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  1. #1
    Full Member dak142's Avatar
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    I sat back today and took a look at what I accomplished since I discovered AM in December. I created a site, read countless Ebooks, learned PHP & Mysql, all but mastered Dreamweaver, Learned to use Fireworks, bought a new Dell, and have an entire libray of books. I made many fiends on ABW, lots of great advice, both in the forumn and PM's. The one thing I have not been able to do is make any significant $$$$

    I did very well using Adwords at first, the only merchant I promoted was KB toys (I was a beginner). Made well in excess of $1000.00 in a short peirod of time, it was Great, and well, most of you here know what happend to December Sales with KB. Needless to say it was a disapointment, but I moved on.

    Now I feel like I am stuck in a rut, I seem to be stuck in a "coupon site" mentality. My site is www.secret-deals.com , the entire site is dynamic, the only part of the site I did not do myself was the logo. I got a really good deal on a freelance site, it only cost me $25.00. To be honest I haven't created a single page in about 2 weeks. Because I spend WAY to much time here reading post looking for a new direction to turn.

    I am looking for a nitch of my own but I can't seem to find one. I find something I like, research it on Wordtracker, and get discouraged because of the massive amount of competion for related keywords! How much competion is considered to be "too much" for a beginner to compete with? I also learned to use datafeeds, but I am hesitant to go all out because of SE penalities for duplicate content.

    I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet, I just need to find my own way. Hopefully I won't end up becoming a AM statistic, thanks for letting me vent.

    Thanks,
    David

  2. #2
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    As far as your coupon code site i see some things that jump right out.

    You have pages that are completely blank. Take for instance your Jewelry page which is spelled wrong on your site. There are 2 merchants here who have forums that have coupons for affiliate use. But the page is blank. Half the ones i checked are blank. Your sporting goods page only has 5 merchants to choose from, not much of a selection. Alot of your pages are also PR 0, not sure why. New? You picked a type of site that is very competitive and the SE's filled with spam. With this type of site you have to figure out how to get traffic and maybe do something a little different than every other coupon code site out there. Not sure what you mean by dynamic, meaning self updating. Coupon sites take frequent updating, usually throughout the day. If i started today i wouldn't get into that type of site.

    "To be honest I haven't created a single page in about 2 weeks. Because I spend WAY to much time here reading post looking for a new direction to turn."

    That's a problem. Happens to the best of us I spend to much time on this board when i should be working.

    As far as feeds in the 2 weeks you were here looking for inspiration you could have had one or more up. Give it a shot, can't hurt, there are a lot of merchants here with feeds that will help you out. Try some different things out.

  3. #3
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Get some good unique valuable content that relates to something you sell. Nobody (eg. search engine snafus or competition) can take that away from you and if it generates solid, ever growing traffic, money will follow either by sales, adsense, etc. Make some money off all the knowledge you have acquired.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  4. #4
    Affiliate Miester my2cents's Avatar
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    c'ya...

    seriously...just pick a subject you have passion about... and go for it... there is no such thing as too much compedition!

    Joe
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    that's my2cents, 'cuz I'm a legend in my own mind....

  5. #5
    Full Member dak142's Avatar
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    Trust, The pages with the PR 0 are fairly new (a month or so). I need to get going with adding merchants to do away with the blank pages.

    What I meant by each page being dynamic was that I enter everything you see on my site into a database through a PHP driven form I created. Assign it to relevant categories in the form, and the pages automatically update through a PHP script as I add new deals. Just as it would if I were using a merchants data feed and updated it in MySQL.

    That is why some pages are blank, I do not have merchants to cover all my categories just yet. I am going to sit down next weekend and not get up until I have added 50 or so new merchants.

    I know I have a long way to go, I am just whining when I should be working

    I do plan on getting some feeds up soon, I got a few new domain names to fit my topics, hopefully I have a winner in there somewhere! Thanks for you help, it is appreciated.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador
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    It's tough just starting out. I remember i kept updating my site with new deals when i was getting 0 traffic and thinking i must be crazy. Sometimes a little of that is good in this business Just gotta keep at it and eventually things will start to kick in.

  7. #7
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    I've never read a book on affiliate marketing. I've never learned PHP or SQL (although I do have two unread books on Perl), I use cheapie software like Namo Web Editor and PaintShop Pro, started out with an ancient old PC, and to be honest, it doesn't really matter...

    ..because ultimately the core part of your affiliate business is based on a combination of experience, gut instinct, luck, trial-and-error, and discovering whatever niche is both profitable and motivates you.

    I think pretty much everything I learned about affiliate marketing I either learned on my own, or from places like Abestweb.

    You know, a lot of people come into this came armed with a ebook and an expectation that if you follow it, you'll be rich. However, the reality is somewhat different, and it gets frustrating. I've often seen quoted that out of every 10 affiliate sites created, 8 earn virtually nothing, 1 earns a little and 1 really brings in the bucks. If you bear in mind that sometimes stuff just doesn't work the way you expect, then you need to try something new and move on until you find the combination of things that work for you, and your particular circumstances and abilities.

    David, it looks like you're going about it the right way. You just need to be persistant, patient and creative.

    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  8. #8
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    Forget about the ebooks, that are written just for the author to make money.
    Trial and error is the best way to learn. Keep changing things until you find something that works, and then build on that.
    I also have never read a book on affiliate marketing.

    Most of the selling comes from text. What you write and where you write it and who you are promoting.
    This has to come from you.

    Coupon sites are so difficult to maintain, I don't even keep up with the few coupons that I have on my sites. I cannot imagine having to work with hundreds of coupons.

    You do not need to have a coupon site to make money. Try something different.

    Write down 10 subjects that you are interested in and you could write about (and you think would make money) Then build sites around those subjects.
    Building content based around something that you are interested in will be easier than trying to do something that you aren't motivated about.

    By starting out with a coupon site, you are almost guaranteed to fail. You are competing against PR8 spam sites. You don't stand a chance unless you have a loyal customer base.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Radegast's Avatar
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    I too have a nice fat book on PHP and MYSQL which is gathering dust LOL.

    My strategy has been to build and build to try and build up some traffic.

    At last I'm starting to get enough traffic to make the next step worthwhile. Thinking about ways to pitch sales and monetize the traffic effectively.

    I wouldn't agree with the 'anti-book' sentiments expressed so far (though it helps to be extremely sceptical whenever 'gurus' try to sell you an e-book).

    I've been studying web copywriting. It is a science. Much better learned from a reliable source than picked up through trial and error, IMO.

  10. #10
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    Yes, books can be useful, when they are written to help rather than written just to rip people off like so many ebooks are

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    Dak142, don't lose hope. Remember that you are designing your site for people not just the SEs. If you can connect with people and they find your site useful, then you can still succeed.

    Remember that brick and mortars didn't have SEs to help them build a client base. They built it the old fashioned way, by having something of value to the client, announcing it and presenting it in a non-confusing way.

    Help your client / customer find the answer to their problem or need and they will buy it and refer others to you. Now I know this isn't the quick answer you were looking for but it is the real way to get there.

    Ask yourself would I buy from my site? Does it confuse me? Does it visually inspire trust for me? If you answer no to any of these questions, then you have a problem to fix. Just fix it.
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  12. #12
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> How much competion is considered to be "too much" for a beginner to compete with? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    There's no set figure. It depends both on your SEO skills--and your competition's SEO skills. The quality of the competition (and if they can SEO well enough to get far above you) has a lot more to do with it than the quantity. It doesn't matter if there's a million competitors if none of them can SEO their way out of a paper bag!

    Hint: DO NOT concentrate on programs from popular AMs here unless you can do SEO well, because some of the fiercest SEO competition comes from the members of this board and is concentrated on those merchants. The easiest programs to SEO for are hardly ever mentioned here...

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Because I spend WAY to much time here reading post <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Welcome to the club! This place is a vortex just as bad as games. It's eaten away countless hours when I should have been making pages, too. Sometimes I think I should install NetNanny on this computer and set it to block ABW instead of what it usually blocks.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I also learned to use datafeeds, but I am hesitant to go all out because of SE penalities for duplicate content. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Extra domain names are your friend. Set up different sites in different ways, so you have a good chance of at least some of them matching whatever the algo's calling for at the time.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Forget about the ebooks, that are written just for the author to make money.
    Trial and error is the best way to learn. Keep changing things until you find something that works, and then build on that.
    I also have never read a book on affiliate marketing.~Julian
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Dittos to that. Technical books (like how to program) can be of value, but even then the buyer has to be careful since a lot of people who write those books don't seem to do it very well.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Building content based around something that you are interested in will be easier than trying to do something that you aren't motivated about.~Julian
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    If you're into doing a content site, I'd agree.

    If you make a sales site, though, I'd say to push whatever you think will sell and fake the enthusiasm. It's *easier* to make pages about what you're interested in, but if you're interested in super-saturated subjects like I am, it might not be too lucrative!

    Most of my money comes from products I couldn't give a flying squirrel about, and even some categories that I actively dislike. For instance I would never ever buy an AbDoer or any equipment like that--I'm a desk potato--but that was a great seller for as long as they were peddling it in the infomercials.

    So I'd say to sell what people are buying regardless of whether you ever would buy that particular item, provided the item/service isn't junk or something you're morally opposed to.

    Good luck and don't give up yet!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  13. #13
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    Keep on digging. No sense in quitting after investing all that you have in books, knowledge and hardware. They say brick and mortar businesses take 5 years to become established and profitable. My sites became "profitable" after five months, but it was nothing I could live on. Still isn't.

    Your site is just scratching the surface, BTW.

    One step at a time: You have a "deals by category" column on the left-hand side of your page, and as Trust pointed out, several of those category pages are blank.

    That's like opening the sunday newspaper's coupon section and finding coupons for hamburger meat, cheese and buns, with one exception: the buns coupons are blank. There's a neat little cutout with the word "Buns" right above it and an arrow pointing down, but the coupon itself is blank.

    Now for an automated solution.

    Looks like you have three tables:

    -Deals

    -Category

    -Merchant

    Looks like you're listing "deals by category" on the sidebar just by looking at the category table, correct?

    Something like:
    <pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">
    SELECT CATEGORY.CATEGORY_ID, CATEGORY.CATEGORY_TITLE
    FROM CATEGORY;</pre>

    And then you loop through the recordset, displaying each category and a link?

    That creates the problem trust pointed out: blank pages where the deals table lists nothing for the specific category.

    You don't have to delete the categories, just check out the deals table for a list of categories.

    Try this pseudo-query:
    <pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">
    SELECT DISTINCT DEALS.CATEGORY_ID, CATEGORY.TITLE
    FROM DEALS, CATEGORY
    WHERE CATEGORY.CATEGORY_ID = DEALS.CATEGORY_ID; </pre>

    This will only list category titles for categories you have deals in. Your visitors won't get frustrated when they find a blank page, because you won't be directing them to a blank page.

    The page will still exist, but nobody will be sent to it, until you have a deal to sell them.

    Edited to fix margins
    Dr. Strangeweb, or how I learned how to stop worrying about SERPS and love the WOM.

  14. #14
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    I think there are a lot of niches still untapped out there... ones without too much competition. Go through the merchants and find suggested keywords matching their catagory, then their more general items, then check the suggested keywords off of those. There has got to be a ton of things that don't have a lot of competition left.
    I forgot what I was doing.

  15. #15
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bpal:
    I think there are a lot of niches still untapped out there... ones without too much competition. Go through the merchants and find suggested keywords matching their catagory, then their more general items, then check the suggested keywords off of those. There has got to be a ton of things that don't have a lot of competition left. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Just don't do what I did...one of my first sites was for a niche without much competition. I soon learned why, there wasn't any interest in the niche
    CharPaula
    Staying focused on the bottomline

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Sam Bay's Avatar
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    It's OK to lose your faith in affiliate marketing. It's not for everybody. There are a lot of other things you can do online/offline and make great money.
    SomethingStore.com - Surprise and Delight!

  17. #17
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Just make pages for anything and everything.

    Learn to do them fast and efficiently. Don't make any certain page your life's work. Don't spend a whole lot of time writing good copy. It has to read OK to people but remember "good enough" is just as good as "great" for your purposes. After all, you DON'T want the customer to stay on your pages, you want them to click through the links to the merchants' sites. Forget about adding "value to a click" nonsense. The value of your pages is to be found in the search engines for the products the customers are looking to buy and getting them to the merchant, who has the product, as fast as you can. That's your "job".

    Make a page and get on to the next one. Just get the keywords on the page in SEO effective places. Look at the code and read it like a search engine would and make sure that your keywords will look important to the SEs. Be sure you have done all the necessary SEO on your pages and somehow link the mess together in some kind of a logical way. Be sure people can get around but remember that your index page will rarely be the page they enter the site on.

    Throw enough poop at the wall and some is bound to stick.

    And, to all those who will jump on this post, remember I pay All my bills with AM. Do you?

    Must make pages....Must make pages....Must make pages....Must make pages....
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  18. #18
    Animal Lover
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Throw enough poop at the wall and some is bound to stick. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That's one saying I need to put up on my wall for inspiration...

    Oscar
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    Shareasale datafeed scripts - to display Shareasale datafeeds
    Linkshare datafeed scripts - for multiple Linkshare merchants

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    I remember being in a similar position with my first site sfter 6 months - loads of work and it all seemed to be for nothing. So I started on another that I thought would do better and left the first one, hosting was paid for a year so I thought I might as well leave it up.

    While I worked on the second one and pretty much ignored the first, visitors picked up and sales started to come through, by the time I went back to it, it had become a viable site and now produces strongly and consistantly. (the same pattern happened to the second site too)

    My sites are content sites, which as far as I can see are a bit like the tortoise to the hare of dynamic shopping sites. Whereas I could leave a content site and watch it build through getting backlinks, maybe a dynamic shopping site would just start to fade away.

  20. #20
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Well, after 8 months averaging 1200 per month net, I "zeroed" out yesterday! I feel like I need some inspiration myself! I can do one of two things:

    1. Quit

    2. Build on what I know and learn what I need to create new pages and content more efficiently and keep pushing on.

    Man, it has gotten tougher from 12 mo ago!
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  21. #21
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    AM isn't everything.

    A few years ago I spent built a web site, by hand, about a hi-tech subject. It became one of the top sites in the industry but it couldnt make more than $1500 or so per month on advertising and a little AM based on reviews of products.

    I abandoned creating new content.

    This year I integrated AdSense and removed most of the other advertising / AM links. Today I make a HUGE amount on Adsense alone. It's actually 50% of my total online income. I could EASILY live on Adsense revenue from that one site.

    Pick a subject you love and create a content site - and dont worry about AM on it. Post at least one new article per week (2-5 pages) and spend the rest of your time doing regular AM. Even if the AM doesn't work out you will be generating a steady long term income from the content site.

    just my 2 cents..

  22. #22
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Sounds like SSanf is telling everyone to throwup any kind of crap page with an affiliate link exit ASAP and spamm the crap out of the SE's. Better yet just forget the lame pages like so many cookie cannon stuffers do and use blind redirects off SEO doorway pages. Hope she sees the major SE's target these sites and bann their listings like they're doing the BHO's and their drive-by install partnering sites. Her cookies will crumble leaving her with a load of worthless crap pages never worth a bookmark.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  23. #23
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  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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  25. #25
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

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