Well, folks. I'm continuing to branch out. I got a blog that gets darn good daily traffic. But it's like the AdSense ads are invisible over there. I finally got fed up with it... So I installed Viglink.
So far, the only links it's inserted is wherever I've used the word "Amazon". Is that going to improve over time as VigLink gets familiar with my site?
Although VL was recommended to me, I've also seen posts about poor results. Can anybody recommend a direct competitor that is better?
This thread is to share all info, opinions, and questions about VL and their direct competitors.
I've already asked some questions. Here's some info I can share...
I'd always thought one had to go in and doctor each link. I was very happily wrong. Turns out that if you slap some code into the template, the entire blog is automatically in business. Took me less than an hour to register, read what needs to be read, figure things out, add the code, check things out, and confirm everything is up and running.
All sharing, advice, info, and opinions would be much appreciated here.
Well, I sure was wrong about this... You do have to mess around with darn near each and every link, just as the posters on this thread said. VL doesn't tell you that upfront. In fact, they say just the opposite; until you explore further down into the documentation as to what they will actually auto-link to. Pain in the butt. Far as I'm concerned, this is another failed experiment. However, I'm not going to outright abort it. Whenever I feel suitably inspired, I'll throw in another link. But with VL's less-than-awesome merchant list, it probably won't be that often. Oh, well... And who knows? Maybe I'll come up with some cross-platform tie-ins somewhere down the line.
On to my next disaster...
Not a complete disaster.
It's still a lot easier to create a plain ordinary hyperlink than it is to set up hyperlinks containing your affiliate code.
Go and sign up for Skimlinks and have a look around. All you need to do is paste a piece of code into your blog, and after that, any ordinary hyperlink to any of their merchants' websites will automatically be converted to a Skimlinks link. And creating an ordinary hyperlink isn't that much effort, is it?
I think you'll be impressed by their merchants list.
If it is successful for you, maybe you could write a hub about using it as a way of making money from blogs.
Generally speaking, in text links convert even less then Adsense. Unless you use them so they are mistaken for deliberate thinks--in which case you reader might be annoyed. That's why I avoid them.
Squidoo positively loves them. I know this because their documentation beats lensmasters over the head to use them. So I'm going for it. Also, as to VL, when you hover their links, a tool-tip immediately appears making it quite clear what is going on so that the reader doesn't feel tricked.
I suggest you research what other bloggers say about them. I tried them briefly many years ago. My regulars hated them.
And mine obviously hate my AdSense ads. So what difference does it make?
There is a difference between not clicking and hating (i.e. no longer reading the blog).
My approach was 1) get lots of readers, 2) install adsense, 3) trade up to a direct advertising deal. My blog started making money around 5000 uniques a month, that is when you can get the good advertisers.
Although I get lots of daily traffic, I predict I'd reach 5K/month around the year 2100. Unfortunately, I'll be dead then. I've been nice to my deadbeat visitors going on 2 years now. They've had their chance. Serves them right.
In all seriousness, if I was talking about a niche blog and most of the traffic being return visitors, both parameters apparently being the situation in your case, I'd 100% agree with you. If I ever start a niche blog that actually gets some traction, I'd do as you advise because I think your are right in that case. However, as to my shambles of a blog, I think the Squidoo philosophy is the way to go.
I use Viglinks as affiliate program. Essentially it is like Commission Junction, Share A sale etc. But, the big dif is that you don't apply to every merchant that you want to deal with. Believe it or not, I get more hits on text links than I do Amazon capsules.
You can use your link anywhere, on FB, etc. You don't have to wait for merchants to approve one blog, etc. I also use this in my articles on article sites. Zujava does not allow the use of their links though. You can do Ebay, Amazon, big name merchants through them. There are merchants on Viglinks who pay for clicks too, and Ebay is one of them.
You have made my pulse rate quicken. I'm actually beginning to have hope.
How many links does VL on average put on each of your pages? So far, mine are pretty much desert islands...
You need to insert keywords that apply to their merchants. For example products, product categories and titles of books/movies.
Thank you, psycheskinner!
You gave me the bright idea to go find VL's merchant list. I was not impressed with it, but it is still workable I think.
Whenever I feel energetic, I'll go to one of my active blog pages and tack in there whatever needs to be tacked in. I've already done it once as an experiment. And I didn't even use inline text. I just named a merchant relevant to the page and VL turned it into a link, and that was that.
So far, VL hasn't acted on my existing products and product categories that are already relevant to their merchants. Either VL is uncoordinated in that regard, or they haven't totally become acquainted with my site yet. We shall see...
As I recall they have an active insert mode also. I think you highlight text and they suggest links to choose from?
Thank you very much for letting me know that exists! I'll have to figure out how to do that. Apparently there maybe some more setup I need to do. Or some switch to flick. Or something...
I came across one of their instruction videos, so I"ll be breaking out the popcorn...
I'm familiar with Viglinks from Wizzley and I also use Skimlinks on my blog. I wrote a Hub comparing the two. I found Viglinks annoying because it was too difficult to find out which merchants were available, whereas it's easy to search through the list on Skimlinks. However, that's not an issue if you're using the automatic in-text links.
I have Skimlinks set up to create the automatic in-text links and like you, I find they don't do it very often. Apparently the explanation is that it's impossible for them to have every product from every one of their suppliers set up in their system, so they concentrate on the most popular ones. I suspect Viglinks is the same.
Skimlinks will only convert a named product not generic products (i.e. it will convert "Canon P10 camera" but won't touch "camera"). I think Viglinks is the same.
I think the best way to use both services is to create links yourself. If you've got the code on your blog - which you obviously have - then you don't need to do anything special. You just create a plain old hyperlink to the product you want on the merchant's site. Viglink will add your affiliate code to the link automatically.
Say you want to mention a book on Amazon. You find the book on Amazon, create an ordinary hyperlink to that page, and you're done. You can also get fancy and create your own ads by using images from Amazon and hyperlinking the images. In either case, Viglinks will detect the link and turn it into an affiliate link for you.
Of course, you need to know that the merchant is part of Viglink, and it's a tedious process to find out which ones they represent - and that's why I went for Skimlinks.
You are right. In fact, VL is starting to look kind of lame to me in some regards. I typed in the actual merchant name on one of my pages. Nothing. It just laid there. I typed in the actual merchant URL (un-hyperlinked), and then it did work. VL turned it into a link; and the VL tool-tip message showed.
Yes, I think Viglink needs to "see" the actual URL. Obviously you won't want to have ugly URL's visible on the blog so that's why you'd create a hyperlink instead.
I had a look at your blog - I'm not surprised your Adsense isn't earning anything, since most of it is at the bottom of the blog, where no one will see it. You've got a great long sidebar there with nothing in it - why not put a skyscraper ad in that big empty space?
I also think you desperately need some better navigation. That's the one thing I don't like about Blogger - on Wordpress, I use the Categories to organize all my posts so it's easy for people to find them.
One thing you can do is treat Labels as categories rather than tags, then you can have a Categories menu in your sidebar.
What you suggest is what it used to be until this morning, when I essentially scrapped AdSense. I had the banner ad at the top and 2 other AdSense ads along the side. All to no avail...
"One thing you can do is treat Labels as categories rather than tags, then you can have a Categories menu in your sidebar." This I will do, thanks.
Personally, I'd put one skyscraper ad back. It's not annoying your readers and you might get the odd click, which is better than nothing.
I don't like banners across the top of a site, because of the "advertising above the fold" thing, so I'm glad you got rid of that one!
And you sure weren't kidding about the generic product names. One of my pages is a shopping guide that was loaded with them. Not one single link appeared.
PDS, it's late and I can't be bothered to read all the posts, so forgive me if someones answered this.
So far, the only links it's inserted is wherever I've used the word "Amazon". Is that going to improve over time as VigLink gets familiar with my site?
On Wizzley, Viglink don't insert the links, you do. They have loads of merchants. Ebay will pay per click, however they have other merchants that pay commission per sale, and some of them have a 30,60,90 day cookie.
http://wizzley.com/viglink-top-500-reta … s-covered/
The reason I did not go with Skimlinks is because you need to have every single web site approved individually for their links. I want to be able to set up a site and start using links straight away.
Viglink, once you are in, you can use the links on any web site, in emails, Twitter, everywhere. However, I have found that while Viglink automatically created an affiliate link to a retailer's home page on my site, it did not create such a link when I featured a product on the same retailer's site. It's no big deal though, because I just used the Link Wrapper tool on the Viglink site to produce the links myself.
It takes about a day to get a website approved.
Personally, I appreciate that quality control. It means Skimlinks can give their advertisers confidence that they're not associated with poor quality sites, which means they can negotiate better rates with those advertisers due to better results. They do seem to have a wider range of advertisers than Viglinks and I think that's why.
For my websites, there are very few products which automatically link, because only popular product categories are set up in that system. So I do need to create hyperlinks to the retailer's pages, but I just create a plain ordinary hyperlink to the product page and Skimlinks automatically converts it for me.
In any case, I would be worried if you're creating a lot of websites. Most webmasters these days are severely cutting down the number of sites they run, because of Google's demand for "authority" sites. I have six sites and I know that's far too many - but it's hard to give up sites I've put so much effort into. But then I'm not a prolific writer so I find it a struggle to write constant new material for several sites.
Yes, but presumably you have to spend hours putting up content on a site before Skimlinks will approve it. With Viglink, I can put links on from the first day I start the a site.
With 30,000 merchants on Viglinks, I don't think I'm going to be stuck finding stuff!
I know people who have literally hundreds of sites, which earn greater or lesser amounts for them. After all, a domain name doesn't cost much.
I'm finding that a site with about ten posts, on which I post every couple of months, is currently bringing in more money than I get here, as well as being far more "passive" income than all the footling around that is required with hubs now. Another site is just starting to get a little bit of income. That has even fewer posts at the moment.
I've bought some other domains and am going to throw up small sites. If any of them starts to show promise, I will give it more effort. If it dies off again, I'll switch my attention to another site. However, I won't remove any sites unless they earn less than the price of domain renewal.
Nope. If you have an established record with Skimlinks you will get approved for a new site with only a few posts. I know Viglinks has a wide range of suppliers too - but it is hard to find out who they are, whereas on Skimlinks there is a good search facility. However, which one you choose is a personal preference - I was just suggesting Skimlinks to paradigm because he seemed to be having trouble with Viglinks and he might find it easier to follow.
I know people with lots of sites too, but they are getting fewer and fewer. Everyone I know is ditching (or at least no longer working on) their smaller sites and putting all their efforts into building an "authority" site, since Google has clearly stated they want to give priority to those. Even if microsites still work now, Google is going to keep on working towards penalizing them, so why do all the work of setting them up if you know they're going to be targeted?
As I said, if I was a prolific writer then it probably wouldn't bother me too much, but the idea of having to create dozens of blogs, each with ten unique and original posts, is daunting for me. Especially if there's the prospect that it will all be wasted since the blog may have only a short life. If I concentrate on one blog, I only have to write a new post every month or so to keep it fresh, which is manageable.
I make a lot more with my blogs than I do on HubPages, too - so I agree it is the way to go. But my experience is that you can no longer set up a site and leave it.
I have a flamenco site which used to earn very well indeed. It's all about flamenco costume and as I'm not a dressmaker, there's only so much I can write about that topic. I covered the subject as well as I could when I first set the site up, monetized it with eBay ads for costumes, shoes etc, and left it. It flew and kept on flying, even through the early Panda updates. However one of the Panda/Penguin updates had a "freshness" component, I forget which one - and that caused the blog to decline. It's now in third place for earnings, whereas it used to be my best. My two top sites, where I add a new post at least once a month, are doing much better and earning far more.
Like you, I'm going to leave my low-earning sites to chug along, so long as they're paying for their domain name and not taking up my time. However, if I had a lot of them, I'd be worried about them taking up bandwidth on my hosting service (your storage is unlimited but not your bandwidth), which could slow down my main sites, and that would be a bad thing.
Well, so far VL is doing nothing for me. I'll give them to the end of the month. If no improvement, then it's on to Skimlinks.
Maybe I'll throw both scripts in there and let them fight it out.
Someone remind me to fire VigLink at the end of March...
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