“I spent ages installing, configuring, and tweaking my price comparison service, and now the guy who sold it me has disappeared, and the software has stopped working…”
If that sounds familiar then you’re not alone. This happened to me, and judging by the numerous pages of angry forum posts, it’s happened to many other unhappy affiliates too.
Running an authoritative, high quality niche site these days is hard. As an affiliate you have to constantly provide high quality, search engine optimised content that informs and educates your visitors, if you ever expect to go above a few click-throughs a day.
You’ve got to ensure every single part of your copy is optimised for conversion. Not only that, you’ve got to:
- Write quality content, with snappy headlines and punchy paragraphs
- Provide product pictures, perfectly portraying possible purchase preferences
- Add videos, ideally shot featuring both you and the thing you’re selling
- Plan your content with keywords in mind, ever mindful of the all-seeing Google
- Sprinkle affiliate links throughout, the life-blood of your online business
- Manage and monitor link performance – what’s working and what isn’t
- Provide accurate pricing information
There are plugins and services to help with most of these.
I highly recommend the Yoast plugins for WordPress if you haven’t already got them installed.
There’s the SEO plugin, and the Google Analytics plugin also. Both are free, and save you a ton of time, and a lot of headaches. Being able to run a simple ‘SEO Check’ at the end of each blog post, giving you a traffic light system of red, yellow, or green depending on your SEO performance is light years ahead of doing this stuff by hand.
Writing quality content is ultimately still up to you or your team though 🙂
Pretty Link is a favourite of mine. It allows you to make short URL’s which you manage, rather than having to rely on a service like bit.ly or similar.
Hover over these two links, and look in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window:
Notice how the first link looks as though it is part of this blog, short and sweet – almost like a WordPress permalink.
The second link is a standard HTML link.
Why bother with this? Well, aside from having nicer looking links, you also get link tracking and other goodies. Well worth it, especially considering Pretty Link Lite is totally free.
In House Photo and Video Production
There are way too many shady affiliates out there that give our industry a terrible name.
One of the most unethical practices still prevalent today is ‘reviewing’ products that the questionable affiliate has never owned, touched, or even seen in the flesh.
That said, modern web surfers are not stupid. They have become wise to the more spammy practices of old, and aside from well known factors such as Social Signals, there is no better way to inspire confidence and trust (and ultimately, increased conversions), than by having self-shot product photos that link directly through to your merchant’s product.
Actually, I tell a lie, there is one better way – video. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so video must be worth 24,000 words a second (as in modern video being shot at 24 frames per seconds * 1000… careful, here comes the science part :)).
Trust me on this – if you have been being a little shady, try buying one of the products you are marketing. Take some simple shots – they don’t need to be amazing, a standard mobile phone camera is more than capable of hi-res photos – and then include these in your post.
If conversions don’t improve, I will eat someones hat. A white hat no less.
Accurate Pricing Information
I’ve talked before about how having timely, accurate pricing information on your WordPress blog can improve your conversion rates.
The more worrying point is how some of the Internet’s biggest affiliate merchants – Amazon, being the biggy – have recently changed their Terms of Service to make it a bannable offence to have outdated pricing information on your site.
The problem with this is that as your network of top quality content grows, going back and updating each and every single one of your reviews, articles, and blog posts becomes at best a completely nightmarish chore, and at worse, something you simply will ignore.
Keeping Your Costs Down
Outsourcing is all the rage these days. There’s upwork (formerly ODesk), eLance, various independent outfits and likely a whole lot more.
You could spend some time documenting your pricing update process, then have the job outsourced to a Virtual Assistant.
That takes time – not just in hiring the employee, but in writing the document, training them up, dealing with them when things go wrong, working around their holidays and inevitable sick days… yada yada yada.
The thing is, this is exactly the sort of thing that computers are good at. You shouldn’t have to worry about this.
Earlier, I mentioned the various plugins for the other aspects of your WordPress blog. Some of you may have already tried one, two, or more of the available WordPress price comparison plugins.
I have too.
I had some success with one of my affiliate sites – a site that was custom designed around the particular plugin in question.
Everything was going smoothly. The plugin author would reply to my – and other customers – support tickets and questions using a very well known Internet Marketing forum. He would also reply via email, and through Skype.
Then, one day, he vanished.
As if by sheer coincidence (ahem), this seemed to be timed perfectly with the plugin breaking in several puzzling and perplexing ways.
I was left with a site that was effectively useless. And frustratingly, this site was converting well up until this point. Suddenly, all my products stopped showing prices, or worse, showed out of date prices, or prices for the entirely wrong items.
This was an absolute nightmare.
The rumour was that the software author had become disgruntled by his self-imposed pricing structure. He charged once for the plugin, then was continuously supporting his product without further payment.
Few of us have the luxury of being able to work for free, so it’s unsurprising that he had to move on to projects that paid.
If only he had charged per month. I would have paid. I would still be paying. I just wanted a service that worked, especially as the site income was many multiples higher than what he would likely have charged per month.
Price Comparison Service
I have been burned by paid plugins in the past. I have built sites around these plugins and then had to watch as my sites died a very abrupt death as the plugins broke and the authors disappeared.
The sheer amount of wasted effort is unbearable to me, and I don’t want others to go through the same.
That’s why we are creating our Price Comparison Service. We take care of the hard work of tracking merchant prices so you don’t have too.
When you use our price comparison service you can benefit from software designed by affiliates, for affiliates.
Join Other Price Comparison Affiliates
Forget about managing plugins, importing XML Data Feeds, and fighting with complex server installs. You have your sites to run, and visitors to please.
Let our Price Comparison Service handle the pain and problems of price updates.
Join our mailing list today and be the first to get access to our service, with free access to our closed beta program as soon as it opens.