Before we go further, let's talk about two different kinds of links...
a) OFF-SITE links that bring traffic IN to you b) ON-SITE links that send traffic OUT.
OFF-SITE links do not appear on your Web site. People will not actually click upon these links while they are on your site. Rather, your potential visitors see these links off of your site... in e-zine ads, or offline print ads, in flyers that you distribute at trade or hobby conventions, or in your sig file (at the end of your e-mail). And they'll use these links to come into your site.
Since you spend time and/or money on these traffic-building activities, you need a way to measure this, to track what off-site promotions are working, and which are not. Once you know which of your expense-generating activities work and which ones don't... you know where to spend your promotional time and money! And where to stop! You build upon your successes and fix your weaknesses.
Let's contrast that with ON-SITE links...
ON-SITE links appear on your site, and send visitors out of that page. These links all go to income-generating sites (merchant-partners via affiliate programs, your own online store, or your own sales site for products that you have developed). In other words, ON-SITE links generate income.
So how do we track these two kinds of links?...
It all boils down to this. We track how to best spend our traffic-building time and money via Click IN Analysis. We track what's generating income by Click Through Analysis.
Let's talk about Click IN Analysis first...
Click INs occur when people click on an OFF-SITE link and come into your Theme-Based Content Site. Click INs cost you time and/or money (explained above). So analyze what works (do more of it) and what fails (drop or improve it).
In order to do Click IN Analysis, you create special tracking links. You create these links specifically to track the success of your OFF-site promotional campaigns. You place a different link in each of your promotional campaigns, so that it's easy to track.
When the user clicks on that link, she first goes to a computer program that records the click, and where it came from. Then the program sends the visitor to the page in your site that you had specified.
Click IN analysis yields the following...
• total clicks coming in, for all your special links, and also for each special tracking link that you create
• "first-time vs. repeat" click INs, for all click INs, and also on a link-by-link basis. In other words, has the person who is clicking on a link clicked on it before?
You now have a way of measuring the exact traffic-building success of every offsite promotional campaign, whether yo''re...
• bidding for keywords on Pay-Per-Click engines
• posting an ad on the bulletin board of your local grocery store
• no matter how you promote!
Here are some of the uses and advantages of Click IN Analysis...
1) The Untraceable Link -- Some links have no Referring URL, so it's impossible to know where they came from through regular traffic analysis. But geez, we need to know this data. For example...
i) links from a free e-book that you are using as a promotional tool.
iii) links from non-Web based newsgroups (ex., anything you read with your newsreader -- but if you read newsgroups via deja.com and your browser, this does not apply since the Traffic Stats section will report on any visitor that arrives via a Web site -- you could, of course, still use a tracking link for this if you want to).
iv) links that are simply typed in, often due to offline exposure (especially targeted print media). Tracking links are great for any kind of offline promotion.
By creating a special tracking link for each of these "untraceable links," you'll know what has been previously impossible to know.
2) Testing e-zine ads -- set a different tracking URL for each ad that you write. That way you can measure which ad generates a better response. Here's how...
Run Ad #1 in E-zine #1 and Ad #2 in E-zine #2, then switch a month later. Which ad got more responses overall? Stick with what's profitable. Drop the rest.
E-zine advertising becomes very cost-effective when you can drop the dogs and increase your budget for the winners.
3) Test Web-based advertising -- Even if your promotion is Web-based, it's more convenient to run tracking links than to review the Traffic Stats Referrer information (which do tell you which sites links originate from). So use your special tracking links to track the performance of banners, Pay-Per-Click Search Engines, even posts to forums and discussion groups.
So far, we've talked about tracking the various possible origins of the tracking links (i.e., the OFF-SITE places where potential visitors see and click on your tracking link... e-zines, pay-per-clicks, etc.). And we've assumed that the ultimate destination of those links is to your Theme-Based Content Site. But you have several options for the ultimate destination of your OFF-SITE tracking links...
1) Your Theme-Based Content Site - Let's say that you have a terrific page about a special kind of flower. That page has several in-context text links... links to books, growers, ClubMom, etc, etc. You take an e-zine ad. Where should the ultimate destination be?
Easy... to your Keyword-Focused Content Page! Since you have worked so many in-context text links into your OVERdelivering copy, you have a whole bunch of chances that a sale occurs on at least one of your merchant-partners' sites.
2) Straight to a merchant-partner -- On the other hand, suppose you write a wonderful article about this special flower as content for a prominent e-zine published by a third party. Your "payment" is that you can include your URLs. Where should these links point?
Easy... work those special tracker links into the content of the article, and point them straight to your merchant partners. One link for each merchant. Since anyone who clicks passes through the tracking script first, you'll see exactly how many people clicked on each link! No point in directing them to the same info on your site, right?
3) A free trial download -- Even a download URL can be the destination.
Offering a free e-book on that special kind of flower? Take an ad in an e-zine, offering the link straight to the download. Naturally, the e-book will have links to your various merchant-partners, and to your Theme-Based Content Site. Every one of those in-book links should be special tracking links, too!
4) Your online store -- same idea. If you have an online store that needs traffic, and if the situation dictates that you're better off by sending visitors "directly" to your store (after passing through the tracking script, of course), then do that. Same goes if you have a site that sells single products or your services. If an ad costs you $100, but you see that it generated 500 visitors, and if you know that 2% of your visitors buy... it's easy to figure out whether your ad is profitable!
No matter where these visitors originate from, and no matter where you send them to, Click IN Analysis reports how well each promotional effort is working.
Click IN Analysis is vital for anyone building income through content. Unfortunately, existing services are very expensive. Here are your best two options...
1) If you have some tech skills or if you employ someone who does, use our Ultimate Link Tracker. It's free when you join our 5 Pillar Program...
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