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  1. #1
    Full Member garystarling's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Longish post..

    Our website has been up and running for nearly three years. Its a c*ntent site and until very recently was free depending on banner ads and complementary affiliate schemes. Banner ads are now a total waste of time unless you want to visit pop up, behind and below city, which makes your site almost unusable.

    So we have gone over to a subscription model for our value added c*ntent, we still have a huge free element.

    The subscriptions have been suprisingly healthy and even grew when we recently tried a higher price. We are planning a further increase soon.

    The site has a discussion board, chat room and free personal ads.

    We have the normal affiliate links to Amazon (fairly low revenue, less than $200 per quarter), Allposters (nothing sold, does anyone buy these?), One specialist company which produces very good results plus a couple of others whoose figures are modest.

    Our ranking is very good on Google (2nd for our main phrase) still on 1st page for a more commercial phrase. We have 1st page ranking on AOL. I have never been able to get into Yahoo for free so am considering paying, but we still get a huge number of referrals through the google/yahoo link. MSN is lousy despite trying to use the Inktomi subscription, we can't get off 3rd page despite our site having a better profile than the others above.

    We have over 500 sites linking into us (using the google link: ex our own site links). Visitors are about 500 per day and 30,000 page views per day. Visitors tend to spend time hanging around listening and printing our content. Bandwidth is about 20 gig a month.

    So the big question is what next? We can still grow the content but will hit a ceiling for subscription charges. There is the thought that we could run this full time but it then becomes another job. It is already creating work responding to visitors problems, queries and other issues. The discussion board constantly needs monitoring (Haiko are you there?!!).

    Any thoughts?

    Gary

  2. #2
    Newbie
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    January 17th, 2005
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    1,537
    Gary,

    If it ain't broke don't fix it. To increase subs find a good ebook and give it away free when people join.

    Join goClick and put an out link at the bottom - Click here to find more about (your topic). Goclick will pay you 2 cents per click thru. Use the money to by keywords to your both your content and commercial pages.

    If banners aren't working replace them with banners to YOUR pages which focus on specific or categories of merchants - have the banner say something like - Click here to learn where to buy XXX at discount prices.

    Then at the very bottom of your content final page - and all other pages as well - put a blurb which says:

    Thank you for visiting (your site). If you have time here are two places on the net you might want to visit:

    Put a link to eBay and a banner exchange link. You can join ABW's bannerexchange.

    Then have the banner you want shown on the exchange be one for YOUR best converting merchants or a page reviewing your best converting merchants.

    Then make sure you have the outlink for yor merchant review page go back to your content page.

    Now if you get 15,000 visitors per month on your content site, your commercial page will be seen 7,500 times on other sites so what you have done is leveraged up the exposure to your commercial page from your content page and still kept the content page relevant.

    You just created a network loop in which content leverages commercial and commercial leverages content.

    Will you make more money - you should but on the net there is NO guarantee except ifyou are a member of Linkshare you will eventually be screwed.

  3. #3
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Gary,

    I would try to think of building on even more value.

    IE. Local Garden Centers
    Yes they sell flowers and trees and the accoutrements, but are they so short sighted not to also offer:
    <UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>Planting services
    <LI>Yearly Landscaping services
    <LI>A Landscape Architect
    <LI>Sprinkler install and maintenance
    <LI>etc[/list]

    Selling Flats of flowers may be prosperous, but a targeted customer who obviously can be sold the LOGICAL ancillary services is wasted because the Center doesn't think outside the box. They'll probably just raise prices and get a new type of flower instead of continuously building.

    I hope the analogy helps you to think outside the box and continue to add value and grow your site/offerings to a higher level of success. Yes, it does take alot of work but it is worth it, if you love doing it.

    Haiko

  4. #4
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Opposite the Slough of Despond
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    I think salon.com is the classic example of how subscriptions CAN work, as they seem to be doing in your case Gary.

    And the Professor's right on this one, if it ain't broke don't fix it - it sounds like you have a viable business model, so adapt the one you have a little.

    Also, experiment a little with different affiliate programs. I use Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, and I send about 10 times the visitors to the US site than the UK one, only at the moment by earnings from the UK are much higher than the US because a lot of UK visitors are buying high-value items such as electronics.

    Don't forget that your ad space is valuable. if you're running with a programme which isn't making any money, ditch it [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Florida
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    Someone isn't shopping in the right garden centers [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] The high-end ones near me have had all those extras for years!

    As for the content site, I will agree with Dynamoo... but if you take Prof's suggestions make sure that it's okay with the Terms of your merchants to put them into a banner exchange. Other than that, his ideas sound good too.

  6. #6
    Full Member garystarling's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Thanks every one (especially Fred), it has given me some more ideas. One question where can I get things such as an ebook to 'give away'?

  7. #7
    Newbie
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    January 17th, 2005
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    Gary,

    You can go to
    www.netbiz.buildreferrals.com.

    or you can find one you want and email me...I probably have it and I'll send you where to go download it or send it to you as I have a all the good ones.

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