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Reader Interactions


  1. Really interesting! Thanks for the candid view. And congrats on the successful experiment. I agree your site looks even more professional now.

    Clearly, your traffic has improved in quality more than quantity. At least that is true if you consider revenue as a definition of “quality” and who wouldn’t? Can you see that increase in quality if you dig into your Analytics? Are they staying on pages longer? Visiting more pages? Any stats that correlate to increase in revenue?

  2. Hey, Carrie

    Great post! Reveals answers to questions I have wondered about for moving forward with my blog.

    The conclusions you draw are spot on! Marketing 101 applies to blogs, just as it still does to print collateral. A visually messy, heavily banner-ed site MAY affect your particular target audience in an adverse way. So testing is a good thing, also a Marketing 101 principle.

    Your references to “affiliate marketing” take in one great way to monetize one’s blog property, no doubt.

    People should also know that, a second, and perhaps more “pure,” form of affiliate marketing is this: 1) create, launch and promote your own product /service in a particular niche, 2) build an email list from that launch promotion, 3) network with other product creators(now your peers) in your niche who also promote via email, 4) routinely promote these peer products/services and…. rinse and repeat.

  3. Congrats Carrie on building such a reputable site! I don’t doubt that tons of people click on your affiliate links because you are consistently putting out awesome content. 🙂

  4. Glad you made mention of how much work it is to make money by being an affiliate. So many of our clients hire us to do their site and have us put in banners or links to a ton of different products that they are affiliates for thinking that they are going to get this huge passive income each month.

    It doesn’t happen for them and they never quite understand why no matter how many times we tell them that they need to provide relevant content about whatever product they are an affiliate of in order to create viewer clicks, as well eyeballs to the site in the first place.

  5. I love posts with this kind of transparency, thank you Carrie!

    One question though, did you try to use link attribution in Google Analytics to see which of the links were actually being clicked?

    I suppose it doesn’t really matter since you make more money and don’t have your site clogged up with banners, you obviously made the right choice.

    • Thanks, Kyle.

      I used AdRotate for awhile, which gave me click stats on banners. It was an interesting way to A/B test various banners, but as an overall percentage of clicks, banners were lower than text clicks (I don’t know the exact percentage).

    • Amajjika, you bring up a really interesting point. I *think* only one of my affiliate programs pays out on annual renewals (most are a one and done type thing).

      • Well I was more thinking about purchase cycle lead times. Often people like to research a matter, don’t have the budget but may have kept the product of “carrie dils” in their mind until they were ready to purchase. So perhaps the fruits of your content labour in the previous year (having conversations with your audience and building authority) are being realised now. I know that in web accessibility for instance I’ve submitted proposals 2 years prior to the work starting!
        Anyway, congrats again and it’s been fun going through your underwear drawer ;-P hehe

  6. Phenomenal post. Thanks so much for sharing these insights and pulling back the curtain so bravely. The challenge with comparing month to month is that traffic (both quality and quantity) can change so drastically with seasons and content you’re marketing. I agree that based on the data you presented though that the removal of the banner doesn’t appear to be loosing you any revenue on the affiliate side of things. One other way to tell would be to use an adserver (like Revive) and track clicks and use custom affiliate tracking tags (if the affiliate supports them) to do more itemized tracking but that’s a bit more work for sure.

  7. Thanks for the several tips, panty drawer aside. Now, my science training makes me think that the hypothesis that removing affiliate banners would not negatively impact income is not supported by your data. You say it well yourself when you argue that you could have made more if you were using banners in addition to links. One could go further and argue that even a decrease in income would not have been necessarily a consequence of ditching the banners because of all the other possible variables involved. I’m not a marketing expert but I suspect that only A/B testing could shed light on this. Keep up the good writing! Cheers.

  8. Thank you for pulling back the curtain on this. I have been considering affiliate marketing, especially for studiopress, but didn’t want that to take away from people coming to me for client work.

    Way to go on your success! And thank you for showing us that it can be done with class.

    • Hey Sheryl,
      They have not! I’ve left off the sidebar ads since this article was written and it didn’t make a dent in my affiliate sales. I continue to find that people ignore banner ads and respond better to in-context links.

      Hope that helps!

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