How do We Add Affiliates to Our Site?

Question: We were thinking of mirroring our website by giving affiliates subdomains with our content like Is this a good idea or a duplicate content nightmare?

Answer: Giving affiliates the same set of data is indeed a duplicate content nightmare, and it makes it hard for the affiliates to push their sites into the core organic parts of the web. If they have a product database and the same reviews and content that exist as the core branded site there is nothing remarkable about what they are doing. You can look back to this post on leaked human review documents to see how Google views affiliate sites.

Instead of cloning all your content and giving affiliates access to that, I recommend encouraging affiliates write personal journals on their own subdomain. I would encourage them to promote your products and blog about topics other than your products. This will allow some of them to work their sites into the organic parts of the web while encouraging them to write content interesting enough for people to want to subscribe to it. Sure some of the affiliates will not get much traction, but enough of them try it a few will, and they will boost your brand whenever people visit their sites.

You can include a bunch of Wordpress themes and extensions with their blogs, create a free guide to blogging, create an affiliate directory, and other offers that make it easy to get affiliates into sharing information. Maybe even install a Vbulletin forum and write a blog just for your affiliates. Bonuses to further entice a sense of community might be highlighting daily or monthly top posts, offering free design services to top affiliates, giving away prizes like link building, and interviewing some of your better affiliates in a monthly community newsletter.

Creating a platform for sharing passion is a much better affiliate strategy than duplicating content is.

Published: January 4, 2008 by Aaron Wall in Q & A


January 4, 2008 - 10:48am

To the questioner: here is some food for thought:

In regards to the affiliate program, would you rather have 10 passionate, well-educated, and engaged affiliates promoting a product or 100 affiliates posting canned content on the web? The canned route will result in monotony save mentioning duplicate content. On the other hand, passionate affiliates will keep your content fresh and relevant to your target audiences yielding long-term (sustainable) conversions.

Canned materials may ensure a consistent brand experience if you are reading a brochure; however, the web is more of a conversational medium wherein fresh ideas are introduced and commented upon from different view points almost instantaneously. The view points that are link and blog worthy come from time-honored thought leaders who bring a fresh perspective to the issue at hand.

SEO Book is a great model of thought leadership and community engagement. Aaron built a "platform for sharing passion" through the valuable content, tools, and straight forward advice featured on SEO Book. I am always learning something new from this site.

January 4, 2008 - 6:06pm

If your affiliates are just asking for content and then want to be left alone, then that's a bad sign. Having a product catalog is just a checkbox on your list of tools. Building relationships with affiliate who want to work with to grow is the best way to success.

Kim Klaver
January 4, 2008 - 8:52pm

Sorry, not familiar, having used only Blogger...

January 4, 2008 - 10:21pm

Hi Kim
A theme is a blog design. Some hosts like Dreamhosts offer like 50 themes when you start a blog, and there are directories with hundreds of Wordpress themes in them.

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