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Techniques for Improving Affiliate Program Performance

christmasOnce you’ve chosen an affiliate product or program to promote on your blog you cannot just slap a link to it into your sidebar and forget about it. The task then is in thinking about how you’ll drive readers to it.

Similarly to contextual advertising – positioning of your links to these programs is essential – as is the way you actually link to it.

Keep in mind that with affiliate programs you have two tasks that need to be completed in order for you to earn something from them.

  1. Get readers to click on the link/ad to visit the affiliate program’s page
  2. Have readers actually purchase the product

Here are a few techniques that you might want to keep in mind as you fine tune your affiliate programs for the end of the year:

Deep Linking

I’ve had the most success with affiliate programs when I link to them from within contextually relevant content in my posts.

I’m much more likely to get people to click on an affiliate link (and potentially buy it) for a particular model of digital camera if the link is in a post on that camera than if the link was in a sidebar of every page on that site.

Contextual linking to products helps both in getting people to click on your links as well as increasing the chances that they’ll buy the product.

Positioning

I’ve written earlier in this series about the positioning of AdSense and Chitika ads and many of the same principles apply with affiliate programs. As you place them keep in mind that there are key points on your blog where your reader’s eye will naturally be drawn to. In content/posts is a good start but also consider the flow of your posts and at what point your reader might be ready to make a purchase.

For example if your affiliate link was in the first line of your post you’ll probably not get great results – however if it is later in the post once you’ve given some relevant information on the product and have outlined the pros and cons of buying it you might find people more ready to explore buying options.

Link Wording

The way you link to affiliate programs has a bearing both upon whether people click them and what frame of mind they’ll be in as they arrive at the site. A few tips come to mind:

  1. Don’t trick Readers
    The chances of converting a click on a link into an actual sale are very small if you trick readers into visiting an affiliate link
  2. Don’t lie – false recommendations of a product won’t do you any favors if you are trying to build your blog’s reputation. I link to affiliate products in two ways. If I actually recommend the product I say this in and around the link and encourage readers to buy it (giving them both pros and cons of doing so). If I don’t know much about the product and can’t genuinely recommend it I don’t – I simply link to it with a ‘get a price on this product’ link (or something similar).
  3. Genuine Recommendations - I find I get higher conversion rates on people buying affiliate products where I give a review of that product that highlights both it’s strengths and shortcomings as a product. People appreciate you giving them a realistic expectation of the product rather than hyping it up.

Tomorrow I’ll write more on driving traffic to your Affiliate programs.

This post has been a part of the How to Fine Tune your Blog for Christmas Series.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. monchster says:

    Awesome tips… I myself have found it difficult to get my readers to actually visit an affiliate and purchase. I never really thought of contextual links in my posts. I will definitely give it a shot and post my results. Thanks again!

  2. My Hot Image says:

    Nice tips you are giving here, but how can i make people purchase the affiliate product ?

    i can make them visit the site by deep linking and good positioning like you said but how to make them purchase it ?

  3. Nick says:

    Thanks Darren, great tip… I will probably start to use text links in the coming weeks. You’re right when you say that text links are usually better when inside contextually relevant content. In cj.com the text links usually have the highest 3 MONTH EPC as compared to other type of links.

    I’ll be waiting for your next article regarding driving traffic…

  4. Darren Rowse says:

    My Hot Image – it’s probably partly about choosing quality/valuable/well priced products to promote but ultimately you can’t make anyone buy anything.

    My strategy is to give people information that they need to make a purchasing decision (both the benefits and costs) and then let them make their own mind up. I know some people advise only writing positive things about products and hyping them up – but I’m more interested in an ongoing relationship with my readers and don’t want to live with playing a part in ripping people off by selling rubbish.

  5. Poppy says:

    Why do you only ever seem to write about blogging as a money making tool? I’m not interested in that topic, it seems you have a serious problem, bordering on an obsession.

    I think your blog would be a lot more successful if you wrote about other topics.

  6. Darren Rowse says:

    Thanks for the comment Poppy,

    Thanks for your advice and suggestions that I broaden my topic.

    However – I set this blog up because I wanted to create a virtual space for people to explore this very topic – making money online via blogs.

    In fact I used to write on this topic on a blog that had a much wider topic spread and broke that blog up into a number of smaller ones focusing upon the individual topics because I found most of my readers didn’t share my exact spread of interests and got a little frustrated when I wrote on something that they didn’t like.

    So perhaps ProBlogger isn’t the blog for you. While I’d love you to be a loyal reader I’m comfortable with the fact that not everyone is into this topic. Perhaps you might like some of the 150 topics that we cover over at b5media. Otherwise you could look at technorati and do a search for a topic that you are actually interested in and you might find some blogs that are more to your liking.

    All the best with that.

Trackbacks

  1. Tips to Improving Affiliate Conversions and Traffic to your Blog…

    I’m glad to see Darren over at ProBlogger focusing so much of this great series on affiliate marketing. This week he adds a couple more affiliate articles to this series about “How to Fine Tune your Blog for Christmas

    ……

  2. [...] Even with various affiliate programs, readers deserve the truth behind all products and services offered through the site.  The writer doesn’t have to compromise quality so more people would check out the ads.  Rather, the site should aim for balance in both arguments (benefits and disadvantages).  With real focus on quality and content, affiliate programs will then earn the much-needed attention and interest of more readers.  These ideas are all based on Darren Rowse’s blog at problogger.net.  The author also wrote that link wording does not always require the so-called hype.  Instead, reviews may be based on information or honest observation, while strategic positioning of links and keywords may as well be applied. Friends Economy Facts Local Dating London Dating Home Improvement Online Education Archives [...]

  3. [...] This is the start of the Rolling Blogroll series, here, at AllTipsAndTricks. The idea came to me while reading some materials about the proper way to do affiliate marketing, techniques for improving affiliate programs performance, and stories about the best affiliate marketing blogs of 2006. One of the rules was to pre-sell the products on your page, so the customer is almost ready to buy when clicking the affiliate links. “Don’t just throw a link in your sidebar and expect customers to rush in!” [...]