8 Ways Affiliate Site Owners Can Boost Profits & Traffic Flipping Websites
Making money online flipping and selling websites can be challenging, but with a bit of elbow grease, you can boost your site’s revenue and sell it for a profit.
This post walks you step by step through eight actions you can take right now to make your website more profitable, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced blogger.
We’ll also cover what we’ve learned from building successful niche affiliate sites that reached over 11 million people last year (and hit $380k in affiliate income in December 2020).
Let’s dive in.
#1. Write Product-Focused Content to Attract Readers in “Buying” Mode
Whether you’re selling websites at scale or buying your first domain name, you need to make money. We’ve identified two of the highest converting content types that help with our monetization strategy:
- Product reviews
- Best lists (a.k.a. product roundups)
When our personal finance site, Listen Money Matters, started seeing an uptick in affiliate revenue, we discovered that a high proportion of commissions were originating from product review–style articles.
These long-form content pieces detailed popular financial services and what we liked about them. We decided to focus our fire there, making the adjustment of adding custom summary boxes to the top of every review, like the one shown below.
There was a direct correlation between clicks and commissions as both increased.
We wanted the offers associated with product-review posts to be placed at the top of the page, so it was essential to add tasteful affiliate links to the custom summary boxes.
As you can see, we were able to place the affiliate link twice in the summary box above without making it look spammy or ruining the user experience.
The other change that had a massive impact on revenue from product-review posts was adding no-code custom product displays with affiliate links to these posts.
When we tested this approach against typical in-text link placement using Crazy Egg, we saw that users scrolled past text links but stopped and clicked on our Lasso product boxes (like this one):
We’ve found that adding elements like trust badges, secondary call-to-action (CTA) buttons, and custom fields (for example, star ratings or pro/con sections) increases click confidence.
In addition to text links, we’ve found that adding simple product displays to posts increased clicks between 5% and 10% (compared to other content types).
When promoting anything (especially a product review), put it in a product display.
Best Lists (a.k.a. Product Roundups)
We’ve found that list posts (especially “best lists) convert at a higher rate than other types of content. For example, Lasso co-founder Matt Giovanisci’s “Best Lists” on his site at SwimU convert 10% higher than that of his regular content.
We also discovered after testing that people love to click images. We adopted the strategy of adding product images that included affiliate links to our best list articles.
To further increase our link placement, we added them to our h2s. We’ve seen increased conversions on our List Displays (and on our CTA buttons) when adding them to:
- Product descriptions
The sole purpose of these content types is product promotion, which attracts the right kind of readers who are more likely to click affiliate links.
We’ve tested these methods and know they work. Last year, we had a record month in December when our sites pulled in over $380,000 in affiliate income.
#2. Use Structured Data to Increase Your Chances of Appearing In SERPs
Structured data is a computing language, like HTML, that describes your site to search engines using code they can process quickly. It labels individual elements on your page so search engines can display them in a richer, more detailed way.
There are several ways to use structured data. You might recall seeing a recipe displayed in a carousel rich result snippet:
Or you may have seen FAQs linking to additional pages on a website:
These are examples of rich snippets using structured data. Here’s how we use structured data to increase traffic and boost revenue in the process.
Below is a bulleted list of featured snippets displayed in the SERP. We learned that when 80% of a page’s content is a list display, we see more impressions and featured snippets linking to these pages.
Google loves list posts.
Look at the number of posts from our site that have featured snippets when plugging it into Ahrefs. You can see in the image below that Google favors list posts marked using that format.
Even better, you don’t need to understand coding to use one of our List displays. We didn’t want our non-tech savvy users to miss out on this feature, so we designed our plugin to build List displays easily.
Targeting Review Snippets for Product Reviews
Another example of using structured data is to target Review Snippets for your product reviews. This also helps ensure enhanced results are displayed in the SERPs.
The below example is on the first page and includes additional information related to the user’s query.
In the case shown above, a review of Roofstock, a real estate–product, Google included enriched results, such as the following:
- Rental style (Turnkey)
- Property share availability
- Fees to pay
- Star rating
This search result also earned FAQs that link internally to various sections of this page.
Side note: If you’re not a developer, you can test different plugins that integrate with your CMS. Run a Google search for “product review plugins” or “ordered list plugins for WordPress” and see what you find.
#3. Use Google Analytics to Optimize Existing Content
Many new affiliate and niche site owners overlook the optimization of their current content. They get so focused on creating new articles that they forget to optimize pages that already get traffic.
Examine your existing pages and ask, “Could this post convert better?”
You can see where people enter your site by heading to Google Analytics > Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.
Landing pages are the “front doors” to your site and are how people find you. Inspect these pages so you can optimize accordingly.
Look for opportunities to:
- Add product displays
- Fix broken or out-of-stock affiliate links
- Replace links with low clicks with links to new products that may improve conversions
- Use internal linking strategies to boost these landing pages
#4. Set Up Site Search Tracking to Learn What Visitors Want
If your website has a search bar, chances are people use it. Understanding what queries they make can be extremely helpful.
To see what visitors search for, enable site search tracking with Google Analytics. If you notice a specific term is often searched but you have no corresponding content, create it and optimize it to convert.
This report shows:
- Search queries made by website visitors
- The frequency at which visitors leave after executing a search
- Pages from which visitors start searches
To set up site search tracking, perform a search on your website. For example, I’ll use the search term “roofstock” on our finance site.
With the resulting URL, head to your Google Analytics account (Admin > Create View > View Settings). Then, scroll down until you see “Site Search Tracking.”
Once there, Toggle it to “On” and enter the letter “s” in the Query parameter box.
Then click “Save.”
Side note: The query parameter refers to the letter displayed before the equal sign and keyword in the search URL. Common query parameters are “s” and “q.”
WordPress sites typically use “s.” In my example search for “roofstock,” you can see the letter “s” followed by my query.
To exclude the query parameter from all reports, tick the “Strip query parameters out of URL” box.
#5. Consolidate or Delete Content to Improve Search Traffic
User experience matters to Google’s ranking algorithm. This means that sites with lousy content won’t go far and that you’ll never turn a profit with a poorly optimized site.
At some point, everyone needs to consolidate or delete content, by removing irrelevant or poorly written articles and consolidating posts on similar topics, for example.
If you have many articles falling into that category, consider deleting them from your site. This will increase the site’s valuation and attract more potential buyers, in addition to improving search traffic.
We conducted a site audit with Marie Haynes Consulting and wound up removing nearly half of our content.
We created a spreadsheet with metrics including:
- Action needed
- Page views
- Top keyword
We redirected every article marked for deletion (using the Redirection WordPress plugin) to another location on our website to avoid losing visitors.
We saw an uptick in traffic because of this.
#6. Create a Resources Page to Accelerate Income
A Resources page on a website showcases recommended tools or favorite products.
Unlike a product roundup, which is a single blog post, a Resources page is a dedicated page on your site (usually in the navbar) that people can find easily.
It’s also the perfect place to promote your affiliate links. A variety of tools are available to help you build one.
We use our plugin Lasso because it lets you create Link Groups” (or categories) of affiliate links that you can display as Grids, Lists, or Galleries.
Our personal finance site has a Toolbox with the following affiliate link categories appearing on a single page:
- Real estate
Then, we display them as a grid:
We include secondary call-to-action buttons on this page that link to our product reviews. Visitors often start on our Toolbox page before migrating to reviews and deciding.
Such visitors have much higher conversion rates than those who found our reviews organically. This single page accounts for 10% of our affiliate revenue.
#7. Link to High-Quality Affiliate Landing Pages
If you’re running an affiliate site, you usually will not have designed the landing pages to which you send your visitors. Don’t let that deter you from working with brands to create custom landing pages for your audience.
Take a look at how Copy.ai created a unique page for Pat Flynn’s SPI readers. Unique pages like this have helped our sites improve conversions.
A unique offer for your audience accompanied by a picture and a testimonial adds credibility and feels more human. When people see the face behind what you’re promoting, they’re more likely to click.
Plus, a custom landing page for specific readers makes you feel special.
The standard purpose of a landing page is to convert website visitors. This conversion depends on the desired action of the affiliate program.
If you’re unable to work with a brand directly to create a unique landing page, a workaround is to link to a page that would increase sign-ups (or whatever your business goals are).
In digital marketing, this might mean prompting visitors to download a PDF, sign up to an email list, lead generation, follow social media accounts, or make a purchase.
You can always talk to the merchant if you spot ways to improve conversions. After all, you both want the same thing—to make money—so you’re invested in each other’s success.
#8. Optimize Your Content with More Keywords to Improve Rankings
According to an Ahrefs study, about 90% of blogs get zero search traffic, and there are reasons for this.
Simply put, people don’t write for the web, adhere to search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, or match search intent.
Smart website owners can capitalize on this.
In addition to attracting backlinks and getting your site indexed, another wise SEO play is to use tools that capture more keywords in your content.
The more keywords you rank for, the more traffic you’ll get. To capture as many keywords as possible and cast a wide net of related terms, we use Clearscope.
Clearscope optimizes your post with keywords relevant to your seed keyword, making sure you cover as much ground as you can. If you’re running a content site, a tool like this is invaluable.
Enter your target keyword into Clearoscope’s search field and run your report to obtain a list of terms related to your target.
We never write a post without running a report first.
Online marketplaces like Empire Flippers have made buying and selling more accessible.
Simply relying on a website broker like Empire Flippers to do the work isn’t enough, though. Creating a digital asset starts with a focus on improving your site’s traffic and income-earning potential. Good luck!