Multiple Streams of Income Equals Multiple Sites
Anyone who has been in Internet marketing for longer than two days knows that it is important to develop multiple streams of income. Some beginning marketers can take this admonition too far too quickly. I have seen sites that have products for sale, links to affiliate’s products and contextual advertising all on the same site. Sometimes all three appear on the same page. Indeed, this is an approach that I sometimes take, although only with great caution. As a rule, it’s a bad idea!
Before I describe a much more sensible approach, let me explain why a multi-purpose site works against a marketer’s objective. Each site, and certainly each page within a site, should have one purpose. Eventually every visitor to your website is going to leave your site, but you want to be able to stack the odds concerning how that visitor will leave.
In a retail site, you want them to leave only after they have stuffed your shopping cart full of your products and completed the check out process. The last page on your site that they see should be your thank you page. All of the other time they spend in your store should be directed toward getting them to that page.
In the case of either affiliate marketing or contextual advertising, you want to move them off your website. However, you want to move them in a way that brings you revenue, either in the form of a click on an ad or by going to your affiliate site in order to complete a purchase there. The way you encourage your visitors to move to the site with which you are affiliated is very different from the way in which you make it appealing to click on a contextual ad. Those two purposes can not be accomplished well on the same page and perhaps not within the same site.
Your job as an affiliate marketer is to convince your visitor that this affiliate’s product can meet the visitor’s specific needs. You highlight those needs with your copy and point out the ways in which the product is particularly good at what it does. You know the product well and can write specifically with that in mind.
In the case of contextual advertising, you don’t know what products or services will be promoted in the ads that are served to your site. You need to provide information that your visitor wants (based upon your keywords, page description, and so forth). At the same time, you let them know that there is other information (or even a product category) that they ought to be pursuing. Then, you just hope that one of the ads served on your page will coincide with the additional thirst you have created in your visitor.
So mixing potential revenue streams on the same page and, I believe, on the same site, means that you are working against yourself. You don’t want your prospective customers putting your product into a shopping cart and then disappearing from your site to pursue an affiliate product or by clicking on an ad. Instead, consider eventually building three sites (but not all at once). Work on your own product site. Find products that are complementary with your own product and endorse those on a separate site. Finally, if you feel you must, build a site for contextual advertising. (Personally, I would prefer to put the articles in a potential contextual advertising site into either my product site or affiliate site to draw visitors to the virtual locale where I could make a bigger profit, exchanging dollars for the cents that I would make with an ad click.)
Here are two exceptions to my advice, above. On your product site, you might want to use your thank you page to promote an affiliate offer. I sometimes place contextual advertising on my links pages. My thinking is that any visitors visiting my links have already decided to leave my site, so there is no harm having them leave me a little money on their way out.