PART 3: THIRD PARTY SERVICES FOR YOUR AFFILIATE MARKETING TOOLKIT
Outside of plugins, there are a number of resources and services that can be very helpful to affiliate marketers – from creative resources to mobility services. These can all be wonderful additions to your affiliate marketers toolkit.
If you think we left something out – make sure to send us your recommendation or your favourite tool, plug-in or resource and we’ll check it out!
…for photography and design
PRICE: It’s free to upload and work with your own images, plus Canva has a number of free illustrations and images. You can also utilize stock images in your graphics, but you’ll have to pay a fee. Usually it’s about $1.00.
Your readers love to be a part of your life. Instead of using another banner or merchant image, why not use an image of your own and make it a click-able affiliate link? If you don’t know where to start, try Canva. Canva allows users to easily and quickly create beautiful graphics for blog posts, social media profiles, documents and much more. It makes the hassle of choosing a filter, selecting layouts and matching different fonts a piece of cake.
As an affiliate, a lot of your job is writing, researching and repurposing content (and products); as well as keeping up to date with your favorite merchants and networks. It’s a time consuming job to sort through millions of websites and keep them all organized. Feedly is a great resource for organizing article news feeds. You can create different categories (Recipes, Fashion, Humor, Local, Merchants, New Merchants, etc) for each of your news feeds…it becomes your own personal newspaper. Now instead of constantly looking through bookmarked content, you can login to Feedly and review the latest stories. Be sure to add the ShareASale news feeds to your Feedly account – New Merchant Programs, ShareASale Blog and ShareASale Coupons/Deals Database.
Adding Google Analytics to an affiliate site is the best way to gain insight on your users and their behavior. You can even setup event tracking on affiliate links that you want to track as goals. You can sign up for a Google Analytics Account; then add the tracking code to your theme’s header.php file. If you are uncomfortable messing with files, install the Headers & Footers Plugin. You can add the tracking code directly into the headers box within that plugin. You can also install the Google Analytics Plugin for WordPress to get a quick snapshot of traffic details when you login to your WordPress Account.
…for domains, hosting, and email
As an affiliate, it is always better to purchase a hosting account, rather than rely on a free blogging platform’s hosted services. Occasionally, free blogging services, like WordPress.com (vs. WordPress.org) will restrict affiliate marketing activities. So, it’s best just to have your own paid hosting. There are a number of different hosting companies available, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. One major strength with GoDaddy, and why it’s specifically mentioned, is that they make it very easy for the non-technical person. In about four quick steps you can have a hosting plan, a domain name, a database and WordPress installed. It’s also very simple to add sub-domains, switch domains and add email addresses in a click of a button.
…for sending emails
Aweber is a great service for Affiliate Marketers and Bloggers. Tools to easily capture email addresses in WordPress, Templates for sending emails, and great stats to show you which of your subscribers are interested in what products. My favorite Aweber feature? They tell you who opened up a certain newsletter and with one-click you can immediately follow up with just that segment of your reader-base. Plus, the people are great, the customer service is top-tier, and the pricing will fit any Affiliate Marketers budget, you can get started for as little as a $1.
…for sending emails
PRICE: FREE (Paid Versions Also Available)
Every affiliate marketer should be capturing email addresses and sending regular emails to subscribers with affiliate links, blog post summaries and relevant articles. Don’t underestimate the power of email marketing when it comes to your affiliate business. MailChimp is by far one of the easiest email service providers to utilize. It’s intuitive, well designed and full of handy reports.
…for heat maps
As an affiliate, you need to know the (literal) hot spots of your website. It will tell you where to put your top performing banners or calls to action (eh hem – email signup!). So, where are people clicking on your site? Crazy Egg answers this question and much more. With a membership to Crazy Egg, you can see a heat map of where people clicked on your site, segment clicks by traffic source, see how far down a page people are scrolling and actually breakdown the number of people who click on each link. Plans range from $9 to $99 a month.
…for mobile responsiveness
A mobile friendly website is important! On ShareASale, 25% of traffic and 20% of transactions came from mobile devices in 2013 [see original article]. Most WordPress Themes are mobile friendly, but some are more friendly than others. If you find the mobile version of your website is less than desirable, try out WP Touch – a full mobile suite for WordPress. It’s a pricier license ranging from $49 for one site to $349 for unlimited sites, but if mobile is an important part of your affiliate business, it would be well worth it.
HUBSPOT IDEA GENERATOR
…for creative writing
When you draw a total blank coming up with your next blog post or brilliant affiliate marketing idea, try the Hubspot Idea Generator. Plug in the keywords your mind keeps circling around and the idea generator will spit out five different blog post titles and ideas for you. If nothing else, it will kick start your creativity.
…for video creation
PRICE: starting at $8 per month
Video is on the rise! Get started on your strategy today! Animoto makes it easier than ever to create professional videos on the web and on the go. Their products make it easy, fun, and cost effective for anyone to create professional videos. At the end of the day, Animoto is all about helping people share their stories with the world through video.
Affiliate Marketer’s Toolkit
3rd Party Services