Most Affiliate Marketers are looking to make that quick buck. But what happens when that quick buck is gone, like tomorrow? It's on to the next quick buck for most Affiliates. This is a terrible way to make money. This is what I picture when people call themselves "hustlers." It reminds me of those guys who drive around in Vans, ready to give you an awesome deal on killer speakers. You know, the speakers that are made by...some company you've never heard of? The kind you could buy at a swap meet for about 1/10th of the price they're selling them for. Or how about the people who peddle fragrances outside of stores like Wal-Mart, K-Mart or Target? Ahhh, the life of a "hustler."
Sorry, but that's not my Affiliate Marketing. My Affiliate Marketing is building long-term Businesses that will stand out above the rest, even if they're simply 5 page sites. No, those sites aren't Authority sites, those are just long-term thin sites.
Authority Sites are where the bigger money is. They're going to be around for a while and they're going to pull in more money in their lifetime than most "killer campaigns" will in their lifetime. They're going to get plenty of traffic from SEO, Social Media and various other sources, not just expensive paid traffic. Authority sites are what people come back to. They're the sites that you subscribe to, whether RSS or Email. You'll come back and you'll most likely click a link they recommend because you trust them.
They're Trustworthy. They don't make you second guess them, because they've build a rapport with you as a trusted source. Authority sites don't die months down the road. Well, they won't if you don't do something stupid to make them die. They can be the beginning of bigger things, too.
For instance, your Authority site may start out as just another blog, but eventually become a paid community, or a Social Networking site. Or maybe it will become a multi-million dollar service, like SEOmoz? You will never know until you build it...the right way.
So what do you need to do to build an Authority site?
1. Pick a niche that you understand and thoroughly enjoy. This doesn't need to be a micro-niche. In fact, it shouldn't be a micro-niche. You want to leverage bigger markets for when you scale. But you must know this market and you must enjoy it enough to talk about it, constantly. There has to be plenty of buyers in this market, even if they're not actually buying from you. You could be selling through your site, getting them to sign up through your email list, or you could be linking to affiliate products.
2. Start off small and expect to grow slow. Great sites don't grow over night. They grow over time. It's the persistence of the creator(s) that will cause the site to either blow up or become a bust. You'll never know, but by growing slow you will get the chance to pivot the site into something different, something you will notice your users turning your site into. I've been there and have built sites where the users took an idea and turned it into something completely different... but it was working. This isn't always a good thing, so keep your eye out and make sure the site is still within your vision and the users aren't actually destroying it (spamming, etc).
3. Start with a logo. A beautiful and powerful logo can create the identity of your brand. It will become the image of the site, something that will give you a great starting point, including giving you a good idea of what the site will look like. Use sites like 99designs.com to create a contest for great logo designs.
4. Always be building content. If your site is based on content, you should always be doing your part in making sure there's constant content on your site, even if it's through your users. Encourage them to participate and figure out ways to "shake things up." Contests, Games, whatever you think will get more content going -- do what you can to make sure more content appears on your site. Google loves this, but other people will link to you, creating a much more powerful link profile, as well as more solid, real traffic.
5. Build your list. If you're not building a list, you could be missing out on more money than you've ever made in your life. Email Marketing is one of the best ways to make money online, so make sure you get as many subscribers as you can. You never know what could happen, but with a list -- you could be creating quick cash and traffic with a click of a button!
6. Become viral. Ok, so you can't just "become" viral, but you sure as heck can create ways to spread the word. Using Social Media for contests and building links is a great way to get more traffic. Think about ways you can get more traffic. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc. -- they're all there for the taking, so how can you use them to get your traffic moving upwards?
7. Focus on off-site "SEO." This doesn't mean building manual links, this means getting content on other properties and joining others in conversations. People will follow your links if they trust you. Become trustworthy and you'll build a solid reputation, one that search engines and humans will respect.
8. Persistence. We all need this to be able to succeed in life. Persistence keeps our Businesses afloat. If you can't stay persistent, you will lose your business. But if you figure out a way to stay persistent, you will be one of the most successful people you've known in your life. Never give up unless you're losing too much and there's nothing coming back in return.
Focus on a market you know and love and you will be able to build a real reputation. Don't argue with people, even if they're being jerks. This can kill your reputation overnight as arguments can make you look like a fool and lose respect with your peers. Build content on sites like this (Galoor.com) and always be doing so. This type of persistence will keep the traffic flowing in for years.
Love your users. Whether they're members, subscribers or readers, your customers are the life blood of your business. No matter how important you think you are, you are not what truly keeps your business alive. You're just the most important employee!