Nov 11 2009

Making Money, Maybe

This week I tried something new that I’ve been meaning to for a while: online affiliate marketing.  The idea is that you find a product that’s being sold online that offers an affiliate fee, and market it yourself, taking a cut from each sale that comes through you.

The first step is finding a product that offers an affiliate fee (a percentage of each sale, which goes to the person whose link sent the customer to the site), which isn’t already being marketed on a zillion different web pages, but which looks like it has potential to sell.  (This is the first hard part.)  You can search for products on affiliate sites like Clickbank, which is where I found my first one.  Then you go do some searches at Google to see how many other sites are featuring that product, and how competitive they are—whether you think you can make a page that will outrank theirs.

Once you’ve picked a product with potential, you create a site for it, which is simplest (and free) at a “start a free blog” site like Blogger.  Then you write a sales article, promoting the product, and make it the first post or page on that new site.  In this article, you put your affiliate link to the product, so anyone going through that link and purchasing the product will credit you.

Now, this new page isn’t going to rank well on the search engines (unless there’s really no competition at all, which is very unlikely), unless you get some links to it from other sites.  There are some tricks to this, but it basically boils down to finding other “make your own blog” sites or other sites where you can create free content, and putting posts on those with links to your main article.  This is the part that takes the most time.

Lighted Christmas Tree Block

Lighted Christmas Tree Block

So I found my product, Lighted Christmas Glass Blocks, and created my main article page, which is at that link.  Then I tracked down a few open multi-user WordPress blogs, where I could start a new blog, and put small posts on them pointing to my main article.  So Google should see at least a half-dozen links to it fairly quickly (including this one).  I picked a Christmas product because Google Trends shows that searches for Christmas-related items are just starting to take off.

That’s probably not enough incoming links to get it ranking at the top, but I’ll see how it goes.  I can sign up for more open WordPress blogs if I need to, but most of them have captchas so I can’t automate the whole process, so each one takes time.  This is really just an experiment, to see if the idea is worth pursuing.  I haven’t used the product myself (an E-book, in this case), so I’m not recommending it here (although it looks like a neat idea).  I’m basically just trying to gather certain search engine traffic that isn’t being served well and drive it somewhere profitable.

It smacks a little of trying to make money from nothing—although it does take time at the beginning, so it’s not really nothing.  (My first reaction to things like this is always, “If it were really that easy, everyone would be doing it.”  But there are different levels of ‘easy,’ and everyone can’t do everything, so who knows.  Some people claim to do very well doing this.)  If I make anything, it’ll be because I did a better job of getting the product ranked on the search engines than the actual sellers of the product did, and I helped prospective buyers find the product, so everyone wins.  I’ll report back here how it goes.

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