Everyday it seems that people ask about what networks, services and online training programs I like. What is worth the dough, what converts, etc.
If you’re starting out in affiliate marketing one of the first needs you’ll need to fill is a host. If you read my blog further, you’ll see that I’m personally using dedicated servers, but to start out with you’ll want the biggest bang for your dollar. That means a shared hosting environment with unlimited domains.
Host Gator is who I would recommend as a prime starting host. You can purchase cheap hosting, get unlimited domains and is super easy to configure with their cPanel. They also offer one click installs of WordPress, etc so the set up is very very easy. To get the cheapest monthly payment, you need to purchase a year plan. If you’re planning doing blog type sites, you’ll need to be sure you get a plan that will have PHP/MySQL. Looking at their plans, I would recommend the ‘Baby’ Linux Web Hosting plan to get started.
If you’re needs go beyond a shared hosting environment you’ll need to go with a dedicated solution. They do offer that, but it all depends on your skill level and support you’ll need.
Along with hosting, I prefer to purchase domains outside of hosting. Meaning I don’t like the purchase domain and purchase hosting in one click. Why? Well it turns into a mess if the host goes under (out of business) and if the host is difficult to deal with. I also purchase my domains from reputable registrars. I don’t go with unknown or cheap registrars. Domains are important, so don’t mess around.
Domain Name Registrar Recommendations
GoDaddy is the most popular domain registrar out there, and they have good deals. I also like their domain manager control panel. I hate their domain purchase process though, so be careful to not add a bunch of extras to the domain, it’s very easy to do.
Dotster is a great registrar as well. They’re more expensive than GoDaddy, but the customer service is fantastic, and I feel like they’re super stable. If the domain is extremely important to me, I’ll usually purchase the domain from Dotster vs. GoDaddy. I’ve heard some weird stories of GoDaddy in the past, so I’m not 100% comfortable with them… even though I have a ton of domains registered with them.
Training Communities / Services Recommendations
Wealthy Affiliate is absolutely fantastic on so many different levels. I remember I was very skeptical when I first joined, but was immediately impressed with the tools and community. I originally signed up for the 8 week action plan, but ended up really focusing on their private forums and resources area. They have great tools for content creation and have jobs area where you could earn some money writing or programming, or you can outsource those services all within the WA community. My wife even signed up with this. WA provides you with some knowledge on how to get into the PPC field promoting clickbank products as part of it’s action plan, but this is easily applied to other affiliate networks. For example, I use some of their techniques with CJ and EPN and they work great.
SEO Book is a fairly new only training program. The SEO Book itself has been around for a while, and Aaron Wall is a known guru of SEO. My wife actually started this course. In our current operation, she’s been helping me out greatly focusing on SEO techniques, and especially with keywords. The things that really impressed her were the tools that the program offers to it’s members. I know she uses them often and they consolidate her time greatly. Along with that the program offers a forum and community which is very important to network with others. Aaron also has great video lessons that loaded with information and are easy to follow.
Now I would like to talk about various networks I like to use. If you follow me at all, you should know that I generate the majority of my income from eBay’s Partner Network and Commission Junction, but along with that, I use various other networks. Especially now, with my involvement in the PPC (Pay Per Click) arena I’ve been interacting with others.
eBay’s Partner Network (EPN) is a great affiliate. Some may argue with me here, but the bottom line is that they convert and convert well if you do it right. eBay is a trusted name and is a gigantic market place so you are open to many products and niches. Amazon is also large, but their cookie structure is so horrible I could never recommend them. EPN provides a 7 day tracking cookie on auctions and a 30 day tracking cookie for account signups. Their commissions are lower compared to merchants on Commission Junction, etc., so it’s important to pick the right niche or product when promoting eBay.
Commission Junction was the first network I signed up with, and at that time eBay was a part of CJ. Since eBay left, I’ve been slowly building up my monthly sales using a few of the merchants there. Commission Junction is a true network, managing merchants as well as publishers. Each merchant will have different terms, payouts and incentives. Their commissions are usually between 2% to 10%, and each have different levels for signups or special offers, etc.
NeverBlueAds. Recently with my interest in the PPC areas of SEM, I started promoting merchants/offers from NeverBlueAds. I like their interface, they promote excellent and popular merchants and offers. I also like the interaction with the affiliate managers there. They truly are trying to help me make more money. They understand that if I make more money.. so do they. My success has been limited here, but I believe that is because of my inexperience in PPC.
Hydra Network. I just recently joined Hydra and have not kicked it in high gear with them yet. So far, I really appreciate their service. I was assigned with a Account Manager immediately and was greeted with a phone call asking for areas/niches I wanted to pursue, and she gave me private offers. Hydra Network also has a great selection of offers. I’m really, really excited to work with them. I know I’ll update this description as time goes on.
ReviewAZON. This is an absolutely fantastic plugin for WordPress which can convert your blog into a Amazon affiliate store in a snap. You can search for products, and it will bring in description, optional excerpt, customer reviews and ratings, YouTube video(s) related to your product. Also has widgets for similar items on Amazon and allows for easy integration for Overstock and eBay. If you’re wanting to work on your Amazon earnings, this is a must have. It’s well written, and there is a good support for it via member only community forum. I wrote a review of ReviewAZON if you are wanting to learn more.
Blog Comment Demon. This a must have for finding blogs related to niche keyword. You can then contribute to the discussion and provide a backlink. Great way to increase backlinks to your ‘money sites’. I wrote a review about Blog Comment Demon recently, and there is a great eBook showing all the features of Blog Comment Demon.
SEO Elite. This is a tool developed by Brad Callen. A few months ago, I tried PPC Web Spy plugin for FireFox and I was really impressed by the power of this tool. I’ve heard a few great things about SEO Elite, and a few of my associates swear by it, so I thought I would give it a shot. Being able to identify where you’re ranking is the first step in improving your position. Finding more information about your competitors is the next step, and this tool does them both, plus much much more.
Keyword Elite. Wow. This is amazing and a perfect companion to SEO Elite. Basically, it can help identify keywords, competition and placement of keywords. You would then use SEO Elite to view competitors found with Keyword Elite. I understand this is fantastic with PPC, but I’m currently using this tool for organic SEO, but after I get things stabalized on the organic front, I’ll start experimenting with PPC.
PopShops. I LOVE PopShops. PopShops is a service you pay for where they aggregate multiple merchants networks from CJ to LinkShare to ShareASale to Google Affiliate Network. This gives you the ability to pull products from multiple networks. You have to be a member of each merchants program though. PopShops provides multiple ways of presenting products via XML to HTML to included PHP code. It’s fantastic. PopShops also has a WordPress plugin to help pop in shops and individual products within your posts.
This page will continue to grow as I evolve in affiliate marketing. These programs and services have proven successful for me in the past, and have been a great launching platform for me, I’m sure they’ll produce for you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me