Should I Buy A Domain Name for Each PPC Campaign?

Probably the Hardest Way to Make Money Online

Eric Martin composed a brilliant question in a comment on my recent article titled “Finally Made a Profit on PPC Affiliate Marketing“:

Hi Nate,

I’m on the same road as you. I appreciate you sharing what you did as raising what advertisers pay makes a lot of sense.

I was wondering if you could share some insight buying domain names? Do you purchase different domain name for each company you promote?

Eric P. Martin

First, I have to thank you Eric, for asking such a great question. I definitely want to turn this blog into a discussion generator, not my own publishing platform. Thanks for starting a dialogue, Eric.

Now, I just noticed on Eric’s blog he found an answer from Shawn Collins. I was going to point out a very similar answer as he mentioned, but with a bit more detail.

First, the disclaimer: I currently do not purchase domain names for the campaigns I’m promoting. But, I do agree with most Super Affiliates who say that we definitely should. There is much to be gained by buying new domains. However, I’m a take-it-slow kinda guy when it comes to learning this stuff. I jumped in with both feet a few times and lost every dime of what I put in. Luckily I learned a long time ago never to invest in something what you can’t afford to lose. I lost.

Now, I absolutely will be purchasing domain names for campaigns I find profitable. The testing and learning season that I’m in right now doesn’t necessitate that purchase quite yet. But, mind you, I will be doing that.

Here’s my suggestion…

If you’re just starting out, I don’t suggest getting a domain name and sending offers to your own landing pages too early. There are so many variables in this business that it’s too easy to get overwhelmed and quit. If you take as few variables as you can and try to digest the best practices for those first (campaign, keyword, and ad network selection, ad copywriting, etc) and get those down where you’re making a few dollars a day off of just that, then you probably understand enough to start optimizing more things. At that point, feel free to move into developing landing pages and buying domain names for them.

Now, when you buy domain names I would suggest buying one domain name per ad group that you run. The reasoning is simple. It’s the same reason you should be using ad groups in the first place; ability to get keywords for cheaper (ads with the words you’re bidding on = better quality score). It follows that display urls using the keywords you’re bidding on would improve your quality score too. Improved quality score mean at the least less cost per click, and at the most a better conversion rate.

Why shouldn’t I buy domains and do landing pages now?

Well, the main reason I mentioned above is the number of variables in this business make it hard to track what’s going right or wrong with any one campaign. That’s why I rely heavily on Tracking202.com for my statistics. And by “heavily” I mean that if they didn’t exist, I’d probably still be losing money.

The other reason is because if you can’t make a campaign at least break even by direct linking, then you shouldn’t be in that campaign. It’s doubtful that you would get such a drop in cost per click by having your own landing page and domain that you could turn a loser into a winner. And, spending the time and money to buy the domain and design the landing page (not to mention A/B (“split”) testing those pages) on a loser at the beginning is just a waste of time.

Eric, and others, if you’ve got thoughts on this subject, please, by all means let us know. I’m not the end-all. I’m just learning too. But, I do have an opinion on the matter, so I figured I’d share it.

Discuss!

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

4 Comments on "Should I Buy A Domain Name for Each PPC Campaign?"

  1. Hi Nate,

    Thanks for responding to my question (Am I the little kid?).

    Here’s where I’m stuck. If you’re suggesting not to buy domain names, then how can you promote the adverstisers website on Google as Google does allow redirects or those long urls that are for affilates to use?

    Eric P. Martin

  2. nate says:

    Hahah.. Eric, no. You’re not the little kid. I just thought it was a funny comic. :)

    Actually, I have to reverse my opinion on this one with very fortuitous timing by Google slapping me. I wrote a new article on what I’m going to do about it and how it changed my perspective. I’d suggest reading that first.

    Then, I’d suggest signing up for updates to this blog either by using the RSS feed or putting your email in the sidebar form titled “Subscribe to this blog”. That will just send you emails about the articles written here. I don’t use it for anything else.

    Now, your other question about redirects and tracking urls… Google doesn’t have a problem with them as long as (1) they end up on the same domain as your Display URL and (2) they don’t have popups on them. Otherwise, they’re cool with the redirects. That’s how I do all my tracking (and that’s how almost all affiliate networks do their tracking too).

  3. CEBenz says:

    Nate, thanks for a great post. I’m surfing around the net looking for answers on doing exactly what you’re doing. Did you have particular place you pulled the affiliate programs from (clickbank, etc.)?

    -Cameron

    • nate says:

      Cameron,

      Good question. I have run some Clickbank things every now and then, but without too much success. I have worked a few good Shareasale campaigns, which is good for beginners, and then had a really good run in the diet industry with a few different other networks that run those kinds of offers.

 
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