When talking about ad spaces in CPA marketing, the first thing that comes to our mind is a website. It is thought to be one of the most functional ad spaces to place content on the internet and it is pretty fair. In this article we are talking about what types of websites publishers use to promote products and earn with affiliate marketin.
Let’s start from listing advantages and drawbacks of having a website as an ad space for affiliate marketing.
Advantages and disadvantages of a website as an ad space
Websites provide many opportunities to work effectively with affiliate networks and to drive traffic to advertisers. As follows:
Various placements. Links in a text, banners, widgets, whole pages — almost anything you want. Websites’ functionality has almost no limits, they provide opportunities to place texts, videos, images, gifs, product catalogs, etc.
Long-term effect. A website won’t disappear if a publisher runs out of money for its promotion. The only thing publishers should do is to pay for hosting in time and usually it is an affordable sum.
Accumulative effect. If you post valuable content and visitors click on different articles, links and other components, search engines will assume your website to be valuable and will take it to the top of search results.
Fairly cheap. First of all, websites need content which you can generate by yourself. Besides, nowadays there are many free CMSs (content management system) which allow creating simple blogs or forums without any programing skills.
Unlike driving traffic to an advertiser’s website, you can see audience behavior statistics and active users. To do so you need to integrate analytics services on your source. Having set analytics, you will get access to the valuable information such as traffic sources, time which visitors spend on your website, conversions and much more. This information helps to test creatives and different advertising campaigns, and adjust them if needed.
Nevertheless, of course, there are certain disadvantages of owning websites:
To retain visitors and to attract new ones, you should post new content every once in a while. It requires to invest constantly your time, efforts and sometimes money. There are many ways of generating content: do it by yourself, attract other editors or let your visitors create content (forums). But if you neglect a website, visitors won’t click the links and thus there will be no traffic to advertisers’ programs and consequently no profi.
To get the website at the top of search results, you should use SEO techniques and it is a long and complex process. It can take months or even years to see your page at least on the first page of search results. But there is good news for those who want to choose a specific topic for the website — it is easier to get them at the top of search results. One more thing that affects the promotion in search engines — the number of websites which refer (provide links) to your website. The rule is simple: if you post interesting content, other websites will share it (adding the link to the source). And if users like the content, they will check the source to find more interesting informaion on this subject.
One helpful tip: do not try to create content for search engines, on the contrary, write for you readers and visitors — for the target audience. A valuable text written in a regular language will work much better than a text consisting of keywords and tags, written specially for the search engines.
Types of websites to earn with affiliate networks
Naturally, you manage your website and hence you can post there whatever you want — whether it is a huge button with a call to action or it is a gallery of photos. But we are going to talk about popular and effective business models which actually bring profit. It doesn’t mean that you cannot create any other type of website, on the contrary, we always encourage to use imagination, use all helpful tools and services, and create something different.
Basically, you create a website which looks like an ordinary online shop but only with one exception: when users click to buy something, they are redirected to the advertiser’s website (via an affiliate link). Generally, affiliate stores gather catalogs of goods of different popular online shops which are advertisers in the affiliate network. The publishers – owners of such stores create a visually nice search on goods from all the online shops with up-to-day prices. A user surfs the website and finds something interesting, clicks on the good and he/she is automatically redirected to the advertiser’s website where the user can learn more information about the product and make an order. In order to create an affiliate store, it is necessary to export product feeds — XML-files consisting of the catalog products with characteristics and images of the products which advertisers provide for publishers. Thus publishers do not need to manually upload each product. Having set the upload of goods on your website, you’ll get a ready affiliate store. The only thing left to do is to design a convenient classification (women/men/children/accessories, etc), filters (brand/size/color) and make sure that everything is up-to-date. When working with this model, you can focus on one niche (for instance, only sports accessories) or promote a wide range of goods (for example, goods from China). You can export goods from one program or from different affiliate programs.
Either you can create a blog on a popular platform (for example, blogger.com), or create your own website (for example, a blog of famous fitness trainer Kayla Itsines). A blog should be dedicated to one topic which you know well as it will help you create an image of an expert in this field. So how can you earn on blogs with affiliate marketing? You can create product reviews or even reviews of online stores, compare them and create selections of goods. Storytelling also works well — you share your personal experience (story) of using a product and share an affiliate link to the store where your readers can buy it. For instance, if you share the story of your trip to Peru, you can add affiliate links to the flight tickets, hotels, etc. Users read blogs in order to find necessary information, therefore the promotion of products should be a “native” sort of advertisement. Because if a blog owner starts creating texts for ads and forgets about the usefulness, readers will react negatively and will stop reading such a source.
Some say that nobody reads forums anymore because everybody has social network accounts nowadays. But we are ready to claim that it is not true because users pleasantly discuss hot topics on special sources — forums. In addition, forums are good for SEO what allows users to open the needed page from the search engine. Moreover, the forums usually provide convenient navigations — each forum thread has its own topic and description where you can always gather the information like if this thread is active, how many users communicate in it, how many messages have been sent there and when the last one was sent. The main advantage of a forum is that the members generate content by themselves and publishers just need to show them the right direction. For example, a publisher posts a message on a forum for women (of course, adding an affiliate link): “Thinking about ordering a shampoo X on iHerb, has anybody ever tried it? Or has anyone ordered on this website, any good reviews?”. Then people will start commenting and sharing their experience and some users will click on your affiliate links or place their own non-affiliate (which can be automatically turned into your affiliate links with the tool MoneyLink). Likewise, you can visit other forums, answer questions there and share your affiliate links where it’s relevant. Real communication and reviews, curiosity and other aspects of forums motivate users to trust other people and place orders using affiliate links. Forums on the following topics are usually in demand: cosmetics, clothes, goods for children, auto, online games, and mobile applications.
Cashback is an opportunity to return part of the money spent on a purchase. Publishers usually share their reward to pay the cashback. For example, an advertiser is ready to pay a publisher 10% of the order sum. And a publisher decides that he/she is ready to give 5% of the order sum to back to the customers in order to motivate them to buy. The majority of advertisers are ready to work with cashback and thus publishers create special cashback services — websites which aggregate such offers from the Internet.
Coupon services (websites with coupons and promo codes)
The model is pretty similar to cashback. Services aggregate the information from the whole internet about sales at the online stores. Advertisers also provide publishers with coupons and deals in the affiliate network, but publishers should monitor their relevance (for example, coupons for new customers can work for years, but Christmas deals have time limits). By the way, some publishers don’t create a website dedicated only to coupons, but they add a tab with coupons on their blogs or news portals or other content sources.
It is a type of websites where users generate content by themselves: you place an affiliate link to a product/service and users leave reviews if they liked it or not. Moreover, if users haven’t found a product/service in the discussions, they can create a new thread/discussion by themselves and share their reviews. You can create a site on a specific topic (auto, books, etc.) or on many topics (goods from China, gadgets or any other products). Such sites can also be a separate page on a content source — for example, a tab on an affiliate store. You can give coupons or cashback for sharing experience in order to motivate users to leave reviews.
Such sites provide an opportunity to compare different products with similar characteristics as well as prices for them. Everything what you need to do is to upload an up-to-date product feed from several affiliate programs and elaborate the comparison model (for instance, create filters like «Price, shipment cost, shipping time, guarantee opportunities, users reviews”). You can add a blog to such source and post videos/articles with your reviews and experience of using a product). It is a profitable business model for promoting devices and gadgets as well as cars.
Such websites usually gather information on a specific topic: articles, news, reviews, analytics and so on. It is a sort of online magazines where you or guest authors post useful non-promotional information. Having developed this website and attracted enough visitors, you can create places for banners (for example, for Google or other banner networks), and sell these places to advertisers. In addition, you’ll be able to place your own banners (with affiliate links) which you can get in the advertising materials in the affiliate network. You can also create a separate page with special deals from the advertisers.
This type of websites is typically used by the publishers who work with contextual ads. If you drive traffic directly to the advertiser’s website, you don’t have access to statistics on orders (because only the advertiser can see it). In order to monitor the effectiveness of advertisements, users reaction, and conversion to orders, you can create a landing page and collect users requests there. Such websites are especially good for collecting leads for financial affiliate programs: you collect applications of users and then pass them to advertisers. One more website feature is the possibility to use low-frequency queries in the contextual ads which advertisers don’t use by themselves.
Doorway pages are based on thousands of popular search queries. A doorway page is a web page designed for the purpose of getting high ranking on the search engine results page and redirecting visitors to a promoted website. In terms of SEO, this page is well optimized and it is highly possible that it will get to the top of search results. Despite all the negativity around doorway pages, there are “white” doorway pages which do not violate any rules of search engines, among these are automatically generated catalogs, bases of phones and addresses, websites-aggregators and others. The main income comes from placing ads. A good doorway page should have content which can be easily “consumed” by the users: there should be normal texts/articles with information correspondent to the topic, not just keywords, it is better to add relevant images and videos as well.
When designing your own website to work with affiliate marketing, you should remember that content and usefulness come first and then advertising. The concept “the more ads the better” doesn’t work in this case. Your website should have convenient navigation, a possibility to search for goods, and filters — everything to let users easily find what they are looking for. Don’t forget about visual aspect: images, video, gifs, printscreens will make the content on the website more interesting for users. It will make users want to click on your links and then purchase the products/services.