I had a note asking me what I mean when I talk about ‘content sites’ vs. sites built around affiliate products. It’s a good question and I’ll tell you what the method to my madness is and why I feel there’s a big difference in results for both.
There are various types of websites you can build. Some are Community/Social based, Info/Resource based, Shopping based.
I pretty much focus on two: Info/Resource (lesser) and Shopping (more).
Info/Resource or content based would mean a site like this blog. Your motivation for visiting this blog is to find information, maybe some discussion, some resources, some tips, laugh at my non-brilliance, whatever. What you’re not here for is looking for something to spend your money on.
Ways to monetize a content based site would be adsense/contextual ads as well as lead generation and (lesser success rate) – recommending products, or just ads selling products or branding purposes that are targeted for the type of visitor.
Or you could have a blog attached to your own commercial product or service that will attract the right type of crowd that would be interested (and somewhat motivated) in your product.
Shopping sites would be niche portals that are strictly there to fulfill the visitors motivation: finding a certain product to buy online.
When I first started with Affiliate Marketing, it didn’t make sense to me to knock myself out trying to draw visitors based on info I had, and then try to use wowee hypnotic techniques or convince them that they neeeeeeeeeeeeeed Product A.
For me I just find that the more motivated your visitors are to actually buying something, the easier it is to earn commissions or have a higher success rate for sales. So ‘hello’, why not just pursue those motivated shoppers?
I prefer to work where the highest motivation is: Shopping sites. Or what I call: Sites wrapped around affiliate products. It’s basically just a domain filled with a variety of products to buy. No big dream sales pitches or cleverly written, useful articles trying to hypnotize people. Just products and product descriptions. And a link to buy.
Think eBay. They’re a shopping site. People are motivated to go there to buy books, dvds, whatever. People aren’t going there to do research on a school project about the Civil War. They’re there to spend money.
Shopping sites are easier to produce sales, but I think they’re more competitive and there’s also a trick or two to them. For one thing, getting people to link to you or building inbounds is tough.
Number 1 tip from me is to focus on a tight niche. Build a site around affiliate products for car speakers. Every kind of car speaker you can find, or the cheapest car speakers you can find, or something like that. Not an entire music and stereo store with whoopie cushions thrown in. Just speakers. That’s what I do and find most success with.
That’s because the visitors on my car speaker site are there *specifically* motivated to buy car speakers. They may be doing product research or browsing, but they’re all about a potential purchase of car speakers.
For info/content based sites it’s trickier. I can build a website or blog ‘How To Get The Best Out Of Your Car Speakers’ and provide articles, neat tricks and original content about ways to go about that and what to look for and all that jazz. I may be able to get some sales from recommending certain brands of speakers, but the visitor motivation is not at all the same between the two car speaker sites. One site draws motivated buyers, the other draws motivated ‘free info’ seekers.
One means more money than the other.
Beth Kirsch had a good article over at Revenews: Web 2.0 and Affiliate Marketing
I finally got a chance to say what I think on this topic: yes, the Web 2.0 — blogs, podcasting, RSS — is fun and sexy, but honestly there is just no volume there compared to the other affiliate verticals .
The reason why I think blogs suck at drawing volume sales is simple. People aren’t pursuing or visiting or following most blogs to crack open their wallets for the ‘next thing to buy’. They’re not motivated to visit the blog so they can shop til they drop.
They’re visiting them for information or news or discussion or entertainment, whatever. For the most part, the motivation is not to spend money. Certainly some sales volume can be done. But for most I don’t believe the success rate is nearly as high for sites purely focused on sales/purchasing.
IMO that’s why most blogs are duds for affiliate marketing sales and probably better suited to be monetized by Adsense and maybe some lead generation stuff too.
Bottom Line: When building a site, don’t forget what type of visitor motivation you’re striving for. And the best type of site to attract that. Content sites and blogs, etc., can produce sales–if you keep in mind it needs to draw the right type of visitor motivation.
So Thinketh I.
PS: The car speaker talk was just an example–I don’t have a site like that.