When you decide to start affiliate marketing, there are several factors to consider as you dive deeper into it. One of the most challenging pieces of affiliate marketing on your WordPress blog or site is the placement of your links. I have talked about this in posts here and in workshops that I have done over the years, but let’s revisit it and I’ll share with you my own experiences from years of affiliate marketing.
Widget Areas – Look at Them All
Our first tendency is to look at those widget areas. They seem to be crying for content. And when you discover all those marketing tools, such as banners for products or services that you become an affiliate of, the temptation becomes even stronger. It might be in your header, sidebars, footer or even other widget areas throughout your site. But a couple of things come into play here. Your goals and your readers.
Likely you have been on a site for the first time and saw ads in the sidebars, within posts, etc. Now I’m not talking ads in general, but affiliate banners, or what appears as ads. Although I wish there was a overall strategy that I could share with you, but it really comes down to what the goals of your site are and how your readers behave. It’s finding that sweet spot.
Within the Context of a Helpful Post
After years of affiliate marketing, I have found my own affiliates to work best within the natural flow of a blog post. I write a post about an eCommerce plugin for WordPress, explaining what it does and the features it has. Typically I do a text link at the beginning of the post and at the end. It’s that simple.
But the key here is to make your post helpful, not just a large sales ad disguised as a post. Provide a solution to solve your readers problem. And don’t tell them the how, but also the why.
Banner Ads Within the Post
Another option is to use those banners ads. Placement, well that is going to depend. I know a lot of people who might find them interspersed within the post distracting. On the other hand there could always be exception. We sometimes have place them at the beginning and within the post, but typically we choose to do them at the end.
Be Consistent, But Don’t Overdo It
No matter what space you are in, you will hear people say that they avoid posts that are filled with nothing but affiliate links. My advice? If you keep it limited, and you provide your readers with a solution, it will work for you. But the key is, don’t overdo it. Often this is more dependent on the length of the post, readability and the structure of the post.
Always Remember. Test, Test, and Test!
As you probably have noted, there is no silver bullet here. What hasn’t worked for me has worked for others. But I am also willing to try new strategies. The key to all of this is testing the placement. Use a plugin that makes it easy to manage affiliates specifically or an ad plugin. Both will give you tracking for click-throughs and impressions as well. Also consider using a heatmap, for example Crazy Egg, or another similar place and see where people are clicking on any page. And of course, you can do tracking through your Google Analytics as well. Just make sure you find out what isn’t working and figure it out so you can hit that sweet spot.
Last Words of Advice
As I mentioned, we have various ways we do it here. But I also emphasized text links placed strategically in your post text. This is the tried and true method for us. Because, remember, more and more people are utilizing ad blocks in their browsers. And although ad placement continues to find new ways around this, it eventually always catches up to them.
Secondly, as I have reiterated before, make sure you have an affiliate disclaimer somewhere, even in your footer as we do.
Keep both these in mind.