Setting Up An Art Affiliate Site - Part 3
The phrase "If you build it they will come" definitely does not pertain to websites. Getting visitors to your site is easy; doing it in a way that is profitable is very difficult and takes a lot of work. This is the most difficult and most critical phase to operating a profitable art affiliate site or any website for that matter. There's no magic formula to follow, but in the sections below you'll find some key pieces of advice that will greatly increase your odds of succeeding.
Step 8 - Monitoring Your Traffic
This is very important. Random odds dictates in part the number of sales you make, so if you do not monitor your traffic you will have no idea how well your efforts in getting traffic to your site are working. Your stats can provide a lot of valuable information such as how many visitors come to your site each day, how many pages they view, how long they spend on each page, where they came from, what path they followed from your site, etc. You can use this information to make changes to your site to help improve your traffic.
The good news is your host most likely provides a free utility for monitoring your stats, but you may have to turn on the stats monitoring or request that your host do this for you. If your host does not provide a tool for doing this or the tool they provide doesn't provide much information then you can visit StatCounter for a free one.
Step 9 - Build Links
To be successful it's important to have a fair percentage of your traffic to be "free traffic". The primary source of this free traffic is going to be from search engines and other sites. We already discussed how to optimize your pages to increase your search engine ranking, but that's only half the equation the other half is links to your site.
To get links to your site the easiest way to start is by submitting to directories. There are hundreds if not thousands of these directories that will accept your website for free. It's important when you submit to these directories or do any link building that you use your keywords as the link text such as Tropical Art. This helps your rankings by having other sites affirm that your site is about the keywords you selected.
This is work is something anyone can do but is also time consuming. If you don't have the time, once again you can use a site such as RentACoder to hire someone to do this for you. Let me just point out two things you do not need to do and shouldn't do. The first is submit to search engines. Once you have some other sites linking to yours they will find it, and you're better off if they find it on their own instead of you having to tell them about your site. The second is submitting to link farms or free for all (FFA) sites. This will gain you nothing and is a waste of time and money.
Step 10 - Pay for Traffic
Some directories such as Yahoo Directory and other websites require you to pay for inclusion. Some are worth it, others are not. It's going to be up to you to decide. One benefit of paying for this type of traffic versus pay per click is it will also help your sites ranking by providing you with extra back links.
Another option is to use Pay Per Click (PPC) programs such as Google Adwords. With these programs you pay for each visitor that comes to your site. This can be a great way to gain traffic but you also have to be careful with it in order to be profitable. What you need to know is how much you earn per average user. For example if last month you had 500 visitors and made $75 in commission, then on average each visitor made you $0.15. Knowing that you can bid below $0.15 per click and will most likely make a profit on the visitors referred to you from the PPC program.
Step 11 - Wait, Analyze and Revise
It takes time to get your site to rank with search engines. Usually you'll be able to find first on MSN within weeks, then Yahoo within a few months and finally Google possibly up to a year or more later. At the time of writing this MSN gets about 5% of search traffic, Yahoo gets about 15% and Google gets a whopping 75%. Your traffic will come in phases and it will take a long time to see the large payoffs.
Each month you need to analyze your stats again and determine what adjustments need to be made. You may need to increase or decrease how much you are paying per click on PPC sites, adjust your site layout to get more visitors to purchase or perform more link building to improve your sites rank. Just keep with it, continue to read and learn more and not give up and eventually your efforts will pay off. Good luck with your site!
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