affiliate marketing here, there, everywhere …

Some of us affiliates have day jobs and have to spend a rotten 50 minutes waiting for and using public transport to get from home to work. Listening to people coughing, sneezing or frantically ringing bosses that they’re stuck in traffic is not the most efficient use of time.

So I use my travel time as an opportunity to read some of my emails on my Sony Ericsson K800i and catch up on the latest affiliate marketing news and gossip.

Using Opera Mini which is free to download, I can quickly see which of my favourite affiliate authors have updated content by looking in the RSS folder.

My favourite is the Affiliate Marketing Blog from UK Offer Media. This is Kieron’s blog, recognised as a ‘super affiliate’ at a4uexpo 2007 and he updates every other day on a wide range of affiliate subjects.

The posts are concise and appeal to seasoned and new affiliates alike. Reading the post via RSS, the website design is stripped out so that you can ignore all the navigation and banner advertising and get straight to the content.

Even in this most basic format the post is recognisable by its tone of voice.

The ‘Apple iPhone‘ post includes a crisp clean image that grabs your attention. The post includes emotion, fact and humour. With all his posts, Kieron signs off with ‘What I’m listening to right now’ which adds a very personal touch.

If I want to interact with the post or read some of the user generated comments I can click the headline. You then see the Affiliate Marketing Blog is optimised for small screen devices and takes up two pages, demonstrating that you don’t need a fancy new iPhone to browse the Internet.

A couple of scrolls takes you past the headline, strapline, RSS and most popular posts.

The text presents well and by the time you’ve read the post and comments, you’ve viewed approximately 60% of the 40k page.

The best aspect of this blog via mobile is that you can still interact with it on the move. Many other blogs and forums make it difficult if not impossible to interact via mobile, as they struggle to handle the forms or use captcha images that do not display.

At here.org.uk you can simply add a comment by entering your name, email and website address and if you’re a previous poster it will be added immediately.

Kieron’s blog is perfect reading to start or end the working day. His well written content can be absorbed before you have to leave that busy public transport.

Shop Codes subscriber numbers reaches first milestone

There are now over 100 subscribers to the Shop Codes newsletter, which is double the amount of traffic I received from Google organic search listings one day in June.
July was a record month for Shop Codes in terms of traffic and sales but June was a scare after the highs of May when my site was in the top three results for many profitable keyword searches.

Google only sent 52 unique visitors to my site on 21st June. This was a significant blow as the amount of traffic has an impact on the amount of profit.

I had a determination not to spend my May profits on Google Adwords, which does not represent value for money, so I looked at alternative methods of attracting visitors.

I first launched an RSS feed. I’ve opted for manually editing mine rather than just plugging it into a Word Press updated site. The result is that it includes a tailored paragraph that deliberately includes the discount code in the content. My traffic statistics show that this is published on other websites.

The RSS feed is powered by FeedBurner who have since been bought by Google.

I then chose to launch an email newsletter. This has been something I have been deliberating about for many months. I’d not launched one sooner as I wanted the design and content to be exactly right. However with traffic dipping to a low of 225 unique visitors a day I opted for the easiest solution. This was to have FeedBurner send an email based on my RSS content.

The result is each time I update my RSS that includes a new url, an email newsletter is sent out to subscribers. Potentially then an email could be sent daily but by monitoring what urls are included in the RSS I have a pretty good idea of when a newsletter will be published and what will be included.

Today I have 105 subscribers to my newsletter, which is double the amount of visitors Google sent me one day in June. That’s exactly what I set out to achieve two months ago.

Stay Mobile with your business

I’m in the middle of a two week holiday abroad but I’m still very much in touch with my business, using the Internet on my mobile phone.

Opera Mini

This Internet browsing application is amazing and works for java enabled phones. Here are just some of the websites I am able to access whilst I am away from a computer.

Google Mail

All my personal and business email is forwarded to my Google mail account. I’ve currently got 540 unread emails in my inbox but using my filtering techniques I can quickly see that 28 include the word “codes” and so are likely to include new discount codes for my site. 27 include the word “voucher”, 136 refer to “sales” and 6 are for “closures”. By using the filtering I can read the emails I consider to be the most important first.

Statistics

I can quickly see live daily traffic statistics and what keywords are driving visitors to the site. Whilst I use Google Analytics, I always check Statcounter first as the page formats very well on my Sony Ericsson K800i.

RSS Feeds

By subscribing to my favourite web sites I can keep up with the latest posts on Affiliates4u.com and away from the business keep up with what’s happening at Middlesbrough Football Club and see what my friends are doing on Facebook.

So in summary, using my mobile phone I can always keep up-to-date with what’s important to me via accessing email, forums and social media sites.

39 days without Google love

It’s just after midnight on 10th July 2007. I’ve another two hours before I go to bed as there’s something stopping me. It’s the new site visitors hungry for discount codes. I’ve not seen activity like this for 39 days.
I’d consider June a “quiet” month for Shop Codes. During May my traffic was climbing each day and daily sales were surpassing December figures consistently. Then this graph shows the sudden decline I experienced from 31st May 11:30pm.

So June dipped a lot but it was only a huge blow because I was used to better times. However, this happened to be a little wake up call. Now that the audience wasn’t there I knew I could “tinker” with the site and basically have nothing to lose.

Google didn’t stop delivering traffic to my site. It just didn’t link to many “shop” pages, instead it was just happy to send me people to my home page.

So the traffic is back (maybe another 30 days?) and one or more of these beliefs and actions helped it along the way …

FIX 1: Add a search box to the home page.

Before I could please the search engines I had to take care of the visitors. I previously didn’t have a search on my site as I want people to navigate past related items, click links and not go for the easy option. With a search they may not see related offers.

FIX 2: Change page titles.

I’d already gotten into the habit of producing dynamic page titles dependant on the content. If I didn’t have a code say for Argos, I wouldn’t say I had in the titles or other meta data. Each time I add a new offer to the page, the page title reflects the new offer. And if the search engine is saying that my site is offering a June offer but it’s now July’s offer. That’s a bad reflection on their part and not my site. They just need to come and spider a bit more frequently.

FIX 3. Re-write all urls.

I re-wrote all my urls so that they were consistent. I used to serve the same pages at different urls so the keywords within them would be highlighted in the search result pages. This resulted in duplicate content and unintentional spidering and lots of pages going straight into the supplemental index.

FIX 4. Remove distractions.

I had a WordPress version of my site which was only a few months old. It was effectively a duplicate copy but without the heavy images and a better url structure. When my Shop Codes traffic dipped, it wasn’t a surprise to see that one of my major competitor sites, happened to be myself. So rather go with that one, I killed it, albeit not totally intentionally.

FIX 5. Grab that tail
Once my site was taking its shape it was time to look at the content on the pages. I’ve decided to target three keyword phrases for each merchant I promote. As an example for Petmeds, I am explicitly looking to tap the market of users searching for “Petmeds Coupon Code”.

FIX 6. Use the meta tools to be descriptive
My targeted keywords were moved to the front of the page titles and repeated in the description. I’m a firm believer that sites that stuff their descriptions with repeated keywords will soon fall from grace. Look again at the Petmeds example above. The page title and description say exactly what is on the page. OK, I may not receive visitors searching for “Petmeds voucher code” but don’t bet against it. Simplicity wins. On that note, one of my next tasks is to make sure all pages include no more than five keywords.

FIX 7. Diversify.

I’ve now got an RSS feed and a newsletter that goes out every other day with 50 subscribers. That’s approximately one new sign-up per day. In both cases the content is being pushed to different audiences. My codes are syndicated on other sites and with email, subscribers can browse at their leisure.

FIX 8. Add more distractions.

Knowing that my WordPress blog was doing well for itself on another domain, I brought it ‘inside’. Some of these new pages were quickly indexed and started ranking higher than the ‘originals’ which were in the Supplemental.

FIX 9. Truly believe content is king.

With unique content or a unique spin on the same content, a site will stand out. So I continued to press for new exclusive codes and continued to update the regular offers long into the night, despite knowing not so many people would get to see the information. Once the content is not updated then the search engines have a right not to visit.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin