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Basic Beginner Mistakes That You Should Avoid Making on Your Affiliate Website
Four things that you should not do
Welcome, anon! Most new affiliate marketers make a TON of mistakes when first starting out. In a sense, it’s an important part of your learning process. There is no way to be perfect, especially when you’re brand new. I still make mistakes all the time. We all do.
However, there are some basic things that I wish someone would have told me when I first started out.
In this article I’m going to go over four of the most common mistakes that I see new - and sometimes not-so-new - affiliate marketers make. Simply avoiding doing these four incredibly stupid things will help you stand out from the competition and help you avoid unnecessary frustration when trying to grow your website.
Mistake #1: Spamming affiliate links everywhere on your site
A trait that I’ve noticed among new affiliate marketers is that they have a very high time preference (short term thinking). Despite what you’ve read from spam accounts on Twitter, affiliate marketing and SEO is something that you have to put a TON of time and effort into before you start seeing real results.
You’re not going to pay your bills in six months with this. Sometimes you might not even see a single sale in your first six months. Although that can be discouraging, as long as you’re doing the right thing then you’ll start to see results eventually.
This means that only 25% of your articles should have affiliate links. New people hate this because they think that the way to success is to spam every article with affiliate links and “eventually someone will click on them.”
Yes, that could work if you had a time machine to take you back to 2008. People in 2021 are smarter than that and are very sensitive to anything that comes across as spammy. If every single article on your site is pushing products and filled with affiliate links then you won’t get anywhere with your business.
75% of your articles should be informational and contain no affiliate links. The name of the game with affiliate marketing is to not look like an affiliate marketer. This means that your site should be a legitimate source of information about your niche. People should be able to come to your site and get answers without being forced to buy anything.
Not only does this help you gain the trust of your readers, it also helps you build topical authority (LINK). Google likes to promote websites that convey expertise in a specific niche. Your product reviews and best-of lists should be supported by a large base of informational articles that are all interlinked together.
Once your site is well established (years) and you’ve built enough links (LINK) then you should have a high authority score. In this case you MAY be able to get away with adding affiliate links back into your informational articles. Healthline (LINK) is an example of a site that gets away with doing this. Unless your authority is at Healthline status, you really shouldn’t even think about doing this.
Mistake #2: Revealing the product price and retailer name in your reviews
This is a basic mistake that I see people make far too often.
You never want to reveal the price or the retailer name for any of the products that you’re reviewing. If your readers can already see where they should go to buy it, they have no reason to click on your affiliate link. They’ll continue doing their research and type in the URL later once they decide to buy.
You need to lock in the cookie while they’re still on the page. Don’t tell them where to buy it from, tell them where to click to find out.
Revealing the price of the product in the review is another major mistake that I’ve seen beginners make. You don’t want to do anything to scare them away from clicking on your affiliate link, and the sticker shock from a high price could do just that. Get them to click on the link and let the retailer do the work to convert them once the customer is on their site.
You also want to exploit natural human curiosity. Do not use the words “Buy Now” or “Shop” as your call-to-action on your buttons. Instead, you want to use language that suggests that the price may vary. I personally use “check current price”. This is great because it makes people curious and also implies that the price may change in the future, so if they are happy with the price and want to lock it in then they should buy immediately.
You should test out different versions of this on your site. “Check latest price”, “view today’s price”, etc. Anything that makes people curious and pushes them to take immediate action will work.
Mistake #3: Too many products on roundup pages
A common NGMI beginner mistake is to assume that they should list a large amount of products on their “best-of” list.
It’s easy to see the thought process. The NGMI beginner assumes that having tons of products means that there will be “something for everyone” and more opportunities to catch the reader’s attention.
The reality is that the exact opposite is true. If a reader ends up on your “best x product in 2021” list, they want to be told what to buy. Presenting them with too many options will be overwhelming and cause them to have “decision fatigue”, which will lead to them backing out of your page without clicking on any of your affiliate links.
I recommend adding no more than ten products to your best-of lists (I personally stick with five). By being more selective with the products you add, it helps the reader trust that actual criteria exists that went into making your decision. In my EAT score article (LINK), I recommended actually writing out the criteria and linking to it from each review on your site. This is definitely something that you should be doing with your roundup articles.
Another major beginner mistake is not telling the reader which product is the best. You shouldn’t be presenting the items you’re reviewing as a random collection of products. They should all be numbered (I recommend putting the # in the heading for each product, this helps with getting the featured snippet in Google). The #1 product should always be labeled as “editor’s choice”, “overall best”, or something similar. Each product after that should be labeled “best for …” (this will depend on your niche).
The last sentence of your intro paragraph should tell the reader the name of the overall best product and should have an affiliate link so readers who just want to “buy the best” and not do any thinking can click on it as soon as they start reading the article. Minimal friction.
By letting the reader know what each product is best for, you can convert a lot of people who can relate to whichever problem that product can solve. Never let the reader think. You should be doing all the thinking for them.
Mistake #4: Not using a contrasting color for your affiliate links and buttons
If you want to increase your click-through rate, you need to make sure that your affiliate links STAND OUT.
This means that you should be using a color that contrasts with the color theme on your website for every single affiliate link and “check current price” button on your site. Red is a common choice, but here’s what you should do if you want to take things to the next level.
Look at a color wheel (LINK)
Find the exact color that is most representative of the color theme on your website
Look at what color is opposite
Use that for all of your links
Yes, I am saying that you should make ALL of your affiliate text links a color that contrasts with your website.
Once you settle on a color that you’re going to use for your links and buttons, make sure that you ONLY use that color for your affiliate links. Don’t use that color anywhere else in your site. It shouldn’t appear in your text, images, or logos. Only on things that help you make money if someone clicks on them.
It’s inevitable that you’re going to make mistakes when you first start out with affiliate marketing. It’s impossible to do everything right, but with enough trial and error you’ll eventually figure it out and start making money.
Hopefully this list helps you avoid some of the basic mistakes that I made in the past.
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