Top 10 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes

1. Not Having a Website

2. Not having a clear focused niche

3. Stuffing Your Website with Display Ads

4. Confusing your reader with numerous text links in your content

5. Writing for Search Engines instead of visitors

6. Copying Content From Somewhere else

7. Writing thin light content

8. Not making use of free resources

9. Not collecting email addresses

10. Not adding regular fresh content

Okay that was just a list of the Top 10 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes, now let’s explore them in more detail.

Not Having A Website

If you don’t have a proper website you are missing out on so much potential. Due to the phenomenal rise in Social Media many Affiliate Marketers think that they can make money just by directing people to a simple email grab page. I see it all the time on Instagram and now especially on TikTok. Someone posts about this amazing way to make money and suggests they follow a link to find out more. When you follow the link you are met with a few lines about how smart you would be to enter your email address to find out more about this amazing opportunity, or worse still the link is just their affiliate link that takes you straight to the sign up page for the program that they are promoting.

The problem here is that all they have created is a momentary transient point in time. They have no presence and no brand. All they can do is to keep posting the same plea to follow their link and sooner or later they get bored doing that, or the people who see it get bored of seeing it and everything stops. Now if those same people pointed their social media accounts to a website that was able to back up their claims and to talk about it in detail from all angles their visitor is probably going to be a lot more impressed and more likely to believe that this person does actually know what they are talking about and submit their email address or join their affiliate program, or whatever else it is that they are promoting. Without the back up of a website, they are just another voice in the wilderness trying to jump on the next gravy train they see heading their way.

Then there is the brand legacy of a website, by this I mean that you are building a brand that exists, your brand, that people can find, not just an ephemeral here one minute gone the next will o the wisp entity. The legacy of a website is that once it exists out there on the internet people have a chance to find it from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for as long as it exists, for as long as you leave it out there.

Instead of just posting 60 seconds of begging for follows and email sign ups, you have proper content that continues to attract visitors from all walks of life and all corners of the globe at all times of the day and night.

Not Having a clear focused niche

When you first get involved with Affiliate Marketing you can get a little overwhelmed by the number of products and services that you could promote. This is why you need to start with the niche and think about products later, well not entirely. When you decide on your niche have one product in mind that you want to focus on, that you know that if you can successfully promote, will make you money and build it from there. There would be nothing worse than taking the time and effort to build your website only to find that there are either no products to sell, or no customers to sell to. So have one main product or service to build your website around and look for additional products further down the line once you are getting some visitors.

If you just take Amazon alone, if you were an Amazon Affiliate you could promote any of these products, but if you tried to promote them all, all you are doing is putting yourself in direct competition with Amazon, and that is a battle that you can never win.

Your niche can be anything, but it’s usually best to work with something that you are familiar with or interested in. It is very difficult to write a 1500 word article or review on something that you know very little about. Start thinking of a broad area such as Sport, Fashion, Cookery etc. then narrow it down util you find your niche. It could be skateboards, handbags or cooking with rice. That way your website can build a very specific following of people who are interested to read what you have to say. Each one allows you to promote your main line and then have sub niches around it, so skateboarding could talk about skateboards, skateboard accessories and skateboarding fashion. Handbags could review handbags, items that coordinate with handbags and other kinds of ladies bags, cooking with rice could review rice cookers, rice recipes and types of rice. When you build a website that feeds peoples interests, they will follow you.

Stuffing Your Website With Display Ads

Once you have your niche decided upon and you have built your website there is an obvious desire to start making money as quickly as possible. A common mistake is to stuff your website with display ads, the line of thought being that ‘the more times someone sees my ads the more chance there is that they will click on it and buy the product and earn me some money’.

Unfortunately that is incorrect. For a start don’t even bother with more than the occasional display ad until you are getting visitors, if nobody is visiting your website then you have nobody to show ads to anyway, so the first thing that you need to do is to focus on building unique, high quality content. Then once you start to see visitors you can look at placing displays ads, but think foremost about what is known as UX or User Experience. There is nothing worse than being bombarded with advertisements as soon as you arrive on a web page. The majority of visitors will just leave and go elsewhere to find what they were looking for. You have to think of your website as a valuable resource for your visitors that just happens to produce an income for you, not the other way around. If you think of it as a source of income that happens to get visitors, you will fail.

Think of when you are watching television, we expect to see a break where ads are shown, and we sit patiently through them, or nip to the toilet, or to the kitchen, but we aren’t greatly offended by them, and they must work otherwise the advertisers wouldn’t spend money on them. Now if these ads just randomly popped up during the course of the tv show, you would get annoyed and frustrated and maybe switch off because they are ruining the flow of the programme. The same is true of your website. If the ads are just popping up everywhere intruding on the flow of information, your visitor will get annoyed, frustrated and go elsewhere. Local Newspaper websites are particularly prone to doing this. You arrive at the site to read an article that you have found online and for a start the page takes a long time to load as various ad delivery services load in the background, then a huge banner ad pops up, then one down the side and one across the bottom, then a popup asks you to subscribe to their service and you haven’t even had a chance to read the article yet, so you either fight through the ads or you leave.

On your website ads are supplementary to the information that you are providing, they should compliment it, not intrude upon it. Your article or post will be discussing a point or reviewing a product or service and at the end you give your reader the opportunity to buy that product or service. Of course you want them to buy and your writing should be guiding them towards that decision to buy. Just another point here, if the product or service that you are reviewing or recommending is no good – don’t bother writing about it. Instead find something else that is good, that you can genuinely recommend to your readers.

Confusing Your Reader With Numerous Text Links In Your Content

Almost as bad as too many display ads is too many links within the text of your content. Your visitor has probably landed on your website to read a particular item that they have discovered whilst searching. They start reading and find your content interesting but then there is a link to another article on your website, and in the next paragraph another and then another. These become a distraction because yes they might be of interest to your visitor, but they haven’t finished reading the item they came to read yet and these numerous links disrupt the flow and become annoying. There is even a WordPress Plugin available to automatically build these links into your page. Whatever you do, don’t go there, write neat tidy interesting articles and your visitors will hang around to see what else you have to say without these annoying distractions. Just as a side issue, when you do have links on your page, do remember that you are encouraging your reader to leave the page that they are on. Possibly before you have finished telling them of all the features and benefits of whatever it is that you are talking about and you might have just lost a sale, so place any links at the end of your content, unless there is a reason to place them earlier, for example at the end of each chapter if you are discussing several items in the same article. Additionally if you are going to link to an external website then make sure that you set the link to open in a new tab. That way your website is still open on their device once they have left the other website and they just might browse further.

Writing for Search Engines Instead of Visitors

The internal text links mentioned before are a clear sign that a website is built for search engines and not visitors. Search engines follow links to discover new and updated pages. Scattering numerous links throughout your content is only there to do this, it adds nothing to the user experience so don’t do it. Writing for search engines is a mistake, but a very common one and one that is entirely understandable. We all want our websites to be discovered, understood and indexed by the search engines because otherwise your potential visitors will struggle to find you.

Instead focus on writing content that your potential visitors will want to read and will find useful and write plenty of it. You should also write in a conversational manner using words and phrases that you would normally use in conversation. There is a temptation to force words and phrases in that you think will give you better search results but don’t actually belong in that sentence, avoid doing this. If the word or phrase doesn’t naturally fit into your content, then write another page where it does naturally fit into the content. There is something called ‘keyword stuffing’ where you create a list of all the keywords that you can think of relating the the thing that you are writing about and then try to fit them all into that one article. Not only will this look and read in an unnatural manner but it will achieve nothing as search engines will spot this and potentially penalize your page for doing so. Relevant keywords should only account for a small percentage of your page content. This is known as keyword density and your target keyword should only account for about 1% off the page content. That is still quite high when you think that it is one word in every one hundred words. So in a 2000 word article you can use your target word or phrase 20 times. When writing an article target one main keyword phrase. For this page my target phrase is the title ‘Top 10 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes‘ but someone might just search for ‘Affilliate Marketing Mistakes‘, so that is my secondary target phrase and my third line phrase is ‘Affiliate Marketing‘. Notice that they are all just variations of the same phrase and I’m not targetting anything else. Although a content page like this with more than 3000 words will ‘accidentally’ target and get search results from all sorts of similar phrases.

Copying Content From Somewhere Else

This is another easy trap to fall into. Search engines are looking for unique content, Content that is just copied or plagiarized from another website tends to be ignored. Search engines read your content and compare it to the content that they already have, if yours is identical to other content already indexed it will be disregarded because it already exists in their index.

This is where many online retailers slip up. They are selling a particular range of products and to save time, instead of writing their own new, descriptive content they just copy and paste from either the manufacturers product description or from their competitors product description, this is generally seen as duplicate content and whilst it won’t be ignored completely, it is unlikely to get the search results that you need. The reason that it isn’t completely ignored is that the surrounding content on an ecommerce page such as what’s in the navigation menu and in the footer and in similar products promoted on the same page help to give an element of difference between each suppliers product page, but not usually enough difference to stand out.

Writing Thin Light Content

In some ways this leads on from the previous mistake and online retailers fall into this trap all the time. So many times you will see a product description that is not only copied from elsewhere but is also very light, as in its not long enough. Every product page is there to sell the product. It should point out the features and benefits of that product, it should explain the problems and issues that it solves and give the potential buyer little excuse not to buy it. In fact by the end of the description the reader should be so keen to own this product that even the price should not be an issue. The description itself is a sales funnel that leads the reader to click the buy button, but so many times a retailer does a quick 2 line description along the lines of “This Widget is blue and it is made of plastic. Perfect for every widget buyer”. If I read a product description like that I don’t think I would be completely sold on it, Light content doesn’t lead the customer to buy the product and doesn’t lead a search engine to display your product page above thousands of other similar product pages. Remember search engines are looking for unique quality content. Product descriptions should be a minimum of 500 unique words from your own head. Website articles should be at least 1500 words of well written interesting content.

Not Making Use Of Free Resources

There are plenty of free resources out there to help you to do better in Affiliate Marketing, resources to make your website stand out amongst the countless similar other ones out there.

The most obvious free resources come from Google itself. There is Google Search Console, Google Analytics and Google Keyword Planner. They are tools that anyone can use and are right here at your fingertips. They do also overlap each other slightly.

Google Keyword Planner helps you, especially in your early days as you can use it to discover different keyword variations from your main keyword. You type in your key phrase and it gives you a list of similar phrases and their potential monthly search volume and an indication of how difficult the phrase is to compete for. You will find alternative phrases here that you might not have thought about before.

Google Search Console is used to see if your pages are indexed in Google and how they are performing. Are they actually indexed at all, and if they are, are they getting seen, and if they are getting seen are they being clicked on. You can submit Sitemaps through Google Search Console and check and submit individual pages for indexing.

Google Analytics gives you in depth data about how your website is performing. It can tell you how many clicks, on which pages and for which search phrases. Here you can also discover more key phrases that are triggering clicks on your pages that maybe you should write a more targetted page for,

These tools are there, they are free, so do make sure that you use them.

Not Collecting Email Addresses

Their is an old marketing saying “The money is in the list”, this refers to having a list of contacts who have the potential to be interested in your product. The people on the list have already shown to be interested in products or services of the type that you are promoting so are warm prospects. To build your own list you need to have a method on your website that allows you to collect email addresses. Of course people aren’t going to just give you their email address, there has to be an incentive to do so. It could just be that you are offering an update of all of your latest articles in a monthly email or it could be a prize draw, or you might be offering a free report, guide or eBook. Whatever it is you need to start collecting email addresses. If your website is built with WordPress then there are a number of plugins that give you this ability. You need to connect these collected email addresses to some sort of email marketing software. There are plenty out there such as Constant Contact and MailChimp. Within this software you can build all sorts of email marketing campaigns, either automated or not. An automated campaign might be preset to deliver an email on the first of every month to your entire list, but of course you have to create these emails well in advance, you might prefer to just manually email everyone when you have something in particular to promote.

Not Adding Regular Fresh Content

Everyone loves regular fresh content. Your visitors want to know about the latest, newest thing in your niche, if your website only contains things that you wrote 12 months ago they are going to go elsewhere so keep it fresh, keep it regular. When you first build your website, try to write something new at least every other day for the first 3 months, beyond that once a week is perfect.

Search engines also love new content. As your content gets older it slowly sinks beneath the surface and slips out of view. This is why when you search for things the highest ranking pages are also usually newish pages. In fact anything more than a couple of years old rarely hits the first page of the results, unless its a very specific, very scarce query that only produces a couple of very old results, so keep writing to keep your affiliate website at the top of the search engines and at the forefront of peoples minds.

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