Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Affiliate Website Case Study | Inside My New Website

The "Secret Handshake" Revealed
There seems to be a secret handshake in the Internet Marketing world - unless you know that hand shake, to bad. Once you figure it out for yourself, then and only then will other marketers talk to you about what they do and how they do it. Not today.

Today I spell out for you the latest affiliate website I have been making and how I have managed to get it in Page Rank #1 within 23 days (kinda wish I checked PR sooner, it was probably there a week ago!)

So this is a bit of a case study website - I will be sharing with you the ins and outs of it's construction and how I have got it into Page Rank #1 before I even finished constructing it! 

This is the way I operate - I write  dozen articles for a content site like squidoo (in this case it's a banned topic that went unnoticed just long enough) or  Hubpages (who do not accept Clickbank links) or EzineArticles.

I watch and wait - I keep track of the traffic, which keywords brought them to my articles, which articles saw lots of traffic, which saw none and which ones were successfully getting people to click through.

I only build a site when I KNOW it's beneficial
I take my new found knowledge to a free blog - much like this one, or and start constructing a blog about those successful keywords/articles/topics.

I watch and wait - I keep track of which keywords bring people to me, which posts/topic are popular & which ones convert. Most of this is done with Google Analytics.

If that blog is successful at converting prospects into customers...I then know it is safe to invest my time, let alone money into building a website. In this particular niche, I have several blogs, one of which is here at Blogger (called My Marriage Mender).

I purchased the domain name on the 29th of June. Personally, I prefer a domain name that is catchy and memorable. I don't believe it has a huge impact on my page rank and I would prefer people to remember it. I like a generic type of domain name rather than one that is directly linked to a product because if that product doesn't convert, if the merchant stops selling it or it suddenly becomes associated with a s.c.a.m. then I don't want to be left with a domain I can't use. I can simply switch the product I am affiliated with to another similar one and continue on my way.The domain name I chose is

None. Besides what I have learned from the articles and the blogs. I did very little keyword research. I continue to promote the same products that I am using in my blogs, the same keywords and the same topics. This is why my articles, blogs website system works. By the time you get to the stage where you are ready to build a website, you already know how to work the niche.

The only preparation I really did was think about was the construction of the site itself:
  • The presentation, 
  • which sub-niches I was going to target
  • which keywords were already popular in the blogs
  • deciding which banners I wanted displayed
  • finding/making HTML codes for the banners (banners are pictures that once clicked on, will take user to another site, an affiliate site in this case)
  • finding photo's I could use.
Master site or mini-site? One product or many? There are pro's and cons of each and eventually, you need to have both. You should never put all eggs in one basket.

Mini-site dedicated to one product - This type of mini-site does have a place your affiliate marketing business plan, however they are temperamental. These sites get indexed quickly and they rank well because you are using the same keywords repeatedly throughout the site and use a keyword rich domain name. Your visitors are going to see you as the expert in the matter. On the other hand, if something changes - Google algorithm's or the merchant stops selling - you are risking your position in the Search Engines or the site itself will stop being profitable.

Master site & several products - These sites have a more generic name, they use a wider variety of keywords, they can take weeks, even months, to reach the same status in the search engines as a smaller counterpart. Howevaaah...

Once they do rank well, they have sticking power. They hold a lot more authority in the search engines and are difficult to shift you out of your Page Rank. Not only that, when your visitors come to your master site, they automatically perceive you as the expert in the niche, the go-to-guy, so they are more likely to take heed when you recommend something.

I went for a horizontal navigation bar with a drop down menu. I have four sub-niches and I am aiming for 5-10 pages per sub-niche. I have 3 banners in the side bar along with recent blog posts as there is a blog built into the website.

Rather than having a "Products" or "Services" page (which give the impression of having to spend money), I have a "Free Stuff" page...each product I am promoting has a free mini-course or newsletter - when visitors sign up, the merchant will continue marketing to them in my behalf. Sneaky, huh? (Note, the "Free Stuff" page here does have a few affiliate links but the overwhelming majority are totally, obligation free)

What The Buggery??
I usually start with page names and build from there. Once I have a page name and a title, I can add subtitles and then flesh out the content, add some pictures, some links and voila! Ready to publish.

For some reason I managed to start 30 something pages in this fashion, but as I began filling some of them with PLR article from Killer Content... the blog caught my eye. I reasoned that if I published some blog posts then I could start working on getting the blog indexed and start getting my new site "out there."

HA! As I published one of the blog posts...I also published the whole damned site!

There was stuff everywhere. I had no banners, no contact us page, no photo's, no affiliate links...25 odd pages with nothing on them at all. Nothing. When I checked the next day. Page Rank #8. OMGoodness?! I was indexed and on the first page of results and I have page after page of nothing...

So the race was on. There are about 30 pages in all. At this point I removed from the website the fifth sub-niche that I had intended to target. Once the website is established, new pages will index quickly so I'll re-install them later on.

Killer Content once again paid for itself - I spun a few articles, rewrote some others. I want the overall feel of the site to be personal and friendly so I spent more time than was really necessary on the content. About half of the site is my own original writing, the other half is PLR articles from Killer Content that have been spun and edited beyond recognition.

It was sometime a week later when I logged in and realized that I was already seeing a drizzle of traffic - 5 unique visitors, one of whom was myself, and one of whom had already left my website via an affiliate link! It's an empty site, yet was ranked on Page 1, was getting traffic, and seeing that traffic click trough. Sometimes you just get lucky, I am stoked about it!

Ta-da!! 23 days after purchasing this domain name I finally published the last page - the last original page, I have others in the making but these are the original pages that had been published ahead of time. I had a brief celebration with my Facebook friends before I thought about starting my backlink campaign...I have done virtually nothing in the way of SEO to this site as I've been to busy trying to get content in the existing pages to worry about more visitors or building backlinks.

This case study of my newest affiliate website is far from over. Most of the pages were published with little to no SEO let alone my regular standard of RRO (Reader Relationship Optimization). So the plan is to take a few days off then set about going page by page - one page per day if I have to - and ensuring that all the finishing touches are in place.

I intend to add a new content box at the bottom of each page asking readers "What would you like to do now?" and offer them a range of calls to action in disguise. Both internal links (to my other webpages) and external links (affiliate links to the sales page or free mini course page) will be on offer to readers.

There are another 10+ pages waiting in the wings, I intend to add the other sub-niche as soon as I have finished an initial backlink campaign.

Backlinks? So far, I have blogged about this site at my personal blog (Elizabeth Nesbitt's Blog) and that's it! As I go through page by page optimizing it for the search engines AND for people, I will head over to Social Monkee and submit ach page individually.

If you aren't familiar with Social Monkee, they allow free members to make 25 backlinks per page in one easy hit. The Firefox plugin won't work with my 5.0 version however - bummer, I enjoyed it while it lasted!

So...I will be making a video soon about this site, you are invited to have a nosy around and see it's make up - how it has been designed and what a profitable site should look like. Yes, it is profitable - I have already covered the cost of the domain name (and about an hour of time!)

If you want to talk about it, you know where to find me. If you want me to build a website for your own business, you know where to find me. If you want some help to turn your site into a site that see's the front page of search results, you know where to find me!

If you're not already following, go ahead now before you forget because I will me making a big old fuss about this case study of an affiliate site in the coming weeks as I completely dissect this site and what I have done and will do with it.

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