I’ve been thinking about this lately. In affiliate marketing, I believe it’s important to not think one dimensionally on how to generate income with your affiliate empire. Notice.. I said empire vs. site. I’m still working on this theory, but I’ve started to identify points of success in my empire or network.
First off, is a 1000 sites better than 1? It all depends how crappy your thousand sites are or how great your single site is. What I believe, it’s important to create multiple test sites to see what has potential. I’m NOT talking about niches people! What I’m talking about is creating different types of sites. Currently, I’ve been developing community sites, store front sites, landing pages, blogs and forums. Each type of site has different income potential. Each type of site work in various niches, etc.
This is another play on the “don’t put all of your eggs into one basket”. Instead of having 100 BANS type sites, learn to diversify the structure and the goal of certain sites. Some sites work really well with AdSense, others have great potential for paid banners, so on and so on. Each type of site has issues to understand though, since they are not all created equal.
Community sites have massive potential, but take the most work. I like community based sites because the content is often created by the public. Community sites can become viral easier than the other sites, since it’s all about the interaction of the community. Community sites have interesting revenue potential, specifically with AdSense and paid banners. I LOVE paid banners. Getting a few businesses or sites to pay $30+ dollars a month sure helps out with the bottom line with very little work on your end.
Community sites are harder to develop since there are not a lot of good ‘free-out-of-the-box’ software to do this properly. I generally create my own sites and moderate them. Community sites are combination of blogs, forums and resources, and are well liked by Google, etc. and usually can get good traffic fairly quickly depending on your niche. Community sites are also a great way to link your other money-making sites if they apply to the topic. Generally, I like to start a community site, get it going, then start developing eBay store fronts, etc around that topic, then link from my community site.
Forums are the next step. They’re much easier to get going. I always recommend vBulletin for a forum software since it’s well designed and maintained well. It costs money though, but if you have a good niche, you should be able to monetize that quickly and return your investment. When dealing with forums, it’s important to get good moderators right away, or you’ll be busy maintaining it on a regular basis.. we don’t want that. So find some active posters, and allow them to feel some personal ownership of the board, and have them moderate it.
Using software like OpenAds, you can easily integrate paid banners or affiliate network banners. I feel that forums are not the best place to make PPC/CPA cash since ads in forums are common place and users are generally blind. With paid banners, this is a non-issue since click through is not that important (only to the advertiser), they’re basically paying for exposure. Another great option with forums is the ability to have paid subscription boards. If you’re topic is great and is a hot topic, you can actually charge people to access the boards. I’ve not been able to implement this yet, but have been thinking of how to get into this game.
Blogs and Store Fronts are something that most people are doing, and are generally hit and miss. Normally you need to use PPC traffic to get people there. I like to create blogs just for SEO love and link to store fronts.
As you can see, creating different types of sites, can greatly increase the revenue streams coming in. I feel it’s important to create a variety of sites, see what works and expand on that. If you have a store front that is successful, find out why, and possible expand that by creating a forum site or community based site.