The most common question I get from affiliates is “Why is my site not making me any money?”. Most of the time, they’ve spent over a hundred hours working on their website, yet it’s making little, if any money online.
Yet the answer to that isn’t hard at all. It’s quite easy really, and I find myself repeating itself enough times that I decided to turn it into this article.
The reason your site isn’t making money is very simple…
…it is not a valuable resource.
Or to be more specific:
It is not a valuable resource to your target market.
It doesn’t matter who you site is targeted towards. It doesn’t matter what your sites content is. Your only goal with your site should be to make it the most valuable resource possible for the people that are going to come visit.
Think about the websites that you visit daily. Think about the sites that you have bookmarked. Think about the sites that you always see recommended, or linked on forums. Think about the sites that you know the URL of, and will type them in without even stopping to think. Why are they so popular? Because they are one of, if not the most valuable resource for the market that they target towards, and they provide you with exactly what you are looking for.
Let’s look at two examples:
Google: Google is the most popular search engine. The reason for that, is because they provide what visitors want: relative search results. I remember the days of using Yahoo, of using Altavista, of using Lycos, and often having to go 3 or 4 pages deep before ever finding what I wanted. With Google, I never have to go past page 1, and usually it is the very first search listing. Why is Google so popular? Because they provide the searcher with the results that they want.
ESPN: ESPN is the biggest sports sites online. That is because they are the most valuable resource for a sports fan. Interested in general sports news and updates? They got it. Want to check out WNBA scores? ESPN will provide it for you. Want to watch highlight from the games last night? They’re just a click away at ESPN. Even better – they cater to the visitor. Columns are in both audio and written formats. Multiple RSS feeds are available. You can register an account, and customize your ESPN experience. These guys – they get it.
Too many people focus on the wrong things these days. They are interested in cosmetic changes to their websites. They worry too much about design issues, about search engine optimization, about link exchanges, about what banners to place.
When running a website you should be focused on one thing and one thing only – turning it into a valuable resource for your visitors.
By turning it into a valuable resource for your visitors, you are giving yourself the biggest chance of success. You are telling all your potential visitors to stop searching – they don’t need to search any longer. They’ve found the site they’re looking for. Your site.
If you run a site dedicated to a poker player, I should be able to go to that website and find out everything I ever wanted to know about that poker player. If your site is focused on poker bonuses, then by god you better be able to provide all the bonus information I require. If your site is based on reviewing poker rooms, then you better cover every poker room there is in detail, constantly updating it with your personal experiences.
Because if you’re not able to provide me with the information I am looking for, then guess what? I’m going to leave the site. I’m going to search for another site that can, and I’m going to forget your site ever existed.
But if your poker bonus site is able to give me all the information I need on a random poker room, be it Full Tilt Poker or Vulcan Poker(yes – that really is a poker room), then I’m going to bookmark that site, and be sure to visit again. And if someone asks me where the best poker bonus site is, I’m going to provide them with a link to your site – because after all, it IS a valuable resource.
When I started in this business, I ran a poker bankroll building site. I don’t think I even had meta tags. My URLs didn’t even have any keywords in them. Hell, I didn’t even have a site map. Yet over the years, that site brought in for me hundreds of thousands of dollars, and was a major success.
Why? Simple – because it was a valuable resource for the players I targeted. My target market was very simple – people who want to build their poker bankroll. I didn’t waste their time with “the top 5 poker rooms”, or “great poker loyalty programs you should check out”.
I didn’t tell them how to play pocket jacks when facing a raise preflop, or provide them with tournament strategies. No, instead I…wait for it……
I told them what they wanted to know.
They wanted something? I told them. I told them the various methods to build a bankroll. I explained why rakeback could be valuable to their bankroll. I told them what poker rooms to play at, and what bonuses to take advantage of.
I wrote articles explaining how they should preserve their bankroll, as well as details on bankroll management. I wrote news updates whenever there was a new poker bonus out, and let them know if it was worth their time or not. I focused on one thing – becoming a valuable resource for them. I didn’t care if Joe Poker were offering me $300 CPA a player – if their bonus sucked, I told the players that.
Throughout that time, I gained credibility. People linked to me on forums, on their websites, on Yahoo Answers – I got so many e-mails from people who said they were visiting my site because their friend told them about it.
People trusted everything I had to write, and I became a valuable resource to them. More importantly, I became an authority site. Did I become an authority site in the eyes of Google Pagerank? Honestly I have no idea – I didn’t even bother checking it back then(and I rarely pay attention now). The main thing however is that I became an authority site in the eyes of the players, and the people I was marketing to.
When I write articles for Poker Affiliate Bible, I write it with one idea in mind – to make you a better affiliate. I look at forums every day, I analyze search results, I talk to sub-affiliates regularly, and I brainstorm. I find out what you guys are looking for – then I do my best to provide it.
I saw people were searching for poker affiliate programs that offers CPA, and they asked me about it – so I added it to the site. I speak to affiliates looking to diversify outside of poker, so I turn Poker Affiliate Bible into the Affiliate Bible, covering a wide variety of topics.
You should see the to do list I have for this site – I have over 150 ideas for articles, all based on what you guys are looking for.
When I look at any of my sites, I ask myself two questions: who is this site targeted towards, and is my site a valuable resource for them. Scratch that – is it THE most valuable resource? And even if it is – how can I make it even more valuable? How can I make my site such a valuable resource that no-one will even have a chance to compete with me?
If you build it, they will come. A bit corny? Maybe – but still very solid advice. As long as you produce the website that your market is looking for, eventually they will find it, and they will share it. People like to blame bad search engine optimization, or a poor design, or not enough incoming links as the reason why their websites are failing – but more than likely, it is because it just isn’t the best site for the people you are marketing to, and when it IS the best site, it will overcome any obstacles like search engine optimization.
I want you to do exactly three things right now:
- Take an hour. Yes, an hour. An hour away from the computer. Think about the demographics and market that your site targets. Take a pen and paper, and write down EVERYTHING that you think your visitors would be looking for. Put yourself in the mind of the visitors, and think about who they are, and what they want from a poker site. If you have to, use Google Analytics(another valuable resource – when it comes to website stats, they provide almost everything their target market would ever need) – to see what search engine terms your visitors are using to visit your page, and what they are looking for based on those.
- Look at your site. Think about whether or not, honestly, your site is a valuable resource for these potential visitors. Ask yourself if your site matches every need that the visitors have. Question whether or not your website is the most valuable resource for that market, compared to every other site out there that targets that market. Ask yourself if the site is perfect, with no room for improvement necessary. If you’re answering honestly – the answer should be “no”.
- Contact me. Do it, right now. Tell me about your site. Tell me how it could be a better resource for your target audience. We’ll work together, and I’ll help you make your site the most valuable resource for that market. We’ll make your site the “Google” of search engines, the “ESPN” of sports sites, the “Expedia” of travel sites. We’ll get a to do list, and I’ll work with you on completing it, and making your site a valuable resource. We’ll get you signed up as my sub-affiliate, and we’ll do the one thing that you deserve.
We’ll make you money. We’ll make us money.
And we’ll make a damn fine website in the process.