Who are you and what are you currently working on?
My name is Ruggero Loda, and I am the founder and publisher of Running Shoes Guru, winner of the “best professional running blog” two years in a row. My team and I purchase and test more than 100 pairs of running shoes each year, and we publish reviews and buying guides – all monetized through affiliate links. We are working hard this year to revive our youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/runningshoesguru even though being a completely virtual and decentralized team, makes it a little complex.
How did you get started in affiliate marketing? What keeps you excited you about it?
I started this website in 2009 as a personal project while I was in between jobs. My career until then had been in sports companies, but I always had a knack for technology and the internet. I took the chance of the extra free time to create a resource that wasn’t there yet: a place to find detailed, expert reviews of running shoes. Runners all around the world seemed to appreciate the idea and traffic started to come almost immediately. The decision to monetise through affiliate marketing was easy to make and has served our business well. What keeps me excited is the fact that I was able to create, starting with just a laptop, an internet connection and my knowledge of sport shoes something that became a true source of useful information for the running community. While the growth of the business is what allows us to keep afloat and grow – the real satisfaction comes from the fact that we did create a useful resource that people rely on year after year.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a newbie affiliate marketer? And what is one piece of advice they should ignore?
My fundamental advice would be to aim to create something that is truly useful and that has a reason to exist. Copying existing sites/channels or using black hat tactics to grow a business can bring some money (some times a lot) in the short term, but affiliate marketing really is recommending something to real people, who will then buy them and use them. Your authority, reliability and in the end trust is your biggest asset. Think of your readers/viewers before thinking about Google or the affiliate partners. Be in it for the long term. Conversely, I would recommend to avoid any “get rich quick” scheme. If something is too easy to do, chanches are it’s not worth the time doing it.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress in your affiliate marketing?
It’s not really a mistake, but one of the things that hurt us in the short term but ended up making us stronger in the end is tough competition. It is easy to rest on your laurels and get comfortable with what you do. Many times now competitors have came from nothing doing some things in innovative ways. Competing forces you out of your comfort zone and it’s only there that growth happens.
What is one piece of software or a web service (besides Geniuslink) that allows you to to be more effective as an affiliate marketer?
Aside from Geniuslink one tool that I use every single day is Ahrefs – a site that has an immense database of internet links, mentions, keywords… It helps me understand who talks about us (links to us) and what topics are most successful, not only from us but from our competition as well. Google is some kind of a “black box”. Ahrefs helps me understand that black box a little better, and act accordingly.
How do you continue to educate yourself as an affiliate marketer? What are some of your favorite resources for learning?
I regularly listen to the Authority Hacker podcast, which alternates advice from complete beginners to more advanced topics on how to scale medium sized businesses. On this topic, in the past couple of years I have started to face problems (opportunities!) that transcend affiliate marketing and are common to managing growing businesses: from managing a team to making sense of your financials and managing your time efficiently. Luckily there are tons of books on business management, but the last one I read that had a real impact on my operations is a book called “the e-myth revisited”, which helped me starting to look at my business from the perspective of an owner (entrepreneur) rather than an operator.
If people wanted to connect with you, where should we point them to?
I’d be happy to connect with more affiliate marketers – it can be a lonely endeavour!
People can find me on: