Hey there sea changers and welcome back. Recently I wrote about some tips for success in the world of affiliate marketing. Today I am going to cover the other side of the fence and outline 10 affiliate marketing errors to avoid. This may sound negative, but as I keep banging on about, affiliate marketing success is definitely a long game and I would hate for you to waste time and lose momentum. Added to that, the mistakes I have listed here are ones that many affiliate marketers (yours truly included) tend to make without really realising that they have done so.
Some of these are made with new sites, others tend to drift in once it has matured a little however regardless, they are all something to keep an eye on at all times. So as usual, grab a notebook, a nice drink and let’s have a look…
In all honesty, I should have named this one ‘Falling for all of the – “I made $1000 in my first 2 days” ‘ – ads and scams that litter the online world. I have said it before and I will say it again, affiliate marketing takes time and patience. You need to consistently be adding quality, helpful and useful information in order to improve search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website.
The trouble is, many an affiliate marketer will do this for a few months and then get disheartened when their site doesn’t rank and/or they don’t make any sales. This is a natural reaction but one that must be overcome if you are to be successful. At the end of the day, patience is key!
2. Starting with more than one website
This one sort of runs on from error number 1 above in that many of us get disheartened with our first site and start a second one that we think might work better. Or, our first site finally starts to take off so we create a second one to continue the momentum. The problem here is that if your first site is not completely mature, then a second just means that you are splitting your time between the two which in the end slows them both down.
This is certainly not to say that in time you cannot or should not start another site – many successful affiliate marketers do. But before you do, just make ask yourself if you have steps in place to allow your first sites to tick along whilst you work on your second. This usually means outsourcing the critical functions of your initial site such as:
- A freelance writer to write posts.
- Someone to maintain and manage SEO.
- A social medial manager.
Oh, and just keep in mind that these things cost money so if your first site is not generating revenue, then I would take that as a sign to maintain the rage so to speak before spending money to outsource and start a second site.
Note: This is not to say that you can’t start a website and then realise that it really is not as viable as you thought. If this is the case, you absolutely can consider whether starting a new site is a better option. In this case, you would ‘drop’ the first site and channel all of your energies at the second.
3. Joining Too Many Affiliate Programs
As you start your site, you will obviously be looking for affiliate programs that can give you access to product links to refer your readers to. A common error here is that in our haste to make sales, we can fall into the trap of accepting and loading links to every program we can get our hands on. This causes us problems in a number of ways including:
- We don’t spend enough time vetting the programs or products meaning we risk our reputation on poor quality, inferior products.
- We don’t discount programs that pay low commissions meaning we spend a lot of time promoting a product for little return.
- The products we are promoting don’t exactly match our niche making our site jumpy and hard to follow.
- Too many products make it hard to monitor which are selling well and which are not.
To avoid this issue, be choosy with the programs you choose and look for ones that:
- Fit your brand.
- Fit your niche.
- Have decent payment conditions and commissions?
- Have Cross and Upsell opportunities.
- Have access to high ticket items.
- You have a good knowledge about.
4. Selling not solving
I have said it before and I will say it again, if you are not solving a problem for your readers then you are not going to succeed as an affiliate marketer. It is all too easy to get sucked into the sale side of things instead of helping your visitors solve problems – which is why they have undertaken their search in the first place. My rule of thumb is that a reader should be able to find a solution to a problem within each post even of they don’t purchase anything.
I know this sounds like it goes against what we are trying to achieve as an affiliate marketer but think about how you purchase in a traditional bricks and mortar shoe store. Would you be more inclined to buy off of a salesperson who explained all the things to look for in a running shoe or one that just tried to give you a pair or shoes and heard you towards the cash register?
Readers want to know the benefits they are going to get from the product you are discussing, not how much it is and where to buy it – well they probably want to know that, but not straight away…
5. Not enough checking
Spelling mistakes, broken links and poor grammar etc. are unfortunately all too common mistakes made by affiliate marketers old and new. Check your website and posts constantly to make sure that you have them under control. These things will happen of course, especially if you are working hard to continuously release new posts and information in order to assist your readers and increase rankings.
One error on a page, whilst not ideal, is usually overlooked, but if your site is full of them then you will lose readers by the truckload. Check your posts, spell check, spell check again and then spell check some more. Run a broken link checker to make sure that all of your links are active and working – I mean if your affiliate links are broken then you are just leaving money on the table.
6. Drifting from your niche
This is another error that you can make without really even realising that you have done it. In some cases, if you have not clearly identified your niche from the very beginning you can drift from it quite easily. In other cases, it can happen for the following reasons:
- Choosing inappropriate products/affiliate programs.
- Going for products that have extra high commissions.
- Getting distracted by shiny objects that you think are cool – even if they are not in your niche.
- Getting caught up in cross selling opportunities.
Another common cause of this problem is getting caught up in ‘shoulder niches’. For example, you might have a site that deals with weight loss. You write a post on Keto diets as a means of losing weight (which is a shoulder niche) which you then compare to Paleo (comparisons are great tools for affiliate marketing). The problem arises here however if you end up going down the diet path then and not stay within weight loss. In the end, all that happens is that visitors to your site may have trouble distinguishing whether you are a weight loss site or a diet/recipe site.
7. Not writing naturally
The trouble with affiliate marketing, or any online business for that matter, is that newbies are bombarded with SEO requirements such as keywords, tags and meta descriptions and told that they must include them within their posts. This can at times however lead to unnatural writing as we try and make the search engines happy and forget about our readers.
The best advice I can give you here is along the same lines as writing to solve the problem and not the sale. You must write in a natural and conversational tone that resonates with your readers. And funnily enough, search engines will be much kinder on you if you write in a manner that keeps readers on your page rather than a page that appears false due to it being packed with keywords. By all means incorporate your keywords into your title and within the first paragraph, but for the rest, keep it real baby!!
8. Ignoring SEO
Now that I have told you to write naturally, I am going to muddy the waters (just a little) and highlight another common affiliate marketing mistake which is neglecting SEO. Now I accept that this can be a tricky one as there is so much to learn and consider when it comes to SEO however in this instance, I am talking about the basic processes that can be undertaken for each post in order to give yourself the best possible chance of ranking on search engine results pages.
These things include (and some we have covered already):
- Write at least 1000 words.
- Write naturally and SPELL CHECK.
- Use good keywords (included naturally in the title and within first paragraph).
- Include a Meta Title and Meta Description.
- Use your keywords in the title and alt text of all images.
- Include a video with relevant keywords in title and description.
- Request indexing via Google Search Console and Bing webmaster tools.
Social media plays a critical part in any affiliate marketing campaign in that it is perfect for promoting your posts and driving traffic to your website. The use of social media for this purpose is not the error that is commonly made, rather trying to utilise every social media platform that exists out there to promote your material. Using too many platforms can cause the same issues as we discussed above in regards to trying to run more than one website at once. You simply do not have the time to manage all of them effectively.
The other concern here also is that if you are trying to use too many platforms, then you could be wasting time on areas where your target audience doesn’t venture. So, in order to avoid this error, try and answer the following:
- Who are your audience and what are you trying to do with them (your objectives)?
- What social media platforms do your audience use?
- Which of these platforms do you know how to use?
- Which of these platforms are best for what you are trying to achieve?
- How much time do you have to commit to your campaign?
- Can these platforms be adapted to match your brand?
10. Not getting help
One of the great things about starting an online business is that you are not the first to try it. In fact there are thousands of people who have succeeded and continue to make great money doing it. On the flip side however is for every person that has been successful, there are probably at least 5 more that have not. Most are for the reasons outlined in error number 1 above – i.e. impatience – for many others, it is simply because they didn’t try and get any help. At the end of the day, why reinvent the wheel when you can mirror and copy the strategies and processes of others.
Never be afraid to seek out help and assistance and trust me when I say that one simple question in the right forum can save you weeks of effort and wasted time. Here are some ways that you can get assistance in an online world:
- Website posts – post (such as this one) which (hopefully) give good solid information in regards to building your business.
- Online webinars/videos – watch people explain and do the steps that you are unsure about.
- Social media forums – speak to like-minded people and pick the brains of experts.
- Free membership platforms – platforms where you get training and access to ask questions – FIMP is a good one. I built my websites with the assistance of Wealthy Affiliate.
- Podcasts – there are thousands of podcasts out there covering the online business industry – most are free.
- Online coaching – this is a burgeoning industry with plenty of good options to choose from – Just be careful that you are picking the right people – look for testimonials.
- Mentoring – If you can find the right person, and can afford it, a personal mentor can move you forward in leaps and bounds.
Regardless of the option you choose, always be open to learning more, listening to tips, shortcuts and recommendations. Again, you will be pleasantly surprised how fast you can gain momentum with the right advice.
Note: When I say to copy the work of others, I mean their strategies, ideas and tool selections only. DO NOT copy or simply plagiarize their content. This is unethical and trust me, the search engines will find out and punish your site rankings accordingly – not to mention the damage to the reputation of your site.
So there you have it, 10 common errors that affiliate marketers make. As I have said, these are the common ones that are made by those newer to the affiliate marketing world however ones that need to be monitored so that they don’t sneak into your processes unnoticed. Are there any others you have made? How did you identify them and what did you do to eleviate them? Comment below and I will add them to the list.
Do you want further assistance with your online business or need help to build your own website?
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Alternatively, if you wish to see what all the fuss is about, click on the link below to watch me build a website from scratch in just 7 days.
Until next time
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