Affiliate Rebirthing – A Progress Report

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I’ve decided that I’m going to inflict progress reports on my return from my extended maternity leave upon you. Perhaps it’ll help me more than it helps you, but I hope it might at least provide passing interest if nothing else.

My Sympathies Newbies

I wouldn’t like your job. Like many people who return to work after quite a while surrounded by children, or go through a major life change (or both) I have suffered a little with issues of self confidence.

As I mentioned previously, I have been lucky. Affiliate marketing supported me right through 3 years of babies, nappies, and difficult pregnancies. Despite starting my family at the worst possible time in terms of a period of huge change at the hands of the Google menagerie – I’ve done OK. However, I doubt I could have left things much longer. My sites were really on their last legs in terms of revenue, and I was / am now reliant on one merchant for a distressingly large proportion of my income. That’s not cool.

Rebuilding The Mindset of Success

“I can’t do this anymore, there’s too much competition, I’ve let things slide too far, and small time affiliate marketing is dead”

K.McCubbin, March 2015.

There were days when inspiration eluded, and I focused on how degraded my revenue streams have become. I was plagued with self doubt. However, knowing how I’ve found revenue streams in the past, and still being able to see a lot of untapped niche areas using the same old tried and tested techniques from days of yore – I at least had the core belief that I’ll get there to fall back upon.

I’ve also been able to hold onto an understanding that self doubt is fine so long as it is consigned to the “this too shall pass” corner of my head. Tomorrow is a new day. And when you have a bad day, you just have to do all you can to step away, adjust that headspace, and take another run up the next time you sit down at your desk.

Slowly my confidence has returned. Affiliate marketing for the small operator is not dead. How ridiculous. It’s just not as easy any more. But who enjoys things being easy? Pah.


It’s important to have aims. It’s important that they are realistic. It’s important to set a benchmark for your own performance and record your progress against that. Through the quite painful and anxious return to full time work (and the UK!), I’ve often been distracted by my reliance on that one large merchant. Getting into a pattern of thought where you look at how you’d be affected if they vanished from the scene is a bit depressing to say the least.

Eventually, I realised that this had to be my focus, but in the positive rather than the negative. And if you are reading this thinking “that should be obvious”. Well duh. But I’ve squeezed just about every super-stressful life change someone could possibly go through into the last few months. Then tried to go back to work after 3 years almost completely off. Nothing is clear. Logic has been a struggle to grasp. There’s been no cogent plan. Instead, in an attempt to kick start that rabid focus I bloody well know is in there, I’ve just been trying for the small wins.

As those small wins have slowly built, and the trauma of my big move has faded, my mental clarity and drive have slowly returned. And a cogent plan and direction have formed.

Visual Confirmation

And this is what my journey to date looks like. The below isn’t a representation of my overall income. It’s a representation of the income that isn’t from that one large merchant looks like. A graph including that is meaningless. And confusing, because the income flucuates a lot from them.

This graph is quite interesting to me, the somewhat pleasing upward trajectory recently dates from just about exactly when I created the graph. The visual representation seemed to provide clarity way beyond “oh look, there’s what I’m earning”. Presumably because I couldn’t sit and stress about how much I’d be left with if “Mr Big Merchant” were to be lost.

Actual figures removed - sorry! You'll just have to use your imagination ;)

I’ve averaged out what will happen for the rest of this month based on what’s come in so far. Should be relatively accurate. Actual income figures removed – sorry! You’ll just have to use your imagination ;)

And where did I get my spreadsheet? I downloaded it from my own blog, because I didn’t have it any more. It’s kind of odd that this blog helped me the way I hope it used to help other people.

Thanks Kirsty 😉


Affiliate Marketing – How Focused Are You?

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What a stupid question. VERY. I AM VERY FOCUSED. I want nothing more than to improve my affiliate income or create one… oh look, a BUTTERFLY! *cough*

For people starting out, or for people like me returning to a full time career after a hiatus, the most important thing we need to get right is focus. The painful truth about affiliate marketing (or the absolute delight in my opinion) is that there’s not a prescribed method. There’s not a manual, or a job description, or a definitive list for success.

The mental challenges of the job go beyond working out the increasingly complex nuances of how you create revenue bearing traffic, and into developing the headspace that will keep pushing you towards those goals efficiently.

There is real adversity involved in being an affiliate. Not just in the process of “getting there”, for the reality is that most long term affiliates (like me!) have to achieve success repeatedly. It’s like any other business essentially, but it does seem to suffer from an effortless image. Propagated for the most part by sellers of snake oil.

Forewarned is Forearmed, so here’s a collection of the more obvious challenges of focus we face routinely at the cutting edge of weaving the old internet magic 😉

    Too Much Focus


It can be all consuming. It’s so easy to spend every single spare second you have on affiliate marketing. After all, the more you work the sooner you get to those goals, right? Well, maybe not. Affiliate burnout beckons. If you don’t take that much needed R&R time you’ll often be sitting there at 1am achieving nothing without realising it. Checking stats, daydreaming, facebook, forums. NOT WORK!! Also, the excitement will quickly wane and turn to boredom. It’s so easy to give up on something because you’ve burned out your enthusiasm.

I recently had to pull some horrendous 12 hour days to get a time task done. Subsequently it took me 2 days to complete 1 days worth of tasks. Then it was another week before I slid back into a more usual rhythm of work I could identify as productive. I knew to expect this, but that time I needed to get a job done and fast to prepare for an upcoming Google change (more about those later!)

Spend fewer hours in front of the PC, make the time you do work count, start to develop an understanding of what’s a reasonable amount of work to get done in a “shift”. You, your business, and your personal relationships will be healthier for it. Trust me.

Stay focused. Proportionately.

Short Lived Focus

Instant gratification – there is none. It can take weeks or months for your hard work to start to really pay off. It’s way easy to take your foot off the pedal after a few weeks when you have barely earned the price of a beer after eye-bleedingly hard work. Self doubt creeps in, motivation drops. It’s incredibly hard to keep your eyes on the prize. I suffer on and off from this. Generally speaking I’ll have a period where commissions are sluggish, or some other adversity has crept in and I find it very hard to keep putting in the effort. Subsequently, everything rights itself, or a bit of work I did months ago blazes into life and I feel like a right old tit for having let myself become demotivated. I should know better.

These days, this is particularly true when trying your hand at capturing organic traffic. It’s very much a two steps forward three (hundred!) steps back endeavour at times. You can lose months or even years of work in an update. It is devastating. But you can’t look at what you lost, rather at what you kept. Because it’s there that the old phoenix will probably rise once more. You need to be an eternal optimist to be a successful affiliate. In the face of something that doesn’t seem to not be working, but also seems to be going backwards… you must persevere. And that’s a special kind of determination that requires you to be convinced that what you are doing is ultimately going to work. Well? Are you convinced? Really? Or does that Game of Thrones box set and a few beers look like a more productive weekend?

Stay focused. On your core strategy. More about phoenix stuff another time. When my own focus has improved enough to write cogently about it.

The Wrong Focus

Yes! You’ve made it!! You created that site and you can see a small but promising revenue stream. You get very excited. At this point it’s very common for distraction to set in. The imagination goes into overdrive. You spend several days working out how much more money you would make if you increased your traffic tenfold. You plan a network of related sites, for surely retirement to a sunny spot of your choosing is beckoning? Focus is lost, many domains are bought without due care and attention, several half started project are spawned.

Losing focus is one of the most toxic problems for would be affiliate marketers. There’s nobody there to tell us how to do this. We DO tend to be dreamers who aspire to greater things. Sadly that makes us prone to fantasy empire building with predictable results.

Stay focused. On the success you’ve already achieved.

Retaining focus is something I struggle with a lot. So this stuff… well lets just say I didn’t pull all the faults I’m claiming you have out of thin air. Keep pushing on and you’ll make progress. Simple concept. Often impossible to execute.

Good luck :)

A note from the author: Despite silence on the blog since June 11th I’ve actually been doing quite a lot of writing. Looking at my post revisions on here I started writing this on June 17th. It’s hard to get the right “feel” in my current state of personal development. However, this here was the distilled total of a lot of the things that I keep thinking about. I’m going to do an update on my own progress in the coming days. I think a mix of that plus the usual old affiliate brain dump are about the right level for this painfully-produced blog 😉

Thanks for reading.


Affiliate Marketing : Rebirthing

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I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, but there’s a block. Because I’ve not updated much at all since the dreaded year of the Penguin, or Panda, or rabid polar bear or whatever it was that killed off such a swathe of my fellow affiliates.

The longer you leave it, the harder it gets. So balls to creating a cogent job of explaining it all, I’ll just give it a red hot crack and hope for the best. Here goes…


What Kirsty Did For The Last 3.5 Years

  • I had a baby. Then for good measure, I had another one.
  • After what I *thought* was an unsuccessful restructuring attempt on a couple key sites, I abandoned my organic sites completely. I couldn’t spare the scant work time I had before child 1 appeared to possibly fruitless recovery efforts. Also I was supernaturally sick. Think the exorcist, but in my bathroom, all day, every day. Sod all that for a lark.
  • Concentrated on PPC. Fortunately I had quite a lot of existing PPC that was Google proof. I also tapped into a new market that replaced much of the organic income I had lost, and meant I could still have the relaxing time as a mother I’d been planning before Google’s wild animal collection rampaged through the scenery.
  • One day, after child one but before child two, Duncan got itchy internet shopping fingers. On a whim (based on a long standing ambition), he bought ten broken iPhones on eBay. Two months later he opened an iPhone repair business as a hobby. He was quite good at it. Unfortunately he knew someone who was quite good at online marketing. Therefore 3 months after that, he was working ten hour days up to his backside in broken iDevice glass. That’ll teach him.
  • Duncan’s new found fame as mr fixit gave us a nice “secondary” income which ended up equaling my affiliate marketing income. In the process we filled what was meant to be my peaceful working space with actual customers dropping in and out.  Concentration blown, driven from my workspace by hundreds of broken screens, financial pressure off. Unsurprisingly, my foot fell further off the affiliate marketing pedal. I was also pregnant again and utterly buggered. Path of least resistance and all that…
  • After child 2, emergency homing beacon well and truly activated. The wild wandering affiliate lifestyle isn’t *actually* that much fun when you can’t wander any more, and you are conveniently located 14,000km away from the nearest babysitter.
  • So I’m in Scotland again. Working in my bedroom. Yes, I know. Uh-huh Australia is lovely, and I miss it terribly every day. But I’d rather be driving distance to my family. Also, it transpired my visa wasn’t great. That put me off a bit too.


What Now?

As the newborn fog cleared for a second time, I realised that I really was missing working regularly. So before heading home to Scotland, I finally decided to look at the stats on my long dead sites. Just to see if I could learn anything, and so I could start thinking about how one structured a money making site these days. I hadn’t been able to bear to look for almost 2 years. I thought I was starting  from the ground up.

They weren’t dead. Not even remotely. Yes diminished. But dead? Nah. When I looked into it, the original structural changes I had laboriously made *were* enough. Not to rank for huge search terms any more. But there was a lucrative pulse there in more niche search terms which convert better anyhow.

“Oh look at that. I did still have a hope in hell after all. Probably should have checked earlier. Whoops.”

Now look, don’t ask me how I achieved thinking I couldn’t “do” organic sites any more. You’d absolutely have thought the commission still turning up here and there would be a clue, despite a lack of site updates. If you want insight, just go off, only sleep 2 hours a night for say a month, and then try to do your job effectively. And yes, the sites did earn commission all along. I just didn’t really pay much attention. I couldn’t engage with it. Also, I was pissed off with it for a long time. I had put a lot of planning into not having to work  much whilst pregnant and the whole gig literally imploded just as I got so sick I could barely sit upright.


Blogging Helps

I’ve always felt writing about affiliate marketing helped me a lot more than it probably helped the people who read what I wrote! Often when I have something on my mind, a wee bit blogging would draw together the many threads in my head. Also, it was and still is a lonely occupation. I like the conversation.

So I’m going to blog again. I’m not sure what the direction will be, or if it’ll all peter out. But I’m going to try. Read it or don’t. I’m doing it anyway. I’ll have to try to update this creaking old theme too. But later.

So yes, home. Marveling that despite all the Google trauma affiliate marketing paid me a full time salary all the way through 3.5 years of neglect and inconsistency. Finally out of the baby tunnel, sleeping again. Websites rebirthing.

I am affiliate. Hear me snore 😉



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…


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.


Affiliate Marketing: The Next Generation

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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 :)


Superspeed Me – An Easy Guide To Speeding Up Your Website

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Down with King Content – long live user experience!!  The new focus on user experience is coming ever more sharply into the everyday lives of webmasters – and you could be forgiven for thinking that the world of image compression, CDN’s, and theme optimisation is well beyond you.

However, it’s easier than you might think to give your site a bit of a “superspeed” makeover!

Super Easy CDN and Website Protection

We’ve all heard about Content Delivery Networks and cloud servers and similar and many of you may think that implementing one is beyond you. However fear not, the good people at Cloud Flare are riding to your rescue with their FREE CDN.  This system has a five minute install that just about anyone can implement and will not only superspeed your site but also protect it from internet bastards and vagabonds (as I like to call them).

Using data from Project Honeypot it protects your site against spammers, hackers, and other ratbags. I have implemented Cloud Flare on one of my sites and it has halved the download speed. So far this month it has saved my users on one small site 20.7 hours waiting for my pages to load, which also saves me bandwidth.

You can find out more about all the features offered by Cloud Flare on their comprehensive Tour Page.

Get A Speed Monitoring Plugin For Your Browser…

The Firebug plugin lets you use a whole wealth of web development and debug tools as you surf the net using Firefox. On it’s own I find it very handy to nosey around other people’s source code. If you’re interested in how someone’s done something or want to check out an element of your own site without trawling through code, it’s great. You just right click on the bit you want to look at and select “inspect element”. It’s a great everyday timesaver for me.

You can then grab the Site Speed Addon from Google. Given that these are the guys we’re all trying to impress it seems sensible to refine site performance by their standards. There’s also a Chrome Addon. You can access their widget directly through your browser without any addons here.

This cool little tool gives your site performance marks out of 100 and a great big “to do” list. It also has a feature to show you versions of your images which are “losslessly compressed”. You can just save these and upload to your site for improved performance.

My own worst site had a rather dreadful score of 44 / 100 – which we very quickly got up to a 93 / 100 with the help of the Firebug site speed addon.

WordPress Site Speed Plugins and Wizardry

If you have a WordPress site you can do all of the above… and also make use of some handy WordPress resources!

First of all, read Yoast’s Guide to Speeding Up WordPress. He mentions you should install a caching plugin. I use W3 Total Cache which was recommended to me by my hosting company, Clook. I’ve found it to be excellent and regularly updated. It’s recently been updated for better compatibility with Cloud Flare and Yoast’s SEO Plugin. Whilst you’re giving your site a bit of a makeover do download and use this if you haven’t already – I think it’s the absolute dogs danglies and it does all the little SEO tasks that are too easy to forget about when setting up a site.

Don’t forget to grab an image compression plugin – Smushit is from the same guys who created W3 Supercache and is a great tool to squeeze that extra efficiency out of your web pages.

That’s pretty much everything I’ve personally used recently – if any of you guys have anything to add to this resource please post in the comments below – I’d love you to add your own hints and tips!


The Affiliate Fear Factor

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Almost everyone involved in making a living at the pointy end of affiliate marketing will have felt “The Affiliate Fear” – that little nagging feeling at the back of your head that everything you’ve built might get taken away from you. Why? Well, either because the industry attracts a higher than average proportion of poor souls suffering from paranoia, or because we spend a ridiculous portion of our working lives with the proverbial Sword of Damocles dangling about 3 inches above our unprotected internet heads.

Where Does The Fear Come From?

We don’t have a very hefty sword dangling above our heads and held in place by a single fragile horse hair – but our working lives certainly are plagued with uncertainty. Affiliate marketing is a unique industry – like any other it has a body (the IAB in the UK at least) that issues everyone with guidelines on how to play nice and generally be all round, ethically sound, good chaps. However, unlike other industries it’s not those guidelines that determine who sinks and swims in the affiliate world – it’s Google’s.

A Sword? That Is SO Last Millenium – Try a Google Bomb!

In a nutshell, these are as follows. “Make your site useful to users, add value over and above that offered by the merchants you feature. We hate pages occupying a space that might as well just be the originator of the product. Do not copy stuff from other people’s sites, please don’t use spammy tactics. Make it good.”

“Oh, and just a few small provisos. We like some sites more than others, so what one man can get away with will buy the next chap a one way ticket to Google-blivion. Failure to adhere strictly to the complex guidelines we have issued might result in your business being destroyed overnight. Or maybe not. Did we mention the nitty gritty of our guidelines are actually absolutely top secret so you won’t find out you’ve made a booboo, or we’ve changed them until you wake up one morning and realise it’s time to see what positions McDonalds might have available for you?”

Janet hated getting up in the mornings and discovering she'd won the "Google-blivion" raffle again...

And This is What Makes Us Unique…

If you’re a mortgage broker, insurance rep, own a shop or indeed any sort of business at all you’ll have a list of guidelines that governs absolutely every facet of your operation. They’re all designed to protect the consumer (as Google seeks to protect it’s users). They’re also written clearly in big letters where everyone can see them.

Affiliates? We have a regular prize draw type arrangement to see if we’ve still got a business or not! And my very favourite part – there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.

Use The Fear – But Don’t Let It Use You!

Now that I’ve set a mental picture of hollow eyed affiliates waiting for their ticket to be drawn in the “one way trip to Google-blivion” raffle extravaganza, I’d like to point out that using the anxiety of this ever present Damocles-esque threat is actually a very healthy thing.

Am I scared? Of course I am, all the bloody time!! But I never get to that sweaty palmed world is about to end stage. As I go about my daily affiliate business I constantly gather data about Google and it’s goings on. Eventually, little things will start tugging at the corner of my mind. When something’s been in there a month and won’t go away I know it’s time to do something about it. I’ve learned to channel my worries and anxieties into positive action, and it’s kept my business growing.

If you’re new to affiliate marketing, this will be the most important skill you can learn.

If you’re already in affiliate marketing and think you don’t need it – I’ll have a big mac, coke, and large fries thanks.


So What Now?

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Long term readers of this humble blog will know just how long I’ve spent being inspired by books such as the 4 hour work week and trying to cut down my working hours and generally streamline my business. The idea is to use the flexibility offered by affiliate marketing to enjoy more leisure time.

Mission Accomplished

After returning from my recent 4 month sabbatical I decided to bite the bullet and drop my working week down to 3 days. This has worked exactly as I’d hoped – the business is still running well and the time I put in is enough to keep it growing.

There’s only one problem though…

I’m Absolutely Bored Shitless!!!!!!!!!!!

Err… the thing is I’ve always said I eat, sleep, and breathe affiliate marketing. That is absolutely true. The only problem with this is that somewhere along the road I’ve clearly lost sight of who I am when not being an all round internet surf champ. In fact when I think about it, the process of losing sight of “who I really am” started when I left home and went to uni 16 years ago.

Pre university Kirsty was always busy. Drawing, painting, knitting, sewing, stamp collecting, antiquing, flower making, paper marbling, embroidery – I was always into something. But when I left home, all that creative energy went into shaping myself and my future. Standing back and admiring my handiwork I think I’ve done a decent enough job, so no complaints there.

But what the f**k do I do now?

Kirsty The Newbie

Now I empathise more strongly than ever with all you newbs out there in affiliate land. I thought I remembered what it was like, but now I realise the struggle to get started fades in your mind as you move further away from it. Trying to find things to occupy my now extensive leisure time makes me realise just what a hard job all you guys have!

I have all these ideas for projects, but feel I need to understand the whole process before I dive in. So nothing happens. I have so many ideas that I spend hours researching and never actually seem to start anything, and I’m too scared to invest money in my ideas in case they don’t work out and I end up with a whole load of junk I don’t really want or need. I’m already that bored with being bored that all I can do when I try to find something to do is sit around…. being bored.

And Here’s The Dangerous Part…

I keep on ending up in my good ‘ol familiar office. But not working. I end up checking stats, looking at projects and visiting the same old websites I use to break up my working day over and over again – just because I don’t know what else to do.

And then guess what happens when I step into the office to try and do my 3 days of work?

I’m Absolutely Bored Shitless!!!!!!!!!!!

*cough* so just to recap. I aimed to work less, live more, and earn more so I could enjoy an exciting and fulfiling life.

What I’ve achieved is indeed working less and earning more but not enjoying any of it. I’m using all this extra spare time to experience the utter and stultifying boredom and apathy I’ve apparently waited so long to enjoy. Nice work love – that’ll be one to tell the grandkids about eh? Well, if I can be bothered to have any.

Insert Positive and Upbeat Comment Here

Now y’all know me. I’m a glass is half full type of gal… except today I can’t be arsed. So do me a favour – insert your own upbeat comment about how I’m going to jolly well pull myself together and fabricate a rich and fulfilling leisure life in the space I’ve left below.
There. Now isn’t that better?


Inside The Affiliate Greenhouse

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Want to experience a day in my shoes and find out why this blog has been a little quiet recently despite my wild promises of more top quality affiliate prose now I’m back home?

Just follow this easy step by step guide to seeing the affiliate world through my eyes and all shall be revealed dear readers…

1. Locate a convenient greenhouse. Perhaps see if the botanical gardens in London can accommodate.
2. Move your office desk in there.
3. Increase the ambient temperature to 32c (that’s 89.6f).
4. Just for a bit of a giggle, whack up the humidity to around 95%.
5. Now do 6 hours affiliate related work in those temperatures with just a fan to cool you down.
6. Endure several browser crashes per day because your computer system is too hot. This will usually be at a crucial moment and will enrage you considerably.
7. Once you’ve finished your days work, pause to push your glasses back on your nose (they’ll have been sliding off for quite some time) and decide should you a ) think up a dazzling bit of blog prose or b ) rush off and spend some quality time under a cold shower before dropping insensible onto the sofa.
8. Now you know why I haven’t been blogging.
Image credit:

Don’t even dare ask why my office isn’t air conditioned – in this house nothing is as simple as selecting a single job and just doing it. Because we’re mid renovation even the simplest tasks seem to end up requiring an entire section of wall to be replaced, major drainage works, and some kind of retaining wall to be constructed.

It’s Not Only The Temperature That’s Been Distracting Me

Other than wrestling with blazing hot computer keyboards and still trying to do a reasonable days work I’ve also been having a hot time of it at the hands of Google.

In my last post about how affiliates need to lift their game I didn’t mention that one of my own sites had been affected by the rumblings from the Google jungle (although I spoke about it in the comments section). Lingerie Brands has had a rather nasty gouge taken out of its traffic and rankings and I’ve been spending a lot of time working out how we will redevelop the site to keep Google happy.

Initially I thought it could be a “thin affiliate” filter being applied, however I’ve since realised that it’s not so much my site having a blanket type filter applied as other sites being deemed more appropriate to rank higher in the SERPS.

I don’t want to go into it too much here but I’ve found where I’ve lost rankings I’ve largely been replaced by merchants themselves and sites doing interesting and useful type stuff with product feeds. Where I’m still ranking A-OK there’s not so many merchants or sites of that nature in the space. Also, if it had been an adjustment to their thin affiliate filter I’d have expected my other similarly structured mens underwear site to be affected – but it’s not. In fact its got more traffic than ever.

So I’ve spent a sweltering week working out a redevelopment brief for good ‘ol LB so she can keep up with the times. In all honestly, its long overdue. The current site format is old, tired, and needs to improve the value it adds to the users. I’ve known that for quite some time and Google’s just sent me the loud and clear message that they couldn’t agree more! I’ll post more on this when my thoughts are more… cogent!

I’m actually very happy this has happened in an odd way – I’m going to be able to add in all sorts of little time saving functionalities to my site and we will then also be able to roll out similar principles to our other sites and redevelop those also.

2011 is going to be an interesting year and so long as it cools down a bit – I’m really looking forward to it :)


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