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I have a friend (good friend of WebmasterWorld in fact) that used to sell a broad product (let's say jewelry). She spent a very long time developing and promoting the site. Her results were about like yours.
Then she analyzed her keywords for the last year and found many people were coming to the site on specialty keywords and not general jewelry keywords. She'd not targeted those keywords.
She redid her site and tightened the focus on specialities. She when for occasions and dates : rings for valentines day, ear rings for an anniversary, and birth stones for each month with that month as a special. Her roi increased 20 fold in just 60 days.
She went back and started to spin off sites for each speciality. She studied her logs again and discovered that now people were coming in on even more tightly targeted words than before. She built pages around some things I'd never guess would work: "So your boyfriends a bum? You need a new necklace - you deserve it" or "Getting over your ex with a gold plated broach". She went so specialized that site became a phenom in it's own right.
The kicker? She did it all through affiliate programs. She's been so successful, that two of the manufacturers have offered to do branded versions of their products just for her - for free.
From what I've seen, a successful affiliate site is all about focus. Big broad all encompassing sites (topic portals/vortals) don't work very well. Do one thing and do it better than anybody else.
The last tip is simple, don't put anything on your site that you don't like when you are surfing someone elses sites. Things like popups, banners, hard to read css, or gratuitous flash. The lifespan of a gimmick is only a back button away.
That is probably the best advice anybody gave me.
It is especially important for the Web, which lends itself perfectly to niche targeted marketing. It was the mistaken beleif of many net newcomers a few years ago that the Web was just another mass market marketing vehicle that eventually spelt disaster for many web ventures.
Being new to all things Webmasterworld, could someone please
elaborate on what Brett mentioned in his excellent post on
more tightly/focused keywords/keyword phrases for a site or site page? Examples
or threads maybe?
** Maybe a "Keyword (and keyword phrase) Theme Pyramid" article Brett?? **
I ask because I'm thinking the text strings given, such as "rings
for Valentine's day" or (paraphrased) "bum boyfriend...need a gold broach" are not the
exact keyword phrases targeted -- or am I mistaken and these are the actual
keyword phrases the lady likely used?
Forgive the SEO newbiness of my question, but examples of a keyword phrase
pyramid or heirarchy would aid greatly in newbie understanding.
Thank you one and all for sharing,
My problem is every one that search for my keywords, is looking for something for free. Still I get about 80 -90 clicks on banners but no buying or anything else.
I think I need a company like doubleclick that pays per impression for each banner a visitor sees, but I dont have 1.000.000.000 visitors (yet), so some company that delivers the same but with only 50.000 visits a month.
Brett I would never put anything on my site that I dont like so no pop ups and thit stuff.
Thanks for the link, Mardi_Gras!
One question that comes to mind is site depth. The Theme Pyramid the
link goes to shows four levels down from the root of the site. I've
read folk's suggestions to create shallow sites no deeper than two
levels below root, so spiders are more likely to crawl all pages and
rate them as more valuable, since they are closer to the site root.
It sounds like the lady Brett mentioned created new shallow sites
rather than go deeper from the original site.
How deep should a site be? In general, is one better off to go deep,
or to stay shallow, spanning multiple sites if need be?
That's it in a nutshell.
If it's the site in your profile, your emphasis on "free" will be drawing lots of people who aren't in much of a shopping mindset. I also suspect you're getting a lot of teenagers who don't have credit cards to shop with. You'll need to give careful thought to stores/products that are a good match for that demographic (gambling banners are likely n o t a good match, no matter how attractive the commission). Look for merchants with long cookies. If a teen finds something on a site and comes back later to buy it with Mom or Dad's credit card, you want to be sure you'll still get credit for the sale.
I didn't look past your home page, so you might already be doing this, but one product line that might work okay with your topics and your traffic could be posters. CDs and movies specifically matched to by celebrity / movie might work too, as might teen clothes.
Try making some optimized sales pages that will turn up in searches for products people are looking for. The same product will sell much better if you can get it in front of people who are looking for that in the first place, instead of just hoping they'll spot something they like when they're actually on their way to do something else.
In the example Brett gave of the lady who spun off sites for each
specialty, I'm wondering what is OK linkwise between her sites with
the search engines?
For example, lets say the lady had her parent jewelry site with
general keywords, plus several highly focused spun off specialty
sites for each occasion and date with the highly focused keyword phrases.
If she linked all these sites together, but didn't have duplicate
content (except maybe link text keywords), would Google and other
search engines penalize her for having her own little "link farm"
Just not sure what is or is not OK.
Thanks for sharing,
- enjoy reading and returning too
- link to for the value of the site and content
This is the important factor really, you see to make any money on the web you need a high profile site simply because websites are a dime a dozen and chances are most highly trafficed websites are driven by search engines (my experiance). Starting with a great site enables one to gain links, and build up traffic to the site for people to enjoy the content. With a good link popularity search terms will rise to the top and traffic will flow ;-)
From here I have worked items in to my site that I feel every cook should not be without, and I do not through in items that truely do not belong. When I post a recipe for fish on my site I offer time and tempature guidelines but INFORM the reader that I really like to use a meat thermometer for best results. I let them know they are cheat and where they can get one fast online. I do not sell, I rarely use banners but instead work simple links into the content of the page. This is one statagy that works well and as my traffic contiues to grow by about 20% monthly (currenlty about 2000 uniques daily) people are picking these up.
It also pays to understand who is visiting you site. I worked with banners for a while but made little money. However I was able to better understand what motivated my visitors.
Example: I ran two banners for cooking.com .... a test if you would
1) banner was a "win a shopping spree" type banner from cooking.com
2) banner was a "discounted items at cooking.com"
I ran both banners for about two weeks and noticed that I recieved about 10 to one clicks on the "discounted items banner". This tells me that most of my surfers are warry of "winning" but would be intrested in "saving money buying discounted items". About a month ago I started to link to Amazon's discounted items (cooking related) and the sales started to come in. ;-)
Another stratagy I have started to use is to create "shopping pages" I do this in order to create pages to affiliate programs that are working for me such as art.com. I then build sub pages from this main "shopping page" and target key phrases that I research. Many webmasters in my niche create "cofee posters" and "vegetable poster" pages but people rarely search for these terms and this generates little money. So instead I work to learn of search terms that relate to affiliate programs that make sense to me and place these pages under my shopping page. Works like a charm.
[edited by: NFFC at 9:43 pm (utc) on July 31, 2002]
I suggest you start up another website and repeat your traffic success but by bringing visitors that are highly targeted for something that you can make a buck on. It might even be some affiliate programs with good online merchants that can convert your highly targeted traffic. Commission Junction is a good place to look. Build your website around several affiliate merchants offering similar products (it's called building a theme). Pick products you know a lot about and like writing about. Your knowledge will help you create content and beat out the competition.
Be advised that it's easy to get traffic for something you are giving away. It's much harder to get traffic for something that is profitable and competitive. But I think you're clearly on first base if you've learned to get 50K visitors a month even if they are the easy ones. Go set up a new site (free of any baggage) and see if you can't steal second.
What are your "magic sales keywords"? Think about what words will prequalify a visitor as looking for product.
If a visitor goes to a search engine looking for a clock to buy on the web, what would he type in? There are the standards:
buy, purchase, shop, shopping, compare, cheap, used, refurbished, price, register, clearance, visa, master card, credit card.
I've also noticed a small trend this last year towards things like, shopping cart, checkout, license, total, shipping, tax, vat, ups, usps, fedex, priority, next day, paypal, money order, secure.
There are quite a few similars but seems to me like every sector is going to be a bit different. You don't want to target those kw's, but you do want to try some of them, to see if they come up with other combos. It's a matter of trying to find which combo's are going to produce roi.
Well Im not giving up, my page have good placement on sites with over 1.5 mill sites and PRs of 9.
I have to find a company like doubleclick for small sites and I will work on a new page.
damn is this a good place to talk business.
all the best
People looking for "free" stuff are always a bit more difficult to convert into sales. One thing you might try is give them a taste for free but charge them for the rest.
I have a client site that offers a gift item, so we've gotten placement for the gift related search terms, but the vast majority of people who come to her site are definitely looking for something free and there's plenty of it. She's PR6, and major high profile sites have linked to her because of the abundance of her freebies.
She's got a professional marketing background, and it's still a mystery how she's done it, but she's got her navigation (which you cannot change) devised so that people who come in for the free stuff are led to a signup for her free newsletter, which also includes freebies.
When we started out, the majority of her actual sales were coming through the newsletter subscriptions - repeat visitors. So the strategy used was not to try to change that, but to broaden the number of keywords used the site would rank for, working down to very specific ones. We included both the ones that would draw more people in looking for the free content on a broader, more specific range, and also, tried to target the best ones possible for the potential buyers who were looking to purchase a gift. It's very niche across two types of keyword sets that are related, and in spite of high PR, started out with only one search term ranked for, which was not a highly searched one and too broad to do much good.
The whole plan revolved around broadening the scope. Once the major terms were focused on, those odd little words on pages started to get people using the oddest specific phrases - more combinations were created automatically, since it's such a big site that even just with links to pages there are loads and loads of words that ordinarily wouldn't be deliberately targeted but combined with the major words there was more coverage gotten than was even intended or expected. But apparently people search much more creatively than we'd think.
There are a lot of site types that are hindered by people looking for "free" because of the nature of the products, so it's a challenge to get those in, since thy might also turn into buyers (though with some things it's not very likely) and work with the same site to get buyers. With a few small sites I've had to deal with like this, I ended up going for gift type keywords, which on those particular type of items don't ever bring in much volume, but they work well on a seasonal basis.
I use several approaches:
1) As mentioned several pages are geared toward "discount items" for this I simply use a frames page with two frames a top and bottom page. The top page simply is a place holder for my banner leting people know there "with me and my site". The bottom frame is my affiates site page for discounted goods. This has worked well.
2) The shopping pages link from my navagation bar at the top of each page. This is done to try to sway some google pagerank to these sections. I then think about which products I want to feature and start to build basicly another website from the top "shopping pages" or catagory.
For instance, I like the poster and print affiliate programs and have done well with them. So the top page for this mine site is "Art Store" and from here I simply build down catagory> sub catagory> micro catagory ... ect ....
It is then impotant to play around with the linkage so pagerank (the might google god must be fead) is distributed where it is needed most.
3) I also have a Foreman Store and have done the same thing. Subpages one link in the nav bar on each page for max page rank ect ...
Hope this helps,
Brett has provided one of the most cogent explanations of how operating as an affiliate can work successfully. Thanks so much Brett.
I make a good living as an affiliate, and there are several others who contribute to this board who do the same. Some have earnings above five figures. I'm getting close to that. RC Jordan can tell you more about it.
The key, as Brett mentions, is highly targeted pages. Do not rely on banners. They basically serve as window dressing. Text links and images of the specific product you're targeting work best. You must provide well conceived content (ad copy) about what you're trying to sell.
You should have no illusions. This requires work!
Heh! G60, you old dog! You'll have every affiliate wannabe in 16 countries stickymailing me wanting examples. No can do --or I'll be shot.
(If there are any spots left, Pubconference [webmasterworld.com] is a good place to get to know the players.)
The point is that it can be done. There are no tricks or gimmicks that will get you there. Its intensive labor and working smart. Don't even begin to try, unless you're willing to focus and work hard. RC won't be able to tell you any more than what's been shared here.
In that regard, I, in fact, made some good contacts and picked up some valuable information about the affiliate game at the BarConference last winter, and hope to do the same at the PubConference. Look forward to seeing you there.