I’ve been getting a good number of emails from people who are asking a question that goes something like this:
Why do we have to build our own websites? Wouldn’t it be easier if we could just put an affiliate link in the article and direct the visitors straight to the merchant’s website?
My simplest guide to earning your first dollar with affiliate marketing teaches you how to do direct linking through articles (direct article marketing). But there’s one important reminder that I mentioned inside the guide. This kind of approach is NOT the IM business model that you want to pursue. But in my opinion, it’s the easiest way for a beginner to understand how affiliate marketing works. It’s also the strategy that I’ve used to earn my first sale.
I still remember that first time I was trying to learn the IM ropes. I was using Squidoo for my landing pages but I was having a difficult time getting indexed and ranked. I decided to promote a Clickbank product and bought a domain name so I could redirect the readers straight to the merchant’s site. The goal that I’ve set for that campaign was to write 4 articles a day with each having only 250-300 words. Ezinearticles.com wasn’t that strict so I could easily get my articles published even though the articles were very short. It was that time that I was also trying to get approved for a Platinum status so I have to get 25 articles approved. I ended up with over 20 articles but I was really burnt out. I lost the energy to write something that I didn’t really enjoy. But after a few weeks I checked my Clickbank account and was excited because I’ve seen my first sale from my efforts and it was a few days after a couple of months inside Wealthy Affiliate.
But we’re here to discuss the reasons why direct article marketing is not a long term IM business model. So let’s start…
When you’re using articles to drive traffic to the merchant’s site, you have to generate articles in a consistent basis. You can make money using this strategy but the moment you stop writing, your income will also decrease and eventually dry up. The not so good news today is that articles from Ezineaticles or any other good article directory (GoArticles, ArticlesBase) is not that powerful anymore in terms of search engine rankings. When was the last time you’ve seen an article from a directory that’s ranking for a keyword?
I just checked one of my articles that was previously ranking in first page for a travel related keyword. I wrote this around August 2009 and it stayed in first page for many months and up to a year and it brought a lot of sales but now it’s ranking in page 6. If you want to rank your articles today, you have to target a long tail keyword and one that has little to no competition.
My strategy right now doesn’t involve submitting to Ezinearticles anymore since my whole focus is into ranking Amazon sites. If I do submit it’s because I just want a quality backlink for my search engine rankings.
Not Building Your Assets
When you write articles that will redirect straight to the merchant, your articles become the asset of the merchant. I know that we are affiliate marketers and we are promoting products of other people but we can still build assets. And one of the best assets that you can build is your own websites. Personally I never really liked building backlinks to my Ezinearticles simply because I don’t have any control over it.
Lower Conversion Rates
I believe this factor will heavily depend on the niche that you’re promoting and the angle that you’re going for. You can make money just by doing straight redirects but you’re leaving a lot of money on the table if you’re just funneling visitors straight to the merchant. The average conversion rate is 1% and this means that for every 100 visits to the merchant, 1 will actually buy. So if you’re going to use direct article marketing, you really have to do a lot of writing and generate at least 100 clicks. Don’t complain that you’re not getting sales when you’ve just managed to write 5, 10 or 20 articles. That won’t simply cut it.
Higher conversion rates will also depend on the keyword that you’re targeting. If you’re targeting buyer keywords and have managed to get top rankings then that’s probably good news for you. But for broader information type keywords, it’s going to be more difficult to warm up a visitor. And that’s why you need to build a website because that’s the place where you’ll give more information on what they’re searching for but only enough info for them to be interested in the product that you’re promoting.
There’s a ton of things that you can do when you have your own sites… build a list, gather comments, rank on top of search engines, monetize through advertisements, build more pages, etc. Most important of all, when the pages of your site is already on top of search engine rankings, you’ll then experience passive income.
These are just some of my thoughts and I’ve learned all of this from the community over at Wealthy Affiliate. I just turned 2 years last month (July 2011) and everyday my heart is just filled with tremendous gratitude that I’ve found them at the early stages of my Internet marketing journey.