Something I have not talked about recently is my other affiliate websites. The main reason is because I have neglected these a little as I focused on my ECommerce business and also my online course.
However, the great thing about these affiliate websites is that once set up they can take care of themselves of a while, but there does come a point when you need to update things to make sure the websites grow, or at the very least maintain their current status.
I have plans for all of my major affiliate websites, but one of oldest and most established [turbobiketrainer.com] is top of my list for an update.
Turbobiketrainer.com attracts around 200-300 visitors per day at the moment but in the colder months it gets close to 1000 visitors per day. This is because the topic of the website are turbo trainers and are generally used to train in when you cannot get outside on your bike.
One major feature of this website is that instead of just having traditional affiliate links it displays a price comparison list so that the visitor can see the best prices across several online retailers for each product on the website. This price comparison has served the website well and in the colder months generates £1000+ per month in commissions.
I use a program called datafeedr to create these price comparison units and I have always been impressed about how it integrates with all the top affiliate networks and therefore opens up hundreds of individual affiliate programs for most online businesses that run an affiliate program. Datafeedr has lots of other cool features such as automatically generating product lists and combining products from many different companies. There is also a really cool affiliate program and product discovery section.
So, after saying all of this it may seem strange that I have decided to remove this price comparison feature from turbobiketrainer.com.
One thing about these price comparison units is that you need to manually maintain them within datafeedr. When you first set up your comparison unit within datafeedr you select the product you want and then manually add the same product to your comparison unit that other retailers sell. So you end up with a list containing several entries of the same product but supplied by different retailers, hence you can compare the prices across the retainers.
You need to do some styling to get the display of this comparison list right for your website, but this is not too much work. The main issue comes when products go out of stock. They get automatically removed from your comparison list but you need to remember to sync up your website with the datafeedr store so reflect these changes. Also, when the products come back in stock or a new retailer stocks the product you need to search datafeedr and add the product manually to the correct comparison list. When you have 50+ comparison lists (like I do) this takes a while to do, especially if you have a product that goes in and out of stock relatively regularly.
I have made the decision to remove the price comparison feature from my website and instead focus on just two retailers for each product. This still gives the visitor an option but means I do not need to update these links because instead of sending people to the exact product page they send visitors to a search list on the retailers website, meaning if the product is in stock the visitor will see it but if it is not in stock the visitor will see a list of other similar products that they may be interested in. This is a tactic I use on other affiliate websites I run and it works pretty well on them.
The two retailers I focus on here are Wiggle Cycles and Amazon.co.uk. Wiggle Cycles are a very popular cycling store and historically are the highest earner for turbobiketrainer.com. They often offer the lowest price, they are trusted, and they also offer a slightly better commission rate compared to other online retailers I used to feature in my comparison lists. The commission from Wiggle is 4%, which is low but other retailers offer just 3%. I have managed to agree higher 6% commissions during peak months so hopefully I can do this again in the future.
I have also chosen to promote products on Amazon for three main reasons. One is that Amazon sells most things and when they do not sell a particular product tend to have a similar product that customers could be interested in. The second reason is they offer higher commissions of 5.5% to 10%. The third reason is because their conversions are high and their upsell is great, meaning visitors tend to buy several different things that all earn me a commission. I have several [pure] Amazon affiliate websites and they consistently do well.
Now the hard bit. The price comparison lists were hardcoded into the website so needed to be manually removed and then the new Wiggle Cycles and Amazon affiliate links added. Because I use custom post types and styling templates (all created using the Toolset suite of plugins which are 100% my favourite WordPress plugins) things were a little easier. I just needed to add a new custom field to my custom post type to allow me to input my Wiggle affiliate code (I already had a field for my Amazon code), and then I needed to modify the custom template (AKA Content Template in Views) to remove the price comparison area and to add new logos and link text for Amazon and Wiggle Cycles.
Once the content template was edited I did not need to touch this again and all product pages would automatically look like I wanted them to look. However I did need to manually edit every single turbo trainer product page (50+ of them) to add the correct affiliate link code to them (which I also needed to get via Affiliate Window – the affiliate network Wiggle uses). This took a little while to do but because I was linking to search results for the turbo trainers instead of exact product pages I only had to do it this once. It is now done and all I need to focus on now is creating some fresh content ready for the colder months so I can attract lots of visitors and hopefully makes lots of commissions.
Only time will tell if this change will affect commissions but it is something I needed to do to ensure all affiliate links were relevant and up to date.