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  1. #1
    Newbie
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    August 2nd, 2007
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    Question NOT a Magic Bullet Question
    I've been reading the forum for a few days and I've seen many posts indicating that a lot of folks are creating thousands upon thousands of web pages and websites monthly using data feeds and tools like WebMerge. On the other hand, I see lots of posts stressing the importance of creating quality original content.

    - But I don't see how these two things can be happening at the same time. At least not when talking about a one person operation.

    My (I thought ambitious) plan going in was to create 50 niche sites by the end of the year; sites with 1 to 10 products each. I have one site that has a #3 Google ranking on a keyword phrase, but that phrase gets less than 100 searches a month according to the Overture keyword tool - but a sale would make $90 on that one and I'm getting about 10 visitors day. So I thought 2 sales a month using that model, duplicated 50 times would allow me to quit the day job. But I have 6 sites in 3 different niches, each using variations in design, and I have yet to make one dime, that's right, no sales.

    Is my plan naive? Destined to make me only $100 a month?

    I'm not looking for a magic bullet, I'm just trying to avoid continuing on a path that the successful AMs on this board think will fail.


    Thank you

    - Steve M.

  2. #2
    Internet Cowboy
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    January 18th, 2005
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    4,662
    This post is likely to spark the Content vs Sales site debate. This is a horse that has been beaten so much here that it is way beyond dead and both sides have merit.

    I would say that creating 10 nice, niche sites with original content and a sensible design is the way to go. Give the reader a reason to come back to the site and they will do just that.

    There are LOTS of uses for a datafeed, the very least of which is to stick a zillion products on pages using the merchant's tired old content, giving the user no more than a bridge to the merchant. If you are a programmer type, you can use datafeeds to display key items, price drop items or other things that might be interesting to your visitors. You can also use GoldenCan and PopShops to do this if you are not a programmer type, but there is a cost involved. Nothing is free, always remember that in your affiliate endeavors.

    By your 6th post on ABW you are asking good questions. That is a good sign that you have a chance to make it to the point of telling the boss bye bye!

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    January 24th, 2007
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    Here's my two cents. There are a couple of people on this board whose opinion you should weight more heavily than others. Scooter's is one of those who knows what he's talking about.

    Keep at it. Use some tracking software (like Google Analytics) to determine where your traffic is falling out. Build a newsletter base by having a subscription on the top of each of your pages (make sure you comply with all applicable laws!). With free traffic, you've got an opportunity to work with it and play around until you start to find what works and what doesn't. Is there a magic answer to that? No, or less people would be working for bosses...

    My own personal advice is don't expect to monetize quickly. Don't give up on your free traffic. But do figure out where they're going and why. And start building your newsletter lists. I personally think that affiliates do not do enough with lists. There is money to be had in lists!
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  4. #4
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    August 2nd, 2007
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    Much appreciated guys.

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager Howard Gottlieb's Avatar
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    December 30th, 2006
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    The short answer is people have been successful on both sides. In fact a couple of people have got revenue producers right now on both sides of the model.

    Figure out how to attract an audience and deliver a product or service they will like and appreciate and you've won. Either way.

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I think you could do very well with your model. Some of those niche sites will grow and do incredibly well. They should be focused enough that they'll be good niche sites. You're spending enough time (half a week each) to have some good, useful detail, which will help you become an authority.

    I wouldn't expect to end the year with 50 sites that make $180/month each. Instead, you'll probably have something that looks more like this: 40 sites that seldom (if ever) make a sale, 5 sites that average $200/month, 3 sites that average $500/month, 1 site that averages $1000/month, and another that averages $2500/month.

    Leave the laggards (you never know if they might perform in the future), but learn from the winners. Put more effort into improving them, and continue to add new sites, learning from your best and worst.

    One thing I would warn you about is to be careful about interlinking your sites. What you're doing relies heavily on Google, and if you interlink them (or even make them too similar), Google will probably take them all out at once.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  7. #7
    Newbie
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    One thing I would warn you about is to be careful about interlinking your sites. What you're doing relies heavily on Google, and if you interlink them (or even make them too similar), Google will probably take them all out at once.
    Thanks Michael, I'll definitely be careful of that. Right now I have everything on one IP and wouldn't want to risk everything being stupid. I might create 4 or 5 sites for one niche to experiment and link them together, but i'll set that up on different C classes using an SEO host in that case.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by scm21st
    I've been reading the forum for a few days and I've seen many posts indicating that a lot of folks are creating thousands upon thousands of web pages and websites monthly using data feeds and tools like WebMerge. On the other hand, I see lots of posts stressing the importance of creating quality original content.

    - But I don't see how these two things can be happening at the same time.
    The two are not mutually exclusive. All WebMerge does is take some of the tedium out of the process, copying the product name, price, etc. into pages for a uniform appearance. But the product description can be all yours, and many of our customers revise or even replace the supplied description content to have it better optimized for their site.

    One of our resellers recently gave a presentation at a conference which showed how he approaches this, which is similar to how a good many webmasters do it:

    He imports the feed into a database, then farms out the writing of the description field to a writer who writes directly in that DB file. The DB itself can be almost anything; FileMaker Pro, MS Access, even OpenOffice are certainly adequate for this, since all they need to do is be able to import a delimited file, provide an interface for navigating records and modifying content, and export to a delimited file.

    One thing which can make WebMerge handy for this is its support for wiki-like syntax: you can specify a given field in your page with the WM-Wiki tag, then author content using simple syntax adopted from common wikis, which gives you some control over formatting but is a lot less cumbersome than typing straight HTML.

    Whether one uses PHP to deliver the end product to the user dynamically, or WebMerge to generate static pages, the result is pretty much the same: it starts with a feed, uses a database to store the data for modification, then makes that data available to whatever is used to create the page.

    The tough part here isn't technical, it's the writing. Automatic text generators using simple synonym lists too easily create pages that read like spammail, eroding customer trust with awkward wording just at the moment you're hoping to gain that trust to convert the prospect into a customer. It takes a human touch to write copy that's both good SE fodder and, perhaps most importantly for conversion, compelling to read.
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site
    http://www.fourthworld.com

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