If you read the GoogleCash section, you’ll
already be familiar with what an Affiliate is, and what
Affiliate Marketing means. In that case, or if you already know
from other sources, click here to bypass the
Affiliate Marketing, for people wanting to make a few bucks
a month or develop a business generating tens of thousands of
dollars a month (or more), offers an almost endless variety of
Some strategies offer you income literally in minutes (see
the page called the Googlecash Opportunity, based on an
amazing eBook called Googlecash), others in a few hours
(Phil Wiley's MiniSite Profits approach) while others
recommend the careful development of a substantial and
well-traffic'd web site (Rosalind Gardner's Super Affiliate Handbook approach). The
opportunities are huge. Yet, despite having been an Internet
user since before the World Wide Web existed, I had never
even heard of the term, let alone the concept, until I read
the Googlecash book.
So, assuming you have little or no understanding of
Affiliate Marketing, here’s an overview.
Affiliate Marketing Overview
There are tens or hundreds of thousands of people wanting to
sell their products on the Internet. I mean, people who already
have websites promoting their products. At the same time, the
last statistics I saw showed that there are almost a billion
people using the Internet. No-one – not even Microsoft – has
what it takes to reach all of their potential buyers
So, in addition to their own marketing efforts many of these
merchants look for other people who will find potential buyers
for the merchant’s products in return for a commission every
time one is sold.
- THE MERCHANT owns the product.
- THE MERCHANT develops the website.
- THE MERCHANT handles the credit cards, or cheques, or
purchase orders, or faxed orders, or phoned-in orders.
- THE MERCHANT handles the manufacture and packaging and
shipping if it’s a “physical” product or else they handle
the downloads if it’s a digital product (software, or an
- THE MERCHANT handles issues with unhappy customers, or
complaints, or questions, or returns, … etc.
All you do, as the Affiliate, is send appropriate
traffic to THEIR web site. Where “appropriate” means
people who are interested in their product, with the means to
pay and the willingness to buy if they find what they want.
There is a simple technique for a merchant to recognize
whether the “lead” came from you. So, if the traffic you send
to the site actually buys something … the merchant knows the
lead came from you, and pays you a commission. And, in case
you're wondering, you DO get paid, and you don't get cheated,
if you do your homework up front when you choose the merchants.
It simply isn't in a merchant's best interests to cheat you; if
you are sending traffic to their site and not seeing an
appropriate level of income from that traffic, you'll
simply transfer your business to another merchant and so the
original merchant loses out.
How big a commission do they pay? Well, it
depends. On downloadable, digital products … often as much as
50%, sometimes even 60%, of products that typically sell for
$30 to $150. On physical products that have to be shipped …
more commonly 5% to 15% or even 20%. Rarely, 30% or more. Now,
15% of a home-gym selling for $1000 is not to be sniffed at, of
course; $150 is a nice piece of change. Whereas 10% of a
product selling for $50 may not seem much … unless you’re
selling 10 a day. Or 100 a day. Or more. Then it, too, is a
nice piece of change.
How do they pay you? Often, it’s your
choice. They can transfer the funds into your bank account. Or
mail you a cheque, for example.
How do you find these merchants? There are
many ways. And this is where we start to get into some of the
Variations on the Affiliate
As I said at the beginning, there are an infinite number of
variations on the whole Affiliate Marketing concept. Let’s take
a look at the most popular, just to get a feel for some.
The GoogleCash approach. It’s not the
best known, not the most popular, not the biggest earner, I
mention it here because it’s probably the simplest way to make
money from Affiliate marketing – you don’t even need a
website, although the ability to create a 1-page landing page
on a website is valuable. The heart of this method is, to place
Adwords ads that drive traffic to a merchant's web site
directly, or via a simple 1-page "landing Page." I have a whole
section devoted to the GoogleCash Opportunity.
The Mini Site approach. When I read Phil
Wiley's book, Mini Site Profits, it created an interesting
mental shift for me. From the perspective of the Googlecash
approach, where you try to drive traffic directly from Adwords
Ads to the merchant site, it's easy to think of the Landing
pages that you sometimes have to create as a
sort-of nuisance. But Wiley's approach is 100% based on
creating Mini Sites that are little more than high-powered
Landing pages! When you see what he does, in just a couple of
hours ... there's nothing clever about it at all. Which is why
the approach IS so clever! It's so obvious no-one seems to do
it (until they read his book). His ebook, Mini Site Profits, is a bit dated (he says
he's updating it) but the concepts aren't, his examples,
aren't, and the book is an absolute bargain.
The Content-Rich Theme Site approach. A
characteristic of the Googlecash and Mini Site approaches is
that all the traffic comes from Pay-per-click ads, primarily
Google Adwords and Overture, although there are many other
options. The Mini Sites (sometimes a single page) are simply
too small to get good rankings in the free Search Engines,
especially in markets that are typically competitive. This is
good and bad; the good is, you can control the flow of traffic;
you are not vulnerable to the fluctuations in the free Search
Engine traffic from their constant algorithm
reshuffles. The bad is, you do have to pay for it; and you
don't get as much traffic in total as you could get if you were
able to get good rankings in the free Search Engines.
So, the Content-Rich theme site we described in detail for
the Content-Rich Adsense Opportunity becomes highly relevant
for Affiliate Marketing, too. (In fact it was used for
Affiliate Marketing for many years before Adsense came on the
scene.) It calls for a site to be developed on a carefully
chosen theme, one that contains a LOT of pages of content that
the Search Engines love.
Rosalind Gardner has a book called Super Affiliate Handbook that goes into
painstaking detail of every aspect of the Affiliate
Marketing game, the way she plays it; to the level of how to
choose potential markets, how to test them for volume, and
for profit potential; how to look for potential Affiliate
deals and assess them with a professional's eye, how to
choose a domain name, how to choose a host, what software to
use to build a site, how to build it, how to get traffic,
how to track results ... she even gives you the spreadsheets
she uses for her research and tracking. She recommends an
approach of building traffic, then applying to merchants;
she aims for very high-volume markets where a Merchant will
drop you as an affiliate if you aren't driving thousands of
visitors to their site.
Ken Evoy, who founded the Site Build It service I describe
at length later on, offers a free book describing his
model of Affiliate Marketing; sort of an "Affiliate Marketing
for the rest of us" approach. Called the Affiliate Masters Handbook, I suspect it's
only free because he believes that by teaching people about
the Affiliate Marketing opportunity, they'll be candidates
for his Site Build It service; and, that by
demonstrating his extensive know-how, they'll have
confidence in the Site Build It service. He's right on both
Marketing to your list. Now, this is huge,
and many marketers will tell you this is THE money. That
everything else is merely a profitable means to an end, where
this is the “end.” I cover the whole “Opt-in List” topic
as a section on it’s own, List Building and e-mail marketing. The
point is that if someone visits your site you have a 1-time
chance to sell them something; and even on the best sites,
95% to 98% of visitors leave without buying anything. But if
you can persuade some of them to give you their e-mail
address, and their permissioin to send e-Mail to them ...
you have an opportunity to sell to them over and over again,
and this is worth a LOT more than a single sale. You could
mail to a list twice a month with a new affiliate
opportunity every time, if you chose to. Many companies
selling their own products on their web sites use the List
and e-mail strategy to sell Affiliate products.
Don't Be Intimidated!
Every variation of Affiliate Marketing except The Googlecash
Opportunity includes the need to build a website and get
traffic to visit it.
Now, I recognize at this stage that even those tasks can
trigger a host of mental obstacles. Build a web site … how’d
you go about doing that?! Perhaps you know nothing whatsoever
about web site development or html editors or all that stuff.
Don’t you have to have a domain? (Perhaps you don't even
know what a “domain” is?) Where do you get one? How
much does it cost? Don’t you have to have web hosting? How’d
you do that? What exactly are you supposed to look for? What
does it cost?
So my first advice is, relax. My wife, who had barely
touched a computer since her college days in 1974, was able to
build a rather useful Affiliate-oriented web site with some
tools I’ll describe. A friend who knew nothing more than how to
“surf the net” and send e-mails (he didn’t even know how to
“cut and paste,” or use a word processor) has built a valuable
website; it's more than 70 pages after 12 months. My niece, who
at least grew up in the computer age but still had zero
Internet Marketing skills beyond surfing the ‘Net, using e-mail
and using a word processor, has built a small one, and the
experience has led her to commit much more to the Internet and
learn a lot more, too. Depending on how you approach it, the
whole process may be laborious, you will encounter obstacles,
you will find yourself floundering at times ... but it is
NOT difficult if you are prepared to learn, and persevere. And
in fact, issues of web site building and hosting etc shouldn’t
even be on your radar at the moment; first you need to get a
look at the whole picture.
Where should you start?
If I was you I would start by reading at least the rest of
this page, and two other pages too - the Googlecash Opportunity, and Content-Rich Sites with Adsense. If the
Affiliate Marketing opportunity still appeals, then download
and read Ken Evoy's free guide, the Affiliate Master's Handbook. He provides a
LOT of information. Now, recognize that this book provides
know-how for one particular approach to Internet
Marketing; it's not the easiest approach, nor the fastest
path to income (he likes sites with some substance, to
attract the free Search Engines, but there are other models)
... but 90% of what you'll read is entirely valid for all
So after all this reading, if you believe the opportunity is
worth pursuing - and you SHOULD know enough to make an informed
judgement call at that point - I'd recommend you gain a
different perspective that will add to your growing knowledge;
buy Googlecash by Chris Carpenter, for 3
reasons. First, he takes you in detail through sign-up
procedures with different Affiliate Directories, just solid
practical do-how. Second, he explains Google Adwords in
great detail, including walking you through the sign-up
procedures, and while Adwords can be the key to quicker
income if you have the right type of affiliate
deals, you won't learn of it from Ken Evoy's free
book. And third, Googlecash gives you the opposite
extreme perspective of Ken Evoy's approach to Affiliate
Marketing - Carpenter prefers to have no website,
and Affiliate income within minutes!
Now, you probably already know I'll buy ANYTHING that I
think will help me; it only takes one idea to pay for an eBook
many times over, and I can only think of a single book
I've bought that hasn't given me payback (it will, it will ...
I just haven't gotten to it yet). But here's the thing; if you
are gaining confidence that Affiliate Marketing is an
opportunity that suits you, and you share my philosophy,
consider buying one or both of the following. If the Googlecash
approach appeals for fast income with little effort, get
Phil Wiley's Mini Site Profits; it's only real flaw is
a lack of coverage of Adwords as Pay-per-click
advertising, and that doesn't matter because if you
read Googlecash you've had it explained far better than
almost anyone else could do it.
And Rosalind Gardner's Super Affiliate Handbook
provides in-depth coverage of real-life Affiliate
Marketing by a woman who made more than $400,000 in a single
year from a single site without any product of her own. She
also makes a lot of money from a bunch of other sites … but
you’ll find two things very refreshing. For one, she doesn’t
pretend it’s easy, instant riches. And for two, she goes
into a depth of detail, with real-life examples, that is
just incredible. She covers a lot more than just the
She starts with the absolute beginner basics, talking about
computers and telephones and printers and routers and such. She
points out all the free software you can use, and where to get
it. She tells of the tools she uses, when she buys them. Talks
about how to research profitable ideas, where to find products
and services to sell, how to assess and choose affiliate
programs, goes into issues of domain naming and selection and
registration, planning a web site, how to get good Search
Engine placement, all the different ways to get traffic to your
site, how to convert the traffic into sales, … I hope
you’re beginning to get the picture. She even goes into the
format of the spreadsheets she uses to keep track of Affiliate
deals, and to track Affiliate performance (you get to download
these if you want, for you own use). This is the most
comprehensive guide you’ll find, in my experience. And,
something that isn’t always true of these guru types, she’s an
extremely good writer.
Now, there are many, many other
James Martell offers a step-by-step
approach in his eBook (plus accompanying videos), the
Affiliate Marketer's Handbook, that is
supposed to be top-notch. The Martell “model” is one of
the most-copied on the Internet. He puts far more emphasis
on the details of the structure of a site, and the links
within a site and between sites, than do Evoy or Gardner.
He's unconventional in terms of how he builds his sites and
links them together, and I'm itching to get my hands on his
eBook. His students think he's the greatest. What I
particularly like is his realistic claims; he aims to have a
site generating $500 to $1000 a month within 6 months. Then
another ... and another ... I will get his course sometime
soon, his reputation means I can be sure I’ll learn a lot
from him. And as I keep saying ...it only takes a single
good idea to pay for his course. Contrast his approach
with Phil Wiley's, who aims to have income within a few
days, even a few hours.
A chap called Dr. Andrew Williams has an
interesting approach to designing web sites for Affiliate
sales, it’s a model I use in addition to all the others (I have
some Content-rich sites, some Mini Sites, and some Googlecash
campaigns). You can get his guide to building niche
content sites for free if you sign-up for his newsletter, which you
should do, it's excellent.
What he does is rather smart, IF you are looking for traffic
from the free Search Engines as early as possible. Knowing that
it takes time to get highly ranked on the Search Engines for
popular search terms even with good Search Engine Optimization,
once he has his “theme” set Dr Andy (as he brands himself)
conducts keyword research to identify theme-related search
terms with very few competing sites. Then,
even though they might have relatively few searches for these
keywords (as few as 10 a day, for example), he will commission
ghost writers to write 100 or so articles, each one
keyword-optimized to one of these low-competition keywords;
meaning, the keyword will appear enough times to represent
perhaps 2 - 4% of the total words in the article.
He then structures his sites so that he’ll have perhaps 5,6 or
7 “Main” pages where he promotes his Affiliate products or
services; and he’ll have 100 or so non-selling pages in the
form of Article pages, each with a keyword-smart article
written specifically for those keywords which are searched for
every day but which have little competition. These pages act
like a trawler’s net to catch visitors.
(Note that Dr. Andy has his own keyword analysis tool he uses to do a lot
of the analytical work for him; it's great for taking the
output from Wordtracker, which in my opinion is the
fundamental keyword research tool, and "mining" much more
information from it that leads him to the identification of
useful niches and niches-inside-niches. He also offers a
website builder called SEO Website Builder -- fiendishly clever
name! -- that is 100% oriented towards putting up
Affiliate marketing sites and getting traffic to them. I
don't use it, I use XSitePro, but I've read good reports on
When You Know That Most Competing Sites Have Poor
In reality, hardly any of the 1000 competing sites will have
done even a half-assed job of Search Engine optimization; most
web owners know almost nothing about the topic. So
when Dr. Andy tailors his pages precisely to match these
keywords, and implements some sensible linking strategies, with
little competition his carefully-optimized pages get quickly to
the top of the Search Engine rankings for the 100 (or so)
carefully selected keywords.
Both “quickly” and “top” are important here. This strategy
means he pulls in a lot of low-volume traffic to his articles,
and he structures his sites so that every article page has a
link to one of the main selling pages. Think about this; if he
targets 100 keywords that have 10 – 20 searches a day, and gets
a top-5 position for each of those keywords, he can attract
several hundred visitors a day, starting relatively
This means, he can get revenue relatively quickly,
measured in terms of the usual timing with the free search
engines. (Nowhere near as quickly as PayPerClick ads can
generate revenue, though, of course.)
But on top of this, the multiple links from his article
pages, aimed at a handful of “selling” pages, cause the Search
Engines, over time, to see his main pages as being more and
more valuable ... so they start making their way higher in
the rankings, competing against highly competitive terms with
plenty of search traffic.
And in addition to this strategy he employs other
techniques, on-page and off-page, to make sure his pages
are highly ranked by the Search Engines. Very methodical,
straightforward approach, and works like a charm, I’m pleased
Even at a small search volume this can pay off. Let’s assume
your site gets 300 visitors a day; assume you have a 1%
conversion rate for your Affiliate deals; and $20 per sale
commission. That would give you $60 a day Affiliate income;
well over the $1000 a month mark, probably averaging $1500.
When you take into account the tactic of getting articles
written for you, you can probably research and build a site
like this, soup to nuts, in under 30 hours. If you get
only $1000 a month for 12 months, for 30 hours effort,
that's $400 an hour. Not too shabby; and why should it stop
after a year? Then there are all the OTHER traffic generation
If you were getting a 1% conversion on a product earning you
$20 commission a sale , you're able to use pay-per-click ads
knowing that you're making money if you're paying less than 60
cents per click. Let's assume you can find some keywords at 10
cents per click; you'd be paying $10 per 100 visitors, and
receiving (on average) $20 per 100 visitors. Not as good as
paying nothing and still being paid $20 per 100 visitors, via
the free Search Engines, but the advantage of the pay-per-click
approach is tremendous; with Google Adwords you could have
traffic within minutes of the site being published, and you are
NOT vulnerable to the notoriously fickle Search Enginer
algorithms that can see you ranked #1 one day, # 200 the
A lot of people are averse to pay-per-click advertising, but
look at it this way; if every time you spent $10, someone gave
you $20 ... how many times would you be willing to make this
As mentioned above, Dr. Andy offers a software tool
called Keyword Research Analyzer, designed to
work with the leading keyword tool Wordtracker, that is
aimed 100% at helping you build effective traffic-generating
affiliate sites. It won't tell you which adwords cost 5
cents; nor which Adsense keywords will make you several
bucks per click. But what it DOES do is it helps
you identify niches, and even niches within niches, and
target your pages with absolute precision to get traffic
from the Search Engines.
My partner is an Excel whiz and reckoned he could do the
same thing in a couple of hours. 3 days later I got a
working version, and I wish I'd just coughed up the money for
Keyword Research Analyzer. With all the lost time, we probably
lost 3 grand of potential billing (we're consultants in our
real life, remember) to save less than 70 bucks. Whether or not
this interests you, I strongly recommend you visit his eZSEO website and
sign up for his newsletter, at least. It contains more
useful information on building Affiliate sites than many
eBooks you have to buy.
I've dwelt on Dr. Andy's approach because I really wanted to
get you thinking about how all the bits and pieces fit
together, and to see the scale of the opportunity. But also
because his strategy can be applied whether you are using the
Mini Site approach (you get both PPC and free traffic), the Ken
Evoy Site-Build-It approach, or the Rosalind Gardner
approach. I'm not sure about James Martell's approach;
I'll add to this page when I've bought his eBook and applied
So ... many different approaches. But here’s what 99% of
them have in common.
Step 1: Research profitable ideas
This involves choosing the “theme” for your website, confirming
that there is indeed money in the topic area (people are
prepared to spend on products and services associated with the
theme), and confirming that there are merchants with
appropriate products offering solid Affiliate programs.
You’ll find some differences in detail here; for example,
some people will advise you to follow your passion, and choose
a theme you’re interested in. While others start with, find a
merchant paying damned good money with a solid Affiliate
program, then do your research around that topic. If you're
going to do the Mini Site approach, where your site might be a
single page or just a few to begin with ... you can take a
chance with your product, because your investment of time is so
low. Similarly, you can jump on top of opportunities that
emerge, knowing they might just be a passing fad. But if you're
going to be building a 75 - 125 page Content-Rich theme site
... you're probably going to be much more selective, and less
agile, and there are advantages in choosing a theme in which
you have some interest. But I need to qualify this; in the
Content-Rich with Adsense section of this site I go
into some depth on how you can use other people's articles to build a
large, content-rich site relatively quickly so you DO still
have room for agility here.
There are a LOT of useful tricks you can learn to doing this
research; for example Amazon, which offers a lousy affiliate
deal in terms of books, is a goldmine of information on knowing
what people want to buy, right now – if you know
where to look. So is eBay; and there are many, many
others. Each of the gurus have their own favourite
And you can find very quickly whether or not there is money
in a “theme” by looking at the price that people are willing to
pay for Pay Per Click adverts promoting products and services
associated with the market. I talk about this in the GoogleCash
section; but the books by Ken Evoy and Rosalind Gardner,
especially Gardner’s book, cover this in step-by-step
One of the essential skills here is keyword research. This
is a central skill to the GoogleCash approach, too, and in fact
to many different aspects of Internet Marketing, I consider it
to be one of the “Essential Skills” and the tool Wordtracker to
be one of the “Tools of the Trade.” You’ll find lots of
information on keyword research in the Googlecash opportunity page and some more
in the Keyword Research sections of the Fundamental Skills and Tools of the Trade pages, if you're
Step 2: Find products (or services) to sell
Knowing the “theme” and knowing there’s
money in the market is one thing; you still have to choose the
product(s) or services you’re going to promote. One of the
quickest ways is to visit some “Affiliate Networks,” sites
where merchants wanting Affiliates register Affiliate programs.
Rosalind Gardner’s book points you to 17 different “Affiliate
Networks,” for example, all with different numbers of customers
and degrees of sophistication in their reporting and tracking,
but in many of these you can go and see which companies are
looking for Affiliates, what products they are selling, how
much commission they pay, and what the average Affiliate is
earning per 1000 visitors, for example.
The most popular of these is Commission Junction. It can be
a bit of a pain in some ways ... the opening pages are very
confusing, for example you need to realize that to CJ you are a
"publisher;" and every now and again their management service
goes 'blip." But the service is, in general, superb. You can
learn a lot just by wandering around;
head to the CJ web site and click on
“Our Clients.” Choose a category such as “clothing/apparel”
from the drop down list. Click “Search.” You’ll see a list
of companies who have registered with Commission Junction to
handle their Affiliate program. These are all companies
really, really wanting affiliates to promote their products.
They are looking for YOU! The list tells you the
commission they offer.
When you register, you can see a lot more; you can search for
companies that pay per lead (instead of commission per sale).
You can even see approximately how much you can expect to earn
for a 1000 visitors for any merchant.
There are other Affiliate directories, but Commission Junction
is definitely a good starting point.
Step 3: having chosen the “theme,"
confirmed there’s money in the market, found products you’re
interested in selling and merchants who are looking for
Affiliates … it’s time to assess the products and services,
assess the affiliate programs, and make a
Rosalind Gardner's book has some useful perspective on this;
she has spreadsheets and explains her assumptions as she uses
them to project the potential profitability of a site.
If you're about to build a Phil Wiley-style Mini Site, it's
obviously nice to choose well but you lose little if
you're wrong; perhaps just a few hours. If you're about to
build a content-rich theme site with many pages ... you really
want to have a solid foundation for your decision.
The strategy I favor is to perform the research, build a Phil
Wiley-style Mini Site and drive Adwords traffic to it
immediately. Once I know the site has a clear profit potential,
meaning it converts visitors at a good enough rate for a sweet
profit (eventually ... with some work, perhaps), then I'll
consider adding a lot of content pages to make it attractive as
a content-rich theme site. Many of those pages will be arrticle
pages and carry Adsense, for a source of supplementary income.
This strategy will, in time (6 months plus, typically), give me
the advantage of free search engine traffic; and in the mean
time I can focus on improving the conversion rate of the
Affiliate sales pages and look at other ways to drive
Step 4: Now you’re into the web
building side of things; choosing a domain, selecting
a Web Host and Hosting program; planning the web site; building
the site; making sure it’s Search Engine friendly, making sure
your “copy” is compelling and persuasive without being pushy.
You’ll find more about all of these in the Tools of the Trade and Fundamental Skills sections.
Don't be intimidated by all this. Doing it badly, now,
is better than not doing it. And doing it is the best
way to learn it. So DO dive in. A lousy domain name can be
replaced by a better one. An ugly site can be made attractive.
Lousy copy can be made effective. If you choose a poor web
host, you can move to another. Screwing up as quickly as
possible is a good tactic; you will not do any long term harm,
and your learning curve is accelerated!
Step 5: Next, promoting your business –
getting visitors to your site in numbers large enough to
generate the income you’re seeking! There are more than a dozen
“primary” ways to do this, and an infinite number of subtle
ways. Gardner’s book goes into this in some depth (I’m looking
here at a section called “9 Ways To Get Traffic To Your Site
For Free” and another “11 Ways to market Your Site
After learning all I could from Rosalind Gardner and many
other reports, I did a lot of soul-searching before I bought a
course called “Traffic Secrets” (no longer available) from John
Reese in the Spring of 2005. The soul searching was because
this course costs US$997, and that’s a LOT of money by my
standards. It's excellent, and when he comes up with the
updated version in 2007 and probably buy that, too.
Once your site is up, three things will dominate; getting
traffic, converting it, and building a list. Traffic is the
lifeblood ... superb on-page conversion is useless with no
visitors, and without visitors your list will be as short as a
list of kept political promises.
Step 6 is the management of
the whole process. Staying on top of the business … checking
that the traffic is flowing in … and where from. Checking that
people are clicking on your links … and at what rates, and from
which pages for which merchants. Checking that your Affiliates
are converting the leads that you send them, at a respectable
rate. Testing... testing headlines, different layouts, and
so-on. And, a subject for another day … building, managing and
working your opt-in list!
Now, don't take this as being an indication that the
list-building is a side-issue. It isn't. The Internet Marketing
experts will tell you that building, managing and working your
opt-in list should not be dismissed as "a topic for another
day;" that it's the CORE of Internet Marketing, it's why you
build the site, why you drive traffic, it's the basis for the
MAJORITY of your income ... and they're absolutely right. If
you ignore the list building in Affiliate marketing you are
probably walking away from the majority of the profit. Some
very profitable businesses make no money or even lose money on
the direct sales ... their advertising costs are as much as
their revenue from initial sales, or even more than their
revenue from initial sales. But once they have the name of the
visitor, they can mail again and again at no cost
whatsoever (other than time) ... and the numbers game
kicks in. If all you have is that first visit/sale revenue ...
you're missing the big picture.
An Amazing Service that MIGHT Suit You
OK, we have to talk about Site Build It.
When I dived into all this Internet Marketing stuff, I
wanted to find a way to make money. But more than that, I
wanted it to be something that my family could do; and my
friends could do. And few of them have an ounce of “techie” in
them. None have any experience whatsoever in anything connected
with this world. So my frustration was that, while I could see
the opportunity AND act on it because I can dive in and learn
html, I can invest in different html editors, I can
afford to try different autoresponders and try different
tracking software and different keyword research software and …
so on, ……they couldn’t. They don’t have the time, the know how,
or (frankly) the money.
I needed some way that complete non-techies could use, to do
And I found something called Site Build It. And what an
absolute gem it turned out to be.
When you join Site Build It (SBI), you get access to a host of
services that provide virtually everything you need to create
an income-generating web site via Affiliate income, or Adsense
income, or both; and even by selling your own products, because
they provide the option for you to have an
The following list is not comprehensive but it gives you a
- First of all, you get a manual that walks you through
the whole process from reading the manual to having income.
I mean, this thing is comprehensive with a capital “C,” and
- Then, you are given access to market research tools,
including keyword research tools. To put this in
perspective, the tool is based on Overture data which is
NOT as accurate as my preferred solution, Wordtracker; but
it does a good enough job to provide the information you
need. And you don’t have to pay the US$250 a year I pay for
Wordtracker. (In all good conscience, though, I have to
tell you; I would still recommend Wordtracker if you are
going to do more than simply create 1 or 2 SBI-type
- You can register a domain via SBI; the price is good …
it’s part of the service.
- You get full-service hosting for the website, part of
the service. You’d normally pay a minimum US$60 a year for
this with an independent web host, possibly more.
- You build the site, under SBI direction, with a
site-builder that requires you to have ZERO experience in
web site building. It walks you through the data you have
to enter to set-up a home page. Then it guides you setting
up all the subsidiary pages. Need a headline? You insert a
headline “block” and fill-in the headline. Want text? You
insert a text block and either type or cut-and-paste the
text from your own text processor. Want a graphic image,
like clip-art or a photo? SBI tells you how to get it from
your computer into the page. Want a link to another page?
Or to an e-mail address? Add a link block. And so on.
To put this in a value context, you’d normally pay upwards
of $150 for an html editor.
It IS a bit tedious. But it works beautifully, generates decent
looking sites and the beauty of it is that virtually ANYONE can
And, this is only the beginning of the Site Build It
- SBI gives you search engine optimization guidance for
every page, to the level of “you need to include your
keyword at least once more and not more than three times
more in the first paragraph” … OK, I’m making that example
up, but it IS representative. It’s that precise.
(Realistically, you don’t need that precision because
no-one knows for sure how the Search Engines work, and they
all work differently … but at least it’s a useful
- SBI will submit your pages to the various Search
Engines, and does it in an intelligent “trickle” way that
makes sure it never submits too many at once. Outside of
SBI, you’ll pay $150 for an equivalent software package
providing the optimization guidance and the intelligent
- SBI provides you with a degree of statistics and
tracking that, again, would cost you probably a couple of
hundred dollars to buy independently. It tells you which
Search Engine spiders visit your pages; which pages are
indexed; and what rank they have in the different Search
Engines; how many visitors you are getting (unique and
repeat), to which pages, where they came from, and which
links they are clicking on.
Now, you pay US $299 a year for Site Build It, which I hope is
now placed in context as a tremendous bargain … if that was all
there was. But it isn’t all.
- You have access to autoresponders that enable you to
have visitors join an opt-in list to receive regular
e-mails or an EZine from you. This is a vital service for
anyone wanting to make serious money off the Internet,
there’s more money “in the list” than in any website.
Normally you’d pay $20 - $30 a month or more for something
like this. But SBI goes further … it provides tracking on
how many people actually open the newsletters, for
- SBI does some other neat and useful things for you too,
such as creating a Google sitemap you can submit for better
indexing, a similar submission for Yahoo, and it helps add
Blogging to your site (a “hot” topic right now).
- It offers e-mail management, helps you with
pay-Per-Click bidding and management , and … more.
- It also provides a reciprocal-linking service where
other SBI sites link to your site in return for you doing
the same for them. This can really help your rankings
with the Search Engines, and you can pay for this type
of service outside SBI. (You still should get links from
outside the SBI community, though.)
- And there’s a very active user forum packed with
Now, if it seems like I’m an advocate of SBI … you’re right.
For someone with no techie skills, it’s as close to perfect as
you’re going to come. And for someone WITH techie skills, it
packages so many services into a high-value fee that it’s still
very attractive. Every person I’ve recommended it to, and I do
mean without exception, has been entirely satisfied.
Is there a downside? Not really, just a couple of be-aware
ofs. For a non-beginner, the site building mechanism will seem
tedious; but the good news is you can still work with MS
Frontpage or MacroMedia's DreamWeaver within SBI, so that
issues disappears. The other issue ... if you need multiple
sites. Make no mistake, many people stay with SBI for years,
and add site after site, entirely satisfied with the fees. If
you’re making money (and you should be if you follow SBI’s
guidelines) then the $299 fee per year per new site is
chickenfeed. But many people also feel they “outgrow” SBI
after a year or two, they have learned a huge amount thanks to
SBI’s superb services, and they choose to go the independent
route for new sites after a while – find an independent web
host that permits multiple domains for perhaps $20 a month
so they can then add sites just for the price of the domain
registration - as little as $6 a year for a dot-com comain, $2
a year for a dot-info domain. Sure they have to make 1-time
investments in software that can easily reach $750 … and
monthly investments in services that can easily reach $100 …
but with 5 or 10 or more sites, they feel it’s justified.
As I say, that’s not a “knock” on SBI, just a be-aware-of.
Almost finally; I don’t want to quit this section without also
discussing one of the most useful pieces of software I’ve
encountered in a long time; a web site building package
designed primarily for Affiliate marketers and Adsense
marketers, called XSitePro.
I wrote about XSitePro in the Editing section of the Content-rich Adsense
page, and I’m expanding a little on it here.
My wife, who is about as non-tech as you’ll get, started
with SBI and we’re both glad she did. It gently led her through
the tremendous learning curve from zero knowledge and skills to
a rather nice site that is still on SBI and will probably
remain there. But she has since built several sites using
XSitePro, most 50-page plus, all impressive sites that visitors
enjoy, all bringing in Adsense income and most to become
Affiliate sites in the very near future when the traffic has
built a little.
My daughter, who has not had the SBI background but who grew
up with computers and has no fear, dove into XsitePro and built
a very nice 30-page site despite absolutely no background
whatsoever in web design or editing. It looks great, very
professional. She’s a student, and time constraints are her
only reason for not adding more; she will. She sees this as a
way of paying-off student loans even as she takes them out! We
have also taken sites built initially on SBI and rebuilt them
in XSitePro; one 50+ page site took about 15 hours, not trivial
but not bad, either.
The reason I love it is that it is designed for people who
are into Internet Marketing and who want to focus on Internet
Marketing, not web site design and development. It’s a very
good design and development tool, of course. But it’s much more
than just an editor. I can create an attractive site quickly
and easily, it provides a basis for organizing a lot of
essential data that often gets spread all over my hard drive –
for example, Affiliate account information including url’s to
go to check account status, log-on id and password; Web host
information including url, log-ons and passwords; domain
registration details including url, log-on and password, domain
names, due dates for renewal, and so forth. It enables you to
have a library of Affiliate information available to all your
sites; a library of images available to all; a library of
scripts available to all.
Anyone who gets into this game will tell you what a pain in
the you-know-what it can be to keep track of all the associated
data with an Internet Marketing business, and it’s a dream to
have it all at my fingertips during the creation of a web page.
It also has one-button inserts of your Adsense code, one-button
inserts of some useful scripts (for example, to show today’s
date on a web page), it analyses your web pages from the
perspective of Search Engine optimization and recommends
changes that are helpful, and much, much more.
It’s also perfect for creating templates for the page
generation software, and perfect for creating the 1-page
landing pages that are helpful (sometimes even essential) for
the Googlecash opportunity; literally, I can have a unique web
page design in a few minutes, then just focus on content.
Add 5 minutes if I also have to come up with a unique header
graphic using Easy Web Graphics.
In the “generated pages for Adsense Income” section of this web
site, I mentioned that one of the biggest obstacles I hit when
I started generating sites was the difficulty in generating
what’s known as the header graphic. Look at the top of this
page, you’ll see there’s a block of white with a couple of
photos, and some text. That’s a header graphic. While the
experts argue over whether a header graphic causes better sales
or fewer sales on a selling website called a mini-site, there’s
no question that the majority of Affiliate sites look much
nicer, more professional, more attractive, with a good quality
If you buy a template to use as the basis for your site,
you’ll get the header graphic … that you may or may not want to
actually use as-is. If you want to change it, you have a
problem; you need some way of getting a new header graphic, or
editing an existing one. Also, if you use SBI, their sites come
with a sort-of-graphic built in that is entirely good enough,
though a bit bland; and they offer you a choice of many more
templates than in the original “package,” too.
But if you want a custom header graphic, you have two
choices; pay for one to be developed for you, not expensive but
you will typically be paying $50 and more; or, buy the software
to do it youself. Now, as a bonus with one course I bought, I
received a copy of a graphic header generator … but it only
generated one size, and it was poor quality. It was arguably
good enough for the software-generated pages used for Adsense
income, but nowhere near professional-looking enough for an
Affiliate site, in my opinion.
I own a very expensive, sophisticated drawing program … I
can’t tell you how many hours it took me to understand the
manual enough to get something useable out of it. The book I
bought to help was 1000 pages; to me, this is a gentle warning
that you’re getting into stuff you might not want to get into.
Heck, even the book of Life shouldn’t need 1000 pages.
The solution? If you DO want the ability to generate custom
graphics without the investment in expensive drawing software
and the time investment in learning it … take a look at some
software called Easy Web Graphics. It’s awesome. My
wife, who has almost no computer background and zero
background in graphics, designed her first, attractive
header graphic in minutes. My daughter did the same, she’s
computer literate but completely ignorant of graphics. It is
still a source of aggravation for me that this software runs
on my wife’s PC, not mine, because it’s actually fun to play
around with (if I had the time, which I don’t of
Summary of Resources I mention on this long
Googlecash, an eBook that is probably the
best intro to many elements of Affiliate Marketing I've
read; it advocates an approach that (often) does not need a
Mini Site Profits, an eBook that describes
the simplest and fastest approach to website-based Affiliate
Affiliate Masters Handbook, Ken Evoy's
free and comprehensive eBook on Affiliate Marketing web
Wordtracker, the keyword research tool
favored by the professionals for basic research.
Keyword Research Analyzer, which helps
structure your site for Traffic generation.
SEO Website Builder, Andy Williams' web
Free Newsletter from Andy Williams,
excellent Search Engine Optimization & Affiliate
Super Affiliate Handbook by Rosalind
Gardner, comprehensive coverage of site building.
Affiliate Marketer's Handbook by
James Martell, comprehensive coverage of site building &
Commission Junction, to find products to
sell as an Affiliate.
Site Build It, a comprehensive site
design, site building, traffic-getting, monetizing,
XSitePro, recommended Affiliate site
building and management software.
Easy Web Graphics, superb quality graphics
tool that speaks "graphics dummy" language.