The Content Audit You NEED to Run for Your Affiliate Marketing Website

Here's how affiliate marketers can do a content audit that squeezes every dime out of their affiliate links using custom displays with Lasso.

Sean Brison by Sean Brison | Last Updated: July 12, 2021

If you’ve been running your affiliate marketing website for any amount of time, chances are it needs a tune-up. Why? Because links break, affiliate products are out-of-stock, affiliate programs slash commissions, or your affiliate offers could use a refresh.

Whether you’re blogging about living a plant-based lifestyle or running a review site like The Wirecutter, scheduling a content audit will keep you aligned with your business goals so you can see what’s working (and what’s not).

This post details 8 things you can do to ensure you keep making money online.

Let’s go.

Check Your Link Status

Links are the lifeblood of any successful affiliate marketing business. It’s how merchants track the referrals you send and the sales they (the merchant) make, and how you’re paid.

If they’re broken or continuously listing out-of-stock products, you’re not making money.

Not only does this reduce your affiliate commissions, but it’s also not a user-friendly experience for your visitors (because nobody likes getting sent to a busted page).

Let’s fix that.

1. Replace Broken Affiliate Links

You can do this two ways. If you use a marketing tool like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Screaming Frog, you can run a site audit or plug your domain into its website analyzer. 

For example, using Ahrefs,  you can head to Site Explorer > Your Domain > Outgoing links > Broken links.

Tip: Set the link type to “nofollow” to ensure you’re finding all of your affiliate links.

However, the optimal way is to use a WordPress affiliate marketing plugin like Lasso. With Lasso, you’ll see broken link alerts in your dashboard automatically.

lasso dashboard

 

Click the broken link icon, and you’ll see every broken affiliate link appearing on your site:

lasso dashboard broken link alerts

 

Clicking the “Locations” column for a specific affiliate link lets you see every place on your site with context for that link.

For example, when clicking on the affiliate listed at the top of the page in the above screenshot (Arcadia Power), we see 11 locations on this site with broken Arcadia Power affiliate links.

broken link locations in lasso

 

Lasso scans your site, finding every broken Arcadia Power affiliate link. This page shows us three things:

  1. Content with URL (e.g., a blog post)
  2. Link with context (i.e., its anchor text and how it appears in your post)
  3. Link-type (e.g., text links, image links, etc.)

Action Step

If the link is broken, check your affiliate ID to ensure it’s still listed on your site correctly. If it is, contact your affiliate manager to send you a new link.

Affiliate programs update links often, so checking to make sure your link’s valid is a good habit to build. When you get your new affiliate link, update it in your dashboard by pasting it into your affiliate product’s Link Details page here:

adding your primary destination URL in Lasso

 

Lasso updates it across your site, so you don’t need to dive into individual posts and pages.

Further Reading:

2. Remove “Out of Stock” Product Links

Lasso detects affiliate links with out-of-stock products. If you notice a link that hasn’t carried a product for a while, it’s best to replace it.

You can see out-of-stock product links in your dashboard:

out of stock alerts in the lasso dashboard

 

Many retailers frequently run out of products or stop supplying them entirely. When you spot this, follow the same steps as you did with broken links:

You can contact your affiliate manager or the company directly to check the status of your affiliate products. You have a stake in their success, so don’t feel like you’re bothering them.

It might not make sense to list a product if it’s never available. An out-of-stock link could be a signal that the company no longer makes it. This is prevalent with eCommerce sites (e.g., Amazon Associates)

Fix Your Underperforming Posts

Monetizing a post isn’t enough — it needs to drive clicks. Find out which posts and links need attention to increase your monthly affiliate income.

Fix My Underperforming Posts

Analytics & Tracking

A successful content strategy lets you see which links perform best. It also involves other metrics that search engines use to rank your site (e.g., bounce rate and dwell time.) These are helpful when auditing your site to improve the overall user experience.

illustration of a laptop with refresh, gear, and wrench icon in the middle of its screen

3. Connect Lasso to Google Analytics

You can connect Lasso to Google Analytics and see your top-performing affiliates by Event.

In your Lasso Dashboard, head to Settings > General and then paste your Analytics Tracking ID into the field. Next, click “Enable Click Tracking.”

connecting lasso to google analytics

 

Now, you can track clicks (aka Events) and improve your affiliate site’s monetization strategy (more on that in a minute).

Further Reading:

Leverage Alternative Affiliate Programs

Diversification is not putting all of your eggs in one basket and is the first risk management rule. It also has its place in affiliate marketing. Why?

The fact is diversification won’t leave you exposed to reduced commission rates by a single affiliate partner.

One way to do it is to find alternative programs to join.

Tip: Consider looking at other options if you’re only monetizing through the Amazon affiliate program. What happens when they slash commission rates again? How will that affect your income?

You can find several affiliate networks worth joining, including: 

To find them, run a Google search for products in your niche. Try this formula:

For example, if you’re in the keto diet niche and wanted to sign up with Bulletproof Coffee’s affiliate program, Google “Bulletproof coffee affiliate program.”

searching for affiliate programs using google

 

The quicker way to do this is with Lasso.👇

4. Use Lasso’s Affiliate Programs Detector

We have a database of nearly 1,900 affiliate programs you can sign up for on our site.

So, if you link to a domain (e.g., you’ve linked to Bulletproof several times but don’t belong to their affiliate program yet), Lasso displays every one with its affiliate program you can join.

finding affiliate programs inside the lasso dashboard

 

The above screenshot shows you five things:

  1. The affiliate program
  2. Number of programs Lasso found on your site you can sign up for
  3. The payout (i.e., the commission rate)
  4. Potential opportunities across your site where you could add an affiliate link
  5. A link to the affiliate’s sign-up page

You can also click the affiliate program to see additional details or use the search field above the “Potential Links” column to find a specific affiliate.

Here’s what you see when clicking WP Rocket’s details page:

wp rocket affiliate program details page in lasso for your affiliate marketing website

 

And when you scroll down, you’ll get a list of related programs:

related affiliate programs beneath wp rocket

 

Further Reading:

Helpful Tips for Determining the Right Affiliate Marketing Programs

Earning money via affiliate marketing is an excellent passive income source. Many successful bloggers use it to monetize their WordPress websites.

Here are two tips to keep in mind when you start exploring affiliate platforms:

For example, Amazon is huge, trusted by millions, and easy to join (which is why it’s beginner-friendly).

But they notoriously slashed their commission rates mid-pandemic, and their cookie only lasts 24 hours.

Sidenote: The longer the cookie duration, the longer your referral link lasts. For example, if you see an affiliate partner with a 60-day cookie, that means you have 60 days from the time a website visitor clicks your affiliate link to make a purchase (and earn you a commission).

With Amazon, you only have 24-hours from the time a website visitor clicks your affiliate link to make a purchase.

The payout is the other factor to consider. How much will the merchant pay you, which payment method will they use, and how often?

For example, Lasso’s Preferred Partner program features include:

Direct deposit or PayPal are the best (and fastest) ways to get paid.

5. Calculate Your Earnings Per Click and Resources Pages Revenue

Your earnings per click is the total number of clicks divided by the total commissions earned. The formula looks like this:

This metric can give you an overall idea of what a merchant pays you.

For example, if an affiliate link gets 2,000 clicks and earns $20 in commissions, that’s an EPC of ten cents per click.

If you decide your number is too low, you can always negotiate for a higher commission rate. But, some do have low payouts and may not be worth your time to do their marketing for them.

Also, take note of income produced from your resources pages.

For example, the Toolbox page on our personal finance site generates 10% of our total income — all from a single page! So, we monitor its performance.

Performing an audit of these high-level pages on your site lets you keep track of your earnings. When you notice a decrease in income, you can investigate why (more on that later).

Further Reading:

Assess Your Marketing Materials

Reach out to your affiliate network manager for their best marketing materials. This is a tough business, and you want to make sure you have high-quality affiliate offers.

It’s in their best interest to help you succeed.

6. Optimize Your Product Displays

If you’re using Lasso, make sure your product displays are optimized to attract clicks. That means using informative product descriptions with excellent copywriting, high-quality product images, titles, and enticing call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

Ask yourself, “Would I click this?”

Lasso lets you customize your product displays with enhanced attributes, including:

Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough of how you can highlight your product’s best attributes with quality content and draw more clicks.

Badges

Badges add personalization. They boost its visual appeal while giving you another chance to explain what’s great about your affiliate product.

Try terms like “Our Pick,” “Budget Pick,” and “Upgrade Pick.” Or, depending on your niche, “Money-Back Guarantee,” “Best for Beginners,” or “Amazon Best Seller.”

You can add badges to displays inside your affiliate’s Link Details page. Type your term in the field marked “Badge Text,” and Lasso displays a real-time preview (see example below): 

adding a badge to fundrise display

Further Reading:

Secondary Call-to-Action (CTA) Buttons

Give your readers a second option with this button type. You can add it to your Link Details page. For example, offering your readers two locations to buy an affiliate product (e.g., Walmart and Target).

Using a secondary CTA button gives them another choice (and you another chance to earn affiliate commissions).

The other reason secondary CTAs are nice is that they maintain engagement.

Let me explain.

Perhaps your visitors encounter your product display, but they aren’t ready to buy yet. Maybe they need more information.

In that case, you could link to your product review, tutorial, or how-to guide in the secondary CTA button like we did with the Fundrise example below.

Just add the secondary URL of where you want to send them (e.g., a link to your product review) along with the CTA button copy:

adding a secondary cta button to displays

 

This has the added benefit of boosting engagement while giving you more time to make your case to buy.

Further Reading:

Custom Fields

Custom fields give you more flexibility by adding star ratings and pro/con lists. To do it, scroll to the bottom of your Link Details page and click “Add Custom Field.”

adding a custom field to your display using lasso

 

Let’s give this display a star rating and a pro/con list. After you click “Add Custom Field,” you’re prompted to either “Create new” or “Add from library.”

To add a star rating and a pro/con section, you’ll choose “Add from library” since those already come with our plugin.

selecting add from library

 

To give it a star rating, click on “Primary Rating” and give it a score between one and five:

applying a star rating to your lasso display

 

Here’s how your Primary Rating appears inside your display:

how the star rating appears on your display once it's created

 

If you’re adding a Pro/Con section, the process is the same:

  1. Click “Add Custom Field”
  2. Select “Add from Library”
  3. Click “Pros” to make your pros section (or “Cons” to make a cons section)

After clicking “Pros,” a field appears where you can type in your bulleted list:

a description box for your pros section for your affiliate marketing website

 

Be sure to hit “Save Changes” once you’ve created it.

click save changes in lower right corner of screen

 

Then, rinse and repeat this process for your “Cons” section. Here’s how it’ll appear in your display:

 

Further Reading:

Find More Monetization Opportunities with Google Analytics Data

You can also find more monetization opportunities based on the keywords, phrases, and terms you’re already using.

Sidenote: To scale this process, use a scraping tool like Chrome’s extension Scraper. It’ll collect all of your data. (E.g., if your post is a numbered list with every item displayed as an H2, right-click on the first H2, and Scraper will extract every H2 from your post).

Next, copy it to your clipboard, then paste it into a Google doc/Sheet. Scraping tools are great for extracting metadata into organized groups (e.g., page titles, meta descriptions, etc.) and make the process less time-consuming.

To do it, “Right” click on any H2, and click “Scrape similar”:

right clicking an h2 on a numbered list with a scraping tool

 

Then, copy items to your clipboard:

scraping tool collects every h2 on the page and lets you copy to clipboard

 

Next, paste the links into a Google doc or spreadsheet. Finally, analyze which links get the most clicks. You may start noticing patterns between what’s listed on your posts and what people actually click.

If you notice specific items regularly produce low click averages, replace them with different products.

7. Create an Event URL Spreadsheet

An excellent way for you to analyze affiliate clicks is with an Event URL audit spreadsheet. Event URLs are your affiliate links.

Google tracks every click on your site and categorizes it as an “Event” once you connect Lasso to it (hence the title, “Event.”) Here’s a sample of what ours looks like:

our event url spreadsheet

 

Items dipping into the red threshold are potential candidates for removal. Since nobody clicks them, they’re clearly unpopular with our target audience.

These spreadsheets are particularly useful for analyzing “best” list posts (e.g., best gifts for bourbon lovers or best digital cameras). 

Here’s how you can create one for your existing content. Create a Google Sheet with four columns labeled:

The event URL will be your Lasso Links as found in Google Analytics. You can either select it by “Top Events” or by “Pages.”

For this example, we’ll use “Pages.” Head to Behavior > Events > Pages in Analytics.

google analytics events by pages for tracking your affiliate marketing website

 

This shows you descending order from highest to lowest, every blog post and page with the highest number of clicks (i.e., an Event).

In other words, you see each blog post and its total number of affiliate clicks. This metric lets you determine which of your blog posts get clicked the most (letting you identify your most profitable articles).

Click on any page to see the number of affiliate link clicks.

For example, when I click on our blog post about ways to make money, you can see the top affiliate clicks for that post are TaskRabbit, Survey Junkie, and Earny.

google analytics affiliate links and number of clicks each one gets

 

If you want to dig further, click on the affiliate’s name to see if text links or displays perform better.

Here’s what you see when clicking on Task Rabbit:

google analytics displaying number product box clicks and text link clicks

 

Here, you can see there were thirteen display box clicks versus four text link clicks.

If you evaluated this on your own website, you could create more content catered to TaskRabbit, Earny, and Survey Junkie.

Curate Your Content Framework

A good content marketing strategy involves reaching your target audience using strategic keyword research while making it easy for search engines to find you, so you get more organic traffic.

Designing content for your readers using Google Analytics data lets you determine what you might need to create more of.

Consider the content types you could create (using Survey Junkie as an example), including:

You can use Lasso to help you find more monetization opportunities too.

8. Turn Keywords into Affiliate Links

Lasso has a feature called “Opportunities” in the dashboard

lasso dashboard and where to find the opportunities tab

 

This lets you access its detection engine so you can find more ways to make money with your online business. There are three things Lasso looks for:

“Brand” and “Concept” Keyword Opportunities

Let’s say you want to find unmonetized mentions of products across your site. Imagine you run a personal finance site that mentions the cashback app Earny.

You know you’ve mentioned them but can’t recall where.

Here’s how you can find mentions of any word or phrase across your site and turn them into affiliate links. We’ll start with Brand keywording (i.e., when you’re looking for specific product mentions).

1. Head to “Opportunities”:

click in the header under opportunities from your lasso dashboard

 

2. Scroll down and click “Keywords”:

clicking the keywords tab inside the opportunities section

 

3. Create your keyword (we’ll use Earny for this example) by entering it into the search field and clicking “Add Keyword”:

creating the keyword earny in the search field and then clicking add keyword

 

4. Re-enter it in the search field to pull that keyword up with every unmonetized mention:

showing every mention of the keyword earny and where it is across your site

 

Lasso finds every mention of your keyword across your site. Along with which piece of content the word is located.

Here, Lasso found seven unmonetized mentions of the word “Earny.” You can also search for products you’ve linked to by the domain name or URL in your dashboard:

finding affiliates by url or domain name using the search field in lasso

 

Another thing…

Tip: You can also use the same process with concepts. For example, Earny is a cashback app, so you could create the keyword phrase “cashback” or “cashback app” to see where that term appears on your site then monetize accordingly. Using “Concept” Keywording lets you find related mentions to the brand. An example of Concept Keywording would be if you were an affiliate for BlueHost and wanted to find mentions of the phrase “web hosting” across your site. You’d follow the same steps above by creating the keyword “web hosting.” Then, Lasso will scan your site for every mention of that phrase.

Content Opportunities

You can also check for under-monetized posts on your website using Content Opportunities either by the date it was last updated or the number of outbound links for that post.

Head to “Opportunities” and click “Content.”

finding linking opportunities in your content

 

To filter by the number of links from highest to lowest, click “Links”:

click opportunities and lasso shows you your content from highest to lowest number of outbound links both monetized and unmonetized in right column

 

This lists every link in that piece of content from highest to lowest across your site. You can now click the number of links in the “Links” column to see who you’re linking to and whether to monetize.

Sidenote: The number of outbound links contains both monetized and unmonetized links in your posts.

For example, when you click on the first piece of content with 105 links, 29 Affiliate Marketing Examples That’ll Inspire You to Get Started This Year,  (by clicking the number “105”), you see this:

first piece of content we click on has 105 links displaying url link with anchor text the type of link and the monetize toggle for your affiliate marketing website

 

This shows you four things:

  1. Number of links the post contains
  2. The URL the post links to
  3. The anchor text you’re using with your external link
  4. Type of link (e.g., text link, image, display, etc.)

In the above example, you see immediately some big brands like Nerdwallet and Credit Karma are unmonetized. If you were evaluating your affiliate strategy, you might want to consider monetizing those.

Once you decide which links to monetize, flip the toggle for each one:

clicking the monetize toggle to convert a link into an affiliate link

 

Next, choose the affiliate program. In this example, you’d monetize with MediaKix, so type that into the search field:

finding the affiliate you want to monetize in the search field then clicking the green monetize button

 

Finally, click “Monetize.” You just converted that mention of MediaKix into an affiliate link. Rinse and repeat this process for any post on your site.

If you’re searching for a specific content type (e.g., a review or a list of tips), you can enter that word into the search field, and Lasso finds every mention of the word “review” or “tips” displaying in your content’s title.

For example, if you want to analyze how many product reviews you have on your site, you could type the word “review” into the search field and get this:

58 content opportunities found with the word review displayed in the title

 

You could gauge your affiliate income based on how well your reviews perform and decide whether to create more to scale your income.

For example, if you calculated that your reviews with each merchant have a 7-day EPC of $80 per 100 clicks multiplied times 58 reviews, that’s $4,640.

You could then determine based on that calculation how much you could potentially earn based on the number of average clicks you get in a week.

Or if you wanted to determine how well a specific content type is monetized or how many links it’s got (e.g., a “how-to” article), you could type in the word “how-to,” filter the links to display from highest to lowest, and see every “how-to” article you’ve written with the total number of links each article contains:

finding content with the words how to in the title using lasso for your affiliate marketing website

 

Then, analyze those posts to determine if there are more monetization opportunities.

How Often Should You Perform This Content Audit? 

It’ll depend on the size of your site. Some affiliate marketers could do it more often than others. Regularly checking in with your affiliate links ensures your earnings are on track.

The best way to do this is to schedule it just like you would a doctor’s visit. And then stick to it. It’s the ideal way to keep your affiliate business running smoothly. The below is a ballpark estimate of how often to run your audit.

Task to PerformFrequency
Updating broken or out-of-stock linksWeekly / Fortnightly
Search for new affiliate programsMonthly / Quarterly
Search your site for new linking opportunitiesMonthly / Quarterly
Calculating EPC and resources pages revenueQuarterly
Examining your top Events in Google Analytics (top affiliates overall and by page)Quarterly

Again, these are only estimates. The frequency with which you perform them will vary based on your site’s size. Take the timeline with a grain of salt.

The important thing is that you do them.

Ignoring these metrics ensures you will certainly leave money on the table (and potentially provide a poor user experience the more often you send visitors to broken pages)

Create Product Displays That Attract Clicks: No Coding Required

Building a successful affiliate marketing site starts with knowing what works well. Performing a content audit makes it easier to design sustainable, long-term wins for yourself – and increase commissions in the process.

All you need is the right WordPress plugin to get you there. Ready to see how Lasso can streamline the entire process? Start your free trial today.

Sean Brison
Sean Brison is a dad, writer, business owner, and Chief Growth nerd at Lasso. He's spent the past several years in cahoots with Lasso's founder, Andrew, creating awesome things for people. He's also addicted to perfectly-balanced cocktails, the outdoors, and John Mulaney's stand-up comedy.

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