Let’s face it, blogging is hard work…if you want it to be successful. Next week MarketingProfessor.com will be 6 months old (already), and it is slowly gaining steam. From the beginning, MarketingProfessor.com is set to provide Real. Profitable. Advice. as I share my take with products or gurus that have made a difference in my business, or in the business of clients I’ve worked with (good or bad). One of the greatest challenges for any business blog is making it a viable revenue generator for your business. If a business blog does not have enough value to the business, it will go stagnant or die altogether. This post reviews a product that makes blog monetization on a WordPress blog much easier (almost instantly). It is a product I’ve been using for some time.
While I’m not a big fan of the name Ninja Affiliate (sounds of hype), yet the idea of doing what it does manually would be very time consuming and costly (I did a bad job of it on one blog for nearly 3 years). And so, for that matter, I get what they are saying, you’d need to hire a ninja to get it all done (insert cool ninja fight sound here :-).
3 Challenges of Making Money Blogging
There are several ways to monetize a business blog, one being affiliate product marketing. Since many are accustomed to ignoring ads, a powerful affiliate marketing strategy for a blog is linking to relevant products within the content itself. Once you embrace that idea, this introduces some challenges:
- Long affiliate link on the link text, ahem, not super professional.
- The time it takes to identify and link relevant keywords in a post to an affiliate product.
- Reporting, what links are being clicked? What products are making money?
If these are challenges you have also encountered and you are hosting your own WordPress blog (see bonus tip in this business blogging post for more information on self-hosting), read on.
SPECIAL NOTE: This product only works with WordPress blogs that are hosted on their own domain. Products like this are another good reason to host your own WordPress blog.
No More Long Affiliate Links
Have you seen or used these product links before? You know, something like this:
That specific link takes a visitor to a product by Mari Smith on how to leverage social media for business. However the affiliate link created with Ninja Affiliate looks like this:
At the time of writing this, every time (within thresholds) that Mari Smith or facebook for business is mentioned on a post or page, it will link. Not only is this more professional, but it is continuing to brand the domain, not the affiliate links domain. Also, sometimes people are reluctant to click a link if it is living on another domain or if they think it is an affiliate link. They cover this on their sales letter here.
Automatically Link Keywords On Your Blog to Affiliate Links
This is truly the staple feature of the product. As you place your affiliate links in the product, and designate the keywords (in a post or comment), they are instantly linked.
This is a major time saver for folks who have existing content. When you find an affiliate product you like for your readers, the instance of the keywords you designate within Ninja Affiliate on your blog will be linked. Note: Concerned about too many links? See Link Limitations item in the Other Valuable Features section below. Here is their sales letter.
Reporting, Which Affiliate Links are Getting Clicks
One of the other challenges of a manual approach to affiliate linking is you either don’t know how many clicks occurred, or you have to log in to the affiliate partners console to see how many clicks you got (if they provide that information, that is).
They have a “Generate Stats” button, both raw and unique clicks are counted here, and because you can group the links, this allows you to see how many clicks for a group of affiliate links (side note: you can also enable or disable links en masse). This allows you to make smart business decisions, if you are not getting many clicks, or the clicks aren’t converting, etc. so you can optimize for products that are most relevant and profitable. This feature is discussed on their sales letter here.
Other Valuable Features
No Follow: For those SEO conscious, you can keep Google PR juice on your site, by automatically enabling No Follow attribute globally.
Affiliate Program Goes Away: Quickly change the link of the affiliate product to another relevant product.
Sub-campaigns: As you might share your affiliate links elsewhere, sub-campaigns are easy to create, and it allows you to track sources that are getting the most clicks (email signature, facebook, twitter, etc.)
Exclude Pages: Allows blog owners to exclude certain pages from having any affiliate links.
Exclude Categories: Similar to Excluding pages, you can exclude posts in a given category from having affiliate links.
Open Links in New Window: Keep your page open, and have visitors go to your affiliate page in another window.
Link Cloaking: Helps prevent stealing of affiliate commissions, and keeps your professional looking link in the browser address bar.
Link Customization: You can make the link text any Color, Font, Size, Style you like.
Link Limitation Per Post or Comment: Using this allows you to limit the number of keywords linked, as well as the number of overall Ninja keyword links for a post or comment.
Modify Status Bar Text: Lets you display relevant information in the status bar.
You can review their sales letter here.
Some Things to Be Aware of – No Software is Without Bugs
As it is with software, they have bugs, and Ninja Affiliate is no different. Some would argue these as minor, but I think they are worth mentioning, especially if you are considering purchasing it.
Modify Status Bar Text: I have had a hard time getting this to work, when users hover over a keyword, they are currently seeing the link in the status bar, not the text as specified.
Ninja Links Dropdown in Editor: This feature was intended to allow you to quickly drop ninja links in a post manually, however, with this enabled, it causes odd behaviors with the editor. To date I haven’t seen a fix for it. I didn’t use the dropdown anyway, so I really don’t miss it. It is easy to disable via the “Troubleshooting” section at the bottom of the main configuration page.
To be fair, they have continued to update the product since I purchased (at least 10 updates), which is a good sign.
More on Ninja Affiliate here.
Ninja Affiliate, the Bottom line
If you host a WordPress blog, and want to monetize with affiliate marketing this may be one of the best investments you can make. I’m not sure what the product direction is, and if the price will change, it seems very fair at the current price point. No, it’s not perfect, but they have covered all the bases, and if I were to do it over, I would have bought it sooner…would have made more money, and saved quite a bit of time. Check it out here.
Talk it up: Was this review useful? Have a blog? Are you monetizing it? Using Ninja Affiliate? How have you found it? Share your take using the comment boxes (scroll) below.