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Get Started with Content Creation

Overview

As the owner of an affiliate website, you should always prioritize content creation. Only high-quality, helpful content that’s easy for your audience to understand – in the form of trial tests or product reviews – will take your affiliate website to the next level.

Though on-page and off-page SEO is also an important consideration, providing high-quality content is still the best way to increase your traffic and improve your earnings.
Of course, every website owner has to develop their own workflow for creating copy for an affiliate project; but the tips we offer here will help you plan, write and implement better content for your site.

You Will Learn:
• How to write high-quality affiliate articles
• Expectations readers have of an affiliate article
• How to carry out brainstorming and research
• How to avoid typical mistakes when writing affiliate content

Naturally, you should always be writing content to please your readers and followers, and not to satisfy the algorithms of a search engine. However, search-engine algorithms recognize high-quality articles, and this will help your site rank higher in search results; which, in turn, will bring you more readers and potential customers. So, the bottom line is: your site needs great content to generate long-term traffic and improve your ranking in search results, in order for you to monetize your website in the best possible way.

What Makes a Good Affiliate Article?

High-quality content that satisfies both your readers and the search engines has some aspects that you can measure, and some you cannot. The measurable factors are particularly important for Google and other search engines; when present, these factors will be detected by search-engine crawlers and will contribute significantly to rankings in search results. Google and other search providers pay particular attention to criteria such as the timeliness, scope, structure, value and uniqueness of affiliate content. Below, we look at these and other ‘measurable’ factors that you should think about when you write your affiliate content:

1. Scope
When writing an affiliate article, you should always make sure its scope is suitable for the product that you’re writing about. Short and superficial content that glosses over an in-depth subject area will leave your readers unsatisfied, and won’t help your effort in terms of search results, either. On the other hand, visitors to websites often want to quickly grasp the essentials, so you should avoid being over-ambitious and writing too much on a given topic.

Always adapt your affiliate articles to suit the questions raised by, or the overall scope, of your project. Remember that most people process visual content more readily than text, so complicated subjects can be simplified by adding visual cues such as charts, spreadsheets and illustrative images. Wherever possible with your affiliate articles, try to provide a healthy mix of relevant, concise copy backed up with visual content.

2. Length
There’s no simple answer to the question of how long an affiliate text should be – because the length often depends on the overall scope, as discussed above, and the point you’re trying to get across. However, it’s extremely difficult for search engines to find value in articles that are too short. Therefore, from the point-of-view of SEO, we recommend that affiliate articles should have a minimum length of 250 to 300 words.

There’s no upper limit, but as a rule of thumb, extensive product reviews which contain more than 700 words are ultimately only read by a few visitors to your website. So, for longer texts, it’s good practice to summarize product details in the form of listings, and to add a comprehensive conclusion at the end of the piece: this is an important aspect of affiliate articles, and can even be the only part that many visitors will read in any depth. By adding lists of a product’s key details and an in-depth conclusion, you’ll satisfy both sets of readers: those who want detailed info and those who want to quickly get an overview of the essentials.

3. Relevance
Providing a detailed review or guide is great, but keeping the whole thing up-to-date is just as important. Ask yourself: is there any additional info or are there any new updates to a product featured in one of your trial tests? Every few months, you should review your site’s content to ensure it’s still relevant and, if necessary, rewrite it to reflect any new developments or to incorporate new products.

4. Quality
The overall quality of your affiliate article depends not only good spelling and grammar, but also on its readability. When writing an article in your WordPress Editor, take advantage of tried-and-trusted SEO plug-ins such as Yoast SEO. Search-engine algorithms also rank articles more favorably if you keep sentences short and use proper spelling and grammar.

5. Structure
Subheadings, paragraphs, tables and a meaningful conclusion are all finishing touches which will provide visitors to your website a richer, more rewarding experience. To avoid overwhelming your readers, individual paragraphs should never be more than five-to-seven lines long.

Tip: Look at the online presence of well-known print magazines and compare the structure of their articles with your own. Doing this can teach you a lot about creating a more enjoyable reading experience. While writing an article, get into the habit of regularly asking yourself: is my article easy to scan, and does it still provide the key information?

6. Unique Content
Imitating – or worse, directly copying or rewording – the content of others won’t help your efforts. Not only will your readers potentially realize that your ideas are borrowed from elsewhere, but search engines will also recognize duplicated content and will punish your site, resulting in a lower overall ranking.

Originality is therefore one of the most important criteria when writing an affiliate article: nowhere is this more important than when you’re writing trial test reports or reviews. It’s vital that you have first-hand experience of your review product and that you’ve tested it extensively before you start writing.

Every reviewer has a slightly different angle when assessing a product’s quality or value-for-money, so writing an honest evaluation will help you create a unique and more successful affiliate article. Also, you should always supply your own product images, because there is no better USP. High-quality content and unique images help to create that all-important ‘trust’ between yourself and your visitors.

7. Internal Linking
Some content on your website is bound to relate directly to, or complement, other content. You should make the relationship clear to both your readers and the search-engine crawlers by using an internal link and connect your subpages together, if it makes sense to do so. Search engines will be able to understand the structure of your website better and cross-referencing pages in this way will more than likely be of interest to your readership.
For a great example of internal linking, see wikipedia.org. Look at the internal linking between individual articles and use this as a model for your own website.

8. External Links
Many website owners have concerns about external links. However, providing an external link offers your visitors useful information, its inclusion will be seen as positive by search engines – because you’re adding value for your users. Remember to set external links to open in a new tab, so you don’t lose your visitor when they click on the link.

Reader Expectations

As well as the ‘measurable’ factors we’ve discussed above, which you should consider, because they’re easy for a search engine to measure, there are also less-tangible qualities that contribute to a successful affiliate article. It may be difficult for search engines to quantify these factors at present, but the likes of Google are making progress in detecting and evaluating ever-more subtle aspects of your online content. Below are some examples of these subtle, yet still important factors.

1. Added Value
Added value is directly linked to readers’ expectations of your affiliate article. If your article goes the extra mile and scores points by offering useful knowledge and great examples, it will make a positive impression on your readers and make them more likely to trust your site, return to it regularly and, of course, click on your affiliate links and potentially increase your revenue.

2. Credibility
Credibility helps to build trust; this trust is what will make your readers come back to your website for more content over the long term. If you trust the information a website offers you, it’s highly likely you’ll be back when you have a further question, or if you’re interested in another product.

Establishing credibility and authority will result in direct visits to your site; each direct visit makes your site less dependent on the ranking criteria of a search engine.

3. Your Target Group
The question of which group you wish to target with your articles is something that you should deal with at the planning stage of your affiliate website. You should also have considered the scope of your articles and how in-depth you wish your content to go. Your affiliate content should always focus in on the specific interests of your target group. Keyword analysis, a content plan and constant re-evaluation of which articles are popular will help you figure out what visitors to your site want to learn about.

Taking the interests and wishes of your target group into account when writing your articles will contribute significantly to the success of your website. Having the right strategy in place from the beginning is usually half the battle.

4. Writing Style
Your writing style is another factor that is perceived less by the search engine than by your readers – it’s something that helps build the trust in and credibility of your website and helps to dictate other, less measurable factors, such as defining your target group and the expectations of your readers.

When developing your writing style, you should always try to stay true to your own voice and not write in a style that doesn’t suit the requirements of your readers. It doesn’t make sense to write in a florid, literary style if you’re working on a niche site on gardening tools; it’s more likely to scare your readers away.

5. First Impressions
Regardless of the quality of your articles, your website should always meet the expectations of your visitors. Make sure that the WordPress theme you’ve selected is suitable for the subject matter, and ensure that the way you structure your pages makes sense to your readers and makes it easy for them to navigate to the content they want to read.

Brainstorming and Research

An affiliate website will only work if it contains articles about relevant products that you can promote, so start out by brainstorming a topic to create a list of products to feature.
When creating your content, always put yourself in the mindset of a potential buyer. Ask yourself: what would you want to know before you buy a product? The topic you choose for your website should be one that offers sufficient potential to create a good range of content. If the topic you’ve selected is too narrow or too specific, you run the risk of not being able to branch out into sub-topics, or other related product areas, over time: a good topic is one with future potential.

1. Mix Formal and Informal Content
In the interests of variety, your site should include both product reviews and informal posts. You should aim for a reader-friendly balance between informal posts and product reviews or test reports.

2. Competitors, Forums and Using Your Own Experiences
Look at websites that deal with similar topics to your own. You’ll usually find a lot of ideas and new content areas that you can cover on your own website. Become active in relevant forums to uncover suitable topics that might be of interest to your target audience. To make your content more authentic, you can also write about your own experiences.

3. Find Keywords to Inspire You
There are plenty of free tools you can use for this, including hypersuggest.com and answerthepublic.com. These resources will help you to find keywords and keyword phrases that you should consider when selecting your topics. The next step is to analyze these keywords in detail, to better understand the following two important factors:

a. Search Volume
Search volume is an important factor – it shows you how many users have used a keyword in search engines, and how many searches there have been over a given period. A useful free tool to analyze the search volume of keywords is the Google Global Market Finder. Also, you should investigate how the search volume of a keyword has developed in recent years. Use Google Trends to find out whether interest has increased or decreased.

b. Competitor Analysis
A high search volume for a keyword or a search term is not the be-all and end-all. Check out the Top 10 Keyword pages on Google and see if you can create better content than these sites have to offer.

6. Investigation
One of the most important steps before you start writing an affiliate article is – do your research. This is an area that’s neglected by many affiliate marketers, which inevitably affects the quality of their content. The following tools will help you conduct your research more thoroughly:

a. Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a great starting point for most research topics.

b. Contact Product Manufacturers
A shortcut to gaining meaningful expertise is to contact the manufacturer of a product, or the Customer Support line. They’re the experts, after all, and should be able to provide tips, tricks and detailed insights onto their products which you can incorporate into your articles. Many manufacturers also offer product-related information and product images on their websites, often in the press section.
c. Expertise Websites and The Competition
Once you’ve reviewed a product, ask yourself: is there any further information or functionality that you haven’t covered? If you operate a niche website, you should consider specialist websites and the contents of your competitors’ sites. You’ll often find plenty of useful information to help round off your own article.

d. Google
It goes without saying that Google should be your first port-of-call for all kinds of article research.

e. Professional Guides and Operating Instructions
Incorporating info from specialist textbooks on a particular topic will help you offer valuable expertise and help you stand out from the competition. Reading instruction manuals will also provide useful background for a more detailed product review. When researching online, if several sources have the same technical information, it’s a reliable indicator that the info is valid.

Typical Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Affiliate Articles

When writing an affiliate article, avoid the following common mistakes:

1. Too Many Advertising Materials
Don’t overload your affiliate article with too many ads – this may give your readers the impression that you’re only concerned with monetizing your website. So, make sure that the way you use advertising material, such as banners, widgets, product links and the like, isn’t too intrusive. To ensure the long-term success of your website, foreground your content, not your advertising material.

2. Dishonest Recommendations
Every website owner or participant in an Affiliate Program wants to increase their revenue. However, presenting sub-standard products in a good light is no way to increase your revenue, because your visitors will quickly see through any misrepresentation. If a product doesn’t live up to a manufacturer’s promises, you should say so: this builds confidence in the trustworthiness of your content.

3. No Labeling
Any type of advertising, including an Affiliate link, must be explicitly labelled as such. Ensure you’re upfront and honest to stay the right side of the law.

Conclusion

As a participant of an Affiliate Program with the aim to monetize your website in the best possible way, you should think deeply about the topic of content creation. Only high-quality, helpful content will take your affiliate website to the next level. After extensive brainstorming and research, you should always write to match the expectations of your readers, and do your best to pique your readers’ curiosity.

To ensure your website retains its credibility and to deliver added value for your readers, be sure you don’t flood your website with excessive advertising, or with recommendations for products that aren’t up to standard, just to increase your revenue. In the last analysis, always ask yourself: after reading your affiliate text on another website, would you use or order the product yourself?
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