Stop your website leaking money!
Published 15th October 2014
In this gambling affiliate business, you can break webmasters down into three categories: complete newbies, experienced but mediocre, and then finally, the all-stars that make the most money.
It is the all-stars that manage to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. One common complaint of newbies and the weaker affiliates is that they need more of the traffic and top rankings that their all-star competitors get. Certainly, if you could double or triple your traffic, then you
would be earning two or three times more.
The question these two groups of underperforming affiliates should be asking is: how can I earn more money out of the traffic I have right now? If you could earn two or three times more from the traffic you already have, imagine what would happen when your traffic does increase? Quite often you can achieve these conversion improvements faster and at usually less cost than you could by achieving the increased traffic. The best-earning affiliates have their conversion optimised to the max, and believe it or not, there are other webmasters out there with a lot of traffic that struggle to convert.
This article will look at the common issues new webmasters run into when creating a website, as well as the ones that have had existing sites for years but can’t seem to get it to the next level. So whether you are new or an existing webmaster, let’s put aside traffic generation for now and focus on helping your site to stop leaking money.
The four items on the checklist on which you need to focus are:
- Website Design
- Geo Targeting
- Email & Follow
- Social Media
For new webmasters, your website design and layout is going to be very influential to how your site converts and performs. As a webmaster, you have perhaps too many choices for site design from what seem like infinite templates, whether free or paid, to custom designs, which naturally cost more. Most website designers don’t know much about conversion, and most certainly don’t know how their design and code can influence SEO as well. Most designers’ job is to make things look pretty and to get paid doing it, and while some designers can claim their designs resulted in the success
of their clients, that success has likely been more about what the webmaster has done. All the top webmasters have their own custom designs, because they know what layouts work best for their traffic. If you can get a custom design, make sure you get someone involved in the design process that understands conversion rate optimization (CRO). If you are building a new site on a budget, then you can use free WordPress templates, for example, but you’ll want to configure the site to optimize for conversions. Here it helps to get the help of an experienced affiliate that can guide you on the layout.
- Other webmasters on website design: “I’m not a web designer, and while I have a strong idea of the content players want to read, that’s not enough in itself. My attempts at design were like a poorly displayed meal - doesn’t matter if it tastes great if you can’t make anyone want to take a bite. Getting a properly designed site made a substantial difference to our results and returned far more than the investment.” ThePOGG.com
I’ve been late to get in on the geo-targeting game, but always knew it was important. Now I couldn’t live without it, and cringe when I see affiliate sites with lots of traffic not geo-targeting properly. These tools don’t cost a lot to add to your website, and if you use
WordPress, it is even easier. Otherwise, getting a custom programme to implement geo-targeting shouldn’t cost too much, and you should be able to recover this expense extremely quickly. There are just way too many reasons to list why you should be using geo-targeting, but the only answer you really need is that you’ll make more money.
If you want a geo-targeting plugin for WordPress, you can get one from epikmedia.com and if you use bonus code gaffg you’ll get $10 off.
- Other webmasters on geo-targeting “Other than making the decision to get into rakeback in 2004 when only 1-2 other affiliates were doing it, I’d say geo-targeting is the second most important thing I have ever done for my affiliate business. It’s not just about showing relevant ads to relevant countries - it’s about being able to reach down to a demographic so much easier.” AffiliateBible.com
- “Geo targeting became extremely important back in 2006 after UIGEA when we had to split all operators who do and who don’t accept US players. Not much longer after that, we realized there are 195 other countries in the world and we can offer them casinos exactly where they can play by implementing advanced geo targeting techniques back then. Now, geo targeting is a regular part of AskGamblers, connected to each element on every single page. There are no two countries that will see the same page.” AskGamblers.com
- “Another aspect of ThePOGG that I made a poor job of to begin with (and still haven’t got totally right) is geo targeting. We’ve implemented this on some of the higher value pages, but a recent look at one of the more detailed affiliate programs still shows that 30% of the clicks are coming from restricted countries. More work to be done.” ThePogg.com
Email & Follow
Getting people to subscribe to your newsletters and follow your feeds is fairly important. If getting a player sign up to a casino or sportsbook is a conversion, then getting their email is your retention.
Gambling traffic is valuable, and you want to at least make an attempt to get an email without causing your traffic to bounce and run away. By not getting their email or following your news feeds, you run the risk that they might never find your site again, for whatever reason. When you have their email, you have worked hard to get it, and you’ll want to make best use of it. Have a new promotion or a new brand you want to let your players know about? Lets say you pick up 1,000 new subscribers with a campaign, well those 1,000 new real users are worth something. If a new casino or sportsbook comes out, you can be one of the first to email those players and get them signed up through you rather than your competition. Whatever content you can send them that should lead to a conversion and a sale somewhere, you should be doing it. If you assume of these 1,000 users you email that you are able to achieve a 10% click-through rate, that’s 100 people clicking on your content, and if you can convert 10% of these clicks into depositing players, then you are looking at instant profit.
The all-star affiliates have known about this for a while (see Figure 1). They email their users frequently, because it works.
You can look at email marketing as a way to extend the value of your website.
The topic of email marketing really could easily be the subject of its own article, as it really is that important. You may have a lot to learn about improving your email marketing, ranging from getting more users signed up, getting more users to open your emails and finally getting them to click on your content. If you want to see who is doing it right, just sign up to all your competitor newsletters and see what they send their players, and you can work backwards to figure out what they are doing right.
On the subject of following, sometimes it can be easier to get a user to follow you than to get trust you enough to give you their email address. There are many pros and cons of using Facebook as a tool to collect followers, by getting them to like your site. Of course you have Twitter, Google+ and enough following choices, and you might want to keep this simple, but many email marketers swear that getting an email is far more valuable than getting a Facebook follower. You don’t know if Facebook is going to force you to pay to get your message out to the very people that have already agreed to follow you. I say get both if you can, but pick one over the other and monitor the performance. My preference is for getting an email over a Facebook follower, but if you can get both, then you give yourself the best possible chance of that user coming back to your site, because you notified them of something new and valuable.
Now this is probably where the new webmasters get most confused – on the best and most effective way of using social media. They have probably read the hype that they need to do it, but won’t know what they are doing and how to measure the value of their activity. Once again, this is where it helps to look at how your competition uses social media, and perhaps via this process, the best ways to integrate social media on your site will become clearer. There are many ready designed and WordPress templates that have the social media icons on the top of every website, and these links take you away from your site. This is wrong, so don’t copy these people! Get them to like your content, share it, follow you, whatever, but don’t send them back to Facebook where they can watch more videos of the ice bucket challenge and completely forget that they were on your site.
Now assuming you have content that is likeable and shareable, then give the users the ability to use these social media tools.
Let them like your article, share it, even leave a comment if they can. An example of this can be seen in Figure 2.
What is the end result of all of this? Well when these users do these activities, it can possibly show up in their friends’ feeds on Facebook, for example. This gives your site a bit of extra exposure it didn’t have previously, and just by adding the right calls to action for social media and the right placement of it, you got yourself a new visitor, which is getting extra traffic from what you currently have.
Of course, make sure your content isn’t of poor quality, and ask yourself, would real users really want to like or share? If it isn’t, then you’ll want to focus on improving your content so it converts better and less people leave the site from these lower quality
pages. Again, why drive more traffic to a low-quality page that isn’t converting? Fix your content first before you focus on traffic generation and SEO. Your Google Analytics will show you which pages you are leaking traffic, use this tool to figure it out and fix those pages and stop leaking money!
Apply the checklist to your affiliate business, and if you find you’re struggling, just go to the more successful affiliate sites, apply this checklist to them and you’ll realize what they are doing right and what your website should be doing too. To summarize:
- Website Design: The top sites have custom designs.
- Geo Targeting: You simply have to do it. If you are using WordPress, a $50 geo targeting plug-in from EpikMedia.com will be the best money you can spend on your website.
- Email & Follow: Retain your users. Getting traffic isn’t easy so when you do get it, do your best to collect their email or get them to follow you or both.
- Social Media: Focus on putting the right calls to action in your content. If your content is worth sharing, your job is to set up the buttons in the right place so they do the work for you.