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Affiliate Marketing Tips You Can Learn From My Mistakes

Affiliate Marketing Tips You Can Learn From My MistakesThere are thousands of sites and videos providing affiliate marketing tips.  I’ve made some mistakes and also enjoyed a few successes in this area, so here are a few additional tips you may not have seen.

When the full blown web began to emerge in the 1990s I was already employed in IT.  I saw it as a time of opportunity and began to look into networking and websites. As a result I have enjoyed over two decades of gainful employment as a Network Engineer and Webmaster.

Unfortunately though, learning how something works isn’t as lucrative as figuring out what to do with it.  That’s why I’m writing this when it’s -2 degrees outside in England instead of sitting at my laptop in a holiday home in the Caribbean.

Anyway, I count my blessings, and although I haven’t become a dotcom millionaire I have learned a fair bit by trial and error.  Most trials end in error and that’s part of the process of reaching a goal.  The trick is to keep going.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

money in your pocket

Affiliate marketing is the art and science of creating websites (and/or mailing lists) and using them to promote goods and services in such a way that visitors click on links and make purchases through links provided on the site.

You promote a product or service, link to it, and the website visitor clicks on that link and buys from the supplier.  In return you are rewarded with some commission on the sale.  This can be anything from 1-12% or even more.  It all depends on the affiliate agreement.

Simple really, isn’t it?  Except it’s not.  For this to work you have to achieve the following:

  1. Find a product or service that is in demand and for which there are not already too many high ranking websites.  It needs to be something that people are searching for in high enough volumes to justify the time, effort, and expense of building a website and nurturing over several months so that it has a chance of reaching the top of page one on Google search results for the given search term (the keyword).
  2. Assuming you have succeeded and have a site that is attracting visitors in enough numbers your site then has to convince them to make a purchase using one of the affiliate links in body of the text in your site or embedded in the images (the conversions).
  3. All this needs to be done while paying close attention to your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and without breaking any rules, be they in Google’s search algorithms or in the affiliate agreements.

Affiliate Marketing Tips – Errors and Lessons Learned

My First Mistake – Too Much, Too Soon

I have built websites that convert but in my eagerness to develop the idea I have built too many, too fast.  This soaked up resources (time and money) so what little was gained from the successful ones was being spent on others that did not succeed.

It’s so easy now to setup a website.  Most hosting companies provide packages that will register your domain name, install WordPress, and give you a working website with a few clicks.  The temptation is to extrapolate your imagined success too far with unrealistic expectations.

Tip Number 1:  Learn how to nurture and grow a tree before you plant a forest

Tool for this tip: Your brain, lots of free advice online, and a business plan.

Second Mistake – Keyword Research

The second error is one of the fundamentals.  Get this wrong and everything that comes after is a waste of your time and resources. Keyword research is essential.

It can be exciting to come up with a new idea and allow yourself to be carried along in a rush of enthusiasm.  You start to convince yourself that you’ve found the next hot seller with low competition and high demand.

You build the site, fill it full of content, and wait for the money to roll in.  As time goes by your hard work pays off and surfers begin to find your site. However, sales are zero you realise you’ve made as website that attracts visitors who are not buyers. They were seeking information but they were not ready to buy anything.

Tip Number 2:  Keyword research is half the battle.  If you’ve succeeded here conversions and commission will follow.

Tool for this tip:
Several keyword research tools, like: Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Google Trends,  and Long Tail Pro.

Third Mistake – SEO, Audits, Reviews

The web is evolving all the time.  Google updates its algorithm, trends and tastes change, technology evolves, and websites that once looked new and fresh begin to appear out of date.  It’s surprising how quickly that new design tires and you begin to view a site as a relic.

While all this is going on there may be other sites competing with your own for the same keywords.  If you don’t keep an eye them they will get ahead of you and start to take more and more of the traffic.

Tip Number 3:  Stay current and informed. Audit and review regularly.  Keep an eye on the performance of not only your own sites but of you competition too.

Tools for this tip:
Google Analytics, Google Webmasters, Bing Webmasters, and SEO Powersuite (Product Info | Free Trial Download).

Fourth Mistake – Time Management

Entrepreneurs and business coaches often remind us of the one essential thing that unites us all:  we all get just 24 hours per day.

Another common piece of advice they offer is that we should cultivate the habit of doing our essential tasks first, before we check emails and social media.  By doing so we ensure that day after day we get some productivity out of our time, even if it’s followed by more time wasting.

How often are you distracted?  How many times during the day do you pause the work you know you should be doing and instead click on anyone of several social media accounts to check for; updates, likes, responses, news, current affairs, comedy, controversy, disasters, or some other way of wasting your time?

Social media has many positive uses but are you using it or is it using you?

Resist the temptation to scroll through your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram feed.  The chances are you’ll check once and get sucked in again.  You might even start with something that seems valuable, like an update in your business related Facebook group or a video about SEO, but then you realise another hour has gone by and now you’re watching a guy shark fishing in the Philippines or wondering why your friend shared that particular post.

Tip Number 4:  Become and expert in time management.  Develop the self discipline to avoid distractions and get on with taking steps toward your goal.

Tools for this tip:  It’s a habit you have to develop, so this one is down to you and your own self discipline.  You could set up reminders and alarms to nag you each morning too.

Fifth Mistake – Endless Training

Audit and improve your website SEOTraining is very important, there’s no doubt about that, but there comes a point where you have to complete the course and get on with some productive activity by putting what you’ve learned into practice.

However, what sometimes happens is that somehow you learn of another course and you begin to wonder if this one reveals more information and more important techniques.  Before you know it you’ve paid another fee for a series of lectures and video modules which will take you another month to complete thoroughly.

At the end of this next month you realise that you’ve not got any closer to your goals, you’re a month older, and your bank balance is further diminished.

Tip Number 5: Make use of the free material online and choose one good course in: affiliate marketing, internet marketing, and SEO

Tools for this tip:

Plenty of FREE material about affiliate marketing available on these sites:

I’ve suggested these three because you can choose which accent you prefer!  There are other reputable and reliable sites too.

Recommended training for affiliate marketing, SEO, and internet marketing:

  • Affilorama – AffiloBlueprint
  • Udemy – Top Marketing Courses-Affiliate Marketing – there are lots of short courses on there on all subjects related to your affiliate marketing goals. Go through the reviews, check the feedback, and check for the latest versions. Sign up for their mailshots and you’ll be notified of periodic discounts and offers.

Final Word – Video Marketing is big!

I end this post by pointing out one important thing I learned in 2016 and that is the fact that video marketing is growing fast and in 2017 it will continue to grow.  Even if you build well designed, responsive websites which look good on desktop and mobile devices you should not underestimate the importance of adding video marketing.

This may seem like a expensive and difficult new skill to master but it’s actually quite easy.  You can turn a blog post or article into a video in a matter of an hour or two using a tool called Content Samurai.

With practice you can get this down to under an hour.  Briefly, all you do is copy and paste your text into a dashboard.  The software scans it and creates slides.  You can edit them then add pictures from their repository or upload your own (and video clips, if you want to).  You can then add a narration of your own or one that’s been done for you, or none at all.

They offer a free trial so register at their site and try it for yourself.

Conclusion

I hope you found this article useful.  Please add your comments below and share it with others if you think they will benefit from it.  Thank you 🙂
Save time on SEO tasks

Home security cameras – 7 reasons why they are a great idea

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that the Police are placing more and more reliance upon the public to provide evidence of crimes before they will investigate thoroughly.  However, there are distinct advantages to installing covert cameras that go beyond the evidence gathering when crimes occur.  In this post I explain several reasons why home security cameras are a great idea and why I think you should invest in some.

Disclosure:  this post contains affiliate links.

Home Security Cameras – what are they?

Home security cameras can be categorised into the three main types:

  1. Outdoor cameras – more expensive due to the cost of the weatherproof casing
  2. Indoor cameras – less expensive but of course limited to indoor use
  3. Covert cameras – hidden spy cameras inside the home

Home security cameras can be wired or wireless and they come with a variety of features and functions depending on model and manufacturer:

  1. home security camerasData stored on a an SSD card on the camera itself
  2. Data (images, video, and sound) transmitted to a local PC, NAS (Network Area Storage) or to a cloud account
  3. Motion Detection – recording triggered by movement (or sound)
  4. Night Vision – infrared capabilities
  5. Pan and Zoom – remotely operate and pan around and zoom in to areas of interest
  6. Internet Access – the camera’s view available over the internet with an app or website account

You’ll sometimes see them referred to as IP cameras (Internet Protocol) because they are devices connected to your LAN (Local Area Network) in the home, just like your computer, laptop, mobile phone, or tablet computer.

There are hundreds on the market and the technology is evolving.

Vehicle Surveillance Camera

burglar deterrenceA single bullet camera installed on the outside of your home can keep a watch on your vehicle parking area as well as your front garden.  In urban areas it is often the case that you have no option but to park on a driveway that is just off the road.  Your vehicle is therefore exposed to any passing miscreant with mischief in mind.

If your vehicle, caravan, or motorcycle is of particular monetary value and importance to you then the risk of theft or vandalism is greater.

If another driver reverses into your drive and collides with your vehicle then your bullet camera will capture the event.  It will make your insurance claim so much easier if you have video footage of the incident that clearly exonerates you and shows what really happened.  Without this evidence you are left to explain the damage and your insurers may not believe your story.  You may also be able to read the number plate of the vehicle and you can then pass this on to the Police.

The same advantages in terms of insurance claims, exoneration, apportioning blame, and helping the Police in the event of an accident occurring within your field of view are also reasons for installation a dash cam in your vehicle.

Burglary Deterrence

Just as fake security cameras in shops can act as a deterrent to shoplifting so too can real home security cameras deter thieves.  They are almost certainly going to be real cameras and they’ll be filming anything that moves.  Given the choice between ten houses in a street, nine of which have cameras installed and one does not, it is a fairly safe bet that the house without the additional security is likely to be the burglar’s next target.

The same is true of alarms, but the cameras have all the additional benefits.  A house alarm is a deterrent and it may be monitored, so it can alert the neighbourhood and perhaps the Police, but it’s the security cameras that collect the evidence.

Obviously, to be a deterrent the camera has to be seen by the would-be thief. In the clip below the trespasser hasn’t seen the camera but a clear image of his face is captured in the footage.

Nanny Cam

Sadly, not everyone who is entrusted with the responsibilities of looking after children, adults, or pets has the integrity and professionalism to do so properly.  Let’s face it, some people are just downright cruel.  They may hurt or abuse (physically, emotionally, or verbally) those in their care, steal from them, or just behave in an unprofessional manner by neglecting to carry out those tasks that you have delegated to them.

An indoor security camera can be left in place and on clear display as a deterrent, or a covert camera can be installed to capture evidence if you suspect any wrongdoing but haven’t got any proof.

This is particularly useful for occasions when you have to hire temporary staff, and of course it refers to all kinds of staff or contractors, not just nannies; carers, cleaners, tradesmen, builders, house/pet sitters etc.

Pet Camera

Many pet owners have no option but to leave their pets alone in the house or flat.  This can be a source of worry for the owner and anxiety for the pet.

A home security camera can be used to check up on a pet while you’re at work or absent for any other reason.  Some models can now transmit sound and video so you can even speak to your pet and reassure them with a visual and aural message.

Wildlife Cameras

Many people who have installed home security cameras have discovered that they capture all kinds of wildlife passing through their gardens at night.  Foxes are of course common in urban areas, but some cameras have also captured footage of badgers, deer, and other mammals.

Outdoor cameras can be pointed out bird feeding areas where they can capture footage not only of the more common garden birds but also the occasional rare visitor.

If your garden is particularly active you might want to consider adding a wildlife camera specifically designed for the task, just like the trail cameras we so often see on wildlife documentaries.

Neighbourhood Watch

Communities and neighbourhoods that cooperate and communicate with each other are safer than those in which everyone is a stranger and no one talks to their neighbours.  The scheme works in close association with the Police and has proved its worth many times throughout the UK.

By joining your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme you can meet others who have also installed home security cameras and share tips and ideas with them.

You can cooperate with your neighbours and use your security devices to deter anti-social behaviour and crimes of any sort.

Helping the Police and Security Services

As the population grows and budgets for the Police seem to be diminishing rather than increasing the public are being called up on to help both deter crime and provide evidence when it has occurred.

A security camera installed on the outside of your home may capture the movements of a criminal or terrorist suspect passing by on the street.  That small piece of footage may be of great value to the security services.

Indoor and outdoor cameras may capture evidence that convicts anyone who vandalises your property, steals from you, or commits acts of violence against you or your family.

Surveillance Society

Surveillance SocietyThe subject of home security cameras and CCTV surveillance is the subject of rigorous debate, with strong views held on either side of the argument.  On the one had there is the case for deterring crime, and gathering evidence and intelligence.  On the other hand there is the increasing amount of intrusion into our daily lives, and near constant surveillance.

For example, here in the UK there are thousands of CCTV cameras filming us as we pass through urban areas.  In Germany there are far fewer as the consensus has been that they are a violation of privacy.  However, in light of the December 2016 terror attack in Berlin (and the lack of intelligence and footage of the attacker) it may be that the German people and government agree to more CCTV cameras being installed in the streets of their major cities at least.

Installation, Usage, and Maintenance Tips

  1. Pet CameraRead and follow the instructions.  Indoor cameras are very easy to install and configure but you may want to ask an electrician to fit any outdoor cameras as the power cable will probably need to come through an exterior wall.
  2. If your WIFI signal is weak in the chosen area then consider using Power over Ethernet plugs.  These use your household electrical wiring as an extension of your computer network.  Put one plug near your wireless router and connect it using a LAN cable.  Put the other near the camera and connect it using another LAN cable.
  3. Indoor cameras can be used to monitor the outside of the house by positioning them on a window sill but they tend to pick up glare on the glass of the window and they don’t have the coverage of an outdoor camera.  However, as a low budget option you can put them on the ground floor windows to monitor the areas in front of at the back of the house.
  4. Motion detection sensitivity can be adjusted so if you’re getting too many alerts reduce the sensitivity and confine the motion detection to certain sections of the camera view.  For example, you might be able to de-select the area covering a branch of a tree that keeps moving in the wind.
  5. Regularly check that your cameras are working and that your images and video are being captured and stored.  Clear out any archives so that your storage quota is not exceeded.  Some NAS software will do this automatically by overwriting to oldest archive.
  6. Keep your camera’s firmware up to date but check it’s working again after any upgrades.
  7. Familiarise yourself with the app for remote access and test in periodically so that you can use it easily when needed.
  8. Respect the privacy of your neighbours and don’t point your cameras in such a way that impinge on their privacy.  Domestic properties are not covered by the Data Protection Act but if you film or photograph your neighbours they could take action against you on the ground of harassment or voyeurism.

Where to buy home security cameras

Some of the more well known and popular brands are Y-Cam and D-Link and both companies have an extensive range available on Amazon. I’ve used both and I’m quite happy with the results.  Check that you’re buying the latest version of the camera and read the reviews.  You’ll find the vast majority of the reviews are positive.

If you have any feedback, suggestions, or tips you’d like to share please do so in the comments below.

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