Should Affiliates Have Their Own Site?

While a lot of affiliate marketers can operate without setting up a website, the benefits of doing so will become immediately apparent. First, having your own website establishes your credibility on the subject, and further lends authority to the product you are promoting.

While you can strictly use Adwords and other contextual advertising methods, having your own website is a way to add other income streams, organize and consolidate your affiliate product offerings and add other types of advertising and monetization schemes to your site.

Setting up a website is not that difficult nor is it very expensive any more. If you decide to go with your own website, there are a few things you should know in order to get started.

Get your own domain name. A domain name is a unique name that identifies your website. It transforms an IP address (100.99.103.44) to something memorable – www.yourdomain.com.

Having your own domain name adds to the authority of what you’re writing, should be easy to remember and gives you a platform from which to write. Registering a domain name nowadays costs only about $8 to $10. Some of the best registrars include:

– Godaddy.com
– Namecheap.com
– Internic.com

Next, you will want to get webhosting. This is also very inexpensive. A full featured webhosting plan will cost you only about $5.00 to $10.00 per month.

– Godaddy.com
– Hostgator.com
– Dreamhost.com

Get an easy to use website platform. You don’t need to be an HTML or Dreamweaver expert to set up a really nice site.

The platform of choice these days is WordPress, which is very simple to setup by using Fantastico and Cpanel, and there are tons of very nice themes out there for you to use. Two other easy to use content systems are Drupal and Joomla. All three of these will build out a full site for you that has an admin interface that is easy to learn and use.

Through the use of one of these platforms, you can accomplish a number of essential things to the success of your affiliate sales:

Affiliate link cloaking: It would be nice to think that every body is honest. However, this is not the case. As a result, you need to cloak your affiliate link so that when a person clicks through your link and buys the product, the commission goes to you.
Pre-selling: This affords you the opportunity to write or have written articles that are keyword optimized (which means that they are designed to rank highly in the search engines for specific words), traffic magnets that affords visitors the opportunity to learn more about a specific product and get more exposure that leads to eventual conversion. Pre-selling is an art that happens over time.

Ad Tracking & Analytics: While Google Adwords offers excellent ad tracking features, having a person visit your website further refines the analytics you can look at.

As a visitor explores your entire website, you are gaining valuable information about what pages they visited how long they stayed on specific pages, what links they clicked and the like. All of this information can help you refine what is on your website.

For instance, say a person arrives at your home page, goes to a page on a specific product and then goes through a link on that page to another page on your site and stays there for a long time.

If this happens over and over, you have just gained valuable information about what has caught people’s interest. In that way, you can offer more of the same that is on the second page so that people are likely to return and be re-exposed to you, your products and your site.

Blogging About Specific Topics Related To Your Affiliate Product: With a website built on the WordPress platform, you can set up certain programs called plug-ins that automatically optimize your website. What this means is that Google and the other search engine spiders will love to stop by your site and add pages to their search index.

As you get more pages into the search engines, you will rank higher. What this means is that you will have more and more visibility and in turn more traffic will visit your site over time.

Learning about keyword research and search engine optimization or SEO is one of the things that every affiliate should learn. The more you know, the better your site will become, and the better your site, the more sales you will make.
Building Quality Incoming Links To Your Site

While you don’t want to go link crazy, you will want to get a number of good incoming links from High PR link sites. Be careful – don’t purchase links. While you can purchase links, it’s frowned upon.

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