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  1. #1
    Full Member felit0's Avatar
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    Ok guys,
    I need some input from the pros here at ABW. I'm building a site themed around a certain "toy" by son loves dearly. Let's pretend this "toy" is the "hula-hoop". What is a better marketing strategy:

    1. Build a "fan" site like "Johnny's Hula-Hoop Page", and build content about the hula-hoop from a fan's perspective.
    2. Build a more commercial site like "The Hula-Hoop Authority", and make it with a commercial feel to it.

    What has worked better for you???

    Thanks for the input.

    <A HREF="http://www.dinohost.com/">Dinohost.com</A>

  2. #2
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    I think you should do it with 2 first then support it with 1.

  3. #3
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    Are your goals long or short term? In its most simplistic version - Short Term (good returns, short shelf life) = 2, Long Term (smaller returns, longer shelf life) = 1.

    If you do it well though, you can combine them and take the benefits of both [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  4. #4
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    Whichever way you go, aim to create a site that is link-worthy. Links are quite important for getting in the top results at Google. And people are less likely to link to a site without (non-advertising) content. Just something to consider.

    Peter Kirby
    Domain Name Registration Directory

  5. #5
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    It depends if you want to make money!

    Content from a fan's perspective would be good, if you get a good feeling about educating people about the "hula hoop", and are content to watch the occasional sale dink in. And if the age group that's interested in the product is Under 18s (you said "your son" was interested in the item)--the conversion ratio will be even lower since the kids'd have to con Mommy or Daddy into buying one of these things. And you'll get tons of kids who just like reading about their Favorite Thing.

    Marketing (a Revenue Site--100% sales oriented) is good if you want to make money! Plus, with a Revenue site, you get the parents who have already been conned into buying by their kids--and are just looking for a link that'll stop the incessant begging--and you'll ditch the oceans of dud clicks from minors and all their buds who can't buy sheet on their own!

    Occasionally the two things can be combined but I find it like trying to combine oil and water. And when The Product appeals to minors, that's even worse because even though the juvenile temperament is impulsive--their lack of credit cards totally destroys the effect when it comes to ordering online from "that cool site"!

    As for a link-worthy site, yes--links are good! But it's amazing what people will link to...I've had links to one of my 100% commercial sites show up in a blog and other unexpected places (for instance, little directories that may deal with one of the things I'm promoting), without me even having to ask! So, while people will link to noncommercial content more often--links DO come to commercial sites as well! All is not lost if you go for Commercial...

    Overall, I've found that [noncommercial] content (or mostly-content) sites are good for the ego, and 100% commercial sites are good for the wallet.

    That said, making both types (like Wly said) can work well. I'll be more specific, though: Supporting the commercial site with links from a noncommercial site can raise the rank of the comm. site in the SEs--especially if you get the noncomm site into DMOZ. Try to snag a Free Yahoo listing for the noncomm site, too. Free Yahoo listings aren't easy to get, but it is *possible* with a noncommercial site. Listings like that will give the noncomm more Page Rank in Google that you can pass on to the REAL (commercial) site.

    But I wouldn't use the noncom site as a direct source of traffic to the Revenue site, (as in trying to get people at the noncom site to "go to the store"), since those people didn't come to buy. The main value of a link from one to the other is the PR transfer.

    Good luck!

    There is no knowledge that is not power.~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  6. #6
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    Here we go.. had a little bit more time on my hands so I'll introduce you to my new philosophy..

    When I started out on the net, I had industry based sites.. lots of content, average commercial potential.. I got started in affiliate marketing through these sites. One day I figured I'd take up the advertising slack by adding some non-targeted affiliate links on one of the sites. For 6 months the results were pathetic to say the least. Then I stumbled across an affiliate program suited to the site and gave it a try. In the first month I made over $400. Over the coming months I added more links and changed a few things about. The site has made over $1000 a month since that time.

    I then stumbled onto the CJU Forums. The catch cry there was SELL SELL SELL.. Content is for dummies.. Site design doesn't matter.. PPC is the greatest.. etc..

    Not being able to get my head around this properly having come from the big site/nice design/never advertise my site/lots of content style sites, I thought I'd go somewhere inbetween. I built a new site that was useful to visitors, but was targeted towards the types of visitors who would buy this specific product. It worked and the sales started coming in..

    I started to get the sales picture.. build a targeted site, site design doesn't matter, content is pointless, get top rankings, make money.. seemed simple..

    Turns out it was.. I proceeded to build over 100 targeted sites.. all sales based.. little or no content.. link a few together and wham, in comes the top rankings and in rolls the dollars..

    It was a great ride and still is.. I still build these styles of sites and still love them..

    Herein lies the problem in the future however as I see it.. Of late, I have watched many affiliates sites get wiped from the rankings.. Many of them even had good relative content, hundreds of links in.. for the most part they were good sites.. The only problem with them is that they were 100% affiliate sites, and I'm getting the impression of late that the search engine powers that be do not like this at all..

    A few have escaped the search engines wrath to date, including a number at these forums, but for mind the easy times are coming to an end. The search engines are working against us. They would like to see us listed on the 50th page for every search.

    I have lost a few sites during this process.. including some very big earning ones. Others whilst not gone completely, are slowly being shuffled down the order no matter how hard I try to stop them, whilst at the same time the merchant sites are moving up. I still have an incredibly large number of sites producing great returns, but I am concerned as to what the future may hold for them.

    The one thing I noticed through all this was that some of my sites never moved, in fact a few have gone up. These sites were the useful ones.. They attract volumes of links from outside, and are listed in the big directories as well as other targeted directories. These sites also produce sufficient returns to keep me living the good life - even if all of my sales only sites fall over and die.

    So recently I have been working on a new style of site. A way of producing good sales figures above and beyond a simple sales only site, whilst being useful to visitors (and not just to help them find the right place to buy). It is not easy in all areas, but I am getting the impression it will work very well where it can apply.

    These types of sites take the best of both worlds. You have the all the targeted advantages of the affiliate world, where branding isn't a concern but search engine results are. Then on the other side, you have all of the merchant style advantages such as easy listings in the directories, inbound links without asking, and more. The thing I like a lot about this style of site is that it's still able to be designed to sell, still designed for the search engines, and it attracts high PR.

    It may take more work, more time, and the like.. but at the end of the day I have a wife and 4 kids to feed. I don't want to tell them one day soon that our income has dropped substantially because I didn't read the signs correctly. As the search engines get smarter and turn against affiliate only sites, I want them working for my sites and not against them. If I have to spend more time and allow a small percentage of visitors to escape through non paid links for this priviledge, then so be it.

    Don't get me wrong, I love affiliate sales sites that take 1 day to build.. They make me a lot of money, and if I could build them forever in this fashion I would.. I just think that the times are a changing, and you better be ready for the next wave.

  7. #7
    Full Member felit0's Avatar
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    Thank You guys for all your input [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] I think I'm more confused now... [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] I guess a mix of useful content along with affiliate links is the recipe?

    <A HREF="http://www.dinohost.com/">Dinohost.com</A>

  8. #8
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    Leader & TK, great posts - you're an inspiration ! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
    Of late, I have watched many affiliates sites get wiped from the rankings.. Many of them even had good relative content, hundreds of links in.. for the most part they were good sites.. The only problem with them is that they were 100% affiliate sites, and I'm getting the impression of late that the search engine powers that be do not like this at all..<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I'm quite new to the affiliate game, but I have noticed this as well. First I thought google downgraded domains with few pages, but I quickly threw that theory away as I noticed alot of 1-5 pages sites doing well.

    It might be that google has improved in identifying quality inbound links.

    However, one thing that has been lurking inside my head lately is those outgoing links to the networks, eg. qksrv.net. It seem to me that the easiest way for Google to distinguish between affiliate sites and content sites would be to count the number of such links. If a site has lots and lots of network links and few other outbound links, well, it's likely an affiliate site. I honestly don't know, but I have started to put my links in an external js file, where there is no bot access.
    Any thoughts?

    -- Less is more --

  9. #9
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I have started to put my links in an external js file, where there is no bot access.
    Any thoughts? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    It does bring up a couple of questions here. Will the links still work if the visitor has js disabled? And does anyone know what percentage of people have the js disabled?

    Ray

    Finally figured out why people spend $2.00 apiece on those
    little bottles of Evian water. Just spell it backwards for the answer.

  10. #10
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ray:
    It does bring up a couple of questions here. Will the links still work if the visitor has js disabled? And does anyone know what percentage of people have the js disabled?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    No, the links will not work if javascript is turned off. I don't know how many percentages of surfers who has disabled js, but I'm sure it's low. To many sites are using javascript today. I load the entire layout (tables, maim menus and sub menus) using js, it's more flexible and easier to use than ssi (don't need to upload first) and because js is parsed clientside that leaves nothing but pure content for google. Any lost business are more than made up by fast site building and easy maintenance.


    I haven't done much testing of google vs network links, - but to provide you with an example of what I'm talking about I opened my current favourite backlink checker at http://www.widexl.com/remote/link-popularity/index.html .
    Typing qksrv.net in the first box and www.qksrv.net in the second, submitting, returns the following number of backlinks in the major engines:'

    <pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">
    qksrv.net: Google 0, AllTheWeb 17650746, AltaVista 6424144,
    AOL 0, MSN 0, HotBot 3755000 and Lycos 194822 links.

    www.qksrv.net: Google 22, AllTheWeb 17479928, AltaVista 6343173,
    AOL 22, MSN 3166161, HotBot 3753000 and Lycos 191643 links.
    </pre>

    As you can see, the number of backlinks are exceeding 28 millions. However, Google counts for only 22 (!) of those backlinks.

    Of course there should be more than 22 baclinks even though Google doesn't display backlinks with lower PR than 4. Many affiliates have pr 5, 6, and 7 pages.

    A closer look at those backlink pages (11 pages) reveals some link pages, personal homepages, and foreign language pages. None are high PR pages I would say, but I don't have the toolbar installed where I am right now.


    This would indicate that Google is either
    - dropping network links when calculating PR, or
    - assigning network links a low PR or the default PR for a new page with no incoming links


    Whatever the answer is, it appears that in the google algo, network links are treated differently than other "normal" links.


    My question for you is: Looking at your google-ranked pages, does pages with a lot of network links have trouble ranking high, while pages with few networks links are generally ranked higher?

    -- Less is more --

  11. #11
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    This is the same question I asked but asked better. But anyway, How would I go about building a revenue site. Does the merchant give a template? Or do I write all the copy? Anything else I need to know

  12. #12
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    The universe is ever expanding, we see a "red-shift" in the stars thanks to the doppler effect. The faster moving particles have a blue-shift.

    With my content sites, I found that if you don't post new content, you lose ranking. I let a site go stale for three months and lost 60% of my traffic and had no first-page rankings. I was the red-shift in the ever-expanding Internet (and more importantly, Google's index).

    This is not because google/ATW/Ink think you're slacking, it's because other people aren't slacking, producing a relative blue-shift. Someone is producing a more relevant page than yours. You aren't penalized by Google, you're penalized by the rest of the ever-expanding WWW.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>My question for you is: Looking at your google-ranked pages, does pages with a lot of network links have trouble ranking high, while pages with few networks links are generally ranked higher?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You won't leak Pagerank from the page with the links, you're "diluting" the pagerank of the outbound links that link back to your other pages.

    I did this: I have a content/revenue site. Affiliate link is relevant to the content.

    Instead of linking directly to the merchant's product page, I included a page where I talk about the product and sell it. On that page is a "click here to buy" link.

    This accomplishes two things:
    1. less "PageRank dilution" thanks to affiliate links
    2. I have 80 or so high ranking product-selling pages in an untapped niche market.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>How would I go about building a revenue site. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Build a site that focuses on products (or merchants) rather than a subject. I found a couple of these by searching Google for "Buy Clothing Online". Basically a listing of 20-30 merchants and a breif description of the merchant. Had about 300 backlinks. I found that the site owner linked to their other sites, too. Lots of them. Basically the site owner made their own webring and included friends in it. Simple formula.

    [This message was edited by weisinator on January 22, 2003 at 10:43 AM.]

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