Several weeks ago I received an email (sorry, I forgot your name) asking how we make affiliate sales even though GrownUpGeek.com is primarily a forum/social community, which historically do not do very well with affiliate sales.
The short answer is: Not very well
But after I got to thinking about it, ~$500-$1,000/month in affiliate sales isn’t too bad considering what I know about affiliate sales (virtually nothing), and I’m sure many new webmasters would be thrilled to generate that sort of income so I thought I would expand a bit more on how we do it.
Because GrownUpGeek.com started as “a website” we have a lot of older static pages/articles that began to rank very well for certain terms after about a year. Out of roughly 100 static pages about 3 or 4 were about using security-type software and were perfect candidates for some affiliate links. Up until just a few months ago this was our only source of affiliate income and most months it usually generated only a few hundred dollars. More recently one of those pages started to rank very well for “how to make money on the internet” and other similar “make money on the internet” searches. Last week, when that page climbed to #1 on Google for “how to make money on the internet” I realized I could probably monetize it better than I was. I re-wrote the page a bit and in addition to my trusty PowWeb affiliate links I added a Web.com hosting affiliate link which has very high sale price to payout ratio. Since I made those changes less than a week ago that page has already generated over $500. I’m sure I could spam-it up more with a bunch of banners and more links, but I’m not sure all the extra spamination would generate any additional sales so I’ve choosen to keep the page low-key.
Several months ago we also added a “recommended software” page and linked to it from every page on the site. This page is just a listing of free software that myself and other members recommend, along with affiliate links for a few products that many visitors come looking for. This page was generating ~$100-$200/month – but we were able to drive more people to it and increase sales even more by creating word-filters for words related to products on the page. This way, anytime someone makes a forum post or comment on a post with a key-word in it, that word or phrase would automatically link to our Recommended Software page. More recently we’ve also created word-filters that create links directly to the affiliate offer. Over time these links have built up and generate more and more sales.
We also make direct forum posts regarding affiliate products. I don’t like to do this often because they can look spammy to members – and I usually only do them to experiment. Recently after getting the idea from Garry Conn I made a quick post about a Internet Home Business product I had seen on TV .. In less than 24 hours I was ranking #1 for that product’s URL, so the people that typed the URL advertised on the TV commercial into Google (and geeze a lot of people do that!) got my forum-post listed at #1. I found similar product on ClickBank, threw it into the post, and already that post has generated a few sales.
Finding affiliates to promote is easy. I started with Comission Junction, and also now use Plimus and ClickBank. Between the three of them I can almost always find a product that members or visitors might be interested in.
To make money with affiliate sales you don’t have to be an SEO god, Adwords guru or a marketing expert (although all that stuff might help but if you were any of those you probably would not be reading my blog). With very little investment in time or effort we are able to generate a decent amount of sales & income by “working with what we have” and making the best of the traffic that we already get.