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  1. #1
    Animal Lover
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    Hi all,

    I'm fairly new here - about 2-3months old to the whole affiliate marketing (heck even the website) thing. Hubby came home one day facing retrenchment and since his is the only source of income for me and the 2 kids it really got me thinking and when the affiliate marketing idea dropped on my lap - I took it on and marched enthusiastically into it - since then, I've created 2 sites - the first not so good - too many words...the second I did a topic which I loved (followed the Ken Evoy model of content site) and have since gotten more in terms of impressions and clicks (according to CJ I'm getting 500 clicks for 1000 impressions - is that good? the site's been up for about 2 weeks). However - the big doosy - NO SALES...I've been driving traffic to the site through google adwords so it's costly. Waiting for the search engines to spider me but am not sure how long that takes...should I dump the site and move on to another? How long do you tweak for?

    I'm going to keep trying still, despite the fact that hubby hasn't been the nicest person to be around - stress at work has a way of making it back home unfortunately...

    I may try another simple sales site to see if it's better than a content based one.

    Thanks for listening,
    Oscar

  2. #2
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    Yeah, build a few simple sales sites. Go for quiet little niche markets where there aren't 100,000 people trying out affiliate marketing. Build simple sites that don't need much tweaking or maintenance, host them cheap, exchange a few links, read up on basic SEO, read selfpromotion.com, get a web design book, when you are ready find out about datafeeds.

  3. #3
    Animal Lover
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    Thanks for that midnightcoder. I will try some simple sales sites. I remember reading a post here recently that sales sites perform better than content sites because people visit sales sites to buy whilst people mainly visit content sites to read.

    Oscar

  4. #4
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    Hi Oscar,

    Hang in there and keep building sites! Yes, do try another sales site and another and another. The more you do, the more you will learn (and hopefully earn!)

    Don't dump the site, but if the Google adwords are expensive and you aren't getting a return then either move on from using them or try to go for words that aren't as costly. A mistake a lot of new people make (and I'm not saying you are making this one) is that they bid on the main words. For example, if your site is about Baby Furniture then you bid on Baby Furniture which is probably an expensive adword. It would be better to bid on other keywords that may not be as popular but then again won't be as expensive. For example, wooden baby cribs with wheels, etc. (sorry I know nothing about baby furniture so I'm drawing a blank with what adwords you could focus on but you get the picture.)

    There are a lot of other people here that I know can give you much better advice than I can, but do hang in there. Read the old posts and continue to make sites/pages. It usually takes a while to start making money with this, but if you stick with it the sales will come.

    I know it's hard having worked so hard and not seeing a return yet and having to deal with your husband who is in his own space right now dealing with his issues on top of that, but do keep going and stick with it. It's early days yet and your hard work WILL pay off.

    All the best,
    Kip

    [This message was edited by Kip on July 02, 2003 at 02:39 AM.]

  5. #5
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    Oscar
    Try submitting your content sites to DMOZ and other directories. Then link from these sites to the new ones you build. Then buy a domain with hosting that allows sub-domains. Build lots of sub-domain sites - small sites with each page focused on targetted keywords. Use Wordtracker free trial for finding profitable keywords. Also make sure the merchants you chose to promote have a good record - ask here with any you are considering just to get feedback from those who know

    Dump adwords if they dont bring in buyers.

  6. #6
    Animal Lover
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    Whoa PerfectG...I had to read and reread your post to comprehend it - I haven't been in the computer world long so this sub-domain business (my server is thmedia) is a bit over my head but I will research it and learn more. Thanks for the advice.

    Oscar

  7. #7
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    Oscar
    Sorry, am in a rush this morning.

    Suppose you have a domain called:

    buy-it-online.com

    Now, suppose you could have sub-domains. You could do this:

    shoes.buy-it-online.com
    winter-jackets.buy-it-online.com
    toys.buy-it-online.com
    gift-baskets.buy-it-online.com
    nail-polish.buy-it-online.com

    Each of these would be sub-domains. Google treats them as separate domains (so you only pay for one domain but actaully have five here).

    Some poeple dont like sub-domains and rumours are going around that Google doesn't like them, but I they work OK now, and a rep from Google implied (I think, but dont quote me on this) that they are OK as long as they are not used for duplicating a site content.

    Dont know whether THMedia allows them (or if they are an extra expense). Most hosts allow a certain number of sub-domains. For example I host my sites at oneandone.co.uk and they allow me 500 sub-domains and unlimited top domain. You need to ask Tom (they have a forum here is you haven't found it).

  8. #8
    Animal Lover
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    What a wonderful idea - will definitely look into this subdomain thing...

    thanks,
    Oscar

  9. #9
    Full Member tmd5's Avatar
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    Hi Oscar,

    Your message reminds me of one I wrote at the beginning of October 2001 when I was ready give up in despair after 5 months, losing money on Pay Per Click at Kanoodle and Overture and earning only cents in commission.

    I kept going after encouraging emails from members of this list including Buckworks, WebMistress and Leader.

    Best advice I ever read (from Leader) was to build SALES sites. Forget content, though you need a little content for the search engine spiders to nibble on. I'm improving my sites now (to increase their longevity) by adding content pages but that's two years on with the sites now paying their way with sales pages. At the end of October 2001 I'd earned $50, end of December 01 $147, end of March 02 $500 and the income has continued steadily upwards to where I now earn a decent monthly income. Like you I was in dire financial need and I think that in part is what drives successful affiliates. We just HAVE to make it because the alternatives are so unbearable. Being a successful affiliate takes a lot of time and effort - it isn't an easy way to make a living but it does make for an easier way of life than working for others.

    Some miscellaneous thoughts: Don't abandon your first sites. They can always be used for linking to/from and besides, later you might find a way to develop them to earn good commissions later. Make good use of free tools: netmechanic.com - use to shrink your images so they load fast (a slow loading site will drive customers away). Use the free trial at wordtracker.com but also the free software from goodkeywords.com - select your keywords first then build your pages around them.

    To help get your sites well listed in the search engines: consider putting the keyword/keyphrase in the domain name and/or using it in the sub-domain or sub-directory; also use it in the file name. Put the keyword/phrase in the title, description and keywords. Use alt tags with your images. Put the keyword/phrase in heading tags (H1, H2 etc). Keep the pages simple: create a simple logo or just use text. There's a neat free tool called Gradientex (run a search on google to find it) which helps build multi-colored text. Keep the pages focused - don't offer the potential customer too many alternatives. Encourage them to "Click here" and drive them to the merchant to get that sale or lead. Two books I find useful (they're available at amazon.com): Phrases that Sell and Words that Sell.

    Make use of myHQ.com (its free) and build a simple directory there linking to each of your pages - it will help you get picked up by the search engines. Submit to the main search engines that still do some free listings: MSN, google, altavista, Hotbot/lycos and AlltheWeb. Take a look at GoClick for PPC. The traffic numbers are not great but its cheap and the site is easy to use and seems well run.

    Make good use of merchants that sell posters, magazines, books etc. because whatever subjects you choose for a page there's usually a magazine, poster or book about that subject that you can promote or link to.

    Just a few ideas (there's so much more!) :-) Hope they help and Good Luck!

    "Can I sell the sh*t and will the merchant pay?" ~ Leader

  10. #10
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    Bear in mind that it takes time for your sites to start earning money. First, it takes months to get it completely indexed by google. What you should do now is get your content sites in dmoz and Yahoo (for free. Yahoo likes content sites). Then you can link these to your sales sites.

    Then build lots of sales sites. Leader is right about c*ntent sites. I used to do content but hardly made much in spite of high traffic. The sales sites make the content sites EPC look laughable.

    There are also hosts that allow you to host muliple domains in a single plan. I think thmedia has such a plan. Infodoma.com has a cheaper plan. Depends on your budget.

    You might want to take on some part time work to make ends meet. Bake cookies to sell or even make things to sell. It will take a while for you to see the money from your sites, but hang in there.

  11. #11
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    NEVER give up. If you want an extra income, but don't want to or cannot go out and work for someone else, then affiliate marketing is a wonderful way of earning some extra income.

    However (there is always a however) it doesn't happen right away.
    I started back in July 2002, and I didn't get my first sale until September 2002. I used pay per click when we really weren't able to afford it, and we got nothing in return.
    I learned a LOT, and made some changes, and then in February 2002, we made over $1,000 in commissions. Each month since then has been slightly higher.
    I do not use any pay per click or any kind of advertising. It can be so costly, and most of the time (for new affiliates) it can result in nothing in return.

    The best thing that you can do is to continue to learn, and be willing to do a LOT of learning. You will be amazed at how much you do not know about affiliate marketing. That will get better as you read through this forum.

    If you ever have any questions, then this forum is the place to be. Ask away, and there are people on here that will try to answer your questions.

    Do not make the mistake of thinking that just because a site doesn't make any money after a few months that you should give up on it. Just don't pay for advertising if you are not getting anything back in return. It takes time for affiliates to make money. Things don't happen straight away. This is not a get rich quick scheme. You can make a lot of money, or you can make nothing. It really depends on how much time and effort you are willing to put into it.

    What are your sites? If we could see what you have done already, we may be able to help you find out what you can do to make things better in terms of getting more sales.

    Welcome to the affiliate world, and good luck.

    www.cjshoppingnetwork.com

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Packy's Avatar
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    Hi Oscar,

    It looks like you alraedy have gotten some good advise. One thing that stands out from your first post is that you mention your getting 500 clicks per 1000 impressions. WITH NO SALES. It also sounds like targetted traffic with adwords.

    I would make sure that what your visitors are searching for to get to your site is right up on top and make sure it is relevent merchandise as to what they are searching for. I'm not sure what your total clickthroughs are to the merchants but IMO unless it is a high ticket item you should of had some sales by now. Also make sure the links are working properly.

    Most of all, DON'T be afraid to change the merchants that you have on your site with others to see which ones work. There are plenty of non converting merchants out there and also a few crooked ones. Don't be afraid to try different networks also or indipendent affiliate programs meaning a merchant that has their own affiliate program and doesn't go through a network such as CJ or Befree but does the program on their own. JMO of course.

    Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about certain merchants and Best of Luck to you

    Merchant Coincidences, One of the Wonders of the World

    Coincidence Me baby!

  13. #13
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    Like Packster said, don't be afraid to find alternative merchants. My best converting merchant, and the one that makes me the most money every month is not in any of the networks, they run their own affiliate program.

    If you can find the right merchants, you can make a lot of money.

    However, if you try to flog a dead horse, you will get nothing

    The same amount of traffic promoting the exact same products can make you thousands or nothing depending on which merchant you choose.

    www.cjshoppingnetwork.com

  14. #14
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    I pmmed ya, but check out my affiliate program at shareasale.com, just look for www.tarice.com, there is lots of room for affiliates to make money selling my silver/blue/camo tarps and truck bed covers.
    I'll do whatever I can to help you sell product from my site.

    "Nothing like a nice piece of hickory."
    -Preacher, Pale Rider

  15. #15
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    OK. I have to wade into this as everyone is bashing content sites - even if it does lead to another content v. sales argument.

    Content sites - THAT ALSO HAVE A SOLID & RELATED SALES AREA - can make a tidy amount of change. The key here is to have a good sales area that is highly visible and that attracts visitors from the content pages. The goal is to steer people off your content pages into your shopping area (you probably won't make a ton of sales off of pure content pages, although Google AdSense has proved to be quite effective4).

    My one site is a content site (first appeared in Google in October) and has produced in excess of $2000 in commissions the past three months - $700 this month already (got lucky with two big sales so far this July). The site has also been basically immune to all the SE changes these past months and just continues to get more and more traffic. I've also never bid a penny on PPC, either.

    While it is very true that your total visitors to sales will be lower than it will be on a sales site, your actual click-through to sales conversion rate (if your shopping area of the site is done properly) really shouldn't be too much different than a sales site. After all, a sales site is a sales site, even if it is "integrated" into a content site. I average around a 2% conversion rate for all programs, with some being higher and some being lower. From everything I've read at ABW, this compares reasonably well to sales sites.

    Drawbacks of content sites? Well, your unique visitor to sales ratio will be a dud. And, since my site has a ton of pictures, my bandwidth usage is rather high for a site that only receives moderate traffic. The site receives about 1400-2400 unique visitors per day and blows through about 300MB of bandwidth per day.

    Other drawbacks include TIME. The time spent making a good content site can be pretty substantial. But, it does pay for itself if done properly. And the content, once prepared, should probably not have to be changed too frequently. Right now, my site has around 700 pages of pure, hard wrote, content. Plus another 700 pages of pictures and captions I've taken. The remaining pages are shopping related pages. Putting all that up in a nice looking way does take a while and lots of faith that affiliate marketing is going to work!

    Lastly, many affiliates argue here that a site doesn't need to look nice to make sales. That may be true for a dedicated sales site or coupon site. But, for a content site, it is very important for your site to be pleasant to the eye. After all, on a content site, people will be staying there a while, looking at your info. If your site is ugly or has bad navigation or is slow to load, people will spend less time on your site - leading to less people finding your shopping area and fewer people bookmarking your site for future use.

    Additionally, always look in your log files for something called "FAVICON". When you see this, you know that someone just bookmarked your site (if they are using IE). That, more than anything else, is probably the best indicator of how well your site pleases other people. I get around 80 "FAVICON"'s per day, which is about 8% of all my SE referrals.

    And lastly, for a content site, have an easy to remember domain name. While buy-this-thing-here-for-cheap.com may work just fine for sales sites, for a content site is pretty much kills off your sites branding. A sites brand will, over time, lead to more and more return traffic. Having an easy to remember (and visible) domain name makes it easy for visitors to return to your site.

    Anyways, just my two cents worth, from a person who is incapable of doing a strictly sales site! (I tried on my new site that will soon be live, but it quickly expanded into a 50/50 mix of content and sales )

    Jim

  16. #16
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    If you can find a subject that you are passionate about, and turn that into a content site, then as long as it has a marketable product base, then you can make money from that content site.

    If you can target your visitors, and as long as they are looking to buy something, then you can make money.

    My brother runs a puzzle related site over in England, and he gets over 6,000 uniques per day. However, he can't make enough money from them. I am getting about 1,000 visitors per day, and my sites pulls in double what he earns from his, even though he has 6 times the visitors.

    Content sites are just that much harder to earn from, but could be easier to run if you have a site that has a theme that you are enthusiastic about.

    Sales sites can take a lot of work swapping merchants and analysing log files to figure out how to make more money.

    Content sites are geared more towards a subject, and therefore are easier to manage. If your love is tennis, then I am sure that you could write quite a lot of content. However, would you make much money from it? I am sure that Wimbledon.com makes millions this time of year

    It all depends on what you mean by a content site. Is a site dedicated to clothing considered to be a content site? Or a sales site? If you write pages and pages of text about clothing, I am sure that you could make a ton of money as long as you write good quality copy. Would that be a content site or a sales site? Or both?

    www.cjshoppingnetwork.com

  17. #17
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    Hi CJShoppingNetwork:

    To me at least, content can be 4 different things. The first is just providing detailed information about a specific thing that my website covers. Thus, detailed information about fishing a specific river (what to use, where to go, when to do it, etc...).

    Second, photographs also serve as dedicated content. Between the pictures and the captions I put in to go with them, it serves as a secondary source of content. Very unique content, too, since my pictures are found no place else on the web.

    Third, content can also be product descriptions of stuff you're promoting on your site. This is basically the facts about a specific product.

    And lastly, content also falls into "editorial" sections. This would be things like "this product sucks" or "why you want to get this". Also reviews and articles about how to buy such and such. This content, in particular, is quite effective at generating sales.

    Really, a content site that wants to make money also needs to be a sales site, too. With the exception of books, very few sales originate from my sites pure content pages. But, like you said, you focus on a theme for the site, selling related products and putting in your own two cents worth from time to time, too. Editorial content, in particular, can be extremely effective and important in driving both traffic and sales.

    Content sites are just that much harder to earn from

    I really can't fully agree with that. Most content sites generate few sales because they don't have a good shopping section on the site. If a content site also has a good shopping section on the site, too, there is no reason why a site can't make decent sales. It's just a matter of promoting the shopping section from within your content pages (banners won't cut it).

    Jim

  18. #18
    Animal Lover
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    O so much to learn - thank you for the encouragement and boost! When I first read about a sales site I just thought it was like one of those virtual stores - except when the customer clicks on the desired item, it takes them to the merchant site shopping cart...Am I right? Or is there more to having a sales site...sorry but I'm new at this and the content site thing I've worked out. Presently my site (okay it's about flower pots - I love gardening!) brings people in and then I estol the virtues of every different type (eg terracotta, concrete, plastic - you get my gist) and send them off to the merchant by having them click to visit them.

    I've been thinking that perhaps I should just put the items in view at my site (so turn the site into a content cum sales site - suggested above) and then if they like what they see, they can go to the merchant site to get it from the shopping cart.

    I guess pots are what you'd call 'high ticket items' (I assume this means luxury items??) so it may take a while for people to decide that they want to buy a $300 pot...hmm...perhaps I should do a site which sells less expensive stuff...

  19. #19
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    - - - - -
    which sells less expensive stuff...
    - - - - -

    uhhh, no, don't drop the expensive stuff. What I mean is, if it is a competitively priced luxury item, those sell just as well as your inexpensive low margin stuff.

    If they want it, they will cough over the money - just look at mondera's forum, and gaze at all the high priced diamonds that are selling!

    Now, if they can buy the pot for $5, and you're selling them for $300, okay, you need to drop that line. But if it is a legitimate price, in a niche where they don't find that particular item waiting for them at every local corner store, you will sell the item.

    "Nothing like a nice piece of hickory."
    -Preacher, Pale Rider

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Packy's Avatar
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    Oscar,

    I know a few people here do quite well with gardening stuff. I've never personally gotten into it yet. I'm sure they can steer you to the right merchants. WOW, 300.00 for a pot is definately a high ticket item in my book.

    A mix of maybe high and low priced merchants with pots, plants, flowers and so on might help to please all the visitors and help with the conversions. Also maybe other merchandise related to the pots, like plants that go in them. I would definately try experimenting though with different merchants and see what happens. JMO of course!

    Merchant Coincidences, One of the Wonders of the World

    Coincidence Me baby!

  21. #21
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    Keep the faith. I've been at this a little over a year now. It took approximately 6-8 months of hard neverending work to start seeing some improvement. Despite the criticism from my father and evil multi-millionaire step mother, and the reserve from my hubby. Although, less than a month after I started this venture my husband was laid off for a year and 3 months. MAJOR OUCH. So, no matter how bad you feel. KEEP THE FAITH as Bon Jovi would say. Since November, I have had sales of some sort every month. Some really really good, and some the commission wasn't so great. Diversify. Make it something that anyone will find enjoyable. Plus, hope that the merchants will see that you are trying, and what you are trying to accomplish. Although, beware, some won't. They look at us as numbers, and not as a business. In the real world it takes 3 years to successfully get a business up and running. Been there before, done that. Here, you are expected to be great amongst the millions in a flicker of the eye. The good ones will stay with you. The not so good ones will say KMA. Despite any health or otherwise problems which may be flung your way. Although, I must add, the majority are very very nice and human beings too! You just have to find the ones that fit you like a glove, and try to build that "lasting relationship" they all at the outstart state. Keep your chin up and just learn to go with the flow. It will work itself out.

    All I Ask Is A Chance To Prove That Money Can't Make Me Happy!

  22. #22
    Animal Lover
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    Thanks for all the replies -
    CABH - I'm thankful that I'm not the only female out there trying to break into a male dominated cyberworld - ever notice that all the 'geeks' portrayed in the movies are all male? I'm not slamming men here, just stating a fact...It's a terrible feeling to have when your one and only source of income (hubby in this case) is suddenly in dire straits of being cut off...so...I'm ready to fight another day - thanks to all of you...

    Yes I also tried to explain why I'm spending so much time in front of the computer to my well meaning mum but she hasn't quite worked it out yet...

    The kids are frustrating and at the same time really funny - offering me helpful suggestions like putting a particular picture here or there - totally out of context of course!

    Now if I can work out how to put those lovely little smiley face things onto my replies it'll really make my day!


  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Sam Bay's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by oscar:
    Thanks for all the replies -
    CABH - I'm thankful that I'm not the only female out there trying to break into a male dominated cyberworld - ever notice that all the 'geeks' portrayed in the movies are all male? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Hey oscar,

    Once you meet more of other affiliates, you'll see that as far as affiliate marketing concerned in the cyberworld, women make up at least half, if not the majority, of the successful affiliates.

    I'm making an educated guess that you'll be a successful affiliate within a year.

    Also, forget the geek types on TV etc. While I couldn't call myself a geek, I look more like Ben Affleck than, say, Conan O'Brien.

  24. #24
    Animal Lover
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    So much for stereotypes. I'm still stoked that I managed to put one of those smiley things on screen! Look out cyberworld - I'm back!


    Woohoo!
    Oscar

  25. #25
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    Oscar, you have built the site already, why dump it?

    If you get traffic and not sales, try to figure out the possibilities, then change a small portion of it and see if it yields better results. My experience told me that I had to try many different things in order to put together a formula that works.

    There are merchants who convert like a charm, but others are just click suckers. On this note, the best thing (for me) to do is to diversify product lines and merchants as much as possible. The more you try, the clearer to you what works best for you.

    I'm neutral about if a site is content or just sales as long as it generate revenues. You may just add some sales pages to your content site and promote those sales pages.

    Whether or not a 50% click thru ratio is good depends on who and why they come to your site. If your visitors are coming for information, I guess 50% ain't bad. Otherwise I would like to see a much higher click thru rate, by that I meant at least 99%.

    Be careful if you're paying to promote a site, especially a content site. You don't want to pay for people to go there for information.

    Watch your ROI. When I first started, I would be happy if I could break even. Then I wanted to make more and spend less. Now I don’t even use PPCs because I found it hard to control, but I know some folks here who use PPC with great results. Take a look of a the search engine insight forum here http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=frm&...79&f=565603689.

    Test a little bit of everything and focus on those that work for you. I'm sure you will the great potentials in affiliate marketing.

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