Commission Junction, the Perfect Affiliate Resource for Niche Markets

There are many affiliate Affiliate programs you can go to to find real solid product to market online Online. Most marketers who produce their own product provide these programs that are easily accessible, and can be worked simply by signing up to them. However, there are places you can go, sign up, and have virtually any product in the world at your disposal.

I’m talking about places like Commission Junction, a huge listing of companies who sell online and offer Affiliate Affiliate programs. All the big name brands are there, so there’s no limit to what you can market.

Most of you Internet Marketers are used to thinking in terms of digital products and the first name you probably think of is ClickBank. Well, we know that ClickBank deals only with downloadable products. Commission Junction, on the other hand has affiliate programs mostly for physical products.

If you are into setting up niche markets, you have learned that the online world is not just made up of downloadable ebooks. Most niche markets require affiliate products of physical goods that are shipped by the seller for you. It is in this area that Commission Junction excels.

The advantages of becoming a member of Commission Junction is that you just have to sign up once and that gets you access to every affiliate program they sponsor. This is great for people who niche market through mini-sites because with a few clicks of your mouse, you can quickly plug in product or update product information for all of your niche markets in one session.

If there was a downside to mention it would be that, unlike places like ClickBank, the commissions are somewhat lower. While ClickBank usually carries a 35% to 60% commission on product sold, Commission Junction tends to be in the 7% to 20% bracket.

So if you’re hoping to strike it rich marketing one product, then products offered by Commission Junction may not be for you. However, if you’re a serious Niche marketer, then you know that you many products to earn a respectable income. One or two products just won’t cut it..

In fact, having a membership with Commission Junction, in spite of the relatively lower earning potential per product, is a better deal Deal when you’re working niches, because the key to good niche marketing is in finding product that is high in demand yet low in supply. With the number of companies marketing through Commission Junction along with the thousands of product to choose from, one could create mini-site niche markets all day long and still find new and rare product to market.

Thus having ten mini-sites of strong high demand every day products getting 10% commission has a higher long range residual profitability margin than having one site with a 50% commission for each product sold.

Another advantage to having all of your affiliate programs in one place is that your earnings are combined. What this means is that, no matter how many companies you’re affiliated with on Commission Junction, each company submits your daily earnings to Commission Junction who, in turn, cuts your check and sends it off to you.

This means less work keeping track of your income, less waiting for accumulated commission checks totaling the usual $100 minimum, and less paperwork come tax time.

Now this may not seem like a big deal to someone who’s happy selling one or two products, but if you consider that some niche marketers have well over 100 niche sites, keeping track of everything on a per product basis could get quite overwhelming.

So using a company like Commission Junction has its definite advantages for the niche marketer. Through them you can sell anything from soup to nuts, monitor all of your niche products in one place, and never worry about keeping track of the earnings each niche brings you.

Commission Junction takes care of all that for you. You can find out how much you’ve earned over all, what earnings you’ve received from individual affiliate programs, and be assured that your check will reach you in a timely manner.

They also supervise and take care of problems with their sponsored companies, so you never have to worry about a program you belong to going “belly up” while you’re aggressively promoting their product.

Yes there are plenty of reasons to join Commission Junction if you’re serious about niche marketing. Just take a look at all the companies they sponsor and ponder over all the worry free possible niches you could create through them.

Originally by rave from Affiliate Marketing Blog on March 23, 2006, 6:00am

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June 21, 2006 at 6:14 am 1 comment

Blog Optimization

There’s all sorts of buzz about blogs lately and yet so many companies are still wondering what to do about it. In fact, there are a tremendous number of business Business blogs that are not realizing much of their potential visibilty on the web. Why? Because they’re not optimized.

This is very much the same scenario that occurred with web sites in the late nineties. Back then I worked with a company that sold web sites – lots of them. But after getting the site up and running, the traffic didn’t come by itself. So we figured out optimizing for search engines and that was the start of my SEO career. Blogs can generate traffic without search engines, but WITH search engines it can be even better.

With blogs, there exist as many or more optimization opportunities to optimize as with a web site. While most blog software is more search engine friendly out of the box than many web sites, the opportunities for blog optimization are readily available. For our SEO and blog marketing consulting service, we have a very long list blog optimization tactics to employ. For this post, I’ll focus on a short list that can make a difference for any blog.

Why optimize your blog?

  • Increase rankings of the blog on BOTH regular search engines as well as blog/RSS search engines
  • Increase traffic to the blog from multiple sources such as social search (Yahoo MyWeb, Google Personalized Search) and social bookmarking sites (del.icio.us, Digg, Furl or Blogmarks)

A blog is just a website that uses a content management system, so most standard SEO tactics apply. There are also optimization tactics specific to blogs.

Consider keywords when writing your blog post titles. Some blog software allows plugins that can suggest keywords. Otherwise, you can use Google Suggest or one of these free keyword suggestion tools: Digital Point, SEO Book or Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Keywords should NOT determine your content (unless it’s an AdSense blog).
Optimize the template. Make sure post titles appear in the title tag and append the title tag (hard code) with the most important phrase for your blog.

Example: ” Interview with Brett Tabke – Online Online Marketing Blog
Online Marketing Blog is included on every blog post title tag automatically.

Also use the blog post title as the permalink. If you’re using keywords in the blog post title, then they will occur as anchor text in the permanent post link. While you’re at it, just make the post title a permalink.

Make it easy for your blog readers to subscribe and include RSS feed subscription buttons or “chicklets” in a side bar or on a dedicated Subscription Info page. Here’s a handy RSS Feed Button creation tool.

Optimize Categories. When you create categories for your blog, be sure to consider keywords in the titles. When you post, be sure to default to a general category that is relevant no matter what the post is about. Choose multiple categories on each post when appropriate.

Social bookmarking sites can be excellent sources of traffic to your blog, so be sure to make it easy for readers to bookmark your blog posts. You can do this by adding some code to your blog template for each of the major social bookmarking sites. Here’s a tool for social bookmarking links. Here’s another tool that uses icons instead of text links.

Submit your blog to RSS and Blog directories. Also submit the blog to regular directories such as (DMOZ, JoeAnt, GoGuides, MSN Business Central, etc) that have categories for blogs.

an style=”font-weight: bold”>Ping the major RSS feed and Blog search engines each time you post. This can be configured with blog software such as Movable Type or WordPress WordPress to work automatically. If you’re using Blogger.com, then you can do this manually with Pingomatic or Pingoat.

Comments and Trackbacks – Be sure your blog software is configured to send a trackback ping to blogs that you cite within your posts. Pay attention to press releases distributed by PRWeb. If you cite a release, and ping the trackback link, the press release will in turn link to your blog. This is better for driving traffic than for link popularity.

Make useful comments on other blogs. Your name will be linked to the blog url that you enter. Do NOT make comments that offer no value to the blog post. Do NOT use keywords in the field for your name, use your name or blog name.

Offer RSS to Email. Almost 30% of our blog traffic comes from readers that perfer to read blog posts via email. There are several free services available for this including: FeedBlitz (what we use), Squeet, Zookoda (this one is more for using blog posts as a weekly newsletter), RMail and Bloglet.

No matter how many optimization tactics you employ on a blog, there is no substitute for quality content. Blog optimization is only as effective as the quality and usefulness of the content you’re optimizing.

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Originally by Lee Odden from Online Marketing Blog on March 22, 2006, 3:59pm

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June 21, 2006 at 6:14 am 2 comments

Evaluating PHP Applications

Following on from here, perhaps the two most common questions I’ve seen people ask, when it comes to evaluating PHP applications are;

  • Does it loook good?
  • Is it easy to install?

Now not everyone is a programmer or a system administrator—”normal human beings” rank these highly because they relate directly to the two most pressing problems they’re facing: they want a site which is visually attractive and, with limited technical expertise, installation can be a significant hurdle to overcome.

But when it comes to security or maintenance, those requirements rank pretty low down. So here’s some different things to think about, following on from this talk (PDF) on page 19, which I’d argue rank much higher when evaluating a project you plan to use (further suggestions appreciated).

Note that in an ideal world you’d have time and expertise on hand to do a full code review but in reality that’s not going to happen so what I’m suggesting here is meant as a reasonable compromise to help you build up a “ballpark” feeling for an application without making a huge effort.

What’s the security record like? The obvious place to find out is via Google with some searches like “appName exploit”, “appName vulnerability”, “appName security”. A place to get a better impression is searching the Bugtraq mailing lists.

Of course you have to bear in mind that quality of information may vary—simply finding a random online Online opinion that “appName rox / sux” is not enough. Also newer or less popular applications won’t have attracted enough attention to form valid opinions this way. And you have to bear in mind that pretty much every application that’s been around and has real users will have problems at one time or other but comparing this to this, it’s easy to spot the difference.

As a side note there, I’d recommend registering on this mailing list—pretty much all security issues with well known (and less well known) PHP Open Source code bases get announced here.

What’s the code like? Although a complete code review is not realistic, with a little effort and knowhow, you can get a good idea of how the code smells.

Number 1 tool here is phpxref, which makes it very easy to identify use (or lack of) of PHP functions—run the source code through it that check the results. For example you might look for use of eval (and friends)—in general there’s zero valid reason to use eval so if you find it, query the developers on exactly why they used it. You might also find the absence of some functions indicators—if the app uses MySQL at the backend, do you find any of mysql_escape_string, mysql_real_escape_string or addslashes to escape parameters to SQL queries. Are htmlspecialchars or htmlentities being used to escape output? Is there any use of the PCRE or POSIX extended regular expressions functions for stuff like validation?

Otherwise, what does the code look like to you? This is highly subjective and depends on your experience but does it look “sane”?

How is the code being managed? Another area to investigate is how the project is actually run. How many people are involved and are they active? Do they have sense making release / upgrade policies—clear version numbering, good documentation on how to upgrade, are they using version control, what are their communication channels etc.?

Chris Kunz made a wry remark while giving this talk. He helps run a shared hosting company and pointed out most of their users were extremely happy when they could install an application in the first place—once installed there was no way they were going to risk breaking it with an upgrade.

As a user of an application, you have to be aware that it is really your responsibility to keep pace with new releases, especially when they contain bug or security fixes. As an example of a project that does a good job here, check out Serendipity’s upgrade docs. The question you need to ask yourself is “can I do this?”. You’re also going to need to make the effort to stay informed—subscribe to the relevant mailing list / RSS feed etc., so you hear about new releases.

Does it scale? More on the maintenance front, what’s the application like after you’ve been using it for a while and you’ve collected a volume of data and a crowd of active users? Can that forum cope with a large number of posts and concurrent users? How does that wiki handle a large number of documents? Is using the packaged RSS feed like volunteering for a DOS attack? How easy is it to backup / restore the data? Is a shared host account with nothing but FTP access adequate to maintain this application? Does the admin interface allow you to cope with 20,000 registered users?

Some of those kind of questions can be answered by talking to other users. Others can be determined by seeing what the developers are doing for example are they benchmarking / profiling their code?

Who’s using it? That Mediawiki is the code behind Wikipedia is obviously a very good indicator. Meanwhile Zend use fudforum. I’m not suggesting blindly following here BTW—the reasons for selection may not match situation (you could always ask) but this does serve as a useful indicator.

You should also be careful about “following the herd”. Just because “everyone” uses it, doesn’t always mean it’s the smartest choice. There may also be a specific benefit to not using the same as everyone else—big installed bases make attactive targets.

Who’s got an opinion? There are a lot of people “out there” with knowledge of PHP, so getting opinions isn’t a problem. At the same time, it’s worth considering where an opinion is coming from and bearing in mind it’s just an opinion. Sometimes even the most experienced disagree. So this path can be as misleading as it is useful but shouldn’t be ignored.

Anyway—that’s off the top of my head. Anything else?

This article provided by sitepoint.com.

Originally by HarryF from SitePoint Blogs on March 24, 2006, 6:46am

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June 21, 2006 at 6:13 am Leave a comment

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April 17, 2006 at 9:31 pm 6 comments

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