Where Can I Find Somebody to Manage My Affiliate Site?

Q: I am a publisher of a soon to be launched, one of a kind, social website which has a large internet shopping mall in it. I want to hire a long term, experienced manager for it. Please give me advise of how to find and recruit this person?

Shawn CollinsA: The first thing that occurs to me here is that the ideal candidate would be somebody who has their own affiliate site(s).

Assuming they are doing well (would you want them if they weren’t?), it wouldn’t really make sense for them to abandon their affiliate site(s) to work for somebody else.

However, there may be talented folks who want some job security, and they could be happy to make the switch from running their site to running yours if they get benefits and other perks of full-time employment.

As far as trying to identify candidates for the job, I would suggest going to meetup.com to find affiliate marketing meetups in your area, and also to attend conferences.

Both of those can be great for recruiting employees.

Video: Where Can I Find Somebody to Manage My Affiliate Site? video

Ask Shawn Collins your affiliate marketing question and it will be added on the affiliate blog.

Should You Use Your Own Name for an Affiliate Site?

Q: When setting up a new site/blog for an affiliate niche should I use my own name or go with a pen name or even anonymous? With the whole Google Authorship thing I’m wondering what the pros/cons are to using your own name for each affiliate site?

Shawn CollinsA: As far as I am concerned, I always use my own name.

I am not clear about what the cons would be to you, unless it is some sort of controversial topic that you don’t want to be attached to, such as adult.

I like to have my name associated with my sites, as I work on building credibility, and I find that using my name is an asset with my sites. And as you mentioned, Google Authorship is a factor and you will need to use your real name to get the benefits from that program.

Also, I think it’s a negative for a lot of people when they go to the “about” page and they see some generic information, rather than details on the person or people behind the site.

I would encourage you to use your name, unless you see some big peril in using it.

This whole topic leads me to another discussion on wishing to remain anonymous online, whether it be in registering domains or the information on your contact page. I would highly encourage you to use a PO Box or a UPS Store box.

Don’t put your personal address out there for anybody to see, or else you might get somebody who is a huge fan of your site who decides to visit you at home. Or it could be someone who is a little unhinged and they disagree with something you wrote. They might also pay you a visit.

Video: Should You Use Your Own Name for an Affiliate Site? video

Ask Shawn Collins your affiliate marketing question and it will be added on the affiliate blog.

The Difference Between Web Hosting and Domain Registration

Q: I still consider myself a newbie, but am gaining knowledge! I went to Affiliate Summit East 2012, and recently to Affiliate Summit West 2013. I’m signing up for James Martell’s new school, and am psyched! I’ve had a few bumps along the way, getting sucked into schemes that teach me nothing, so it’s great to be hooked-up with you and Affiliate Summit. My question: I joined HostGator for web hosting. Do I still need to register with GoDaddy, even though I’m signed up with HostGator? I guess I’m not clear on what the difference is between web hosting and registering a domain name. Once I sign up for any web hosting site, does that automatically register my domain as well? What’s the purpose for registering?

Shawn CollinsA: Web hosting companies and domain registrars are two separate things, and you’ll need to pay for both to have a website.

In the case of HostGator, they are a hosting company that also provide domain registration services.

And with GoDaddy, they are a domain registrar that also sells web hosting, as well as many other services.

I personally use GoDaddy strictly for domains, and then I use other web hosting companies for my sites: 1and1, BlueHost, Liquid Web, RackSpace, and WP Engine.

You can certainly keep it all in the HostGator environment for convenience, but you will still have to pay for the web hosting and domain registration.

If you are struggling with the process, I cover how to go about getting the hosting and domain setup in my book, Extra Money Answer. My examples are with BlueHost and GoDaddy, but many of the hosts and domain registrars have similar interfaces.

Video: The Difference Between Web Hosting and Domain Registration video

Ask Shawn Collins your affiliate marketing question and it will be added on the affiliate blog.

Where to Find Non-Spammy Affiliates

Q: Where can I find non-spammy affiliates that aren’t just running coupon sites?

Shawn CollinsA: Without revealing your affiliate program, I see that you are running it through an affiliate network, and they offer lots of opportunities for enhanced placement and exposure of your affiliate program.

Check with your representative at the affiliate network about opportunities there.

Also, have a look around at who is promoting your competition on paid search and Facebook ads. Reach out to those affiliates if they are driving the traffic to their own sites, rather than directly to the merchant.

Another approach, which I did years ago to recruit quality affiliates, was to send out direct mail pieces.

I would research sites that made sense for my niche, and then pull together a database to contact those sites. Then I would have a postcard made with 3-5 value propositions for the affiliate program.

And then you’ve got your customers. Many are likely already unpaid evangelists for your company, because they like what you are doing. Harness their satisfaction and work on scaling up their voices.

Finally, I would suggest looking into conferences, where you can meet up with large volumes of affiliates in person.

I am not objective on this one, since I am a Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, but each of the twice yearly conferences provide you a chance to meet more than 1,000 affiliates over three days – way more than you have time to meet.

Video: Where to Find Non-Spammy Affiliates video

Ask Shawn Collins your affiliate marketing question and it will be added on the affiliate blog.

A Domain is Essential for Affiliate Marketers

Q: I was so pleased to find your youtube information. Hopefully you can help me. I recently applied for Google adsense and was not accepted. I would like help uniformly monetizing my platforms (youtube, blogger, etc). I am an actress from various Broadway shows. I’ve decided to start a new blog that focuses on giving advice to young actors as I constantly get questions about how I’ve done it. I had hoped that ads for broadway shows or hair and makeup would be familiar with my blog and a great fit for what I’m looking to do. My current blog is about my life but I plan to taylor it to a more helpful/advice column style. I was not accepted into the program. Based on my current blog do you have advice to give to me.

Shawn CollinsA: I don’t want to share the URL and embarrass the person asking the question, but the first problem is that it’s on Blogger.

I know there are Blogger sites that have Google AdSense, but many affiliate programs won’t consider you.

By using Blogger, you’re sending an unintentional signal to affiliate managers that you’re not taking your affiliate efforts too seriously.

You can get a domain name for less than $10 a year, so I would encourage you to go out and get a domain name and hosting for your blog.

Just the simple act of getting your own domain name and hosting will make a big difference when affiliate managers are reviewing your site.

Video: A Domain is Essential for Affiliate Marketers

Ask Shawn Collins your affiliate marketing question and it will be added on the affiliate blog.

Ideal Number of Networks for an Affiliate Program

Q: I’m researching possibilities to grow and expand our affiliate program and would really appreciate your expert advice on the following. Currently our company is present as a merchant on CJ, ShareaSale and we have in-house program (powered by HasOffers) as well. Do you feel there is much to be gained in joining another affiliate network (i.e. LinkShare or Pepperjam) or is there too much affiliate overlap between platforms. If adding a 3rd network is worthwhile, which one(s) would you recommend?

Shawn CollinsA: First of all, I think you probably already have one platform too many.

It’s totally sufficient for most companies to work with one affiliate network.

In the event you have a number of partners that you’d prefer to manage outside of the network affiliate program, it can make sense to have an in-house affiliate program, too.

I managed affiliate programs for small companies up to huge brands over ten years, and I never really found a need to be in multiple networks. I did it in some cases, and it multiplied my work without a significant lift in sales.

The majority of big affiliates, in my experience, have accounts on all of the major affiliate networks.

There may be some out there that are loyal to a certain platform, but I never ran into that issue.

Video: Ideal Number of Networks for an Affiliate Program

Ask Shawn Collins your affiliate marketing question and it will be added on the affiliate blog.

Trying to Learn an Affiliate Marketing System

Q: I have been exploring & investigating the industry of Affiliate Marketing. I have read quite a bit (including your blog), and have tried learning a system. Consequently, I spent some money and they used Clickbank to process the sale. Clickbank doesn’t seem upfront as I found unknown charges on my card. Do you know/find clickbank reliable?

Shawn CollinsA: I’ve worked with ClickBank in various capacities dating back to the 90’s, and have never had any kind of issue with them at all.

That said, ClickBank provides a platform, and there is always the chance that somebody using that platform is trying to cheat somehow.

I would encourage you to investigate those charges and determine if they came from that transaction or the source of the charges otherwise.

If these charges were not authorized, charge them back.

As far as trying to learn a system, there are a lot of people trying to hawk various systems and programs on how to get rich quick or whatever.

None of those are real. Don’t waste your money on them. I actually created a site to combat the get rich quick garbage out there at http://www.extramoneyanswer.com

On this site, I go through all of the steps from choosing a topic for your site to setting up WordPress, hosting, and a domain, as well as coming up with content, driving traffic, and monetizing the site.

So, the whole site goes through how I create my affiliate sites, and it’s all free.

Don’t spend $100 or $1,000 on a program on some affiliate marketing system, because it will be money down the drain.

Video: Trying to Learn an Affiliate Marketing System

Ask Shawn Collins your affiliate marketing question and it will be added on the affiliate blog.

Launching New Browsers vs. Straight Clicks for Affiliates

Q: When building a affiliate website when they click on the buy now button is best to open the page in new tab/Windows or just go straight the merchant website?

Shawn CollinsA: Part of this comes down to personal preference.

I set my affiliate links to go direct, instead of launching a new tab or browser windows.

In my opinion, it’s a bad user experience to launch new tabs or browser windows.

However, I would encourage you to test it with your audience, because all audiences, niches, etc. vary.

Try it both ways and see which yields the best results for you.

Video: Launching New Browsers vs. Straight Clicks for Affiliates

Ask Shawn Collins your affiliate marketing question and it will be added on the affiliate blog.

Affiliates With 100 or More Sites

Q: I am a novice and have heard several marketers mentions that they have 100-150 active websites. Can you clarify that statement? Are these all full blogs or modified sites? And, how does one manage them all meaningfully?

Shawn CollinsA: When somebody says they have 100 or so sites, they are likely domains that point to a landing page, rather than fully developed sites.

These pages are also known as squeeze pages, and they are intended to insinuate the affiliate into a transaction that was likely going to happen anyway.

In my opinion, these pages do not provide value to the advertisers or consumers.

I would highly suggest that you aspire to make sites that are resources that help people and solve some problem – the kinds of sites you would use yourself.

Video: Affiliates With 100 or More Sites

Ask Shawn Collins your affiliate marketing question and it will be added on the affiliate blog.

Monetizing Instructional Videos

Q: Is putting an instructional video on YouTube a form of affiliate marketing? I watch girls showing how to apply make-up then they feature the line and girls showing how to apply fake hair, some without featuring products. Is it better to have an instructional video on YouTube or to put the video on my site? YouTube gets alot of exposure.

Shawn CollinsA: Yes, YouTube does get a lot of exposure. It is the #2 search engine behind Google.

As far as whether the videos you are seeing are being monetized through affiliate marketing, it depends on the relationship the person in the video has with the advertiser.

In some cases, the advertiser will pay a flat fee to people to make videos.

If you see a video where the URL featured in the video or description that goes to a site other than the advertiser, then they are likely an affiliate.

When it comes to putting your videos on YouTube or your own site, I would encourage you to upload to YouTube, and then embed the videos from YouTube to your site, so you can optimize your exposure with YouTube and Google.

Also, check out the Video SEO Plugin for WordPress to get a greater impact in the Google results for your posts that include videos.

Video: Monetizing Instructional Videos

Ask Shawn Collins your affiliate marketing question and it will be added on the affiliate blog.