Chris gets it right when talking about affiliate tips for bloggers. But… what needs to be discussed more and more is how bloggers will react to the rev-share model, instead of the cost-per-click (cpc) they’re getting from Chitika and Adsense.
That is the bigger question for the future of pro blogging, and one that I believe is all about education and practice and results, over time. In my opinion, as you’ll read below, there will be a dramatic switch in how pro bloggers look at how they make money online (already happening).
I’ve written about this issue extensively, having come from an affiliate background myself, and being one of the first bloggers out there who was using affiliate programs on blogs (way, way, before Adsense). Here are some links.
1. ReveNews: BlogKits Survey: Blogs Embrace Affiliate Marketing Techniques – 73% of bloggers surveyed indicated they were ok with using affiliate marketing techniques in their blogs. While only 27% of the remaining bloggers being either neutral or in disagreement with the statement.
The CPA model seems to be growing into the mainstream tactics of the publishing world as bloggers and even large online newspapers and magazines (yes, they do it, they just don’t like you to know about it) realize the potential for CPA to vastly out perform traditional models such as CPM and Google Adsense, if done right.
2. BlogKits: Google Adsense For Bloggers: Why It Doesn’t Work…For Everyone – Forget Adsense, Bloggers are better served creating custom partnerships or sponsorships with advertisers. In arrangements of this nature, a blog with niche-specific content, that is straddled with low traffic, has the opportunity to earn much more by converting less.
3. Problogger: Why Adsense Doesnâ€™t Workâ€¦For Everyone – The discussion continues over at Problogger.
How’s that for “meat”??? :p
I agree that affiliate/CPA works better than CPC for niche blogs with a small but known audience. The key is making affiliate marketing easier for non-technical writers.
Nick and Thoughton have good points about the pain of creating affiliate links. We at Zoundry (www.zoundry.com) have tried to simplify this process with a web service that allows you to search merchant catalogs and place affiliate links into your blog with a couple of clicks. We’ve partnered with Amazon and a number of CJ merchants to create a single sign-on service that makes their affiliate programs more relevant to bloggers and other casual web publishers.
We have a free blog client and Firefox/IE toolbars that are integrated with our service, and we’d love to integrate with Performancing for Firefox when we open up an API to our service later. In the meantime, you can use our Firefox toolbar to create our simple product links and drop them into Performancing.
Our service is still in beta and invitation-only but mention Performancing in your invite request to [email protected] and I will make sure you get one. Try it out and let me know what you think.
I have a pretty simple text file for the basic affiliate links, the affiliate IDs and then I am also using a Firefox extension called clippings and my new toy Auto Hotkey. This works quite OK for my purposes.
It is such a PITA to create a deep affiliate link that it is rarely worth the effort for a lightly trafficed blog. I guess Amazon links aren’t too bad, especially when blog clients like Ecto have a tool for them, but CJ and TD are just too damn time-consuming.
“Not only are most aff programs ill suited to blogs by way of how damn long it takes and how fiddly it is to put a link in, but the only automated alternatives are so spammy they turn even the spammers off.”
Nick, I don’t get why you think it’s hard to put an affiliate link in a blog entry? It’s just a coded link.
I really think we’re looking at a new hybrid model. Part “leave it and forget it” like adsense, and part “rev-share” like performancing marketing. Contextual or not, that to me is the future.
>>Will Bloggers Embrace Affiliate Marketing?
They wont do it en masse, till the aff industry drags itself out of the webmaster mindset and into the blogosphere. Not only are most aff programs ill suited to blogs by way of how damn long it takes and how fiddly it is to put a link in, but the only automated alternatives are so spammy they turn even the spammers off.
It will catch up im sure, but not yet.
That’s the point. Building affiliate partnership with certain companies is a lot of work compared to that oh-so-easy AdSense thing.
I go with Jim the whole way! When you have a niche blog and you know the market then it’s always a good idea to offer partnership to related companies. Just work hard to push or pull companies into your boat (use all direct marketing tools you can comfortably handle – again, newsletters are a great thing!). The argumentation is always the same … the product/news/review must be highly interesting for your readers and then your readership is highly interesting for these companies. And your readers have to show it with high click through rates. If a product is below average CTR throw the ad away … but first talk to the originating company about it!
I know one ‘salt water aquarium’ hobby site which sells books and related products like hell. Niche, readers and products just fit perfectly well. They convert over 50% of the repeating visitors! It’s a steady flowing market because publishers offer a photo calendar every year, specialized books about how to raise a specific species, … etc.
A negative example is an audiophile site about old turn table record players. Everybody with an old turn table needs a rubber belt for the old record players and a repair how-to for that special machine but this subject is not converting at all. People buy an expensive rubber belt for 10 bucks, repair their turn table record player, are very happy, give great thankful feedback but never return the the site 🙂
Back to subject … One tip from real life experience … visit fairs and spread the news about your blog. Give away and receive business cards. If you show up personally and show that you are moving on the same terrain people will come back to you. It takes time … my experience is that it can take a year. But when these people contact you and you do a good job you will have loyal clients.
As always just my 2c …
Now THAT was a nerve-wracking read (#2).
That guys math was a mess, and for an “expert” he sure didn’t seem to have a clue.
Adsense can be super effective for the right blogs. You need to specialize in a subject with high bids, and dont wander off the subject too far or youll get hurt by SmartPricing.
Use SEO when you start out, pay attention to your PR (Pagerank, I know, you don’t like it, but it is important in some applications), and use the Blog Traffic sites (sure, its crappy traffic, but its traffic, and some of it will convert, especially on the sites that force 30-45 second reads).
I don’t care who you are, if you have a blog about, for instance, DUI/DWI in San Diego, and can get traffic to that site (check keyword searches, people are looking, and check PR, because people aren’t high on it)… you are going to make enough money for it to be worth your while.
Or am I insane?