Chapter 4: The Second Step: Monetizing Your Site
The Simple Strategy's business model is based on 2 sources of income:
a. Google AdSense ads.
b. Affiliate Programs
Which is better? there is no clear answer to this question. Some niches will produce better with affiliate programs while others with AdSense, you should test on a niche by niche bases. Usually you'll make more money with an affiliate site, unfortunately there may be many instances where you will find a good niche with keywords that can be easily ranked but no suitable affiliate program, in this case you'll use AdSense ads, and by the way, this will happen to you a lot.
Once you find a good keyword to target you start looking for an affiliate program that will go with this site. As a rule of thumb you should always prefer to promote digital products (eBooks, software, online services, etc.) over physical products. Why? because digital products come with higher margins which in most cases translate into higher commissions to the site owner.
Where can you find good affiliate programs to promote?
Your first bet should be the Clickbank Marketplace (https://accounts.clickbank.com/marketplace.htm)
Clickbank offers thousands of products, look for products that are 100% relevant to your niche and has a credible sales page.
If you can't find a suitable product at Clickbank try one of the following affiliate program directories:
Commission Junction (http://www.cj.com)
If you still can't find a suitable affiliate program try a Google search that combines your keyword with the word "affiliates" and other similar variations. Sometimes this works and you will find one or more good affiliate offers for your niche.
If all of the above does not work and you can't find an affiliate program that is relevant to your target niche, monetize your site with AdSense ads. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I had AdSense ads that produced $5, $6 and even $9 per click.
Anyway, don't ever be tempted to post affiliate links that are not fully relevant to your target keywords! this will never produce satisfactory results.
Where should you place your affiliate links and AdSense ads on the page? The best spot would be right below the top article title and above the article body, if you are using Wordpress it would be directly below the post title and above the post content. This would be the spot that will by far produce the best results.
As for the AdSense ads, I always match the background and border of the ad with the background of the theme where the ad will be placed and I recommend you do the same - my tests show that this increases the effectiveness of the ads. You can use a plug-in for Firefox and Chrome called Colorzilla (http://www.colorzilla.com/) to help you do this quickly.
Another good option for the affiliate links is to embed them within the text, preferably towards the top part of the article.
As for affiliate links, my tests show that reviews and text ads will, in most cases, outperform banners. I guess some folks simply ignore banners altogether. I seldom use banners to promote affiliate offers, I've always found effective ways to present affiliate offers with text only. I will be the first to admit that my pages are not very pretty, but hey, I'm not in the business of creating cute pages, I am in the business of making money, and for this my "not pretty" pages are doing very well.
Build an Email List
The biggest sin committed by internet marketers is not building an email list made of emails collected from visitors and customers. In order to maximize the profit potential of your site you need to create an email list. Fortunately, all the aspects of building and maintaining a list can be, and should be, automated. Selling to your list is the easiest money you're going to make.
Now I'm not going to teach you basic Email marketing here, you'll find plenty of resources online. However, here are 4 important points that you should consider:
1. Build an opt-in form and integrate it into your home page. Place it "above the fold," so visitors can see it immediately and don't have to scroll down.
2. Offer a lead magnet, something that has value that you offer in exchange for the visitor's email address. This could be a free eBook, a special report, a webinar, a list of tips, Etc. You have to tailor the offer to fit your niche so that you keep your list targeted, this is important.
3. Use Weber (If the link doesn't work, copy and paste the following URL into a browser: www.liraz.com/aweber) to manage your list building and marketing activities. Aweber is the industry standard. It's extremely powerful yet very easy to use, most of the successful internet marketers use it. Working with Aweber is a breath, it will automate all your email marketing activities: creating your sign-up forms, collecting and managing subscribers, sending out scheduled emails and more.
4. Email marketing is about creating a relation with your visitors and customers, it's about trust. Do not abuse it by spamming your list with frequent blatant sales offers. Send them at list 3 useful, content filled, emails for each email that contains a sales offer.
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