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Marketing/Affiliate marketing?


Hi there. I wrote to you a little while ago, and asked some questions about blogging and affiliate marketing. I have another question really quick, if you do not mind.

Although I am in the process of getting my affiliate marketing business set up, do I have to wait for my blog/website to be a little bit more established before I apply for these affiliate programs?

For example, I have been communicating with an online store called "Nasty Gal," and she let me know that they have an affiliate program where they allow people to place their ads on their site(s). Should a beginner like me try to apply for them, or Walmart, Target, etc? Does my site need to be more popular? Thank you.

Dear Susan,

The key factor to consider for anything you do with the site/blog is: how will it impact your search engine rankings?  The reason is that most of your traffic (75-90%) will likely find you via a search engine (80% Google, 15% Bing/Yahoo, 5% other).

Currently, search engines tend to penalize sites that have a lot of ads or outbound links *relative* to the content on the site.  Accordingly, it is not important to wait to develop your affiliate program, but it is important that you have a positive ratio of your content to that of others.  In plain English: the total area on the screen that content you offer should be two-three times as large as the space on the screen dedicated to ads or affiliate links.

Otherwise, the search engine algorithm will assume you are just trying to lure people to your site to view ads, and not to offer them value based on your own content...and they will move you down in the search rankings as a result.

The second thing that is important for search engines is your "social presence", i.e., how active are you on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.  Pages/content on those sites with links to your site/blog will improve your ranking.

I recommend that you establish a Facebook page, Twitter page, and/or a YouTube channel with the same name as what you intend for your site.  You can even set them up before launching your site/blog, then just add links once it is up.  Also, ask people to like the FB page, follow you on Twitter, and subscribe to your channel.  That will get you listed sooner, and improve rankings (which will drive more traffic) for your site/blog.

Regarding the affiliate programs you consider, size is not important, rather relevance is: meaning, develop programs with merchants that would be appealing to your audience.  Based on the description of content in your first question, Nasty Gal seems very relevant.  (Target and Walmart may be too; I don't know enough about the preferences and shopping habits of your audience to say for sure.)

If any of the foregoing was unclear or did not answer your question, please feel free to follow up.

Best regards,


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Glen Franklin


I have broad expertise in marketing, including research, innovation, advertising, branding and direct response. Additionally, the unique areas of my expertise are green marketing (consumer needs and wants related to environmental concerns) and sustainable business practices (how to operate a business in an environmentally friendly way).


My two decades of experience encompasses senior marketing positions in Citigroup, Harley-Davidson, and other large companies. I also own a small online business (


Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Certificate in International Relations from the University of Rochester.

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