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  1. #1
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    I'd like some answers from you out there really doing this.

    How long do you spend each day working on your site, and how long did it take for it to start making money?

    I hear alot of impressive numbers thrown around on here, are they true? I work full time and in between work and family I try to do this, seems all I can really find time to do though it buy more domain names [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] .

    So all you experienced ones out there, help us newer ones out and tell us what we really need to expect.

  2. #2
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    I've been profitable since my first month of operation. And profits have grown waaaay faster than I ever expected.

    However, I am NOT one of those people who will tell you you can do it in a couple of hours a day. I spend a minimum of 14 hours per day, pretty much every day.

    I do approximately 1-2 hours per day of maintenance. Everything else is building new stuff.

    I am at a livable salary now and could cut back substantially and not be concerned. But I'd like to put in a lot more hard hours now and cut back when I've hit a much higher rate. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    OTOH, on days I feel like taking off for the park, I do that, too. Without a bit of guilt. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  3. #3
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    I agree with Cedric.

    The more time you spend the more money you make.

    Make yourself small goals, say Ok aim for that $25 minimum at Cj to get the first check. Give yourself a time slot 2months....It takes a good month -2 to get ranked in search engines. Then aim for 10%-100% upwards per month, and make a new goal every month.

    One site for me took for ever to get off the ground....and once it did..Wow..... Some times things just finally come together for you, and other times you got to struggle and earn it.

    For the Newbie. And especially one without the time to be able to spend... Think small site....think very nitch. Build it one month, then spend the time you can devote on promoting it. Find something fairly low maintance.

    The one's with big incomes do this full time. So you won't be able to compare notes with them, or myself since I'm full time too.
    People in here like Jada started out part time and she recently quit her job, and bought a new house. It can be done.

    Advice: Take a few baby steps, and keep goals in mind, try not to keep an upwards slope of earnings, and not a stand still or downward slope. Don't think your a failure if your not making big bucks off the bat. There's a few lucky souls who seem to find the nack right off the bat, and others learn by mistakes.

    Just do what you love, and the love will pay you eventually.

  4. #4
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    Oh, and another thing. Stop buying domain names. Make a list of five revenue generating tasks to perform (generally this will be building pages/sites). When you have five tasks on the list, stop everything else and complete those tasks. DON'T DO ANYTHING ELSE. Don't add more tasks to the list, don't buy more domain names, don't do ANYTHING except complete those tasks.

    When you finish those, write five more down. Do this five times before you buy your next domain.

    Your time is severely limited -- use it to do things that will MAKE you money rather than COST you money.

  5. #5
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    Good advice!

    In reality all you need is one good generic domain name. Places like google don't know the difference what so ever and DMOZ allows submisions from various parts of the same site. There is always a good domain name out there and at times it's worth it to buy but not necessary.

  6. #6
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    I agree that spending too much time/money on domain names can become unproductive. On the other hand, I don't agree that all you need is one domain. I used to think that but not anymore -- not after having my main domain knocked out of Google's index a couple of times, for reasons unknown. (That reeeeeally sucks, believe me!)

    I now believe it's wise to spread some content on different domains and on different servers, just to provide some stability in case of glitches.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador webmarm's Avatar
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    It really is horrible, Elisabeth. It's really scary, since if it could happen to your site.... gulp.

    One point is that anyoldname.com is as good for MOST (not all) goals as is thiskeyword-andthatkeyword-withathirdkeyword.com .

    My business partner is addicted to buying domain names. He had over 100 before I hit the cj boards and got us making more than $20 per month! It's become a joke, this addiction to domain names he had. He's sold a few, even one of my favorites: procrastinatenow.com! I usually just grab a domain name that relates at all to the site I'm working on. Some are more, some are less, but none are the keyword for the products. Well, none up until recently when he bought some more domain names :eek: .


    @slbuff, ditto everything said above. I'll just add Haiko's words: this business is about hand picking the niche, hand picking the merchant, and hand picking the traffic. With that in mind, find yourself a niche, read up here on how to choose a decent merchant (not which merchant, but how to decide for yourself which merchant), and how to get TARGETTED traffic. Start small. That first sale will be great incentive.

    I work 2-10 hours/day depending on my life. Today is shopping day and I need to go out and do shopping (nope, no online ordering where I live :eek: ). But I'm not making $7k/week [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] . And remember, if you are doing this to help your family have a better standard of living, they do need to see you once in a while, too

    [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] .


    edited to add how the /day

    [ 05-13-2002: Message edited by: webmistress ]

    [ 05-13-2002: Message edited by: webmistress ]

  8. #8
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>anyoldname.com is as good<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Yes, consider what Yahoo and Google have accomplished. There are many theories about what makes a "good" domain name, but in the end what matters most is what you DO with it!

  9. #9
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    Here's just my opinion... (others may disagree, but their path is not my path.)

    Pick a product you want to sell. Something you know about. And can write about.

    Search CJ (and others) for all the merchants that sell that product. Go to each merchants page and try to buy something. Be a picky, 65 year old grouch with a chip on your shoulder and see if you can complete the process. If you can't, skip them, go to the next merchant. Eventually you'll find one that you can complete a sale. If you find more than one, praise God, cause that's rare.

    Now hopefully the one will have a decent pay rate. If you found more than one, pick the one with the best rate. (I'm sure you knew that.) At this point, I really will try to avoid those paying less than 10%. But don't feel too bad if it's only 5%, you can always try to negotiate more later. The most important thing is to find a site that works and you can really order off of. 10% is min. in my opinion and I will not even waste my time with less, UNLESS I use them with that in mind and search for a better one later.

    Okay, create your site. My current thinking is make it a "fan site" or "reviewers site." I'll leave that up to you. If you can link directly to the product, that's best. BE SURE you've got some decent content. I recommend pulling some news headlines in that are relevant to the product if you can. Tidy up the site, check links, spelling, etc. Toss in a forum for your subject matter. Get people talking on your site. Which will lead to people talking about your site.

    Submit to search engines. Decide if you want to use Pay Per Click sites like overture, 7search, etc. I don't recommend them until you have a known good merchant, but it's your call. Otherwise get into google, av, hotbot, et al.

    You'll need about 4000 fairly targeted visitors per month. I've done okay with as low as 2000, but 4000 is much better to demonstrate what I'm about to tell you. Use off-line traffic builder stuff if you have to. This is a whole art and science unto itself, and abestweb has at least 1 forum just for this subject alone. But you'll need about 4000 people a month to learn anything.

    Okay say you got 4000 decent visitors. Don't have to be perfectly targeted, but should have some relationship to the product you are going to run.

    After the first week at this pace, you should have a sale. Wait a few days. No sales? check your links, pages, etc. Maybe even place a test order. Make sure you get the sale noted at CJ (or where-ever). If not, inform the merchant, and start looking for merchants again.


    The key to making money is:

    1. a product people want to buy.
    2. a product you know at least something about. (although, once you get the hang of it, you can get around this...... just not the first few times. )
    3. a reliable source (the merchant) where people can get this product
    4. a source that has a website that works (making the sale and tracking the sale) and looks nice, and that you'd shop at. Direct link to the product if you can.
    5. monitoring... if you don't get any sales out of 1000 decent visitors, something is probably wrong. Okay, statistics... maybe wait 2 weeks, but after that, you really need to see where the cart is broken. First is to check your links and then the merchant. Make sure the cookie is set and make a test purchase if you have to.

    If no sales? Find another program for that product or a different product. Start over with a new merchant or a new product.

    So, how much do you make? Most sites I have 2000-4000 visitors per month do about $100-300/month. So if you have 5 sites like this, you can make about $500-1000/month.

    How long will it take? It's taken me a year to get to this point. I've gone through about 150 merchants (at least) and have about 6-12 merchants that produce, but even those I have to watch like a hawk.

    What if it doesn't work? Okay, here's something I learned last year. I had a lot of traffic on a particular subject. But never any sales. I tried at least a dozen merchants. I think I had 1 sale. So I went to vstore. I opened a vstore appropriate to the subject matter and dumped my traffic there. I made 4 sales the first month and another 6 the next. This is the same traffic. Now vstore is good, but they pay very low rates. (I think I make about $15 at vstore.) But I only did this as a test. To see if my traffic was good. It was. So I went back again to find a merchant.... looked and looked and tried and tried and then bingo! Was the LAST merchant I thought would ever work. Now they are going pretty well. (about $250/month.) But it took a lot of work to verify my traffic and find the merchant match.

    How much time? 5-10 hours per day, at least 5 days a week.

    You are looking for a needle in a haystack. Most merchants DON'T WORK for me. Just that simple. For whatever reason. Bad site, bad follow up, bad shopping cart, cheaters, bad tracking, etc. But the biggest "revelation" to me was that: just because they have an affiliate program doesn't mean the make any sales. I just assumed if they were listed at CJ, they must be good. Wrong! You are a prospector, and you are hunting for gold nuggets in a big stream.

    Best of luck! Hope this helps.

  10. #10
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    Due to some health issues I'm pretty much in-active at this stuff at the present, but I used to make a pretty good living at it.

    There has been some pretty good advise given out here, ABW people are just great! Do some searching and find some of Leader's comments, she wrote a classic a while back, but can't remember where I saw it.

    I just wanted to add one thing that sometimes gets overlooked. "Real World Marketing" and by that I mean... business cards, pass them out to everyone. Classifieds, place 3 lines ads in all the major newspapers you can afford to. Posters and flyers in all your local stores and community centers. Get on your local radio and tv talk shows and talk about e-commerce and your site and product (s)...

    and don't forget e-Bay. A lot of people start with e-Bay selling their own products before they ever build a site. I don't have to remind some here that some "Power Sellers" make a good living at e-Bay and don't even know the meaning of affiliate marketing... you could combine the two and mop up [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  11. #11
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    Buff,
    The folks here in the forums have given you great advise.I do this as a hobby but it would be nice to see some money from it. I spend several hours a day with my 5 sites.
    I am very skeptical of CJ and some of the other 3rd party sites. I have had friends click thru and buy items and they have never showed up in the stats or recieved commisions on the sale. I have had commisions show up and totally disapear with no reason given.The only answer I have gotten back from them is "you have to check with the vendor"By the way I made sure the link was working properly.As far as google you will have to be patient to get in some claim to be accepted in a week, NOT, its been a year and I am still trying to get listed...Have a great time with your sites and keep reading the forums... :cool:

  12. #12
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    Sounds like good advice from everyone. I by no means expect this to be a get rich quick thing, I do however expect to turn a profit. I just wanted a realistic idea of what to expect. My time is extremely limited (did I mention I have a part time job also!). I just would like to see enough come out of this to pay the mortgage [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] .

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Here's just my opinion... (others may disagree, but their path is not my path.)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That's what I ask for, thanks for sharing!

  13. #13
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    As well as the 'how to do it' stuff. Theres also 'how to think about it'. If you get that right all else follows.

    First of all forget the traffic. Its not about 'traffic' its about 'credit cards'.

    Think of these not so much as impersonal pieces of plastic, but as little golden fishies.

    These fishies have minds of their own. A fact very few people realise.

    They like to swim about in an information stream, and all the scientific evidence suggests that this is mostly while their unsuspecting 'owners' are at work. At these times they are very busy fishies indeed! (Some think that in reality 'people' exist only to service these little plastic creatures, but that might be just a rumour).

    What makes each happy is different from fish to fish, and this is why our job is so challenging. We have to help each one find its own personal Happy Hunting Ground with as much efficiency and as little ceremony as possible.

    They generally have a fair idea of what item they expect to find there, and if you can match the right fishie with the right destination it will be so happy that it will do a little dance - during which some of its golden scales will shed right into your outstretched paws!

    But to achieve that takes a certain amount of experience with crafting nets - because each fishie expresses its deepest desires with widely varying degrees of precision.

    You have to craft the net with words and fling it out over the information stream (in the form of a 'page') in such as way as to catch as many fishies as possible, or at the very least to catch all the fishies looking for precisely those fishie needs you can adequately fulfill.

    Some people make their nets with a very coarse weave (broad and highly competitive keywords). By linking their nets with other similar nets the reach can be extended substantially (via 'page rank') - but lots of the smaller fishies will be lost.

    Some, like myself, collect the neglected fishies using finer grained nets. This is mostly personal preference, but theres a certain amount of satisfaction landing the One That Got Away from everyone else.


    I

    [ 05-13-2002: Message edited by: Icicle ]

  14. #14
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    Much of the advice here is very sound. I would stress:

    1. Targetting is the key. Do pages targetted to a specific product. Always include an image of the product and a description of its features and benefits using key words.

    2. Target affluent people. You'll make more money if your buyers have money. Appeal to homeowners, upwardly mobile baby boomers, older women, people in business for themselves. These sorts of groups have both little time and a need to shop online, or they have money to spend. Look for concentrations of wealth.

    I take exception to the proposition that 2,000 to 4,000 visitors a day will produce only $250 to $300 per month. If well targetted, this should yeild over $1,000 per month in my experience.

  15. #15
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Thanks for the good comments, Tribune. I don't remember what post/when/what forum I wrote it in, though.

    Slbuff--

    How much time?

    That's hard to say. I tend to w*rk in spurts. In other words, I'll do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING with my sites for days on end, and then spend a day or two from wake to sleep typing out pages and uploading them.

    I am satisfied if I can get 4 new merchants promoted properly per month. If the merchant has a lot of products, that can be substantial effort. But if it's a One-Product Wonder, it's hardly any effort at all.

    Personally I'd guess it out at an average of 2 hours a day but even my own mother has said I spend more time at it. But she doesn't realize just how much time is spent typing at this board (ABW) which I don't count as w*rk.

    Once you get a formula that works, it's really not hard or all that time-consuming. Just punch out the ads like a machine... kinda dull to do it that way but it's efficient.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I take exception to the proposition that 2,000 to 4,000 visitors a day will produce only $250 to $300 per month. If well targetted, this should yeild over $1,000 per month in my experience.~Go60Guy<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Actually I made over $1,000/month some months ago with only 12,000 views/month (with WalMart-y stuff)! The trick is to do your best to avoid traffic that isn't ready to buy right then, and get ULTRA-targeted traffic. That way the Conversion Ratio is tremendous...

    My sites have grown a lot since then. I have a lot more sites, traffic, and most importantly, more SALES now!

    As for targeting the wealthy, I personally do better with the Wal-Mart crowd, although I finally did put on a high-end site along with my others. Once it gets some decent rank in Google I'll see how it goes...

    I will say to not go too cheap. I have one cheapy item that sells like gangbusters but even with all those transactions it's not one of the biggest contributers to the bottom line.

    Try to get 10% commish whenever possible. But there are a couple of under 10 percenters that are good...I wouldn't have found them if there was a 10%-or-up merchant in their category, though!

    As for what to expect, I find SPIKINESS to be the overarching rule of business. From what I read, that's true for about every business, too... that fact is usually masked at the employee-level but everything actually has its cycles. As for THIS business, it tends to follow the general trends of Retailing (selling consumer goods to individuals) since that's what sector most merchants usually are in. If you do B2B, pay attention to what's happening in the industry in question.

    My earnings jump around quite a bit. Some of this is general consumer behavior and some is SE ranking and advertising related. I hate to close on a bit of a sour note, but remember that every stellar spike ends sometime. Base financial decisions on the LOWEST you can reasonably expect to make, not on the highs!

    As for goal-setting, it depends on your personal style. I have short, mid, and long term goals...and think of the longer-term goals quite a bit, so I keep the significance of bothering with the short-term stuff in mind.

    I will close for now. Good luck.

  16. #16
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    I agree dete. CJ has the backing of a some people in this forum but is very shaky with their tracking and the worst as far as keeping dishonest merchants in check.

  17. #17
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    Wow!! I'm really inspired now! I appreciate the thought and time that went into those replys. Two hours a day, right? That don't sound so bad, let's see, if I cut back sleeping to 3 hrs a night I should have it covered! Seriously, thanks for the realistic answers.

    You know, I really can't get past the color scheme part. Isn't that silly? Wouldn't think that would've been the hard part but I spend more time reworking that than anything. Maybe I'll just open the crayon box, close my eyes and pick a few. Hmmm, what shade do fishy's like? LOL

  18. #18
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    You can always try a few different color schemes on different sites. Once you find out which one converts the best, use that one. Use the same merchant with the different color schemes, or you won't know if it's the merchant that's making the difference, or the color! Also keep the pitch fairly the same or you won't know if the differences are coming from that... In other words, a scientific-type approach works. But it takes time, too.

    As for the 2 hours a day, that will get you steady growth. I can't really predict how FAST your earnings will grow because a lot depends on which merchants you choose and your conversion ratio. I've had months where it rose a just little and months where it ROCKETED up after finding a gem.

    But with 2 hours a day, your earnings should eventually become VERY substantial (mine did), unless you have the curse of picking an overabundance of dud merchants.

    I've been doing this about 2 1/2 years and have been promoting CJ merchants about 1 yr. 8 mo...

    The first months were the hardest because that's the time when it was All New. But now that I figured out what works and what doesn't (for me), it's pretty formulaic and if I make X pages I can usually count on a rise in income. What works best for me may not work best for you...but eventually you should find a lucrative groove you can just keep hammering on until you're rich enough.

    Caveat: Occasionally something will come up (like a merchant closing their program) that will force quick action. But that is pretty rare, once you get some skill at spotting the shaky merchants. Even so, no merchant seems to last forever--so don't get too dependant on any particular one!

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador webmarm's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>unless you have the curse of picking an overabundance of dud merchants. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Ah such memories! When I first started out fishing (as oppposed to making a content site) I picked all the wrong merchants! Still hit a dud now and then but usually can tell the difference between the merchant and my color scheme now (did I ever mention I am extremely graphically challenged?).

    Good luck slbuff, and enjoy.

  20. #20
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>You know, I really can't get past the color scheme part<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Pick two colors, White (for the background) and a dark color (Black is good) for the text. Now you are done.

  21. #21
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    black and white? and call it "website", lol, like a generic.
    I know the colors are important and I'll come up with something. I just wasn't expecting the things like colors/fonts, etc. to be my hangup. I tend to charge into things not realizing the foundation needed. Going to do some reading on it though, I'm sure there are certain colors that make people want to linger and spend. But seriously, I've noticed alot of name brand sites in black and white with photos thrown in, so there must really be something to that. I just know, I'm not into that yucky yellow that alot of sites use. I like my home in more serene colors but I like the brighter colors on websites. Will just keep surfing and reading until I hit something!

  22. #22
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    Colors can have an effect...direct mail uses white or beige paper with black type and bold headlines in blue or red.

    What is more important is the copy. Good copy will outsell anything else.

    The first and foremnost thing to do is make enough to cover your hosting costs. Nowadays this isn't hard as you can get good hosting for as low as $7 per month.

    I would join Amazon and Ebay as an affiliate because those two have the best BRAND recognition and you will make some sales if you can get enough people to view your site.

    One key to sucess is to try to get at leastone sale per day - then build from there.

  23. #23
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    Color Matters ...... Who's your audience. Get in the mood. I know from experience Sales went up by 30%.

    I was stuck on the idea of trying to pursuade moth males and females. And when I tried to just do females.Changed to all fem colors Bingo was called.

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