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  1. #1
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    February 23rd, 2006
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    A division amongst affiliate marketers?
    I've been reading through a lot of old posts trying to learn as much a possible and it appears to me that there seems to be two different camps here:

    a) Content rich sites that rely on free SE traffic via search.

    b) Minimal content sites that rely on PPC traffic (or even PPC direct to merchant).

    Granted, there are many shades in-between and people may dabble in both, but there does seem to be this line where those on one side seem to think the other side is wrong.

    Is this a fair observation?

  2. #2
    Plazan Merchant Neil's Avatar
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    Is this a fair observation?
    As a merchant, i can tell you that we work with both.
    its a case of, what works for you !!
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  3. #3
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Sundancekid, first of all, welcome to ABW! [I don't think we've "met" around here before]

    Now, when you say "two different camps", I hope you're not implying that they would work on the "either... , or..." basis. Most often the best performing ones follow the "both... , and..." principle, as opposed to going with one of the "camps". Just an AM's observation, for what it's worth.

    Geno

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
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    I'm with Geno on this..."the best follow BOTH"

    Multiple sites bring in big bucks.

  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I think the main argument is between "content" and "sales" sites, which is slightly different than the two that you list.

    1) Content sites build useful stuff for visitors and intermingle targeted affiliate links to monetize the traffic. They have the advantage of being able to get traffic far easier, but it's not as easy to monetize.

    2) Sales sites are focused around specific products or categories, and exist solely to sell those products. They rely primarily on SEO (and sometimes PPC) to get traffic. Their produce considerably better conversions but it's far harder to get the traffic.

    Although both can work, I fall more into the first camp. It's possible to come up with ideas that have the advantages of both.

    Traffic is probably the most essential element of any site, and there are only three basic sources for traffic:

    1) SEO. This is the most fickle source of traffic. Google giveth and Google taketh away. You can find scores of examples of people here who relied on this as their only source of traffic and got burned by it. Many go from thousands of dollars per month to almost nothing overnight. That's nothing to base a business on. I definitely recommend that people do what they can to make sure SEO is a portion of their traffic, but not to rely solely on it.

    2) PPC. This can be extremely lucrative and can build the fastest. It takes a lot of work, high paying offers, and high converting merchants. Competition continues to build, though, and over time that competition will drive down the ROI. This is a fine method of generating traffic and I recommend it for anyone who earns a high enough effective CPC or profit per site visitor to justify it (and many content sites won't), but I wouldn't want a business that relies solely on this method.

    3) Word of Mouth. This is what gives content sites their advantage. If you build something truly unique and/or helpful, you'll get viral growth as people tell their friends, post about it on blogs and forums, link to it on the sites, write newspaper and magazine articles about it, and come back regularly. These types of sites weather the storms of Search Engine changes and don't need to rely on PPC. This is what you should focus on, if you want a truly successful site for the long term.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
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  6. #6
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    January 27th, 2005
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    I do both. The sites that are making me substantially more moolah are the "sales" sites. This for me is a happy fact, as I can get one of those up and running in a day.

  7. #7
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    February 23rd, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I think the main argument is between "content" and "sales" sites, which is slightly different than the two that you list.

    1) Content sites build useful stuff for visitors and intermingle targeted affiliate links to monetize the traffic. They have the advantage of being able to get traffic far easier, but it's not as easy to monetize.

    2) Sales sites are focused around specific products or categories, and exist solely to sell those products. They rely primarily on SEO (and sometimes PPC) to get traffic. Their produce considerably better conversions but it's far harder to get the traffic.

    Although both can work, I fall more into the first camp. It's possible to come up with ideas that have the advantages of both.

    Traffic is probably the most essential element of any site, and there are only three basic sources for traffic:

    1) SEO. This is the most fickle source of traffic. Google giveth and Google taketh away. You can find scores of examples of people here who relied on this as their only source of traffic and got burned by it. Many go from thousands of dollars per month to almost nothing overnight. That's nothing to base a business on. I definitely recommend that people do what they can to make sure SEO is a portion of their traffic, but not to rely solely on it.

    2) PPC. This can be extremely lucrative and can build the fastest. It takes a lot of work, high paying offers, and high converting merchants. Competition continues to build, though, and over time that competition will drive down the ROI. This is a fine method of generating traffic and I recommend it for anyone who earns a high enough effective CPC or profit per site visitor to justify it (and many content sites won't), but I wouldn't want a business that relies solely on this method.

    3) Word of Mouth. This is what gives content sites their advantage. If you build something truly unique and/or helpful, you'll get viral growth as people tell their friends, post about it on blogs and forums, link to it on the sites, write newspaper and magazine articles about it, and come back regularly. These types of sites weather the storms of Search Engine changes and don't need to rely on PPC. This is what you should focus on, if you want a truly successful site for the long term.

    Thanks for that description - It really helped me frame the issue in my mind.

    It seems that to achieve #3 it would really help if it was a labor of love - something you were truly passionate about. I've have an idea for a site like this, but I think it would take more resources than I have at the current time.

    So, I guess I'd like to do #2 with "sales" sites. The goal would be to use the revenue (and experience gained) to work on my labor of love site.

    Now I'd like to know if a budget of about $2K would be enough to get a good start with PPC and sales sites. Considering:

    1) I have a dedicated server for an unrelated project - so I don't have to worry about the cost of hosting.

    2)I've got fairly good programing skills.

    3)I've got plenty of time to work on this.

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I agree with Michael Coley's description of content and sales sites.
    I'm 100% in the second camp: Sales Sites rule.

    Now I'd like to know if a budget of about $2K would be enough to get a good start with PPC and sales sites.
    It's hard to say--it'd be plenty enough for some people, but not others. Some people could make a bundle with a $2k investment, while others...just end up minus $2k.

    Provided you've got good product(s) and merchant(s) to promote, your PPC success still depends on your bidding skills, and your ability to write sales spin that actually converts. It can take some time to develop these skills.

    I would *strongly* suggest starting out slowly (PPC budget-wise), until you figure out the nuances of PPC bidding and writing/designing sales pages so they convert well. Too many times, I've read about people who invest $1k only to find that their theory (whatever it was) was incorrect.

    Much better to practice with $50, and be sure you're on the right track, before opening up full throttle on a PPC campaign. You can always bid on more terms/increase your budget/bid up, later.

    As for my own PPC, I watch carefully when I put in a new campaign. After it's ran a while, I decide whether to step on the gas or the brake, depending on the performance. I promote lots of categories, and have found that some categories do great while others just eat clicks.

    It seems that to achieve #3 it would really help if it was a labor of love
    The problem with a "labor of love" site, is that "love" (as opposed to any serious money!) is usually all that comes of those kinds of sites.

    Personally, if I'm not going to get paid (more than a stipend), I can think of things that are a lot more loveable than making yet another site. That's what video games are for...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  9. #9
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    February 23rd, 2006
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    Leader,

    Thanks for the tips. I came across a few of your other suggestions regarding PPC when looking through old posts.

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