Affiliate marketing and SEO

lakeerieartists invited me to blog here, so I thought I’d check out her blog in more detail. It turns out, she’s already written about the most important things. She’s discussed:

Since the main points have already been covered, I thought I’d just share my experience with some specific niche lenses.

There’s a reason why making money online is generally such a long road: there are several steps here:

  1. Finding a niche you can generate traffic for
  2. Generating traffic for it, which always takes time
  3. Finding a way to sell within that niche (or another one)

Time plays a part here. When you’re starting out, you’ll be happy with 10 visitors a week. In fact, on many of my lenses I’m still happy with that. But that’s not the sort of traffic that will get you sales, in general (though there are exceptions).

So if you can have a niche with substantial traffic within a year of starting out online, you’re actually doing quite well. That means you’ve not only started out with keyword research and great titles, but also that you’ve been able to generate links to that content. Note that this gets harder with each year that passes.

Then, if all goes well within the second year you can start being effective at selling. It took me much longer than that actually.

The challenge is to find a niche, or a niche within a niche, where you can rank your content (with SEO knowledge practiced of course) AND make sales.

My top lenses are prime examples of this challenge. My top lens is also my oldest (almost two years old). It was based on keyword knowledge from my own old spiritual site. It gets about 2000 visitors a week, but it has only sold two books this year and 5 products over it’s lifetime.

That’s very little in comparison to the amount of visitors it gets.

Another top lens of mine Red Cheeks, how to get rid of them! recommends an actual product as a solution to a problem. So you’d expect sales, especially since it also gets about 1000 visitors a week. That’s true, it does get sales, but over March I still did not make as much from affiliate sales there (amazon modules) as I did on lensrank related earnings. That’s with a whopping 22 sales that month.

But I would not have been making any sales if I had not the smarts to recognize that the ‘rosacea’ niche was crowded. That is: search for ‘rosacea’ on google and you’ll find lists of webpages on the topic, with the word ‘rosacea’ in the title. That’s including an authority community site by and for Rosacea sufferers. So I decided to just describe my skin issues the way I always have: as red cheeks. I’m not even sure whether a dermatologist would diagnose me with rosacea or some other skin complaint. And I honestly don’t care. I thought that perhaps the same would be true for other people. I’ve since of course seen, in the traffic, that I was right.

The way the title is phrased is the result of a slow development. I don’t remember how I started, but the classic ‘how to…’ format is certainly not the way I started the lens out. I just found that people were finding me for that phrase and decided to adapt the title to that fact.

This is, by the way, why I absolutely advise people to adapt their lens title over time. This should be done slowly and patiently, not every week. That’s way to quick to be able to decide what phrases people are typing into google.

Of course it’s not really an easy lens to turn into a series, especially since I’m no dermatologist. However, I did create a spin off lens that looks like it is part of a series. The fact is though, that I came up with it by taking over a very different lens: Going Red – women and heart conditions. I found that that lens did not actually get me traffic of people looking for information on heart problems in women, but of people who turned red. The heart conditions lens never was very successful.

However, the spin off lens was obviously related to the rosacea lens and I with some keyword research I adapted the title to include the main reason people go red in the face: embarrassment. But as you can tell from the URL, I originally thought people would be looking for help with getting red over stress, not embarrassment. By now this lens has become a forum for teens and early twenties people who go red whenever anybody pays any attention to them. Those comments are a sad read.

It also sells as much as the red cheeks lens, with only half the traffic.

I guess the message here is that sometimes it takes a combination of simply trying things out, keyword research, link building and luck to get from nothing to traffic to sales.

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