Making money through affiliate marketing – Does it pay off?

This is a guest post from Grace Ruskin.

During such hard economic conditions throughout the world, a large number of people are desperately looking for some passive income sources to boost their present income level and meet their monthly debt obligations. With the widespread use of the internet, online marketing has become an increasingly popular option to generate cash and use it in paying off your debt obligations. Have you ever heard of affiliate marketing as an option to make fast online cash? If answered no, you should educate yourself on this as this is one of the best ways to boost your monthly cash flow and use it in paying off your debt obligations. Make money affiliate marketing tips are available in the internet and you should go through them in order to ensure best returns. Here are some tips that you may consider.

 

  • Knowing your audience is very important: If you are looking for the most successful way to use the affiliate programs, you should predict and also meet the needs of the online audience. Initially, before you start off with it, you have to consider the reason they are coming to your blog. Are you providing the exact thing that they are looking for? Always try to be sure that the product that you are promoting provides an effective solution to the problems of the visitors. Put ads that are relevant to the theme of the website so that it does not seem irrelevant. 

     

  • Help the online visitors: Remember that the affiliate ads are nothing but the additional resources that complement the content of your website and your utmost job is to add value to your content by making it useful, unique and informative as much as possible. If you are dealing with books, do not put up a list predicting the visitors to click on the links and purchase them. Instead you can write a detailed review of the books and use the affiliate ads to point them to the exact direction. Make use of your resources. 

     

  • Be loyal to your audience: It is very tough to get a bulk of audience who are interested in the content of your website and when you already grab them, you need to value them so that they stick to your website and remain loyal to you. You should not break their trust by promoting something that you personally do not believe in. You should understand that it is the repeat visitors that drive the main traffic and they are the ones who will provide you back links and also recommend your blog to other people. 

    Before you become an affiliate for a merchant company, you have to choose the products carefully so that you do not promote something that you do not support personally. Make money affiliate marketing is the most vital part of earning online cash and you should follow the tips mentioned in order to ensure maximum returns with minimum risk.

    Grace Ruskin is a professional writer and has immense knowledge on various aspects of the US online money making industry. She has contributed her articles to several websites and some topics covered by her are earning money through pay per lead affiliate programs, make money affiliate marketing tip ( http://www.debtconsolidationcare.com/affiliate/ ), importance of SEO in internet marketing and many more.

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    oDesk vs Elance: Comprehensive Guide

    oDesk vs ElanceoDesk vs Elance is an important question to ask because they are two of the biggest freelance marketplaces online today. If you want to start your freelancing career, both oDesk and Elance are good places to start because they have a good supply of employers looking to hire you. In the long term, however, you would probably be better off searching for projects by yourself. However, when you are starting out, an established platform definitely helps.

    Elance is older, but oDesk is faster growing. They both have their own strengths and weaknesses. As a freelancer, you should be able to choose the site that better suits your needs. Ultimately, you want to earn more money, in a consistent manner and get paid as high as possible for your skills. With this in mind, lets look at oDesk and Elance and evaluate them based on different aspects of a freelancing site.

    I wouldn’t suggest joining all the freelancing sites at once simply because it can overwhelm you. I would suggest being active on one of them. Another important reason to concentrate on one of them is the feedback system – if you have excellent feedback on one of them, you will still need to start over at the other, which would be equivalent to underselling yourself.

    Freelancing is growing fast. Quoting statistics from Elance research, CNN recently asked whether 2013 is the age of the freelancer. It’s not just the young, unemployed people looking to be freelancers. In fact, boomers are booming as freelancers! If you want to be part of the action, choosing the right freelance marketplace to get started can be a crucial decision.

    oDesk vs Elance: Quality of Job Postings

    Quality of job postings is a very important aspect of any freelancing marketplace. No one wants to work on crappy assignments with low pay. In terms of overall quality, Elance beats oDesk in almost all cases. oDesk has seen a drop in quality job openings and this decline has been consistent. Of course this is a very general trend I am talking about – there could be certain types of jobs where the quality is getting better. Unfortunately a criteria such as this one is hard to quantify.

    If you look at major players and small businesses, they seem to prefer Elance. These bigger companies are more likely to look for better quality providers and also willing to pay more. If you own a small business generating a million dollars and looking to post freelance projects, chances are, you will go for Elance. I think the main reason is because it is old and has some good freelancers working on the site for a long time.

    Of course on the flip side, if you are just getting started, I think it might be easier to break into oDesk. More on that later.

    oDesk vs Elance: Fees

    Freelancing sites like Elance or oDesk charge you money for using their services. These are usually not a one time charge but you need to give up a percentage of your income. This is unlike a jobs board, for example, where you pay a flat rate to get access to all the jobs. Fees can actually be a very significant part of what you earn, especially if you are looking to get into freelancing more seriously.

    oDesk has a flat fee structure: you pay 10% of your gross income as fees. Thus if the employer pays you $100, you end up with $90. However, the good thing with oDesk is that there is no fees to join. There is no concept of premium memberships at the site. Therefore if all you are looking to do is play around and take a look at how things are, you might find this attractive.

    Elance has a more complex fee structure. From their website,the per assignment fees are 8.75% for standard Service Fee for relationships less than $10,000 and 6.75% discounted Service Fee for relationships that exceed $10,000 and new relationships referred to Elance. Then there is membership fees. Individual membership is $10/month for premium membership. There are other levels for small and large businesses. There is also a free membership level but is very restrictive in terms of what you can do.

    oDesk vs Elance: Payments and Protection

    Of course at the end of the day you want to get paid. Both Elance and oDesk have systems in place which ensure that buyers pay freelancers. However, they go about it in very different ways.

    At Elance, there is the concept of Escrow payments – the buyer puts aside money for the project with Elance and Elance releases it when the job is completed. If there is a dispute, Elance will not release the funds, so freelancers cannot ‘take the money and run’. This is quite a reasonable system and helps protect both buyers and sellers.

    oDesk on the other hand has a payment guarantee for hourly assignments. oDesk monitors workers through screenshots, keystrokes and mouse clicks (more on this later) and above a minimum threshold of activity, oDesk will guarantee that the freelancer will be paid. However, on fixed price assignments, there is no system of escrow payments. Most buyers will not pay a percentage of assignment in advance. This means freelancers are at risk and if the buyer is dishonest, they lose out. Fixed price assignments inherently make more sense for many types of projects and it is a pity that they are not protected better.

    oDesk vs Elance: Privacy

    Elance wins hands-down. This is a no brainer. oDesk has the policy with hourly assignments where you have to install a software that takes screenshots of your screen at random intervals and sends it to the employer, making sure that you are working on the project at hand. In addition, the software collects keyboard strokes and mouse click information. This is an extremely intrusive method of monitoring workers and frankly doesn’t even make a lot of sense. Did anyone hear about “thinking” while doing a job? Needless to say, this is still a controversial thing.

    I know a lot of freelancers don’t like to be monitored like lab rats every waking hour of their life when they are working. After all, as long as they get the job done, they are entitled to some time off while working too. No company in the world monitors workers in this fashion anyway.

    oDesk vs Elance: Feedback System

    Feedback is an integral part of any freelancing marketplace because it distinguishes the good workers from the bad. It is also a good way to establish trust with future potential employers.

    oDesk feedback seems a little more transparent and truer. Most good workers at Elance seem to have a 5 or near 5 rating. Even though many at oDesk do that too, there is a better differential. This differential is important, after all, if you want to distinguish yourself, which is the very purpose of feedback to begin with. If everyone is a 5 star, there is nothing you gain by being one yourself.

    oDesk vs Elance: Customer Service

    Both Elance and oDesk have good customer service. This is an important aspect because the sites handle all the administrative tasks for freelancers, like getting paid, invoicing, money transfers, etc. I tend to like oDesk customer service more than Elance. I think they are more prompt with their replies and provide good solutions to your problems. both sites have a good amount of information in their help pages, so you can find most answers there. Again, I tend to like oDesk help pages more.

    In addition, oDesk has a whole Community – forums, which can be immensely useful for freelancers and employers looking for solutions or voicing their complaints or ideas. This is a great feature to have and can be very helpful especially to the people new to the site.

    Learn More
    There is a great book on Amazon about freelancing on Elance that is equally applicable to oDesk. It’s called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Elance
    Check it out, and may be you’ll learn something new!

    Know more about these by visiting Elance and oDesk and comparing them yourself. I hope this review was useful. Feel free to drop a line in the comments and share your experience with others, so we can all benefit.

    Photo Credit: Ionics

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    7 Online Writing Tips

    Online Writing TipsOnline writing tips help both beginners and professionals to captivate an online audience. The type of writing that attracts an online audience can be very different from what traditional publishing media is used to, which is why even very good writers sometimes have trouble holding on to their visitors. Understanding the psyche of the online visitor is very important.

    Online Writing Tip-1: Don’t be a White Swan
    There are billions of websites and blogs out there on the internet. Chances are, the broad topic that you wish to write about, still has millions of articles online. How are you different? Why should someone read what you write over the million other pages?

    Bringing something unique to the table is universal in all forms of writing but is especially so for online writing. Whenever you sit down to write something, always think about how you can be different.

    There are many ways in which you can distinguish your writing from others. One way is through personal stories, which is what blogs are for. Make sure to research well what you write, so that you not only know the facts right but also know the competition. Try to approach the same problem from a different angle and point of view. Be creative and think different.

    Online Writing Tip-2: Don’t be Greedy
    I am talking about links. Yes, it doesn’t cost you money to link to other, authoritative websites and you shouldn’t be greedy with respect to the links going out from your article. Many writers shy away from linking to others because they are afraid that they may lose readers to the other site. However, if you have a good collection of these links, chances are, your readers will come back just for your references! Also, it greatly improves your credibility online when you link to relevant articles and pages (think Wikipedia).

    People are always looking to read a helpful article. If you are the one who leads them to discover another great website, they will remember you. Sharing is the key on the internet, so don’t be afraid to point your readers to good websites, even if sometimes these come in direct competition with your own writing.

    Online Writing Tip-3: Bullets are Deadly
    Chances are, you are skimming through this article and you just want to see what all I have to say. Great! Now you know why lists, like a list of N things is so effective online.

    The attention span of an online reader is far less than that of the reader of say a book or a magazine offline. Breaking down the article into points helps the reader grasp what you are trying to say quickly and efficiently. There are some forms of writing, like essays, that can never be broken down into lists, which is good. However, whenever feasible, consider bullet points and lists. They also have a better chance of going viral.

    Online Writing Tip-4: Know Thyself … and Thy Reader
    This is oft repeated, but simply because it is so important. You should know what your audience wants. Sometimes, it is just a single piece of information (the score was 14-31). Sometimes they want the inner details. Sometimes they want an analysis. If you deliver what your audience is looking for, you should do great with your readers.

    The same goes with blogging or having your own website. If you deviate too much away from your niche, you are only going to alienate your readers because they don’t want what you are writing. Personal stories are fine, but don’t go on about fitness and technology in a blog dedicated to pets. Be relevant.

    Online Writing Tip-5: Speed Thrills but Kills
    It is almost always a trade-off between covering something fast and covering something accurately. When a new piece of information arrives, everyone today has access to it at almost the same time. However, how you analyze and interpret it is going to be very different. You need to strike a balance between how fast you want to cover something and how detailed you want the analysis to be.

    For example, lets say Google releases another change and modification to their algorithm. How is it going to affect bloggers? The actual algorithm change will probably be mentioned in Google’s blog but your thoughts on how it is going to impact bloggers is going to be an analysis. If you want too long, say a week or two, you can probably get more concrete data and make some fancy graphs. However, that is probably best done as a follow-up article.

    It is important to be fast and accurate when you report something new.

    Online Writing Tip-6: Read to Write
    If you wish to really succeed at online writing, you should read a lot. The reason is simple – if you read, you are aware of a number of different things and you can connect different events and happenings. You can get the big picture which your competitors can miss. You can connect social memes and write a comprehensive report on a given topic. In addition, reading more helps you get more ideas for whatever it is that you wish to write.

    Online Writing Tip-7: Creatively Different
    Always look to hold your reader’s attention with stories, personal accounts, case studies, etc. Malcolm Gladwell does this well with most of his essays. He is a great storyteller, which makes him able to put his point across in a clear, strong manner, backing up his argument with his case studies. Writing online can be a creative challenge for writers, and that should be enough to motivate you to be different.

    What are your online writing tips? Do share!

     

     

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