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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Should I Hide My Affiliate Activity from My Boss?

Q: I work for big company who would not want me moonlighting but I want to start affiliate home business and eventually quit my job when (if) I can. Can I temporarily startup a biz using anonymous user name(s) (Facebook, twitter, Affiliate registration, etc)? Once I learn and get experience I can “start over” with my real name.

Shawn CollinsA: The thing there is when you join up with an advertiser or a network, you have to provide a name or company name when creating the account.

The commissions have to be made payable to some person or company, so you can’t fake that information.

I suppose the account could be in the name of a spouse or friend.

Has your company explicitly said it would be forbidden to become an affiliate on your own time? If so, don’t risk your job or get a different one.

As far as those various social media accounts and your domain, I would suggest getting the same name for all of them for consistency.

Those accounts won’t display your name, but rather the brand that you are creating.

But in the end, your name does have to be attached, so you can get paid.

Video: Should I Hide My Affiliate Activity from My Boss?

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Do People Really Make Money in Affiliate Marketing?

Q: Are there people actually making money with Affiliate marketing? Could you give reference websites. There are too many liars in this business.

Shawn CollinsA: As far as your first question, yes, there are people making money in affiliate marketing.

And also, I agree that there are too many liars in this business.

One example I will give you is my site, ExtraMoneyAnswer.com. Take a look there, because I tell my story about how I got started in affiliate marketing.

It was a pretty slow start. I went a few months without making a dime.

The new few months after that I made a little bit. My progress continued from there, as I testing things out and developed successful processes for my sites. This enabled me to scale up.

The majority of people are not making a lot of money in affiliate marketing.

However, if you put some time into it, you can certainly make $100 or $500 a month through affiliate marketing.

If you invest more time and money, you can scale it up. There are many folks making a nice living this way.

As far as reference websites, a couple of the bigger affiliate sites are Flamingo World and FatWallet in the coupon site area.

There are so many different types of affiliate sites out there.

Hopefully, that puts you a little at ease with how thing work.

When it comes to advice from affiliate marketers, take a look at the various forums to get a feel for which people are typically most respected and tend to give the best advice.

But take advice with a grain of salt, until you trust somebody, because they could be inflating their knowledge and experience.

There is definitely opportunity out there if you are willing to apply yourself.

Video: Do People Really Make Money in Affiliate Marketing?

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Should Affiliates Have a Dot Com?

Q: I’m just starting out, by the way great site, but my question is should I use or have to use a .com for my first domain or domains or does it really matter (versus .us, .org or .net, etc.)? Thanks.

Shawn CollinsA: It’s not mandatory for an affiliate to use a dot com domain name, but I would recommend that you do use one.

A dot com has more of a cachet with a typical visitor to your site, as that top level domain is the established norm versus some of the newer, hokey top level domains.

For me personally, unless you’re spelling out some word that ends in “us”, it doesn’t make sense to get a .us.

Even in that sort of case, I would say it looks gimmicky and not as much of a long term site and business.

Also, as an affiliate, your site has to pass the review of the various affiliate managers where you apply, and in my conversations with many affiliate managers, a dot com is expected.

I have something like 200 domains, and maybe a half dozen or so are non dot com’s.

Even though it’s harder to find the best name for a domain with a dot com, I think it’s the way to go.

Video: Should Affiliates Have a Dot Com?

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Steps to Get Started in Affiliate Marketing

Q: I haven’t read so much since coming across your work 2 days ago. You provide great useful information.

Shawn CollinsMy Question: Virtually all of the “How Too” information on affiliate marketing that I have read has been written by people whose product is information about affiliate marketing. Their niche is selling information about affiliate marketing.

I have already decided on a group of related products, but need information on how to actually join an affiliate program. I am not looking to become a blogger or how to author, I am just looking to sell consumers products.

Are there any successful people out there, say selling stained glass products, without the how to information?

A: If you’re just trying to get started as an affiliate, I’ve created a free resource site called Extra Money Answer at http://www.extramoneyanswer.com/.

I take you through every step in getting started with an affiliate site.

The site details everything from getting a domain name and hosting to driving traffic and then monetizing the site.

Each section is meant to stand alone, so you can skip to whatever point you are in getting your site going.

Don’t pay anything for any system or program that promises secrets and success.

I created this site to provide an alternative to the bad, costly advice out there.

Video: Steps to Get Started in Affiliate Marketing

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