How to: Monetize a GEO Domain with Affiliate Marketing

In my last post, I introduced you to one of my new sites, Iowa Guide, which was built using WordPress.    I’ve found whether I’m making a simple affiliate landing page, a static website, a content management system, or of course a blog, that WordPress is usually the best way to go.   Between the themes and plugins available, it is pretty quick and easy to get a site up and running in little to no time.

Okay, so I told you I picked up the City Revolution theme and set off to work.   After about a week of writing off and on for the site, I noticed I had a LOT of content, most of which can be found on WordPress pages.   That was the easy part since it was a local GEO domain and I didn’t have to research much to create the content!

Once you’ve got your content in place, the next step is usually to monetize the website.   The first thing I did was research payout percentages on affiliates.   In the case of Iowa Guide, I knew that these travel companies compete pretty heavily for affiliates, so I decided to start there.  Between Priceline, Expedia, and Travelocity, I had three good choices, but I ended up going with Priceline because they were able to build a page directly into my website (sort of).  This way visitors would be able to browse for discount hotel rooms from what appeared to be within my site.  You can check out the Iowa Hotels page and probably not tell that it is actually hosted on Priceline’s servers, because it was built around my site’s layout, including my menu.

With Priceline, I was also able to get affiliate links for their airline and car rental services, but at this time these links will take readers over to their site to search.   Hopefully someday I can do the same for both airlines and car rentals.

Once that was done, I then spent some time looking for other affiliate opportunities and found companies such as Ticketmaster and StubHub for people looking for sporting events and concert tickets.

Once the site is setup, or at least looking respectable, you can then start your campaigns to make some sales.   The travel industry is an expensive one to compete in, but the payouts are huge if you find a good niche.   Currently I’m using PPC to generate additional traffic, then attempting to funnel it to a Hotels page which helps make the sale, then send readers to the hotel page that Priceline built.   I am also going to be adding a post or two each week to grow the sites presence in the search engines and remind Google that the site is active.

Introducing IowaGuide.org

Since I can’t really share my niche sites with my readers, and I’ve covered most of the basic affiliate marketing strategies that I wanted to talk about, I figured instead why don’t I provide you with an actual example of a site I’ve been working on.  This of course is not a niche site, but instead an actual website I’ve developed.

While finishing my WordPress eBook over the past few weeks, I’ve also been throwing together a new informational/reference website named Iowa Guide, which is in the process of being monetized with affiliate marketing.

Probably the first thing you’ll notice when visiting the website is the incredible logo (courtesy of Mark) and the beautiful theme it uses (at least in my opinion).  Recently Brian Gardner released a new City Revolution theme which was designed specifically for these types of portal websites.   One of my favorite things about this theme is that it contains a drop-down menu for both the pages and the categories, which isn’t something you see very often.  It also does a great job of maximizing screen real estate, which is something I really appreciate.

Why I picked this domain? I am fortunate to own a number of GEO domain names in both the dot com and dot org extension.   As someone that is located in Iowa, I felt why not start with developing one from Iowa?  I already know my way around pretty well, and live near most of the states attractions and other things I’d want to write about.  Besides, now if I were to visit a restaurant, hotel, or other landmark and then write a review of it, that is a business expense!!  :mrgreen:

For this particular domain, I was unable to obtain the dot com extension, but I’ve found that with Geography-based domain names, sometimes you have an advantage with dot org.   Dot org has developed a strong trust with internet users because it is traditionally used to house non-profit organizations.  With dot org, readers feel more trustful because org domains are typically informational and usually aren’t trying to sell you something.

In my next post, I’ll be talking about how I’m monetizing this domain name with affiliate marketing.

How Resellable Is That Domain Name?

Lately Rick Latona has been giving you some great things on his blog to think about before making a significant purchase on a domain name.   Today I wanted to add something to the list that I spend a lot of time considering before buying domain names. 

Have you ever seen a domain name for sale that is accompanied by an incredibly long description or explanation of why you should purchase it?   Things like what it means in another language, what it is a misspelling of, or a full paragraph about how incredibly valuable it will be someday.  If its going to be so valuable, why are you selling it?!?

Before buying a domain, I always take the possible requirement of a explanation into account.  Generally if it requires explanation, I don’t buy it.  The two exceptions to this rule are when people provide related domain sales values and when details are provided for geo domains.  If you’re try to sell me a geo domain, let me know the population, tourism information, and any other information that might be useful.   I will of course verify that information prior to purchasing, but it gives me a snapshot and grabs my attention.  

If a domain is going to be truly valuable (non-geo), it should really sell itself just by typing the domain name.  If an explanation is needed, it probably isn’t worth nearly what you think it is.