PostHeaderIcon Why Learn Affiliate Marketing?

There’s no shortage of opportunities to make money online—in fact, it’s pretty safe to assume that new methods are being invented as we speak. But some things in the market are still worth learning, even if they’ve been around for years. One of them is affiliate marketing: promoting a company’s product or service on your website in exchange for a cut on the visits or sales you generate.

Many successful entrepreneurs got their start in affiliate marketing. For some of them, it continues to be a major source of revenue, but for most, it taught them the marketing principles they needed to build their own institutions. Affiliate marketing puts you in a good position to learn: you can start small and minimize your risk, while still being exposed to the challenges of getting noticed on the Web. When it’s time to market your own products, you have all the skills you need to get it right. Think of it as learning from more established companies until you’re good enough to be their competitor.

You can learn affiliate marketing on your own—there are lots of free or inexpensive resources online—or sign up for actual classroom courses. Each one has its pros and cons, and at the end of the day it comes down to your availability and learning style. Whatever you choose, make sure to look into the company’s history: since the industry’s boom a few years ago, a lot of self-appointed gurus have sprung up and began charging hundreds for a service that took them five minutes to put together. Look for reviews, contact former customers, and call them up for information and a look at their syllabus.

To do that, you’ll have to know the skills you need and see if the company offers them. Some of the key skills are list building, designing squeeze pages, and tracking and managing website information. It’s about as much tech-savvy as it is about marketing flair. The best affiliate marketers are good at both. If you’re struggling with one area, knowing at least the basics can get you a long way.

As we’ve mentioned, not all affiliate marketers stay in the trade for long, but that’s the best part. Whether you’re just starting out or have years of experience in online business, affiliate marketing can open new opportunities or even reopen old ones—and no matter what field you’re in, the skills you take away will be useful for yeas to come.

PostHeaderIcon How To Get Advertisers for Your Website

There are dozens of ways to monetize a website, but few have as much professional backing as direct advertising. It’s relatively hard to get right, but when successful, it offers a stable flow of revenue and a good dose of credibility. In other words, it opens up opportunities for even more monetization.

It all starts with a good website with regular traffic: you don’t get advertisers at your door for a blog that’s only five days old. Although there’s no official number, most people agree that a website becomes “marketable” when it gets at least 1,000 unique visitors per day. If you’re not quite at that point yet, don’t worry: there are other factors that can push you up, such as your Google PageRank or Alexa rank and the number of subscribers you have on RSS.

To get that kind of traffic, your content needs to be tailored. This means that you have to speak to a particular group of people, just as potential advertisers will be targeting a specific market. Diversity is okay—you can talk about food one day and spray-painting the next. But you have to be sure that they’re of interest to the same group of people. The market is at a point where you can never be too specific; as far as advertisers are concerned, the narrower your focus is, the better.

Next, you need an intelligently designed page. You may know how to get advertisers for your website, but how to attract them is another matter. There are two good reasons to invest in good design: first, advertisers want to associate themselves with professional (or at least professional-looking) hosts, and second, they want to have good visibility on your website. Obviously, you’ll need a good idea of what kind of advertising you will sell–banners, text links, sidebar ads—and design your site around it, making sure to keep your own content on center stage. And don’t forget to throw in a page for interested sponsors: an easy-to-find “Advertise Here” link with detailed information can go a long way.

Finally, you need an ad server software. This is a program that puts ads on your website and tracks statistics for specific ad types and areas. Some of them come with blogging platforms (WordPress’ WP-Ads is one of the most popular) and others are independent, with lots of variation in features. If you’re just trying things out, it might be a good idea to start with the former, and then move on to more advanced solutions as you get more advertisers.

PostHeaderIcon Link Building Software

Link building dates back longer than even most professionals think: before there was Google, the only way to get around the Web, and therefore to get site traffic, was to link from other websites. When search engines realized that links were a valuable indicator of a site’s popularity, the practice of linking to one’s site from as many destinations as possible became big business. The more relevant links a website has, the higher up it tends to rank on search engine pages.

As is often the case, more than a few site owners have tried to find easy ways to get these links. No one really wants to spend time posting on forums, commenting on blogs, and other tried-and-tested ways to get backlinks. Link building software promises to put the tedious work out of the picture and get your links up for you. The idea is that by paying to automate the process, all you have to do is wait for the traffic to pour in.

A typical link building system will post links to your site from content websites that are ideally relevant to your own. Many of the newer ones post one-way links, which means you don’t link back to them in exchange. This helps improve your search engine ranking, as two-way links are a sign that a website is in a link exchange agreement and isn’t worth as much. How effective this is depends a lot on the provider itself: how reputable are its websites? Do they have useful content, or are they just “link farms” that don’t attract the right traffic? These are just some of the factors worth taking into account when looking at link building software.

For most site owners, link building software is useful mostly as a data entry tool. Manually setting up links requires you to research relevant websites and fill out dozens of forms, a task that can take up six to seven hours a day for an average-sized network. Automating the process can save you a lot of time, but it shouldn’t replace research, quality content, and networking—the main factors that make link building effective.

If you think you can benefit from link building software, you may want to look into other features as well. Many programs set themselves apart from the competition by offering other services, such as article submission and email marketing tools. Others offer site analytics, but these are rarely as reliable as those of Google and Alexa. Look closely at the list of features and see which ones are most worth your money.

PostHeaderIcon Using Expired Domain Traffic

One of the least known ways to generate website traffic is redirecting from expired domain names. It seems crude and even unprofessional, but more than a few website owners have tried it—and with reasonable success. With the right techniques, an expired domain can direct regular traffic to your website and give your business that much-needed kick-start.

Using expired domain traffic works on the principle that a defunct website’s readership can be used by another. The first step is finding an expired domain that is relevant to your website—this ensures that the traffic that gets redirected is made up of interested readers. The domain must also have had a good following when it was still active; the more popular a site used to be, the larger the readership you can tap into. Popular domains also tend to have inbound links from other sites they used to associate with; if these links are still around, you also get traffic from a number of other places.

Next, you buy the expired domain and set it up to redirect to your site, usually with a simple php code. This is where relevance comes in. You’re basically taking an existing customer base and trying to replace their old haunt—and to keep them, you need to be at least as good, ideally better, than the previous domain. If you have a blog on health insurance, redirecting from a defunct fashion website won’t be of much value. A related domain, however, will ensure that the traffic you get is well-targeted.

Another strategy is to put content on the domain itself. Many experts recommend using the redirect code as a “filler” while you’re working on a content buffer; when you’ve got enough material, you can set up the domain as your own site. The advantage to this is that a well-known site may already have a good Google PR and Alexa rank, inbound links, and other attribute that can take months or years for a new site to build up.

Others suggest using expired domain traffic for satellite websites, or sites that are part of a larger network geared towards boosting one main site. Since satellite pages are secondary, it usually doesn’t make sense to put too much effort into driving traffic to them. Using free traffic from expired domains is a great solution: it gives you targeted traffic at a fraction of the cost and time, so that you can focus on providing regular, useful content.

PostHeaderIcon How to Increase Traffic to Your Website

These days, one of the first things you learn in business is that website traffic is essential. Whether you’re running a multinational firm or a blog about knitting, visitors are what really keep your business afloat. So it’s a little surprising that few website owners and entrepreneurs find it worthwhile to invest in driving web traffic. If you want to get and keep loyal customers, knowing how to increase traffic to your website is an important first step.

One of the most popular ways is to set up a blog. For many people the blog is the business, and keeping it updated is nothing short of a full-time job. For others, blogging is a way to connect with customers and boost marketing efforts, essentially allowing readers to spread word around about the business. Whatever your purpose is, blogging can get you targeted traffic on a regular basis, especially if you’re able to provide useful content and address your readers’ questions.

Linking is another widely used traffic generation method, and for good reason. Having lots of sites link back to you means that there are more opportunities for people to find you online. Getting these links on relevant websites is even better, as the chances are high that you get highly interested visitors. Also, search engines take the number of relevant inbound links into account when ranking site popularity. This means that the more links you have, the higher up on the list your site appears.

Social networking is one of the newest but fastest-growing ways to increase site traffic. It’s a lot more work than it seems, but the payoff is well worth it. By setting up a Facebook page and Twitter account for your site, you can reach a lot more people, and reach existing readers in a more convenient way. It’s a lot easier for them to follow your blog or check your site for updates when they learn about it through sites they visit every day anyway. You can also expand your network through existing clients’ contacts.

On the Web, getting new visitors and holding on to old ones are equally valuable. You should invest as much time in one as you do in the other, no matter how big or small your business is. While it’s worth it to spend a few hours a day trying to drive traffic to your website, it’s important to follow up on them and make sure they’re not just one-time visitors. Remember, occasional traffic can bring you money, but it’s the loyal people who keep you in the game.