When starting any business venture, be it an online ebay store, a local video game store in the mall, or a poker affiliate website, there are two questions you must ask yourself:
(1) Who is my audience?
(2) How will I make money?
Today, we are going to tackle #1.
Knowing who your audience are, is the first key to success. By knowing who they are, and what they are looking for, you can give them what they want, which should lead to your venture becoming profitable. For example, if you run a poker bankroll website, your audience is generally going to be comprised of people looking for guides on how to build up their poker bankroll as well as bonus whoring opportunities, so there’s no point in having strategy guides on how to beat 5 Card Draw on the site, right?
(That isnt necessarily true. However the core of your website and the part you build up first should be the focus of what the website is about. THEN you can work on additional content geared towards bringing in hits)
However, there are two types of audiences. There’s the expected audience, and the unexpected audience. We’ll discuss the expected audience first, using one of my sub-affiliates sites, entitled Phil Ivey Rules the World, and I’ll quickly run down the process that got him started on this website.
This was a person who saw the money I was making, and wanted to get into the affiliate business. However he wasn’t sure if he had the energy or time to put a lot of work into it, or whether he was cut out for this business. So we decided the best thing to do would be to start up a website dedicated to a specific poker player. This kind of a website is very easy to maintain, and a lot of the content is already out there on the world wide web.
So the first job was to pick a poker player to run a site about. This was relatively easy. It was a case of googling various famous poker players, and seeing who had either official sites, or unofficial sites that were #1-2 in google. If either of these sites contained a lot of content, and would be a strict competitor, we’d drop it and move onto the next pro. We finally decided on Phil Ivey.
Once that was done, we used Wordtracker to determine how popular Phil Ivey was in search terms, compared to a few other potential poker players he could run a site about, and the decision was made to run a site dedicated to Phil Ivey.
Once he got the domain, he installed WordPress, and customized the theme to reflect a Phil Ivey tribute site. However once that was done….he was stuck. He had no idea what to do next. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Just add content.” “Ah…but there’s the problem. I don’t know what to add!” First of all, if you’re running a website, and you don’t know what content to add….you’re really not cut out to run that website. Thankfully there are some exceptions, like tribute sites to players, which are extremely easy to do.
I told this affiliate that what he had to do was simple – add content that his visitors would be looking for. First of all, envision what someone would want from a site about Phil Ivey. Off the top of my head, I came up with:
- News about Ivey, be it inside or outside of the poker world.
- Updates on any tournaments Ivey is currently playing in.
- A biography of Phil Ivey.
- A history of Phil Ivey, any bracelets he has won, any WSOP/WPT results.
- A list of all final tables or television shows that Ivey has played in.
- A picture gallery.
- Any interviews Ivey has done – a section based around those archives.
- Updates on Phil Ivey playing online poker at Full Tilt Poker.
- A video section, with links gathered from the likes of PokerTube and YouTube.
That was just off the top of my head. I also instructed him to use some keyword resources to better understand what people are searching for like Wordtracker. Just using that, we also got:
- phil ivey wife
- phil ivey autographs
- phil ivey net worth
- phil ivey golf
- high stakes poker
- phil ivey screenname online poker
Thats just a few of the search terms we discovered in addition to the pre-mentioned content ideas. Now we just used Wordtracker to help understand our audience better, which is just one way its invaluable. It’s also great for SEO purposes, and they have some fantastic guides that everyone should read.
Now at this stage we don’t know the demographics of the people we are targeting – are they young? Old? Male? Female? We don’t know…..and we don’t need to know. What we DO KNOW is what they are searching for, what they are looking for when it comes to a website based on Phil Ivey. By knowing what they are searching for, we are now a lot closer to understanding the audience that we are catering towards, and from there we can provide them that material. That’s how easy it is! Find out what your audience want, and give it to them. I can’t make it simpler than that.
So now my sub-affiliate goes to work – he adds the content to his site. Not too much mind you – we don’t want burnout right away! We start off with about 20 pages of content, focusing on the biggest keywords people are searching for, like a Phil Ivey bio, or a picture gallery, or interviews. Whatever the majority of the audience are looking for, we give it to them.
Once that’s done, we start doing the normal webmastery stuff, like making sure the site is search engine optimized, getting link exchanges etc(and remember – he should also be getting links to specific pages on his site, with different anchor text), and hopefully getting higher up on google by the day.
You see – we haven’t just sat back and assumed we know what the audience wants – we’ve actually went out and found out for ourselves. And that’s a key concept many people miss out on – they incorrectly assume what a visitor wants, regardless of whether or not they actually know the market, and they can’t understand when people don’t visit.
However – it doesn’t end there. Well, it does for a majority of affiliates….but not for the smart affiliates, which hopefully you all are. You see, we constantly have to re-evalute who the audience is. We need to be checking on a weekly or monthly basis to see what search terms people are searching for, and we also need to see how people are finding our site.
Just as an extreme example – lets say one day we check our stat counters, and look at the search engine referrals we got. We notice 5 or 6 on one day that sees people searching for Phil Ivey and Jennifer Harman affair. What this means, is that somewhere out there, there is gossip about Phil Ivey and Jennifer Harman having an affair. What we have to do is find that information(and it’ll probably be on some poker forum somewhere), evalute it and write an article based around it.
This was just an extreme example, but hopefully you get the point. We have to continually cater to our audience, reevaluating them on a regular basis. We also need to understand what our audience are looking at when they come to our website(and Google Analytics comes in handy here).
For example if 66% of visitors to your website click the Phil Ivey Picture Gallery, then that means that the majority of your visitors are wanting to see pictures of Phil Ivey. So you know what you have to do? Work on that section even more. Give that the most regular updates, and give those visitors a reason to keep coming back.
And the more often a visitor comes back, the more potential to make money from them, and that’s what it’s all about, right?