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July 22nd, 2009, 08:56 PM #1Post #500 -- Diversification!
Ironically, I started this post a whole year ago but never finished it so the post never got made… a bit of a commentary of my tendency to start too many things at once. Hopefully in light of the economic changes, state affiliate tax initiatives, and other industry challenges there will be some food for thought here for those wanting to solidify or grow their online earnings.
Although I’ve had some pretty ambitious sites built professionally and made a few sites myself, most of my success has been in direct to merchant (DTM) pay per click (PPC). I’ve never like being so dependent on one model, esp. as merchants continue to restrict PPC rules, and I’ve been attempting to diversify my online stream in a number of ways.
1. Learning SEO. I’ve spent the last year + reading about SEO and I finally put together a site a few months back (Mar/Apr) that attempted to put as many good practices in place as I could muster without going batty. The site focused on one particular type of nutritional supplement that I knew sold pretty well from my PPC work.
PROS: fun to learn new stuff; I’ve actually landed on the first page of G/Y/B [B = Bing/aka MSN] and the top of the 2nd page for a variety of terms and I’ve made $12 of commissions (not a lot but cool to get this without PPC costs)
CONS: time and the great unknown of whether this time invested will ever pay off.
VERDICT: definitely something I want to continue to do, although I really do prefer the instant feedback you get from PPC. That said, $12 in commish in 4 months ain’t gonna pay the mortgage!!
2. Becoming a Merchant of sorts. Last summer and fall I bought 3 small-ish online companies (one manufactures [outsourced] skin care stuff; two are in the health food arena).
PROS: again, fun to learn all the stuff involved in selling, shipping, stocking etc. your own products. I’ve enjoyed messing with price points, negotiating new products, fine tuning reorder points and making customers happy with fast shipping and such. Also has been pretty profitable, esp. since it now only takes me an hour a day to clear $80-$170 profit.
CONS: a ROYAL pain to get away – I’ve gone through 2 PT employees that made too many errors and so a trip away becomes a logistical mess. I’ve packed the whole business (inventory, label printers, regular printers, computer, shipping materials, packaging, etc. etc.) for a family trip to CA that in the end (for me) wasn’t much of a vacation!! That is the beauty of the affiliate model – you can step away and at most you only need to bring a laptop along.
VERDICT: a cool thing to experiment with if you can handle being shackled to the biz. This said, my ultimate hope is to more/less outsource everything.
3. Pseudo affiliate/virtual salesman. One of the dad’s from my sons’ soccer team owns a small back support belt company and had only done sales via word of mouth and cold calling. In short, I designed and made a basic ecommerce site (at no charge to him) and I do PPC and SEO for this site and get a commission on all belts sold via the site’s shopping cart (currently google, but we’ve also had paypal and ejunkie – all of which are very easy to work with, even for a total non-techie like me). I haven’t made a lot on this (esp. considering the upfront time), but it is in the area of $100-400 monthly.
PROS: again, great learning experience. We’ve sold about 300 belts in the last year so almost a belt a day. A good place to tweak SEO and design skills.
CONS: getting paid at times has been a hassle (his truck needed work… rec’d too large a supply order with a big bill… etc.) but I have ultimately been paid. Also, I think the guy’s brother is hoping to replace me -- but he was disappointed to realize that I wouldn’t let him see my PPC keywords (true story!).
VERDICT: I actually think this is a possible gold mine for affiliates to pursue – find local business owners or those at swap meets (ideally with a product that is somewhat unique or at least has a decent selling proposition) that have little to no web exposure and pitch the same thing I pitched. Between templates such as those with WordPress and various plug-ins it needn’t be a huge project.
I am also experimenting with site targeting on the content network (G) and some new approaches to targeted product level PPC and (ugh) making landing pages, but no much to report on those. I resigned from my prof job in December so what had been a bit of a hobby side income is now the full income – a bit unsettling and exhilarating all at once!!
-OTProf (maybe I need a new screen name now?!?!)
p/s Portland area affiliates -- we should get together!!!
July 22nd, 2009, 09:19 PM #2
you've certainly been busy!
July 22nd, 2009, 09:56 PM #3
Nice summary of what you've been doing
I hope things work out
Congratz on #500 -- here's to another 500~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
July 22nd, 2009, 10:01 PM #4
- Join Date
- January 18th, 2005
Congrats on your 500, and wow, what a yearDeborah Carney
TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com
July 22nd, 2009, 10:27 PM #5
Very educational Prof. Nice read.
July 22nd, 2009, 10:44 PM #6
July 23rd, 2009, 03:53 PM #7
Now I can post at will without worrying about messing up my 500th post!!!!!
July 23rd, 2009, 03:54 PM #8
July 23rd, 2009, 05:50 PM #9
Congrats on #500, I do believe you have entered a new world now!
Hows life in the burbs of portland....lol like tigard or hillsboro? lolI attract success and abundance into my life because that is who I am.
July 23rd, 2009, 05:53 PM #10Originally Posted by snappy
July 23rd, 2009, 06:25 PM #11
awww why the face? Put on a and beI attract success and abundance into my life because that is who I am.
July 23rd, 2009, 09:45 PM #12
We're in West Linn -- it's a pretty nice family area. After 10 years in SoCal the many months of winter dreary gray is hard so I'm not sure if we will last much longer. That said, the nature and greenery here is splendid.
July 23rd, 2009, 10:27 PM #13
"Congrats on your 500, and wow, what a year [img]images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]"
agree, very interesting reading what you've been up to. Good luck with all of it
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