It’s been true since the birth of the World Wide Web: people like pages of useful links. They’ll bookmark them and return to them. And today, because links are so important to search engine rank, link pages should be part of every targeted traffic plan.
Old fashioned link pages are the ones you build by hand, painstakingly, over many months and years. These are annotated links pages that include not only a URL, but a brief description of the site and its contents. These “handmade” link pages take a lot of time and a lot of effort. Frankly, they are slowly dying out on the web.
But thanks to web-based services and innovative software, you can build useful pages of links while enjoying all the search engine benefits – and without all that painstaking labor. Every serious affiliate marketer should lthink about creative ways to take advantage of these “new fashioned” link strategies
One simple new fashioned strategy is to set up a links page through a service like Bravenet. With this type of page, webmasters fill in a form to “apply” for a reciprocal link with you. On this page, you can explain that the application is subject to review, and that you will only link to them if they’ve ALREADY linked to you.
You can also include required text for the link they give you – you definitely want your keywords or your “brand name’ in that link! And you can even set up a response email, which can be customized. This response email should ask everyone who applies to send you the full URL of the page where they’ve got your link.
But don’t stop there. Once a webmaster sends you the URL where your link appears, submit that link to Google. Just go to http://www.google.com/addurl.html, fill in the form, and add the page with your link. Submit it to any other relevant search engine or directory. You want
those search engines to know that page exists so they can spider it as fast as possible.
After you’ve accepted the other webmaster’s link, it will get added to your custom link page. So make sure your links page gets added to your site map.
In fact, make sure you link to it from EVERY page of your site.
You probably already know that surveys are excellent for finding out what your target market wants. But if combined with low cost, quick and dirty Google PPC, surveys can also send lots of targeted prospects to your site every month.
First, do some keyword research. You’ll need to find keywords and keyphrases that are related to your survey topic but don’t have too many Google campaigns running.
Second, sign up for an inexpensive survey service like Survey Monkey.
We don’t recommend free survey services, since they tend to limit the number of participants, and the whole point is to get as many people as possible to take your survey. Now design a survey that will appeal to your target market.
Next, come up with an incentive for people to take your survey. Make it a download, so you can capture the prospect’s email address. And make it viral. Even a simple white paper can be viral. You don’t necessarily have to cram it with affiliate links. Just make sure your URL is conspicuously listed on every page.
Now put up a simple web page that introduces people to the survey topic, offers the incentive, asks for an email address where you can send the download link and the survey results, and links to the survey.
Finally, use at least a dozen of the keywords your researched earlier to set up Google Adwords campaigns advertising your survey. Make sure the ad uses your keyword, and that it mentions the incentive. “Take this photography survey, get a free gift.” You don’t have to be the #1 ad. You can even be on the second or third page.
The point is to capture a targeted prospect’s contact information for a very small investment. But there are some additional serious fringe benefits in addition to traffic.
First, you’ll collect valuable information on what your prospects are looking for. Second, you’ll have their permission to contact them with the survey results and the download link for the thank you gift. And third, if you make that free gift a viral report, you’ll eventually get more targeted traffic. Nice!
One of the best places to make business contacts in your field is in forums or groups. We have been using Linked In Groups to meet new people and they have been lovely to talk with.
For example, if you’ve started an affiliate web site that sells specialty dog training devices, hang out in the many dog-related forums and newsgroups.
But instead of trying to help end consumers so they’ll visit your site, make friends with experts in related fields. In this case pet sitters, roomers, dog trainers, veterinary assistants, and even animal behaviorists can all be excellent contacts.
As with all business networking, look for ways to help your colleagues. If they have their own site, offer them a link on yours. If they have an opt-in list, perhaps you can set up a special web page, and give them a rebate on any commissions you make. If they write their own articles, perhaps you can turn them into a mini-ebook and offer it to all your visitors.
And there’s no reason you can’t be proactive, and send an email to noncompetitors
– or even competitors – whose sites you admire. You don’t have to consider every competitor your enemy. In a future special report we’ll explain exactly how you can create powerful partnerships with your competitors. But for now, simply look for opportunities to be helpful.
One very easy way to help people is to give them feedback (polite feedback) on items that are not working on their website (links, images, or even the odd crash).
Another way to make powerful friends online is to read your Spam. That’s because ALL online merchants want to know if someone is promoting their affiliate product via Spam. It’s not just the Spammer who can suffer some stiff legal penalties – they can too. So if you see someone’s ebook or software being sold via Spam, write to them and let them know. Make sure you keep the original Spam, and send it to them as an attachment (not
forwarded) so they receive all the headers intact.
How can networking help get you targeted traffic? If you make 20 strong, personal, one-on-one business contacts every month, at least five of them will end up sending you traffic. Somehow, someday, they’ll start pushing the right kinds of visitors to you.
It might be by linking to you. They may mention your site in a viral ebook or one of their articles. They might want to do a joint venture or partner on a money making project. They might do all these things – and many more.
Yes, it’s old fashioned. It’s not autopilot. It’s not passive. But networking costs you nothing except time – and can be worth gold in the long term.
There are dozens of special offer, coupon, and rebate sites online today.
Simply go to Google and type in “coupon sites” and you’ll see what we mean.
“Coupon” is searched at least a few hundred thousand times a month. Some smart folks are getting a lot of traffic with simple sites that are just lists of links to various sites with special offers.
How can this help YOU get targeted traffic? The people who visit these sites are looking for a discount, a deal, a freebie, a rebate, or a bargain. If you can offer some kind of special bonus – whether it’s a cash rebate, a physical or digital product, or a service – you can ask to be included on these sites.
As long as you can come up with an offer that qualifies, you’ll get accepted. If you wish, you can create several web pages, each with a slightly different special offer, and see what makes the most sales.
Very few affiliate marketers are taking advantage of this. Yes, it does mean you have to create a little something extra for the people who buy through these sites. You’ll have to track their purchases. But considering that you’ll also be getting incoming links from some very highly ranked web sites, it’s worth the little bit of extra work.
The reciprocal link principle is simple – find websites with good rankings and plenty of traffic, and trade links with them. But when you’re just starting out, why should a big important site give a little upstart like you any kind of link at all?
At Carra Lucia Ltd we like to say that there’s only one way to find out – ASK. It helps if you have some kind of relationship with the site owner. But even if you don’t, you can sometimes use the time-honored principle of bribery to get a link from a well-ranked site.
Ask for a link. If you get turned down, say “Would you consider linking to me for $100?” You’d be surprised at how many webmasters will take you up on your offer!
This technique works best with privately owned sites that rank in the top 10 for targeted keywords in niche markets. There’s no point in trying to get a link from Kiplinger’s or Newsweek’s or Vogue’s web site. But if you’re selling weight loss products, and $50 will buy you a link from a small web site that’s ranked #1 for “low-carb dessert recipes,” you’re probably better off buying that link than buying $50 of PPC advertising. This also can’t
hurt your own search engine ranking.
Make sure you have a simple written agreement about exactly what the link will say (you want your keywords in it) and the duration of the link – 6 months, a year, forever, etc.
A similar technique involves finding all the sites that link to your competitors, and offering them a cash incentive to add your link to their site. You can find these sites by going to Google and typing in “link:www.yourcompetitorslink.com”.
In the world of software demos, doing something with Twitter has replaced Hello World as the most common target of a demo. At the risk of polluting the world with yet another chunk of code that does something with Twitter–I’d like to play around a bit with Silverlight charting and Twitter seems a great context for demoing what is possible.
But before I can start creating a Silverlight demo, I need a basic Twitter API wrapper in .NET. So here’s a starting point–a simple example that uses LINQ to get a list of people that you follow. This is a good starting point for later demos.
Twitter provides a simple REST API that lets you do basically everything you’d want to do using simple HTTP GET, POST and DELETE requests.
You can learn everything you need to know about the Twitter API at the Twitter API Wiki.