Some affiliate marketers are intimidated at first to get started with online poker and casino affiliate sites, at first glance it seems like a difficult and complicated field to get started in.
The reality, though, is that setting up your online gaming website is as simple as setting up any other website, and you’ll be up and running in no time if you follow a few simple steps.
Just make sure you’re aware of any legal constraints in your location, so you don’t waste your time.
Setting up Your Site
Assuming you have a web host and have a domain name picked out and registered, the first step is to set up a framework for your site. You’ll need to decide on what area you’ll focus your efforts, choosing to focus on poker or casino affiliate programs.
Once that’s decided, you’ll likely need to sharpen your focus a bit further, and pick a smaller segment, such as building a poker affiliate site that is all about high-stakes cash games or one that’s about poker gossip, or one devoted to the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Start small then expand.
Casino Affiliate Website Themes and Templates
With those decisions out of the way, you’ll then need to select a poker or casino and gambling affiliate programs to promote. Different sites cater to different types of players, so you’ll need to do your homework to decide what affiliate program will likely work best for you.
Depending on the affiliate program you select, once you sign up you’ll have access to a wide range of promotional content that the affiliate programs supply to you, including banners, graphics, and even widgets applications for publishing news, tournament schedules, and info on new promotions. Some of the more popular affiliate programs that offer a wide range of content and tools for affiliates.
Remember the Extra Action of Sub Affiliates
Remember, too, that you don’t just have to focus on the gaming sites themselves as far as reviews, as you can also add reviews of the various affiliate programs that sites offer.
This is also another avenue to potentially make money as an affiliate, as most affiliate programs offer you payments for other affiliates that you refer as well as for sending along new players, so your reviews can also cover affiliate programs as well.
Adding the Marketing Material
Once you’ve picked the programs you’ll promote and grabbed some marketing material from their pre-existing library, you’re off and running, as then it’s just a matter of weaving the advertising into the content you’ve written for your site.
Use a mixture of banners and text links, and try as much as possible to make the ads as indistinguishable from your content as possible, as that will increase click-throughs from visitors (and hopefully increase your profits when they sign up and create an account at the gaming site after clicking through).
Last but not least is checking your stats on a regular basis, as most affiliate programs provide you with a variety of stats as far as click-throughs, the total number of players you’ve referred, and what banners or text links are working the best for you.
Writing good content for your casino affiliate site is a bit different than for a poker affiliate program site, but easy enough if you stick to a few simple ideas and concepts. While you don’t have quite as many avenues open to you (there’s not the same level of gossip, news, or live tournament results for casino affiliate sites as there are for poker sites), the same basic principles apply.
Your goal with any casino affiliate site is to get visitors to your site and present them with content (sprinkled with ads and banners, of course) that encourages them to click through the links to an online casino, create an account, deposit money, and start playing.
That means your content will have to do double-duty, as it needs to be written on topics and themes that web surfers are likely to search for (which gets them to your site) but it also must motivate them to click through the links on your site and sign up at the casino sites you’re promoting.
What Is Good Content?
As far as good content for your site, some topics are natural fits, such as reviews of online casino sites, details of player bonuses and incentives that online casino sites offer, and rules and strategies for various online casino games.
Another great source of content are stories of big jackpot winners on various sites, which casino affiliate programs often make available to affiliates to post and share on their websites.
What To Focus On
Your primary goal with all your content on your casino affiliate site is to highlight the positive side of playing at online casinos, as far as the chance to hit a big jackpot, the convenience, and incentives and promotions such as cash bonuses for new players when they first sign up and play at an online casino.
While reviews of various online casinos will likely make up the bulk of your content, don’t be afraid to think outside the box as well.
Adding a forum or chat application for users to your site can be a great way to get content for free, as the users will provide the bulk of the forum content and conversations.
Blogs are another great way to add unique content, as you can host various blogs on your site dedicated to one aspect of online casinos, such as playing slots, or another for playing high stakes blackjack, etc
Reviews of online poker and casino sites are the heart of many affiliate sites, so it’ll serve you very well if you follow a few basic principles when writing reviews for your own affiliate sites.
Not only will your visitors and readers appreciate it, but your wallet will as well, as writing better reviews will lead to more visitors clicking through your banners and links and making money for you as an affiliate.
Reviews in General and Gaming in Particular
Like a good book review, a good review of an online gaming site should contain a few key elements and should be persuasive (whether good or bad). Readers are looking to you, the reviewer, to guide them to sites they’ll enjoy, as well as to steer them away from sites that aren’t worth their time.
Use a standard format so that you compare common elements, such as the software that powers the sites, if it’s easy to create an account and deposit money, details on new player bonuses, and the types of games and stakes that are offered.
For poker sites, it’s often useful to discuss player traffic and how easy or hard it is to find a seat in cash games or tournaments, as that’s a major consideration when picking a poker site to play on. Another key point for both poker and casino sites is what methods of payment they accept for deposits, as well as deposit limits, and how withdrawals are handled.
Writing Quality Reviews
You really can’t fake a good review, whether you’re pitching deals and bonuses on Party Poker, VC Casino, Global Live Casino or any other online gaming site. If all of your reviews basically say: “This site is great. I love it and you’ll love it, too,” with no real details or differentiating factors, you’ll quickly lose any credibility with readers on your affiliate sites.
They’ll back out and close the browser and do another Google search for “Party Poker reviews” and this time select another affiliate site from the search results.
Aside from knowing the ins and outs of the sites you promote, it always helps your marketing in general if you can put yourself in the shoes of the audience you’re targeting. It’s easy enough to list that a casino offers 126 different games including 28 different online slots, but that doesn’t exactly entice a visitor to click through your links and sign up.
A simple paragraph about a particular slot you played and how you were down to your last .25 but won a crazy jackpot to cash out $10 000 is infinitely more appealing to potential players and the sort of thing that will increase your signups and conversions over time.
It’s easy to fall into the bad habit as an affiliate of working on auto-pilot and trying to get as much content and reviews out there as possible for every available gaming site, but in many cases you’re better served to slow down, stop, and think more as a player.
Positive AND Negative Aspects
What really is appealing about one site versus another? Which sites are good at immediately creating a fun, welcoming environment when you first log in and start playing? Are their certain sites that are hard to navigate or have annoying pop-ups or other drawbacks?
While the temptation is natural to only say great things about the sites you approach, viewing them critically through the eyes of a player can lead to valuable content on your site, as many visitors will appreciate the negative along with the positive, as it leads a greater authority to your sites and establishes you as a resource that can trusted.
The Value of First Hand Information
Readers of reviews also like to get a first-hand account of games offered on online gaming sites, and most sites allow you to play all the games for play money as well as for real money, so it’s easy for you to give all the games a whirl before writing your review.
Focus on things like how the graphics and sound works with the game play, how fast the action is, if it’s intuitive as far as finding your favorite game and grabbing a seat, and other similar details.
The Importance of rating
For all the elements you focus on in your reviews, try to grade them on a set scale, such as 1-10, or use one to five stars, etc. No matter how well-written your prose is, many visitors are lazy and will gravitate towards a “summary” where you rate each section of the online gaming site you’re reviewing.
Incorporating that rating feature (usually with graphics of some sort) will not only make your reviews look professional and slick, but they’ll ensure that you don’t lose the attention of any readers who might otherwise be inclined to skip over all of the words.
The Secret to Poker and Casino Affiliate Marketing
For poker and casino affiliates, it truly is the best of times and the worst of times. On the bright side, they get to operate in one of the most potentially lucrative affiliate niches that there is, enticing potential players to do something nearly everyone loves: gamble.
On the cloudy side, the potential profits in the poker and casino affiliate world have attracted a massive amount of competition from other affiliates, with everyone trying to cash in.
What Makes You Stand Out?
In the past it was possible for affiliates to fake their way through it, providing some basic content about poker and casino sites, some reviews and bonus codes, and call it a day, without really knowing much about poker or casino games or ever actually playing on the sits they were promoting.
Those days are gone and poker and casino affiliates today need to spend time themselves on the sites they’re promoting if they want to have any real chance of success in the competitive world of affiliate sites for online gaming.
Reviews of online poker rooms and casino sites are one of the primary types of content that most affiliates provide and website visitors are getting more and more savvy when it comes to reviews as far as what they respond to and trust.