In parts 1 & 2 , I determined that developing a theme-based
site is a great way to generate income. It's going to be a
WINing situation for the search engines, my visitors, my
merchants and ME. I've chosen a theme that I know (or can
find out about) and love. I've found lots of keywords that
are related to my theme and have lots of ideas for good
content to offer my visitors. Now I need to find merchants
who sell products, programs or services that are
appropriate for my site and will fit with my content.
Once again, I'm going to look at my list of keywords.
Since people are going to use these words to search and
I've used them to write my "keyword focused" content for
each page of my site... it only makes sense that the
products and services I want to represent should also be
related to these keywords. That will help me to seamlessly
recommend the product within my content and really use my
content to presell.
There are several ways to find merchants.
Technique 1: I'll do a search on my keywords at several
of the engines - Google, AltaVista, Overture, or any of
the others. Then I'll have a quick look at the first ten
or twenty listings. If I use SiteBuildIt!, the Manager will
automatically show me ten related sites for each keyword.
(You can take the quick tour of SBI! at...
http://quicktour.sitesell.com/assist3.html ) Wherever you
get the listings, some will be merchants, while
other are content sites. (Of course some are always
irrelevant. Lots of room for my theme-based site!)
I'm going to take a look at the merchants' sites
and see if they have something I'd like to offer my
visitors and if they have an affiliate program. If so,
great. They go on my "keep in mind" merchant list for that
keyword. Next I can explore the content sites. Maybe I'll
find ideas for content, but I'm mainly here to see if THEY
link to any merchants. If so, I can click through and see
what I find. Can you see the beauty of this? I'm going to
have content ideas and possible merchants all organized by
keyword. That's going to make things pretty easy when I go
to build my "keyword focused" pages, no?
Technique 2: I'll do a search for each of my keywords,
plus the word "affiliate", like this... +Italian wine
+affiliate. Or I can try this... affiliate wine. What
will come up are either merchants with affiliate programs
or content sites that are affiliates. Again, for the
merchants, I'll see if I like their product and affiliate
program. For the content sights, I'll check their links.
Technique 3: Now I'm going to check the directories.
There are a lot of affiliate program directories out
there. I'll check with a few of the best, like
AssociatePrograms.com, Refer-It.com, CashPile.com and
Associate-It.com. The directories list programs by
category, so I'll go right to the catagories that fit my
site theme and see if there is any program I like.
They often have reviews as well, which I'll check.
Technique 4: One more thing I could do is to join
affiliate networks. These networks provide merchants with
affiliates and vice-versa. It's a good place to get
exposure to a wide variety of merchants. I'm sure to find
some I haven't run across already, so I'll check to see if
any programs are featured that will work for me. I can
join Commission Junction, BeFree, LinkShare, and/or
That took a bit of work, but now I'm ready to narrow down
my choices and weed out merchants with less than great
products, or poor affiliate programs. I'm going to be
pretty particular. The products I choose to represent will
reflect on me. And the quality of the affiliate program
will be reflected in my commission checks. I want my
visitors to be happy and come back to my site. And I want
fair compensation for delivering such valuable, presold
customers to my merchants' sites.
In part 4 of this series, I'll explain how best to build a
theme-based site. Questions?
About the Author
Julie Georg is a consultant to individuals and small
businesses interested in establishing a web presence.
Step-by-step directions for building a theme-based site can
be found in the excellent, free Affiliate Masters course.
Blank email mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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