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Do Your Homework

The PMA / For Publishers / Do Your Homework

Once you have a subject in mind, start doing your research. You can start with some general searching. Use Google to search for keywords and phrases related to your topic. This will give you a good sense of what other sites are out there and what type of content they are offering.

Check out these similar sites to what you might want to create. Make notes about where there might be holes or areas that they are not covering. For example: if you are a divorced dad that hikes with your kids on weekend, maybe your unique angle or approach is a site about hiking with your kids.

While it might seem counterintuitive to focus on such a narrow topic, drilling down and getting really specific can actually open up even more possibilities. You will have a better idea of the type of people that are coming to your site – you will know they are parents, like you. That means that in addition to offers related to hiking, you can now add offers from advertisers with products aimed at kids. This expands your options. It can also set you apart from the rest of the crowd.

While you want to stand out from competitors, you also want to examine what they are doing well and emulate (not copy) the parts that you like and those that seem to be working. If you are considering a hiking affiliate site and see that an existing hiking site includes trail maps, then maybe there is a way to include maps but add a twist with your own unique spin. Perhaps, you can find a way to annotate your maps with information (this is a great place to stop for lunch or this section of the trail is steep and may require you to keep a closer eye on your kids). Or maybe you can add video to specific points on the trail map. There are many ideas once you start to think of ways to improve on existing content.

In addition to surfing the Web for similar sites, you can also use a variety of keyword tools – some free and some that you’ll pay a monthly subscription for – to see what phrases and words people are searching on. Some great tools include Word tracker and Google Keyword tool.

You can also mine many of the social media sites for nearly real-time information. Use Twitter’s search function to check out keywords that are the most popular. Type in hiking into the Twitter search box and see what people are tweeting about. You are likely to find some ideas that didn’t immediately come to mind for you. You want to focus on things that are important to people who will come to your website – that is how you will earn money.

You’ll also want to look at existing similar subject matter sites to see which advertisers’ offers they are promoting. Make a note of these retailers.

The easiest next step is to view advertisers joined to affiliate network’s. There are many networks and they are free for publishers to join. You can look on the networks’ sites for advertisers that may have products and offers that are in line with your subject matter and goals. You can view advertisers’ offers and ad creative, which will help you identify advertisers with which you want to partner.

Selecting the right advertisers for you to promote on your site is an important area to research.

* Does this advertiser have good products or services you’re comfortable to promote or recommend?
* Will their ads and products complement the content you’re creating on your site?
* Will they be of interest to your site visitors – so they’ll purchase from them?
* Do their offers and payouts motivate you? (Sometimes their products or ads may give you ideas for your content!)

These are only some first steps to get your creative juices flowing. The important thing is to just begin the process. Remember, regardless of your subject, as long as you are passionate, committed and do your homework you are likely to succeed. The more research you do, the better your chances of success. Find a subject matter you can be passionate about, and start making a plan to build your blog or site.

Here is another article to get you started: