5 Things to Think About When Creating Your Affiliate Site

By • 5 months ago with 2 replies already

Creating a website for your Zazzle store can help you grow your brand and increase your earnings because you can earn referrals, in addition to your royalties, on sales that come from your site. However, while it can be easy to make your own blog or website, it’s not always easy to make it fruitful. Let’s go over a few pointers that can improve your chances of creating a successful affiliate site for your Zazzle store.

1) Set a clear goal.

Ask yourself, what is your objective for this site? Are you looking to build your brand or to create a one-stop shop for a product type or for an occasion? Is the purpose to get an audience that is loyal to your specific brand, or is it to cast a wider net and catch everyone you can? These types of questions can help shape certain decisions for your site, like choosing your domain name.

For example, if your first and foremost goal is to grow your brand, then you may want to consider using your brand or store name. A site with a branded domain name usually houses the Designer’s own products. It’s a website where the Designer can tell their story and create other content to really connect with their customers and grow a loyal and engaged community.

In the example below, the Designer and Associate Wedding Paper Love chose to use their store name as the domain for their Zazzle affiliate site where they promote their products.Screenshot of Wedding Paper Love home page image

If you’re more interested in a niche shopping site that is not focused on your brand, then you may want to consider a more general name (e.g. BestCustomInvites). A site with a general domain normally offers a mix of products – the Designer’s own products and other people’s products. Of course there are always exceptions, but these are the trends that we’ve seen.

2) Do your keyword research.

Doing keyword research can help with choosing the content you feature on your site, as well as choosing your domain name (if you are not going to use your store/brand name.) You can use the Google Keyword Planner tool to type in the product(s) you want to feature on your affiliate site or a potential domain name e.g. ‘best custom invites’ to see what they suggest.

Screenshot of best custom invites results from Google keyword tool

Looking at the results above when searching for ‘best custom invites,’ we see that a list of relevant keywords comes up with each keyword search volume, competition status and bid price information. You would want to choose keywords with high search volume, but not too high. If a keyword is too popular, you may not be able to rank for it (show up in the search engine results for it) easily. In this example, it may be worthwhile to check if BestBabyShowerInvitations or BestBirthdayInvitations are available domains.

If you are choosing a branded name, you can still use the keyword planner tool to research the keyword that you want your site to rank for e.g. invitations, wedding invitations, etc. Once you have a keyword in mind, you can add that keyword to the content you share on your site.

When choosing a domain name, it’s also a good idea to take a look at what your competition is up to by typing your prospective domain names and/or keywords in your search engine and looking at the results. What do the websites that come up look like? What is their functionality? How will your site compare to theirs?

If you’re having a hard time coming up with keywords, check out Google Trends tool for possible domain name and/or keyword ideas.

3) Create a strategy for driving traffic.

Creating a plan for getting customers to your affiliate site is the key to success, and the best way to do that is to optimize your site for search engines. In other words, do everything you can to make sure your website appears in search results when a customer looks for a certain product or design on Google/Bing/Yahoo/etc. When creating your website, follow the best practices found in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to get you started on the right SEO (search engine optimization) track.

Another option for driving traffic to your Zazzle affiliate site is to run social media (e.g. Facebook) or search engine (e.g. Google) ads. This option is a faster way to get potential customers to your website, but it can be costly. If you do consider running ads to your website, make sure to start with a clear campaign goal (e.g. impressions, clicks, sales) and know your ad platform analytics so you can track your ad performance. You should also know the amount you earn on average (referrals + royalty) on sales that come from your site. This calculation can give you an idea of how much you are able spend on ads to get a sale.

Without having a plan on how to drive customers to your affiliate site, the time and effort put into it may not yield the return you may have hoped for. So make sure to have a clear and outlined strategy, which you can update and optimize as your website grows.

4) Know your value add.

Now that you’ve thought about how to get your customers to your site, you need to think about what will keep them there. More importantly, what will make them click on your products and make a purchase? Do you have your own graphics or photography with a great call-to-action? Do you offer consultations and create custom designs? Is your site easy to navigate?

In the example below, Wedding Paper Love uses elegant photography to catch the customer’s eye. In addition, the products included on the website are easy to navigate by using the themes listed in the left navigation (left-hand side.) Last but not least, the discounts offering and contact designer link for custom design requests are right in front for you to find.

Screenshot of Wedding Paper Love website homepage with left navigation, main image, and contact link and discounts highlighted

It’s good to go a little further and ask yourself how you will get your customers to come back. Will you have an email sign-up form on your affiliate site so you can follow up with them for feedback or reviews? Or perhaps you plan to send a newsletter with current promotions or newly posted products. Maybe you’d like to run contests or giveaways to keep them engaged.

Screenshot of Wedding Paper Love page where you can sign-up for their mailing list

In the example below, Wedding Paper Love uses an email sign-up form to stay connected to their customers.

5) Know your numbers.

When building your site, use Google Analytics or another analytics tool and get to know your metrics! Some key metrics you’ll want to keep track of when starting out are users, new users, clicks, sales, and conversion rate. (You may need to reconcile some of the data from your Zazzle reports and Google Analytics to get all the metrics that you want to review.)

Checking in on these metrics daily can not only help keep track of your site functionality, but can also offer insights on campaigns that will perform well. Some questions you can ask yourself are:

  • Are there the same amount of clicks today as yesterday? Are there the same amount of sales? Why or why not?
  • Did you post new content or products yesterday which caught the customer’s eye and you’re seeing more clicks and sales?
  • Was there a promotion that may have gotten more customers to make a purchase?
  • Was there a link that worked yesterday that isn’t working today that could have caused a shift in sales?

We hope these pointers provide a good idea of what it entails to create and keep up a successful affiliate website. We also know that it’s a lot to digest, so please feel free to ask questions in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “5 Things to Think About When Creating Your Affiliate Site”

  1. We just launched ours.. it was difficult because we are not one niche but many and I put it on everything I communicate on from email to snail letters to what every is in my reach and able! It is a lot of push even with search engines. Visit http://www.kbe-ltd.com I don’t think it’s your typical website! It is also difficult to maintain in keeping new products posted but you roll with it. A good friend of mine said to me once she said your customers will tell you what they want, but you still have to show them what you have!

  2. Thank you for a very good article. As a long time web gal who has had a lot of experience in getting sites to become popular destinations, I know that your suggestions are right on the mark. Only thing I might ad is that the learning curve has continued to become steeper since I started and graphic designers may just need to hire out much of the web-work. But then adding and editing becomes cumbersome, so by learning to do it yourself you can make quick changes and keep things fresh.

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