Well 2009 is almost beyond us, and it’s time to look ahead to 2010. Without a doubt, 2010 is going to be one of the most interesting years when it comes to internet marketing, especially from a gambing affiliates perspective.
So let’s look ahead at the future, as I discuss my Top Ten Affiliate Tips for 2010…
#1: Let Creativity Guide You:
I’ve always found that setting goals for yourself can actually be a huge negative – you’ll say “I’m going to write 5 articles per day for this website every day in January”, and then ultimately you miss a day. That depresses you or angers you, so you miss another day. And another day. And another day. Then suddenly you had a goal of 155 articles for January and you’ve only managed to write 12 articles.
No matter how you spin it, that makes you feel like a failure. Then you put off working on that website, and next thing you know the website is horribly out of date, getting no google love and you might as well close it down.
Don’t set lofty goals for yourself. Just do what you can and go with the flow. When I decided to write this article, I named it my Top 10 Affiliate Tips for 2010. Guess what? I could only come up with 7, then decided to add this one to make it 8, as the perfect example of what you should be doing. I’ve written the article I wanted – did what I wanted – now I feel happy and ready to move onto other things, rather than sit here frustrated, trying to come up with more tips just to fill out the top 10.
#2: Website Speed:
This should be a no-brainer. Google may as well put up a sign the second you enter webmaster tools – website speed will be very important in 2010. They’ve blogged about it, did videos about it, and even added a section in Webmaster tools about it(Labs->Site Performance). Here’s just one web site speed analyzer of many on the web. So make a list up of EVERYTHING you have to do to increase website speed, then go through all of your sites and do just that. It’s #1 on my priority list for 2010.
#3: Mobile Versions of Your Sites:
Let me tell you a little secret – cellphones that are just phones are a thing of the past. Shocking, I know! Everyone and their mother are getting new cellphones, with iPhones, Blackberrys and lots of other models that have a strong focus on web browsing. Data plans are nowhere near as bad as they used to be, and even if they are – every phone has WiFi capabilities now, and there is free wifi everywhere you go. Starbucks, Subway, Hotels, Librarys – even my local strip club has free wifi!
I’m seeing more and more people browse the web these days on mobile devices – so everything you own should be mobile friendly. I installed skins earlier this year on my vbulletin forums that allowed mobile browsing, and the communities get a lot more traffic and posts due to this. I’ve installed mobile skins on a few websites(which detect if it is a mobile browser) and can see in the stats that it is a great benefit for me. So make that your next biggest focus after website speed – making a great website for mobile users.
#4: Offline Marketing:
It amazes me that year after year, people still don’t do much in the way of offline marketing. Affiliates are quite happy to put all their eggs in one basket – Google rankings – and ignore one of the easiest ways to market. You know those $50k a month rakers? Their poker careers didn’t start by 24-tabling $200NL all day. Most of them started off thanks to a friend referring them to a site, or reading some sort of offline marketing material.
Eventually these people are going to become interested in online poker, and they’re going to google “play online poker” or “online poker for free” or a similar phrase – get them before they do that. Don’t make them google – provide them with the information beforehand!
There are so many ways to offline market. Put marketing material in books, chipsets and magazines, leave a couple of cards in the bathroom of a sports bar. Make friends, and go out to home poker games. Attend local poker tournaments. Wear a Pokerstars t-shirt and walk around town with it. Eventually you’ll get someone coming up to you who has played on Pokerstars, and tell you how rigged it is and how their AA got cracked. Listen politely, then tell them that Full Tilt isn’t rigged, and hand them a card with the Full Tilt domain on it and your bonus code.
Get those people before they start using google to find out where to play. They’re out there. You just have to go out and find them.
#5: Quality over Quantity:
I’m a big fan of mini-sites, which is usually a small site dedicated to a very specific niche, with rarely more than 10 actual pages on it. As long as the SEO is good and the domain has some nice keywords in them, you’re usually guaranteed some nice google rankings.
Yet Google are always wanting to change that, and 2010 may just be the year for it due to Googles Personalized Search. I expect we will see Analytics and Toolbar statistics weigh in a lot more with Google results too, as they ultimately try to make their top results all quality results – something that is beneficial to the bigger sites, and a negative for the smaller sites.
While I’m not saying mini-sites are dead – I would recommend focusing more on bigger sites in 2010. Create sites that aren’t for a quick buck – that are going to be valuable resources for players. Take 10 of those domains you’re sitting on doing nothing with, and turn them into 1 awesome domain, with 100+ pages of excellent content. Go after the long-tails too – if the world caves in and the big sites are top of the rankings constantly, then long-tail is where it will be.
#6: Web 2.0:
Here’s the general rule of thumb – if Google are doing something, then you better do it too. When you search google these days you don’t just get search results that list webpages – you have live updates from Twitter, Youtube Videos etc. GET ON THIS. Get a Twitter feed for your website, where you list all the latest articles. Integrate it into your site, whatever. Run special Twitter promos.
Got a review site? Start integrating video reviews in it. Run a poker blog? Start recording as you play. Use Twitter for updates. Get picture galleries up. More interactive features on your website. Expand your websites, and make it the be all and end all for all website visitors.
Take my latest website – . Go on, have a look at it. Like it? I’ve got an RSS Feed you can subscribe to. And a mailing list. And Twitter. And a one click link to bookmark it. Like it so much you want to share it with others? There’s handy buttons for you to share it on Twitter. And Digg. And Facebook. And StumbleUpon, and about 50 other sharing sites.
The articles aren’t just big walls of text either – there’s lots and lots of screenshots, as well as Youtube Videos embedded into them. Yet the site design is very simple, easy to navigate and so on. That is the type of site you should be aiming for in 2010.
#7: Go to Affiliate Conferences:
It amazes me how many people still don’t go to affiliate conferences. I’m fairly certain if you conducted a survey of the 1000+ people that attended the Budapest Affiliate Conference, almost 100% of them would say “yes” to the question: Was it Worth It?
Affiliate conferences are so valuable for so many reasons. They can be so educational – from the speeches and presentations to just sitting around chatting to other affiliates. Most importantly they are motivating – every time I go to a conference, I return pumped, motivated and full of ideas, ready to get back to work.
Meeting with other affiliates too is important – because you sit down and have a beer with these guys and realize that they aren’t competition – they’re just guys trying to make a buck like you, and then you help each other out. Here’s one example – at a small conference in Niagara Falls a few years back, I had lunch with a couple of guys including Spry who you may know from poker affiliate forums. That is the extent of our real life interaction – a lunch where we had beer and pizza and just talked about UFC. Yet we’ve talked online, and now if I ever write about Pai Gow Poker on a site I’ll be sure to reference his awesome Pai Gow Poker Online website because he’s a friend, and because he’s shared it with me and it’s a great resource for Pai Gow Poker players. That’s just the way it is as an affiliate – you don’t go to these conferences to meet the competition – you go there to network and make friends.
Affiliate managers are the same way – I can argue with a new affiliate manager for a month about getting a higher revenue share deal or problems with tracking or XML Feeds not working and not getting anywhere, even if I have the stats to back it up. Yet once you’ve shared a drink with the person, you’ll find that you always have a better relationship, and it’s a lot easier to get things that you want, because you’re not just an “affiliate ID” to them anymore.
#8: Shit Or Get Off The Pot:
The amount of procrastination that goes on in internet marketing amazes me. Don’t get me wrong I actually like it – it’s better for my business if you guys are sitting around twiddling your thumbs all day. I hear people time and time again going on about all these ideas they have – yet they never start the projects, or leave them half-finished and half-assed.
I’m not pointing any fingers here – however I’ve seen on various poker affiliate blogs and forums as well as many e-mails I’ve received over the last year, of people making posts about how they have to work better, how they’re going to stop visiting forums and avoid distractions, of how they just have all these ideas and all these domains and just can’t find the time to get round to them.
Shut up and Just Do It.
Seriously. Don’t bother with “goals” and ‘resolutions” in 2010 – make a list of what you want to do then do it. Figure out a plan as to how you are going to tackle it, then do it.
You have what is basically a dream job – you get to work from home, and for yourself. You have the opportunity to make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year while other people are getting downsized and are being forced out of their homes.
You are the one that controls your future. Are you gonna be sitting around whining about it, procrastinating and ultimately never getting the things accomplished that you want?
Or are you gonna go home and fuck the prom queen?