This has been a long time coming and I’m finally getting around to writing about my experience as a blogger at Share-a-Sale’s ThinkTank 2013 conference. You may have seen my tweets with the hashtag #ThinkTank13.
I found out about Shareasale and its conference through Nicole the Funthusiast! I was invited to attend, and I had no idea what to expect. Last year, I started to monetize my blog and add affiliate links but many of the attendees (affiliates) were hardcore pros. I was definitely the grasshopper at this conference. (Case in point: I made like $5 in 2013 – not enough to even get a network to cut me a check.)
Shareasale is an affiliate marketing network. If you’re familiar with Amazon Associates, think smaller and more customized service to help you optimize your websites (or blogs) with merchants. THINK TANK was created to connect affiliates (me) with merchants (ex. fanatics.com), share best practices, and provide support and troubleshooting.Â In late October, I flew out to Denver and met a ton of bloggers, affiliates and merchants. I learned from one-on-one sessions with Missy Ward as well as from the staff at Shareasale.
Without further ado, here are five things I learned at the ShareASale #ThinkTank13 Conference:
5. Don’t apply to every affiliate program. Apply to the ones that fit your niche.
Sometimes it’s tempting to apply to be an affiliate for Toenailclippers.com but really, does it really fit with your blog or website? (I made that URL up….) I went through my list of merchants that I’m approved for and started to quit programs that didn’t line up with my blog.
4. If you’re doing sponsored posts, ask to be able to swap out links to affiliate links after a period of time.
Genius. This also applies to old posts. I have a ton of homework to do – going through old posts that still get traffic and optimize them.
Plugins to consider adding: Pretty Links Lite, Amazon Products in a Post, and Related Posts.
3. Simplify my layout – make it easy to navigate.
Let me know if my site is difficult to navigate. I think this is related to colors and making the site easy to read. I think it’s a no-brainer to say NO to Comic-Sans. I’m working on a new layout but you know it’s hard to do when you have a job too. Nevertheless, it’s on my list.
2. Go back to your Google Analytics and enhance existing or create new posts from your top keywords search/referral data.
This totally makes sense to me. I have a ton of people searching for juice cleanses and why shouldn’t I write one more post about juice cleanses? Maybe it’s a post about local juiceries. Maybe it’s a post on juicers and blenders. I think it’s also fair to say that I should be testing both text links and image links to see if there is an increase in conversion. (Sweet, I just gave myself a few more blog posts to write.)
1. Add a newsletter component to your blog.
This is my number one to-do. If I added a weekly newsletter sign-up, would you sign up? It would be cool to have an exclusive email list where I could send out special deals or promotions as well as weekly digests of my blog posts. Do you have an email sign-up?
Do you have more tips on optimizing affiliate marketing?
While these are probably pretty obvious to the average joe, I felt like it was eye-opening for me. I just went along, chugging and writing, while affiliate marketing experts pointed out where I could do better.
Many thanks to the ShareASale team for inviting me and subsidizing my conference stay. I learned a lot from others at the conference, and I’m grateful to have had a chance to get better with my blog. If you are interested in attending ThinkTank 2014, be sure to sign up as a ShareASale affiliate and get updates!
Disclosure: I was invited to attend ShareASale ThinkTank 2013 with a subsidized conference pass. Some of the links posted are affiliate links.