As you have read in my earlier posts Affiliate marketing is making money from a commission that you earn by selling other people’s (company’s) products. Being the middleman in the huge online business world and you can earn money online from home! (You will come through many new Terms or words in this and other posts. You can refer the resource page to find out the meaning of these terms and words. OR CLICK HERE.) So basically what you do as an affiliate is :
- You promote other people’s (or Company’s) Product using a special link with a code only being used by you embedded into it (this is required by advertiser to track the leads referred by you).
- If someone buys that product (or in some cases completes a task like signing up or completing a survey) using your link, it gets tracked by the advertiser and you are rewarded a commission (which is a percentage of the sale price but can also be a fixed amount as set by the advertiser).
Thus both the advertiser and the publisher is benefited. Companies get more sales of their product when many publishers (or affiliates) promote their product and Affiliates in turn generate revenue by promoting the product. Moreover Companies pays only when a sale is made so there is no risk of getting non converting visits like in some Paid Advertisement campaigns like Google Adwords PPC.
Indian Companies are also entering into Affiliate Marketing. There are many companies in India which offers affiliate program for affiliate marketers in India. It is a luring way to build an online business and earn money online in India with less investment if you do things right. So follow my blog posts and Ebooks closely to learn more on developing a successful online entrepreneur in you.
Now the big question for me when i started as an Affiliate Marketer was were to start? and how to start? or what was the best product to start with? or how to reach potential customers? and many many such question !!! And frankly first few months i just ended up loosing money as i spent lot of money on useless marketing strategies and some strategies which was very advance and i din’t even knew any tip or corner of it!!!
BUT YOU GUYS DON”T NEED TO WORRY! AS I WILL SHARE WITH YOU ALL MY EXPERIENCES OF AFFILIATE MARKETING SO THAT YOU GUYS CAN SKIP THE PITFALLS WHICH A COMMON AFFILIATE MARKETER CAN FALL INTO.
[AND there are certain aspects that no one else on the internet would tell you. One such important aspect is Income tax on your online income. Even though you will be earning in dollars (which gets converted to Indian Rupees when transferred to your Bank account), affiliate earnings are subjected to income and service taxes. I will explain these aspects of taxes in my later posts soon but its only the matter of concern when you start earning in several lakhs.]
You can also consider this as an online job working part time to earn extra income. Work part time during your spare time daily for three or four months can build a considerable passive income source for you. Even if you are a student or a working person, spending couple of hours of your time to build a passive online business like affiliate marketing will surely bring you lots and lots of free time for future indirectly (as you would have money to buy those time!)
AND there is no thing such as – “earn money online without investment!” or “earn money online for free!”. Now if it was true there would be millions of millionaires! But the investment required is not as huge as other businesses and affiliate or internet marketing is the best way to earn money through internet. In fact its way way cheaper than other businesses! The things you need to spend your money on in Affiliate marketing is on Website hosting, Domain & some cheap softwares (You can find the cheapest and best ones which i also use in the resource page or click here).
Now it can be roughly around 5 to 20 thousand Indian Rupees for an Year and you can earn well more than 10 times that you invested! And that too the earnings keep coming for many years if the business is set up properly. And if you are smart enough you can be a millionaire too! But there is some road to travel for that. It is not a ‘get rich quick scheme’ but as my opinion goes Affiliate marketing is an relatively easy way to earn money online in India. So keep reading and keep learning.
So in this post I am going to focus on the very basics of Affiliate Marketing. i.e. the Beginner stuff or in short from where you should start to make money online in India. Now there are lots and lots of ways to do affiliate marketing and earning money online. But you can’t learn all that in a day! You must learn it on the way through the beginner path. And with experience you can be a pro Affiliate Marketer, earning a lot of money, with lot of free time to spare and enjoy that time and money with your family.
So to begin i only want you to focus on one method of Affiliate Marketing (which is arguably the best way to make money online). That is Niche marketing by building small Niche blogs. The Niche Blog or the Niche site as others call it is a site that you create that talks specifically about one particular topic or niche. For example a blog that talks about just relationships or a blog that just talk about just weight loss or a blog that talks about poetry or a blog that talks just about video games, etc., etc… Realistically speaking you can earn like 2000 to 50000 Rupees a month from each niche blog. The earnings depends on how well you imply the proper techniques.
[You might have come across many products online which promise to teach you to earn money online through blogging or earn money online by Google. All these products are only going to teach you the same what I have in my blog but in different ways and methods. So i recommend you NOT to buy these or similar products. However you can check out these products and see how they market it or how their websites are. Click the links below to check some of those websites which are the current hottest selling products online, how they sell it, and also do leave your comments about those websites and their products at the comment box below of this post.
- NICHE SITE TUTOR- How to make money from Google
- Shoe in money - How to earn money by blogging]
Now through these Niche Blogs, You are trying to rank for one particular keyword in Google SERP’s (Search Engine Result Pages). By rank here i mean getting into the first page of Google for a particular keyword. Now this is important as you need traffic (visitors) to your niche blog to make money online, and whats the best way to do so? To be there where everyone is searching for it, i.e. Google (And yes Google has the power to make you rich! ). Now have you heard of people or products promoting FREE TRAFFIC? Now the way to achieve that free traffic is to get ranked in top 10 in Google’s Serp’s.
So there are few steps to this process of building a NICHE BLOG. These are:
- Finding the right Niche market for your blog. Thus finding the profitable product to promote in your niche blog.
- Doing keyword Research and competition analysis in the Niche Market.
- Researching about the niche in deep. Collecting important and useful notes. Studying the product that you are going to promote.
- Building the Niche blog. Optimized for the keyword and with proper On page SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
- Focus on the content. The readers are going to decide whether to buy the product you are selling by reading your content. The right balance between Keyword optimization and the content for reader should be achieved.
- Submitting your website to Search Engines and Social Bookmarking and other Social networking sites.
- Building Backlinks and other OFF page SEO optimization.
- And the step you been waiting to hear i.e. getting paid!
Now finding the right Niche suitable for you is very important to start earning money online. You need to find the niche were there are good products to promote (which also has an affiliate product). You should also use your common sense to evaluate whether the people in the niche are interested in buying the product or just looking for freebies! There should be people in the niche looking for products online to solve their problems or fulfill their desires. And the niche shouldn’t be hard for you to understand about too. I mean you must be able to research a good amount of knowledge on the Niche before you promote the products on the topic. You will understand by yourself about the importance of this with experience. Now if you are already very interested in specific niche or topic you like, then try to go deep in the topic and find a deeper niche in the topic and find the products you can monetize.
Now if you can’t find good affiliate products to promote in your niche, then it may be an indicator that the people in the niche are not looking to buy products online. Or if you find a good product which doesn’t have affiliate program, then don’t hesitate to send the products management an Email asking them if they got any affiliate program for the product or if they are looking to start one. Dig deep into your niche.
The majority newbies in the online marketing world fail because they don’t do enough niche market and product research!! Now you can find products by simply searching on Google. Go to the products website and search for terms like affiliate program or referral program or Publishers or partner with us sections or promote our products section. Or you can search Google with the product name and adding term ‘affiliate’ along with it.
Now their are many Networks which run affiliate or Publisher Programs. The biggest names to consider joining their affiliate or publisher programs are Amazon, Clickbank, Commission Junction, Ebay, Paydotcom, and some of the Indian websites are Dgm India, Vcommission, Shoogloo, etc.(These are the real money making sites). You can search for them in Google. And the best part is, its free to register with them online to start making money online by promoting their products. You can also find individual product websites providing affiliate programs by searching in Google.
Now Keyword Researching is probably the bread and butter of SEO experts. I mean without proper keyword research no one can compete in this ultra competitive world of Internet. The difference between the success achieved by a person who does proper keyword research and the one who does not is HUGE!! Without keyword research SEO is just an airplane without fuel!! And if a person, who doesn’t know proper keyword research techniques, enters the world of SEO, it’s like him bringing a knife to a gun fight! And of-course he is not going to make cash out of his online efforts!
Internet has become a lot more competitive. So fighting for the first page in SERP’s for a competitive keyword and that too in a short period of time is almost impossible. So with our constrained financial resources and time its important for us to target and compete for less competitive ‘long tail keywords’. For example a keyword like Weight loss gets more than 10 million monthly searches in Google! So everyone wants to take advantage of this opportunity so there are many web pages competing for this keyword.
High competitive Main keywords
The above pic tells us that around 11 million searches in Google related to keyword- weight loss- were made in a single month!
Number of competing webpages for highly competitive keyword ‘weight loss’
Above pic tells us that around 227 million web pages are competing for the same keyword phrase i.e. ‘weight loss’ in Google! So such keywords are very competitive and it requires lot and lots of time effort knowledge and money to get to the top ten in Google’s SERP’s! So you should search for long tail keywords which have less competition and considerable number of monthly searches in Google. So for our Niche blog we will target a long tail keyword with roughly more than 2400 monthly searches and roughly less than 25000 competing web-pages for the keyword (i prefer less than 15000 usually for faster results).
Now I usually do the keyword research by using keyword research software. You check it out by clicking here.
Now when I started my online business career, started as an affiliate marketer. So I build some niche blogs (websites or blog targeted to a specific niche market), and the blog only contained two or three posts optimized to a particular long tail keyword. So I did a lot of keyword and competition analysis manually by using Google keyword tools and other online websites. By manual methods, it took me around two or three days (or even weeks sometimes) to finally lock on to a profitable and viable keyword for my niche blogs! However things are easier now with these software’s! Anyways I don’t want this post to be a sales pitch, so I will teach you to do keyword research by free means.
Now I am gonna teach in a specific manner. I will teach you to do the keyword research for a niche blog i.e. a niche site. You can easily copy the method into your other online business models like article writing or usual blogs or info websites, etc..
WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT KEYWORD? THE MONEY MAKING KEYWORD?
- Relevance: How relevant is the keyword to your website or blog? The keyword should be matching to the content of your website. For example if you are selling antivirus software on your websites and if you target the customers looking for the keyword ‘video converter software’, does it make sense? Or more specific example- if your bring in traffic using keyword ‘free hosting’ were as you are selling paid hosting services, will you make money? So my point here is that your keyword should be relevant to the target you want to achieve from your website.
- Search Volume: you want a keyword which has got a lot of monthly searches on Google It can be monthly global searches or local searches, depending on the people you want to target. Typically I look for a minimum search volume of 2400 per month if the keyword is relevant to the product I am promoting or if the niche is very profitable. If I am looking for a keyword for my Google Adsense website then I will look for a search volume of atleast 4000. (Remember the higher the search volume=higher the competition=higher the amount of money you spend on off-page optimization!).
- Competition: As I mentioned in the bracket above, you don’t want a keyword with lot of competition. It might be impossible to compete with high competition if you are a beginner to online business. Typically if I am restrained on my money and time, I go for a keyword if there are less than 20,000 web pages competing for the phrase and the top 10 ranked websites should be with very high page rank and lots of back-links.
- Profitability: keyword you choose must be profitable. i.e. the niche market you are targeting through your keyword must be profitable. It must have either good products to promote through your website or must have huge value so that you can profit through advertisements through Adsense or such advertisement agencies.
- Niche understanding: You must have a basic understanding of the niche or you must be passionate enough to quickly learn and adapt to the requirements of the niche. I say so because if you do not have the understanding of the product you are promoting through your website, you are definitely not going to make money! Even if you generate lot of traffic, the visitors who read the content of your website will find out that you don’t know what you are talking about and they will quickly exit your website!
In depth on each characteristic:
Let’s get deep into what I mean by relevance. This means finding all the keywords related to your niche market. That is important because like I was talking about earlier you don’t just want traffic but you want targeted traffic. You want traffic i.e. people who come to your site by searching for the keyword (keyword related to the product you are promoting) on Google. Right?
So if you target the wrong keywords you can still gets lots of traffic but its dead traffic. I’m sure you know terms that are related to you and what you are doing online, but do you really know which ones are better? Do you really know which ones will drive more traffic? Well that’s what I am going to teach you how to do.
Now you can use Google Keyword tool for the keyword researching if you have not purchased any software for the purpose. Click here to go to Google keyword tool.
Google Free- Keyword Tool
The above pic shows how a Google Keyword Tool looks like. Before you start looking for keyword you must tick the phrase box as I have shown in the next Pic. The reason for this is that you want Google to suggest you keyword ideas which are in the whole phrase, as searched by people. For example you want long tail keyword based on weight loss niche. So you want Google to suggest search volume and keyword ideas based on phrase “weight loss” and not on broadly matched keyword like –fat loss or gain weight!
You can also narrow your results by using the advance options and filter provided in the keyword tool. Refer above and below pics. You can choose to search for keywords based on country specific and filter keyword ideas by monthly global or local search volumes.
Now if your website is selling or promoting a product, it should not be a browsing keyword like ‘cameras’, instead, it should be more closely linked to buying or a specific problem. If you were doing this for stuff other than Clickbank products for example, you could make a site about a specific model of camera that had an affiliate program. Or another example, a keyword like “how to lose weight fast” would be a good one to use because the searcher clearly has a problem that they want to solve. And it’s a problem they’ll pay to solve too (since weight loss is massive billion dollar market).
Also remember, as I said earlier, you’re very unlikely to be able to rank for a broader keyword like “mobiles” or “weight loss” anyway, you’d have way too many competitors, so stick to quite specific terms i.e. long term keyword phrases.
How to Search for Long tail Keywords.
I will Post a video soon elaborating on Keyword Researching on Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool.
Traffic is what everyone wants right? Different keywords obviously have different search volumes and our goal here is to find out what keywords people are searching for. Because, when they are searching for it they are going to click and that is where the traffic (and the real money) comes from.
Too many people, including myself, in the beginning, choose random keywords. Keywords that are related to their niche and are still relevant keywords, but they don’t have traffic. That is why people wonder what’s wrong when they are not seeing any results. It’s because they are not checking out the search engine numbers.
2 points to note :- Number one is that more than ninety percent of traffic from search engines come from the first page of Google. Thus our goal here is to be on that first page of Serp. You will make more money online if you are in the top three ranked webpages.
The second thing you have to understand is that even if you are number one ranking for a some keyword you are not going to get all the traffic ‘because there is ten spots in the first SERP page. There are nine other people that could get traffic from You even if you are first. Top 3 results are the best visited pages but a fourth or ninth ranked website can also pull some traffic by having a eye catchy and action oriented description Meta tag and Title. More on that in the on-page optimization section.
Checking Keyword ideas and its Monthly Search Volumes.
Now to better understand the importance of search volume I give you an example. Suppose you are selling a product, say an Ebook about weight loss and it is prices at say 50 US Dollars (Rs 2500). And the conversion rate of the product is 5 percentage on your website. So if 100 persons visited your website in a month, as per the conversion rate, 5 people will buy your product. So your gross Sales for the month equals 250 US Dollars (Rs 12500). And if 2000 peoples visit your website then as per the conversion rate, 100 people will buy your product and your gross sales equals 5000 US Dollars (Rs 2.5 Lac). Thus the example shows us how mathematics can be used for marketing evaluation.
Now Conversion rate is not an easy task to achieve. I will give you tips to increase the conversion rates in my later posts, but you must use your understanding of the niche and the product you are marketing to get better results.
Now like I said your goal is to get on the number one page of Google, first page of Google but there’s only ten spots available. And everyone is competing for those ten spots. So when searching for keywords we have to look at two aspects. We have to look at first the amount of competition and secondly we have to look at the strength of competition.
With the amount of competition we’re just seeing how many other web pages we’re up against and secondly we have to also look at how strong they are in SEO…we have to take them both into consideration because if there’s like a billion websites out there that all have our keyword but they’re all really weak in SEO and having very less Page-rank and Back-links and the most important, very less relevancy to the keyword, then we have a really good chance of getting in the first page of Google.
Now if there’s only ten thousand websites or even a hundred websites that might not seem like a lot but if they are all power authority websites like Wikipedia or Ebay or then there’s probably no chance we are going to get in there either. So we have to find the correct balance of amount and strength in order to understand that if it’s possible to rank on the first page of Google and then we can either decide to do a website for that niche or write a blog post about that or whatever.
(Now remember that there’s no substitute for real experience and you may get it wrong the first couple of times. But it doesn’t mean you are bad or weak at it. Now you know you might have fallen couple of times while learning to ride a cycle. So how did you end up? A pro right? So never give up. Everything is possible if approached in a right way.)
Like I said it is the most important thing because you don’t want to enter the ring against a ‘Perfect’ website. You want to enter into a fight against competition where you have a chance to get in the first page of Google. It would just suck to do all that effort, time and money and create a website and do all this ad campaigns and optimize your website both on and off site and just not even get close to the first page and it’s not worth your time if it’s not even possible. So competition analysis is very important.
Now first step to see how much competing web pages you got for a particular keyword is to search the keyword inside double quotation marks. For example see the below pic. The pic shows the number of pages having keyword phrase “how to write articles for magazines and newspapers”. It shows that at the time I checked it had 27 thousand web pages, competing for that keyword phrase.
Checking number of competing webpages for a keyword phrase.
Now to after you know the number of web pages competing for the keyword, you now look out for the real competition on first page by checking the keyword without the double quotation mark. Now you must judge if the websites at the top ten are authoritive or are not that strong in SEO. You must analyze each website by yourself. Open each website and check there page ranks and back links and analyze the page keyword structure and meta tags and gauge its SEO strengths. This way you can analyze your competition and see if you can compete with them or not.
You can find the free tools to analyze your competition in my blogs resource page. Bookmark the resource page for easy access. You can download my Ebook ‘SEO- What Google really wants’ (From the Top Right corner box in green background) to know whats proper way of SEO.
Now use your judgement on the analysing the competition. It is encouraging to find atleast two webpages in top ten of Google SERP with zero Page-Rank and less than 100 back-links. Else i recommend to stay away!
Now there is a common thinking of less experienced marketers that tapping into a niche market that has no competition at all will be very beneficial. So they brainstorm and dig in deep to find such untapped niches. But they fail to understand that the niche has no competition because the niche or the keyword is not that profitable! So you must also use your common sense and think from the buyers view that if you would be willing to spent on a product related to the niche or keyword or are you looking to buy something when you are searching for that keyword in Google. And as i did some maths at couple of paragraphs above, you must judge if the keyword with its monthly searches and trends and adwords cost per click values shown in the keyword tool, are worth trying and profitable or not.
Now i will try to draw a picture of finding the long tail keyword in your mind!
Refer the below picture.
Keyword Tree- Distinguishing long tail keywords from others.
Now I will explain what i meant by the tree i have shown above. The trunk of the tree represent the main keyword (Root keyword) i.e. for example consider keyword ‘weight loss’, which is the main keyword inside the niche marketing you are targeting. Now the Branches or stems of the tree represents the categories within the main keyword. i.e. for example category keywords for main keyword – ‘Weight loss’ would be, ‘weight loss books / weight loss classes / weight loss gym / weight loss tablets / weight loss exercises, etc.’.
The dark green leaves which are the LSI Keywords are more general and relative keywords to the Category keywords. Now Full Form of LSI is ‘Latent Semantic Indexing’. Search engines uses LSI to determine the relevancy of a website. In simple terms, the related keywords of the category or main keyword. Generally the LSI keyword does not contain the main or category keyword in it. You can find these keywords in the Keyword tool by searching for a category keyword in broad match type.
And the light green which is the long tail keyword we are searching for, actually contains the theme and category keyword with additional related words. For example a long tail keyword ‘how to lose weight fast by doing exercises at home’, contains the main keyword i.e.- ‘Lose weight’ and the category keyword- ‘lose weight by exercises’.
I hope you got the picture of what long tail keyword is and how to distinguish it. You can target and optimize for one or two long tail keyword in your Niche blog. But there should be one single Long tail keyword which is the golden one which you should optimize the most for. Refer my SEO Ebook for more details on On-page SEO.
In Part two i will detail the process of building a Niche Blog and Optimizing it (also you should read my Ebook first: SEO – What Google really wants), how to optimize the content of the blog for users and mostly the Off-page optimization Techniques. Now i am gonna talk a lot about Affiliate marketing because in my opinion it is the only answer to – ‘what is the best way to earn money online?‘. And my posts on affiliate marketing can teach you a lot on others means of making money online and even on marketing any stuff online.
Click here to read part two
I hope I managed to make this post as easily understandable as possible. But still i’ll post a video covering the contents of this post. Stay tuned and subscribe to my list in the top right corner to get updates when i post new contents and to download my Ebook on SEO i.e. What Google really wants.