Affiliate Blogging and The Art of Slow Cooking

110304_sr04_02.jpgI’ve been researching on how blogs can be used as a means to promote affiliate programs because I’m pretty interested in how blogs seem to have some natural potential for building stable and long-term relationships between the affiliate and the customer.
Blogs grow over time and their accumulated content is a gold-mine for search engines and the targeted traffic they bring. While contextual Ad networks like Adsense are effective, passive ways of earning money from a blog, I think affiliate programs are superior in many aspects, particularly in terms of long-term profit.
Here are some reasons why.
  • Higher earning potential – doesn’t only depend on ad impressions and clicks
  • Better integration with a blog’s niche/content- No matter how you blend contextual ads, they won’t fit in completely.
  • Earnings do not entirely depend on a blog’s popularity, Page Rank or number of readers
  • Variety – There are a large range of products to suit every website niche.
Organic Blogs and Affiliate Marketing
In a recent post, Shoemoney offers an answer to the question of how to choose a CPA affiliate:
My approach is to build organic traffic to a niche and test different affiliates. Then when I find something that works I will put a lot of PPC money behind it. This is not the popular way to do it though because a lot of people will not put in the time and effort that it takes to build a organic site that will stand the test of time (not spammed to crap) and they want overnight millions. it just is not so.
Some background information. CPA affiliates or Cost-Per-Action affiliates refer to ad networks, retailers or companies that will pay you commission for every visitor you refer to their website, who fulfills a specific action such as subscribing to a newsletter or opening a new account. The more popular CPA affiliates include loan consolidation services and cellphone providers but are not limited to these categories.
When we relate Shoemoney’s advice to the area of blogs, this does suggest that real blogs with search-engine friendly content can be a effective long-term way to promote specific affiliate programs. I think the emphasis on an organic site (one that receives most of its traffic from search engines) is accurate because such a site continues to receive highly targeted traffic over time and doesn’t solely depend on ad campaigns for traffic.
Here are a few other reasons why I think organic blogs are an excellent ways to make money from affiliate marketing.
You can only milk so much out of a static squeeze page. Once a consumer has seen and dismissed it, there’s very little chance of them making a repeat visit. On the other hand, blogs can offer a variety of updated information and are a persuasive means that will eventually convert doubtful consumers into willing referrals.
A prime example of how blogs are rapidly used to promote affiliate programs can be seen in the massive number of blogs created to solely promote Agloco, a program that pays you to surf the internet. I ran a search on Google for ‘Agloco‘ and easily found several blogs in the top 20 search results. If you take a look at these blogs, you’ll notice that they update relatively regularly to generate buzz and dispel doubts, while actively calling for sign-ups.
Blogs are like slow-cookers. They work by gradually cajoling a visitor into action, while seeking to diffuse all misconceptions or hesitation surrounding a specific product. Blogs can also be persistent in a non-intrusive way. One page ads hammer the consumer with benefits and testimonials while the well developed blog makes friends with the consumer, saying “Here’s all I know about the product. Let me know if you need more help.”
Some thoughts on the Ideal Affiliate Blog
I’m planning to set up some blogs for some specific affiliate programs and so came up with a list of axioms I wanted to follow:
  • The blog should use unique content as much as possible. Good for both search engines and readers.
  • The blog must have a very strong niche that relates to the affiliate program in question.
  • The blog must provide easy access to information that is perceived as authentic or even ‘objective’
  • The blog should not run too many ads. Consumers tend to see over-monetization as profit > value.
  • The blog must be up-to-date on the trends surrounding the niche. Outdated news doesn’t reflect well.
  • The blog should practice invisibility. The consumer should not know that you are doing affiliate marketing, i.e. getting a cut of the product sold. Debatable.
  • The blog should evolve seamlessly to include other product or market trends.
  • The blog should have a personality and opinion. In the end, it’s a person-to-person recommendation that does the trick.
While not exhaustive, I think these points can help to determine the effectiveness of a blog that is solely monetized by affiliate commissions. While traffic is important for contextual programs like Adsense and Page Rank is vital for link selling, affiliate blogs need to focus more on persuasive copy writing, effective search engine optimization and most importantly, issues of trust between the customer and the affiliate.
Affiliate marketing with blogs is a fascinating topic for me, because blogs just seem to have so much natural advantage when it comes to building a consistent consumer base for affiliate programs. More on this topic to come.
If you’re interested in participating in a little affiliate experiment, please visit my post on how to make money with Pageflakes.


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