Affiliate Marketing & Motherhood – The Ideal Combination? Well, Sorta!!

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Hello! What do you mean who are you? It’s me!! The former travelling affiliate lady, the one who used to make you green with envy with exotic travel photography and general tales of living the affiliate dream.

 

Just because I know you’ve missed them, here is a picture of what I used to do: -

And here is a picture of what I do now :-

*Cough* The one thing I am rapidly discovering is that there is no level of dickheadery you will not indulge in just to get a smile out of your child. What can I do? Path of least resistance seems the way forward!

Speaking Of The Path of Least Resistance….

On a more serious note, affiliate marketing is often spoken about as the perfect way of making money for the stay at home mum. Except not that many women that I am aware of are actually doing it. So is it the perfect fit? A Mummy job made in heaven?

Well… sort of. I already had an established business before I had my mini affiliate – meaning I could stop work when I felt I just couldn’t do it any more and have cruised along during the last 6 months only working when I truly felt like it and still made the normal income I’d expect. This is in stark contrast to the many mums I meet who are having to do things like sell cars and budget hard to stay at home with the kidlets. I am more than aware I am truly blessed and lucky to be able to do the mummy thing with no money worries. I realise that I am doubly lucky in this regard because I know a lot of affiliates haven’t come out of Google’s changes of the last 18 months terribly well.

Work & New Mummys Really Don’t Mix…

BUT, and it’s a big but – oh my lord what a struggle it’s been to motivate myself to do even the small amount of work I got done since the baby arrived. It’s only in the last 6 weeks or so I’ve really started to get my enthusiasm back and start to work consistently. At the minute this involves about 16 hours a week spread out over 7 days.

I really was shitting myself for a while there as I had absolutely no interest in working. I think that was mostly to do with exhaustion. AM is a very, very creative job (for me at least) which requires a fair bit of mental effort – and I just didn’t have it in me early doors. Massive kudos to any ladies reading this who have gone back to work after a few weeks at home with baby – you are nothing short of amazing.

The only reason I’ve gotten anything done at all is that I am utterly blessed to have the amazing Duncs at home with me. He hasn’t worked at all this year either and is looking after Eilidh whilst I take priority on getting my affiliate groove back on.

Do I think AM is something a mum with kids at home could do? Well yes. But easily? Not really! And if she started AM anew during her maternity leave? Not impossible but oh man it takes getting your teeth into an already steep learning curve from hard walking to hardcore mountaineering.

The New Routine

I’ve always been all about highly structured working days to make sure I’m efficient. However with a baby planning goes out of the window, and when I was chatting to my GP about what I do for a living and how, and I mentioned this method – she sort of winced and told me that it’d be an awfully misguided idea to set myself rigid routines and in particular to have the completion of said routines as a hallmark of success.

With all the tiredness and post pregnancy hormones I was assured that down that path the thorny road to Post Natal Depression awaits. Yes, being a control freak in charge of a small child is unwise in the extreme!! Now I’m in the midst of trying to work and baby wrangle I can totally see what she means. Trying to use that method now would be impossible and I’m awfully glad I am lucky enough to have a GP who took an interest in my wellbeing before I got myself into strife. I’ve always given myself a hard time about my work and the standards I carry it out to – and I think I have that in common with many affiliates. There was always going to be an element of conflict with the two roles and working out how they should marry together. I absolutely thought I could go back to work when Eilidh was 2 months old – I was barely capable of sitting upright at that point!

I’m Going To Call It “Chaotic Creativity”

Sit down and do whatever pops into my head, for as long as I have energy to do so. I try to take my own advice from wayback – try to do one thing each day that has the potential to make money and get it up there and running.

This mostly takes the form of PPC. In a post Penguin and Panda world I simply lack the brain capacity (and my technical chap in the form of Duncan) to work on my sites at the moment. I do have a plan, but executing it will take consistency. Consistency is not currently my friend. Thank goodness for my old school PPC skills which have made up the rather inconvenient loss of income that Google doled out to us affiliate types!

And What Next?

Well, I’m about to put in a new kitchen and bathroom here at the house. After that, we are going to get Duncs back to work a couple days a week whilst I’m doing Mummy stuff. Hopefully we can build a semi-routine from there.

For me AM and motherhood mix well on the whole but I’ve not really had an easy time making the two work together and I’ve definitely not succeeded to a degree where I’m happy. That said, once again the job I love has helped me to live the dream. A very different dream to before but one that’s just as exciting (and with much less sleep!).

I’m also thinking of doing a mummy blog (still!). I’d like to write more about all my other creative stuff like cooking, gardening, and a new one – sewing baby things. I have a domain, I’ll get there in the end. That’s my new work mantra.

I’ll Get There In The End

…meanwhile I’ll keep putting the most important thing in my life first…

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A Long Overdue Update…

Life Outside Affiliatedom 13 Comments »
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Oops, well you will see from the tumbleweed and other signs of decay and abandonment that I’ve not been around these parts much in recent months.

Try not to take it personally, to be honest I’ve not been doing much in the world of affiliate marketing at all since the start of October last year. First of all we had my parents visiting with us for a month, followed by Duncan’s folks for another month. It was around that point that I realised that I was heavily pregnant and exhausted and resumed working, but only for about 2 hours each day. By the end of December my definition of exhaustion had been upgraded and I ended up spending the rest of my pregnancy in my bedroom watching TV and playing on Facebook from a reclining position!

So On Feb 4th I….

Had A Beautiful Baby Girl!!!!!!!!

In typical me style the birth was very dramatic complete with Hollywood style sudden water breakage followed by tyre squealing trip to the hospital. Duncan has now passed his advanced driving test which much to his surprise involves very fast motorway driving combined with someone trying to break all the bones in your left hand. His emergency park / car abandonment in the hospital ambulance bay completed his exam which he passed with flying colours.

And here is my little affiliate drama queen, Eilidh Eve McKenzie

That’s her meeting her Grannie for the first time, and as you can see she was a teeny bit poorly when she was born and also very petite. She was a whopping 5.5lbs and to give you a scale – that’s a facecloth draped over her.

After a very short stay in special care she was A-OK and is now thriving away nicely. Since then it’s been no sleep and nappies all the way with not a space in my mind for any affiliate marketing beyond that essential hour every day to make sure nothing has collapsed in a burning pile of cinders!

What Next?

Well, it’s almost time for me to start work again. Not full time of course, but at least a couple of hours each day somewhere in between the various fine arts of parenting.

Long term readers of this blog will know that I’ve always extolled the virtues of a highly structured working day / week to ensure maximum productivity. Clearly that system is now about as much use as me planning to sleep 10 hours each night – it’s not up to me any more! I’m in for an interesting time considering how I’m used to working and judging when it’s OK for me to stop working. The pull of chronic workaholism combined with the demands of a fast growing mini affiliate might just clash a teeny bit ;)

Thanks To Google…

I’ve got some serious ground to make up too… like many affiliates Google Panda has had an unpleasant effect, but I’m fortunate enough in that I’m still motoring along nicely revenue wise thanks to a wide spread of traffic sources and some well placed gap plugging.

I have many plans for moving forward with my current sites and some new projects. My various experiments with Google organic search have given me a path forward from here. As far as timing goes it’s needless to say that Google sucks for perpetrating this just when I had a child. To see 3 years hard work flushed down the internet lavvy is distressing to say the least – but that is Affiliate Marketing in a nutshell. You never know what might happen and have to be prepared to reinvent yourself constantly. So that’s what I’ll do.

Reinventing The Affiliate Wheel

The way forward? Some mini sites, a bit of work tarting up and replicating the structure of sites that didn’t get affected combined with the tapping of some revenue / traffic streams I’ve known about for a while but haven’t had time to exploit.

I hope to have time to talk about them all on here with you guys, but with a baby around the house and my new freeform “who knows?” work methodology the updates are likely to be irregular. It’s often been said that affiliate marketing is the ideal job for a stay at home mother. Is it? Well… I’ll let you know.

It’s been pretty good so far. Despite Google Panda it’s looked after me since last October without a huge amount of input. That bit works well. The bit where I actually have to do something? That’s for me to find out very soon ;)

See y’all around!

What’s that? Another baby picture?? Glad to comply… here’s one from the last couple of days. Hasn’t she grown?

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Guest Post – Affiliates & Social Media

Social Media No Comments »
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Hey there my fellow affiliates!  I’ve got a great guest post from a very well known face in the UK affiliate marketing scene  for you all. I’m sure most of my UK readers will either know or have worked with the lovely Hannah Swift who recently left Existem-AM to forge out on her own.

We all know Hannah as one of the best affiliate managers in the UK, but did you know she’s also more than a little bit good at Social Media as well?  Her newly launched business Bright Digital Minds offers social media management amongst other things, so I thought it’d be great if Hannah could show off her knowledge in this area in the form of a guest post.

Social Media And Affiliates

There are a number of good reasons why affiliates should begin to embrace social media, if they haven’t already. Forget the instant sales and start thinking of social media as an extension of your brand, a traffic generator and a direct way of communicating with your users and potential ‘customers’.

There are a number of key social media tools that all affiliates should begin to use, from the oldest form of social media – the blog, right up to the more current channels such as Twitter. I could talk for hours about the many ways in which affiliates can use social media, but for now, I thought I’d pop down a few ideas and examples to get people started.

 

LinkedIn

Whether for you as a person, your company or the site, LinkedIn opens up a world of opportunity. From finding other affiliates to swap ideas with or maybe the odd link, to creating a buzz about what you do.

Did you know there are over 100 million LinkedIn users? What better people to network with than with these people, like-minded business people or entrepreneurs. As an example, if you have a sports or adventure holidays website, then joining groups like (http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Adventure-Sports-Holidays-3798645?gid=3798645&mostPopular=&trk=tyah) this one, can give you inspiration for articles and new contacts, new merchants to get in touch with and perhaps even new content writers.

 

YouTube

We have all seen a YouTube video at some point, from replays of our favourite sporting moments to celebrities disgracing themselves for our amusement. However the power of YouTube goes beyond that. YouTube videos are an incredible way of visualising a product, giving a brand a personality and generating traffic.

Getting your readers to upload a video or share it or even comment on one can add an additional dimension to your site. There are a number of affiliates already using YouTube, one for example has a staggering 51,025 channel views, with their videos being watched a total of 132,441 times! Used on site to aid conversions and for viral campaigns, this affiliate has truly embraced the power of video. Despite what you may think, video is actually quite simple to create – with free software such as windows movie maker and iMovie. Why not try it and see what happens!

http://www.youtube.com/user/mydeco

Twitter

Great for having a good old moan at your utility providers, stalking celebrities or keeping in touch with the rest of the world, Twitter is now dominating our lives. It’s not only a way of instantly getting your message out there, but it also provides a great platform for 2-way communication, firstly with your merchants; watching what they are promoting and keeping in touch or sourcing new ones.

Secondly, your readers and site users will have their own thoughts and experiences they want to share, they might have questions about products or more importantly they might become ‘brand advocates’. Re-tweeting and sharing your messages to their followers, they will help to promote you and your site. As an example @chocolatereview has a great mix of tweets to readers, merchants and promotional messages. Easy to read without being bombarded with sales, sales, sales!!!

 

Facebook

Although not an affiliate, my favourite Facebook campaign at the moment has to be Vinnie The Panda (http://www.facebook.com/vinnie). Not only do I keep getting free biscuits in the post, but you can take lots of useful ideas from it. The first page you land on gathers your data, so not only can you be marketed to by Facebook (in the hope you share the love) but Vinnie can now continue his message to your email.

Carefully handled and well executed Facebook can bring you more than just inactive fans. Facebook can deliver data, brand advocates and of course, high quality traffic.

Blogs

The founding tool of social media, the humble blog should not be forgotten, from helping with on site SEO to giving you the chance to discuss wider topics. Take the Olympics as an example; if you own a site about the Olympics, mainly focused on places to stay. Then your blog becomes a chance for you to discuss London visitor attractions, flights, the clothing the athletes are endorsing, memorabilia (did you know they have Olympics branded tea towels!) It gives you a chance to let those creative juices flow, perhaps pick up a few additional sales without flooding your main site with ‘irrelevant’ content. You might even pick up some links too!

How To Get Involved?

The best way to get involved with social media is just to give it a go. Think about what you would like to see as a customer, how would you like to interact with a company? What information would you like to know and most importantly, how often? Shouting ten times a day for a few days and then nothing for weeks is not the best way forward. To quote a dear friend ‘less Billy Connolly, more Billy Joel’ be remembered for the fun things, not the inaudible rants!

I really hope my quick snap shot into social media for affiliates helped! If you have any questions or want to find out more – get in touch!

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5 Good Reasons Why I Persevered with Panda

Google 11 Comments »
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I’m sure you’re all very much aware of the Google Panda update that’s caused many a heart attack in affiliate land since it was launched 6 long months ago.  My own sad experience has seen me almost completely lose a very large site which was IMHO largely because Google never did work out the difference between my original content and the stuff that had been stolen by oodles of horrid scrapers. I had to remove 1100 pages of a 1300 page site and consign most of it to the internet dustbin. Ouch.

Despite the fact I had other sites with much better EPCs I could have thrown my effort into to replace the income I lost I’ve sweated blood these last few months to go through the painstaking process of rebuilding my site. To date, I’m about 25% of the way there and have a lovely uphill climb over razorblades to look forward to.

However, I decided to persevere with Panda and these are the reasons I think it was the right thing to do: -

1. I Need to Understand Google’s New Way Of Thinking – Yes it’s tempting just to consign an apparently unsavable site to the rubbish bin. But if I don’t take time to understand the fundamentals of what Panda needs to see from me I’m not going to have an affiliate business at all in 2 or 3 years. Working on my hammered site may not be the best short term use of time from a revenue point of view but I’d rather use this experience to improve my business than focus on short term gain.

2. Let Google Get The Better Of Me? Get F**ked! I’d rather stick hot needles under my fingernails than admit to myself that Google took one of my favourite sites. I will fix it, the Panda will not win! Someone mentioned to me the other day that I may or may not have sadistic tendencies when it comes to things like this.  If I do, more power to my elbow.

3. It’s Sort Of Fun Whenever things like this happen I always have a renewed appreciation for my SEO roots, I love the problem solving aspect of algo changes.  To be fair this has been the toughest one to date because it’s had a huge and admittedly depressing effect on Lingerie Brands in particular, and to a lesser extent two of my other main sites.

4. I Can Use What I Learn on My Other Sites – I had two other sites hit by Panda in the June update.  Not badly, but enough to annoy me quite a fair bit.  I used what I’d laboriously learned with my other poorly site to immediately make some key changes I thought could help.  In the August update I recouped about half of what I’d lost. Cheered me up immensely that did!

5. They Might Not be Bloody Done Yet! Like all Google’s wonderful ideas, they’re working hard to refine it.  If I don’t take the time to be up to date with it and they raise the bar again, things could get really gnarly. By working hard to recreate an improved site and passing all I’ve learned into my existing sites I hope to avoid any further traffic upsets.  Incidentally, I really hope we’ve seen all the big changes go through that will affect affiliate content sites – I don’t think I can take any more Pandalisation in my fragile pregnant state, LOL.  MMMM Morning sickness and Panda – thanks for nothing Google ;)

Well, those are my reasons for Persevering with Panda. I could have made this post why “YOU” should persevere but I know a lot of people have just been totally stumped by this. I guess I’m lucky I found a path forward with my sites.

Good luck to all my Pandalised affiliate pals :)

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A Couple Of Recent Interviews

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Greetings!  I’m pleased to report the recovery from the horrors of pregnancy is progressing nicely, I know you’ll all have been worrying about me ;)   I’ve got my 19 week scan on Friday of this week and hope to find out if my little child will be selling princess toys or Bob the Builder merchandise!

In other news, I’ve found the time to do a couple of interviews recently and thought you guys might be interested in hearing from me in a second hand sort of way. I haven’t forgotten about you all honestly, I will get to all my planned posts in the end.

Interview 1 – Webtistic

I had a bit of a chat with the lovely Dave Bird of Webtistic fame (for all your SEO, PPC and affiliate management needs – now I want a discount  for that Dave, you know you want to!!!!).

I talked a bit about my current affiliate marketing goings on, what I like and dislike about it, and I didn’t even get cross when they referred to me as a Super Affiliate. As you all know I’m happy being “Pretty Good” but apparently that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it ;)

You can read the interview here.

Interview 2 – Google Panda & SEO Type Stuff

This is basically a rehash of an e-mail conversation I had with someone about my SEO strategies as an affiliate and a bit about Panda recovery related efforts. It was put up after we realised we’d been talking about some pretty interesting stuff! It’s not as detailed as the Panda post I’m planning to (eventually!!!) do, but there’s some interesting content in there that some of you might find interesting or useful. I also mention just how terribly affected by Panda Lingerie Brands really was – get your hankies out because it’s truly bloody tragic.

But will I let Google have the last laugh?  Come on guys, you know me better than that. I’ll get her back in the end :)

Check out the interview here.

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Interview with Alex Thompson : What’s It Like To Work In An Affiliate Management Agency?

Affiliate Management No Comments »
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So I’ve been working with the lovely Alex Thompson of Silverbean fame on a couple of programmes recently. He’s a nice proactive chap, always keen, and always popping up to see what he can help with.

With that in mind, and because agencies sometimes get a bad rap, I decided to do a bit of an interview with him so you could all find out more about the human face of a hard working agency type who really does want to connect with all us cynical affiliates (for his sins).

So tell us all a bit about yourself in a Blind Date style of yer own choosing!

Hello everyone! My name is Alex Thompson; I was born in Sheffield but now live in Newcastle. I work for the UK’s leading digital marketing agency, Silverbean.

My job involves talking to affiliates on a daily basis to improve their EPC and liaising with merchants to give Affiliates maximum content and coverage. It’s all about building strong relationships. If you fancy a chat sometime about anything Affiliate Marketing or how I can help you with your EPC then hit me up on Skype “alexsilverbean”

eds note: he was in there quick with the plug eh?  Wage rise for Mr Thompson Silverbean bosses!!

How did you come to be working in the affiliate industry? Was it something you had an ambition to do or did it just sort of happen?!

A bit of both, I have always had a keen interest in the digital sector and at University I studied Marketing. When I discovered Digital Marketing it was the perfect fusion. I was passionate about Digital and had the knowledge in Marketing.

The opportunity to work at a leading Digital Marketing agency was too big an opportunity to turn down. Silverbean has fantastic relationships within the affiliate industry, this has helped fuel my knowledge of Affiliate Marketing and the digital sector.

Tell us about a typical day in the life of an agency type such as yourself…

My primary role at Silverbean is Affiliate Account Management, I work in client services team so I work in all areas of Digital Marketing but my main focus is in the Affiliate sector.

As Silverbean has multiple services PPC, SEO, Email, Social Marketing the office is always busy and is vibrant hub of digital news and information. As an agency we have to stay ahead and be aware of all the latest news, in the Digital and Affiliate industries.

What sort of merchants do you work with?

I work with a wide range of merchants to deliver high quality account management.

For example, I manage the affiliate program for the top underwear retailer Banglads, Luxury Home & Garden retailers OKA Direct & Litecraft, Baby + Toddler retailer TeenyTots and Online football pools Soccer Millionaire. These are just a few of the merchants I look after.

Obviously dealing with merchants every day you work with a lot of businesses and are privy to their perceptions about affiliate marketing. How do the people we work with see us affiliates? Is there still a notion of grubbiness in the air?!


I am going to be as honest as possible here, there is none! All my merchants appreciate and value the affiliates who generate sales for them. This is a performance channel, merchants are aware of the low risk attached with Affiliate Marketing. Affiliates who generate a sale have put in the hard work and deserved to be rewarded.

Obviously some merchants are more positive than others but I have not come across one merchant yet who has given ill perceived perception of Affiliates. In today’s day and age customers are very savvy, they know what they like to see and the kind of information they want to see from a product before they purchase.

Affiliates are meeting these requirements and are constantly building/redesigning their sites to meet them. Affiliates have a demanding job keeping up with the consumer.

When I started out in affiliate marketing it was all bedroom affiliates and it was relatively easy to get your foot in the door with a website and make some cash. What does an average affiliate site look like these days? What’s the spread of affiliates like? i.e. corporate, your weekend wonders, and in betweeners like me?

As mentioned above, the average customer is always evolving and their needs are becoming more and more demanding. Obviously there are different types of affiliates but on the whole the quality of affiliate sites is very high. As you are aware Panda has been a major blow to some affiliate sites. Google is making is harder for new affiliates to enter the market.

Is there a standard type of person you see turning up as a successful affiliate?

I wouldn’t say there is a standard type of person, the main types of affiliates who I see generating successful sales are Content, Vouchers, Cashback and Shopping Portals/Comparison, all of which make up a successful affiliate program.

What do you love most about your job?

Building those all-important Affiliate Relationships! Without them in place I couldn’t do my job. I consider myself to be pro-active and approachable. Finding new affiliates and asking them to join the program and then to see them generate sales is a great feeling.

Client relationship is also important and something I enjoy – if you have a good relationship with the merchant the information you can pass onto Affiliates will be higher quality. Poor relationships mean you can’t properly communicate to affiliates what the merchant is promoting in a given month.

There must be frustrations in your role as a bit of a “middle man” between merchants and affiliates. What are those and how do you deal with them?

I can’t lie; there are frustrations from time to time. Being the middle man can have its downsides, especially with quick turnarounds.

Merchants are very busy and asking them to jump on a task can be a big ask sometimes. Planning ahead, setting key times in a week to speak with a merchant are ways around this. Having constant communication with the merchant at a fixed time helps avoid this issue.

I’ve worked with affiliates (and still do!) and they are often difficult to communicate with in terms of catching their attention and getting them promoting a programme. What techniques do you use to open a dialogue with affiliates you want to work with?

I have several, Affiliates are very busy and I am fully aware of this. I always start with a non-intrusive email. Of course it depends on what you are asking for, affiliate recruitment emails must outline the benefits of the program and also have a short introduction about myself and how I fit in with the program. It is important to let the Affiliate know of all the tools at the their disposal (product feed etc)

Affiliate Relationship building – when an affiliate is on the program and you want push more sales for them they can be contacted in many ways. Standard emails, Social Media works well, Twitter provides an excellent way of getting in touch, Skype calls build instant rapport with the affiliate and shows you are willing to go that extra mile for them. It is all about caring and not being ignorant. I approach every affiliate as equal.

If you had the ability to call into existence one thing that would help you with your day to day work and make your job easier, what would it be?

Again going to be honest, if every affiliate I contacted came back to me! Sounds a daft thing to say but if every affiliate I got in touch with came back to me my job would be a lot easier.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand affiliates are very busy and this isn’t always plausible. In an ideal world it would be great. Would like to stress I am not being negative on affiliates!

Eds note: Don’t worry Alex, we know what you mean!

Any aspirations to be an affiliate or do you dabble already?

I have not got my toes wet just yet – Affiliate Marketing takes time and effort. It is something that has to take a lot of planning to get it right. Understanding your visitors, understanding the merchant’s customers, understanding Google. So many factors to be successful, it will be a while yet before I feel I can get involved.

If anyone is interested in a full list of all the clients the lovely Alex works with you can drop him an email on alex.thompson@silverbean.co.uk or visit www.sbnaffiliates.co.uk

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Get a Lovely Traffic Increase Over The Weekend? Are You Sure?!

Google 4 Comments »
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So there I was on Sunday morning, dribbling bacon grease all over my keyboard and checking out a few stats as is my usual ritual, when to my joy I discovered 3 of my sites had gotten stonking great traffic increases in the region of 30%.

“Oh Deep Joy!” I thought, “Perhaps something to do with the foreign language Panda Update they’ve rolled out” followed a little while later with “Hmmm… deep concern. Why have I not seen extra traffic through to merchants?”

After also noticing a nasty old drop in user session times, new visitor rates, and pages per visit combined with increased bounce rate I knew something was badly wrong somewhere so got my internet investigationing hat on and did a spot of research.

Introducing The New And Improved Analytics Data Roll Out

It transpired that Google Analytics had made some improvements to the way user sessions are counted.

Of course they had anticipated a slight skewing of data mentioning in their post that, “Overall, this change may slightly increase the number of visits. Based on our research, most users will see less than a 1% change.”

Well, I can only speak for myself but I think they’ve gotten it a teeny tiny bit wrong. You only have to read the comments on their post to see I’m not alone there!

I’m no analytics expert – I confess to being a basic user so if anyone knows of a fix please let me know! Although I *think* the absolute unique visitor data is pretty much correct it’s totally humped my ability to look at things like organic traffic stats and see which terms are doing well or just work out how many “real” organic visits I’m getting from particular sources.

No comment from Google yet, but I sure do hope there’s a workaround or they can fix things up :(

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Affiliate Marketing: The Next Generation

General 22 Comments »
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It does seem that recently for me a blog post without some kind of excuse about why I’ve not been able to keep the content coming to you guys is a rarity.

My dog ate my affiliate website. Matt Cutts and his team of evil search engine genius’ kidnapped my mojo. It’s been too hot. etc etc etc.

However this time I’ve got an absolute cracker, a bona fide iron clad “I’ve just not been well enough” excuse. What is more I know that you’ll all understand exactly where I’m coming from!! I can sense you’re all on the edge of your seats here, so without further ado let me show you what has kept me from the loving bosom of my blog readers this time.

Introducing My Latest Affiliate Project…

Definately my most time consuming and exhausting project to date. Introducing baby affiliate, due for launch February 5th 2012!

Like a Lead Duck To Water

Without boring you with the gory details it’s probably fair to say I initially took to pregnancy like a lead duck to water. Lets just say I’ve not been this slim since my early 20′s and I hope never to repeat the extreme crash diet plan I’ve just been through ;) It’s not been a walk in the park for Duncan either, he’s had to listen to me complaining these last few weeks and let me assure you I’m going to be writing next years Oxford English Dictionary definition of “Moaning”.

Getting My Affiliate Mojo Back on Track…

However, before you all get sick of the deafening sound of violins I’m happy to say I’m much better now and have most of my old mojo back again. In the last few weeks I’ve been able to think more clearly and have been having lots of Google Panda related fun (and some very early encouraging results from my efforts) so expect a post on that soon.

I’ve also been tinkering with social media and having some general Twitter fun so I have in mind a post about how affiliates can use Twitter and actually engage with potential customers and key influencers. And some of my very own tinpot theories about how Google might use data from Twitter as quality signals. Of course this will be very inexpert compared to what true social gurus could tell you, but I think a lot of affiliates find it hard to really work out how they should interact on that medium – so I hope to be able to give some basic help.

Oh, I’ve also got a bit to tell you about affiliate marketing in Australia and the lack of competition around affiliate content sites thereof.

So in short: Sorry I’ve been crap this year, insert excuse here, please let me off, I really do miss blogging and chatting with you all.

You Can Help Inspire Me…

Something else that’d help get me blogging again. What do you want to hear about right now? If you have things you’re interested in that aren’t being covered in other blogs please tell me in the comments below or via my Contact Form.

Hearing from y’all would really, really, help me build a bit of momentum again so please if you have anything at all in mind – tell me about it!!

I hope to be talking to you all a lot more often in the next half of the year :)

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A Small Change In Direction!

Affiliate Management 10 Comments »
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It can’t have escaped your notice that I’ve not been updating this blog as often in recent months. Not only have I been very busy immersing myself in all things Google Panda, but I’ve been finding solely concentrating on being an affiliate has become a little one dimensional for me. I still love being an affiliate and working on my sites but have been feeling the need to add another string to my internet bow.

An Exciting Announcement

I’ve been thinking about this for several months and have decided to take the plunge and make the exciting return to my affiliate management roots. Therefore I’m excited to introduce my new Australian business Venture, Blue Indian Affiliate Management.

When I first arrived in Australia I really didn’t feel that there was a lot of scope for offering such a service as there wasn’t a huge number of well developed merchants and the networks weren’t exactly crash hot either. However with improvements in existing networks such as Commission Monster, and new arrivals on the scene DGM and the soon to be launched Commission Factory and my own increasing awareness of some strong ecommerce offerings I think the time is right to offer some real affiliate expertise to the market here.

Given time I think it could be a scalable business for me and a great opportunity to share my passion and expertise about all things affiliate. Initially though my plan is to find myself a very small number of clients and use my experiences with them to work out just how such a business could be effectively scaled with an eye on both high quality and good profitability for everyone concerned.

Generally speaking this will be an Australian targeted business, but of course if any of you UK chaps are interested in having a chat about procuring one of the small number of spots available for my affiliate management services do please drop me a line via kirsty at blueindian.com.au

Hopefully a new project will give me back that injection of enthusiasm for this blog and help me feel more connected with the affiliate scene. I’m definately more excited about this new challenge than I have been for quite some time – a very good sign!

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Book Review : Affiliate Program Management An Hour A Day by Geno Prussakov

Affiliate Programmes 3 Comments »
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I’ve never reviewed an affiliate marketing book before, so when Geno Prussakov offered to send me a free copy just a few hours after having buttered me up immensely, I was putty in his literary hands.

I must confess I’ve never read an affiliate marketing book before at all, but as a former affiliate manager I was really interested in what Geno had to say about doing it “the right way” and whether or not it was going to be as dry as a box of crackers without a glass of water!

Affiliate Management Brain Fodder

To my surprise, when I started reading this book after work one evening I couldn’t put the darned thing down and burned my way through 200 pages before bedtime!

It’s so well written and is absolutely jam packed with useful facts and figures to back up the “why” of all the great information on “how” a programme should be effectively managed. The process was broken down into tasks which I thought was a great approach for what can seem like a very complex and involved job. One of the most striking things for me was how Geno had managed to keep the language simple and the tone personal and warm. There was a lot there that really cued you to think about how you personally would fit into and take on the role of affiliate manager.

It was brilliant affiliate brain fodder for anyone in affiliate management – and not just beginners. The volume of information is such that I’d be very surprised if managers of every level didn’t get at least something out of it to add to their knowledge base.

Buy This Book If You…

  • Want or are considering whether to start an affiliate programme but don’t know how to do it or what skills in house staff would need to do it.
  • Are looking to move into a career in affiliate management. In fact if you have an interview for your first ever AM job you should absolutely read this book first – it’ll save your life at the interview!
  • Are an existing affiliate manager. No Matter how good you think you are you’ll learn something from this master of the world of affiliate management. Even I learned a few things and as we all know I’m absolutely perfect and was the best affiliate manager ever ;)
  • Are looking at hiring an outsourced affiliate management company and want to know if they’re any good!
  • Run an affiliate network and want something to give or recommend to new merchants.

In Conclusion

Affiliate Management Gold – It’s £19.99 (£11.99 at Amazon) bloody well spent!

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