Many affiliate marketers have made good money using search arbitrage or ‘Google Cashing'.
These affiliates advertise in Google Adwords, or other pay-per-click search engines, and send traffic directly to the merchant's web site via their affiliate links.
Although the ‘Google Cash' method can work very nicely for many affiliates — in my not-so-humble opinion, I think this method throws good money to the wind.
Well, first of all, studies have shown that it takes an average of seven exposures to a product before a sale is actually made, so chances aren't good that visitors will buy a product the first time they visit the merchant's web site. So, when you send traffic straight to the merchant's site, you have only ONE opporunity to make the sale.
If the merchant sets a long-term cookie, you may earn a commission if the visitor returns to the merchant's web site and buys the product at a later date. However, with a preponderance of short-duration cookies, and even shorter attention spans, most visitors will never visit the merchant's web site again … with your cookies still intact.
It's also unlikely that a visitor will click on your Adword seven (7) times to return to that merchant… and if that were to happen, your customer acquisition costs are going to be HUGE!
All things considered, having your own web site will actually save you money and help you make MORE money in the long run.
Because content sites get FREE traffic from the search engines, directories and inbound links; you'll get MORE visitors to your web site that you can direct to the merchant's site.
Furthermore, when your site is focused around a central theme and has tons of great content and product endorsements, your visitors will see other products of interest to them … which then gives you the opportunity to make even MORE sales.
Perhaps most importantly, if you don't have a web site you can't capture your visitors' name and email address, and that's a COLLOSAL waste of traffic. If it's been said once, it's been said a million times, ‘The money is in the list‘.
YOUR visitors WILL return to YOUR site… IF they hear from you. But without a site, you can't build a list, and without a list, they'll never hear from you again – they won't even know who YOU are!
So, instead of sending traffic to the merchant's web site directly, you want to send visitors to YOUR web site from Google Adwords. Place an email capture form on every page of your site along with incentive for your visitors to sign up. That incentive might be the newsletter itself, an email course or even a free offer from one of your merchants.
Use your list to send your subscribers great information, which in turn builds relationships, brings them back to YOUR site to read YOUR product endorsements and brands YOU as THE trusted source for information about the products that you recommend. Third-party product endorsements always have better conversion rates than merchant ad copy.
Sure, consumers can read features and benefits on the merchant's site, but because it's their product, the merchant will have nothing but good things to say about it. However, when visitors read your well-balanced product review or endorsement, they're much more likely to then trust the merchant, and winning consumer trust is how sales are made.
So to answer the question ‘Do I need my own website?‘…
If you are serious about doing business on the web, then you absolutely must have your own web site (or blog).