Make Money Online with Commission Junction

Earlier in this series I talked about how to make money online with several of my favorite companies, but one that has the potential to be my favorite company is Commission Junction.   That is because they have the affiliate programs of pretty much all of the top companies out there.

In a recent post, Affiliate Tip talked about how Commission Junction Dominates the Internet 500, meaning of course that they run an overwhelming percentage of the affiliate programs of many of the internet’s top 500 companies.  Obviously you are doing something right if most major companies choose you. Of those that don’t, most house their affiliate programs internally.

If you decide to place more focus on affiliate marketing, and you decide to partner with CJ, the first thing you’ll notice is that the site is a little old fashioned and sometimes the navigation can be a little difficult.   With that said, after using it a bit it really isn’t that bad to find your way around.

Some nice things about Commission Junction:

  • Top Companies – As mentioned above, you’ll find many of the top companies with Commission Junction.   These products are familiar to internet buyers and many buy them anyway, so it can sometimes be easier to sell their products.
  • Huge Selection – Pretty much every keyword is covered, so no matter what kind of niche blog/website you are starting, you should be able to find at least 1-2 companies/products to promote.
  • Banners – Some affiliate companies just offer affiliate links.  With most companies in CJ, you get a nice selection of banners, including 468×60 and 125×125.

So far, my success with Commission Junction has been minimal at best, but I’m planning to switch some of my focus to CJ products in the future.  My hope is with a little focus, I can push that number up and continue to diversify my online income.

Make Money Online with the eBay Partner Network

In the past I’ve spent a lot of time talking about Build a Niche Store. This is because this is it has made it really easy for me to build multiple affiliate stores in a small amount of time and has proven to be an extremely successful earner for me.

If you end up purchasing BANS at some point, one of the first things you will need to do is setup an eBay Partner Network affiliate account. BANS then fully integrates with ePN, allowing you to setup stores on your own domains for eBay products and receive a share of eBay’s fees.

In my experience, BANS is definitely the easiest way to find success with ePN, but there are actually other ways to use eBay’s API to display eBay items. The only other one I have some experience with is a plugin called PHPBay, which is a WordPress plugin that allows you to integrate eBay auctions directly into your WordPress blog. There is a small cost associated with it, but it is much lower than BANS and only requires some WordPress knowledge to use (no manually setting up databases, etc.). I’ve also heard a lot of good things about this plugin, so WordPress enthusiasts may want to check it out!

What are the benefits of the eBay Partner Network?

In addition to getting paid $25.00 for every person that signs up using your affiliate link, you will also get credit for each auction won within 7 days of your affiliate link being clicked. In other words, your site just needs to convince the person to click over to eBay. Once there, you can earn income on all of their sales for the next week.

Similar posts:

Looking for Reader Input

Now that I’ve got a good number of niche sites up and running and generating income each month, I now have some disposable income to work with each month.   As someone who tries not to “settle” and always pushes himself to continue to improve his situation, I’m constantly on the hunt for new products to try and new ideas/niches to invest in.  

One of the problems I’m running in to is that I can’t truly give a fair product review for a product until I’ve been using it for a few months, so in the meantime, what should I write about?   That is where I’d like to get your input!    What do you want me to write more about? 

A couple things I’m considering:

  • I’m not a big fan of most “Make Money Online” blogs, as they are truly just period schemes of a sort where they top MMO blogs make tons of money and the lower traffic blogs just re-blog about everything that they see on the top blogs.   With that said, I think that the income reports most do each month have a value to readers.   Would you like to see something like this for May?   I may end up doing this each month if there is an interest. 
  • I love to write and share my experiences, but I also love to hear yours and learn from them.   I may start trying to open up some discussions about what you’ve found works and what doesn’t. 
  • Do you want to see case studies?   Maybe create a BANS site and walk through the process on this blog from setup, to strategy, to income reports.

I also plan on doing a full review of each of the main affiliate services that I’ve been using for months so I have something to refer readers to when I mention them in a post.  Hopefully there will be a few things included that you may not have known about. 

So, here is your chance.  What do you want to see more of?   Are you enjoying the content over the past month?

How To: Finding a Good Affiliate Marketing Niche

Earlier this week I provided some tips for finding a great BANS niche.   As you might expect, the main focus with BANS should be to find popular products that sell well on eBay but don’t have good representation in Google’s search results.

Today I wanted to talk about some strategy when you are using the more standard version of affiliate marketing, which is through the use of custom built niche websites and using affiliate marketing techniques such as landing pages to sell products. 

The reason I broke it up into two posts is because you will typically want to take an almost opposite approach to this method of affiliate marketing.   With BANS sites, you will typically want a physical product that is both popular and can easily be shipped.   With niche blogs, you will actually want to avoid these types of products (for the most part) and place your focus on digital products, digital services, and other things people look to buy over the internet.

For example, if you start a niche blog and plan to monetize it with something like Amazon Associates, you can make money.   The problem is, when you are marketing actual goods, there is a cost with producing these items, so you can only earn a portion of the companies take.   One of my first BANS sites was to sell action figures and other types of figurines.  I am an affiliate with a company that builds busts and sells them in the $200.00 range.   Now, you think great comission right?  Well, after they buy it from the company that makes them, that company may only get $20-$50.00 per sale.   As an affiliate, you get a cut of their share.   In my example, I make about $10.00 each time I sell a $200.00 item.    Is that really worth it?   I mean, how many busts do you need to sell in order for this to become truly beneficial?   

Digital and other internet products are different, however, because there is only the one-time cost of production.   This means once they’ve created the eBook, built the plugin, or written the guide, there work is done.  There is no additional cost associated with selling additional copies of it.  As a result, these people can offer very lucrative affiliate percentages to their affiliates.  

I have one affiliate where I get 70% of the sale price, and the sale price is usually around $100.00 each.    They only get $30.00 per sale, but there is no additional cost with each sale beyond the first sale so the high percentages attract more affiliates and create free advertisements for your product.   As a general rule, I try to only associate myself with products that pay a minimum of $20.00 per sale, so that it is worth it each time a sale is made.

So, as you can see, if you find a good digital product, you can make large sums of money in a short period of time.  Build your landing page to sell the product, then create or buy relevant traffic to your post and watch the money roll in. 

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Do Niche Research – Some niches are extremely lucrative, while others aren’t very lucrative at all.  Focus on profitable online niches such as insurance sales, debt consolidation, and other areas that have large payouts and a lot of interest.  
  • Build a Christmas Site Now – If you intend to compete for affiliate sales this Christmas, your website needs to be up now.  You’ll want to start building quality backlinks and give it plenty of time to earn Google’s trust.   If you launch it three months or less before the holiday, people probably won’t find it. 
  • Affiliate Shares – There has never been a better time to be an affiliate marketer because these companies are competing for you!  Feels great, doesn’t it?  Monitor how much each affiliate pays and keep an eye out for better deals.  If you have a large number of affiliations, keep a spreadsheet with this information to keep track of them all.
  • Find What Works – If you know of some profitable affiliate campaigns, study the site to figure out what made it successful.   Even if you are in a different niche, look at advertising placements, the sales pitch, or whatever else successful people are doing.   Experimenting is good, but it can sometimes be more beneficial to look at what works for successful people.

Anything else you’d like to add?  Let me know in the comments below!

Affiliate Marketing Tips: Spending Money to Make Money

If you are planning to become an affiliate marketer, it can sometimes be difficult for someone starting out from stratch. That is why I shared my story and suggested people go through their existing content and add affiliate links to it. As a side note, if you are looking for an easy way to do this (which I hadn’t discovered until after I did mine manually, but now use on it on some of my websites), you can use the WP-Affiliate Pro WordPress plugin to search for keywords and replace them with designated affiliate links. It also does a variety of other things to manage your affiliate links from within your dashboard. You can see my recent review of this plugin here.

Anyway, I digress. The one area I’ve found that new affiliate marketers seem to either fail to learn or have a misconception of is that you become an affiliate marketer and suddenly you are rich. That is why in my previous post, I recommended people start by adding affiliate links to their existing content they’ve already written.   This way you get some seed money to start out with.

The main thing people have a hard time grasping is that you need to spend money to make money.  Without advertising, link building, and networking in general, you can still make a little income. With the proper advertising, you can truly make a fortune.

The problem is you can’t make money without people visiting your website, so you have to find ways to get people there. Google AdWords is a great and cost effective way to do this and probably my main advertising expense next to purchasing private advertising. I actually re-invest a large portion of my income into these areas to continue to grow and expand my websites/blogs.

Blog and website directories are also a great way to do link building and to get traffic. This has SEO benefits and will often give you a little bonus traffic as well.  Unfortunately most quality directories also have a cost associated with them, so that is another area where spending that money can help you make money.

If you find that you are making money online, what are you doing to grow your business?   How are you expanding your advertising reach?

The Evolution of Slick Affiliate

Yesterday while setting up a new online store I’ve been working on for a little while now, for whatever reason, I started reflecting back on this blog, and my evolution as a blogger.  Just like the domain name here has changed (the first year and a half this site was Kyle’s Cove), so has the focus of this website over the last two years.  

In looking back, in July of 2006 this blog was created as sort of a personal weblog.   At the time, I didn’t have any blogging experience and wasn’t even sure what I wanted to talk about.  Hence the very general name Kyle’s Cove.   Over time, this blog’s original focus ended up being mostly on technology and related content.   I’ve always been a person that was very in tune with the latest gadgets and have been playing online since the early 1990’s, so I had a lot to talk about.   While I wrote about pretty much anything in that niche that was interesting, I loved nothing more than talking about next generation web browers, so I placed a lot of focus there. 

Things were going good, but eventually as I became more passionate about blogging and started making money online, my focus shifted a little and I used this blog to explore my ideas in these areas.   This was a lot of fun, but there were so many “blogging” blogs out there, that many of the ideas and input in had in these areas seemed to get drowned out. 

In the 6 months since that time, I’ve grown a lot as a blogger, webmaster, domainer, and online entreprenuer, and this blog continued to evolve with me.   We’ve been tackling all sorts of subjects, ranging from my experiences as a domainer to keyword sniping, and lately even talking about niche affiliate marketing.   These three areas are where at lot of my focus has been, so it sort of made sense for me to talk about them.

Unfortunately, managing all of the projects I’m working on has really taxed my time and kept me from being as active in the blogosphere as I would like (linking to others, leaving comments on other blogs, answering comments on this blog, etc.).   I’m hoping that will change as I continue to setup my online presence and get everything in place where I want it to be.

I’ve got some exciting stuff planned for this site that I will be writing about, beginning with a post later this week.  I think a lot of this stuff will be affiliate marketing related, so hopefully there is some interest from readers in that area.   Hopefully many of you are not relying on Google AdSense to make money online, but if you are, I mean to change that! 

I will also try to make some “classic” posts from time to time, as I still enjoy and have thoughts about SEO tactics, making money online, blogging, and more.  If there are certain areas you want me to focus on, please let me know. 

In the meantime, if you’d like to do something fun today, do yourself a favor and spend some time digging through your archives and study how you’ve grown as a blogger.  Read some of your early posts.   This is a good way to see progress and stay motivated for the future.   

Make Money Online with TNX.net

If you are like me, you probably spend a lot of time each week looking for ways to make money online. One company I recently checked out TNX.net. TNX is a fairly new text link advertising platform designed to bring together both advertisers and publishers by offering an easy way for advertisers to get links and for publishers to make money selling links. Depending on your situation, you can actually advertise your site/blog and generate additional income at the same time, which we’ll talk about a little later. First, lets look a little bit at TNX.net from both the advertisers and publishers perspective.

Advertising with TNX

Setting up an advertising campaign is not very difficult with TNX. They provide an easy to use Ad Campaign Wizard, which is designed to make it easy for advertisers to set up their advertising campaign. With this wizard you can control where you advertise, including location, website category, Google PageRank, and Yahoo Backlinks. Once you’ve established a budget to work with, you can then figure out how many points you can purchase within your budget using their advertising calculator.

Once you’re ready, you can easily load your advertisement on to the TNX registry in one of two ways. If you have a large campaign, you can upload a text file containing your advertisements. For advertisers wanting to launch a smaller campaign (wanting under 2000 links), you can use the provided form.

Publishers earn TNX points simply by placing the provided code to display TNX text link ads on their webpages (usually in the sidebar). As text links are displayed, the publisher acquires TNX points. Each month you can take the acquired points and turn them into money in one of two ways. You can either sell them directly to TNX for a fixed price, or you can negotiate with other publishers to sell the points directly to them at your price. There is a minimum payout of $5.00 and all payments are made each month via Paypal.

The cool thing about earning points is that you can turn in part of your earned points for cash, while still reinvesting some points into advertising your website with TNX.

Other cool features:

  • Find Relevant Links – TNX allows you to control who advertises with you so that you can make sure you only display relevant links.
  • Earning Calculator – Get help estimating how much you can make with their earnings calculator. This calculator takes into account your Google PageRank and link popularity.
  • Code Choices – TNX.net gives you the choice of using Perl or PHP code, with a variant PHP code available for caching advertisments (to reduce bandwidth and server loads).

TNX Affiliate Program

If you are interested in making money online, but aren’t interested in buying/selling links, you may want to look into the TNX affiliate program. While many similar companies have a set payout per referral, TNX gives a higher percentage back (13.3%) by allowing you to earn TNX points based upon the earnings of the people you refer.

Sound good? Ready to sign up? You can register for your free TNX account on their registration page, or check out a current promotion for 5,000 free points (to be used for advertising).

Other useful resources:

A Couple of Ideas to Improve Your AdSense Income

A couple of months ago Google made some significant changes to their AdSense program when they re-did the clickable area, which caused a lot of people to lose money. I know personally that my AdSense income dropped by at least $70.00 a month as a result of this change, and I’ve heard from several others that are have had the same problem.

Anytime there is a change, it is only natural we take the time to step back and look over the situation in the hope of finding a way to improve it. One post I ran across recently was written by Josh titled 10 Ways to Increase Your AdSense Income. In his post, Josh covers a bunch of methods people should consider when trying to maximize their clicks.

Two important tips:

2. Target competitive niches! I don’t care what anyone says about MFA sites, they work! I’m not talking about spam sites, I’m talking about high-quality, informative sites that are in a high paying market! Some of these niche sites can bring in $5-$10/day after only a couple days. When you’re making over a $1 per click you don’t need much traffic to make money.

3. If a site has a CTR of 1% or less, remove it from your site. Although there is some controversy as to whether or not CTR causes “smart pricing” to kick in, it’s just not worth risking. At least remove Adsense for a few weeks and see if your overall adsense income rises. If so, you were probably hit with Google’s Smart Pricing. If that site in particular was causing smart-pricing to kick in, consider a different monetization model.

And one tip I’m not so sure about:

8. Do not go by Google’s heat map. It’s a good visual aid for some layouts, but there are just too many variables. The effectiveness of any layout will be determined by color, style, niche etc. so testing is always your best bet!

Click over to check out the rest of the list!

How To: Finding Success With Blogging

It seems to me that most people start out blogging with the idea of getting rich quickly.  Heck, if you are familiar with the make money online niche, you can see that an entire niche has been thriving because of this mindset. 

What I’ve learned in my two years of blogging is that set obtainable goals and patience is the most important skill you can have.   You will have to put a lot of work in early on to develop the readership you are looking for and that is often without any monetary compensation.   Once you meet a few of your goals, readers will come and the money will follow. 

Today I came across a quote that I felt kind of sums up the whole idea of finding success with obtainable goals.   It may seem a little lame, but if you step back and think about it, it really does describe finding success in anything:

By Mac Anderson, Simple Truths

When I was a freshman in college I learned an unforgettable lesson.
I was having a rough week when there was a lot to do and very little
time to do it. I was overwhelmed. I panicked.

That night a friend stopped by my dorm room. When I told him my problem,
he said, “Mac, I’ll share something with you that my grandmother told
me a few years ago. She said to always remember: ‘Inch by inch, life’s
a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard.'”

I said, “Bob, here I am drowning in work and your lifeline is a quote
from your grandmother. Come on!”

After he left, however, those twelve little words kept dancing in my
head. I took out a piece of notebook paper and listed all the things
I had to do in the next three days. That night I began knocking them
off one by one.

Three days later I took out that paper and marked through the last
thing on the list. It felt great! And then I took out another piece
of paper and wrote down the words: “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.
Yard by yard, life is hard.” I then folded the paper and put it in
my wallet. As many of you know, I’ve been collecting quotes ever since.

You see, over the years I’ve learned that success doesn’t come cascading
like Niagara Falls; it comes one drop at a time through short-term,
realistic goals.

Experts on motivation disagree on a lot of things, but one thing they
all agree on is that your levels of motivation are directly tied to
your expected probabilities of success. In other words, if you believe
you can do something (the goals are realistic), you’re likely to be
highly motivated. If, however, you think you can’t (because the goals
are unrealistic) your motivation level falls greatly.

The lesson here is to continue to dream big dreams, but realize that
the short-term goals that take you to the next plateau are the real
keys to success.

I think this applies to just about anything where you have goals, whether it is making money online, losing weight, quiting smoking, or spending more time with family.  

When you start out blogging, set realistic goals, then allow yourself to meet them over time, then create new goals that you can achieve. 

What is Keyword Sniping?

About a month ago I reviewed a tool called Micro Niche Finder, which is an SEO tool designed to help bloggers find out how much traffic and competition there are for smaller keywords. The idea is that you can easily rank highly in these keywords with only a minimal amount of work. So, once you’ve found your niche, how do you go about actually attacking that keyword?

Well, keyword sniping of course. This is a method I’ve used, and I know several others that have also found a great deal of success by taking over low traffic keywords. There are a few different ways to go about, but most people in the know keep fairly quiet about their techniques. For people interested, I was able to dig up a post written a little while ago by Courtney Tuttle giving a very well written introduction to keyword sniping. His post covers the general idea behind keyword sniping and explains how anyone can make money online doing this.

The nice thing about this method is that it requires very minimal maintenance. Set up your blog and a few posts, then sit back and let your site mature with age. One thing I would recommend that Courtney didn’t cover is to make a very AdSense friendly WordPress theme and use it as a template. That way each time you launch a new site, you can use that same theme and just plug in the specific information for the niche you are attacking.

Have any good keyword sniping stories to share?