After looking into my Google Analytics and trying to figure out which articles are doing well. It got me thinking ‘What is a successful article?’ Success is measured on so many different levels. Financial, longevity, creative and entertaining. For affiliate marketers like you and me, it’s often measured in traffic and visitors to your site. We often look at the short success stats like views and earnings. But is that how we should be looking at our niche websites? You can’t be blamed as a niche site owner to class success in a monetary sense. After all, that’s why we build niche sites, to make money. However, what got me thinking is the type of success we achieve from an article or content that can be judged in more than just a monetary value. Building a brand and a business model can eventually be more valuable than instant financial gains. Not every article I post on my niche sites makes money and not every article ranks well on Google. Start by knowing what you want and who you are, build credibility around it and deliver it online in a compelling way.– Krista Neher Does that mean they’re a failure? No, it can be the total opposite in fact. Providing content that helps build credibility and authority in my niche is priceless. Building a business has many levels; all of which are just as important as each other. The collective value is worth more than the individual parts. Are you considering placing ads on your site and making money from your traffic? If yes, Then checkout Ezoic! An amazing advertising platform for niche websites. Click here! Okay, enough of the business lingo. Basically it’s like building a Puzzle. You start with the fundamentals (the corners) and add piece by piece to make the complete picture. Without all the pieces of the puzzle (business), it simply does not work. Article ROI Once your niche website has a strong DA (Domain Authority), you can start to put a value on each article you write. The business term is ROI which means ‘Return On Investment’. I’m sure you’ve heard this term before. In affiliate marketing, it normally refers to visitors to your site that an article or piece of content you have produced compared to the cost of producing the content. So, what we’re saying is that articles that make no money and drive no traffic or very little are a failure, Right? Wrong! How can you put a number on anything you do on your website? One small action on your site could potentially lead to bigger things. That one image posted on social media (could easily) sends one of your articles or products into a mini viral frenzy. I had one once. A Pinterest image that got shared on a mega website which drove over 7000 visitors to my website within 48 hours. It was amazing to watch my live Ezoic data which shows my current visitors along with my live minute by minute earnings. This was a very new website; only 2 months old which wasn’t even out of the Google Sandbox (if you believe in that). If it wasn’t for that ‘pin’, maybe that website wouldn’t have been as successful as it was or, it may not have climbed out of the Google sandbox as quickly as it did. How can I put an ROI on that pin? You can’t, Right! It was just a piece of the puzzle that is all part of affiliate marketing. Is Money Success? Okay, this one is going to create some waves with my readers. Let me ask you a question. Why are you part of the affiliate world? Why have you built a website? To earn more money of course. I understand that, but not all people are driven by money. Most of us who build niche websites are, because that’s the whole point. To make more money to provide a better lifestyle for yourself and your family. But some people do it for other reasons. Yes, at the start it might have been all about the money but it can become something different. At what point does it turn into something different? I have no idea, but for me, the turning point happened when I told family and friends what I was spending so much of my time doing and they started to laugh. I understand their skepticism and their lack of faith in what I told them. I mean everyone thinks everything on the internet these days is a scam! I tried so hard to make people understand and believe that this is a true business model. In fact, affiliate marketing is one of the fastest business models in the world with huge companies buying into affiliate marketing. The best example I can share with you is a simple blog website built by Martin Lewis who created and ran the website (MSE), which was originally designed for a cost of just £100 in February 2003. In September 2012 he sold the website to the group for up to £87m. Granted, Martin made money. The whole purpose of an affiliate website. However, his success did not come from a passion or drive to make money. He designed and started the website to save people money and lower their cost of living. His articles and information really helped people. He never wrote his blogs with the single thought of… ‘How can this article make me money?’. He wrote them with the reader in mind and with the sole intention to genuinely save them money. This ultimately made him millions. If Martin Lewis never made a penny by helping millions of people live a better life, would you class that as success? I know I would! Helping others enjoy a better life is success in my book Those doubters and people who laugh at me, drive me on every single day to get out of bed at stupid O’clock and work on my website. I want to prove them wrong, I want to show them I’m not mad and that affiliate marketing is a job, not a pipe dream. I also want to leave something for my children as I get older. I’m building their future, something they can look back on and say “My Dad did that”. That would be my success! Write Helpful Content I learned after many of what I called ‘failed articles’ (no such thing), that helping your reader or helping someone answer a question is the way to success. Whether that be financial, moral or supportive. I stopped chasing the money posts within a year or so of producing affiliate content. I never pick a topic anymore based on what the article or piece of content can earn. To me, that is impossible to figure out anyway. Yes, you could say that for every 1000 people who view my post I will make an EPMV of $18 (earnings per thousand visitors) – that is measurable data. Affiliate marketers love measurable data! I choose my article by asking myself…. ‘Will my readers want to read this?’ and ‘Will it help someone?’ If the answer is yes, I will produce that piece of content. I may not spend a fortune on it because I don’t have money to invest without some sort of ROI. But I will try to produce great content that helps people; which in return will help grow my business and brand. It’s a win-win for everyone! If you write content that answers a question or fixes a problem then you will eventually see the return on your investment without even trying. Some of my most valuable articles that earn me the most revenue are the ones I wrote without even thinking they would earn me so much advertising revenue. I just thought my readers would love to see the information and would enjoy the content. They did and it now gets shared every day; which is building my Domain Authority with Google, helping me to rank better. There will be some of you guys screaming at the screen right now saying… What about product reviews and selling more products? I get it, they help people find a great deal and save money for sure and there will always be a place for those types of articles. I too have articles exactly like those ones. But don’t miss my point, your first thought should be about creating helpful and informative content. Remember that film starring Kevin Costner, Field of Dreams? If you build it and it has great content…. They will come! I know that’s a bit lame, but it’s true. If you produce your content with the mindset of helping the reader, the traffic will come and along with it, the revenue. There’s a great saying in affiliate marketing – Get the traffic and the money will follow – It’s true! Without traffic and visitors to your site or blog, you’ll never make money. Visitors will only follow and come back to your niche website if they believe you’re trying to help them and not after their money. After all most affiliate website owners are not after their visitor’s money. They are after the affiliate commissions from the bigger companies like Amazon. Help them and they will help you! Build a brand Many people don’t think of websites in the same way they think of a high street store but they should. An affiliate website has the same business principles as any other business. Provide a great serviceAdd value to the end-userHave great productsBuild a loyal followingBe trustworthyBe a leader in your nicheListen to feedbackGrow and expandBe profitable For most websites, new visitors make up a huge part of the daily traffic. However, building a brand with a strong email marketing list can really help get more returning traffic to your blog. 77% are new visitors to one of my niche websites As you can see from a screenshot from one of my niche websites; that’s a whopping 77% of which are new visitors each month. To keep these new visitors coming back each month, you need to make sure you give them what they searched for; or try to answer their question in a clear and informative manner. Writing niche articles that are clearly designed and written with the user in mind, is the best way to win over your readers and build trust, authority and get more social shares. Readers/viewers are clever; they can see through all the fluff and waffle within seconds. TOP TIP: If you’re answering a question searched by someone on Google, then make sure they come away from the article satisfied and having their question fully answered. If they still need to search on Google after reading your article you have failed! Building a brand is more important than you think for affiliate niche websites. Letting Google know you’re a brand that can be trusted and people love your site is vital for growing organic traffic. Get visitors to love your site and Google will love it too. Conclusion: What Is A Successful Article? What Makes A Good Niche Article? Okay, I have gone on way too long, I know. I just want to reassure you that all your content is playing its part in building a brand and authority within your niche. It’s not always the articles that make money that are the successful ones. Who knows which article or piece of content sparks that trigger in Google to say ‘Hey, this is a great website. I’m going to start ranking their stuff better from now on’. You can, of course, have bad content, that’s content that can harm your reputation. Duplicate or plagiarized content will never trick or fool Google. Google is a clever beast and you’ll damage your brand, reputation and even risk getting a Google penalty for doing that kind of shady business. Affiliate marketing is simple. Give your visitors the best information and experience possible and they will come back time and time again. Then you’ll naturally make passive income without even trying.