Should You Start an Affiliate Program Through Your Website?

You may be curious about affiliate programs as a way to supplement your income by working from home. However, it can be hard to know where to jump in. You’ll also need to consider the risks versus rewards of starting an affiliate program from scratch.

Affiliate programs are not a way to earn a quick buck. If you’re already committed to running a business, though, they can provide a lucrative way to profit from your hard work over time. You can start an affiliate program to advertise your products or services, and increase your site’s traffic at the same time.

This post will discuss the major pros and cons of running an affiliate program, and then offer a little advice for getting started. Let’s get to it!

A Brief Introduction to Affiliate Programs

First, let’s go over what exactly affiliate marketing is. Affiliate programs are commission-based initiatives where a business offers to pay affiliates an agreed amount for certain results. This is typically a percentage of each sale made by customers who followed one of the affiliate’s links, or money earned from a combination of ad clicks, impressions, and referral traffic.

Affiliate marketing is mutually beneficial for both parties. The marketer doesn’t risk making any payments unless they receive their desired result, and the affiliate gets the chance to leverage their niche expertise to recommend certain products, and monetize their blog or website. Some examples of popular affiliate sites include NerdWallet, the Wirecutter, and This Is Why I’m Broke.

The Pros and Cons of Affiliate Programs

Like any strategy, there are advantages and downsides to creating an affiliate marketing program. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Boosting sales. Affiliate programs can help you get the word out about your products and services. They can increase sales and other conversions, without requiring you to spend much time developing marketing materials.
  • Improving visibility. Affiliates typically have their own preexisting followings. That means you’ll be getting your business and products in front of brand-new audiences, who may never have heard about you otherwise.
  • Boosting your membership program. You can also use an affiliate program in conjunction with your membership program, if you have one. Your affiliates can help to spread the word about your program, and encourage more users to sign up for a subscription.

On the other hand, there are a few potential drawbacks:

  • Slow build. While you can start an affiliate program quickly, it may take some time to build it up to the point where it’s profitable. You’ll need to have patience, as it can take a while to attract the right affiliates and start bringing in new views.
  • Hard work. Creating and running an effective affiliate program also takes plenty of work. You’ll need to build an attractive program, find quality affiliates, provide them with all the resources they need, and monitor the program’s success over time.

An affiliate program isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, and it takes dedication to succeed. However, that patience and hard work can pay off dramatically over time. If you have a service or product that people are interested in, an affiliate program can be an excellent way to connect with potential customers. Plus, the start-up costs are low, so there’s little risk involved.

How to Get Started With Affiliate Marketing

The best thing about beginning an affiliate program for your business is that it’s surprisingly easy. If you’re a WordPress user, for example, Affiliate Royale makes it simple to get started:

The Affiliate Royale website.

With our plugin, you can create and run your affiliate program using a visual interface. You’ll also be able to define affiliate roles and track payments right through your website.

You can install the plugin by purchasing a license and performing an automatic install. Once the plugin is up and running, you can configure it through your WordPress site’s admin dashboard by visiting Affiliate Royale > Options:

The Affiliate Royale Options screen.

Once you find some quality affiliates, you can add them to the platform here. Plus, you can create profile, sign-up, and log-in pages for your affiliates to use.

You can also set up an affiliate dashboard, which is a landing page for your affiliates that will provide them with all the information they need to successfully promote your products and services. Affiliate Royale even enables you to set commission levels for each affiliate, and offers built-in tools for creating referral links and banner ads.

With a little time and tweaking, you can use WordPress and Affiliate Royale to set up a comprehensive and thriving affiliate program. This means you can get your program off the ground quickly, and at very little cost to your business.

Conclusion

Affiliate programs can be an excellent way to bring in new customers to your business. You only pay for leads who actually convert, which can make this one of the most profitable forms of online marketing.

There are many benefits to starting an affiliate program, such as increased visibility and sales. Of course, affiliate marketing is not a “get rich quick” solution, and it can take some patience to see your efforts rewarded. Fortunately, by using Affiliate Royale you can start your program with minimal setup time and initial costs.

Do you have any questions about how to get your affiliate program off the ground? Let us know in the comments section below!

How to Promote a Positive Relationship With Your Affiliates

To build a strong affiliate program, a positive relationship with your affiliates is vital, so that they’re motivated to give you their best work. However, this can be a challenge. You may never meet your affiliates face-to-face, and it can be hard to maintain a personal relationship with a seemingly anonymous stranger.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways you can promote a healthy affiliate relationship with strong communication. Implementing these methods can give your affiliate program a huge boost, and help you to attract influential ‘super’ affiliates.

This article will provide some tips for how to brand your affiliate site in a way that promotes recognition and engagement. Let’s get going!

Why You Should Maintain Positive Contact With Your Affiliates

When growing your affiliate program, you may be focused on finding websites that match your business’ aesthetic and target audience. However, it’s also important to maintain a positive relationship with the affiliates themselves.

Word of mouth is still one of the most important tools marketers have. Maintaining a positive relationship can help keep you at the forefront of your affiliates’ minds, and even inspire them to refer you to their colleagues. This can include asking for feedback so you can find out any pain points, and correct them before they drive a wedge between you and the affiliate.

Even if you’re doing excellent work, if you’re ‘siloed’ from your affiliates, they may not be aware of what you’re doing for them. It’s important to periodically reach out and see how things stand. For example, you can send out a survey to receive honest responses. In the next section we’ll explain some of the best ways to build a relationship with your affiliates.

How to Promote a Positive Relationship With Your Affiliates (In 4 Easy Ways)

There are a few steps you can take to keep your affiliates happy, and show how much you care about them. Let’s discuss four of them.

1. Send Out Periodic Surveys

Sometimes it can be embarrassing to give negative feedback directly. Surveys give affiliates an outlet to express what is and isn’t working, so that you have a chance to address it. It’s better to find out what’s wrong before it causes affiliates to abandon your program.

It’s surprisingly easy to run a survey online. You can create one using a platform such as Survey Monkey or even Google Forms. Once you have it, you can email a link to your affiliates or embed it on your WordPress site. Remember to also use a strong Call To Action (CTA) to urge your affiliates to complete the survey.

2. Conduct Regular Check-Ins

Maintaining a relationship can be as simple as checking in once in a while. Not all affiliates will be interested in keeping up a personal relationship of course, but you can test the water by asking them how things are and feeling out how interested they are in talking.

If this isn’t something that comes naturally to you, you can check out Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People. He explains the value of making people feel like you’re interested in them, and walks through how to do so. It’s a classic work in the niche, and is solid reading for anyone who wants to improve their business communications.

Some of the times you may want to reach out include holidays, your affiliates’ birthdays (if you know them), and after any major life events they tell you about. For example, if your affiliate mentions that they’re getting engaged, it would be a thoughtful gesture to send a card.

3. Maintain a Blog

Another small thing you can do is regularly update your blog. This shows how serious you are about affiliate marketing, which can improve the relationship with your own affiliates. You ultimately want to run a website with high-quality content that they are proud to have their products displayed on.

Maintaining a blog can also help keep you in mind. As we mentioned earlier, word of mouth can lead to referrals. If your site is a resource of useful information, affiliates will be inspired to visit – and may use this positive feeling to recommend you to their colleagues.

4. Craft a Welcoming Affiliate Dashboard

Affiliate Royale dashboard

Finally, strong affiliate relationships can be cultivated by using a customized affiliate dashboard. This is essentially the landing page that your affiliates will see when they log into Affiliate Royale. A welcoming dashboard can encourage positive affiliate relationships by helping your affiliates feel like you value them.

Some ways to make your dashboard radiate a welcoming vibe are to include a personalized welcome message, and add easy navigation links to anything they may need to access. It’s these tiny, subtle elements that go a long way towards displaying your level of care and attention to detail.

Conclusion

It’s crucial to promote positive interaction between your affiliates. This can help them care about both you and your business, and give them the impetus to help you succeed. Having affiliates on your side may also lead to more word of mouth referrals.

Four easy ways to promote a strong relationship with your affiliates include:

  1. Sending out surveys to build communication
  2. Checking in regularly with your affiliates to build a personal connection
  3. Maintaining a blog to keep your company relevant
  4. Crafting a welcoming affiliate dashboard

Do you have any questions about building a positive relationship with your affiliates? Let us know in the comments section below!

How to Use Branding Effectively on Your Affiliate Site (5 Easy Methods)

When you run an affiliate website, your power is in your reputation. However, even if you have high-quality content, visitors may not associate it with your brand unless you’ve considered your site’s aesthetic. Humans are visual creatures, and a plain black-text-against-white-background website isn’t likely to make an impact.

Fortunately, you can build a strong online reputation through careful branding. It’s possible to create a unique look that visitors will come to associate with your website. Branding also enables you to better market your site, by demonstrating the added value you can offer to your affiliates.

In this article, we’ll explain the importance of branding, and run through five easy ways you can create a unique style for your website. Let’s get started!

Why You Should Brand Your Affiliate Site

If you want your affiliate program to be successful, you want to position yourself as a trusted source of information. That way, your visitors are more likely to return to your site for affiliate product recommendations, and to provide ad traffic.

There are a number of ways to promote trust, but branding is crucial. This is the process of building a recognizable image for your company, through means such as color and font choices. Strong branding is important because it helps a business become more memorable, and makes it appear professional and credible.

If you take a look at popular affiliate websites, you can see how they brand themselves carefully. For example, NerdWallet uses the same shade of green from its logo on its site’s Call to Action (CTA) buttons:

Nerdwallet Call to Action

Fortunately, using this technique on your own affiliate site is easier than you might expect.

5 Easy Ways to Use Branding Effectively on Your Affiliate Site

There are some simple steps you can take to brand your affiliate site, in a way that’s both memorable and consistent. Let’s look at the five most important tasks you’ll want to complete.

1. Choose a Color Scheme

First, this is one of the most effective things you can do to brand your website. Colors offer a quick visual shorthand, and users may even begin to associate a particular hue with the business that uses it.

Some companies have even gone so far as to trademark a certain color, such as Coca-Cola’s red:

Coca-Cola trademark red

Choosing an effective color scheme can have a profound impact on the way affiliates see your business. For that reason, it’s a smart idea to use some color theory to inform your selections.

2. Pick Out Your Primary Fonts

Typography can be a little more subtle than color, but it’s also a key part of how people view your site. Using custom fonts can help in branding, and various font types can provoke very different emotions.

For example, serif fonts tend to come across as professional, while a cursive font may look more creative. Affiliate site PC Part Picker uses an easy-to-read sans serif typeface:

PC Part Picker

Considering your typography can have other benefits as well, such as improved readability. You can use sites like Google Fonts to expand your options, by adding the appropriate CSS code to your WordPress site.

3. Use a Distinctive Domain Name

You may not think of your site’s domain name as a part of its branding, but in some ways it’s one of the most important aspects. If visitors can’t remember the name of your website, how will they find it online?

When choosing a domain name, look for something short, memorable, and easy to spell that describes your business’ purpose. For example, the domain NerdWallet.com makes it clear in a concise way that the site consists of financial experts. Plus, the slang “Nerd” suggests that it uses an informal tone, making the business feel more approachable.

4. Design a Strong Logo

Once you have a color scheme in place, you’ll want to think about designing a logo. Your logo and color scheme should match in some way, typically by using one or more of your business’ primary colors within the logo.

A strong logo can give your affiliate site a central focus, and encapsulate your message in a single image. For example, Wirecutter is an affiliate site with a focus on consumer appliances and electronics. Its logo matches the site’s color palette, and the “W” resembles a wire:

Wirecutter logo

Good logos are often quite simple, but don’t underestimate their power. The more places you use your affiliate program’s logo, the more recognizable your brand’s imagery and colors will be.

5. Customize Your Links

One final step you can take is to use custom links. Link shortening is the process of replacing long, unwieldy links with more attractive and user-friendly options, by using redirects. This is especially important for social media, because it enables you to reduce the amount of visual space your links take up.

However, you can use Pretty Links to do more than just shorten your links – you can brand them as well. This makes it crystal-clear that a link came from your website, so your audience can start to associate your content with your affiliate program. Pretty Links also comes with advanced link tracking, so you can monitor your affiliate referrals.

Conclusion

Branding is a simple way to build your affiliate site’s reputation. If you choose a distinctive aesthetic, people will come to associate your content, site, and overall brand with one another. This can help to encourage repeat visits, and grow your affiliate program over time.

Five key steps you can take to brand your site include:

  1. Choosing a color scheme
  2. Picking out your primary fonts
  3. Using a distinctive domain name
  4. Designing a strong logo
  5. Customizing your links

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

5 Ways to Handle Positive and Negative Feedback About Your Affiliate Program

When you run an affiliate program, receiving feedback is crucial to your success. However, it’s not enough to solicit feedback. You need to know how to interpret and respond to customers’ complaints, as well as to their compliments.

The good news is that evaluating customer feedback doesn’t have to take up all your time. With just a few best practices under your belt, you’ll be able to effectively handle the feedback you receive, both the positive and negative varieties. This should enable you to grow your program and create strong relationships with your affiliates.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common types of customer feedback, and discuss how to respond appropriately. Let’s get to it!

Why Feedback Is Necessary to Your Affiliate Program

Your affiliate business lives or dies based on how its members feel about it. If affiliates are dissatisfied, it’s better to know what they’re thinking before they decide to leave your platform. On the other hand, when you’re doing well, positive feedback can help you focus on keeping (and improving upon) the features that are proving successful.

Feedback can include everything from thoughts about how your company is doing, to information about whether they know how to find what they’re looking for on your website. Some of the best ways to solicit feedback include:

  • Customer surveys: Surveys are a way of driving user feedback by asking targeted questions.
  • Contact forms: A contact form enables users to reach out to you when they have an issue or question.
  • Social media: Users may write to your social media accounts with complaints or feedback, and you can also use these platforms to solicit engagement directly.
  • Usability testing: This is a way of discovering whether visitors understand how your website functions, by asking them to complete targeted tasks while explaining their thought processes.

Of course, gathering feedback is only the first step. Once you have your affiliates’ responses in hand, you also need to know what to do with them.

5 Ways to Handle Positive and Negative Feedback About Your Affiliate Program

It’s crucial that you have a structured way to handle both positive and negative feedback. That way you won’t waste any opportunities, and can avoid letting emotions cloud your judgment. Let’s look at five of the best ways to deal with feedback from your affiliates.

1. Always Say Thank You

Whether feedback about your affiliate program is positive or negative, you should always show gratitude for receiving it. Feedback is valuable, and you want to reward your affiliates for taking the time to communicate with you.

You might show your thanks in the form of a discount code or freebie for completing a survey, for example. Or you can simply reach out personally if an affiliate has gone out of their way to give advice.

2. Take Note of the Feedback

Some feedback isn’t immediately actionable, but you’ll still want to make note of it. If a customer names a specific feature or type of content that they like or dislike about your affiliate program, it’s important to save that information for future use.

The next time you are thinking about changing your site or altering a service, you can revisit your feedback notes. You may think twice about removing a feature that affiliates have made it clear they value, for example, unless the criticisms start to outweigh the positive feedback.

3. Ask for More Details

When you receive a piece of feedback, it can often be very general, such as “I think you’re doing a great job!” or “I don’t like how your website looks.” If one of your affiliates says something like this, you may want to try probing for more details.

For example, you can thank the affiliate and then ask if there is anything specific about your program that they’re enjoying or don’t like. You don’t want to push them into saying more, of course, but if you provide the opportunity, you’ll find that many will be happy to share their thoughts.

4. Perform Usability Testing and User Research

As we mentioned previously, some customers may share negative feedback without saying exactly what they think is wrong. If you’re hearing a lot of generally negative comments, but aren’t sure what the exact problem is, you may want to perform a thorough review of your affiliate site.

This can include user research or usability testing, and should be guided by the feedback you’ve received. For example, if a few of your affiliates have mentioned that your site is hard to use, usability testing can help uncover gaps in its design. On the other hand, if your content isn’t having the effect you’d like, user research can help you find out what your target audience really wants.

Depending on what you discover, you may decide to make changes to your website, or shift your content’s focus. You may also find that the initial complaints were outliers, and that your program is functioning smoothly. This can be fine – you’re never going to satisfy every single user!

5. Offer to Make Things Right

Finally, let’s talk about how to handle extremely negative feedback. It can be upsetting to receive unhappy comments about the program you’ve worked so hard to develop. However, negative feedback can be valuable too. It’s good to know when someone is unhappy, so that you have a chance to resolve the issue.

If you can’t fix the specific problem the affiliate has had, other ways to make things right can include offering a small bonus or freebie to the affiliate in question. A simple apology can also go a long way. An affiliate who knows that you’ve listened to and respected their feedback is more likely to stick around, despite their bad experience.

Conclusion

When you run an affiliate site, you depend on feedback to address user concerns and keep your site running smoothly. Positive and negative comments enable you to keep what’s working well, and revise what isn’t. This process can also help you demonstrate that you care about your affiliates.

Five ways to address affiliate feedback include:

  1. Always thanking the affiliate
  2. Making note of the feedback for future use
  3. Asking for more specific details
  4. Performing usability testing and/or user research
  5. Offering to make things right

Do you have any questions about responding to feedback about your affiliate program? Let us know in the comments section below!

5 Ways to Monetize Your Personal Blog

Running a blog can involve a fair amount of work. Aside from all the time spent writing and researching posts, blogs come with fixed costs. As a result, you may find yourself pouring more time and money into your blog than you are getting out of it.

Fortunately, there’s a way to reap the rewards of all your hard work. Once you’ve established a name for yourself, you may want to look into monetizing your blog. Monetization techniques, including affiliate programs and reseller hosting, can be an excellent way to turn your hobby into a side hustle.

This article will discuss five of the best ways to monetize your blog. Let’s get a move on!

A Brief Introduction to Monetization

Blogging can be a fun way to turn your hobby into a side hustle. We’ve all heard the tales about those who turned their blogs into fortunes. While those possibilities are exciting, there are also ways you can monetize your blog right now without waiting for your ‘big break’.

Once you’ve established your blog as a valuable asset with a strong readership, people may be willing to pay you in various ways. For example, you can provide a service such as hosting advertisements, or adding affiliate links to your content. You can also go the membership route, reserving some content behind a paywall and charging for access to it.

Of course, you should remember that there’s no ‘get rich quick solution’. All of the tried-and-true monetization techniques will require some effort and patience. Your income usually depends on the amount of traffic you drive to the blog by creating engaging content, which takes time.

5 Ways to Monetize Your Personal Blog

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of monetization, let’s review five of the specific ways you can build a business that’s based on your blog.

1. Ad Hosting

This first technique is just what it sounds like – you agree to post ads on your blog, and in return you are paid for the number of clicks they receive or sales they lead to. You can either sign up for an ad network, which will connect you with ad providers for a fee, or find sponsors and sell your own ads.

The monetization structure of ad networks is usually Pay Per Click (PPC). This means you are paid based on the number of people who click on your site’s ads. If you find your own sponsors, however, you may have more flexibility and control over payment schemes.

If you need to create your own ads, it’s easy to do so in Affiliate Royale. You can quickly create banner ads with custom links that will track visits that came from your site.

Note that you’ll want to strike a balance with this technique, and be careful not to plaster your blog with too many ads. On the blog pictured below, for example, there is a top banner and a side ad on the right, but there’s still plenty of white space between them to make the article readable:

A blog ad example.

However, in the more cluttered example pictured below, there is a top banner ad, a sidebar ad on the right, and an ad in each bottom corner of the screen. One of these is a video ad, which is especially distracting:

A cluttered ad example.

Having too many ads can harm your blog by driving viewers away. People tend to dislike sites like this, where there are so many ads that they feel intrusive. A better balance enables visitors to quickly scroll past ads if they’re not interested and focus on what they came for – your content.

2. Affiliate Programs

Another popular monetization technique is to run an affiliate program. This involves promoting other companies’ products, and earning a commission on each purchase that’s made through one of your referral links. Affiliate programs can also encompass ad hosting.

You can run programs like this using either an affiliate network or self-hosted affiliate software. Affiliate networks are services that connect you to one or more companies, but sign you up to the terms of their programs. On the other hand, with affiliate software you can set up your own program, but you’re also responsible for finding sponsors:

An affiliate dashboard.

There are pros and cons to each method – typically, affiliate networks come with higher fees and more rigidity, whereas affiliate software enables you to design a program with as much flexibility as you want. If you decide to use self-hosted affiliate software, Affiliate Royale provides an easy solution for WordPress users.

3. Paid Reviews

If your blog is connected to a product or service, you can also look into paid reviews. There are many companies that are willing to pay bloggers to write reviews of their products. Some of these may offer the product itself in exchange for an honest review (i.e., free books for a literary blog), but some also pay in cash.

If you want to get paid for doing reviews, you could try searching for a specific product or type of item that your blog’s audience would be interested in, such as makeup or video games. If your blog has a large following, you can also pitch companies directly and ask for free samples or payment.

Remember to balance your content, however. If your blog is largely made up of paid reviews, it may start to feel spammy and even untrustworthy. It’s best to continue posting the valuable content that drove visitors to your blog in the first place, and to follow the 80/20 principle – keep your sponsored content to no more than 20% of your blog.

4. Reseller Hosting

Reseller hosting is another popular income generation method. You purchase a large amount of server space from a hosting provider, and resell it at a profit to multiple customers.

This may be appropriate for you if you run a blog about web services, or if you’re a developer or a designer who can sell hosting to the clients you build websites for. This way, you know that the people visiting your blog either run a website or are interested in doing so, and are likely to be in need of hosting.

Fortunately, there are many hosting providers that offer reseller hosting, and setting it up isn’t hard. There are some pros and cons to this technique – it may be a risk to invest in hosting services and be unable to sell them. However, if you have a strong client base that is interested in web services, the rewards can potentially be great.

5. Members-Only Content

Finally, one more profitable way to monetize your blog is by setting up a membership site. This is a type of ‘freemium’ site where you offer some content for free, and lock some of it away behind a paywall.

Users can browse your site to see if they think your content is valuable, but they have to subscribe if they want to see all of it:

Setting up MemberPress.

With a membership site plugin like MemberPress, you have complete control over your monetization structure. Plus, Affiliate Royale is included with MemberPress, which means you can implement both membership and affiliate features on your blog at the same time.

Conclusion

While running a personal blog can be rewarding, it comes with a significant amount of hard work and various costs. Once you’ve established your blog, you may want to capitalize on your investment by monetizing it.

Fortunately, there are many ways to do so. Four simple ways to monetize your personal blog include:

  1. Ad hosting
  2. Affiliate programs
  3. Paid reviews
  4. Reseller hosting
  5. Members-only content

Do you have any questions about how to monetize your personal blog? Let us know in the comments section below!

5 Affiliate Marketing Terms You Need to Know

When you run an affiliate program, it’s important to understand the basic terminology involved. The world of affiliate marketing can be a bit complex, and without knowing the ins and outs, you may end up at a disadvantage.

To help you avoid that scenario, we’ve put together a short guide to some of the most commonly-used and confused affiliate marketing terms. For example, it’s crucial to know that a chargeback comes with hefty fees attached, while a refund often does not. By understanding distinctions like these, you can protect yourself against mistakes.

Let’s look at five of the key terms you’ll want to know as a new affiliate marketer!

1. Chargeback

First up, this is one of the commonly-confused terms we mentioned above. A chargeback is a refund initiated by the customer. Instead of receiving a refund from the seller, however, the customer opens a disputed charge with their credit card.

Chargebacks often come with hefty fees. Credit card companies may charge the merchant as much as $20 for incurring a disputed charge. This means that in addition to not receiving the original money for the affiliate item, you may actually have to pay out of your own pocket.

It’s important to note the distinction between chargeback fees and more traditional refunds. We’ll explain the difference, as well as how to avoid chargeback fees, in the next section.

2. Refund

One way to avoid chargeback fees is by issuing a refund. While a chargeback is initiated by the consumer and incurs fees, a refund is initiated by the merchant and typically does not carry any new charges.

When running an affiliate business, it’s important to draft a clear refund policy. Your policy should make it clear to customers what kind of refund they are entitled to. This can be an excellent way to avoid confusion later, and avoid chargebacks and similar issues.

To keep things simple, you can process refunds using the sales menu in Affiliate Royale. This way, you don’t have to pay commissions on refunded transactions, and can handle all your affiliate program’s refunds in a single place.

3. Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is a type of monetization where clicks on a specific link or ad are tracked. In PPC advertising, you only pay when a user actually interacts with your ad. This can help you avoid paying for ineffective campaigns, and keep costs down.

PPC is a very popular method of affiliate marketing. The affiliate agrees to place an ad on their website or social media, and is paid when users click on it and make a resulting purchase. This can also be an excellent way to bring more traffic to your affiliate website.

However, it’s important to ensure that all of your clicks are valid. That brings us to our next affiliate marketing term.

4. Click Fraud

When using PPC ads, you’ll want to watch out for click fraud. This is a method of generating fraudulent or invalid clicks. Generally, ‘valid’ clicks are ones performed by real website visitors without any prompting. Invalid clicks are those generated by any other means, such as bots or paid deals.

Some affiliate sites will artificially increase click activity through these fraudulent methods. However, there are also other methods that you may not realize are considered click fraud. For example, you can’t click on your own affiliate ads, or ask your friends or website visitors to do the same.

Fortunately, you can prevent click fraud by implementing Google Analytics to keep tabs on traffic sources and user behavior on your pages. If you notice a huge increase in visitors who click onto a page and immediately bounce away, that may be a red flag for click fraud.

You can also use a link tracker such as Pretty Links to monitor your affiliates. If you see an uptick in spammy traffic coming from one site, you can remove the suspicious affiliate from your program.

5. Affiliate Software

Last but not least, affiliate software helps you manage your own affiliate program, as opposed to joining up with an existing affiliate network. An affiliate network is a service that manages affiliate accounts for you.

The difference between using self-hosted affiliate software and a third-party affiliate network is the resulting level of autonomy. With affiliate software, you have complete control over how your program is set up. However, you may have to take on additional responsibility in finding affiliates to work with.

On the other hand, with an affiliate network, you have a built-in team and less responsibility. However, networks typically come with increased fees, and less control over your offerings and pricing. This means you’re unable to craft your own customized program.

If you choose to set up your own program, Affiliate Royale’s software makes your job easy. You have complete control over how your affiliate program will be run, and it operates on the simple-to-use WordPress platform.

Conclusion

Whether you run an affiliate marketing site or use affiliates to promote your brand, it’s important to understand all of the terminology involved. For example, it’s crucial to know the difference between self-hosted affiliate software like Affiliate Royale, and third-party affiliate networks.

To recap, five of the most important affiliate marketing terms to know include:

  1. Chargeback: A refund initiated by the customer, which typically comes with hefty fees.
  2. Refund: A seller-initiated way of returning money if the customer made an accidental purchase, is unhappy with your product, or otherwise falls within your refund policy.
  3. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising: Ads that are charged based on how often they are actually clicked on.
  4. Click Fraud: A method of generating invalid clicks, such as by writing bots that auto-click on PPC ads.
  5. Affiliate Software: A way of running self-hosted affiliate marketing programs, offering more control than typical affiliate networks.

Are there any other affiliate marketing terms you’d like to know more about? Let us know in the comments section below!

5 Top Security Plugins for Your WordPress Website

In today’s digital landscape, website security is vital. Malware attempts are on the rise, meaning that security breaches are increasingly common. For this reason, you may wish to lock your already secure WordPress site up even tighter.

There are a number of different security-focused plugins available for WordPress, and each one offers varying features – including malware scans and password protection. Stronger security will protect your customers’ payment information, and may even improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

In this post, we’ll explain why website security is so essential. We’ll then discuss some of the best security-boosting plugin options available. Let’s get started!

Why Website Security Is Essential

WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS, and it’s also one of the most secure. On its own, WordPress will keep your site pretty well protected. However, no platform can ever be completely safe.

As such, it’s important to implement additional security methods. Failing to secure your site could lead to leaked customer payment information and the installation of malware. It may also result in a lack of trust between your site and its users.

Think of it from a visitor’s perspective. If you knew a business had experienced multiple breaches in the past, you probably wouldn’t feel that confident about giving it your credit card details.

In fact, 84% of website visitors would abandon a purchase if they felt their data was going to be sent over an insecure connection. Their fears aren’t unfounded as, perhaps unsurprisingly, 95% of attacks happen as a result of human error.

Although this figure is worrying, it does mean that most major security concerns can easily be avoided. There are numerous ways to do this, but as a WordPress user, the best method is typically via a plugin.

5 Top Security Plugins for Your WordPress Website

With the above in mind, we’ve rounded up five of the best security-focused plugins that will help to protect your WordPress website. Let’s begin from the top!

1. Jetpack

The Jetpack plugin for WordPress.

To kick things off, we have Jetpack. This plugin is best known for its Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools, and range of included themes. However, it also comes with a whole host of security-boosting features, including:

  • Downtime monitoring
  • Security scanning
  • Spam protection
  • Plugin updates
  • The Protect module

The basic Jetpack plan is free, although it has limited capabilities. Premium plans start at just $3 a month – and several of the more advanced security features will require additional payments.

2. Wordfence

The Wordfence security plugin for WordPress.

Wordfence is another well-known option. In fact, it’s probably the most popular WordPress firewall and security scanner on the market. The plugin boasts over 3 million active installations, and with so many available features, it’s not hard to see why. They include:

  • Leaked password protection
  • Advanced manual blocking
  • Source code verification to repair damaged files
  • Country blocking

Free versions of the plugin are available, while the paid option will offer a greater range of functions. The cost of Wordfence Premium will depend on the number of sites you wish to protect, but it’s relatively budget-friendly when you consider the included tools. Licenses start at $99 per year.

3. Sucuri Security

The Sucuri Security WordPress plugin.

The Sucuri Security plugin is powered by Sucuri Inc. – a globally-recognized authority on WordPress website security. What sets Sucuri apart is the fact that it provides a slightly different set of tools than its competition, including:

  • Malware monitoring
  • File integrity scans
  • Regular activity logs
  • Blacklist monitoring
  • Post-hack security actions

Plus, the plugin itself is completely free. This makes it accessible to all website owners, regardless of their budgets. Paid plans with additional functionality are also available, and start at $199.99 per year per site.

4.  iThemes Security

Previously known as Better WP Security, the iThemes Security plugin is a particularly impressive way to protect your WordPress site. It includes over 30 security-enhancing features, including but not limited to:

  • WordPress ‘brute force’ protection
  • File change detection
  • Strong password enforcement
  • Regular database backups
  • An ‘away’ mode to lock out users during certain times

It’s important to note that most of the more useful tools are only available on the iThemes Security Pro upgrade. It costs just $80 per year, so the investment will be more than worth your while.

5. Google Authenticator

The Google Authenticator WordPress plugin.

On the surface, it probably doesn’t make much sense to install a plugin that contains only one security feature. However, in some cases it’s necessary. Despite their expansive features, many security plugins fail to include two-factor authentication.

With the Google Authenticator plugin, you’ll be able to add this capability to your site in minutes. Two-factor authentication is important, as a lot of hacking attempts start at the login stage.

Put simply, when anyone attempts to log in to your site, they will need to supply both a password and a secondary type of authentication. This typically takes the form of a push notification to your phone or email address.

Installing this feature will make it much harder for outside sources to access your WordPress website. This plugin is also completely free, and the interface makes it relatively easy to navigate.

Conclusion

It’s probably fair to say that security is one of the most essential parts of any WordPress website. Failing to properly secure your site could result in numerous issues, so it’s important to ensure that it’s fully protected.

In this post, we highlighted five of the must-have security plugins for your WordPress website:

  1. Jetpack: Made by the people from WordPress.com, Jetpack is packed with additional security features.
  2. Wordfence: Wordfence is one of the most relied-upon companies in WordPress security, so it’s a great option for any site.
  3. Sucuri Security: This plugin makes it easy to implement a Web Application Firewall (WAF), which blocks attacks and malware.
  4. iThemes Security: With over 30 additional features, iThemes Security will help to prevent hacks and unwanted intruders.
  5. Google Authenticator: Google Authenticator will enable two-factor authentication, making your site harder for outsiders to access.

Do you have any further questions about website security? Let us know in the comments section below!

4 Commonly-Believed Myths About WordPress (And Why They’re Wrong)

WordPress is one of the most popular website-building platforms in the world – meaning that lots of people who’ve never used it before have still heard about it. Although this can be a positive thing in many ways, it has also resulted in the circulation of several myths.

Although (like all platforms) WordPress isn’t without its faults, a lot of the more negative beliefs about it are simply untrue. WordPress is a powerful platform that can offer you numerous opportunities, so it’s important not to let the opinions of a few people cloud your judgement.

In this post, we’ll discuss some of the most commonly-believed ‘facts’ about WordPress, and explain why they’re actually incorrect. Let’s get started!

Why WordPress Myths Are Particularly Common

When deciding which website-building software to use, it’s likely that your first thought will be WordPress – and for good reason. WordPress powers over one-third of the web, and more than 60 million people have used it to create their websites, stores, and blogs.

In short, WordPress is incredibly well known. This has led to a vibrant online community, and plenty of useful themes and plugins you can use to expand your site. It’s also meant that some people have tried WordPress and not liked it, or made assumptions about it without firsthand experience.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and negative feedback presents a good opportunity for improvement. However, it’s important to judge a platform like WordPress based on how it actually works, and what its real strengths and weaknesses are.

4 Commonly-Believed Myths About WordPress (And Why They’re Wrong)

WordPress is popular for a reason. When used effectively, it can be an incredibly beneficial platform. Still, some are turned away from it based on myths and misconceptions. Below, we’ll look at four of the most common beliefs about WordPress that are worth being debunked.

1. WordPress Is Difficult to Use

This is perhaps the most commonly-circulated of all WordPress myths. The platform has gained a reputation in some circles for being tricky to use – especially when compared to simpler ‘drag-and-drop’ builders like Wix and Squarespace.

Although the ins and outs of WordPress may take a little time to learn, it isn’t inherently difficult to use. In fact, WordPress was actually created with beginners in mind. This is in contrast to other popular CMSs, such as Joomla and Drupal, which are less friendly to newcomers.

WordPress offers a user-friendly dashboard, and easily-accessible settings. It only takes a few minutes to set up a new site and start creating content. Plus, most of the additional features you’ll require can be added by installing plugins and themes, so you don’t need to know a thing about code.

What’s more, if you do have questions, WordPress comes with a friendly community of helpful users that are always on hand to talk you through any issues. The WordPress Codex is also an invaluable resource, as are the many WordPress blogs, courses, and tutorials around the web.

2. WordPress Only Benefits Bloggers and Smaller Sites

Although this belief is ultimately false, it is based on a kernel of truth. WordPress was first developed as a blogging platform, and most of its primary features were created with this purpose in mind.

However, the platform has changed a lot since its inception. Today, it’s used for all manner of websites – from business pages to online portfolios. E-commerce stores are also particularly common. This versatility is due, in part, to the wide range of available plugins and themes.

Many people also believe that WordPress is only suited to smaller sites, which don’t receive much traffic. However, frequent updates mean that WordPress is adapted to perform smoothly under pressure. So if you’re looking to grow your site, WordPress will be more than able to keep up.

3. WordPress Comes With a High Security Risk

Like any other platform, WordPress is no stranger to security risks. There have been several highly-publicized attacks that have hit WordPress sites specifically, and some question the stability of open-source software.

After all, using open-source software means that anyone can access the platform’s source code. This can make it easier to hack. The popularity of the platform can also make it a prime target for malicious software. Despite all of that, WordPress remains a safe and secure platform. It’s designed by a large team that is constantly looking to improve security, and new updates are frequently released to address the latest threats.

Plus, you’ll find numerous security-focused plugins that will add further protection to your site. Jetpack is particularly popular, and its premium plans include malware scanning, automated daily backups, and spam protection. Sucuri Security is another useful option if you’re looking for additional website-securing features.

4. WordPress Sites All Look the Same

This myth has become more common since the introduction of the block editor, although it has always been out there. Many people, including those that are familiar with the platform, believe that WordPress sites all look the same.

This is largely because a lot of sites use the default themes that come pre-installed with the platform. While this can result in a plethora of cookie-cutter sites, it’s important to note that there are tens of thousands of alternative themes available, many of which are free.

Therefore, you can add a more unique style to your site with ease. What’s more, most themes will offer plenty of additional customization options, to help you shape your site in whatever way you like. You can also find premium themes via sites like ThemeIsle and ThemeForest.

You can even use page builder plugins like Elementor and Beaver Builder to customize your site further. Of course, you’re also able to use code to create a completely unique site (or hire someone else to do it for you).

Conclusion

WordPress has grown dramatically in size since its release. Although this can be a good thing, it does mean that misconceptions have become commonplace. It’s important to use WordPress yourself before judging it, as it can be an incredibly beneficial tool

In this post, we explored (and debunked) some of the myths that are commonly circulated about WordPress. We learned that:

  1. WordPress is easy to use, even for beginners.
  2. You can create all types and sizes of websites.
  3. While no platform is perfect, WordPress is remarkably secure.
  4. Your WordPress site can easily look unique, with the right theme and a little tweaking.

Do you have any further questions about using WordPress? Let us know in the comments section below!

4 Ways to Integrate Social Media With WordPress

Social media likely plays a big role in the day-to-day operation of your online business. Your brand’s social channels are where you can market products, handle customer queries, and post engaging content. Therefore, it’s also important to account for them in your website’s design.

Featuring your social media channels on your site (and vice versa) can greatly boost their visibility, while also increasing the likelihood of audience engagement. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to integrate social media into your WordPress site easily.

In this post, we’ll explore some of your best options for tying together your social platforms and website. Let’s get started!

Why You Should Consider Integrating Social Media With WordPress

Social media has cemented its place in the tool set of any website owner. It has many potential applications, although it’s most commonly used as a marketing tool, or as a place to provide customer service. This means that many brands choose to spend a lot of time and resources on their social channels.

Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s important not to forget about your website. Your site and your social media profiles are completely different entities, even if you use largely the same content on both. This means they often need to be managed separately, which can lead to a lot of work.

By integrating the two whenever possible, you can more effectively manage both a strong social media presence and a top-quality WordPress website. Some of the benefits to integrating social media with your site include:

  • Easier access to social sharing. Featuring your social channels on your website will make it easier for visitors to share your content.
  • Access to a larger audience. An increase in social sharing will mean that your content goes on to reach a new, wider audience.
  • Better engagement. Integration also makes it much easier for users to follow you on social media platforms. This gives you additional opportunities to interact with your visitors.

Effective integration will also mean that the traffic your business generates can flow smoothly from platform to platform. Your site’s visitors will be able to find your social platforms with ease – and your social media followers will be directed towards your site in turn.

4 Ways to Integrate Social Media With WordPress

With all of the above in mind, let’s explore four of the best ways you can integrate your social channels with your WordPress site.

1. Add Social Sharing and Follow Buttons to Your Pages

‘Social sharing buttons’ let visitors share your website’s content on their own social media accounts, without leaving the page they’re on. These buttons have become a commonly-used feature, and can be included on pages and posts of all kinds:

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn social sharing buttons.

Making your content easier to share provides you with an opportunity to reach much larger audiences. This is a huge benefit when you’re looking to raise brand awareness and drive new traffic to your site. You can even add ‘follow’ buttons as well, offering visitors a quick and simple way to follow your website’s social media accounts.

Fortunately, there are many ways to set up both social sharing and follow buttons, with just a few clicks. Your best bet is to pick up a dedicated plugin, such as WP Social Sharing.

2. Include a Social Login Option

Adding a social login option to your site will enable users to register for accounts using their social media profiles. This greatly streamlines the registration process – encouraging more people to sign up:

An example of a social login option on a website.

In fact, a study by WebHostingBuzz found that 86% of people report finding the need to create new accounts on each website frustrating. A further 77% say that social logins are “a good solution that should be offered by any site”.

Including this feature on your site is simple – particularly when you’re using a plugin like Nextend Social Login. With this plugin (and others like it), you’ll also be able to gather data about your audience through the login form, including their email addresses, locations, demographics, and more.

3. Auto-Publish Content to Your Social Media Platforms

Although it’s important to encourage your audience to share your content, it’s also vital to share it yourself. Publishing your site’s content on your own social media accounts will help you increase its visibility.

This can enable you to establish a connection between your website and social channels. By sharing interesting posts, articles, and media, you’ll let your social audience know that it’s worth their time to visit your website as well:

An Affiliate Royale blog post shared on Twitter.

Of course, depending on how many platforms you’re present on, sharing every post to social media can be time-consuming. Online services such as IFTTT are a great way to speed up the process, as are automation plugins like Revive Old Posts.

4. Create a Social Stream for Your Website

A ‘social stream’, often referred to as a ‘lifestream’, is a single series of updates from across your various social media platforms. It posts the content you create for those channels directly onto your WordPress site – including images, videos, and even any customer interactions.

Including a social stream on your site makes it easier for visitors to engage with your content, while also encouraging them to follow your profiles. In addition, it enables you to display your social content in a more aesthetically-pleasing and organized way:

An example of a social stream on a website.

As a WordPress user, implementing a dedicated plugin is once again the most effective solution. The Flow-Flow Social Stream plugin is a particularly powerful example, as you can connect any number of accounts to it, from any social networks you like.

Conclusion

The work you put into your social media channels is vital, yet it’s important to update your website just as frequently. By integrating the two platforms, you can ensure that both get the attention they need to thrive – while also boosting the overall visibility of your content.

In this post, we’ve explored four of the ways you can integrate your social media channels with your WordPress site:

  1. Add social sharing and follow buttons to boost interaction.
  2. Implement a social login option.
  3. Auto-publish content to your social media platforms.
  4. Create an aesthetically-pleasing social stream for your website.

Do you have any further questions about social media integration in WordPress? Let us know in the comments section below!

3 Reasons You Should Update Your Affiliate Blog Regularly

Given the hustle running a website takes, it can be tempting to skip a couple of posts in your schedule from time to time. However, for affiliate websites, it’s important to maintain a regular posting schedule, as there’s usually a correlation between traffic and revenue. If you neglect your blog, this can tank your hits over time, which in turn limits your potential income.

Fortunately, the opposite is also true. Once you develop a consistent posting strategy, your site may start receiving more hits. There are a number of reasons for this, including search engines favoring fresh content, and increased audience engagement as visitors check back for your updates.

This article will go over three reasons why regular updates are important to your blog. We’ll also explain the impact these updates have on your marketability as an affiliate blogger. Let’s get moving!

What Regular Updates Mean for Your Affiliate Site

In a nutshell, regular updates is a simple concept. It simply means posting consistently, at a frequency set by you. It doesn’t have to mean posting every single day, or even every other day. Of course, you can define a schedule that works for you, and even adjust it down the line as needed.

Some bloggers will post once a day, or even multiple times per day. However, if you’re a one-person band or a small team, daily blog posts can quickly get overwhelming. Brandon Stanton (creator of popular blog Humans of New York), recently spoke about the burnout he felt after setting too strict of a schedule. The most important thing is to pick something you can stick to.

Regular updates can provide a myriad of benefits. We’ll go over why consistency is important next.

3 Reasons You Should Update Your Affiliate Blog Regularly

There’s no surefire way to attract traffic to your blog (although paid traffic sources are an excellent place to start!). However, the cumulative effect of regular updates is undeniable. If you provide quality content and post regularly, you’ll give your visitors a reason to consistently check your site.

Why are regular posts so important? There are many reasons, but here are some of the most important for your affiliate site!

1. Regular Blog Updates Can Improve Your SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important for increasing your website’s stats. Organic search traffic is an excellent way to drive up your site’s page stats. However, unless you’re in the top page of Google search results, you’re missing out on over a quarter of all organic search traffic as most never make it past the first page.

Regular posts can improve your site’s “freshness score”, which search engines use to rank content. This means you may show up higher in search engines, and receive more organic search traffic. Search engines especially look for content that’s currently relevant, such as posts relating to currently trending social media topics, or those appearing in news articles.

Make sure to also keep your content relevant to your audience. For example, provide practical tips your readers can use, and write about your topics in an informative and engaging way. Google also includes engagement metrics, like how long users stay on the page – also called “dwell time.” If readers relate to the content you provide, they’ll be likelier to finish reading to the end, which will increase your dwell time and boost your SEO.

2. Consistent Publishing Can Increase Audience Engagement

Regular blog posts can also encourage visitors who like your content to check back frequently, creating an engaged and loyal audience. To give you an example of how effective scheduled updates can be, look to television. Pop quiz – what night does your favorite TV show air? (Even if you DVR, we bet you still know this!)

If you’re looking forward to something, you want to know when you can expect the next installment. Blogs are no different. What’s more, we’d all rather watch a new episode than a rerun. If your client checks your blog and finds the same content as last week, they’re less likely to return.

Create valuable content at least once a week, and your visitors may check your site more often, improving your engagement metrics. Plus, if you have many high quality posts in your archives, visitors may be tempted to scroll through your archives and spend even more time on your site. This is key to boosting your influence and developing a loyal customer base.

3. Updating Regularly Proves You’re Serious

Regular updates are especially important if you have a new site. No one will take you seriously if your site only has a handful of published posts. It takes time for your audience to discover your blog and become loyal readers. For example, it took travel blog Everywhereist two years of regular updates before it cracked 100 visits a day.

As you can expect, affiliate merchants may not want to get involved with a site that looks new or doesn’t yet have much traffic. As an affiliate, your biggest strengths are your influence and page metrics. If you have regular posts going back six months, it shows you take your work, and your blog, seriously. This cultivates an attitude that while traffic may be lean now, you’re in it for the long haul, and are trying to build a long-term viable project.

Tips on How to Implement Regular Updates

So now we know the impact of regular updates, let’s talk about advice for scheduling content. In creating a posting schedule, you want to make sure to strike a balance between quantity and quality. It’s far more important to output one meaningful blog post a week than seven rushed, sloppy ones.

The most important thing is to set a regular schedule – say, posting once a week on Tuesdays. Remember, you can always start out at a low frequency, increasing it if your site picks up and either your budget allows for an additional writer, or you can devote more time to the blog. This is far preferable to setting too high of a bar, then burning out.

Once you have a schedule, there are techniques you can use to maintain it. If you’re having trouble with consistency, try following these three easy steps:

  1. Create an editorial calendar to organize and plan out your topics and schedule.
  2. Use the Pomodoro technique to build short, focused blog-writing sessions into your day.
  3. Take advantage of the WordPress post scheduler to put your posting on autopilot. You could schedule the next month’s content in an hour.

These are simple suggestions that can make a big difference, so putting them to work is a great first step.

Conclusion

Simply put, regular updates are key to running a successful affiliate website. Updating consistently regardless of your reader numbers can help keep you motivated, and give your site a professional appearance with populated archives. Even if you have a steady flow of traffic, a lack of regular updates can stall your growth, or even drive your stats down.

Some of the benefits of regular posting include:

  1. Improved SEO.
  2. Audience engagement.
  3. A reputation that you’re a long-term and viable business prospect.

Do you have any questions about updating your affiliate blog regularly? Let us know in the comments section below!