Becoming a Successful Affiliate

In order to become better in any industry, you must keep learning and staying up to date. I continue to be excited about internet marketing and I continue to read and sometimes invest in information products in which I can learn more about marketing or new techniques. I don’t particularly go out of my way […]

Affiliate Marketing for Dummies

These are some common questions that newcomers to the field of internet marketing ask. Being an online marketer for over 2 years now, I thought of sharing my thoughts and experiences about affiliate marketing with you. Hope this blog gives you some clarity on what all you can expect from affiliate marketing programs. Let us […]

Automate your Datafeed with Cron Jobs

Datafeeds are extremely common in affiliate marketing these days and offer affiliates a quick and easy way to import hundreds (if not thousands) of products into 3rd party applications and websites. For sites that offer a price comparison functionality this import has to be done regularly – and can therefore be a real pain if […]

Transfer Your Website The Right Way

Recently I was faced with a rather intriguing problem I hadn’t come across before – moving an entire website (indexed by Google etc.) to a completely new domain. The website was hosted by myself but the domain was owned by another affiliate (pointing at my nameservers on a revenue share basis). Upon informing myself that […]

How 2019 Google Updates Effect Your Website

Affiliate marketing has really changed over the last 12 months or so. In fact it is safe to say anyone who has a keen interest in making money online (whether it be affiliates, SEO’s, ecommerce or lead generation) will have felt that change – and if you havent yet, you soon will! At first glance […]

6 Must Have Tools for Website Development in 2019

If you’re an affiliate marketer like myself chances are you will have multiple websites across several sectors and niches (and if you don’t yet you probably will at some stage). Not only does spreading your portfolio give you a much wider potential target audience it also safeguards against one of your sites being penalised by […]

Adding Microdata to Your SEO Schema Markup

Google, Yahoo and Bing recently launched an initiative called schema.org, to create and support common ways to represent web page metadata. The project offers web publishers the tools to make their content more easily understood by search engines and more effectively represented in search results by introducing unified HTML tags (known as microdata) to help categorise and create […]

URL Shortners: Should You Use Them?

Sites like Twitter (and its 140 character limit) have helped fuel an explosion in the use of URL shorteners to generate short URLs. If you are not familiar with what a URL shortener is it basically lets you take an extremely long and difficult to remember URL and simply shorten it. For example: http://www.mywebsite.com/products/widgets/my-awesome-weight-loss-product Could […]

Blog SEO: How to Write an Amazing Blog Post that Ranks in Google

Writing great blog posts that rank highly in search engines can be a time consuming affair. Planning a post is crucial if it is to rank well and bring your website tons of free traffic. As a blogger it can be tempting to simply knock out 200 or 300 word articles twice daily; but that […]

Featured Blog Posts

In order to become better in any industry, you must keep learning and staying up to date. I continue to be excited about internet marketing and I continue to read and sometimes invest in information products in which I can learn more about marketing or new techniques.

I don’t particularly go out of my way to purchase info products but the ones that I have purchased have been really good in my opinion. If you visit the sales page you will notice it isn’t the typical cheesy ones with lots of huge colorful fonts and covered in testimonials. In fact, you can learn some cool stuff just from reading the sales page alone.

The “Lazy” in the title is a little bit misleading as there is work to be done. However, the point is to create mini-sites that are “hands off”, yet continue to earn passive income. Once the initial work is done, it really is a set-it and forget it type of system because there is no need for promotion with PPC ads which can require monitoring, testing, and tweaking. This is also good for those on a tight budget who can’t afford to run PPC campaigns.

The entire eBook has got me to start thinking in a different way which is more like a marketer. I can build out a Web site with no problem but marketing one is a different story. I don’t know how many times I’ve built a site because I personally thought it would make money.

There are ways to go about finding niches that will make money and Chris does a good job of laying out exactly how he does this.

Not every book or eBook I purchase is a winner but I think I’ve been lucky so far with what I have purchased. If you haven’t checked out Chris’ product, at least read through sales page. Reading that will definitely provide some new tactics that you may not have heard of before.

RSS subscribers

There are many great ways that I have come across to build up RSS subscribers as well as traffic to a Web site. Common methods I’ve seen include:

  • Guest articles on other sites
  • Free give aways
  • Contests
  • Social networking (Digg effect, Stumble Upon, etc.)

Contests are a really cool way to grab attention, especially if the prizes are enticing. I recently entered one on Josh Spaulding’s internet marketing blog and to my surprise, I was one of the winners! To enter the contest you had to subscribe via RSS feed or receive updates via RSS feed email subscription. There were 3 questions to be answered which were great questions as they got me to take a step back and think about why I am doing the internet marketing thing in the first place.

Running a contest can always be a hit or miss. I have read other bloggers who have tried running contests with very little success. I don’t think it is a reason not to try it though. Not every traffic tactic will be a success but you will never know unless you try. After having participated in this contest I think I will try to come up with something cool to give away on my fitness blog.

If you have been wanting to try something creative to build up your subscriber base I’d say give it a try. You really have nothing to lose by doing so because even if it doesn’t bring the results you desired, you will definitely learn what to do better the next time.

Use Aweber Today!

In a few posts back I wrote about how I don’t use email marketing yet. Since then I have decided to give it a shot. You would think after being signed up on list after list, you could kind of get the hang of how it works. Plus, I decided that I will never learn anything unless I begin to take action. I’m sure I will make mistakes along the way and when I do and learn from them, I can pass it on to others who want to try list building out as well.

To begin my list building campaign I decided to go with one of the best autoresponders on the market. I decided to try out Aweber. The reason being that almost every list I’ve ever opted-in to is using them and I’ve read positive reviews about them as well. You also get a 30 day free trial so that also gave me incentive to try them out.

Learning your way around their system isn’t very difficult. If you are not tech savvy, they also provide video tutorials that will teach you how to use everything. I think after about an hour or so I figured my way around. When you set up your first campaign, they have a spam check that lets you know if your copy has too many spam trigger words. Form set-up is a breeze too and they offer pop-up forms and hover forms as well.

I signed up to my first list to test it all out and the emails are sent fairly quickly. You can also add links to the system if you want users to see customized confirmation pages. So far I really like their service. The first thing I did was ask my friends to opt-in to my list to see if there were any problems. That tested well too. I think I will be staying with Aweber beyond the 30 day trial.

These are some common questions that newcomers to the field of internet marketing ask. Being an online marketer for over 2 years now, I thought of sharing my thoughts and experiences about affiliate marketing with you. Hope this blog gives you some clarity on what all you can expect from affiliate marketing programs.

Let us first understand what affiliate marketing is…

Affiliate marketing is a business deal between an online marketer and a website owner. Here the online merchant and the website owner agree to share their revenue. The website owner places advertisements on his website to promote the sale of the products for the online merchant and to attract potential customers to the merchant’s website.

The merchant in turn gives a share of his profits to the website owner. In simple words, in affiliate marketing you are promoting a product that is NOT your own and in return earning commission out of it.

The compensation that the affiliate earns may be based on pay per lead or pay per sale/revenue share. In pay per lead the money earned by the affiliate is based on every new introduction of a potential client to the merchants product. In case of pay per sale or revenue share, the compensation is a percentage of the product sold.

One area where affiliate marketing scores is you do not have your own product so you are spared of the headaches involved with the inventory, taking orders, shipping and handling of products. All you have to do is promote the product on your website.

However, it is not that simple as it sounds and mastering the art of affiliate marketing takes time. So what are the tips and tricks that can help a newcomer become a star affiliate?

  • Research & Choose your Niche: The very first step would be to do a fair amount of research to decide on a niche that is profitable but at the same time not very competitive. You need to thoroughly study your niche and the keywords that will bring you the maximum traffic. The trick is to find a sub niche of a very popular niche.
  • Promote Quality products: When promoting a product or service on your website, make sure the product is good. Many affiliate marketers recommend products to customers without even knowing about them and this affects the trust factor of your audience. If you lose trust once, it is difficult to rebuild it.
  • Understand Search Engine Optimization: Search Engine Optimization or SEO is important to understand as you would want your website to rank high when someone searches on your keywords. Your website in turn will then showcase the products and services you advertise to customers and help you earn revenue.
  • Effective Copy-writing: The language you use on your website should bind readers. A smart copywriter will ensure that your copy is interesting as well as valuable to the visitor reading it which will ultimately lead him to buy your product.

So if you ask me…there is NO SUCH THING as Affiliate Marketing for Dummies. Websites that promise to make you a master of affiliate marketing in a week are probably bordering an overstatement and are simply fooling you.

There are no magic formulae attached to it and as in any other business, you need to put in your hard work, dedication and thorough research to become a successful affiliate marketer.

Datafeeds are extremely common in affiliate marketing these days and offer affiliates a quick and easy way to import hundreds (if not thousands) of products into 3rd party applications and websites.

For sites that offer a price comparison functionality this import has to be done regularly – and can therefore be a real pain if done manually.

What is needed is a way of automating the process – and (if your host allows it) the use of cron jobs makes this a breeze.

WHAT IS A CRON JOB?

A cron job is simply a script or task that can be scheduled to run at a specified time.

Crons are commonly used to schedule system maintenance or to administer content but, as we are about to discover, they can also be used to perform common, repetitive tasks (such as downloading remote datafeeds from networks and merchants).

SO HOW IS IT DONE?

It all depends on your individual hosting setup but the basics remain the same; we need to create a simple script that will download (and unzip if necessary) the remote datafeed to our host and then we need to tell our host where that script resides and how often we would like it to be run. Simple.

So let’s get started and write a simple script to download a single datafeed.

Open up notepad (or any text editor) and write (or copy and paste) the following (remembering to change the relevant paths to reflect your own server setup):


/usr/bin/wget -O "/path/to/your/feeds/feed.csv.gz" "http://datafeedurl/gzip/";
/usr/bin/gzip -c -d -S "" /path/to/your/feeds/feed/feed.csv.gz > /path/to/your/feeds/feed/feed.csv
rm /path/to/your/feeds/feed/feed.csv.gz

The code above may look daunting but it is quite simple when we break it down.

In order to retrieve remote files our script will have to use wget (wget is a software package for retrieving files using HTTP, HTTPS and FTP – the most widely-used Internet protocols).


/usr/bin/wget -O

That’s where the first part of our line comes in above; it tells our script where it can find wget in order to use it (if you are not sure of the path or whether wget is even installed on your server speak to your administrator or host).

The second part of the line looks like this:


"/path/to/your/feeds/feed.csv.gz" "http://datafeedurl/gzip/";

This tells our script to “fetch” the gzipped remote file using the url (on the right) and save it to the location on the left (note: for this example we are calling the downloaded file feed.csv.gz but you could call it anything).

We now (in theory) have a gzipped datafeed downloaded which now needs ‘unzipping’. That is where the second line of the script comes in:


/usr/bin/gzip -c -d -S ""

As we did earlier with wget we are telling our script where it can find the gzip application that will be used to decompress or unzip our datafeed.

We then tell gzip which file is to be unzipped (/path/to/your/feeds/feed/feed.csv.gz) and what to call it once unzipping has been completed (feed.csv)


/path/to/your/feeds/feed/feed.csv.gz > /path/to/your/feeds/feed/feed.csv

Finally we have the last line of our script:


rm /path/to/your/feeds/feed/feed.csv.gz

“rm” simply stands for remove – and this is exactly what we are doing here. Removing the now redundant zipped file we originally downloaded. (as we have now unzipped and copied it)

Easy!

So – now that we know what the script does and how it does it all we need is a valid datafeed to download.

For this example I am using affiliatewindow but the principle is the same with any network (or website) that offers the ability to download datafeeds remotely (such as linkshare, webgains etc.)

If you are familar with affiliatewindow you know that they have a cool wizard called ‘create a feed’ in order to let you build and customise your own datafeeds.

At the end of this process we are presented with a couple of options; the url to our datafeed or a download button.

Datafeed url from Affiliate Window

Ensure you select gzip as the compression mode and then copy and paste the datafeed url replacing http://datafeedurl/gzip/ from the first line of our script.

ALMOST DONE

Now save the script as import.sh (or whatever you like) and upload it to your hosting package using an FTP Client such as filezilla (or whatever you are comfortable with)

You should now be able to login to your Control Panel and setup a Cron Job (sometimes called Cron Task, or Scheduled Task)

Most cron managament areas have a similar look and feel and often look something like this:

Cron managment tool from Heart Internets control panel

Enter the path to the script you have just uploaded and set the frequency you would like it to run – and you are done!!

Simple as that

COUPLE OF GOTCHAS

There are a couple of things to watch out for when setting up cron jobs like this.

  • Firstly you MUST ensure that the script you have created has the correct permmsions to be executed by the server. You can do this by chmodding the script to 711 or 755. To do this in Filezilla browse to and right click on your script before selecting “File Permissions”. Now type 711 or 755 into the “Numeric Value” text box before hitting “Ok”.
  • It is also worth checking that the folder you intend to upload your datafeeds too also has the correct permissions – again 711 or 755 should suffice. But if in doubt 777 is fine.
  • Another common mistake is getting the paths wrong within the script itself.If you run the script and nothing appears to be happening double and triple check all the paths to ensure they are correct.
  • You can also check the datafeed url itself is working correctly by simply pasting it directly into your browser.If everything is ok it should prompt you to download a zipped folder. If not double check you have copied the url corrrectly from your relevant network.

GREAT – SO WHAT NOW?

Now you are free to import or update your site as usual – if you are running a script like price tapestry this can also be automated.

Simply create another cron job and point it at the import file that comes with PT (within the scripts directory).

Like this:


/usr/bin/php /home/sites/yourdomain.com/public_html/scripts/import.php @MODIFIED

Notice the @MODIFIED tag at the end of the line – this means the script will only run on any records that have changed since the last import.

Good luck – and have fun!

If you have any thoughts, ideas or comments – feel free to leave them below.

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