elf interested people looking for
opportunities to appear interested. The secret of getting the most out of such sites is to actually be
interested.

    Designing your product for monetization first, and people second will probably
    leave you with neither.
                                                                                          Tara Hunt
                                                                        HorsePigCow, 07-12-06

Part of networking, then, is joining in.
The big buzz word for this is “global conversation”. A conversation being a to way road.
This means that you need to make sure that your news and topical articles do not blindly ignore the
topic of the hour. You need to be aware who the industry leaders are even if you hope to displace
them all one day soon.

Why allow comments
Comments allow people to talk about something at the highest point of attention – the same page and
place as the thing that has their attention.
The trick (if there is one) is in fostering such conversation so that the topic continues to live away
from the page in question.

    If people aren't going to talk about your product, then it's not good enough.
                                                                               Jeffrey Kalmikoff,
                  Designing for Community with Zero-Advertising Brands, SXSW 2006

If you are keen to foster a community spirit and draw people back to the growing conversation then
you are going to have to consider the need to enable commenting on your site or people are going to
feel cheated.
Comments on news and other articles is a logical first step but what is to stop you adding it to every
page, every product and every resource? The more your site can be used for “joining in” the more
you site will be used.
Joining the conversation works but if you do not let your readers talk back it can become a little one
sided. It's all well and good for big name columnists to comment on each others column but your
average visitor does not want to have to make such a huge effort.
The sad truth is that for 99.99% of the people you want to engage with - you and your product are
not worth the effort of writing a post in reply. Therefore, if you want people to engage with your
product, they must be able to act on primal instinct with a minimum of barrier between them and
satisfaction.
Building for people
You do not have to be some sort of god like expert web-designer or an epic copy writer to make
money at affiliate marketing. However, some skill in this area is vital. If you have this skill already
that is great but if you do not have it then it is time to learn.
There is no end to the amazing low-cost or free programs, the advice blogs and ebooks available on
the internet that can guide you through web site creation. Some hosts now even provide a wizard
driven scheme so that you need only provide the content.
Do not worry so much about micro formats or SEO yet. Sure consider it but your primary concern is
that people should find it easy to get on with. Your content needs to be informative, interesting and a
little fun while it sells your product.
When we talk of product we are talking of the prime product first – the site itself. You are selling the
idea that your site is a good place to come back to, that your feed is a good one to subscribe to and
that your newsletter is the one to sign up for.
It sounds hard but it really is fairly simple - design for and write for people. The resources section
towards the end of this report gives more information and links on this subject.


Niches and choosing a “niche market”
When you build for people you may wish to be building to answer just one question very well. This
is called niche Marketing and it is a skill that will give you a head start over the bigger players.
You can deal with a single question much more efficiently then larger players are able to. That is if
they even become aware of the question to start with.
You are going to need to pick a product to sell or at least a very narrow topic area with a good range
of products suited to it. This means, essentially, picking an item that may only appeal to a smaller
number of people but a group to whom you can sell really well. If you recall we have looked at
building for people and we have looked at being focused. You may also recall that we talked about
people and the need they seek to satisfy when they are searching on the web – you can satisfy that
need better than anyone else with a niche website.
This is the end product of that focus brings you - the ability to meet the visitors need. Do that and
you are 90% to a sale.
If you were to pick a topic such as televisions or books, people can go down to their local Best Buy
or Barnes and Noble and get those items. But if you were to pick Gothic-Romance-Horror epics (a
very specific and focused niche) you could satisfy the need of a small number of people so well that
you could make sales that would be otherwise impossible.
Focus your written style on the sort of people interested in your products. If you’re selling life
insurance, you want to have content that is going to connect with older folks and not the
skateboarding crowd. It cuts both ways. If you are selling “cyberpunk skateboards” (whatever they
might be), make sure your content is going to appeal to the right generation. You do not need your
articles to read like an advertisement for life insurance.
Strong Content
So all the design work is done and the server and client side dynamic processing is in place – now
what?
You should have (if your developer has done well) a fantastic shell.
It is up to you and your staff (if you have any otherwise it's down to you) to fill that shell with
content.
Most developers will be willing to help you do this and will suggest the basic content you might like
to place.
   ●   Your contact details – include addresses with postcodes.
   ●   Your company details
   ●   About you, your company and why you are different
   ●   A contact form
   ●   Price listsiv
   ●   Useful links
However if that is all you put up then there is nothing special to be seen on your site.
Unless a person is actively seeking your phone number or address they are unlikely to come to your
site.
What will draw a visitor and keep them is content. See Also Getting Visitors
But not any content will do – it needs to show case you as a writer, your products and company and
the skills on offer.
Only one type of content does that – Short information essays. These articles need to tell the user
about what you know.
Let us take the example of a real company called Kent Coast Accounts. KCA are an accounts firm.
What content might they like to write.
   ●   How to save money by filing your return on-line
   ●   How much could a good account save you in tax?
   ●   A short guide to self assessment tax returns
   ●   Getting Started with Sage
   ●   Self assessment with Sage
   ●   A glossary of accounting terms
   ●   Is Sage right for you?
   ●   A review of accounts packages – choosing the right software
Now these would be useful articles.
Some people might worry that they are giving too much away but the truth is that this information is
available already in some form and if that is all they wanted to know they were unlikely to buy from
you.
However, with that range of articles on Sage they might well come back again. Finally some will
think something like: “Why am I worrying about this when for a small fee it could be done for me?”
Suddenly a sale is made.
But that is not the end of the story.
It is possible that your articles are going to show up in the search engines which means the site that
people look at first is yours. This means more visitors and it means more people likely to purchase.
Perhaps some one typed in “Kent Accountants” on google.com and came to Kent Coast Accounts but
they are not going to be sure about buying from a stranger. However the articles section is a likely
destination for them. There they will read all about how to do the simpler tasks and while they are
reading not only are they not looking at the competitors content but they are growing sure that KCA
is the company for them.
The articles act to reassure and confirm the position of the company as an expert in the field. Most
people pride themselves on being able to pot a fake and so when they see that you know what you
are talking about they will feel sure about purchasing from you.
If your developer set you up with a blog then you have a great tool.
Let us consider KCA again. With a blog they can publish short items stating the number of working
days left for national deadlines for filing content. They can publish short explanations of new
legislation and in the off season, as it were, can publish little ditties on the topic of accounts
packages.
Perhaps they were extremely forward thinking and had the developer set up a user area where the
current clients can submit queries view statistics and see when documents and payments are due.
Maybe a few years down the line they do very well and create an on-line accounts package with live
help. Soon they are a brand name for SME money management with several servers all over the
world.v
Or maybe they stick with a five page site because it is what everyone else is doing.
There is no saying that this would even work but the possibility exists for each and every business to
do something innovative with their website.
After all we are at the dawn of the on-line age and most of the innovation is yet to come. To make
something of this brave new world you need only an industry you understand and some imagination.
But it all starts with good content.




    Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the
    race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards--and living
    up to them--is a better way to profit. Not to mention a better way to make your
    day worth all the effort you put into it.
                                                    Seth Godin, Seth Godin's Blog, 07-28-06
Weak Content
While no content can be considered bad as such not all content is equal. There is more to it then just
writing snappy articles and providing a link at the bottom of the page.
Examples of weak content:
   ●   Copied content and none unique articles are considered less valuable by search engines and
       are not too impressive for visitors who have seen that one before.
   ●   Jokes where they do not belong are weak content. For example jokes on a credit scoring
       website would be out of place. But jokes about credit scoring would be in keeping with the
       site and suggest a laid back attitude. Grabbing any old cartoon is not, therefore, going to “cut
       it”.
   ●   Bad spelling and shocking grammar are another thing to avoid. No one wants to read clumsy
       script and since very few of us have the talent to be the next Steven King, James Joyce or
       Douglas Adams we need to take our time and use spelling checkers where-ever they are
       available.
   ●   Inconsistent layout. If you have a good CSS then you articles are going to look reasonably
       consistent but there are still a number of things you can do to improve. Develop a feel for the
       basic style of writing a good post. Look at this page for a few more tips on that topic:
       http://lordmatt.co.uk/item/552/
   ●   Bad Punctuation! Don't use lots of dots....... (when trailing off use three dots exactly) and
       avoid massive amounts of exclamation marks!!!!!! The truth is that it looks stupid. Use the
       punctuation mark as rarely as you possibly can. Then when you do use it - it has power.
   ●   Threadless wonders – make sure your item has a beginning a middle and an end.
   ●   Copy and past “stuff”. Every social site, every service and every tom dick and harry have
       something for you to copy onto your site. It is not content. Some of it may help integrate
       you within the global conversation but most of it is free advertising for someone else.
   ●   Your cat. None of your readers that come to your site for information about investment
       banking are going to be sold on your skills by pictures of your cat. If your cat has talent start
       a cat blog but keep it off the business site.
   ●   Press releases. Yes they are good and no your readers will not think it is just another article.
       A press release goes in the press release section and should not be dished up as fake content.
   ●   Long winded sales articles. Your visitor is there to scratch an itch. Help them do that and
       they will stick around but try to force them in to buying right now and they will go elsewhere.
   ●   Gossip. Unless you are reporting something of interest to your industry then gossip has no
       place on your site.
   ●   Donation pages. You are running a business not a charity. Your site is there to draw people
       who might want to buy your services and goods. You are not a charity.
   ●   Irrelevant links. Your cat blog, you mums recipe site and uncle bobs poems are not suitable
       link topics for a site dedicated to a business niche. The same goes for any other site your
       developer might have created. You paid him already so don't be fooled into thinking you
       need to give a bunch of free adverts away.
   ●   Rants. Unless they are highly relevant to your industry leave them for the personal blog.
The big mistakes

Inexperience
Most mistakes that new affiliate marketers make are errors of inexperience. You want to make as
much money as possible as quickly as possible and quite naturally go at it with enthusiasm but not so
much skill. Stop!
What you may not realize is this: slow and steady wins the race. Dedication, hard work and focus are
the best friends of affiliate marketers. Little by little you build up a following, a readership and then
you have an audience teased into existence – now you can sell them things.

Con tricks
If an “affiliate marketing program” wants you to pay money to sign up then think twice. You are
going to be working hard to make money for someone else so what are you paying for?
All to often this is the first clue of a fraud in progress.
Ask the hard questions – “what am I buying that I could not be given for free?”
Unless the initial investment is very small, there are many other choices that you could make. Almost
all affiliate marketing programs are free.
The only exception is the reseller account where you are purchasing the right to “brand” the product
before sale.

Pre sell, do not sell
One of the big mistakes affiliates make is try to sell the affiliate product. They send the visitor to
their landing page where they will be confronted by a second sales pitch. This double selling will
deter people from buying and cost you commission. Warm your visitor to the sale by talking about
the need, the product and niche in general - let the sales page do the selling

Failure to build your list
Build your business as well as your sponsor’s
You are sending all that traffic and those customers to the landing page and building the other guy's
customer list but what do you keep out of it? You do all the leg work and he (or she) gets the easy
ride. In order to build your businesses you must have a way to “save” these potential customers for
yourself.
Newsletters and other opt in email programs are good as are site feeds and other hooks by which you
can hold on to the visitor even though you send them away.
If they had a good experience with the affiliate site they will be more than happy to follow further
links to other sites because you have earn their trust. If you just send them away that trust can never
be built.

Lack of focus
So many new affiliate marketers want to create a broad affiliate site that doesn’t have a lot of focus
so that it appeals to the lots and lots of people. However you will be left with a site that appeals to no
one at all. Zero in on a group likely to buy the product and lock yourself into a niche market.
Remember focus is the key.
SEO / SEM
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing.
Technically it is the art of ensuring that your site is easily read and understood not just by people but
by search engine spiders too. A good web designer should be aware of the basic principles of SEO
and should have incorporated this into his or her design. If your designer and engineer have not done
this then you should ask them why not and what is needed to optimise the site.
Ideally you should at least understand the rudiments of SEO, SEM, SMO and other techniques and if
you do not know what they are do not try to use them as you will soon find yourself within the seedy
underbelly of the web from where your site may never recover.
The basics are, however, really easy to grasp and so it is reasonable to expect that your technical and
artistic agents working on your site should understand and correctly implement them too.

Site Structure.
Make sure you set your site out in a logical way. Google and other engines are very fond of
hierarchical layouts. This means that your site is divided into sections that lead to subsections.
A site map that naturally comes out similar to the structure of the index of this report is a good set up.
You should naturally be making sure that good keywords are used as links back to your main page.
Check out the keyword linking subsection.

Keyword Linking
When designing your SEO campaign you should be looking to ensure that your selected keywords
are used as the anchor text in your links. The reason for this is that search engines consider the
linked site to be directly related to the link text. They, therefore, rank the linked page higher for the
keyword.
Keywords in your article should also be linked. Ideally to internal pages with the keyword in or as
the title. Frequently Ask Questions pages and Jargon Busters are good source for link targets.

Back Links
External links to your site are the life blood of SEM. Without those links you can kiss goodbye to
any ideas of traffic. But building them up takes time.
You need to earn the trust of those likely to link to you and you need to give them something worth
linking to. Something cool, or funny, or interesting or novel.

Resources
These resources are for the more advanced user and it is not necessary to understand them in order to
make, use and enjoy the benefits of a good website.
   ●   http://lordmatt.co.uk/item/842/ - Lord Matt's Page Rank Estimator Formula
   ●   http://lordmatt.co.uk/item/843/ - Number of Incoming Links Requiredvi For Each Page Rank
   ●   traffic blazer – a great SEO / SEM & productivity tool.
   ●   http://www.thoughtsparks.net/2007/06/28/search-engine-optimization-dos-and-donts/
   ●   The Great Directory Review – a review of most of the leading directories
FAQ
This section is a collection of frequently raised questions and issues that did not fit easily withint he
context of the rest of the report.

How long before I start to get visitors?
For a site with lots of content with more being added daily the search engines are going to pick up on
your presence within about three months. But you are looking at at least a year of steady work
before the visits become daily. Networking can help with that.

How can I get links?
There are a number of things you can do to get links the prime being great content but there are a few
other things to get you started.
      ●   Get a review of your site - http://review.buzz42.com/
      ●   http://www.globallylocal.com/directory-review/directory-review.html
      ●   http://dmoz.org/ - take your time to carefully craft your submission as there is no appeal if
          they say no.

What's the right price for a link?
Free. Anything else is too much. Never pay for your links – provide quality content and people will
link to you for free.

How many domains do I need?
There is some debate on this topic. You need at least one but if you can afford the common variants
(and they are not very expensive) then the common extensions such as dot net, dot com, dot info, dot
org and dot biz are all worth a consideration.
Some people use the extra ones to run service such as email, ad servers, calenders and “group ware”
while the dot com holds the main website. Others prefer to put the shop on dot com and the
information on dot info. The exact set up is down to you but you can only use the domains you have
and if some one buys the dot net version of your domain then you are not going to be able to use it.
If you are a bank or big business ten every last variation should be purchased. This reduces the
opportunity for fraud often called phishing.

Do I need doorway pages? (no)
No.
The only possible use of creating lots of pages for search engines to access your site through is to get
them to block you as a spammer.
The exception to this rule is the creation of landing pages. But there are so radically different and
serve such a different need that they are not even consider to be the same thing?

What is a landing page? (a bad idea)
A landing page is a specially crafted page that focuses only on the benefits of a single product. It
should use the same promises and calls to action as your sales copy for this product. The reason
being that this is where your sales copy (adverts, newsletter spots and so on) will send visitors.
It is designed to make the respondent tot he advert feel comfortable about the product and answer
any questions without ever giving them much by way of a chance to click away.
They are unlike doorway pages in that they are not there to pump up search engine ranking and they
may in fact be missed by search engines. They are focused only on people.

What is cloaking and do I really need it? (no)
Cloaking is a method of cheating search engines by serving them different content to that served to
users. It will get your site blocked by the search engines. So, no, you do not need it.

What is the best design for the splash page? (none)
Non-existent!
Splash pages are pages that serve no other purpose than to say click here. Web surfers are easily lost
and making them click and load a second page before the get tot he content is a bad idea. You site
needs to get your visitor from entry to product in as few steps as possible. Every delay is a chance to
loose people.

What's a blog and do I need one?
If you have the dedication (or staff) to write a short item every day or two then a blog is an
outstandingly powerful tool for drawing visitors in. Ideally it is part of the site and has a special
admin area where posts are written. It uses Server Side Dynamically Created Pages to take the
articles and present them as content within a template.
They are very easy to use once set up and have lots of features.
Ask your developer about anti spam measures as the comments section of blogs are regularly
targeted by spammers. Don;'t let that put you off though as a well established blog that has been
reasonably planned can be a great boost to a business site.

Where can I get help with SEO?
SEO is a field where a lot of morals are often forgottenvii. Remember that SEO is not a sure thing
and anyone that suggests they can get you top ranking in any search engine is likely up to something
crocked. You might like to try the service from Globally Local
https://www.securepaynet.net/gdshop/traffic_blazer/landing.asp?prog%5Fid=417089

I've just been told about Forum/Blog marketing – what is it?
More often than not it is an automated way for you to spam lots of sites with links and irrelevant
content. This sort of activity is bad for your long term reputation and not to be considered by any
sane businessman.
Alternately you may have been told about the power of hosting a blog or forum on your site. This
should not be entered into as an end in itself but as part of a wider plan to promote your site.
Running a forum or a blog takes time and dedication. It also takes a highly skilled developer to stop
a pre-packaged program looking like a pre-packaged program that has been slapped in at the last
moment. Sadly many of the best blog and forum platforms look like they do not belong on you site
even after they have been “skinned” (had an alternate theme applied).
To be taken seriousely you should strive to blend the forum or blog with the rest of the sie.
What is WYSIWYG?
It stands for What You See Is What You Get. Almost all word processors and desk top publishing
tools are WYSIWYG as are the leading HTML editors. It has been around for a long time so much
so that most of us never consider that the look of our document on the screen is identical to the look
when it comes out of the printer.
You can find out more on this topic from the Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WYSIWYG
These are common HTML WYSIWYG editors for web pages. They provide a client side interface
for the client to make sending formatted data to the server for the server side processes easier.
   ●   http://www.htmlarea.com/
   ●   http://tinymce.moxiecode.com/
   ●   http://www.fckeditor.net/
   ●   http://www.peej.co.uk/projects/wysiwyg.html
About this report
This report focuses on affiliate Marketing and how to make money selling other peoples stuff. It
assumes that you know what a website is and why you might want one and it shares some content
with the report on the same subject but it takes it much further.
If you are in any doubt about what a website is and what you would want to do with one then you
should read the report “what is a website and why should I want one”.
This is an interactive report that requires access to the World Wide Web. This report contains links to
websites where further reading or additional material can be found.
You will need a standards compliant web browser and the author of this document recommends Fire
Fox which is free. It is also the most standards compliant browser currently available and most of
the time anything that works in fire Fox works in other browsers too.

About the author
                Matt is the Managing Director of Adullam Limited. He started out over six years
                ago knowing very little about the internet but with a passion to learn. During that
                time he has applied himself first tot he theory and second to the practice.
                What he discovered along the way is that the practice and the theory teachers and
                lecturers impart do not entirely line up. He also discovered that on his way to
                undergraduate level that many key acts were not imparted.
Then he discovered something even more shocking – most business where he lived have little or no
idea what a web site is or how to use one. But this hid a somewhat more sinister and problematic
issue.
Matt had set out to create a service to maximise the effect of using the world wide web for
businesses. That service is called Globally Local.viii This was when he made the most
When he “talked websites” most people, he discovered, imagined they needed a Hollywood Special
Effects Blockbuster or had paid a novice several thousands of pounds to run the make site wizard in
Microsoft FrontPage.
He also found that new start ups we being given grants by organisations that should know better so
that they could afford these overpriced junk sites. An entire Business to Business sector existed
based on pandering to the misconceptions of managers.
He wrote the successful report “What is a website and why should I want one?” as a first step at
rectifying this problem and helping businesses use the web for something more then employing IT
folks with a taste for free money.
Since then he has gone on to write several more hugely popular reports on a number of topics. As
always they are completely free.


    The big corporations are suddenly taking notice of the web, and their reactions
    have been slow. Even the computer industry failed to see the importance of the
    Internet, but that's not saying much. Let's face it, the computer industry failed
    to see that the century would end.
                                                                         Douglas Adams
                                English humorist & science fiction novelist (1952 - 2001)
Useful links
All those important resources that couldn't be squeezed into the main body of the report.
                        Link                                         What you get
http://www.w3schools.com/                          A great set of tutorials on CSS, HTML and more.
http://www.w3.org/                                 The main website of the W3C the web standards
                                                   group.
http://validator.w3.org/                           HML validator – Useful for spotting invalid
                                                   mark up
http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/                CSS validator – give your developers CSS a
                                                   quick testing out.
http://cultofthe.com/                              A domain name generator that is a cut above the
                                                   rest
http://isp.globallylocal.com/item/2007/07/blog-    Advice from globally local on how to find plenty
writing-from-a-base-essay                          to write about. They even mention the writing of
                                                   this guide.
http://www.copyblogger.com/                        When it comes to writing your content well – this
                                                   is a blog that will be a very great help.
http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/06/25/what-         What makes people buy? This is a very
makes-people-buy/                                  important question and one you will need to have
                                                   an answer to if you wish to craft or have crafted a
                                                   site to sell things.
http://www.michelfortin.com/how-to-write-a-        How to Write a Persuasive News Release. This
persuasive-news-release/                           is a skill we should constantly aim to master.
http://www.answers.com/topic/maslow-s-             Maslow's hierarchy of needs may help you to
hierarchy-of-needs?cat=biz-fin                     understand or put in context what drives a person
                                                   to purchase (or not purchase).
https://www.securepaynet.net/gdshop/hosting/ho Easy to create websites with no skill needed.
sting_build_website.asp?prog_id=417089&ci=18
06
i   Links to https://www.securepaynet.net/gdshop/Domain_Alert/landing.asp?prog_id=417089
ii  Some people make a huge amount of money from mistyped traffic – that money should be yours.
iii  Technically RSS is three formats 0.9, 1.0 and 2.0 but that is another story.
iv   Be careful with these if they slip out of date you can give yourself a nightmare of litigation. Make sure your
    developer has set up a way to have your stock computer update the web server.
v This is just me making things up by the way – it could happen but is no on the cards and no plan exists to try and
    make it happen (yet).
vi The word “required” is used very loosely here. The actual figures are an estimate of requirement based on what is
    called a “normal” or bell curve distribution.
vii This is often dubbed Black Hat SEO – ask your potential consultant if he uses any Black Hat methods and look for
    a hesitation or sudden double talk. A White Hat SEO (the good guy) will be pretty quick in stating that they do not
    use Black Hat methods.
viiiLinks http://globallylocal.com