Performance Marketing

Advice For New Affiliates: Start Small and Think Niche

Becky Doles

The affiliate industry can be an exciting promising land for a new affiliate – dreams of overnight financial success, quitting that awful 9-5 and working from home (or…wherever your heart desires) motivates those signing up for their first program every day. If you’re new to the affiliate industry, those dreams can be a reality – but first, you may want to consider the advice from Jeremy Palmer, Joe Sousa and Kim Rowley from Affiliate Summit West this week, where they recommended to “start small” and think niche with your affiliate site.

The panel admitted big affiliates make a lot of money, but with a niche affiliate site, you have the opportunity to develop highly targeted relationships with other niche people and websites who will link back to your site via their own website or through their social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. The social networks of niche people can be quite large and a retweet of your affiliate link to their thousands of followers can be incredibly valuable.

According to Joe Sousa the key in developing niche affiliate sites is to essentially “Google-proof” your website. The panel says it is important that you don’t build your new affiliate website to rely on a single source of traffic – especially Google. Many affiliates did this in the past and were then hit hard by the Panda and Penguin updates. As the panel said, “the smallest change to an algorithm can wipe out your revenue.” Jeremy Palmer advised that “before you launch a website, be thinking of other traffic channels, such as links and social networks.” He added that Google’s constant changes to the algorithm are not new, but “they’re going to keep doing it – and we need to find out what they’re looking for.”

Also while it is possible to make a living as an affiliate, it’s important to set realistic expectations. As Jeremy Palmer noted, it won’t be a “get rich quick endeavor”, and you should plan to do it part-time, and when feasible, transition to full-time. The panel also advised to diversify your affiliate programs, as any one relationship or merchant can disappear overnight.

Creating a niche site will allow you the freedom to be more creative and innovative with your site, as well as enable you to act quicker and launch new campaigns without needing approval. However, it will still take time – as Joe Sousa says, it’s important to create your own content – just keep it focused, as this will allow you to build those targeted relationships that will help you “Google-proof” your new affiliate site.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

3 responses to “Advice For New Affiliates: Start Small and Think Niche”

  1. […] On Sunday I also spoke on a panel with Kim Rowley and Jeremy Palmer. We talked about the role of small affiliates in the industry, where they fit, how they can get started, and how they can provide value for their merchants. Here is a link to the slide deck and a quick review of the session from Kelly Clay. […]

  2. Joe Sousa says:

    Thanks for the writeup Kelly. We really hope we didn’t come across as defeatist. There is still a LOT of room for new affiliates and small affiliates in this industry and someone who is just getting started shouldn’t be discouraged at all. It might take a bit more work than it has in the past but new and smaller affiliates can still have great success in this industry.

  3. Oded Abbou says:

    Niche and focus is indeed the way to go BUT the point being that with GLOBAL niches like binary trading (see, one can carve his/her niche PLUS enjoy a bigger scale.

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