I met Eric Nagel through a Shareasale event in Buffalo, New York a few years back, and have remained in touch with him ever since. I think Eric has a few very unique skill sets in that he understands the programming and marketing sides of the internet, and is successful in communicating those ideas to others. That’s a critical component in being an SEO or PHP consultant. I thought I’d ask Eric a few questions about affiliate marketing, and how he see PHP, analytics, and other skillsets playing into the marketplace now.
As I’ve written about before, if you can automate a small part of your day, you’ll gain hours or days of free time over the course of a year. – Eric Nagel
- You’ve been involved in affiliate marketing for a number of years now. It’s my impression that being able to code on your own is more important than ever. Do you find that to be true, and it what ways are you finding yourself doing more of that in the current environment?
Many times, it’s a great asset to be able to code my own projects. There are numerous types of sites that you won’t find a good off-the-shelf solution that satisfies your needs.
However, for content-based affiliates, WordPress, a good theme, and a few plugins are all you need. You can set-up hosting, install WordPress, grab a fairly unique theme from ThemeForest and install 6-8 plugins in just a couple of hours. Then it’s up to you to create great content.
- Without giving away all of your secrets, how are you utilizing API’s these days to either grow your affiliate revenue or search for new ways to get your websites noticed by searchers and customers?
Maybe not exactly creating new content or increasing traffic, but silly things like pulling in revenue reports via network APIs so I don’t have to compile that data by hand, gives me time to work on other things. APIs are great for automating daily tasks. As I’ve written about before, if you can automate a small part of your day, you’ll gain hours or days of free time over the course of a year.
Another example may be Monkey Finger, a service I’m building with Todd Farmer. We’re integrating various APIs to safe users time, thus creating a value to the service.
Raven Tools is similar. When you look at what they do, they simply (and elegantly) aggregate data via APIs and display it nicely. When you have the right data, you have an edge over your competition.
- As a consultant and a freelance PHP programmer, what kind of applications are you finding to be in demand now?
Datafeeds have been huge for years now, and I think they’ll continue to be. There’s so much you can do with them, if you get creative. Services exist which help you work with them, but anyone can use a service. When you start to develop (or have developed for you) your own applications, then you’ll stand out.
I’m also seeing a lot of cash-back style sites popping up – not necessarily ones that give a portion of the commission back to the user, but rather innovative ways to entice users to shop through an affiliate’s site.
Analytics is another area where I’m seeing more requests. People want to know exactly where a sale comes from, not just on which day a sale was completed. I’ve built tracking systems that will tell you where a user came from, what keyword they used to find your site, what city and state they’re visiting from, which merchant they bought from and how much the visitor was worth (commission earned). The more data you have, the better positioned you are in determining where to spend your time and money on advertising.