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I am happy to say that this week with school starting, I broke the $20/day barrier...this month I will make the most ever so far at about $800 or so, all profit!
I sell BOOKS from Amazon, among other things. Not a big money maker, and tons of others do the same, so I am not too worried about being secretive about it :)
It also illustrates that one can pick up any product and break into the market and make some extra money. I don't know about you but $800 isn't pocket change for me :) 20" LCD monitor here it comes ;)
One thing I have to say to noobs about what they should do is , JUST DO IT!. Build a site, even if it has one page. It takes a few weeks to a couple months to get found by the search engines, so it's important that you at least get your domain going. Of course the more pages you have upfront, the easier it will be for you to be found.
Once you have the barebones of a site, I would really start getting some content. Write about a hobby of yours if you feel there's enough interest out there. Try and add an article every week or so. Break big articles into multiple pages, etc. Only YOU can decide what to build your site on. Read some of the more exhaustive threads on the topic on this forum.
I would say that the most important thing afterwards would be inbound links. I contacted over 300 sites in the span of a year. Find out what sites link to your competitors, then ask them to link to you. Obviously the better content you have, the better luck you will have with getting webmasters to link to you.So, content again.
Link exchanging boosted up my site to Pr5, and got me in the first page of serps for some major keywords, which in turn has netted me affiliate sales and adsense income. Whereas before I would have to seek out link partners, these days they find me!..it's quite an 'ego trip' when your site gets to be the one others are requesting link exchanges with! I've even had pr6 and pr7 sites sending me requests.
Anyway - I just wanted to share this , and hopefully it will serve as a motivation for those trying to break into the field.
It can be done!...
The real answer is probably close to 100-300 people in most niches I'd imagine, at least the ones I am dealing with.
So you're seeing conversion rates of less than 1%?
In estimating budgets, we're looking at conversion to sales rates of 0.5% or even 0.25% - 1 in 200. I considered as a worst case scenerio 1 in 400 but its hard to make the numbers work.
However a client I've started running Adwords for is seeing about 2% conversion, which matches what he normally gets with his store.
How does this gel with what everyone else is doing?
Lesson: "For fun" sites aren't where the money is unless you've got insanely high traffic numbers.
I know I have. that's how I got started, and it's still my biggest money maker.
it can also give you an authority site to tinker with: it's a lot of fun to drop some keyword pages on your hobby site domain and throw some incoming links at them and rank almost instantly. sure beats the sandbox. :)