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Don’t Jump in Blindly

Here’s another article inspired by my long series of screwups in the affiliate marketing world. Learn from my mistakes so you don’t make them yourself.

Have you ever browsed through pages of affiliate offers and found something great? You know, easy conversion, great payout, that sort of thing? If you’re like me, you have, and then you took that offer and built an entire website around it (with 20+ articles, an auction feed, and a sales page). Congratulations, you’ve built a great site. But, where’s the traffic? Oh, that’s right, you didn’t do any research. Your primary keyword is getting five searches per day, and nobody is coming to your site. Great, you’ve just blown time and money on a worthless niche.

Do your research

Want to find something to build a site around? The last place you should look is the affiliate offer page. Go to places like Technorati and Fark to see what’s currently interesting/popular online. That will guarantee searches, and increase your site’s chance of being noticed. For example, if you were to create a new site about your favorite presidential candidate, it would probably get some hits. On the other hand, if you create a site about the latest Christmas light patterns and techniques, you’ll hardly get anything at all (until late November, that is). If you’re trying to make money, create content for what’s happening now.

Then, find some keywords

Head on over to Wordtracker and sign up for their free trial (you can do this as many times as you want). Put in a generic keyword and watch as it gathers a list of more specific keywords to use, based on competition, search frequency, etc. This tool really is invaluable. Make sure the keywords it feeds you are scattered throughout your site’s articles (if applicable).

If you’re doing PPC, do a search on those keywords and see what kind of competition you’re facing. If there’s only three ads, great. If there’s thirteen full pages (and this is not uncommon), your ad will probably never see the first page unless you’re prepared to bid very, very high.

Don’t give up

Even if your site doesn’t make anything for a month, leave it online. The search engines will continue to crawl it, you’ll slowly rise through the search engine results ranks, and it might just surprise you some day. I have two random sites that I abandoned months ago that have sent two conversions my way this month. Unexpected, yet welcome.

Of course, you don’t have to listen to me. Go ahead, give up, but let me know what niche you’re abandoning so that I can profit from it.

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One Response to “Don’t Jump in Blindly”

  1. Sabrina Says:

    Thanks for the tip on Wordtracker, my new site mouthygirl could use some traffic, I feel like keywords are what I lack.

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