When I was a kid, my dad had a shirt from work that I will never forget. It was plain blue with the letters “DIRTFT” on the front in blue. Simple but profound. We joked that it was his “Dirt Foot” shirt. But it was really a motto that they had at PPG, “Do It Right The First Time.” It always stuck with me both in my work and my private life.
It’s easier to do something fast than to do it right, but many times that will come back to bite you. When I get an idea, I want to execute it immediately. Sometimes that means cutting corners. But in the end, I know that I am better doing it right the first time.
I’ve come across this so many times in my affiliate marketing business and figured I would share them with you so that you don’t make some of the same mistakes that I did.
- Use Templates and CSS. Often when you are building a site you just want to jump in and get it going. When I launched Sunshine Rewards it was on a template system with CSS but to save time I often just hard coded things like URLs, fonts, and colors. My programmer hated it. Fast forward 7 years and we are now white labeling the site. Every place that I hard coded versus using the template or CSS now has to be changed. This can also come into play when you are using a WordPress Theme and have to upgrade it.
- Build Affiliate Links Properly. On SR we use a link database. One some of my blogs I use Pretty Links. But in a lot of places I have just dumped in raw affiliate links because I was trying to get a post up quickly. With the closure of the Google Affiliate Network, I have had to change every single link for affected merchants. On SR and where I used Pretty Links to redirect, it is a snap. But in all of the places that I just dropped a quick affiliate link? It’s nearly impossible. It would take me so much time to go into every post that it wouldn’t be worth the time. Will I lose revenue? Absolutely. So now I have to pick and choose where I will lose the most and where it isn’t worth it to spend the time changing the links. Not a good use of time.
- Use SubIds or Different Network Accounts. Most affiliate networks will allow you to use your links on multiple sites. That makes it easy to apply for a program once and then just use those links across different sites. But what happens when you want to try to figure out revenue for a particular merchant just for one of your sites? Or if you want to sell a site? If you know you won’t be selling sites, at least use the SubIDs available within each network so that you can easily see which sites your revenue is coming from. If you think there is a chance you might ever sell your sites, you may want to have separate network accounts when possible.
- Anticipate replication. When I first started working with CPA Networks, we coded our site to be able to do postbacks from just them. Once we started working with a couple more Networks, we completely changed our system to be able to quickly add new networks without redoing a lot of work. Now we can add postbacks for most networks that use the most common platforms (CAKE, Directtrack, etc) in less than an hour.
- Set up folders and use naming conventions. I have so many images and files on my computer and often I know that I want something from the past but just can’t put my finger on it. It may be a stock photo that I bought years ago and never renamed or a video saved in a random folder. Do yourself a favor and rename images so that you can find them later, set up folders to organize different projects or sites, and don’t just save everything in default places with default names because it’s faster. You’ll regret it later!
There are so many areas in my business where I am either glad that I took the time to do something right the first time or regret that I did not. Do you have any examples of either from yours?