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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    How do you organize your sites?
    I'm curious, for those of you who promote multiple merchants, do you do so by registering a new domain for each one? Or do you have one or two main sites, where each merchant has it's own sub-domain or directory under that site? Does either way have any positive or negative effects in your opinion?

    I had most of my merchants under one main site, with subdirectories or subdomains for each one. This (and I could be wrong) was making it a tad harder to promote each one in PPCSE's.

    I since split a couple away from the main group, and into domains of their own. So far things have improved, but there's not enough data to make that decision yet.

    So, I'm curious as to what the going trend is for most affiliates...

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    I would never register a domain just for a merchant, unless the domain could be used for another in the future. I just have a few sites so it's not hard to organize.

    "This (and I could be wrong) was making it a tad harder to promote each one in PPCSE's."

    How so?

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    I would never register a domain just for a merchant, unless the domain could be used for another in the future. I just have a few sites so it's not hard to organize.

    "This (and I could be wrong) was making it a tad harder to promote each one in PPCSE's."

    How so?

    I noticed (in my limited experience) that users are more likely to click an ad (talking mainly about Adwords here) when that display URL is relative to what the visitor is searching for. For instance: a user searching for "widgets" would more likely click an ad with a display URL of "www.DiscountWidgets.com".

    In my case, I only had one URL, which didn't really give any indication to what the user was searching for. User searches for "widgets", and they see: "www.DiscountsDealsGaloreURL.com". Even by adding a sub-directory to that display URL didn't affect it much.

    I think searchers are becoming a bit more savvy when it comes to what ads they click on; thanks in large part to companies like "nextTag" and the like, who has ads displayed for everything.

    Does this make sense?
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  4. #4
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    True, I just have it like: mysite.com/keywords and it works fine for me. keywords.com very well could work better. Lot of extra domains you would be buying.

  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    There's no one way to do this. Some people only have a single site. Some have thousands of sites. Some promote just one merchant on a site. Some promote multiple. I think it's best to promote multiple merchants on a site, so you're not up the creek if anything happens to one merchant, but if you have an idea that works with just one merchant it's not necessarily a bad idea. Just beware that the merchant could steal your idea, shut down their program, go out of business, or whatever. There's more risk.
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  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    Lot of extra domains you would be buying.
    Yeah, that is the biggest drawback for me. Going this route wouldn't necessarily be the best organization method...

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I think it's best to promote multiple merchants on a site, so you're not up the creek if anything happens to one merchant
    Yeah, my smart side is telling me to do that. I think I may go halfway, and put multiple same-niched sites together on each domain, instead of creating the ultimate deal directory, which was what I was shooting for originally, but still am not sure that would've been worth the effort. Some people can put a site like that together and make it profitable, but for whatever reason, I am just not convinced I can do that...


    Ok, again, thanks for the help and advice fellas!
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  7. #7
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    Yeah, depends on what type of affiliate model you have going. I have a big shopping site so I just make pages whenever for PPC and bring them to my site first so I have a chance for that targetted PPC sale and also a bookmark for the site or a newsletter sign up. They could come to the page and say "Alright just what I was looking for" and then take a look around and say "Cool, this site also has a bunch of coupons and deals, I should bookmark it." Or "Hey, I like getting email, I'll sign up for what is sure to be the best newsletter in the world"

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    When you say "affiliate model", are you speaking mainly of those who promote through natural search engine results and those that go mainly via PPC (or other direct methods)?
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  9. #9
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    I mean if you have a big shopping site or niche site or a bunch of sites or a little bit of everything and also how you get traffic. My main site is a big shopping site which I like because I can do anything with it. Can add a new category anytime, can make product pages, make pages just for PPC, can have deal sections etc.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Does that do well for you? I've talked to one or two other people with something similar, and they say it does pretty good.

    I'm thinking maybe I can make a hybrid of sorts, smaller niche sites with seperate domains (so I can maximize PPC marketing), but have all of these congregated all together into one site (mainly for the search engines - and repeat customers).

    Heck I don't know. Got my hands up right now. Guess I need to do a bit more thorough thinking about this.
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  11. #11
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyBusiness
    Yeah, my smart side is telling me to do that. I think I may go halfway, and put multiple same-niched sites together on each domain, instead of creating the ultimate deal directory, which was what I was shooting for originally.
    Don't underestimate the power of becoming an expert in a niche. There are thousands of deal sites out there. Almost all of them are general deal sites, and only a few are what I would consider highly successful. There are far fewer niche deal sites, but many of them are highly successful. I know of several who make far more than I do, and they focus on just a single niche. When you become an expert in a niche, you get a lot of loyal supporters within that niche.

    Think about retail. Could you ever build a store to compete with Wal-Mart? I think very few could ever succeed at that. But you can pick a niche and build a store around that. Hobbyists looking for an RC helicopter would find what they're looking for at an RC Toy store, not Wal-Mart. People looking for a pool table would go to a store that specializes in that. Hundreds of thousands of people have built successful retail niche shops. Only a few have built stores that can compete with Wal-Mart.
    Michael Coley
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  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Think about retail. Could you ever build a store to compete with Wal-Mart? I think very few could ever succeed at that. But you can pick a niche and build a store around that. Hobbyists looking for an RC helicopter would find what they're looking for at an RC Toy store, not Wal-Mart.
    Oh, good way to put it! I didn't make that connection at all. I've got a couple of good sites in that manner, and when I think about it, they do fairly well.

    Maybe I'm being too greedy by trying to have the best of both worlds with my entire undertaking. Well, I've already started the process of changing things over to tighter categories of products/merchants.

    I wish I'd make up my mind soon; I've spent a good part of this month tearing things down and doing them differently. You can only take so much of that before you're completely and utterly bored with making those changes..
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  13. #13
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    I've been doing a bit of both. I have a couple of "big themed" sites where I like to go in and tack on a new folder when something strikes me, but lately I've been building smaller niche sites that feature three or four merchants only. I'm starting to dabble in PPC and I was thinking the same thing as MoneyBusiness, that the targeted urls looked much better on an ad.

    I like the idea of the niche deal site!

  14. #14
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyBusiness
    I'm curious, for those of you who promote multiple merchants, do you do so by registering a new domain for each one? Or do you have one or two main sites, where each merchant has it's own sub-domain or directory under that site? Does either way have any positive or negative effects in your opinion?
    I like to mix and match merchants and their merchandise (sometimes it's easier to display a lot of products from one merchant, but my goal isn't to duplicate any one merchant's catalog).

    My goal is to sell merchandise. I don't participate in any pay-per-click type of deal.

    My domain names are fairly broad, so I can promote just about anything

    Some merchants don't want their names used in a web page title or in an url, so I promote categories of merchandise. There are a couple of ways of doing this.

    The theme of your page could be something that would tie into the category of merchandise. The selected merchandise could seamlessly be woven into the page and it would either illustrate or compliment the major idea of the page(s). You could devote a page or two to purple widgets and display related widgets.

    You could have brands/merchants named in the navigation of your page, but I wouldn't name a web page after a merchant especially if I were marketing with Adwords or using Adsense unless the merchant granted explicit permission in the TOS.

    Often a merchant is well known for something. If you'd like to dedicate the page to the merchant, create a page devoted to the generic product the merchant is famous for and you won't get in trouble.

    I like themes that could include a main category of merchandise and a secondary one.

    Blogs can be a great way of promotion especially if you tie in the blog entry with the pages that promote what you are promoting.
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  15. #15
    Full Member ske9963's Avatar
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    it all depends on your budget and the the amout of resources you want to spend in getting a site up.

    I am grouping merchants under similiar domains.
    it hits a closer target market and helps in searches...
    (see link below)

    i have seen some group everything under 1 umbrella site and it is working. the person even mentioned he made 6 figures, so it might work...

    there is no right answer...

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  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I think it's best to focus on a single site rather than many as it's too easy to spread yourself thin in this business. When you've got too many sites you'll constantly be changing your focus and you may lose track of what's really important. I have 6 sites and each one has been a true asset, but at the moment I focus all my efforts on one. It accounts for about 95% of my income and that's 100% due to the focus I've given it.

    As far as my technical layout, I store all of my datafeeds in a single mySQL table. I don't think adding a new folder, subdomain or database for each merchant is a good idea. It's definitely best to consolidate all of the information in the same place so it can be searched easily. There are tools available that will do this like Price Tapestry or Kaon Softwares Price Comparison. If you're going to be working with datafeeds these are almost essential. Otherwise you might be stuck manually FTP-ing thousands of templated datafeed pages for as long as you're an affiliate.

    At the moment I'm thinking about how to branch my processing and importing out to another server. I have my crontabs running all my price and datafeed updates at night, but these updates are starting to eat into the day. I need another server that will update prices 24/7 without hindering the speed of my site. I think it'll be best to maintain two copies of my database while sending the changes over to my live server every few hours from the processing server. Has anybody done this yet? It'll be a first for me, but I expect it will provide a huge performance boost and allow me to add even more merchants and services.

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  17. #17
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    when you stop to think about the stats on the backside of everything you build, even a subdomain can be problematic. Unless your somehow able to use a program to consolidate all of your traffic stats, you'll be signing into your different domains(in my case even subdomains are a seperate log), just to get basic information that should be at your fingertips.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbshouse
    when you stop to think about the stats on the backside of everything you build, even a subdomain can be problematic. Unless your somehow able to use a program to consolidate all of your traffic stats, you'll be signing into your different domains(in my case even subdomains are a seperate log), just to get basic information that should be at your fingertips.
    You don't have to separate each subodmain into a separate account. It's better if you don't use an interface like Cpanel or Plesk for this. You need to manually add the subdomains to your httpd.conf file and ensure they're all listed within your primary domain's VirtualHost. Then you can use mod_rewrite to handle the redirection.

    - Scott
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  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbshouse
    when you stop to think about the stats on the backside of everything you build, even a subdomain can be problematic. Unless your somehow able to use a program to consolidate all of your traffic stats, you'll be signing into your different domains(in my case even subdomains are a seperate log), just to get basic information that should be at your fingertips.
    Yeah, I think that's why I fell in love with StatCounter.com. One account keeps track of pretty much any site that you want it to. I log in, and get the detailed info I need for the multiple sites I work with.

    I definitely wouldn't want it any other way, such as having an account for each one. That would be nuts.
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  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    I think it's best to focus on a single site rather than many as it's too easy to spread yourself thin in this business. When you've got too many sites you'll constantly be changing your focus and you may lose track of what's really important. I have 6 sites and each one has been a true asset, but at the moment I focus all my efforts on one. It accounts for about 95% of my income and that's 100% due to the focus I've given it.

    As far as my technical layout, I store all of my datafeeds in a single mySQL table. I don't think adding a new folder, subdomain or database for each merchant is a good idea. It's definitely best to consolidate all of the information in the same place so it can be searched easily. There are tools available that will do this like Price Tapestry or Kaon Softwares Price Comparison. If you're going to be working with datafeeds these are almost essential. Otherwise you might be stuck manually FTP-ing thousands of templated datafeed pages for as long as you're an affiliate.

    At the moment I'm thinking about how to branch my processing and importing out to another server. I have my crontabs running all my price and datafeed updates at night, but these updates are starting to eat into the day. I need another server that will update prices 24/7 without hindering the speed of my site. I think it'll be best to maintain two copies of my database while sending the changes over to my live server every few hours from the processing server. Has anybody done this yet? It'll be a first for me, but I expect it will provide a huge performance boost and allow me to add even more merchants and services.

    - Scott
    Thanks Scott. Yeah, most of what I've worked with up to this point have been hand coded sites, without much use of the datafeeds. That's something that is coming next, as soon as I pick the right pieces of software: Probably PriceTapestry for the comparison sites, and WebMerge for something to spit out the static pages I need.

    Sounds like you're the datafeed guy around these parts.. May have to bug you more in the future..
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