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  1. #1
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    I was just sitting here thinking about my sites and my future plans in the affilate marketing business.

    I got to wondering what you all thought about what is the best way to set yourself up.

    Is it better to have seperate sites for each affiliation?

    Or is it equal or close to being equal to have one big website that features the larger companies in their own sections/subdirectories?

    Is there much difference?

    I know that if you have more than one site, you increase the odds of someone hitting on one of your sites vs just having one.

    So what is your feedback on this?

    ~Michelle

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    "All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy."

    "Work to become, not to acquire." -- Confucius

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    ~Michelle:
    I'm sure you'll get responses from both sides of the fence on this one, because the answer is, "it depends." Give our business model, we're obviously going to stick with one site, or to use your terms, one big mall inside our site. We'll divide it into a variety of channels and cross-link throughout the site. Since we're regionally focused and have a steady, dedicated audience, that makes sense. Of course, we're not your typical affiliate, so, as I said, it really does depend on you.

    I hope that helps, though after re-reading it, I have my doubts!



    Karl Smith
    phillyBurbs - Your Internet Starts Here

  3. #3
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Is it better to have seperate sites for each affiliation?

    Or is it equal or close to being equal to have one big website that features the larger companies in their own sections/subdirectories?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I've got some of each. I like malls with subdirectories because then if one merchant dies, the site's not in any big trouble. Fixing it is just a matter of hitting delete on those pages and changing the front page to yank the link to the section.

    On the other hand, a merchant-dedicated site can do quite well *if the conditions are right* (for instance, if they focus on one [or a few related] product line). I'll only do it if the commission is high, though--if they can't pay the Minimum Percentage, they're outta luck. One reason for this is the extra risk associated with a single-merchant site: If the merchant dies and you can't find a replacement, you become the proud owner of a domain name with nothing to put on it!

    Before I make a dedicated site for any merchant, I test their performance on one or more mall sites. There's no point in buying a domain name to push a dud.

    As for one being "better," it depends on what you call better!

    Seperate sites: Possibility of big jackpot. Also there's a possibility of making nothing or very little! (Before I started pre-testing merchants on mall sites, my luck ran at 50-50.) Risk of merchant dying and leaving you with a domain name and nothing to put on it. Risk of merchant getting too big for his britches because he knows you'll be stuck with a dead domain if you fire the program! (Always remember, domains are cheap--too cheap to put up with BS for.) It's easier to keep track of where the links are. If a merchant dies and you CAN find a replacement, it's just a matter of Sitewide Find/Replace.

    Mall sites: Practically a sure bet, at least in my experience. If a merchant dies, it's no big deal. If something doesn't sell, something else will. Some section or other will usually rank well in Google, especially if you don't make them all according to the same formula (On the other hand, some sections will typically be buried). Bad merchant attitude is easy to hit Drop Program on, and they give you less of it in the first place when they see 50 other merchants on the site (they know they have no monopoly).

    As you can see, there's points in both kinds. If I could only have one kind of site, though, I'd pick Malls because I like the surer bet and the fact that merchants are highly replaceable on a Mall (there is no *need* to offer any particular category).

    It is a beautiful thing, to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.~Spanish Proverb

  4. #4
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    I’ve taken a middle of the road approach. I run 3 sites or grouped channels, Health/beauty, pets and outdoors/sports. Each one has multiple merchants so if one merchant isn’t performing within 6 months I delete them, trying to replace that space with a better one.
    I can optimize the SE’s better with 3 sites, and all my eggs aren’t in one basket. I would not have my income secure with one site too many things may happen.
    I guess you can classify them as mini malls.

  5. #5
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I test their performance on one or more mall sites. There's no point in buying a domain name to push a dud.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Amen - but not so much to avoid the small cost of a domain name, but to avoid the hard work, high hopes, and anxiety associated with developing a new site. Not to mention lost potential of other sites that get less attention while the new one is being built.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Before I make a dedicated site for any merchant, I test their performance on one or more mall sites. There's no point in buying a domain name to push a dud. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I'll definitly agree with Leader. But, it really depends on what goals you have set for your business. Those who want to skyrocket to the top will be willing to accept greater risks like experiencing the return trip. I chose the mall approach to begin with because I wanted sure steady growth. I knew I could only build the site with a few spare hours each day. I became a great tool for evaluating merchants. Shuffle the losers to the bottom of the page and eventually remove them. Replace them with new merchants.

    The mall offers diversity just like a well built stock portfolio. When one area is down, another goes up. Seasonal swings in consumer shopping habits are evened out.

    Before starting the large shopping mall plan out your directory structure and navigation carefully and keep in mind how your shoppers will navigate and how the spiders navigate your site. Optimize every page because each one is a doorway into the mall. Keep building more pages every day and watch your bank account grow proportionally.

    Ernie

    It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

  7. #7
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    Hi.. I too am debating this same situation. I am going the multiple programs with one site route. You can get a domain for cheap, you can get a hosting account for cheap too! Best advice I could give anyone trying to do this, get a hosting account that is easy to use and learn front page 2002. These are great keys to success. For listing things on ebay, building your own stores, also, you will need a Pay Pal or 2checkout.com account for web buttons. I use both. Check out InsaneDomains.com if you need a domains or hosting account. I put this site together and I think it might help if you need a domain name cheap and hosting account. Best of luck! The "key" will be getting everyone to know what your site has to offer!

  8. #8
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insight you all have given so far.

    I currently have a 'mall' site, but I do have a domain name that I purchased with intent to create a niche site built around my husbands hobby.

    The big problem I am having with that one is finding merchants that sell a good enough product that he wants to promote. The big companies in the business surrounding this hobby don't seem to have affiliate programs.

    I started out doing the affiliate thing as a side thing, but I find myself spending more and more time on it now. (The checks coming in are a pretty good incentive to keep plugging away at it. )

    ~Michelle

    ****************************
    "All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy."

    "Work to become, not to acquire." -- Confucius

  9. #9
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    Wow, I thought mall sites were so 1997. Looks like I need to rethink things.




    I have been creating sites around each affiliate. I figured it would be easier to get others to link this way and the theme of the site would be tighter. Also yu can then choose a keyword rich domain name which tend to rank better in the search engines when all other things are equal.





    Of course the products I have pushed so far have multiple choices for merchants so the domain would never go to waste.





    What others have said about mall sites make sense. However I can't say I have ran across any in a long time in my role as web consumer.





    What is the source of traffic for a mall site ? How do you make it work without it looking like an affiliate link farm ?

  10. #10
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>What is the source of traffic for a mall site ? How do you make it work without it looking like an affiliate link farm ? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Traffic--Search engines! Gotta love 'em!

    No link farm--Write a page for each merchant. Write a page for each product, too (or use the merchant description. But if you use their description, you'll need to come up with something else that no other site says, or the SEs may not list the site due to too much duplicate content. Just having a line or two after each link isn't much different than a straight link farm, so expound a bit.

    It is a beautiful thing, to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.~Spanish Proverb

  11. #11
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    Let's focus on Google for a moment here. In orderto rank well you need to build up some PageRank, which is achieved by quality inbound links. How do you get people to link to your mall site ? I don't think DMOZ, Zeal etc. will link to it will they ?

  12. #12
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by MrSpeed:
    Let's focus on Google for a moment here. In orderto rank well you need to build up some PageRank, which is achieved by quality inbound links. How do you get people to link to your mall site ? I don't think DMOZ, Zeal etc. will link to it will they ?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    ANCIENT CHINESE SECRET EH?

  13. #13
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    I'll be sure to reply the same when you ask how to use a datafeed, or have a sql question

  14. #14
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by MrSpeed:
    I'll be sure to reply the same when you ask how to use a datafeed, or have a sql question<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    touchy...hmmmm...maybe he missed the smily and/or the italics. Both of which usually indicate someone is joking. Just FYI I was posting from work and had to hit post before I intended to (boss walked in). So if you really want to know I DO have a mall type site listed in DMOZ. One possible course of action is to include enough unique content to make the site appear as if it is not a mall type site or a link farm.

  15. #15
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Some people get a c*ntent site into DMOZ and then link to their malls from that. It's not a direct DMOZ listing for the mall, but it's only one level removed, and that can get a decent enough PR going for a site that's not aiming for the super-competitive keywords.

    It is a beautiful thing, to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.~Spanish Proverb

  16. #16
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> touchy...hmmmm...maybe he missed the smily and/or the italics. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Umm sorry about that post. I really just shot from the hip. I came back to edit/delete the post but I guess I have to leave it and live with it.

  17. #17
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Well I planned on a complete upgrade for my Mall site when the CoC produced teeth and started to curtail the BHO's. All in all my Mall needs more inbound links and my top entry pages are in a variety of shopping sections.

    Improving my navigation would be #1 priority as I have to go in once a month and let some shoppers out of the dead end sections. Currently I just leave it up so Ms.B can use it as a BHO parasite test bed.

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  18. #18
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    What are CoC and BHO ?

  19. #19
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Dont' forget Spam Wank and Incent Duper as well

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