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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! :)
when you all say $100/day...you are meaning "net profit" right? post any advertising expenses?
The short answer is "YES". I have YET to see anyone mention any sort of amounts refering to revenue before expenses, except in those smart ass responses to "How can I make $1000/day" and someone says "spend $2000".
...personal pet peeve.
I hit this topic today to post that a site that I was about to abandon has just hit organic SERPs with the competators that I wanted to go after and was about to ask what to do next.
My problem is that I know I have the tools, and I know I have the traffic, now I just have to put the two together. I guess your post was exactly what I was looking for, inspiration! Thanks.
I'm bidding on a one keyword which is the name of the product - they go to my site where I pre-sell them with some positive reviews, and then I have a link to a "buy now" to the merchant. I'm paying 5 cents per click, and that puts me in position 3.2.
For this month:
1368 clicks - cost me $72.00
Out of these, 607 clicked through to the merchant, and 34 sales occurred, resulting in $223.62 in affiliate sales.
Where does luck come into play? I'm doing the same thing with 2 other products and no conversions there...
I really think that is the key to $300 and way beyond. Some people like to tinker with sites to try and make more money off of each site. I think that is great, and you can learn a lot in the process. Me, I won't mind trying that, but I would rather set a goal for each site and then keep building sites.
Say you have a modest goal of $10 per site per day. Keep building and you will be at $300 in no time.
When it comes to competitive industries where it's difficult to rank high for, and tweaking can mean a difference of $100 or more a day, than yes my time is probably better spent tweaking, as it took thousands of man hours to rank that website high.
And yes you can launch 30 sites earning $10 a day to earn $300 a day. I really dont see why not. If you're really motivated you could launch 100 sites earning $10.00 a day. This is the great thing about the internet, the profit potential is unlimited, you just have to think creatively.
MovingOnUp - I disagree with making a site everything it can be. This will lead to no diversification. I know you run a bigger site, and I think that is cool - It just isn't something I look to do right now. To create a big site from scratch takes time, a lot of it. If I were to turn every site I do into an authority site, I would have maybe 3 sites in the next 3 years. I don't like that thought.
Antoine - I agree. Thousands of man hours though? Must be super competitive or something.
All the Best,
you could launch 100 sites
Developing, lauching and do nothing (exept earning) or
Developing, launching, tracking, developing (earning more?)
The other thing is that if a site has reached $10/day, very often there is potential for a lot more. It seems I can spend the same amount of time turning that $10/day site into $100/day as I can creating 2 new $10/day sites.
One other thing is that people think diversifying is having dozens of little sites earning $10/day. In my opinion, that isn't really diversifying. When you have a ton of little sites that are all probably built in the same way, you have just as much chance of losing all 30(and probably a higher chance) than if you had 3 unique, useful, authoritative sites.
Perhaps the best solution: do both.
I highly doubt the chance of losing 30 sites, but stranger things have happened.
In the end there is no right way. Maybe doing both is best. Some like a lot of sites earning a bit of money (me) and some like bigger sites earning more money.
I say do whatever works for you.
All the Best,
P.S. The sandbox. Yes it is a pain. But it can be remedied by continuously developing sites. Give each site a 3-6 month timeframe, and keep building.
I occasionally launch sites in noncompetitive industries that are difficult to rank high for. In those industries if I earn $10 a day it's exactly what I'm expecting. I could tweak the site and earn an extra $2 - $5 a day but it's easier to launch another site.
I think you're really discounting the effects of being an authority site. It's not the difference between $10 a day and $15 a day. It might be the difference between $10 a day and $100 or more a day.
I disagree with making a site everything it can be. This will lead to no diversification.
I strongly agree that diversification is needed, but there has to be a balance somewhere between building a single authority site and building 1000's of fairly useless sites. Show me a site that was built in a day that provides true value. It'll be very rare.
Conroy provides a very good point about diversification.
To create a big site from scratch takes time, a lot of it. If I were to turn every site I do into an authority site, I would have maybe 3 sites in the next 3 years. I don't like that thought.
As I've said in other threads, I've built four sites in the past six years. Three surpassed $1000/day. (Surely, you like that thought.) I know many people who run sites similar to all three who don't make $10/day. What makes the difference? Being an authority site.
Now, speaking to diversity. These sites have all been in separate industries, with separate methods, and totally different concepts. None of them hit $1000/day at the same time. One is well past the peak, but still makes over $100/day from primarily organic traffic. One (that was the least useful site) is now under $50/day and will probably never come back. The newest one (and most useful) is well over $1000/day and still growing.
I'll take that any day over dozens of sites that might make $10/day.
[edited by: MovingOnUp at 7:44 pm (utc) on Feb. 26, 2005]
MovingOnUp I know where you are coming from, it's just not my style. If you know what you are doing, making a small site earn $10 per day or more is easy.
You said it yourself, your sites had their hayday, and now they are not producing as much now. With 50+ sites, if one or two or five drop down, no big deal, you keep building.
Yes there is a large # of small useless sites out there. What do you consider small. My sites are usually 30-50 pages, and definitely aren't useless. I actually do research each page I write on. The information isn't anything new or breathtaking, but it is information none the less.
I guess the best thing is to do whatever works for you. You like big sites, they obviously make you money so congratulations - You have found something that works.
Rfung - Very true. Some sites can go way higher than that. The sites that I am building actually have enough pages where the site will probably do more than $10, but I aim for $10
Basically there in no telling what will happen. I have a good friend that built a cookie cutter site (5 pages), that basically stunk (no offence), but he was pulling in $150-200 per day from it until the sandbox hit it.
To each his own.
All the Best,
The problem with the little niche stuff is that you limit yourself. I have a site that ranks #1 across the search engines for the keywords related to its niche, and it makes about $100/day. Now that's nothing to complain about.... but, that's about as high as it can go because it's at the top of its niche.
With a big site that spans multiple niches, you have room to make say $1000/day (I can dream) eventually. More than that, you've created something you could possibly sell to some corporation and make enough in the deal to retire off of (if it gets its traffic organically). So, that's my goal now. I still work on my little sites from time to time, but I'm trying to make the big one.
I'm also a Silicon Valley person but comparing American culture based on your experiences in Silicon Valley isn't exactly fair as living in New York would be nutty too, these are American extremes.
I grew up in the laidback midwest and started programming in small midwest companies and although we had a few crunch times now and then, it was very laid back compared to Silicon Valley. I finally migrated to Silicon Valley and got into the start-up company craze and did that for 10+ years, working crazy hours, but it's what people do to get the brass ring of stock options and the hope for early retirement. If you aren't getting that kind of compensation, it's not worth the extra time in my opinion unless you get paid hourly.
With all that said, about 5 years ago I walked away from a 6 figure high pressure engineering management position and never looked back. I do some consulting here and there but overall the web is filling the bulk of my income requirements.
The only advice I can give you is: DIVERSIFY!
If you rely solely on AdSense or a single affiliate program for the bulk of your income your world can turn upside down over night. I used to make great money from one affiliate program and the next thing I know, they defaulted on a payment and were dropped by CJ - ooops!
If you reply solely on a single web site, as I'm sure you've read many of the whining tales of woe, some change at Google/MSN/Yahoo can send your site into the internet shadows along with your income.
To build this as a sustainable business I have multiple web properties, AdSense, MANY affiliate programs, some other revenue share and drop ship arrangements with a few companies, and direct ad sales on my site. If AdSense alone takes a downturn, the others sustain my income and it would take a massive combination of nasty events to completely unravel my online business.
Good luck with yours!
I have started developing a few new project but nothing is really worth putting online yet. I have some great ideas, which should bring in at least $20 a day but I always get stuck at developing the design and content for these projects.
well today was turning out to be a nice revenue day, when around 3pm pst I start getting all these error emails (I get sent an email if there's a bug in the code). The issue? ALL of my sites are down as we speak, some server bug that the hosting company doesn't quite know what it is. I'm hoping by tomorrow they'll have figured out what it is, but I'm losing money in the meantime.
Lesson to learn? spread your sites around different hosting companies, no matter how much you are satisfied or like the one you have right now.