In this post, I want to share with you mistakes I have made since starting with affiliate marketing and also mistakes I picked up from fellow internet marketers.
Don’t get me wrong. I think it is great to make mistakes; that is how we learn and grow personally but also business wise. Still, I don’t want you to repeat the same mistakes. It’s fantastic to learn from other people and trust me; you will still encounter your own trials and tribulations.
No one ever has picked up things straight away. We have to learn everything step by step. Every successful online marketer had to start somewhere, had to learn the ropes. And you and I are no exception.
Let’s get cracking.
#1 Keep It Simple
If you are using WordPress, you can choose from over 1000 free themes. I know that many people, including myself, spending hours to find a theme they like. If you are relatively new to affiliate marketing or blogging my advice is to choose a simple theme that is easy to use without fancy layouts, slideshows, etc.
Instead of wasting time to search for a theme start creating content and build a simple menu. Less is more! And, you can change the theme at any time. You are not stuck with it forever. My main point here is “Get started” – the sooner, the better. 🙂 I have changed the theme of my first website multiple times, but with my other two sites, I leave it as it is.
I have learned that it doesn’t matter.
Readers come to your site because they like your content and not because of the flash layout.
Overall, the site needs to be easy to navigate by your readers. Otherwise, they will leave in a matter of seconds.
The biggest requirement is that the theme is mobile friendly. This is a “must” since more and more people using their smartphones to access the internet. Mobile friendliness also improves the ranking in the search engines.
# 2 Your Chosen Niche Is Too Broad
When you create a blog or website, you will need to decide which area or field of interest you want to write about. It’s commonly called a niche. Ideally, it would be something you feel passionate about or have a lot of knowledge.
- Losing weight – far too broad
- Losing weight fast – still too broad
- Losing weight for women – still very broad
- Losing weight for women after pregnancy – that is a niche or
- Losing weight for women/men over 50 – that is a niche as well
The “Losing weight” niche is hugely popular, and you would compete against thousands of other websites. But if you narrow it down and target a particular group you are up against less competing sites. That means your chances are much better to get ranked higher than with a generic term. I hope it makes sense?
Please keep in mind, if you start a new website you won’t get much traffic aka visitors to your site in the first few months. Over time, when your website is around longer you will get ranked better and therefore attract more visitors to your site.
So, my advice to you is 1) to choose a very specific niche, 2) narrow it down as much as possible and 3) target a particular audience. Think about who you want to attract to your website and who your audience is.
# 3 Too Many Website
Oh dear, I am guilty of this. I started off with one website and also had to gain knowledge about affiliate marketing at the same time. All went well until I lost my day job a few months back. Suddenly I had more time at hand and decided to start another website.
After a while, I went back to a part-time position, and all of a sudden managing two sites became overwhelming.
Instead of focussing on one site and build up its authority (trust with my audience and Google) I had to divide my attention into two different niches.
The positive part is to write about various topics, say if I don’t feel writing about traveling with kids I can tinker about on my other project. Looking back, though, I should have stuck to my first site for at least one year before starting my new niche site.
I must admit, affiliate marketing can be addictive. There are so many niches and therefore opportunities to write about that I have to hold myself back to start up more websites.
My advice is: Be realistic about the time you can put into your online business otherwise you might give up before you even get started.
That brings me to my next mistake.
#4 Not Being Consistent
What do I mean by this? To gain trust in Google and with your audience, you need to post quality content on a regular basis. For instance, one week you may post twice, the next week maybe one time and the following week nothing at all. Well, that is not being consistent and sets you up for failure.
Consistency is key! You need to post at least once a week, even better if you can post two or three times a week.
It is an online business after all and therefore it is best to treat it as such. Set yourself a publishing schedule e.g. posts every Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday etc. and stick to it.
Of course, life gets in the way, and sometimes you can’t keep to your schedule. It is not the end of the world as long as you get back into it as soon as you can. I’ve experienced a few hiccups over the Christmas and school holiday period.
But everything is back to normal now. I still had to readjust my writing and publishing schedule. The problem of inconsistency also links back to having too many websites. Again, be realistic about what you can afford in terms of time and other commitments. It has to be fun and not just a chore, right?
#5 Giving Up Too Early
If you are a regular reader of my posts you may know that I am a member of Wealthy Affiliate University (read more here). In this awesome community, we share our experiences, success stories but also frustration with our online business.
And quite often people say, that they didn’t get a sale or not much traffic etc. and they are thinking of quitting. Looking closer, most of them started their online business only a few months ago or don’t put much time and effort in building up content.
Give yourself at least one year to build your business. One year of posting content, building up your social media presence like Facebook or Pinterest, putting in the hard yards of persistence, determination, and hard work.
Give yourself time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You didn’t get an education in a day. You didn’t finish learning a trade in a day. So why would you expect an online business to provide you a full-time income in a matter of months?
Well, that brings me to my next point …
# 6 The Shiny Object Syndrom
Don’t we all know those promises we see on Facebook or posts on Pinterest or certain websites? It usually goes like ‘Sign up for my free course and learn, how to make money in 7 days’ which then leads you to a paid plan so you can learn more or get the software etc. that will guarantee you lot’s of money in a short time frame.
Many of us have wasted lot’s of money on these programs and ended up with no money and frustration.
I call it the “Shiny Object Syndrom, ” and it is hard to resist at times especially when you need an income immediately. It just sounds so promising, and maybe this time, it will be true…
Let me tell you, don’t fall for any more of these promises and stop wasting more money. I may sound like a broken record, but you need to learn the ropes of building an online business. You need to invest time and dedication in building a sustainable income, and it won’t happen overnight.
I was lucky enough not to fall for any scams or wrong promises. I found the right program right away, or did it find me?
My mission is to help you to build your successful online business, and I would like to be there for you every step of the way.
# 7 Not Building An Email List
You have probably heard it time and time again – The money is in the list. It is essential to building an email list right from the start. Even if you don’t have a lot of people visiting your site to start off with.
There are plenty of free email services available so that it won’t cost you anything. I recently discovered an email provider that is free for up to 1000 subscribers and has a free autoresponder. Click Here for more information.
Once I have used this program for a longer period, I will review it for you. For now, I am very impressed how user-friendly and how easy it is to set up.
An autoresponder is such an important feature in my opinion. If someone signs up for your newsletter, this will trigger an advanced prepared mail. This mail will get send automatically to the new subscriber. How cool and convenient is this!
So, no more excuses! Put an email sign-up form on your website. It doesn’t cost you anything!
I look at an email list as a way to keep in touch with my readers. I want to inform them about new posts and other interesting things that might be going on behind the scenes.
I don’t use my emails list as a sales tool to be quite honest. It puts me off when there are only sales promotions and the likes in a newsletter.
I subsequently unsubscribe from newsletters when all this person wants is selling something.
Wrapping It Up
Whatever you do, stay true to yourself. Avoid overthinking especially when you write a blog post. Just start and write as you would talk to your friend. Get inspiration from other blogs but don’t copy. Find your own way.
There are probably hundred more little things I could have mentioned, but these seven mistakes are in my opinion the most important ones. Here there are in a nutshell again:
- Keep your website simple – Don’t over complicate things.
- Your chosen niche is too broad – Be as specific as you can.
- Too many websites – Focus on one site first before you venture out.
- Not being consistent – Create a posting schedule and stick to it.
- Giving up too early – Give yourself at least a year/
- The Shiny Object Syndrom – Resist those promises about getting rich quick.
- Not building an email list – No more excuses; there are excellent free services available.
Affiliate Marketing is not for everyone, and that is also something you will have to find out for yourself. If you do decide to go down this path, start now and give it your best shot. Don’t let the fear hold you back. I know, the hardest part is to get started. Only you can do it.
What are the mistakes you have made in your life or the online world? What are the lessons you have picked up along the way? Let’s celebrate our mistakes and move on. Please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you! 🙂