How does Amazon help Touch the Banner?

Tag: site news


6Apr 2017
Blog, homepage 6 comments

How does Amazon help Touch the Banner?

I’ve fielded a question several times over the past couple years, because I occasionally mention that you can support the site by making purchases on Amazon. But I probably haven’t done a great job of explaining exactly how that works. A lot of websites use the Amazon Associates program, but here’s how it helps:

Step #1: I create ads on my end. Sometimes those ads are related to book reviews, and sometimes they’re recommendation ads based on categories that I pick. Most of you are interested in sports, and not many of you use makeup, so I choose appropriate channels. Then I post those ads permanently at the bottom of the page, or they appear temporarily in posts that eventually get bumped down into the nether regions.

Step #2: You click. Whether you like what you see advertised or you just want to buy something random on Amazon, you click on the ads. It doesn’t matter what you buy. Once you arrive at Amazon and make a purchase (generally within 24 hours after clicking on the ad), you’ve contributed to the site. If you leave your Amazon tab open for too long, then the cookies disappear and it’s no longer connected to Touch the Banner. So if you want to contribute, make sure to complete the transaction.

Step #3: Commissions. Amazon has various programs that can be used for commissions, including referrals to particular products or services. Chances are slim that I’m going to convert you to Amazon Prime or one of their streaming services, so I generally avoid those types of conversion ads. Once your purchased items are shipped, I receive a 4% to 12% commission based on what you bought. This is Amazon’s way of paying for ad space without giving out the money up front. They only pay when something is actually purchased. So if you buy a $100 item, anywhere from $4 to $12 goes into my account.

Step #4: The site benefits. I have no delusions of getting rich, but it’s nice to be compensated a little for the time spent on the website. On average, I probably spend a minimum of two hours per day writing, updating offer boards, culling information from Twitter, watching film, etc. But in addition to compensation, roughly 20% of site income goes into keeping the site running (servers, tech support, domain names, premium widgets, site upgrades, etc.), and another chunk goes into business taxes. I also have intentions of tweaking a few things to improve the reader experience, so hopefully it will circle back to you in some way, too.

The best thing about Amazon Associates is that you don’t pay anything extra. You get what you want from Amazon, and you don’t have to worry about setting up a Paypal account, giving me your credit card information, feeling guilty for not contributing, etc. Everyone wins.

If you want a little more insight into how the program works, here’s a short video:

 

26Mar 2017
Blog, homepage no comments

Site News: New face(s)

New face #1: In the next couple days, you’ll see a new contributor here named Tim. I’ll let Tim tell you about himself when the time comes, but he’s a guy who’s immersed in the sports world and will be involved in the social media sphere. Give him a Twitter follow @TTB_Michigan if you’re interested. You can also follow me on Twitter @TouchTheBanner.

New face #∞: I’ve encouraged users over the last year or two to get a Gravatar, but not many people have followed through. So I’m adding another option: you can upload an avatar directly to TTB by going to your profile page. I understand why people weren’t a fan of Gravatar. It requires you to create a separate account, even though a Gravatar then can travel with you to various WordPress sites. If you’re still wanting a Gravatar, here are some directions (LINK) and they can still be used. Otherwise, adding a pic to your profile can help readers identify you and make it easier to follow discussions.

As always, thanks for reading and participating! I look forward to the continued growth of the site and the community.

2Mar 2017
Blog, homepage 17 comments

Site News: New blood, old comments, and money

(image via Imgur)

Since it’s the off-season and changes are coming (quickly or slowly), it’s time for a meta update.

NEW BLOOD

You will be seeing a new face around here. That face belongs to Mike Knapp, who will be endeavoring to bring you interviews, news bits, and other content. Mike grew up in the New England area and now lives on the West Coast, where he has spent time working in the education world. I’m happy to bring him on board. UPDATE: In fact, he has his first interview lined up with James Ross III, so let him know if you have any questions to ask (LINK).

You might also be seeing one other new addition, but I’ll save that for later.

Hit the jump for more.

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12Feb 2017
Blog, homepage 3 comments

Help Wanted: Looking for up-and-coming writer





I started this blog in 2008, and for the vast majority of that time, I have been the sole contributor. I had help from a friendly chap named Andrew for a while, and he did a great job, but life caught up to him. I must admit that while I’m extremely passionate about the game of football – and Michigan in particular – it’s a struggle at times to write content for 14+ posts per week.

So I’m once again opening things up to passionate fans or young up-and-comers who want to add to their writing portfolios. Touch the Banner gets over 300,000 page views per month and has been mentioned on USAToday.com and Washingtonpost.com, not to mention contracted by Lindy’s national college football preview magazine. I don’t run a media giant, but it holds its own in the Michigan blogosphere.

Here’s a sample of the types of pieces I would like a new writer to work on:

  • Recruiting interviews
  • Where are they now? interviews
  • Summaries of the careers of former Wolverines (NFL, college transfers)
  • Other relevant ideas you might have

So if you’re a young guy wanting to start a writing or journalism career, or if you’re just a passionate fan looking for a hobby, consider sending me an e-mail at [email protected] I’m looking for 1-2 posts per week (to start) from someone with the professional sense to use grammar and spelling properly. A good sense of humor is a plus, but being humorless is okay, too.

3Feb 2017
Blog, homepage 22 comments

Site news: Fundraising for new hosting service

(image via Panda Whale)

Over the last month, I’ve had too many site outages due to not having enough server. That has culminated with three consecutive days of some level of outage, starting with Tuesday, National Signing Day, and then yesterday. We’ll see if that streak continues today, but hopefully not.

Anyway, I added Cloudflare a few weeks ago, which has helped with site speed. But the server can still get overloaded. Therefore, I am moving the site to a new hosting service: Flywheel. I talked to some people, got advice from some readers, etc., and I think Flywheel suits my needs best. The trouble is that it costs a significant chunk more than my current hosting service. The package I’m purchasing costs $75/month, so I’m going to try to raise one year’s worth of hosting.

That means I’m looking to raise $900. When I constructed the new site in 2015, I used Paypal with some success. So if you would like to donate to the site, please use the Paypal button on the right sidebar or you can click below:


Other ways you can contribute to the site:

  1. Visit and interact! The more active the site becomes with comments, discussion, message board posts, etc., the more popular the site becomes. With popularity comes page views, and with page views comes additional ad revenue.
  2. Turn off AdBlock. I know AdBlock can be tempting to speed up your internet browsing experience, but it also inhibits sites like this one. I have AdBlock installed, but I turn it off for sites that I spend a lot of time on, such as MGoBlog, Rivals, 247 Sports, etc.
  3. Purchase items from Amazon via the links on the site. It doesn’t cost you anything additional, but the site makes anywhere from 4% to 8% on your purchases. If you buy $100 worth of exercise clothing, that’s $4 to $8 coming out on my end. It may not sound like much, but it really adds up if a lot of people contribute. I can’t make money by purchasing things through my own links, so I buy almost everything through MGoBlog’s Amazon links.

Thank you for reading and for your support. I’m hoping these things help improve the user experience.

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