I was facing my first writer’s block and couldn’t think of anything to blog about and I really wanted to do a blog post tonight cause I had the time.
I’m not use to posting this frequently on a blog! I guess I still have a lot to learn about when it comes to blogging and keeping ideas popping into your head! Anyways, so because I couldn’t think of anything to write about, I made a tweet on twitter asking if anyone had any questions they would like to see covered in a blog post and BlueHeronTrail asked which was better to use a landing page or a landing site (ie. blog, website, etc) I decided to include Direct Linking as well as believe it or not it still works!
So, enough of that let’s get into it!
First, allow me to explain what Direct Linking is for those that are just getting started in Affiliate Marketing.
Direct Linking is when link directly to an advertisers landing page. Most affiliates normally buy a domain name, some simple hosting, and create their own landing page that they send visitors to first before sending them to the offer(s) landing page. There are two main ways to Direct Link to an affiliate offer.
The first way and most used method of Direct Linking to an affiliates page is by using the affiliate URL your given when you sign up with a company. For example the link may look like this http://x.affiliate.com/publisher/5674 That of course is just an example and doesn’t actually link to an offer.
The second way is to buy a domain name and point the domain name straight to the offers landing page. This method isn’t used as much as the first method is, however, I truly feel that this is the best way to link to an offer and I’ll explain why below.
Advantages to Direct Linking:
- Allows you to quickly test an offer to see how well it converts before building an entire site around the offer.
- If the advertisers landing page is good enough quality and having a landing pages seems to cut down on conversions instead of helping.
- Very easy to setup. You don’t need any knowledge of html, css, or php. You also don’t need to buy a domain name or hosting if you don’t wish to, however, I do recommend buying a domain for Direct Linking.
Disadvantages to Direct Linking:
- Normally its pretty hard to get a good quality score in Google Adwords when Direct Linking.
- You are unable to presell the customer. Preselling the customer can easy increase conversions by 200% if you take the time to learn how to do so properly.
- You won’t normally receive any organic (free) traffic when direct linking. You may receive a little if you are direct linking with a domain name, however, I’ve never received any amount of organic traffic worth talking about.
Why should I use a Domain Name when Direct Linking?
As I said above, most people when they direct link to an offer they don’t even use a domain name. I however, believe that using a domain name even when direct linking has some really nice benefits to it.
First, you are able to build links to your own domain name and keep them if you decide to later build a landing page or site around an offer. I submit almost every offer I run to quite a few directories to start building up some organic traffic and to rank for keywords in Google. Once I know an offer is profitable I immediately start building links to it, even if its just a few well placed ones.
Secondly, Google Adwords has recently changed their Display URL policy saying you have to use the same domain as what is in your destination URL. If your running an offer through any CPA network like AzoogleAds the link for the offer your running normally redirects through their ad server anyways. Having a good keyword rich domain name can increase everything from your Quality Score in Adwords to your CTR%.
Those are the two main reasons why I always use a domain even when testing an offer by direct linking. You can get them for so cheap I don’t see a good reason not to just buy one. If the offer doesn’t work, I get rid of the domain! Simple as that!
This is by far the most used method when it comes to affiliate marketing. You buy a domain name, throw up a one page site basically called a landing page and have an article or two with several links to the offer page and that’s it.
There are several advantages to this method over direct linking and a couple disadvantages.
Advantages to a Landing Page:
- Easier to setup than a full landing site (website focused around an affiliate offer).
- Still pretty easy to get a decent quality score even with Adwords believe it or not, although it is becoming increasingly harder and I believe within another year or two, landing pages will need to become landing sites.
- Extremely great for seasonal offers as you wouldn’t want to spend too much time on offers that are only good one month out of the year.
- Allows you to presell your customers thus increasing your conversion rates significantly.
- Allows you to be more flexible. Some examples are… You can collect email addresses for sending out future offers, you are able to track using php on the keyword level fairly easily using simple cut and paste techniques!
Disadvantages to Landing Pages:
- Slowly becoming harder to get a great quality score with Adwords as they like content and lots of it.
- Requires more time to setup than direct linking which could all be in vain if the offer doesn’t convert well enough and you end up having to cancel it.
Again, Landing Pages are the now. They are what’s working and they work well. I don’t believe they will work forever, however, who’s to say they don’t work for another 5 years! Google continues to increase their quality algorithms and they love content and multi-page sites. They want websites to have value to them and not just try to hurry up and send a visitor to someone else’s site only to be redirected yet again without adding any real value to the customer.
When I say Landing Site basically I’m talking about a Landing Page that has more than just one simple page. A landing site has multiple pages, multiple articles, useful information for consumers, etc. They sometimes have a blog tied to them. Basically anyway you want to do it is fine. I don’t personally believe there is one right way or wrong way when it comes to building a landing site. Some people use a blog to add content, some don’t. The choice is entirely up to you, either way seems to work fine. I’ve personally done it both ways and haven’t seen a problem yet with one or the other.
Advantages to a Landing Site:
- Google loves these sites, they love the fresh content that gets added to these sites, they love the fact that they typically help the customer and add value a little more than just a simple landing page.
- These sites can very easily rank for keywords in Organic Searches thus providing tons of free traffic.
- Easier to get good quality scores when using Google Adwords.
- Plus all the benefits of a Regular Landing Page.
Disadvantages to a Landing Site:
- Very time consuming to build these websites.
- Constantly have to be updated with fresh content in order to be most effective.
So which do I use?
I personally feel and believe that there is a purpose for each type of linking. Let me give you a few examples.
Let’s say your trying out a niche that honestly you don’t know much about but have heard it’s doing well. Your not sure what works, what doesn’t, what type of landing page to create, if it will convert for you, etc. I would personally direct link to the offer first to test out these things and to give it a quick test. Now that’s just me speaking, I know people that do nothing but direct link and they make tons of money. Direct Linking still works but it tends to be more of a short-term income. You get an offer doing well and a couple months it dies, whereas landing pages typically last a lot longer.
Let’s say you’ve tested out a niche and your breaking even, or even making a little profit, or even maybe just losing a little money. You decide that the niche has potential and you’d like to try to scale on it and build. I would then throw up a Landing Page and work on increasing my conversion rate by preselling the customer, increasing my ad ctr%, etc.
Let’s say that you realize after your landing page has been up a while that you could really scale this campaign and you not only want PPC traffic but you also want to start driving SEO traffic to the site, I would then convert my landing page to a Landing Site by either adding a blog or adding an article page.
I hope this article helped you out and explained to you the advantages and disadvantages to using each of the three methods.
Let me know if you have any other questions about the three below in the comments.