How To Find A Niche Market

The first problem that needs answering for affiliates is how to find a niche market.  Sure, there may be plenty of affiliate programs out there, but finding a niche market, accessing it’s ability to generate revenue, and then contemplating how much traffic you can generate stems from just one thing.  Which niche market you choose.

What’s Important

Traffic is probably number one on the list of requirements for finding a niche market.  Whether you are looking for a high traffic niche or focus on building sites around a lot of low traffic niche’s, traffic is your concern and how it molds your website.  The amount of traffic you intend on receiving will dictate if you build a store, blog, forum, or combination of all.  Furthermore, depending the niche market you find, developing a thin site just might not cut the mustard.

Competition is the next point to access.  It doesn’t matter how broad the niche market is if there are thousands of competitors.  Any piece of the pie will eventually be divided up, but a low competition niche will allow you to control a bigger market share.  Of course this is assuming you know how to properly market, promote, and then convert that traffic.

Are search visitors in this specific niche looking to buy or just browse.  Some niche markets have a lot of traffic, but the majority of hits are just people looking for info on an item they will never buy.  This typically will apply to very high dollar items or products that need a lot of tire kicking before being purchased locally.  To find a profitable niche market, try to find that widget that people are actually buying online or at least stem off side products to support the primary niche.

Find A Niche Market

The first place I start when looking for a market I’d like to compete in is eBay Pulse.   eBay Pulse will provide the top 10 watched items on eBay, broken down by category.  eBay is the largest online auction website in the world, so it’s a safe consider these results relative to what people are searching for on Google and other search engines.

Next, take this information to the Google Keyword Tool, which can even be used if you don’t have an Adwords account.  Here you can enter the general popular product you found on eBay Pulse and be given a mess of similar searched phrases and keywords.  More importantly the keyword tool will also give you the estimated amount of searches done Globally for the month and even Local searches.  This is the most important tool for judging traffic.  In addition, a rough estimate is given on ad competition, which does not necessarily represent the competition in the SERPs.

I regularly utilize the Google Keyword tool to find a niche market.  Usually I’ll enter a broad niche keyword, then follow the lower searched keywords and phrases to find a market I may not have previously been aware of.  Then I give a lot of attention to searching the keywords and phrases on the actual Google search engine.  After accessing the competition on the first page of results, I see if I judge if I’ll actually be able to compete.

Usually I’ll shy away from a niche market if I don’t already have a website with some sort of authority in the field.  Not a stead fast rule, but it allows me to jump right into a niche market and start competing immediately, but building off links from my already popular website.  Of course, my portfolio of websites would never grow unless I ventured out of my comfort zone, but still provides a good starting point.

Online tools to convert the traffic you receive from your Niche Market:

Associate-O-Matic – Recently updated Amazon store builder.

eMotive Interactive – Affiliate network that focuses on CPA commissions.

Niche Site Platform – Store builder that pulls products from Commission Junction, eBay, Amazon, and more.

Unlimited Income From Referrals

Have you been looking for an affiliate network that would pay you a percentage of commission based off the revenue earnings of your referral?  Motive Interactive is one of the leading edge affiliate networks that focuses on CPA programs.  Imagine, being paid a commission because a referred visitor entered their zip code into single field submit website and BAM you earn a whopping $3.75.  These types of programs exist on the Motive Interactive network and most importantly they pay handsomely for referred publishers.

How it works is, for every publisher you refer to Motive Interactive, you will earn a 2% commission off of their revenue.  For example, if you refer a publisher that earns $100, you will net $2 for doing nothing.  As you can see, the more you refer, the more you earn for setting on your bum.  These are life time commissions, no end date like other affiliate networks.

It’s a win-win referral.  You help someone find a quality affiliate network to start generating revenue off of and Motive Interactive pays you for your efforts.  Start earning money with Motive Interactive now and as usual I wouldn’t bother with a positive review and affiliate link if I didn’t use the program myself.

Motive Interactive Affiliate

Associate-O-Matic Update, The Amazon Store Builder

Perhaps you have forgot about the affiliate tool known as Associate-O-Matic or AOM, but it hasn’t forgot about you.  The creators of the once popular Amazon store builder software has continued to update their software and offer some great new features.  Since I started using this affiliate script 2 years ago it’s gone through a number of updates and everyone has improved usability, features, and opportunities for commissions.

If you are not familiar with Associate-O-Matic, it’s a script that automates building a store from Amazon products based on your keywords.  AOM features a number of customization options, from design, searches, home page listings, and even custom pages.  The software itself is very diverse and can allow for unique niche store pages to be built.

On May 25th the Associate-O-Matic team released an update which enabled parts searching through Amazon automotive.  I’ve personally experienced an increase in conversions from this little widget that I enable on all my store pages.  You can see an example of the Parts Finder feature in Associate-O-Matic in my Key Ring Store.

Yesterday, on June 11th the AOM released yet another update which squashed a few bugs and enabled a new design function.  The AOM update allows options for rounded corners in your store.  But it’s not just cosmetic updates this time around, AOM version 4.4.1 also utilizes the latest Amazon API.

I’d recommend anyone download Associate-O-Matic and add it to your arsenal of affiliate site building tools.  There is a free version available, but 10% of your clicks will use the AOM Amazon affiliate ID.  The paid version of AOM is just $99 for the first year, then $20 thereafter, which includes all updates and added features.


Associate-O-Matic

Niche Site Platform $15 Coupon

September Coupon Code Update: WIZARDSPECIAL

Simply enter ‘WIZARDSPECIAL‘ into the coupon code section at purchase to receive $20 Off.

Still haven’t had a chance to review the new piece of affiliate software I purchased a few weeks ago, but Niche Site Platform has released another coupon code.  This Niche Site Platform coupon is good for $15 off.

In addition, buy the product and become an affiliate, because Ben Johnson is paying out an amazing 50% commission on all of his products.  Which also means, do me a favor and buy this alternative to BANS, so I can earn up to $43.50.  Consider it a thank you for turning you onto this coupon code.

$15 Niche Site Platform Coupon Code : E47C6846F0

As mentioned in my previous post with a working $10 NSP coupon code, there will be a full review coming soon.  I’m just working out how I want to approach such a diverse, multi-use, tool.

Also, keep in mind I do not refer any product that I don’t personally use to make money.  So thank you in advance for using my affiliate link to purchase the Niche Site Platform product.

About Niche Site Platform

Niche Site Platform ExampleNiche Site Platform (NSP) is an all-in-one store building solution for multiple affiliate networks.  NSP is able to build stores based on keywords you enter to automatically link to products from Amazon, eBay, Commission Junction, Link Share, and more.  If you used Build A Niche Store, then you will be familiar with the layout and the method to build store pages.  It’s a great replacement for BANS, since it allows you to build off of other networks, instead of putting all your eggs in the eBay Partner Network basket.

In addition, the NSP script is installed as easily as any WordPress blog and comes complete with an administrator panel back end.  No experience is necessary to start building professional looking affiliate stores.

That’s the short and the sweet, expect a full Nails Blog review soon.

Niche Site Platform Coupon

September Coupon Code Update $20 Off: WIZARDSPECIAL

Simply enter ‘WIZARDSPECIAL‘ into the coupon code section at purchase to receive $20 Off.

Niche Site Platform Coupon Article

I’m a sucker for buying new tools to automate my affiliate marketing and site building, so you can see why Niche Site Platform appealed to me.  I just purchased the script today, but already I’m noticing how it can help diversify my affiliate earnings, at least from a phpBay and BANS perspective.  It has a lot of things in common, but it’s also providing me a new outlet to automate my CJ, Linkshare, and Amazon affiliate link building.

The normal price for Niche Site Platform is $79, which is supposedly marked down from over $100.  The Niche Site Platform just launched at the end of April, so I was surprised to find a working coupon code.  The coupon is good for $10 off the purchase price.

Niche Store Platform Coupon

$10 Off Niche Site Platform Coupon – A7BAA9090F

Those familiar with BANS will feel right at home using Niche Store Platform and for the price it’s hard to pass up.  Also, buying NSP now will allow you to get ahead of the curve of all the site spamming and the inevitable ding from Google in the upcoming year.  Be an early adopter and buy Niche Store Platform now, you won’t regret it.

As a reminder, I don’t promote any products that I don’t personally use.  Although I’ve just purchased it, I’m already pleasantly surprised with the possibilities.  Expect a full blown review of Niche Store Platform in the upcoming days.

[box type=”info”]New coupon code! $20 OFF Enter the coupon code WIZARDSPECIAL. Coupon code good only for a limited time, so buy now. I’ll update again when more or better coupons become available.[/box]

Clickbank and EzineArticles.com Tips

Clickbank Logo

Considering promoting Clickbank hoplinks on EzineArticles.com?  There are a few things to consider before spending a lot of time on producing content, that will likely get rejected if you don’t follow the rules.  The number one rule when trying to promote affiliate links through EzineArticles.com, is that they are not allowed.  But there are ways to place links within the resource box, that will give you a commission if a visitor clicks through.

How To Add Affiliate Links To EzineArticles.com

EzineArticles.com LogoGenerally the only way the reviewers at EzineArticles.com will allow affiliate links are when the link is sent to a top level domain.  A Clickbank hoplink is not considered a top level domain, so we’ll have to setup a redirect.  To do the redirect you will have to own a domain and have it hosted on a server running PHP.

Let’s assume your domain is LotsAMoney.com and you want to redirect to RapidMassTraffic.com, which pays a healthy 60% commission.  Well we can’t use that ugly url I used in the link on this post in our resource box on EZA, so we’ll have to actually use a link to LotsAMoney.com.

To redirect to the RapidMassTraffic.com site you will need to upload an index.php file to your domains folder.  MemWG.com has a phenomenal how-to showing exactly what code needs to be included in the index.php file to properly forward to the programs landing page.

The end result is that you are linking to your own domain, but then the visitor is immediately forwarded to the program you are affiliating for, with your affiliate cookie in place!  By linking in this way we are allowed to place affiliate links in EzineArticles.com without being rejected.

Recommended EzineArticles.com Affiliate Article Format

There has been a lot of discussion on the Digital Point forums discussing the best format to use when promoting a product through article creation.  I ran across a tip in a thread following one persons exploration into article content bombing at EzineArticles.com where he submits at least 10 articles per day.  Below is the format he uses and what’s recommended for the most successful conversions.

  • See what is the primary feature of a product I’m promoting (what seperates it from the pack).
  • Write an article talking about a problem that the product is for.
  • Close the article by talking about how this particular product will help fix the particular problem they’re having.
  • Put a short and sweet resource box encouraging them to click and learn more about the product.

Using this format within your articles gets the readers attention and then helps them along to find out more information.  Keeping them interested for when you send them to the affiliate products landing page is important. Focus on conversions.

Create Your Own Landing Pages

This is a very tricky concept and one that I’ve always struggled with.  For starters I’m not good at building landing pages and second I believe the absolute shortest route a visitor needs to take to make a purchase is the best.  Me adding my own landing pages in the mix just requires extra clicks for the visitor to complete a transaction and allow me to get paid.

That being said, there are plenty of affiliates out there that have received a lot of success by building their own landing pages, which were linked in the resource box at EzineArticles.com.  Additional benefits include having a page that is spidered by search engines and will eventually provide additional traffic from search engines, instead of going through your article on EZA.

Lastly, remember that the best methods are kept secret, so test, test, test and find out what works best for the particular niche you are creating articles for.  Working every day to create content and spreading your affiliate links all over the web will lead to success down the road.

Chitika Premium Failuires With YPN

Chitika has skipped over the downward spiral and jumped right off the back of the slide.  I’ve been using Chitika for 1 year this month and never before have I seen such a drastic change in policy, earnings, impressions, and general contempt from support in dealing with issues.  On April 28, 2010 my Chitika Premium impressions dropped from an average of 2,700 per day to just 3.  You can guess what my earnings have done.

Domain Review and Approval

It all started when Chitika announced that they were taking on advertisers from the Yahoo Publisher Network, which then required all domains to be approved and reviewed.  This review process went above and beyond previous requirements to be a Chitika Premium publisher, although no guidelines have been published or responded to in support tickets.

In addition, even though I had already received Premium ad approval on 2 of my domains, the system now required me to submit every domain Chitika ads would be shown on.  This change in policy was ushered in via email and an automatic sign up to Chitika Select , which promised increased impressions and revenue.  Review of a publishers domains were not supposed to take more than 3 weeks, however that was more than 5 weeks ago and my domains have still not been reviewed.

Generic Responses To Drop In Impressions and Revenue

The worst part about this whole ordeal is the actual feedback and responses I’m getting form the Chitika team.  Originally in May of 2009 when I signed up with them, the support team was outgoing, easy to contact, and offered plenty of advice to get going and maximize my earnings.  However, lately it takes longer to get a response and even then most are canned copy and paste explanations that never really address my questions.

My last support ticket with them took 4 different replies before I could get anything close to an actual response from a real person.  Even after this, I was still left with more questions than answers, most dealing with what kind of guidelines are set for a domain to be approved for Chitika Premium.

Good Enough For Testimonial But Not For Chitika Premium

Another downfall with the latest changes going on at Chitika, which are closer relating to the eBay Partner Network, are that their testimonial pages are filled with publishers who used the old Chitika system.  One of the testimonials proudly displayed on their testimonial review page is one of my own, which is a far cry from how I feel now about the company and Ad network.  I’ve requested my testimonial removed, since its not an accurate representation of how I feel about Chitika anymore and I would encourage others to do the same.

It’s disappointing after a year of publishing for Chitika that now I’m thrown to the curb, without so much as an explanation.  Looking back I’m embarrassed at all the people I referred to Chitika and glorified the program as the next step in online advertising and earning potential for publishers.  Shame on you Chitika.

Conversion Failing of Their Own Design

It’s no secret that the success of Chitika ads were due to the image in place next to the text advertisement.  Many people were using this technique with Google Adsense, until it became obvious that such clicks converted far lower than normal display methods for advertisers.  Adsense was quick to change policies and prohibit the use of images next to their advertisements on a web page.

Chitika adopted and fleshed out the potential for higher traffic and higher earnings through volume clicks, with the help from the images next to ads.  But it looks like YPN has decided that they want higher converting traffic from a network of publishers molded and supportive of the way Chitika was.  Their own ad design allowed for lower converting traffic for advertisers, but now they are punishing the publisher for their mistakes.

Pending Further Review

Lastly, one of my sites is pending further review, which means they are looking into ways to bring my abysmal impressions back up.  Yet this domain is still not good enough for Chitika Premium ads, so what’s the point?  My automotive website has been good enough to draw advertising campaigns from large automotive companies from all over the world, who have continued to use my site as a way to advertise their product.  How is it not good enough for Chitika Premium?  How do I make it better and improve performance for Chitika Premium?  Without published guidelines it’s anyone’s guess.

I hate playing these types of games with advertising companies and the changes in Chitika remind me too much of EPN.  I’ve already removed the majority of my Chitika code from my sites, not that they will miss me, but I’m hurt, angry, and plan on letting everyone that I can know about what I’ve experienced.

Alternate Post Title1 year Chitika Review, Stay AWAY!

Is Chitika Select Right For Your Site?

More impressions. More Revenue.

Hard to pass up a tag line like that, but maybe Chitika Select ads aren’t right for your site.  There have been many discussions surrounding the costs and benefits of utilizing the new Chitika Select addition to Premium ads, which bring up great points, regarding missed opportunities and not just revenue.  Feel free to follow the discussion on the official Chitika Blog’s Chitika Select post.

Darren, from Pro Blogger, made some very important points regarding return visitors.  The temptation of using Chitika Premium ads came from being able to place blocks of advertising to only be shown to search engine visitors, without disturbing normal readership.

Also, the addition of Chitika Select is setup as an Opt-Out instead of an Opt-In, which means if you weren’t paying attention these ads are being served whether you want them to or not.  Luckily, it’s a simple fix and is quickly being made public that the change needs to be made if you don’t want advertisements always being shown to your visitors.  Keep in mind, these ads will most likely be a lot less targeted, since arrival from a search engine is not required to trigger the impression.

I left the Chitika Ads Select run on my automotive website and after a little bit of tweaking on location I managed to increase my revenue by 50%.  My impressions were up a full 30%!  I’ve yet to see the result after Chitika’s dreaded audited report, but for now it looks like I’ll be leaving Select ads running.  I’d also recommend to almost anyone to leave  them running as well, just understand what you are doing. 😉

Scottrade 1 Week Review

I began March with a change in focus, from web development to the ever changing stock market.  However, so far I feel like I’ve only jumped from one sinking ship to another and my feet are still wet.  However, despite the market fluctuations, I signed up with Scottrade and feel it’s time for an early 1 week review of their website and service.

Signing Up

First of all, signing up to Scottrade.com can be a daunting experience.  Unlike most websites, this investment website requires sensitive information like Social Security numbers, which some people may not feel comfortable sending over the tubes.  Also, there are a number of forms that must be electronically signed and filled out, which were written by main street’s lawyers, meaning myself and others may not completely understand what we are agreeing to.

Luckily there is an answer to the above woes, Scottrade offers the assistance of local offices.  As a matter of fact there is a manned office less than 10 mins from my home.  The employees of Scottrade were more than willing to help me get signed up, answer my noob questions, and allow me to make a check deposit.  So, other than be daunting to sign up via the web, the initial ‘sign up’ process was a breeze, once the professionals were called in.

Deposit

It’s odd, but there is only one electronic option for placing funds into a general Scottrade account.  For example, my initial deposit could only be completed by Money Direct or by physically mailing or dropping off a personal check or money order.  I would have much rather preferred linking my PayPal account for transaction and purchase fees, oh well.

I opted to drop off a personal check, since Scottrade’s offices were so close.  The deposit showed up immediately, however the funds were not available for purchase until the next business day.  There were also restrictions on my funds for 2 additional days, stating that I could not purchase shares under $4 ea.  Therefore my penny stock trading had to wait until the full clear process, 3 days after my initial deposit.

Again, the employees of Scottrade were very helpful and explained the restriction process to me.  This also opened up the conversation to what will happen during my first trade.  Right inside the office the personnel walked me through a mock transaction, complete with commission fees and different purchase options.

First Stock Trade

Smooth.  It’s true, my first purchase within Scottrade was a smooth transaction that qued, completed, and showed in my account within 10 minutes of me left clicking confirm.  As a matter of fact the entire Trade tab is simplified and easy to understand your options.  Anything that might not be clear is explained in the right hand column or has a question mark link, to take you to an explanation.

A typical trade is done by selecting the stock symbol you wish to trade, amount of shares, type of order, and then the length of time you want the offer to be made.  I only purchase on limits, so a time frame is always required, which I typically set to expire at the end of the day.  After completing the fields you will be given with a review of your order and then a final confirmation.  It’s easy peezy, even for someone who has never traded stock before.  Furthermore, the employees at Scottrade are available to assist you over the phone, should you be nervous or have some questions.

Recent Scottrade Site Performance

I have not been satisfied with the Scottrade.com site performance.  I am consistently timing out when requesting a quote and the reports they provide usually never load.  I’ve bested the Scottrade.com site from 3 different computers on 3 different connections and the problem continues to persist.  In addition, I’ve tried using 3 different browsers, including FireFox, Chrome, and the latest release of Internet Explorer.  Unfortunately Internet Explorer appears to be the most stable when using Scottrade, go figure.

This morning I was in the process of purchasing some stock at market open, only to find that Scottrade had turned off online trading.  After calling my local office I was informed this is the first time this has ever happened that he can remember.  Lucky me, assuming he was telling the truth, which would also translate this article into an unfair review.  You be the judge and I’ll be back in another 30 days to fill you in on all the trades and money I’ve lost.

Don’t Buy Affiliate Espionage

Affiliate Espionage was a phenomenal tool a few months back, which helped the user track advertising trends amongst competitors in Google Adwords.  It provided research on search trends, money spent on campaigns, and which campaigns worked, so the user wasn’t throwing money out the door.  It assisted with the tried and true test, test, test method of spending money on Adwords.  Alas, Affiliate Espionage has closed it’s doors and development on the FireFox plugin has come to a hault.

It’s been a looonnggg time since I last sent out an email to you
but a lot has been going on and unfortunately as a result I have
some bad news to share with you today.

With much thought and struggle, I have decided to close down
Affiliate Espionage.

It has been a fun ride and the feedback and response to AE has
been fantastic over the past 18 months but things have reached a
point where I had to decide which direction to take my business
and focus my efforts and I did not feel I would be able to
provide the support, service and time required to do justice to
the Affiliate Espionage Software while tackling the major
project I will be working on this year.

Effective March 1st 2010, Affiliate Espionage will be taken off
the market.

All existing customers will still have full access to the
Member’s only Site indefinitely to access all software, videos,
and manuals.

There may be occasional software updates but there is no
timetable or schedule (or promise of) these updates.

This has not been an easy decision especially since this project
has been part of my life for well over 2 years now.  I
appreciate your support and understanding.

You can still contact our support desk until March 5, 2010 to
address any questions or concerns you may have.

So, it looks like it’s back to studying trends  the old fashion way and spend lots o pennies on testing Adword Campaigns.  But that’s ok, because everything the Affiliate Espionage Plugin did can be done on your own manually, just takes a little bit longer.

If you are looking for alternative revenue streams, please check out my Chitika Review.