Prerequisites: Affiliate Marketing 101 Course (free!)
Today, we’re keeping it nice and simple since some of you are still setting up your affiliate website… And believe me, that’s the most complicated step of this entire training series. The rest of it is going to be a no brainer.
For those of you that have a website already, or are going the article marketing route, we’re going to keep on trucking.
One of the most important things you can do to set up your affiliate site the right way is install the right themes and plugins. You already know how to structure your content the right way, so that part is done. All that’s left are the little website tweaks that will take your site over the top.
To get started, let’s talk about some of the things we learned over the years that’ll increase your affiliate income, relating to your site.
Affiliate Site Tips
- White space matters – We always do better with no frills, white and grey templates that focus on the content of the article rather than imagery or banners.
- Use ‘link blue’ links – The color of your link should be the standard ‘link blue.’ It’s hex code “0000FF”. I don’t care what else you read, we’ve tested it. People know without a doubt that that color blue means a link.
- Don’t confuse readers – If the goal of your article is to promote an affiliate product, don’t post a ton of other links in the article! Keep it simple.
- Get the click – Your only job as an affiliate is to get the click to the sales video or sales letter. Let the product vendor do the selling. That’s not your job.
- Be real – The more you can interject your own personality into your article, the better it will convert. People like to connect to other people, not to brands.
- Don’t over promote – When someone searches Google for ‘how to get better grades,’ they’re looking for answers. If they show up on your site and you start shoving a product down their throat, they’ll immediately click out.
- Keep banners and Adsense ads to a minimum – Every opportunity you give for someone to leave your site through a banner or an ad that isn’t your affiliate promotion is a lost opportunity. Only start using banners and Adsense when you don’t know what else to do to make money on your site.
There are lots of ‘special’ affiliate themes for WordPress. We’ve found that none of them work as well as advertised. Not by a long shot. There are themes that do special stuff like help you create squeeze pages and such, but that’s not what we’re looking for here.
Right now, we’re looking for a way to post articles and content in a way that people read so that they ultimately click your affiliate link.
There are 2 themes what we use all the time. Thesis and the default WordPress Twenty Twelve theme.
Thesis is the theme we use on almost every site we have. It’s pretty simple to use. We don’t do anything complex or install child themes or any of that. We install it, give it a 2 column layout, and use the SEO components that it provides.
In fact, it’s been our theme of choice for going on 3 years now. We get such great results that we haven’t looked for anything else. It just does everything we need it to do and has made us well into high six-figures.
Here’s an image of one of our sites and you’ll see what I mean. This site was built to review the popular Video Boss product a while ago, and made a bunch of money. It still gets traffic, but the product hasn’t launched for some time now, so we offload it through banners and a timed email optin.
WordPress Twenty Twelve
The WordPress Twenty Twelve theme is actually a really great theme for affiliates, and it’s installed by default and is totally free! Just go to the themes section in your Admin screen and it’s already there.
It’s SEO’s well. Google likes it well enough. We’ve ranked a lot of sites with it. The only thing is you need to make sure to install the All In One SEO plugin, but more on that in the next section.
Here’s a screenshot of the Twenty Twelve theme, all done up. It’s got a review for the Underground Conference on it.
Notice how we use whitespace? Grey edges? Simple, ugly designs work.
The more pretty you make it, the less money you’ll make (unless you’re actively building a brand which is a wholly different conversation).
Plugins increase the functionality of your website by adding tweaks or improvements to WordPress. And guess what? There isn’t much we need to add!
Here’s a list of the plugins we ALWAYS use on our affiliate sites:
- Scribe SEO – Scribe SEO is one of the best all around plugins we’ve tested. It does everything from telling your what your keyword density is in your posts to helping you optimize your content for Google, using best practices. Watch the demo here.
- All In One SEO – This is the BIG one. If you’re not using Thesis, make sure you install this. It helps you add meta information for all of your articles including Page Title, Meta Keywords and Meta Description. The keywords aren’t a real big deal, but the Page Title and Meta Description are.
- All In One Webmaster – If you’re using Google Analytics or any of the numerous tracking programs out there, this plugin will help them configure them. It’s also got a general place where you can insert code into any theme for retargeting, split testing, or whatever else you are thinking of doing.
- Redirection – We use this plugin to mask all of our affiliate links. So rather than long ugly links containing our affiliate ID’s, it’ll redirect pretty links, like http://levelingupacademy.com/affiliate-product/ through our affiliate link.
- SEO Searchterms Tagging 2 – This is a cool ass plugin that helps optimize your on-page content for search engines automatically, by posting the search terms people used to find you at the bottom of the post.
- WordPress Database Backup – This plugin does daily or weekly backups of your WordPress database in case your site gets hacked. It’s gotten us out of more than our fair share of jams on big money sites.
You’re more than welcome to test out other plugins and find things that work for you. These are the ones we use on all of our sites, and the list hasn’t changed in a LONG time…
So, get installing and have fun!
Tomorrow, we’re going to start the search engine optimization conversation, or SEO for short! And believe me, you’re killing it so far!
As of right now, your content should be posted somewhere, either on a blog or an article directory. So the next thing to do is start building links so Google starts to push it up the search engines!
SEO and linkbuilding is where most people drop off, and it’s really the most important piece of making money as a free traffic affiliate. There are millions of sites out there. What will make yours different is the number of back links you can build RESPONSIBLY!
Notice, I said responsibly. We’re not talking about spamming links out there. We’re talking about building links smartly…
In the comment box below, let us know what themes and plugins you like for affiliate marketing… Also, if you’d like us to review your site, make sure you post a link. We’d be glad to offer feedback!