There are mainly two ways of strategic thinking for a publisher’s CPS (cost per sale) planning.

The first one is the traditional way and also highly favored by most of the advertisers.

Publisher’s Website > Interest & Needs > Advertiser’s site > Purchase

Publisher builds content and attracts visitor. Needs are induced and visitor becomes a potential customer. Potential customer clicks on the tracking link and redirect to Advertiser’s site and eventually make a purchase. It’s called organic traffic.

But not everyone could write well and there are always people looking for a shortcut.

Interest & Needs > Publisher’s Website > Advertiser’s site > Purchase

What the publisher is trying to do here is to target those who are already interested in the advertiser’s product. They are potential customers who are aware of the brand and show certain interest based on recent online behavior. Publisher leads them in and “lure” them to click on the tracking link and wait for the purchase in coming days.

Either way you’ll need a website. The experience between the first appearance of your website until landing on advertiser’s site is crucial and below are a number of points that could have a great impact of the effectiveness.

1. SEO/Page Ranking

Although Google has officially removed PageRank from Webmaster Tools for years, the algorithm is still helping to sort search results. There are free tools which analyze the website as a whole and provide suggestions on metadata. However, in order to get the particular page that includes affiliate links to the top of the search results with certain product/brand keywords, it will take much more effort. But yet, it’s worthwhile to do so as it’s like half way of the commission.

2. Niche Selection

Do sufficient researches before building a website. Look around, try different keyword combinations and see how competitive the niche is. If there are already mature websites/companies producing a lot of content every day, seriously think if you can outrun them in this perspective. Besides, think about the information you can access to in the future. Are you familiar with the niche or able to share some insider’s news in short period of time? Picking a niche which you have some edges and establish a content strategy.

3. Affiliate Network Selection

You don’t want to chase your affiliate manager for payments every month, spending days to look into the lead validations, or inquire about the recent server down. Even the network is offering an attractive payout, you still have to consider all other factors.

4. subids

Every Affiliate Network provides subids tracking. Take good use of subids to identify the most converting pages/products and further identify the keywords and interest visitors favor. It’s easily missed by content marketer to do such optimization from time to time.

5. CTR (Click Through Rate)

This is generally used for measuring an advertising campaign but I think the same concept could apply for product pages. There isn’t a standard way but publisher should place hyperlinks, call to action, symbols, highlights and keywords wisely to boost CTR.

6. Campaign Terms

Even for the same brand, you can easily find different terms among networks. Basic terms include commission rate, commission tiers, cookies period, and GEO. You should read carefully about them as they decide the profitability of the campaign. For instance, the conversion rate of a 1-day cookie period campaign would be significantly lower than that of a 30-day cookie period campaign.

7. Redirect Speed

Visitors are looking for a speedy experience. Don’t underestimate the power of redirect speed. Count how many redirects and seconds are required to reach the advertiser’s website. After so much work done, closing the tab during redirect is the last thing you want to see.

8. Site Structure

A well-planned site structure can leverage your investments by maximizing the affiliate link exposure naturally. Grouping quick links and category/merchant page at menu, footer and sidebar has been proved effective. The goal is always to lower the thresholds to reach advertiser’s site. Moreover, A good structure also means better crawling by search engines.