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The quest to $300/day
from $20/day to $100/day - the story continues
rfung




msg:557365
 8:21 am on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Every time I tell friends and aquaintances what I do - I get glazed eyes and the conversation quickly changes topics - I guess I'm really not that good of a storyteller:) so I turn to you folks here on WebmasterWorld - I know you and I talk the same language, and we understand each other :)

Disclaimer: I am not a expert affiliate marketer - some folks here can earn what took me months to learn in a few days only. But I found out what works for me and until my knowledge increases and develops, I'll stick to it - it just takes a bit longer, and the money's still good ;)

A quick recap of my background so far just to reintroduce the thread:

Recently off school, and working full time as a web designer for a year - when an early mid life crisis struck me - is this what life is about? a 9-7 job, go home, go work, repeat ad nauseum? I've found out that most people coming out from school faces those questions about life - I was no different than them.

Except - I had an idea for a website - a textbook swap and price comparison - this was an idea from way back while I was in school - but one that I didn't have the time or the full technical knowhow to implement. Now that I was done with school and facing the prospect of running in the rat race for eternity, it became more of a drive to get something going - I started building it and that's when I ran into Amazon affiliate program and datafeeds.

Within weeks I had a semi functional site running - and started doing some link exchanging. While searching for some help on the topic, I ran into webmasterworld! At first I was interested only in the link development forum, then somehow I migrated here to affiliate sales - while here, I started realizing that there were many people making money selling all sorts of things. I was only interested in how I could do Amazon better, primarily because I knew how to do their datafeeds, but also because textbooks was all I knew about. Mortgage? Credit cards? Hotel reservations? Gambling? I knew nothing about those industries!

Anyway to keep this (relatively) short - a year ago I discovered this forum. 6 months later I had a decent textbook site which was making me about $20/day. At that point I was already up to my ears from the corporate drone lifestyle and just about ready to quit my job - it was a gamble, but one would only need to look at the potential of affiliate marketing to know that if you play your cards right and you have some sort of idea what to do, the skies were the limit. It fit perfectly with the feelings I was going through, avoiding the rat race, doing something for myself, where I wasn't trading time for money, but instead building a sort of 'equity'. I pondered - if I am doing this part time and I can earn $20/day - then what happens if I go all out and do it full time? A fairly easy decision - I quit my job at the end of September.

Should I fail in affiliate marketing - I only have the next 45 years to work for someone else. Heh! In the meantime, the two problems I face is that I'm really bored with staying in the house for so long :) and to save money I moved in the the parents - to change a bit from this routine, I've decided to move out to europe and live somewhere over there while still doing more sites.

This new thread now will try to convey my ongoing quest to move from the $100/day I reached last month (6 months after I went full time) to $300/day - which is just short of $10k/month, a VERY nice round sum to reach, in my opinion :)... The $100/day pretty much lets me live anywhere in the world fairly comfortably (if it's not the french riviera, or beverly hills - you get my drift), but $300/day would let me actually start saving and possibly investing in real estate, and thus diversify one's revenue streams. That's the plan anyway.

...so after this extensive (re) introduction:

Last month my revenue was about $100+/day. Most of it was adsense - and so this month I was hit bad when adsense decided to go wacko and lost 40% of the revenue stream. Luckily, a site redesign increased the click throughs to make up for the shortfall, with the net effect that I'm a little bit over $100/day with adsense and affiliate sales combined. The current revenue for February has been around $135/day. Should it keep steady till the end of the month, that'll be $3750 in my pockets.

One site I put up last month - consumer products for women - I linked it to my PR5/Pr4 sites and got immediately indexed, and a few days later it was being found by surfers. This month adsense has started showing and paying(some pages still show public service ads) - from a paltry 50 cents at the beginning of this month, to $11 bucks today :) not a lot by any stretch of the imagination, but this is how all sites start anyway!... it has also generated some affiliate sales, so all together the new site has pulled in about $100 bucks.... We'll see how it grows(or not) in the following months.

I also have one site redesign to go through - this site is based on an amazon feed and has about 50,000 pages indexed - it gets some traffic, but due to the bad design it doesn't convert nearly as well as I'd like. Another site I have lined up was going to sell products from HSN.com - again, still in the works. I'm sure once I get those two sites up I can boost my daily revenue to closer to mid $100's...

Anyway - let's see how long it take me to get to $300/day. Place your bets, gentlemen! :)

 

GuitarZan




msg:557485
 11:51 pm on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hey,

Vabtz, listen to what Rachel says. Get your domain, and 10 pages up. At least this will start the cycle, and bring you closer to getting out of the sandbox if you get in it. Then just keep adding the articles as you create them.

All the Best,

C.K.

rfung




msg:557486
 11:55 pm on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is the majority of the $$ coming through Amazon feeds?

no. Amazon feeds is like around $200. This quarter I'm at $450(for the quarter) or so. The rest of affiliate sales are from other merchants, mostly from CJ.

The big chunk is from adsense. If adsense were to drop I'd be an unhappy man. Diversify.

vabtz




msg:557487
 12:11 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

thanks for the response :-)
my domains are out of the box already I was using them for something else they are a pr3 and a pr2 already.

tsinoy




msg:557488
 2:21 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

how would you know it's out of the sandbox?

GuitarZan




msg:557489
 3:10 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hey,

how would you know it's out of the sandbox?

They are not in position #1060. Basically I believe sandboxed sites get indexed, but they rank super low.

C.K.

vabtz




msg:557490
 3:11 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

jeez rfung thats it!

I could start something similiar in two or three days, the code for most of it is already written. god here I am beating my head in the wall for this damn travel site I am working on.... and the solution was already there.

kudo's to you for coming up with a better mouse trap.

rfung




msg:557491
 3:25 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

vabtz:

uh, no idea what exactly I said that lit something up inside your head, but glad to help out.

sadelb




msg:557492
 3:36 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

do people get penalized by google if they have different content but very similar template/designs as another website?

howiejs




msg:557493
 3:38 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is a GREAT thread. Happy to see the progress! Great job and keep posting.

MrSpeed




msg:557494
 3:47 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

do people get penalized by google if they have different content but very similar template/designs as another website?

In my experience....no

vabtz




msg:557495
 4:01 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here is the gold I saw:


my sites are datafeed based with the ability for users to post reviews.

since you have already shared that you use amazon api and I am familiar with programming cms's, forums and the like its pretty simple from there.

Not sure what you meant by this though...

Since most beginners have an uphill climb as far as using datafeeds, focusing on a small specialized niche is probably the way to go and you can do it with articles.

I think what you meant is that if you have those skills you have a large advantage and.... if you don't write articles.

itisgene




msg:557496
 5:25 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Three months ago when I was making $50-$70 on average, I had a spike of $100 one day. The next month(Jan) I started getting $100+ average daily, and I had one day spike of $200.Feb was about reinforcing the $100+ daily. This month (and we just started!) I've already had a $200/day ,and here's the $300 spike ;)

...wouldn't it be great if the pattern holds :)

This will be nice...

My site had been $20/day for over a year from adsense before I saw rfung's $100/day post. It encouraged me to work on my sites. I am averaging about $50-60/day this month and hit $100/day today(knock on the wood..) for the first time. If I can follow your track above, I will be making $200/day by the end of next month. hehe ;)

Good job rfung. And thanks again for sharing your experience.

hhayes




msg:557497
 4:30 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

itisgene,

Nice job! What kind of changes did you make to get that jump in earnings?

itisgene




msg:557498
 7:28 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well, I put the affiliate links to my web sites. they had only adsense on them. Adding affiliate links didn' impact at all to Adsense earnings. I was too lazy to add those affiliate links! hehe. I was mostly interested in learning SEO not the money. But it wouldn't hurt to get some extra money, right? :)

I guess I am sending good quality traffic to Adsense advertisers. The affiliate links covert very well.

carmelof




msg:557499
 7:59 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

1 site on hobby stuff - 20 cents/day - thinking about taking it down.

Well, if the domain is no longer sandboxed, has some BL and good content I don't think it's a good idea to take it down: just sell it!

My sites aren't the prettiest

If a site works without being pretty it doesn't need to be pretty. If a site is pretty but it doesn't work you can throw it in the garbage!

All the best
Carmelo

berto




msg:557500
 8:13 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

>The 'universal AM truth' still holds - if you can create a site that earns you $1/day, just keep doing the same thing over and over with multiple sites...

Really? rfung, surely you don't mean (just) this?

I have a three-year, PR5 content site of about 300 pages with hundreds of inbound links. Up until recently, between Adsense and AM I have been making $1-$2 per day from that site.

I have another 6-1/2 year, PR5 "product" site of 300+ pages, also with hundreds of inbound links. Up until recently, between Adsense and AM I have been making ~$0.50 per day from that site.

I didn't start monetizing these sites until the middle of last year. Fecklessly thrashing about, I didn't appreciate how little I understood this game, how misguided were my efforts until stumbling upon the Webmaster World Forum in mid January. (The fora and info sources I was reading before WW were nearly useless.)

I didn't become obsessive about learning, tweaking, experimenting, measuring, adjusting, etc. until early February.

My efforts are beginning to pay off. The winter of my discontent is nearly over, signs of spring are popping up all over.

I am on a personal quest to unstick myself from earning just $1-$2 per day. If I can move up to $10 per day--and there are signs I might just achieve that fairly soon--THEN AND ONLY THEN will I consider scaling up, "doing the same thing over and over with multiple sites."

I mean, with a site that earns just $1 per day, in order to make this whole endeavor worthwhile, I'm supposed to build 100, 200, ... such sites?

Huh? Who has the time or energy for that? (I rule out useless, spammy, content-less sites. I can't bring myself to do that.)

Or is it implied that by creating enough of those $1 per day sites, sooner or later you'll get lucky with one (or more) that will earn $10 per day, and maybe really lucky with one (or more) that earn $100+ per day?

>It's my belief that it's very hard to fail at this. The only question is how long it will take one to succeed. We can all get there...

No, it is not hard at all to fail at this. One of these days (when I've moved well beyond the struggle stage), I will start a message thread about exactly why moving from $0 per day to $1 per day is so damn difficult, why moving from $10 per day to $100 per day is easier than moving from $1 per day to $10 per day.

Aside from systemic reasons for this (e.g., the near impossibility of generating meaningful, actionable statistics when most of your stats are mere "noise"), some people are just naturally gifted at AM marketing, can intuit the correct course. Or perhaps have just the right skill set going in (as it appears you had). Or have expertise or special interest in an easily profitable market niche. Or are lucky enough to have a knowing friend or relative to reveal to them the deep, inner mysteries.

On the other hand, other people have certain experiences, prejudices, personal qualities, and/or life situations that doom them to failure.

Unless they persist.

rfung (and others), thanks for the inspiring posts. They encourage me to persist.

rfung




msg:557501
 8:14 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Weird - I got some pms about selling it - I didn't know it was that valueable - I might re-develop it into something else. Thanks!

too much information




msg:557502
 9:57 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Wow berto, you really laid it all out didn't you? ;o)

I think the part you missed (and I did as well until this thread) was that you should first start with a 10 page site, get some traffic to it, work with the wording to see what works, swap out affiliate items to see what sells, show some content ads and learn the ropes.

Then start out with a second 10 page site with what you learned from the first. Picking niche topics that have a high interest but little competition (or as little as possible).

This is one thread that has some real gold burried in it. You are not going to find an instruction manual here, but keeping an eye on the few specifics that are dropped is revealing most of the mistakes I have made in my past affiliate experiences.

Hopefully we will both be out of the $1/day range soon!

berto




msg:557503
 10:34 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

>I think the part you missed (and I did as well until this thread) was that you should first start with a 10 page site, get some traffic to it, work with the wording to see what works, swap out affiliate items to see what sells, show some content ads and learn the ropes.

But what if, going into this site monetizing game, you are attached to legacy sites, into which you've poured (in my case) literally years of effort (early on with no thought of gainful reward)?

You (maybe) don't know how weighed down you can be bringing your old baggage along with you.

Ironically, it can be much easier making money starting from scratch as a rank beginner.

No preconceived notions. No emotional attachments to the old way of doing things. No "bad" site design (in a monetizing sense)...

>This is one thread that has some real gold burried in it. You are not going to find an instruction manual here, but keeping an eye on the few specifics that are dropped is revealing most of the mistakes I have made in my past affiliate experiences.

Oh, have I made plenty of mistakes! The biggest was trying to figure this all out by myself.

>Hopefully we will both be out of the $1/day range soon!

Things are starting to improve for me.

Good luck to you, too.

rfung




msg:557504
 10:38 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Or is it implied that by creating enough of those $1 per day sites, sooner or later you'll get lucky with one (or more) that will earn $10 per day, and maybe really lucky with one (or more) that earn $100+ per day?

hey bert:

Well, the unspoken consequence is that yes something like the above is bound to happen, but if you have 100 sites pulling in $1 and that's all they ever do, you are probably doing something wrong, and it's beyond anyone's ability to help you on that :) But, I'm willing to bet that that reality doesn't exist.

Rather obvious to point out but the "make $1/day and get rich by doing it 100 times" mantra is like any other saying and anyone interpreting it literally like that really needs a reality check - it does means that if you can make money from one site, then you have learned something that you can build on to your next venture, provided you can distill your formula for success and work with that.

Yes, I had some web development skills with me on the table, but others can do just as well or better with marketing knowledge, an eye for keeping tight track of numbers, conversions, etc, or some 'street smarts' on picking profitable niches. I honestly suck at all that! One of my sites failed (hobbies) and I've poured a few hundreds into PPC that went into the dark void of someone's pockets.

That's why btw, I dont do one single site that pour my all into it. Too risky, specially emotionally. If anyone is trying to make a living out of this it has to be thought of as a business - that means drop what doesn't work or change it.

You know, I've mentioned what I do for a living to a bunch of people. 95% of the people just glazes over. Fine, they can keep working their 9-5s all their lives if they want, I'm not out to convert anyone.... in the meantime, I'm glad to share and inspire others who _are_ interested that it can be done.

Oh, did I ever mention how I got into programming? back in the dot com days a friend of mine came to me and said "I'm making $200,000 a year doing dynamic sites (that's php/asp/cf)". I was sold - and with AM, sign me up for a lifetime subscription :) - What's your motivation?

"Your results may vary. The results shown here may not be typical of the average affiliate. Please talk to your doctor or financial consultant before starting any new venture. Initial symptoms may include heartaches, frustration, boredom, hermit-like loneliness, financial ruin and extended use of WebmasterWorld. Use with caution."

berto




msg:557505
 12:00 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

rfung:

You bet right. I'm starting to move beyond the $1 per day stage. I've had a few days in the past where I've spiked upward to about $5 per day. (I do both Adsense and affiliate marketing.) It looks like today I might be on track to have my first $10+ day ever. Woohoo!

>Yes, I had some web development skills with me on the table, but others can do just as well or better with marketing knowledge, an eye for keeping tight track of numbers, conversions, etc, or some 'street smarts' on picking profitable niches.

I could recite a list of "skills" and personality traits that work the other way, that harm more than help.

>That's why btw, I dont do one single site that pour my all into it. Too risky, specially emotionally. If anyone is trying to make a living out of this it has to be thought of as a business - that means drop what doesn't work or change it.

In my case, I began these two sites years ago with little or no thought of making money from them. They began as labors of love. Having poured so much time and effort into them, it's been very difficult to break the emotional attachment, to consider alternatives.

On the other hand, it does appear like the sites are beginning to work for me. Maybe I can profit from my labors of love after all.

Once I've proven to myself (and my wife) that I can make these two sites semi-profitable, I am fully prepared to diversify into other sites and market niches.

>.... in the meantime, I'm glad to share and inspire others who _are_ interested that it can be done.

That's another very important lesson: It can be done!

>What's your motivation?

Beyond (now, finally) making money?

One of my sites promotes a cause very dear to me--the biggest reason it's been so difficult to give it up (or at least pay less attention to it).

The other is a "product" site based on some technology I developed. My interest in that older project is now strictly mercenary. (It wasn't always so.)

Funny disclaimer! :-)

rfung




msg:557506
 12:33 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

I could recite a list of "skills" and personality traits that work the other way, that harm more than help.

...any extra luggage anyone has probably belongs on the couch with a counselor better than here :)

Beyond (now, finally) making money?

well, its a pretty good reason for me :) but the freedom it buys, that's priceless.

too much information




msg:557507
 4:24 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

any extra luggage anyone has probably belongs on the couch with a counselor better than here :)

or in the foo forum where you (and everyone else) can make fun of your problems! ;o)

As a side note to this thread, how much time would you say you spend each week checking your statistics, and making adjustments to each site?

Clearly building and promoting a site is the main work load for this type of thing, so once it's promoted it probably follows that you can't just "let it ride".

howiejs




msg:557508
 5:20 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

rfung - you are too popular :) I just to reply to your sticky - it said your mailbox was full . . .

berto




msg:557509
 5:48 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

An example of what I mean by "old baggage" (not emotional problems <grin>):

In order to create a brand identity for my cause site, and way before I thought to profit from it or had any clue about e-commerce, I devoted much effort to developing a distinctive look--hours and hours spent on preparing special graphics images, page layouts, color schemes, etc. I now see how, from an e-commerce perspective, the legacy graphics scheme constricts me in many ways. Junking the old scheme and moving to a simple, black-text-on-white-background graphics scheme would damage the brand identity. And cause no small amount of grief (er, emotional problem?).

(The "product" site's graphics scheme is plain, thank Heavens, so I have little to fix there except for off-kilter page content.)

>As a side note to this thread, how much time would you say you spend each week checking your statistics, and making adjustments to each site?

Since I have so many mistakes to correct in my old sites (e.g., using uncommon, low-paying keywords and keyphrases instead of the most common, high-paying variants), I spend hours and hours on this. Maybe one hour daily checking, analyzing, and acting on the latest Adsense and AM stats, and lately several hours per day fixing the legacy HTML code and page content.

In future, for all new pages on my legacy sites, also any new web sites, e-commerce considerations will be paramount. I will do my homework (check keyword/keyphrase popularity and ad payouts) before creating new content, also before undertaking any new site designs.

Live and learn.

rfung




msg:557510
 6:05 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

how much time would you say you spend each week checking your statistics, and making adjustments to each site?

1) all the time, more than it's healthy 2)all the rest of the time.

however one has to balance the 'opportunity cost' of spending time tweaking a current site vs the time spent put into a new one. I can let my sites 'decay' for a bit before I come back and do some maintenance.

tsinoy




msg:557511
 6:47 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)



Since I have so many mistakes to correct in my old sites (e.g., using uncommon, low-paying keywords and keyphrases instead of the most common, high-paying variants)

just quick question for everyone regarding this... if you did do a research what is a typical high-paying keyword? $1, $2 or is like in the $10 range or higher?

thank you for your comments.

berto




msg:557512
 7:27 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not at Google Adsense, but at Overture, I am finding that the keyword/keyphrase bids for my "product" site range from $0.xx to $xx.xx. Seeing that for many of my site's topics, the keyword bids are in the mid $x.xx range, I am encouraged to fix everything (including also, for example, chopping overly long pages into smaller, more focused pages) and stick with this site.

I haven't thoroughly researched my "cause" site yet, but my sense is that the Overture bids there range from $0.0x to the low $x.xx range, with an average bid in the low to middle $0.xx range. I'll stick with this site, because it is important to me personally, also because it has much more affiliate marketing potential than the "product" site.

Of course, I as web publisher would only get a fraction of the advertiser bids. Still, there's some relatively high payouts there.

I infer that the Overture bids are not that different from the Google Adsense bids. I'll be joining Adwords soon to verify this.

BTW, yesterday I did indeed, for the first time ever, and through a combination of both Adsense and AM, make >$10 from both my sites. Woohoo!

GuitarZan




msg:557513
 9:47 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hey,

If Adsense is a big part of your game, I have heard to go for a topic where the root word has at least 50 cent bids on Overture.

You don't have to pick a topic where people are paying many dollars per click...

All the Best,

C.K.

rfung




msg:557514
 12:01 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

BTW, yesterday I did indeed, for the first time ever, and through a combination of both Adsense and AM, make >$10 from both my sites. Woohoo!

Hey congrats! Every time those digits go up, it's a rush, isnt it? :)

vabtz




msg:557515
 1:20 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

is like a great scoreboard

except this one pays money

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