1 – Hone down your niche
This is taught in the training and brought up many times, but it’s SO important and easy to get wrong, especially with your first site when there’s so much to think about.
As an example, my first site was on water filters – it kind of worked and still makes a bit of money, but with what I know know, it was way too broad a niche and too competitive. I would have been better to pick something more targeted like ‘alkaline’ water filters, for example.
So when you pick a niche, make sure it’s specific and targeted enough towards a really defined, specific audience. A recent niche I picked, which is very focused (and not really picked up on yet as a niche) has started making good money within a few months.
For ideas, have a look on Google trends, what’s trending on Pinterest or gaining traction on Amazon, then niche your idea down til it’s sharp as a pin…
2 – Do research before you finalise your niche
The reason I picked water filters for my 1st site, was largely because I’m a bit of a health nut (apart from the red wine) and I found some great keywords (or so I thought!) with very low competition.
But… in reality they were still hard to rank for. I realise now that this was because I ended up competing with some huge generic brands such as Amazon, as well as established water filter brands.
So when you pick a niche, I recommend finding a few good keywords and then Googling them to see what kind of results come up. If the top 10 results are all popular brands or e-commerce sites, it’s probably going to be hard to beat them, (unless you are an expert on getting good backlinks, which is time consuming and not really taught here anyway).
Instead, look to see if there are any smaller sites in the results, such as other affiliate sites or blogs. If there are some (I usually look for at least 2-3 smaller fry sites) and they can rank for the keyword, you’ve got a good chance too. Especially if you can improveon their content.
3 – Think about commission
Whatever affiliate platform you use, choose your products wisely. (Like I didn’t!)
For example, the commission for toys in Amazon’s affiliate program is rubbish. So whilst I rank well for a number of baby and toy related stuff, the commission I get from sales is often v low and makes me sigh out loud (not in a good way). So all the work I’ve put in doesn’t give the return it could if I’d thought about it a bit more wisely.
My latest site though, has a key targeted product that offers around 8% and it makes a HUGE difference on what you earn cumulatively.
I also think it makes good sense to choose products that have a mid price point. Products with low price tags won’t make you much money (obviously!), even cumulatively and products with huge price tags may take people a while to make the leap and actually buy it. My current ste promotes something with an average price tag of around $100 +. You only need a few sales a day for 8% on $100 daily to start to add up over a month.
4 – Think properly about blog structure
At first I pumped out articles willy nilly and did some internal linking in a very arbitrary way. This is ok, but it works much better in Googles eyes (and for your readers), if the interlinking is themed. For example I have a Mum blog which focuses a lot on non toxic stuff. Initially I rather randomly added internal links from one post to another, with not enough thought.
So what I do now is theme the internal linking. For example, I interlink all my articles on non toxic toys with one another, all my articles on non toxic ‘whatever’ with one another and so on. This adds more relevant link juice to your internal links. This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget at first, when the learning curve is steep.
5- Create post titles that get ‘clicked’!
However well you rank for a given keyword, if people don’t click on your post, you won’t get traffic/make money. So look at other titles, in the top 10, for the keyword you want to rank for and think about the ones YOU would click on (for me it’s often not the number 1 or 2 spot, but the result which is most relevant/helpful/appealing.
If you go into Google Webmaster Tools (old version view), you can actually see your clickthrough rate for keywords you are ranking well for, by going to ‘Search Traffic > Search Analytics and then checking CTR box in top grey area of the page. If you are ranking well for a well searched for keyword, but getting a very low clickthrough rate, I’d recommend re-thinkimg your post title (not your url slug, just the post title), so it features your keyword, but is more appealing.
For example, if you are number 1 on Google with a post title of ‘Non toxic baby cribs’ but the number 2 ranking is ‘The top 5 non toxic baby cribs to get in 2019’ which would you click on? Maybe you’d choose the first one, but I wouldn’t.
Again, this is covered in the training, but my first blog titles were so yawn inducing, I’m surprised I got traffic at all. A good blog title isn’t always easy to write, so Google ‘blog post title generator’ and get some help. Also don’t force keywords in – people won’t click on a blog title it if it’s not appealing – there is just too much competition now (and good blog post title writers).
6 – Have a face to your site/update regularly
This is largely my opinion, but I think Google did an update last year where they cracked down on some fairly obvious, generic affiliate healthy type sites (my water filter site suffered) that didn’t really have a strong ‘face’ or personality to them.
My Mum blog actually improved in rankings as whilst it’s an affiliate site, it also has a strong theme and ‘face’ to it, where it’s clear I’m trying to add value/offer helpful, quality content to other mums. I.e. the intention of ‘helping’ within the site is stronger than a blatant pushing of affiliate links in people’s faces. And as we’ve all been told a thousand times, quality content above all else is what Google (and our audience) wants.
Also post regularly. It keeps things consistent with Google and your audience.
7 – Don’t obsess about SEO …unless you want to!
I have obsessed and it’s exhausting. It can also detract from writing quality content, as you risk writing from a forced SEO pov rather than from the heart.
So follow something like Jay’s Training and also maybe keep the LSI (latent semantic indexing), thing in mind, where you include related keywords to your main one within your post article (mentioned in a great post yesterday on LSI but I now can’t find it). This gives you a blueprint to follow that keeps things consistent and straightforward.
Re backlinks, if you’re familiar with them (i.e a link to your site from another website), it’s easy to get obsessed with them, which can be v time consuming, when you could spend the time writing good content. Plus if your content is good enough, backlinks do tend to happen quite naturally.
On a personal note, I get almost daily requests for links from other bloggers in return for a useless social media ‘shout out’. I now say no (unless they offer me a link back), so I think people are getting wiser to backlink requests anyway. Before anyone shouts at me I KNOW they work for Brian Dean 😉 I’m not saying they don’t work, just that they can take over your life, sometimes to not much avail…
Some of the best ranking sites Mum bloggers I follow have a very simple (but consistent) SEO approach coupled with bloody good (how annoying when it’s better than yours;)) content.
8 – Leverage Pinterest (if your niche merits it)
I have a real love/hate relationship with social media (mostly I hate it!) and for me (personally), it’s been a mahoosive waste of time. FB – bleurgh. Twitter – bleurgh. Google + (well that died it’s own death!) Instagram – yet to try it.
But I DO like Pinterest and a lot of my regular and repeat traffic comes from it. I also believe over time, its really pushed some of my rankings up. For example, a post I did on homemade toothpaste went quite viral and I still get regular traffic daily from repeat pins. Over time, I’m sure this has pushed my rankings into the top 5 (and believe me there a zillion mum bloggers pushing homemade toothpaste ;)).
However, Pinterest is still very much female dominated, so depending on your niche, it may not be the best fit for you. Promoting water filters, for example, died a bit of a painful death on Pinterest, but mum/baby stuff does well. Check what’s trending/popular on Pinterest to see what people are searching for. People are often far into the buying cycle on Pinterest too, so often go on to make a purchase via a post. There’s a lot of good training on Pinterest within WA if you do a search.
Hope you found something above of help. They’ve worked for me. As ever, it shows this is so not an overnight thing – but if you can get to a point where you are reaching self sufficiency (my soul would die if I entered another office, I’ve worked in too many) it will feel priceless.
I ‘know’ I probably need to start thimking more about video, but I personally believe there are still lots of ‘stone age’ people like me, who still love a good old page of well written text and a decent image!