30
Jun

Bulid A Niche Store – No Further Development

Build A Niche Store (BANS) users received an email yesterday covering a few things and one was letting us know that the current owners will no longer be further developing the product. They feel that as far as they’re concerned they’ve taken BANS as far as they intended to. In fact they probably took it further than they intended. But that doesn’t mean BANS is dead or that it is going to disappear in the future. That just isn’t going to happen because as long as you own BANS you can still build stores with it and if the developers sell, (they’ve had inquiries) well, then it will just get better.

A second thing covered in the email was basically a schooling for those that have built BANS stores, or any niche site, with either no content or unrelated and non relevant content. Speaking of the model of affiliate marketing that only the committed will make money at, they said:

If you don’t truly know the model (the requirements of the model) how can you successfully develop sites to profit from it?

This has always been a shortfall for BANS.

It’s always been just a tool – some of you have loved it, some of you have outgrown it and some of you have abandoned it.

With no direction, the idea of the “quickest path to success” is the one that many followed which meant the rapid development of poorly chosen, poorly planned, poorly built, poorly marketed and poorly managed sites.

The result of that process is inevitable – regardless of platform.

If you can’t see that you’re wasting your time.

That’s what I’ve been saying for the last year and a half here at AffiliateConfession.com even though when starting out building my BANS sites I played into the build-a-ton of sites mentality. Now, there’s nothing wrong with building a ton of sites if, and only if, you can develop them properly. Unfortunately in many cases that isn’t what has happened with many who have purchased BANS. As mentioned in the email example above, many have looked towards the “quickest path to success” with BANS and it has turned out to be no path to success at all.

Which brings me to the third part of the email where the developers are announcing a new product they’re releasing soon that will teach people the number 1 way to make money online. In fact, that’s the name of their website and where the new product will be released from when it’s ready. The url is TheNumber1WaytoMakeMoneyOnline.com. There’s not much to see there right now, but you can download a free pdf file that covers what will be in the guide.

When the guide is released it’s only going to be $24.95 and although it’s probably more geared to beginners I’m still going to get it because there’s always something to learn and I trust the guys that developed BANS because I love the product and the developers have never been about hype so I know they’re new guide will not be about hype.

There’s such a need for a straightforward product like this because there’s so much wrong information available about how to make money online today. And there are so many people who need to hear once again that there’s no quick path to success. I probably need to hear it again as well and for only $24.95 I trust it will be a pretty inexpensive lesson.

Popularity: 17% [?]

Tags: , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon

4
Jun

Working Towards Unemployment – It’s A Beautiful Thing

Your goal as an affiliate marketer, should you choose to accept it, is to ultimately become unemployed. With that said, if Al Gore decided to flip the switch and turn the internet off, I’d be in trouble because I don’t know if I could ever go back to working in a cubicle again.

When you come home from working for someone else it will probably take some time to get used to all the things you have to do working for yourself. You have to do everything from taking out the trash, to figuring how much money to spend on advertising to making management decisions to being the one and only IT person to cleaning up after the cat. The multitude of things that need to be done every day can be a bit overwhelming until you get into the stride of your new gig. Once you get into that stride though, you then begin to realize how fortunate you are to be able to earn a living from the comfort of your home (or drinking coffee at B&N where I am now).

It also takes some time after you start working at home before you get to the the point where you realize how restrictive the job environment really was. However, at the same time you realize that, you kind of get a shock to your system when it dawns on you that you may not be able to ever return to that previous lifestyle. Congratulations, you are now totally unemployable!

While growing into your work at home affiliate business you will experience many a roller coaster ride when one month you are doing great and the next month you’re trying to figure out how you can afford to start your next ppc campaign or even buy a cup of coffee at the local Starbucks or Barnes & Noble. Over the more than 4 years I’ve been working at home I’ve made from $600 per month to $10,000 per month and literally everything in between. I’ve had so may sources of income dry up and so many others come from out of nowhere, it’s completely unbelievable sometimes to even contemplate how that has actually happened.

But that’s the way most affiliate marketers experience their business and watching things happen like this makes you much more able to see opportunity and capitalize on those opps that can make a difference in your business. All the while this is happening though you always want to be working towards those things that will provide you much more stability than some flash in the pan trick that you learned in the latest ebook you paid way too much for.

The shock to your system when you realize you are no longer job material I mentioned earlier makes you all the more an entreprenuer. Eventually, what was once a challenge to figure out where your next source of income will come from becomes a mode of everyday thinking. Seeing a ppc campaign dry up or not earning as much from your latest BANS site as you thought you would is no longer a big deal because you’ve already figured out how to do the things that can earn you a nice income. It isn’t like starting over, it’s just continuing down the path of being an entreprenuer. No worries, you’ll figure something out.

Having the determination to work through those days and extended periods in your affiliate business when things aren’t going that well will develop your attitude from an, “OMG what am I going to do?” minset to a, “No biggie, I’ll figure somthin’ out” attitude.

Set your mind on working towards unemployment, because it really is a beautiful thing.

Popularity: 21% [?]

Tags: , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon

11
May

How Much Content Should Your BANS Store Have?

I haven’t written much lately about Build A Niche Store, but I still do come across those stores that have little or no product descriptions and absolutely zero articles for content. And since I’ve been working quite a bit on my gold coins BANS store I thought I’d discuss how much content you should add to your store and a couple things you can do to get better rankings and more traffic.

Besides product descriptions of at least 2 paragraphs for each and every one of your products pages you should treat your BANS store as an on going project and continue to add pages to it on a fairly regular basis. I changed my philosophy back several months ago as did many BANS users, because of sites getting deindexed, in that the general consensus had been to build as many stores as possible and add content as you could. Now, I wouldn’t recommend working on more that one or two BANS stores at a time until you can add at least 30 or 40 pages of content to each one along with appropriate descriptions for each page that features auctions. You also want to get 30 or 40 articles to start off with placed in article directories for those all important incoming links.

Now, don’t think you’re going to get away with picking up a few articles from an article site and throw them on your store along with nonsensical product descriptions and poof, you’re done with that store. I’ve never been one to advocate the easy way of affiliate marketing and anything other than serious treatment of your content by giving your niche audience the quality information they’re looking for just isn’t worth doing.

Once you have your 30 to 40 pages, the same amount of articles and relevant product descriptions, congratulations, you now have the beginnings of a BANS store. I’ve read on the Build A Niche Store forums that some people have put up 10 or 15 pages of content on their sites and now they can’t think of anything else to add to their site. If you can’t think of more than 10 pages of content to add to your BANS site then either you need to change your niche or, more than likely, you need to expand your thinking.

On my gold coins BANS site I currently have 78 pages of content in several sections such as alternative investments, buying gold coins, the financial bailout, gold bullion, rare gold coins and more. These are all subjects related to gold coins that will eventually draw in the kind of visitor that could possibly be interested in either collecting gold coins or investing in gold coins. It’s not really that hard coming up with stuff to write about related to your niche. Just go to Google News or Google Blog Search and search for the top keywords in your area of interest. You’re bound to find lots of ideas for content and articles for article marketing.

As you continue to build your BANS store, the more relevant, quality content you add, the more your site begins to look like quality site to the search engines and your visitors. As far as some of the other things you can do to get better rankings are remove auctions from your home page and start a blog on your BANS site. I’ve seen my site completely disappear for some top keywords in just a couple of days when turning on home page auctions and then have watched that totally reverse itself in the same amount of days when flipping the switch again. I don’t have a clue why this happens, but Google just doesn’t like to see BANS sites with auctions on the home page, so get rid of them.

Also, blogs normally only take a few days to appear in the search engines and the gold coins blog added to the BANS site, while it only has 8 posts, it is indexed and starting to get traffic. The blog covers some things related to gold coins and other economic news and gives me an outlet to rant about the current state of financial affairs in this country while giving people access to alternative investments in gold if they choose to do so.

Yes, building a quality BANS site is still a lot of work, but having a successful affiliate business is all about work and quality these days. There are certainly smart and easier ways of building your affiliate business and a BANS store, but there aren’t any short cuts to easy money any longer.

Popularity: 27% [?]

Tags: , , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon

28
Apr

Paint What You See, Not What You Think You See

Paint What  You See“Paint what you see, not what you think you see.” Those were probably some of the most profound words uttered by a teacher in a painting class I was taking while working on a graphic arts degree. It helped me finally “see” what I was doing wrong in drawing and painting still lifes, people and landscapes.

The trouble us budding artists had was that we knew what an apple, an orange, a wine bottle, and a human face looked like close up, but from 20 feet away we were trying to draw in the detail that we knew was there, but couldn’t actually see. When we all eventually realized to just paint what we saw, the entire process became much easier.

If you think about what you do in affiliate marketing and especially how you work your paid search campaigns, sometimes doing the stupid simple things, or at least being able to realize what they are, can make a huge difference in your business. Taking a step back and examining what you really see and how you really get conversions, what makes people buy, or fill out a lead form and ends up making you money can be an eye opening experience. It will probably turn out to be different than what you may have been led to believe or thought you had your head wrapped around.

For the longest time it was like I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out this ppc thing and just about 4 or 5 months ago it really began to literally “click” for me. The conventional wisdom for years was to throw thousands of somewhat related keywords into a few different ad groups, see what converted and then trash the rest. The trouble with that philosophy was that you could have hundreds or thousands of words that end up getting 1 or 2 clicks each and you continue to hold onto them while they get 3, 4 and 5 clicks, waiting to see if one of them may convert while they up costing you lots of cash (especially in a competitive niche) and valuable time watching them. I now never, ever use more than one keyword in an AdGroup.

There are certainly lots of ways to make ppc work, but what started finally paying off for me was when I realized that there is an entire group of impulsive individuals just waiting to pounce and spend money on the hottest thing or get the latest bit of information that’s important to them especially when it’s recommended by someone else or has the force of the all powerful media behind it.

Up close it looks like ppc is a huge chore with all the market research, keyword research, tracking, quality score issues, bid prices, conversions and everything else that goes with it. The right in your face view of ppc marketing is fraught with details, but once you step back and take a look at the bigger picture the fundamentals are really quite simple. The basics are no more complicated than: find a source of lots of cheap traffic and send it to a relevant offer that converts.

Whatever you think of the media, when it comes to identifying hot trends, hot products and niches relevant to us affiliate marketers, they are absolutely your friend. If you keep an eye on the Drudge Report, the morning shows, the nightly news and the extended news programs like Dateline, 20/20, 60 Minutes and others and then regularly check Google Trends, Insights For Search, Yahoo Buzz and anything else that keeps track of hot topics, everything you need to get gobs and gobs of traffic is right there.

The more familiar you become with watching trends, the easier it becomes to identify topics that could possibly be a successful ppc campaign or other affiliate marketing venture for you. It is becoming much more frequent that I get up from watching one of these news programs right in the middle of it, start a ppc campaign and and end up making money 15 minutes later. And the great thing about these hot topic campaigns is that no one else is bidding in that space, plus if they don’t end up working, the cheap traffic doesn’t end up costing you much.

You’ll probably have to run several of these type of campaigns until you get the hang of it and figure out what makes people react and buy and more specifically what works for you and the way you target your ppc efforts. For some of you, this will probably be fairly easy if you are already in touch with trends, popular culture and the like. It was an initial effort for me because I tend to shy away from trendy subjects so it was hard to identify what was important and would eventually be profitable.

The bottom line though is not to over-complicate the process because even if you are remotely familiar with the news and general happenings you already are in touch enough to make your affiliate marketing and ppc efforts work much better. You may just have to refocus, take a step back, and learn how to paint what you see, not what you think you see.

Popularity: 26% [?]

Tags: , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon

6
Apr

Attention Amazon Associates – No More Direct Linking Via Paid Search

I just got an email at 5:01 this morning from the powers that be at Amazon.com letting their associates know that as of May 1, 2009 they will no longer allow direct linking from paid search ads. If you are an Amazon affiliate and have been making a bit of cash this way, as I have, you’ll have to wrap everything up by the end of this month.

Ever since eBay made a similar change, I guess it was about a year and a half ago, Amazon became one of the only all inclusive affiliate programs that still allowed direct linking. By all inclusive, I mean that with Amazon there is hardly a product in the world you can’t get through them, thus giving affiliates in almost any niche the ability to direct link. Being able to direct link to Amazon via paid search left the possibilities wide open for anyone that knew ppc fairly well and wanted to make some easy money. No matter the product, model number, color, size, shape or whatever, you can get it at Amazon and affiliates could send customers directly to any page right from Google, Yahoo, MSN and other paid search platform. Unfortunately, that will no longer be allowed.

This is a serious bummer since I’d been doing this exact thing for the last several months earning a few hundred dollars in commissions on a monthly basis and had been planning to scale this up quite a bit. It’s not the end of the world since I’m learning to take everything in stride, it just seems to be the nature of the affiliate game. You have to learn how to constantly adapt in this business or you’ll find yourself out of work.

Update: I thought I’d add the content of the email below:

Dear Amazon Associate:

We’re writing to let you know about a change to the Amazon Associates Program. After careful review of how we are investing our advertising resources, we have made the decision to no longer pay referral fees to Associates who send users to www.amazon.com, www.amazon.ca, or www.endless.com through keyword bidding and other paid search on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other search engines, and their extended search networks. If you’re not sure if this change affects you, please visit this page for FAQs.

As of May 1, 2009, Associates will not be paid referral fees for paid search traffic. Also, in connection with this change, as of May 1, 2009, Amazon will no longer make data feeds available to Associates for the purpose of sending users to the Amazon websites in the US or Canada via paid search.

This change applies only to the Associates programs in North America. If you are conducting paid search activities in connection with one of Amazon’s Associates Programs outside of the US and Canada, please refer to the applicable country’s Associates Program Operating Agreement for relevant terms and conditions.

We appreciate your continued support and participation in this advertising Program. If you have questions or concerns, please write to us by using the Contact Us form available on Associates Central.

Sincerely,

The Amazon Associates Program

Now that direct linking to Amazon from paid search is gone at the end of the month, it just makes being an affiliate all the more interesting. Share your thoughts, especially if you are direct linking to Amazon.

Popularity: 27% [?]

Tags: , , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon