Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to make money on the internet, hands down. Now, don’t be disillusioned by any visions of grandeur here; this article is not going to teach you how to make a million dollars in a year, but it WILL explain how to use Linkshare to generate a solid monthly income, without the need for a blog or a website.
This is going to be short and sweet, so if you want any particular topic covered in more detail, feel free to leave a comment and let me know so I can write another article about it.
There are only three steps to becoming a successful affiliate marketer using Linkshare. It involves researching keywords, choosing a Linkshare program, and writing articles. You don’t need a blog or website, and I’ll even cover the outsourcing pros and cons.
I assume you already have a Linkshare Corp. account, but if you don’t you can get one set up here: Linkshare
Step 1 – Research Keywords
Linkshare has a huge number of affiliate programs available. I used Buy.com as my main one as well as several others. Selecting a program is not as easy as clicking on it and getting a link. You have to do some research first.
You don’t have to pay for decent analysis of keywords. Three things you need are Google Keyword Tool, an open tab at Google home page, and this chart:
To give credit where credit is due, this chart and some of the following analytics tools came from this blog post, so if you want you can check it out there, but the rest of this post will deal with Linkshare Corp. specifically
It’s fairly self explanatory, but basically what you want to look for are keywords that have at least 500 searches every month and less than 10,000 competing sites, OR 5,000 or more searches and less than 30,000 competing sites, or anywhere in between. When finding a keyword, you want at least a ‘Good’ rating. If you want a moneymaker, go for ‘Excellent’ or ‘Jackpot.’
If you want to make a million dollars in a year, a Jackpot strategy with the rest of these strategies used EN FORCE may get you there (but no promises).
Ok, so you use the Keyword Tool to figure out the searches per month, and here’s a simple trick to find competing sites. Search for any phrase in Google, and under the search box it may say something like “2,034,344 results found.” Congratulations, that’s your competition. Maybe try a different keyword. Putting a word in “quotes” will make a difference as well, so do it both ways and record the results.
Let’s say we want a product dealing with Photoshop tutorial. Simple enough, plug that into the keyword tool:
1,220,000 Global Monthly Searches, great, so do a search in Google and:
Take your two numbers, 1,220,000 searches and 4,120,000 results and plug them into your chart:
Not so great. But don’t discourage of that idea yet. Look at some of the other keywords there, a little lower you see “zombie Photoshop tutorial” with 2,900 GMS.
Plug it into Google and:
2,900 GMS and 5,150 results. That looks a little more promising. Let’s see how it stacks up:
Excellent! There you have your first promising keyword. You can find a website that features Photoshop tutorials on Linkshare with either an emphasis on zombie Photoshop tutorials, or you can simply add that keyword in when it comes to writing.
Brainstorm for awhile and come up with a list of 10 or 15 Jackpot, Excellent, and Good keywords, and then head over to Linkshare.
Step 2 – Choose A Linkshare Program
Armed with your list of keywords, start doing a search on Linkshare for affiliate programs that are related.
A quick word of advice, the affiliate programs you choose should be as relevant as possible to your chosen keywords. If you can’t find any that match closely, choose new keywords, this time by finding an affiliate program and then searching for your moneymaker keywords second.
The point of this is to draw relevant traffic. For example, I just inadvertently stuffed that last section with keywords that have nothing to do with this post, i.e. zombie tutorials, so people looking for that are not going to be interested in reading anything else. If they land on your article and find that it isn’t what they’re looking for, they won’t stick around and click on your affiliate links.
Relevancy is king.
Step 3 – Write, Publish, and Promote Articles
The beauty of this process is that you don’t need to have a blog or a website to promote your affiliates. Your tool for this is going to be article directories. Here’s what you do:
Start writing articles. Approximately 400 words is a good length. You don’t need to be Shakespeare to whip out a few coherent articles in a short amount of time. I recommend at least 5 articles per affiliate program you choose.
You should be able to write one short article every 10 or 15 minutes, so set a few hours aside one day and really pump them out. Making money isn’t always easy, but this is as easy as it gets. If you can’t put in at least a few hours to get something done, there’s no hope for you. Sorry, stop reading now.
If you can’t even come up with the time to write a few articles, or if you write like a drunk Hannah Montana, you can always outsource your work. There are obviously outsourcing pros and cons for writing, such as the fact that you don’t get as much control over the quality, but in the end, the advantages outweigh the outsourcing disadvantages for something like this.
At Freelancer.com you can set up a free account and hire someone to write articles for as little as $2 an article. Whether it’s time or money, you are going to have to put a small investment into this to make it work well. It might cost $30 to hire a writer or take a few hours to write the articles yourself, but you’ll be making more than that much in just your first month of doing this.
Once you have articles, optimized to your hand selected Jackpot, Excellent, and Good keywords, post them to article databases. Here are a few that I have used in the past:
There are hundreds of article databases though, so you aren’t limited to just those, they’re just what I’ve experienced success with.
Ezinearticles and Buzzle have a long acceptance process, so it may take a week to get your articles published there. The rest of them take about a day. Once they’re up, you need to promote them. This is easier than it sounds. Eight websites:
Make an account at each, and then tweet, digg, bookmark, or favorite all your articles. With Stumbleupon, you just submit the URL and the category. At the beginning, I got most of my traffic from Stumbleupon.
This gives you twice the publicity for each article. First of all, article directory sites are already ranked very highly in the search engines, so a lot of people are going to see your articles. Second, the social media sites have hundreds of millions of users, many of which are looking for exactly what you’re promoting.
On a personal note, I followed all of these steps exactly several months ago just as an experiment. Between researching keywords, choosing a few programs, writing the articles, and setting up the various social media accounts, I spent a little less than 5 hours.
5 hours is a big chunk of time sometimes, but in the first month I earned $327 with my linkshare affiliates. The second month that jumped up to over $600, with no extra work from me, just from the residual articles. That’s all from 5 hours of work. If you had time to put effort into this every day, at least an hour a day, you could easily triple that amount. Trust me. I do.
Once again, if you don’t have an account, you need to set one up: Linkshare