How the GDPR Affects Your Affiliate Program

By now, you’ve probably heard about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which recently went into effect. It controls how websites collect and store data from visitors in the European Union (EU). It’s important to understand how the GDPR affects your affiliate site, since breaching it could cost you – even if you’re not located in the EU.

Luckily, there are tools in place to help you understand and comply with the GDPR. WordPress, for example, has added built-in tools to make key aspects of GDPR compliance simpler. Making sure your affiliate site is in line with this new regulation might take a little time, but it doesn’t have to be a chore.

In this article, we’ll explain what the GDPR is all about, and talk about how you can comply with it. Let’s get to work!

A Brief Primer on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law in the European Union (EU). It was passed in 2016, but just recently went into effect in May 2018. In a nutshell, it regulates the ways in which websites can collect your personal data.

Essentially, if websites collect data, they must display a disclosure of this fact to EU residents, even if the website itself is not located in the EU. That means even websites based entirely in the United States will be affected by this, as long as there’s a chance they’ll attract the occasional EU-based visitor.

What’s more, breaching the GDPR can carry a fine of up to 4% of your annual turnover or 20 million euros, whichever is higher. This may leave you wondering what the solution is. To help you get started, let’s talk about how you’ll need to comply with the GDPR.

What the GDPR Means for You

As a website owner, you have to pay attention to the GDPR regulations. The GDPR states that any company collecting data from EU citizens must comply with the law, no matter where that company is based. Since websites are always collecting some amount of data by default, this means that the GDPR affects your affiliate site.

The GDPR outlines strict requirements. For example, you must adhere to the following key rules:

  • Consent. Obtain informed consent from your visitors. This means explaining what type of data you collect in clear, easy-to-understand language, and having visitors opt in to that collection.
  • Right to access. Your affiliates and other website visitors have the right to request any data of theirs that you have been storing. This means that you must be aware of where your website stores data, even if you use a third-party service.
  • Right to be forgotten. If a visitor withdraws their consent, you must delete any personal data of theirs that you’ve stored.
  • Breach policy. You must develop a plan of action in case of a data breach, which includes notifying all affected parties quickly.

Essentially, you’ll need to make sure the data you collect is stored safely, and ensure that users are aware of what you’re doing. This is just a snapshot of what the GDPR involves, of course. So we recommend that you take the time to read through the whole thing, in order to get a better sense for how it will affect you.

How Affiliate Marketers Can Comply With the GDPR

Before we wrap up, let’s talk a little more about what you need to do to ensure GDPR compliance. Just as a disclaimer, we’re not lawyers, and this isn’t a complete guide to compliance. Instead, these are just some helpful suggestions to get you started.

To bring your website in line with the new regulations, you’ll want to:

  • Give visitors the chance to opt in or out of data collection. If you collect any kind of personal data from your website visitors, you must let them know with a clear opt-in placed prominently on your website. At minimum, even if you haven’t set up any specific data collection features, your website is likely collecting ‘cookies’. This is especially true if your affiliate site uses third party advertisements or processes credit card information. You can add an opt-in checkbox to your WordPress site with the WP GDPR Compliance plugin.
  • Display a clear privacy policy. Your website must feature a clearly-written privacy policy detailing what type of data you collect, and how you use it. The current version of WordPress enables you to generate a privacy policy in your admin dashboard under Settings > Privacy. Make sure to update the template with details specific to your site.
  • Make sure you’re storing affiliate data securely. You need to know exactly what you’re collecting from affiliates, protect it from harm, and be able to provide a copy of it or delete it if necessary. So make sure you’re storing all data collected in a secure way, such as through a third-party cloud storage service.
  • Create a plan to handle breaches. No matter what steps you take to protect your site’s data, nothing is 100% effective. Therefore, you’ll need to create a plan for what to do in the event of a data breach. For example, if your affiliate site collects credit card information, how would you inform any users whose information may have been affected? What authorities would you reach out to?

There is also a website with GDPR-compliance language and tools you can use on your site. It includes regular webinars that will keep you up to date as regulations change in the future, and live Q&As where you can ask questions. You can also find plenty of handy GDPR compliance guides online.

Conclusion

GDPR breaches can carry a hefty fine, and be damaging to your reputation. It’s important to stay on top of the new rules, therefore, and make sure your affiliate site complies with all of them.

To do that, you’ll want to (at a minimum):

  1. Include a clear opt-in checkbox.
  2. Display a privacy policy written in simple, clear language.
  3. Make sure you’re storing affiliate data securely.
  4. Develop a plan for what you would do in the event of a data breach.

Do you have any other questions about the GDPR regulations? Let us know in the comments section below!

Black Hat SEO: What It Is and How It Can Hurt Your Affiliate Site

The more traffic on your affiliate site, the better. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help boost your site’s page rankings, and attract more visitors. However, search engines are also designed to punish sites using specific types of SEO tactics.

Luckily, there are clear guidelines you can follow to avoid using these ‘black hat’ SEO techniques. This will ensure that your site is not being pushed down in the rankings by factors within your control, and can help you attract a wider audience to your affiliate website.

This article will go over what black hat SEO is, discuss the factors search engines use to decide whether or not your content is ‘spammy,’ and explain how you can avoid any negative tactics you might be using unintentionally. Let’s get started!

A Primer on Black Hat Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

It’s important to understand ‘black hat’ Search Engine Optimization (SEO), before you can learn how to avoid it. The term itself originated with the black hats villains often wore in old movies, and is meant to signify techniques one might use to ‘cheat’ the system.

One example of a black hat SEO tactic would be intentionally overloading your text with highly-searched keywords in an attempt to drive lots of traffic to your site, a practice known as ‘keyword stuffing’. This generally creates hard-to-read, unnatural content that’s not very valuable to readers.

In contrast, more genuine uses of SEO techniques are referred to as ‘white hat’. The white hat alternative to keyword stuffing would be to write text primarily focused on what’s important to your readers, working in keywords only when it is natural to do so.

How Search Engines Judge Your Content

You might be wondering where and how search engines draw the line between black hat and white hat SEO. The primary difference between the two is in the value you’re adding for your visitors. SEO favors fresh, original content. On the other hand, it punishes tactics that involve scamming the system, trying to boost page rankings without necessarily offering additional value.

That isn’t to say that black hat SEO is always intended as malicious. You may be using some of these techniques already, without being aware of it. Whatever your motives, however, you’ll want to learn about and avoid black hat tactics, as they will usually lower your rankings. In turn, that means viewers will be less likely to find your site via organic searches, which can cause your page views (and affiliate sales) to drop.

3 Black Hat Tactics You Might Be Using (And How to Avoid Them)

Now that we’ve covered why black hat SEO is undesirable, let’s get a little more practical. In general, to avoid black hat SEO, you should focus as much on quality as you do on optimization. More specifically, however, here are three of the most common SEO mistakes to avoid.

1. Keyword Stuffing

We briefly touched on keyword stuffing already. This is the practice of overusing keywords, especially when they’re not relevant to your content. In turn, keywords are commonly searched-for words or phrases, which you can add to your site to help search engines figure out what your content is all about.

Search engines detect keyword stuffing by finding frequently-repeated words or phrases, or lists of keywords without any context at all. When you abuse keywords this way, it creates bloated text that’s hard to read and sounds unnatural. Worse, if you use keywords that aren’t related to your text, you may be leading your visitors towards content they weren’t looking for, decreasing its relevance.

You can avoid keyword stuffing by focusing on writing text in a natural way, and only mentioning keywords when they fit in organically. You also want to provide valuable content. For example, if you were selling a 100% silk sweater, it’s not enough to simply repeat the phrase “100% silk sweater” over and over again.

Instead, you might want to write a description about the organic, eco-friendly conditions the silk worms were raised in, or a blog post about outfit pairings that are cute for spring, and work in mentions of the sweater as relevant. Ultimately, content comes first – and then keywords.

2. Abusing Anchor Text

Another tactic you’ll want to watch out for is overusing anchor text. Anchor text is the word or phrase a link is attached to, and can be beneficial in link building – an important part of the SEO process.

If you are writing an article, and it touches on content you’ve already written on your site, it’s useful to post a select number of links back to that content. Links can also be used to point towards external sites, and even for advertisements.

However, there are right and wrong ways to use links on your site. For example, behavior that’s interpreted as spammy includes creating many links containing the exact same anchor text. Stuffing your text with similar links can tank your site’s SEO, just as with keywords.

What’s more, as an affiliate site, your reputation is paramount. If your site looks spammy, businesses and affiliates may not want to be associated with your brand. Having an overabundance of links to low-quality content can lower your brand’s reputation, and its overall influence.

You can avoid this black hat tactic by focusing on only including links where relevant, and pointing towards high-quality sources. For each link you add, think to yourself – will this create value for my visitors and/or affiliates? In addition, make sure to vary your anchor text, rather than using the same phrases over and over again.

3. Copied Content

Finally, copied content is another SEO killer. Remember back in school when you needed to produce original work or risk expulsion? Duplicate content must be avoided here as well, as it can lower your SEO rankings significantly.

Some website owners will copy text exactly from other sites, which is obviously a bad idea. However, even if you’re not doing that, search engine algorithms might still see your site as copied content. For example, if it has multiple pages that contain the same or similar text, they may show up as duplicates. This can happen if you have one copy of your website with the www extension and one without, or if you have a mobile version of your site and another version for desktops.

To avoid this, one solution is to use canonical links to tell search engines when you have multiple versions of the same content on your own website. In other words, this is a way to let search engines know you’ve intentionally created duplicate versions of pages, as for a mobile site, so that it isn’t assumed to be a black hat tactic.

Conclusion

Using strong SEO techniques is vital to the success of your affiliate program. The lower your SEO is, the less likely it will be that anyone sees your affiliate site’s content. At the same time, you can overdo your efforts in this area.

Fortunately, you can easily avoid the most common black hat SEO tactics. To recap, you’ll want to:

  1. Use keywords only where relevant and natural.
  2. Incorporate links strategically, and don’t repeat the same anchor text ad nauseam.
  3. Avoid duplicate content, or indicate clearly when it’s been created for a purpose.

Do you have any other questions about how to stay away from black hat SEO? Let us know in the comments section below!

5 Tools to Help You Create Banner Images for Your Affiliate Ads

Once you have a roster of affiliate partners who are ready to host ads for your business, the next step is to create banner images for them to display on their sites. However, working with a professional designer can get pricey.

Fortunately, there’s a wide array of tools available to help you out. Creating your own images gives you the ability to change up your banner ads periodically, or to personalize them for each of your affiliates – without the expense of hiring a designer.

This article will go over five tools you can use to create your own banner images. Let’s get going!

The Importance of Affiliate Banner Ads

First, let’s briefly go over what banner ads are and why you might want to use them instead of text ads. Banner ads are vertical or horizontal images, usually placed on either the top, bottom, or right-hand side of a website:

An example of a banner ad.

They can be much more eye-catching than text-based ads would be in the same location. Also, people generally process information more quickly from images. This means that even a quick glance at a banner ad can tell visitors all they need to know – and if they’re interested, they’ll click through.

You can create and supply banner ads to your affiliates using Affiliate Royale. However, if you do use a banner ad, you’ll want to take the time to design one that really stands out.

5 Tools to Help You Create Banner Images for Your Affiliate Ads

In the past, we’ve gone over the basics of how to design effective banner ads. However, actually creating those banners can be a challenge.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be Picasso to create a stunning banner yourself. To help you get started, let’s look at five tools you can use.

1. Google Web Designer

The Google Web Designer tool.

Google Web Designer is a desktop app that enables you to create beautiful HTML and CSS designs – no coding necessary. It’s perfect for technically-minded designers who can navigate a slightly more complex interface.

Key Features:

  • Google Web Designer includes a visual editor that automatically generates code.
  • It can scale your designs with ease for mobile devices – so you don’t need to continually adjust the sizes for different platforms.
  • You can create simple images, or even complex and layered animations, both using a visual timeline.

Pricing: Google Web Designer is a completely free solution.

2. Fotor

The Fotor tool.

Fotor is an online and desktop app that comes with a number of attractive templates This means that if you’re a total design novice, you can start with one of these foundations, and then simply tweak it as needed.

Key Features:

  • Pared down, Fotor is one of the simplest layout tools you can use.
  • If you’re stuck for ideas, you can use Fotor’s extensive template library as inspiration.
  • You can also use Fotor’s filter library to customize your photos with Instagram-like filters. This can add greater contrast and interest to them. One study showed that photos with filters are more likely to be viewed and commented on than standard images.

Pricing: Fotor is a free tool, with a premium version starting at $3.33 per month. Some templates are premium-only, and this version is also ad-free.

3. Pixlr

The Pixlr tool.

Pixlr is a web-based photo editor with an interface similar to early versions of Photoshop. If you have experience with Photoshop, but want something simpler and free, this is an excellent alternative.

Key Features:

  • Pixlr uses a ‘layers’ window to display all the images on your canvas. Once you understand the concept of layers, it can make graphic design fairly easy.
  • This tool offers a wide range of image editing tools, including level adjustments.
  • You can save your edited Pixlr photos as transparent PNGs, and bring them into either Google Web Designer or Fotor to design a more complex layout.

Pricing: Pixlr is a free tool with a pro option that costs $5 per month. It includes a template library, and access to over 1,000 premium stock photos.

4. Canva

The Canva tool.

Canva is a web-based tool with streamlined simplicity, which is perfect for design newbies. You can use it to generate custom color palettes, font pairings, and more.

Key Features:

  • You can find two fonts that match nicely together using Canva’s Font Combinations tool.
  • If you upload a photo you like, Canva will automatically generate a color palette based on it, with hex codes for the web.
  • Canva’s pro version includes over 400,000 free stock photos, illustrations, and templates to choose from.

Pricing: This is another free solution with a premium tier. Pricing starts at $12.95 per month, per user. You can also try it free for 30 days, to get a feel for how the tool works.

5. Snappa

The Snappa tool.

Snappa is a web-based app, which offers powerful design tools in an easy-to-use format. Overall, it’s an excellent option for beginners.

Key Features:

  • You can control graphic effects in Snappa with an easy slider.
  • It includes over 500,000 images and over 70,000 graphics (such as illustrations and icons) that you can use.
  • There’s a one-click resizing option, with built-in presets and an option for custom sizing.

Pricing: Snappa offers a pared-down version for free. The pro version starts at $10 per month.

Conclusion

Creating banner images is simple, once you’re familiar with the tools available. Being able to quickly customize and edit a banner yourself can have huge payoffs in the long run, versus the expense of hiring a designer.

Let’s recap the five top tools you can use to do this:

  1. Google Web Designer: A desktop app with auto resizing for mobile devices.
  2. Fotor: A simple web or desktop app, with built-in templates available.
  3. Pixlr: A tool very similar to Photoshop, with easy image editing tools.
  4. Canva: A beginner-friendly solution with an extensive stock photo and illustration library.
  5. Snappa: A powerful web app with one-click resizing and a huge visual asset library.

Do you have any questions about creating effective banner images for your affiliate site? Let us know in the comments section below!

How to Run a Survey That Improves Your Affiliate Program (In 4 Steps)

Once you’ve been running your affiliate program for a while, it’s important to solicit feedback. Your affiliates have ‘eyes on the ground,’ after all, and can offer a useful outsider’s perspective on your ad campaign and how to improve it. Plus, this can also keep you abreast of your affiliates’ own needs.

Luckily, it’s easy to survey your existing affiliates using your WordPress website. Their input can help you understand how to improve participation rates and effectively recruit new members. What’s more, soliciting feedback is an excellent way of learning how to boost conversion rates.

In this article, we’ll go over how to write and distribute an affiliate survey for maximum effect. Let’s get started!

The Importance of Surveys to Your Affiliate Program

Surveys are beneficial in just about any situation where you need direct feedback from your audience. Instead of waiting for them to offer their feedback of their own volition, you can reach out and ask for exactly what you need.

As a perfect example, surveys can be of significant help to you when maintaining your affiliate program. They’re a way to see, at a glance, where you’re succeeding and where you’re struggling. Plus, since surveys are typically anonymous, you’re more likely to get honest feedback from affiliates than if you asked them individually.

An example of an affiliate survey.

In fact, surveys may even give you a chance to fix problems you weren’t aware of. If you include fields for affiliates to write in their own comments, they can anonymously submit concerns they may feel awkward bringing up face-to-face. You can use this information to improve your program, and to make your affiliates feel
 more valued and engaged.

How to Run a Survey That Improves Your Affiliate Program (In 4 Steps)

Now that we’ve addressed why surveys are important, let’s talk about how to implement one. While there are a number of ways to set up a successful affiliate survey, we’re going to walk you through one of the simplest and most effective methods. Plus, it’s also completely free!

Step 1: Determine Your Goals

Before you begin writing survey questions, take a moment to think about your overall goals. What outcome do you want from your survey, and what specific information do you want to find out?

For example, if you’ve been having trouble retaining or recruiting affiliates, you might want to focus on how you can make the deal more appealing to potential partners. On the other hand, if you have plenty of affiliates, but you’re seeing poor conversion rates, you might want to ask for their thoughts on your ads and your core audience’s needs.

Step 2: Create Targeted Questions

Once you have one or more primary goals, you’re ready to begin thinking about the survey itself. What you’ll want to do here is write a set of targeted questions that are based on your objectives.

For instance, let’s say you’re focused on improving affiliate retention. In that case, you might ask questions about where your program may be lacking, such as: “Is there any aspect of our affiliate program where you feel we could improve?”

While it’s important to get as much information as you can, you’ll also want to keep the survey brief. This can help to improve your response rate. If the survey is too long, affiliates might get bored and stop before completing it. In most cases, you’ll want to aim at keeping it around 5 to 10 minutes or less.

In addition, try to present questions with clickable options when possible, as well as optional fields for write-in responses. That way, if affiliates want to breeze through the survey quickly, they can so do. At the same time, the extra fields enable more dedicated respondents to elaborate on their answers.

Step 3: Draft the Survey in Google Forms

Now that you know what questions you want to ask, you’re ready to create the survey itself. To do that, Google Forms is a free and easy tool for anonymous survey submission. You can also choose to require a name and email if you’d rather know who your respondents are, although that may hinder their honesty.

The Google Forms website.
One benefit of Google Forms is that your survey can be embedded directly into your WordPress website, and/or emailed as a direct link. That way, you’re not tied to one platform, and you can send the survey to your email list if you have one. For more details on how to actually create your first survey (which is a quick and easy process), you can check out Google’s own documentation.

Step 4: Share the Survey with Your Affiliates

With your completed Google Form in hand, you’re finally ready to invite your affiliates to respond. As mentioned in the last step, you can either email affiliates a link to the Google Form, or embed it directly onto your WordPress site.

For best results, make sure to include a strong appeal to your affiliates, urging them to complete the survey. You can even include a prize, such as a raffle entry. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, a small monetary incentive can increase your response rates by up to 30%.

Conclusion

Creating a survey can help you keep abreast of your affiliates’ wants and needs, and ensure loyalty from the participants in your program. It also provides invaluable information about how to improve your program, in order to attract new affiliates your way.

To make sure your survey is as successful as possible, you can follow the process outlined above:

  1. Determine your goals.
  2. Create targeted questions.
  3. Draft the survey in Google Forms.
  4. Share the survey with your affiliates, as an email or embedded on your website.

Do you have any questions about what your affiliate survey should include? Let us know in the comments section below!

3 Ways You Can Make Your Affiliate Program More Accessible

Accessibility key on a keyboard

As the number of internet users keeps rising, web accessibility is becoming a more pressing concern. Due to the way some websites are designed, they can be difficult for people with special requirements to access, such as those who use screen readers. Not considering accessibility can lose you a lot of traffic.

For this reason, it’s vitally important that you design your affiliate program with accessibility in mind. This ensures that as many people as possible can use it without problems. Not only will this improve your affiliates’ user experience, it can even help to make your program more successful.

In this article, we’ll discuss web accessibility and why it’s important. We’ll also show you how to take your first steps towards making your program more accessible for everyone. Let’s get started!

A Brief Introduction to Web Accessibility

Web accessibility is the practice of designing websites that can be used by anyone, regardless of whether they have a disability or other special needs. This is an important topic, especially as the number of internet users increases.

If you design any type of site and don’t make it accessible, you’re effectively shutting out a lot of your potential audience. This can be especially harmful for an affiliate program, as you’re limiting the number of potential affiliates who can sign up. As such, it’s important to consider how you can improve the accessibility of your affiliate website.

3 Ways You Can Make Your Affiliate Program More Accessible

Now, let’s discuss some of the ways you can improve accessibility for your affiliate program. Bear in mind that this is by no means a comprehensive list, so we recommend that you refer to sources like WebAIM and W3C for more information on designing with web accessibility in mind. However, the following three techniques are a perfect way to get started right now.

1. Add Image Descriptions to Your Banners

Including alt text for your site’s images is a crucial aspect of web accessibility. Alt text displays when the image itself cannot be loaded for whatever reason. However, it’s also used by screen readers to ‘describe’ the image to vision-impaired users.

As such, you’ll want to take care to add alt text to all the images on your site. While you aren’t able to do this for the banner ads you upload to your affiliate program, you can still achieve the same result by adding an image description. You can do this when creating a banner in Affiliate Royale > Links & Banners:

Adding an image description to a banner in Affiliate Royale.

By adding a detailed description to the Info field, you can describe the image so users with assistive technology will understand what it contains. This can even be helpful for other affiliates, such as those who aren’t fluent in English and are using automatic translation software.

2. Implement ‘Skip Links’

A skip link on the WebAIM home page.

Skip links assist users who rely on keyboard-only navigation.

One of the most important aspects of creating an accessible site is making sure it’s keyboard-friendly. This means that a user should be able to easily navigate your site using only a keyboard (since some people have difficulty using a mouse). In practice, most sites achive this by enabling users to navigate using the tab key to jump between objects on the page.

One issue that can result from this setup is that users are required to tab through all your navigational elements just to get to a page’s content. To avoid this hassle, you can implement ‘skip links’, which let people jump ahead to the actual content. This is especially important for your affiliate dashboard, as affiliates may otherwise be stuck in your menus when they just want to access their personal information and resources.

There are a number of ways you can add skip links, but one of the easiest is to use a plugin. WP Accessibility is an excellent option, and makes it easy to add skip links to your site’s theme (among other features).

3. Design Your Program’s Site With Accessibility in Mind

Finally, in order to create a truly accessible affiliate program, you’ll need to keep the main elements of web accessibility in mind throughout the entire website design process. Let’s quickly run through some of the most important things you’ll want to consider:

  • Use headings correctly. Make sure that you implement headings and use them correctly, as they help assistive software to better understand the layout and content of your site.
  • Consider color contrast. If you use colors that are too similar or clash too much, your site could become difficult to read. This can cause problems for users with colorblindness or photosensitive epilepsy.
  • Use descriptive links. Your links’ anchor text should always clearly describe their purpose. You can do this both when designing your site and your affiliate dashboard, but also when adding descriptions to your affiliate links.

While this can seem like a lot of work, it will help you avoid creating a site that’s difficult for a considerable number of potential affiliates to use. Building an accessible site will benefit both your affiliates and your program in the long run. Plus, most of these techniques can be used to improve an existing site as well as a brand-new one.

Conclusion

Web accessibility is becoming a more important consideration by the day, and it’s important to keep it in mind when designing the interface for your affiliate program. Fortunately, WordPress and Affiliate Royale can help you make your site more accessible, which makes the experience of using your program more enjoyable and increases its long-term potential for success.

In this article, we’ve shown you a few ways you can improve your affiliate program’s accessibility. These include:

  1. Add image descriptions to your banners.
  2. Implement skip links.
  3. Design your program’s site with accessibility in mind.

Do you have any questions about how to make your affiliate program as accessible as possible? Let us know in the comments section below!

How You Can Use YouTube to Improve Your Affiliate Marketing

YouTube is one of the most visited sites on the internet – in fact, it’s second only to Google. It’s a perfect place to showcase your creativity. What you might not know is that it’s also a useful platform for increasing your affiliate profits.

Affiliate marketing on YouTube is a smart way to provide extra value to your audience, while earning revenue at the same time. While YouTube offers various built-in ways of monetizing your content, affiliate marketing gives you direct control over what products you promote and enables you to see more of the resulting profits.

In this article, we’ll discuss how affiliate marketing works on YouTube and why you might want to get involved. We’ll also show you how you can get started. Let’s jump right in!

The Benefits of Using YouTube for Affiliate Marketing

The YouTube home page.

With nearly 2 billion logged-in users every month, YouTube is the second most visited website in the world. This also makes it the second largest search engine on the web. In both cases, YouTube is only surpassed by Google (its parent company).

Not only does this make YouTube an excellent platform for communication and creativity, but it’s also a lucrative market for earning revenue through your content. YouTube itself enables you to monetize your videos by running ads before and during their run time. However, another way to earn money via your work is by incorporating affiliate links alongside your content.

Every time one of your viewers uses these links to buy something, you’ll earn a commission. This gives you a greater degree of control over what you promote, and lets you keep tabs on your results by tracking the links.

How You Can Use YouTube to Improve Your Affiliate Marketing (3 Key Tips)

Throughout the next few sections, we’re going to look at how you can use YouTube and affiliate marketing together, in order to earn more commissions and provide additional value to your viewers.

If you haven’t already, the first thing you’ll need to do is create a free YouTube channel. In order to get the most out of what we’ll be discussing, we also recommend that you apply for the YouTube Partner Program, which will give your channel access to more features and monetization opportunities. Then, you can get to work!

1. Create Relevant and Engaging Content

The first step is to make sure that you’re able to attract an audience. There’s not much point in promoting your affiliate links to non-existent viewers, after all. This is obviously easier said than done. However, a vital factor in any affiliate marketing campaign is making sure you can provide top-notch content.

The quality of your videos is what will encourage viewers to visit your channel and trust your advice (as is the case with your blog posts). Therefore, it’s important that you find the right niche, and produce videos that are relevant to the products or services you want to promote.

As one example, you could devote your channel largely to review videos, where you discuss and rate affiliate products. This will provide actual value to your viewers, and can help you grow your audience. Just make sure that along with being engaging, you provide an honest assessment of each item. This will help ensure that viewers trust your judgment when you present them with affiliate links.

2. Add Affiliate Links to Descriptions (And the Videos Themselves)

The easiest way to include affiliate links alongside your videos is simply to add them into your video descriptions. These appear underneath each video, and there is no limit to the number of links you can post within:

A video description on YouTube featuring a list of affiliate links.

It’s also smart to mention in these links in the videos themselves. This should make it more likely that viewers will take a moment to check out the descriptions.

If you’re a member of the YouTube Partner program, you can also incorporate links directly into your videos. YouTube offers a feature called end cards, which you can add to the last 20 seconds of each video. These cards can contain links both to other content on YouTube, and to external sites.

While end cards are available to all users, however, only Partners can add external links:

Warning message when adding an end card, saying that you need to be a YouTube Partner to include external links.

As such, if you want to get serious about using YouTube for your affiliate marketing, you should definitely consider applying for the program.

3. Be Honest and Disclose Your Affiliate Links

Transparency is vitally important in affiliate marketing. It ensures that your audience can trust you without feeling tricked, and it enables you to market honestly.

Therefore, you’ll always want to clearly label your affiliate links. We even recommend that you mention this aspect in your videos. For example, let’s say you’re reviewing a product for which you’ve provided affiliate links in the video description. You could mention that if the viewer wants to try the product for themselves, they can use the link in the description, and if they do they’ll be helping to support you (since you’ll get a small cut of the profits).

This makes the benefits of clicking on your links – both to yourself and to your viewers – readily apparent. Being honest about your opinions and goals will serve you and your audience well in the long term, as it establishes trust and loyalty.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing can be a lucrative and rewarding way to monetize your creative content. With its enormous user base and many useful features, YouTube offers the perfect platform to spread your affiliate links, while remaining in control over your content’s quality.

In this article, we’ve discussed three crucial tips for getting started with affiliate marketing on YouTube. These include:

  1. Create relevant and engaging content.
  2. Add affiliate links to your descriptions and videos.
  3. Be honest, and disclose your affiliate links.

Do you have any questions about how to conduct affiliate marketing on YouTube? Let us know in the comments section below!

3 Ways to Create a Powerful Call To Action

Every affiliate site has an express purpose, one goal towards which you’re guiding visitors. Before they can reach this goal – the end of the sales funnel – they’ll need to complete a specific action. The key is getting them to take that final plunge.

This is where your Call To Action (CTA) comes into play. A CTA is a message you present to your audience that lets them know exactly what you’d like them to do. This could be completing a purchase, for example, or signing up for a membership.

In this article, we’ll discuss CTAs further, including how to create one that can help to increase your conversions. We’ll also cover some tips for making your CTA compelling and effective. Let’s go!

An Introduction to the Call To Action (CTA)

Campaign Monitor's call to action

Strategically-placed buttons or text can compel visitors to perform a specific action.

In simplest terms, a Call To Action (CTA) is a marketing device that’s used to prompt an immediate response from your audience. On affiliate sites, these are often used to encourage conversions (i.e. sales). As such, they can appear in blog posts (such as on a banner in the middle of the page) and on product pages (for instance, as a button with a text prompt).

Every online business uses a CTA in some way or another. After all, it’s simply a message that you use to encourage visitors to perform a specific action. This could be buying a product, joining a newsletter, or even just signing up for an account or membership.

To be effective, however, your CTAs must be both clear and compelling. You don’t want your visitors to have to guess at what you’d like them to do. Instead, you need to provide explicit instructions for their next steps, and encouragement to move forward.

3 Ways to Create a Powerful CTA for Your Website

Now we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a close look at how you can make your CTAs more powerful. In turn, this will make them more likely to be clicked on by visitors.

1. Make the Message Engaging and Persuasive

Netflix's compelling call to action

Netflix uses a compelling and straight-to-the point CTA to attract new subscribers.

If a powerful CTA is your goal, an engaging and persuasive message is a must. Doing so will require you to use the ‘right’ words to make the CTA effective. Of course, the phrasing you’ll need to use can vary depending on your audience and ultimate goal.

To get started, we recommend that you:

  • Make the benefit of your products or services clear. For example, you can offer a free trial (so visitors can test a product out for themselves), or highlight some positive customer testimonials.
  • Use powerful words and positive emotions. These choices will evoke good feelings in your visitors, which can compel them to click through to the next step.

Another option for making your message persuasive is to use specific terms rather than generic ones. Instead of “Try It Now”, for example, you can use CTA text such as “Click Here for Your 14-Day Free Trial”. This will give visitors a clearer sense of what they’ll get out of following your suggested action.

2. Choose the Right Colors

Aquaspresso's colorful call to action button

Aquaspresso’s use of yellow in its CTA ensures that the message stands out.

While the words you use are important, so too is the presentation. In fact, how your CTA button looks can have a drastic effect on its success. This is why you must choose the ‘right’ colors when designing a CTA.

However, what is the best color choice for one website may not be ideal for another. Since various colors have different connotations, you’ll need to spend time considering your goals, as well as the overall impression you want to present to your visitors.

Most importantly, you’ll want to:

  • Pick an emotion. For example, red is a solid option if you want to project a sense of urgency. However, if you’d rather promote a feeling of security for more reluctant buyers, blue is your best bet.
  • Consider contrast. You’ll also want to think about how the CTA’s colors will look next to the rest of your website. You need your CTA to stand out, which means you’ll want to use colors that contrast with the rest of your design.

Do keep in mind that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to color selection. However, following the general guidelines above will get you off to a good start.

3. Display Your CTA in a Prominent Location

OfficeVibe's prominently placed call to action

Officevibe places its CTA at the top right of its website, a place that is seen by the majority of visitors.

Not only does the way your CTA look play a role in success, where it’s placed has a significant effect. This is because people usually read websites in an F-shaped pattern. In general, that means CTAs will perform best when placed at the very top of the page, or somewhere towards the middle.

However, there are other scanning patterns your visitors might follow, so it’s best to test and optimize your individual CTA’s placement. To do so, you can:

  • Use a heatmap. This kind of tool will help you to see which placements work best on your website, and will highlight where visitors tend to interact with your pages and posts most often.
  • Use CTAs sparingly. If you have multiple CTAs in close proximity, you may confuse your audience. Ideally, you should never have more than one CTA per page.

Don’t be afraid to test out different placements, as this will be the only way you can learn which locations are most successful on your website.

Conclusion

Having a powerful CTA is a key part of making your affiliate site profitable. If you can design a CTA that persuades people to complete the action you want, you’ll be in a strong position to increase your conversions and revenue.

In this article, we’ve discussed three ways you can create an effective CTA. These are:

  1. Make the message engaging and persuasive.
  2. Choose the right colors.
  3. Display your CTA in a prominent location.

Do you have any questions about how to power up your website’s CTAs? Let us know in the comments section below!

How to Attract ‘Super Affiliates’ to Your Program (In 3 Ways)

When it comes to your affiliate program, not all members are created equal. While you naturally appreciate the hard work of everyone who takes part, there’s no denying that some affiliates perform better than others.

In fact, the best marketers are often given the title of ‘super affiliate’. These are the affiliates who bring in significantly more money than the rest of your program’s members. In many cases, a small number of super affiliates can bring in 50-70% of your entire program’s profits.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper into what super affiliates are, and explain how you can attract them to your program. Let’s go!

What Super Affiliates Are (And Why You Need Them Around)

The This Is Why I'm Broke home page.

A super affiliate’s website, such as This Is Why I’m Broke, can vastly increase referrals, traffic, and conversions to your program.

As the name implies, a ‘super affiliate’ is someone out of the ordinary. This term refers to a particularly skilled and valuable affiliate marketer, who brings in a huge number of referrals for your program.

There are several criteria that denote a super affiliate. These can include their consistency, authority in their niche, and other competitive advantages. As an example of that last characteristic, a super affiliate may have a large pre-existing audience or industry connections that make them especially productive.

Naturally, having one or more super affiliates in your program is highly desirable, as they’ll often bring in the majority of your program’s profits. This also means that super affiliates are very in-demand, however, and have a lot more leverage than your typical marketers. As such, they may require more from you if you want to convince them to join your program.

How to Attract Super Affiliates to Your Program (In 3 Ways)

Getting a super affiliate to sign on to your program requires more work than attracting any other type of marketer. Due to their heightened abilities and advantages, you will need to consider each super affiliate carefully and work especially hard to gain their attention. This is worth the effort, of course, but relies on a unique set of strategies. Next up, we’re going to look at three of the most effective techniques.

1. Find Them in Your Niche (And Get Their Attention)

The first thing you need to do is understand that you’re not just looking for any super affiliates, but for ones that match your niche. Not only will this make them more likely to be interested in your program, but it will ensure that their skills and authority are used optimally. For example, if you’re selling beauty products, working with a super affiliate whose main focus is on tech gadgets isn’t exactly ideal.

Once you’ve located this type of affiliate, the next step is to get their attention. Many affiliates on this level will already have easily-accessible contact forms, which is a decent option. However, they’re likely inundated with many requests and offers, so you need to stand out from the crowd.

You could do this by reaching out in a different way, such as by sending them a small gift along with a personal message. This way, you’re more likely to get their attention and build a positive relationship right away. It also shows them that you’re willing to reward your marketers well, which is an added incentive.

The most important thing, however, is to be genuine and honest. Don’t go overboard in your efforts to get the attention of a super affiliate. If they’ve made it clear that they’re not interested, don’t be tempted to push the issue further, as this is more likely to frustrate rather than persuade them.

2. Offer Them an Irresistible Deal

A super affiliate knows their value, so you need to make it clear that you do as well. If your program is going to be worth their time, they’ll need to know they’re getting a great deal.

Using Affiliate Royale, you can do this by offering the affiliate a unique commission tier, where you can give them a higher rate for each referral than your other marketers. It makes sense to pay them more, after all, since a quality super affiliate is likely to increase your overall profits by a substantial margin.

You can also sweeten the deal in other ways, such as by offering them rewards or even ad space on your site. These are bonuses that may sway a super affiliate in your direction when they’re choosing which programs to work with. Most importantly, be prepared to tailor your offers to their specific requirements and needs whenever possible.

3. Make Sure They Have All the Resources They Need

This may seem like a basic issue, but it’s one that’s often overlooked. In short, it’s crucial that your major players are never left confused about your program, or don’t have the resources they need to market your business. If your program is difficult to use, or if you don’t provide adequate information or support, a super affiliate in particular is unlikely to stick around for long.

To help you out, Affiliate Royale lets you easily provide links, banners, and other resources to all your affiliates. You can also create a simple but customizable dashboard, where your affiliates can find everything else they need. This lets you ensure that the process is smooth for all involved, which is especially important when dealing with super affiliates and asking for some of their valuable time.

Conclusion

Super affiliates certainly live up to their moniker, in that they can be the superheroes of your program. Since they’ll often bring in a substantial majority of your profits, it’s in your best interests to attract them and make sure they enjoy using your program.

In this guide, we’ve shown you how you can get the attention of these super affiliates. We recommend that you do the following:

  1. Find super affiliates in your niche (and get their attention).
  2. Offer them an irresistible deal.
  3. Make sure they have all the resources they need.

Do you have any questions about super affiliates, or how to attract them to your program? Let us know in the comments section below!

Why Affiliate Theft Could Hurt Your Program (And How to Stop It)

Affiliate theft is a serious problem that’s plaguing many programs. By manipulating your affiliate links, malicious users are able to game your program to earn commissions without referring any new traffic to your site. Businesses lose millions every year on these dishonest practices, so how can you help prevent the same fate from befalling you?

Fortunately, it is possible to stop affiliate theft before it becomes an issue. Doing this requires you to keep an eye on your program, track your affiliates’ activities, and secure your affiliate links. It may require some extra work, but this could save you a lot of money down the line.

In this article, we’ll discuss what affiliate theft means, and explain how it can negatively affect your program. Most importantly, we’ll talk about how you can prevent it today. Let’s get started!

What Affiliate Theft Is (And How It Can Hurt Your Program)

In case you’re unfamiliar with affiliate theft (sometimes referred to as ‘commission theft’), let’s start with the basics. In short, it refers to certain methods of manipulating your program into incorrectly believing that someone accessing your site was referred via an affiliate link.

The most common way of doing this is by creating a downloadable toolbar or browser attachment. Users can download this software, which will automatically unlock otherwise hidden deals or coupon codes as they browse websites. However, unbeknownst to those users, the software actually changes the data that’s sent to the sites.

For example, if a user entered your site directly from a search engine, the software would trick the page intro registering this hit as a referral that was using an affiliate link. The owner of the toolbar would then get a commission from your program, despite not having actually referred a new user.

This process is deliberately designed to be invisible to the end user, who just thinks they’re getting easy access to better deals. However, it can cost affiliate programs a lot of money. Forbes estimates that millions of dollars are lost due to affiliate theft. One famous example was when a single affiliate managed to defraud $28 million from eBay using these tactics.

How to Stop Affiliate Theft (In 3 Steps)

Now that we’ve established the threat affiliate theft poses, it’s time to look at how you can protect yourself against it. Here are three ways you can secure your program, in order to keep out fraudulent affiliates and scummy tactics.

1. Cloak Your Affiliate Links

The most important factor in protecting your program from theft is making sure to cloak your links. This adds a layer of protection to the affiliate links you supply to your marketers, as they can’t easily be bypassed. It also stops other people from injecting their own affiliate data into your member’s links, in order to steal their commissions.

Cloaking your links also makes it easier to track them and see how and when they’re clicked on. The best way to cloak your links is by using a shortening solution, such as Pretty Links:

The homepage for the Pretty Links plugin.

This lets you create shortened, ‘pretty’ links that you can supply to your affiliates. It also lets you track every click on each link, so you can make sure the traffic you receive from them is legitimate.

The best thing about this method is that creating shortened links is very simple. Once you have your links ready, you can provide them to your affiliates via the Affiliate Royale dashboard.

2. Track Your Program’s Analytics

We touched on this in the previous section, but tracking your program’s statistics is vital in order to spot affiliate theft. Keeping tabs on every aspect of your program lets you see if there are any sudden, unexplained surges in traffic. This could be an indicator of commission theft, especially if it’s centered around a small number of affiliates:

Affiliate Royale's affiliate reports page

You should pay particularly close attention to whenever your referrals spike out of nowhere, and instances when specific affiliates are suddenly performing much better than they previously were.

While this doesn’t have to signal theft for sure, it’s important to keep your eye out for these types of anomalies. If you do come across a series of referrals that seem suspicious, or you’ve noticed unusual behavior from specific affiliates, you may need to investigate further.

3. Remove Suspicious Affiliates From the Program

If you notice that an affiliate is exhibiting suspicious behavior, such as getting sudden surges of referrals over short amounts of time, you may want to look more closely at them. As we just mentioned, you can use Affiliate Royale’s statistics to see your program’s activity. However, you can go even deeper than that.

For example, if you use Pretty Links, you can track each affiliate’s links to see exactly where every click originated from:

Extended stats in Pretty Links.

This helps you figure out if the referral URLs are legitimate or not. You could even do a search on Google for the affiliate’s name, to see if you find that it’s related to producing or maintaining illicit software (such as toolbars).

If you do find that an affiliate is using dishonest practices to steal commissions, you can remove them from your program. To do this, navigate to Affiliate Royale > Affiliates:

A list of affiliates.

Click on the affiliate you want to remove, and open the Edit User screen. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and select the User is Blocked option:

The User is Blocked setting in WordPress.

You can now enter a message to inform them that they have been blocked and why. They will no longer be able to log in to access their links, or receive any more commissions.

Conclusion

Affiliate theft is an insidious way of subtly stealing revenue from your program. It involves using methods that manipulate your program and links, in order to earn money for certain affiliates while siphoning income away from your business. Fortunately, it is possible to prevent, especially if you’re using Affiliate Royale.

In this article, we’ve covered three ways you can stop affiliate theft from hurting your bottom line. These are:

  1. Cloak your affiliate links.
  2. Track your program’s analytics.
  3. Remove suspicious affiliates from your program.

Do you have any questions about how to deal with affiliate theft? Let us know in the comments section below!

How to Run a Contest for Your Affiliates (And Why You Should)

Affiliate marketing doesn’t have to be all work for your affiliates. In fact, you should aim to mix things up from time to time. Otherwise, you might find that they become bored with your program, which can lead to a decrease in your profits. One of the best places where affiliate marketing can be seen into action is when Youtubers take the assistance of buying youtube views as there is no way around buying views on youtube or getting quick views on youtube to achieve quick popularity.

One smart way of motivating your members is by periodically running a contest. By tracking their performances and setting an end goal to strive for, you can more effectively engage your affiliates and boost your conversions in the process.

In this article, we’ll show you how to run a contest using Affiliate Royale, and explain what you’ll need to consider in order to pull it off successfully. Finally, we’ll discuss how you can track the results in order to find your winner. Let’s go!

Why You Should Consider Running an Affiliate Contest

Running a contest for your affiliates isn’t just a fun side project. In fact, it can motivate your affiliates to perform better, which can in turn help to increase your conversions and income.

A contest is something fun and different from the usual way of making money using affiliate marketing. It can spur on all of your affiliates to work harder in order to win, and in particular can inspire affiliates who may not have been very invested in your program recently.

To achieve this, all you really need to do is provide your affiliates with an incentive. This could be in the form of prizes or other rewards, which you can give to those who perform the best in response to set criteria.

Of course, you’ll also want to make the contest and its current results visible to everybody. By showing the current standings, you’ll be spurring on the contestants to perform even better.

Fortunately, both of these things are pretty easy to set up. Let’s look at how you can create and run your affiliate contest.

How to Run a Contest for Your Affiliates (In 3 Steps)

If you want to start your own affiliate contest, Affiliate Royale is here to help. The following three steps are all you need in order to plan and execute a successful contest for your affiliates!

1. Specify Your Contest’s Goal and Prizes

Naturally, you first need to decide what the goal of the contest will be. The most obvious setup is to have affiliates compete for who can make the most sales within a given time frame. However, you could try something a little different instead, like seeing who can recruit the most new affiliates to your program.

You’ll also need to come up with some worthwhile prizes. You’ll need to find desirable rewards that make the contest worth the contestants’ time and effort. What you decide to use depends on your budget and business, but the easiest option is usually to use items from your own stock. However, you could also get a sponsor for your contest, and have them supply the prizes.

Finally, you’ll also want to consider the contest’s duration. This will depend a lot on your business and the number of affiliates you have, but a month is usually an ideal period. It’s also important that you make the start and end times very clear in advance and throughout the competition, so contestants can prepare sufficiently.

2. Provide Information and Resources to Your Affiliates

If you want your contest to be a success, you need to make people aware of it. This applies both before it starts, and all the way until the moment that winners are announced. Your dashboard in Affiliate Royale lets you communicate information about the contest:

The Affiliate Royale affiliate dashboard

Affiliate Royale also enables you to share links and banners that contestants can use during the competition. For example, if your contest revolves around selling particular products, you should make sure that you provide affiliates with resources to help them promote these products. This will ensure that they perform better, while also leveling the playing field.

Your dashboard is also the perfect place to share the current leaderboard during the contest. Here, you can show off the affiliates who are currently doing the best, which will motivate them and others to perform better and climb to the top. Just make sure that you update the standings often, so everyone will know how they stand.

3. Track Your Affiliates’ Performance Using Analytics

Of course, a crucial part of any contest is tracking the progress of the contestants. How you do this depends on the contest’s objective. For example, if you want to see who has made the most referrals during a certain period, you can use Affiliate Royale’s Top Referrers data:

A list of Top Referrers in Affiliate Royale.

However, if you’re gauging who can recruit the most new affiliates, you could add a field to the affiliate sign-up page, letting newcomers indicate who referred them to the program.

Most importantly, your dashboard enables you to easily see who has won when the contest is over. You can then reach out to them and deliver their prizes. It’s also a smart idea to feature the winners on your website in some manner. This will highlight their success, and motivate others to do better when the next contest rolls around!

Conclusion

Hosting a contest for your affiliates is not just a fun way of motivating them into performing better. It can also help increase your conversions, and bring new and old affiliates back into your roster. The key is to make sure your contest is set up correctly, and to track each affiliate’s performance throughout the process.

Fortunately, this is made simple with Affiliate Royale. Using our plugin, you can handle every aspect of your competition effortlessly. The following steps are all that’s required for creating a successful contest:

  1. Specify your contest’s goal and prizes.
  2. Provide information and resources to your affiliates.
  3. Track your affiliates’ performance using analytics.

Do you have any questions about running a contest for your affiliates? Let us know in the comments section below!