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Stop Hate for Profit: Peloton spends 76% of their marketing budget on Facebook, while 180+ companies are quitting the platform over hate speech. Why won't Peloton join the boycott?
submitted by ClipIn to pelotoncycle [link] [comments]
180+ Companies are boycotting Facebook; Peloton isn't.
In the past week major brands - Verizon, Adidas, Unilever, Honda, and Hershey’s - to name a few - joined a global boycott
of advertising on Facebook. They join a list of over 180 companies agreeing to "Hit Pause on Hate," (some are listed here
) by not advertising on Facebook in the month of July. The boycott has been organized by the Anti-Defamation League
, Color of Change
, the Free Press
, Common Sense
, the NAACP
, and Sleeping Giants
- to name a few.
The goal is to send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism, and violence. Facebook took $70 billion in ad dollars; but did you realize it's the ONLY social media platform Peloton officially recognizes? Peloton spent 76% of their marketing budget
there from 11/16/2018 - 12/15/19! Peloton has heavily advertised on FB - and promoted the platform - for years. Marketing efforts have long been led by Carolyn Tisch Blodgett
and “community” efforts led and overseen by Jayvee Nava
. While many of you were pointing out
the longstanding toxic environment of their Facebook page, Peloton still left it largely unmoderated. Even going so far as patting themselves on the back with a “200k strong
” badge, and bragging about it multiple times
on their public blog. They push users to Facebook via links on every page of their website; its mentioned 92 times on the company blog; in every email from John Foley; and on the bike, Tread, and apps pop-ups encourage users to sign up for Facebook accounts and link their Peloton login. Peloton doesn't just advertise on FB, they actively encourage users participate there.
Peloton spent $324 million on marketing
- 35% of sales - in the 12 months ended June 2019. With 76% dedicated
to Facebook, that's $246.24 million.
Let’s put that $246.24 million into perspective. Money spent on a platform promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence. What would that money buy? It's 6,313,846 monthly subscriptions, or 109,684 bikes, or 57,332 Treads, or 5 brand new studios, or 4.5x their entire annual R&D budget, or 15x their music costs. Strikingly, just one-month ago - weeks after protests began - Peloton pledged $500k
to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, even while continuing their Facebook presence.
Over the years that Peloton has been relying on Facebook as its sole community platform and major advertising partner, Facebook has used Peloton's money by:
- Allowing incitement of violence against protestors fighting for racial justice in America in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many others.
- They named Breitbart News a “trusted news source” and made The Daily Caller a “fact checker” despite both publications having records of working with known white nationalists.
- They turned a blind eye to blatant voter suppression on their platform.
What could Peloton have accomplished with that same $246.24 million?
- Paid the entire expense budget of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, more than 16x.
- Met the Rayshard Brooks fundraising effort - 985 times.
- Met the Justice for Breonna Taylor fundraising effort - 492 times.
- Met the George Floyd Memorial Fund's goal - 164 times.
- Paid for 81% of the ACLU's entire 2019 budget.
- Paid the total expenses for the National Police Accountability Project charity - 1,087 times.
- Fulfilled many of the fundraising efforts in this NYMag list of 142 ways to donate in support of Black lives and communities.
Facebook could protect and support Black users. They could call out Holocaust denial as hate. They could help get out the vote. But they are actively choosing not to do so. 99% of Facebook’s $70 billion is made through advertising. Meanwhile, Peloton has been dedicating 76% of its marketing spend on Facebook. Here's some examples
. They're in the top-five spenders
of direct-to-consumer brands. Peloton could send a very direct message here, but their silence is deafening. Not only are they NOT taking a stand, they continue to send messages to all subscribers asking them to become users at Facebook, further increasing Facebook ad revenue.
It's time we asked Peloton to stop standing with Facebook; stop advertising there; stop running their only "official" page on a platform promoting hate and violence. It's time Peloton put its corporate money - our subscription dollars - toward a platform that does not promote hate speech, racism, bigotry, antisemitism, and violence. Helpful Links For anyone who wasn't aware, /PelotonCycle was started-by and is run by-and-for Peloton members. We are not affiliated with Peloton Interactive. We started in 2015 with the goal of elevating the Peloton conversation. We seek to exchange info, ideas, intel about Peloton; selflessly helping each other become better athletes and people. Over the years we've seen members do some amazing things, including create the BlueHeart app, and start a monthly cycling challenge that became what we now know as Monthly Challenges. A bot was created here from scratch which tags your Leaderboard name - and keeps your achievements updated 4x/day. We celebrate Milestones every Monday; including those streaks and achievements that Peloton doesn't recognize. On most days, I see threads full of people selflessly helping each other out of the goodness of their hearts. In my view, that's the very spirit of sport.
What you, yes you - the person reading this - and the others around you have built, over years, has helped countless people. We don't publicly post our traffic, because we're really more focused on helping each other and don’t feel the need to emphasize subscribers as the sole marker of a successful community. But over 900,000 people visit here in a given month. Over 4 million unique pageviews. In May 2020 alone you posted 1,096 threads with a combined 24,983 comments. The vast majority were detailed, helpful, informative, interesting, value-added info you generously shared with your fellow members out of the goodness of your heart.
As always, keeping our rules enforced fairly and evenhandedly, and generally running this massive place, would be an impossible endeavour if not for FrauKoko and Kraphtyone. We owe a big thanks to NCBarkingDogs who spends countless hours keeping the bot's gears greased.
What Reddit is doing You may have seen the news Reddit's sitewide owners have banned a number of communities, added a Black board member, and updated their content policy. If you don't know reddit's sitewide rules, they're worth checking out here.
Here in /PelotonCycle we have always maintained a stricter set of rules, including "be kind" (R2), "criticism is welcomed, but don't use it as an excuse to push an agenda" (R6), and a broad view (R7) that "personal attacks, slurs, or comments that insult or demean a specific user or group of users" is inappropriate, considered spam, the content will be removed and you may be banned without warning. We have for a while now been banning links to Facebook or removing content that promotes FOMO when discussing Peloton on FB. More on that policy here.
Wrap Up: What can I do? Someone recently asked me, "what can I do to help?" and my answer is: a) use the vote buttons, and b) click "report" on anything you feel is rule-breaking.
We're community-run. Meaning, your votes move content up/down the page. If it shouldn't be seen, downvote it. If more people should see it, upvote it. If it's rule-breaking -- that goes for any post or any comment, click the "report" button. That immediately sends a 100% anonymous alert to a shared moderator inbox and allows us to act on inappropriate content quickly. If you have an issue with a specific mod, please let me know. If you have an issue with me (and don't want to PM me), please let another mod know. None of us make money off this place; none of us have ever made a single penny here. We endeavour to fairly and evenhandedly enforce our rules. We endeavour to promote a place that's open, transparent, informative, fun, helpful. A place you can make friends, laugh, relax, share stories and info. A place you can interact while being as anonymous as you like (a reddit account doesn't require your real name or even an email, for example); we value user privacy here. We value honesty, integrity, fairness, generosity, fresh ideas, open debate. I'm really proud of what you all have built here. We seek to be better -- better athletes, better people.
Beyond improving this specific Peloton community for all humans, it is time we asked the same of Peloton, too. It's long, long overdue for Peloton to step away from Facebook, build worthwhile community features into their own app/website/platform. To be clear, we are not asking Peloton to take over this page. This is not a self-serving call to action. It is asking Peloton to stop promoting hate by choosing to use Facebook as its social platform; by choosing to spend an overwhelming portion of its astronomical budget on Facebook advertising; asking Peloton to stop giving lip service to community, and start investing real $’s and resources into building the same “community” features that FitBit, Garmin, Suunto, and other platforms have created. Into their own ecosystem. Their own website, apps, hardware.
Put simply: Peloton, stop promoting hate by spending money on Facebook. You can share your support by emailing [email protected], up-voting this post, and leaving a comment below.
Blogging & YouTube Income Report for 2020 So Far ($16k per month)
submitted by themodestman to Entrepreneur [link] [comments]
Hey all, it's been a while since I posted an income report here. If anyone is interested, here are links to my previous posts on /Entrepreneur
Idk why I stopped posting here...sorry about that.
I did publish a 2018 year-in-review and income report on my actual blog (The Modest Man), which you can read right here
if you'd like.
My name is Brock, and I run a content site ("blog") called The Modest Man, along with a YouTube Channel under the same name. I did this part time for a few years before going full time about 4 years ago.
HERE'S A TL;DR CATCH UP: 2018 Revenue: $117k
(Halfway through that year, I partnered with a menswear brand, getting a small equity stake and joining the team part time. So my content business was sort of on the backburner for the second half of the year, hence no growth YoY.) 2019 Revenue: $126k
(Last year, I was still working at least half time - often more - for the menswear brand, but I did see a little bit of growth with my content business. The position forced me to get better at outsourcing in my own business. I decided to leave that position in December to focus on my business full time again. Luckily, the business was in better shape than ever 2020 Revenue Jan-Jun: $96k 2020 Monthly Profit So Far: $12,198
(roughly 75% margin)
This comes from Ads, Affiliate Programs and Sponsored Content
. If you want the nitty gritty on these categories, see my Q1 report
and Q2 report
. Ironically, working for someone else for a while really lit a fire under my butt to get things streamlined for growth in my own business.
In 2020, I've been focussing on "e-mything" my operation as much as possible, although there's still a long way to go.
HERE ARE A FEW THINGS I'VE LEARNED: Hiring professional writers is worth it
, and ProBlogger is the best place to find professional freelance writers. If you want to see the process I use to hire via ProBlogger, here it is
. It's a numbers game once your site is established.
If you have a blog (content site) with decent domain authority, the name of the game is publishing more content. This includes refreshing old content (here's a case study/process
Publishing a new post is like taking a shot on goal. More shots on goal = more chances to score.
Yes, your content has to be good, but not Pulizter Prize good. Quality is always a good play, but quality + quantity is how you get rich in the digital media game. I focus on different metrics now.
Rather than looking at traffic, I keep an eye on the number of keywords
my domain is ranking for. I want to see this number increase over time. This is a leading indicator for traffic. I use Ahrefs to track this. While I still look at top line revenue, I keep a close eye on truly passive income
. This is income from my website (not YouTube or social media) that comes from affiliate programs and display ads. It doesn't include sponsored content because that's not passive. I focus on this number because it matters most to potential buyers
, and I'd like to sell this website at some point in the future. They want to buy money-making websites, not influencer businesses or YouTube channels. So, even though on paper Q2 2020 was revenue was down from Q1, passive income was actually up. Good news!
MY CURRENT GOALS... Now, I'm still making YouTube videos
and taking on sponsors when it makes sense. It's not passive, but it definitely brings in cash that I can use to live and fund the business. My main goal is to grow the website
with a more aggressive publishing schedule (3 posts per week), which is only possible with a great team of freelance writers, plus two assistants who do all the formatting, etc. I'm currently putting about $2-3k per month into content
and focusing on content with plenty of organic potential and/or affiliate opportunities. If you have any questions about my business or the digital media game in general, feel free to ask!
Case Study 1: Month 48. $4k/m.
submitted by xferok to juststart [link] [comments]
Semi-regular commenter here: this has been a long time coming. I’ve been a 'Just Starter' for over 4 years. I figured it’s time to share my story, lessons learned, and try to open up some good discussion.
I know we've all been frustrated at the lack of original content on here (shout out to all the Case Study: Month 1 posts) so hopefully this gives you something to read. So, instead of Month 1, here's Month 48!
I originally found Humble’s first case studies not long after he posted them. I was already looking at ways to make money online, and was instantly hooked.
With my web developer friend we made a broad home site, and I started writing. Basically just doing best of lists of blenders, ice cream makers, etc. I went through a summer of productivity: getting up at 5.45am before my office job and blasting out writing on the daily.
1 year later, with around 50 posts, two pages struck gold and we peaked at $2,700 in a month from US Amazon affiliate income. These were seasonal pages and a July heatwave helped a ton. It quickly died back off in the winter.
After that summer, productivity nosedived (I got a girlfriend). But sporadically kept building the site. Our income never got back to that peak, but the next summer saw a few $2k months. That's when I started to think doing this full time was possible. My job had become badly managed, and I wanted to move away from the city. So despite the site still making peanuts most months, I quit my full time job on July 1st, 2019.
1 Year Later
This year has flown by so quickly. I wondered so much about what it would be like to do this full time, and now here we are. Here’s the year in summary:
- I’m nowhere near as productive as I thought. Initially my targets were an article published every 3rd day (including weekends) plus producing lead magnets, running outreach, etc. I was still the only writer. Turns out I can’t really stretch the 1-2 focused hours squeezed in around a job into 8-12 focused hours daily. Staying productive and focused has been (and still is) a challenge.
- I remember Humble saying he works 12 hours a day without even noticing. Sometimes I get that, but often it's more of a battle. Especially during quarantine.
- Still, the last few months have seen the full-time efforts kick in – we’ve been getting more traffic than I thought possible (peaking around 4k hits/day) and livable income from it.
- Until the Amazon cuts, that is. My plan was to hit my old salary (circa $4k/m) then diversity away from Amazon into other affiliate programs. We were just about there when Amazon decimated our income. Damn you Bezos.
- Due to the seasonal growth coming back and the momentum we have, our results are still growing despite the cuts. From the outside it looks like there wasn’t a change and it’s normal growth – but in reality we would've hit $7k last month.
- After some trial and error I now have a fantastic writer publishing 2 posts a week ($40/1000 words). This allows me to focus more on outreach, skyscraper posts, and building out a new site.
- Not having a standard job is scary. There’s no pension plan, no career path, and Amazon/Google could screw you in a moment’s notice. Don’t get me wrong – I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world. But it does change things.
- I cannot describe how much I miss working in cafés/libraries! Those were the life and soul of my work routine.
- My dream (and inspiration to do this) was to travel the world while earning a real income. I was meant to leave for South America 2 months ago. Can't wait to grab the first plane ticket out of the UK in the next few months.
Traffic & Earnings Traffic
: https://imgur.com/ofnjfVa The recent ‘explosion’ has been from the many informational posts I wrote after going full time. These are now finally maturing. Even with an established site it's still taking 3-6months for many of our posts to mature fully. Also we're still more summer focused than anything - still trying to get away from that. Earnings
(Amazon rate cut was April 21st). These don’t include UK/Canada which run at around 10% of US income. I couldn't get our earnings from the start - Amazon only goes back 2 years. Until 2020, earnings were entirely from Amazon’s affiliate programs. Recently we signed up to Ezoic, though we were getting sweet f all ($6.5/1000 sessions). In the last month we switched to Mediavine and it’s changed everything. We’re seeing $25/1000 sessions, currently bringing $70+ a day. This alone has almost offset the Amazon cuts.
Our Strategy I want to touch on how we’ve built the site, since that's always what I'm most interested in when reading other studies. Ours is about as simple a setup as you can imagine.
Until I went full time, 90% of our posts were simple ‘best of’ lists. These were lower competition keywords. We didn’t build a single backlink (mostly due to my lack of trying). Most of our success came from playing with the wording of semi-long tails. (For example instead of best blender, most reliable blender). Though this is getting harder with semantic search getting better.
Lately I’ve been doing more informational posts, with some
level of link building to our top affiliate ones. These are 10x easier to rank for and, with a decent ad network, a good money maker. Keyword Research
Nothing fancy here.
I’ve used a combination of Ahrefs (batching via their $7/7days trials) and Income School’s “alphabet soup” method to find keywords. Always manually checking the competition before committing to anything. Article Setup
All on-page SEO is now covered in a publish checklist. Mostly watching out for:
- Short URL’s
- Optimized Images
- Easy to read vocabulary
- Highlighted text
- Snippet magnets
I try to keep it up to date with the latest coming out of Authority Hacker, Backlinko, Ahrefs case studies.
Luckily my friend is a web dev wizard, so our theme is entirely custom with some slick formatting for product reviews, pros/cons, etc. This gives us a high authority look which I can only imagine helps. Backlinks
Up until recently I hadn’t built a single backlink for the site.
We’d been pretty lucky with the keywords we went for – and mostly still are. There are very few posts I’ve actively built links to, and I’ve yet to deliberately win a medium/hard keyword with strategically built links.
That said, I’ve been trying to do much more in terms of link building. Especially now that I have the time. I’ve really noticed that it’s not about getting 400 money pages, but striking gold with 5-10 of them. We have 160 posts and the 80/20 principle definitely applies to the results we see from them.
Mostly the link building has been a case of shotgun skyscraper (Authority Hacker) and a few exchanges or paid links here and there. I’ve not had too much success, but I'm looking forward to sticking at it until we do. I’ve been inspired by the massive success jumstakl
was sharing from this, and want to master it to his level. Though I do appreciate it's all pretty outdated now.
That said, our current top post (25% of all traffic) is a fairly random informational post that I’ve never built links to. For some reason it just topped a very nice SERP in Australia. Can't complain. Content
One advantage we've had (imo) is in original, well researched content.
Having written over 150,000 words for this site I've gotten pretty quick at putting out articles. I typically take notes on every post in the top 10 results, collate that into one larger outline, and write. There's so many outsourced posts out there that sound like they were written using a Cambridge Thesaurus - so I try to keep things super conversational and easy to read.
The goal for this site is to keep maintaining what we have while continuing to build. I want minimal input for day-to-day writing, with my only involvement being keyword research, high quality posts, and outreach.
On top of that, I want us to hit a few ‘big’ keywords too. Topics with decent competition where our quality and real links get us to the top and blow up our income.
My ultimate goal is to hit $10k/month in income. This would be huge for me, give me friend some massive side income help (he gets 20%), and put us at a sale value that could buy an apartment. Strategy
I desperately need to work with other affiliate programs away from Amazon. This has been something I thought would take days to fix, but I’ve spent ages analyzing potential affiliates and yet to make a sale with any. We’ve started on two silos built for new affiliate programs, so hopefully these will give some good returns.
From what I understand it’s going to be hitting huge success with smaller affiliate programs that will allow you to cruise past 5 figures a month in income. Though I'm a bit paralyzed because it feels like branching out into a new world – rather than the same old rinse and repeat I’m used to with Amazon.
Ask Me Anything There’s obviously much more to our site than I can cover in one post. So AMA! It’s lockdown and I’m bored: if you want to know anything just ask. I may reply slowly, but I will reply.
- I’d just like to shout out the mods for keeping this subreddit going. I literally wouldn’t be doing this without this sub (and Humble who started it). Thank you.*
- I’d like to agree with the recent sticky – there’s too much spam on here recently. I feel like Humble would lose his mind at the amount of shitposts. It’s up to all of us to report the dumb questions for the automod to remove, and to discourage the ‘Case Study: Month 1’ spam.*
- Are there any other communities you guys subscribe to for sites above the $1k/month mark? Speaking regularly to others with established sites would be a massive help - outside of this forum I don't really have anyone to talk to. Would love to become part of a community and make a few friends who also run sites like mine. If there’s anyone like that on here – particularly based in the UK – please hit me up!
Thanks for reading.
State of the subreddit, 400k subscribers edition
submitted by ubernostrum to magicTCG [link] [comments]
A little over a year ago we hit 300,000 subscribers in /magictcg
, and we did a series of "state of the subreddit" posts to talk about some things that were going on and that we wanted to do in the future. Here's the last of that series
This week we hit 400,000 subscribers, and there's a lot of stuff going on, so here we are again.
We rolled out the updated subreddit rules
last year. Aside from rule 8, and some of the people who've been on the wrong end of rule 1, people seem to be OK with the rules. Most of the drama last time around was the content-creator guidelines, and once we got that settled after a few rounds of feedback and changes, people have seemed pretty happy with that too. The one-per-week self-link policy has mostly held up well, and we haven't had to do much enforcement of it.
When we think someone is violating the one-per-week limit for promoting their content, we've been following a process of:
- Remove excess posts.
- Message the user to let them know we think they're over the limit.
- If they continue to go over the limit after that, try a temporary ban, and escalate that if they still don't change their behavior.
In about a year of enforcing the new content-creator guidelines, we've issued one permanent ban that I'm aware of for repeat violations.
We set up post flair, and at first we relied on a combination of AutoModerator guessing flairs from post titles and sending automatic reminders to people asking them to flair their post when it couldn't be sure what the right flair would be. More recently, reddit's been rolling out the ability to require flair selection at the time the post is submitted. We have this turned on, but it doesn't work on every version of reddit. I know it does
work on new-design desktop, for example, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't work on old-design desktop. Since it's not universally enforced by reddit, we still have AutoModerator doing what it's been doing.
We've had several people ask why there's no "Discussion" or "Help" flairs. The answer is we've been trying to avoid super-generic categories like those, because just about any post could arguably use them. "I want help with a rules question, so I'll tag Help", for example, or "I want people to discuss this deck, so I'll tag Discussion". So we don't currently have plans to add those kinds of flairs. We are looking at adding some for expanding categories like people sharing Magic-related apps they've built, or posting links to forums/subreddits/Discords for specific formats, deck archetypes, communities, and so on.
We've also tried to clean up the subreddit sidebar, make it more useful than it was before, and keep its content consistent across all of reddit's various designs and platforms. We know some people miss the old magic-expanding list of Magic-related subreddits, but the expand/collapse effect only worked on the old desktop reddit design, and that version of the sidebar has a 10,000-character limit on what text we can put in it. So we moved that out to a wiki page
, and now the sidebar links to that page. The new desktop reddit design has support for a calendar widget, and we've experimented a bit with that as a way to have upcoming events/products automatically show up at the right times, but unfortunately it doesn't work on old desktop reddit, and doesn't support much in the way of rich content. So the sidebar is manually updated for now.
Something that's gotten a more mixed response is a change to how we use AutoModerator. There are several triggers in our automod setup that try to give stock responses to some common and repetitive types of posts. For example, if you make a post that seems like it's asking for help identifying a foreign-language card, or what set a card is from, AutoModerator will trigger and post advice and links on how to do that.
There are also some triggers that remove certain types of posts our subreddit rules don't allow. An example there is people posting to share or ask for Arena codes; AutoModerator will remove those posts and leave a comment explaining that transacting Arena codes isn't allowed here, and suggests where to go to do that. Especially during prerelease weekends when people spam tons of excess codes, and /MagicArena
usually has a consolidated thread for them, this saves a lot of time and effort (the reason they're not allowed, incidentally, is that posts of codes "expire" almost instantly because someone browsing /new will use the codes, and then turn into long threads of frustrated "those are already used, anyone got more" comments).
For several other common types of posts that violate the subreddit rules, we have similar triggers in place that remove the post and leave a comment telling the user what rule AutoModerator thinks was broken, and to message us for manual review if AutoModerator got it wrong. The majority of false positives are for the tired/repetitive posts rule, and specifically for posts that look like "what's your favorite guild" or "what's your favorite deck" (or planeswalker, or flavor text, or art...), which we used to get a lot
of before we started removing them. Tuning AutoModerator to catch these without also removing other things has been difficult, and we may just give up on that one and do something more manual.
The rotating weekly threads like Tutor Tuesday and the weekly buy/sell/trade thread took a hiatus during the first wave of the COVID pandemic. We were getting ready to bring those back this week, but we've ended up wanting to use the sticky slots (we only get two at a time) for other things. They will come back again in the near future. We'd love to just be able to set AutoModerator to post them and move on, but its scheduled-post functionality seems to be awfully flaky, and mod-support forums are full of people who've been unable to get it to work, so for now they'll be happening under a non-automod account instead.
What's still ongoing
There's a recurring question we've never been able to get or give a clear answer to: "What is this subreddit about?"
In theory we're a large general Magic forum. But that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. In earlier eras, we (the mods) mostly let people push specific types of content out of /magictcg
and into more narrowly-focused subreddits by saying "don't post that here, post it in (other subreddit)". Which is great for those subreddits, and many of them have turned into thriving communities in their own right. But it leaves the question of what still goes here. Those of you who complain that it's all either spoilers, drama, or alters and arts and crafts will be familiar with this. It's not quite
true that that's all the content we see here, but it does describe a significant amount of the content that gets posted here.
This also manifests itself in the experience people have posting here. The other day on Twitter someone compared /magictcg
to a subreddit for a different hobby, saying that in the other subreddit they could post a question and get lots of "I don't know but I'm upvoting so other people will see it and answer", while here they would get a bunch of immediate and probably correct answers, and also be downvoted to oblivion. Which is a weird phenomenon, but does line up with what we've seen happen.
In previous posts like this, we've put up some ideas for how we could recruit and promote a wider variety of Magic content here and asked for people to tell us what they think, but we've gotten very little engagement on that. We're still very much open to ideas and feedback, and this is something we can't just solve on our own. For exmaple, something I've proposed a few times is trying to have regular spotlights/"best of" roundups from other Magic-related subreddits posted here, which both provides quality content here and helps get attention on those subreddits, but that requires people with strong knowledge of specific communities and the enthusiasm to put in the effort of doing the roundups on a regular and ongoing basis. In other words, it's not something we
can just wave a magic mod-wand and do; we need the community to step up and tell us what kind of content they want to see here, and help to produce and promote that content.
Another ongoing debate is how we should handle crowdfunding campaigns; the rules currently state that they require pre-approval and get one post (to stop the flood of daily and sometimes hourly
updates some Kickstarters tried to do here). But for a while now we've been enforcing a moratorium on those, largely because of the high volume coming from/affiliated with one specific entity. We stopped approving any crowdfunding campaigns temporarily as a way to be fair and not show favoritism or single anyone out, and we're not sure how to proceed from there, so ideas are welcome.
Our relationship with Wizards of the Coast
I shouldn't have to say anything about this, but it's a meme that won't go away and that people seem to trot out when they want to generate outrage directed at us. As the sidebar says, this subreddit is not produced, endorsed, supported by, or affiliated with Wizards of the Coast. Nor are any of the moderators employees of or compensated by Wizards of the Coast for what we do. We not only allow but often promote content that's critical of WotC, and of the state and direction of the game, and Wizards of the Coast has no say in how we moderate here.
WotC has some accounts that they use to post things here. We don't interfere with them doing that. Sometimes we've stickied their posts for things like Pro Tours (or whatever they're called now), but mostly that's laziness -- it saved us the trouble of making the threads ourselves, because in the days when in-person Magic was a thing we used to have a sticky thread most weekends for discussing whatever big tournaments were going on. Some WotC employees also have had individual reddit accounts here. We've tried our best to flair those accounts so you know when you're interacting with them, the same as we've flaired SCG and CFB staff, and some notable pro players, artists, and other Magic figures who've popped up here.
They do send us a preview card most sets. Only one member of our mod team sees those, and also handles posting them on the appointed day. We do not give WotC any preferential treatment in exchange.
Speaking for myself: during my judge career, I was under temporary contract to WotC a few times as staff for Pro Tour events. My last PT was Battle for Zendikar. I chose to let my L3 certification expire, and ceased to be a judge of any level, in 2017. Outside of that, my relationship with Wizards of the Coast has ranged from neutral to occasionally outright adversarial. As, for example, when I took down the judge community and event-staffing site (which I hosted and ran out of my own pocket) to protest actions they'd taken toward some of my fellow judges. My post and comment history is public, and a quick browse of it -- especially highly-voted/gilded stuff -- should dispel any notion that I give or would give special favorable treatment to WotC.
I don't expect any of this to stop people who say we're paid WotC shills who remove anything that criticizes the company, but I hope it does inspire you not to listen to such people, and maybe also to question what they stand to gain (often, traffic to their sites/articles/videos) from making such claims.
The thing you came here to talk about
In theory this subreddit has ten human moderators, plus the AutoModerator bot and the "magictcgmods" account, which is a shared account that has mod privileges so it can do stuff like sticky posts. It was created with the idea that it could do the recurring daily topic threads since those were supposed to be coming back this week, and although I could have used it for this post, I've always done the state-of-the-subreddit posts and don't mind having them associated with my personal account.
In practice, not all of those moderators are active, and the ones who are, aren't active all the time. I'm not going to quote specific numbers or call people out, because it's not relevant here. And of the mods whose activity is low or declining, it's mostly been gradual enough that we don't feel it most of the time, because this is a pretty low-maintenance subreddit from the mod perspective.
That's probably a statement some people will find surprising and that they'll instantly disagree with, so I'll explain a bit: especially in relation to the size of this subreddit, it's kind of shocking how little human intervention is needed most of the time. We have some pretty dedicated trolls, for example, but they almost never come up with new material and so a few battle-tested AutoModerator rules take care of most of the trouble they try to cause. Most days, all we really need is a couple people who'll check the mod queue and modmail box occasionally to confirm the stuff AutoModerator caught, fish out any false positives, and deal with user-initiated reports and questions. The busiest "normal" time is preview season, when we need to chase down and remove all the duplicate posts of each card.
The problem has always been the occasional surges when there are big stories, scandals, or other things that really get people riled up. During those times we have to be a lot more vigiliant about rule 1 and rule 8, the mod queue fills up a lot more with reports and with the kinds of slurs that normally only the trolls throw around, and it needs both more attention and more frequent attention.
Which is what's happened over the past week, and in the worst possible way. We've had multiple things that more or less exploded the instant they were posted, filled up the initial theads with people flaming each other, produced self-sustaining storms of additional posts, and it happened during a preview season and at a lull in mod activity. For various reasons, two of our mods who are usually pretty reliably active weren't, and some who are more intermittently active also weren't around much. This isn't their fault, but it did put us in a bit of a bind. And as has been said in some of the other stickies recently, even at the best of times we're mostly set up to handle the kind of moderation a card-game subreddit needs, which is different from the kind of moderation that's been needed this past week.
Speaking for myself, I think that as much as people would have hated it, we should have gone to a consolidated thread for the card bannings faster than we did, so that there would be some
thread for people to vent their initial outrage a bit, and expose the trolls and assholes more quickly, so that real discussion could happen later. At the same time, the public statements from this mod team about how we got literally blown away, especially on Wednesday, by the volume of things in our queue, and taxed for more than normal moderating the sticky theads, are pure unvarnished truth, and we just had to find a way to turn off the firehose for a bit.
But again, speaking for myself, I'm also glad that we were able to have the sticky threads we had this week. We've been able to put attention on things that needed attention, and I don't begrudge the fact that it pushed us as a mod team beyond what we're used to.
I've seen this subreddit go through a few cycles where things seem to be OK for a while, then something flares up and all the nasty folks pop out of the woodwork with new accounts spewing the same old crap. When that happens, we ban a bunch of people (for those of you who've been insisting "just ban the trolls and racists", you should know we do
-- we're well into triple-digit numbers of bans per day right now, and we know we're still not catching all of them, so if you see somthing, report it). Then things settle down until the cycle repeats.
And to be clear: this subreddit is explicitly not a safe place for racist assholes, sexist assholes, homophobic assholes, transphobic assholes, xenophobic assholes, or other types of bigoted assholes. That's a policy we've had and been pretty open about for as long as I've been a mod here, and our reputation in the nastier parts of reddit is pretty solid proof of that.
That said, we are going to add more moderators, and we're having discussions as a team about how to do that and what goals we have for expanding the team. We're not aiming just for quantity -- we're aiming for quality, and for commitment, because when we hit our limitations right now it's not because of too few total mods, it's because of too few currently-active mods.
Some of that will necessarily depend on what kinds of initiatives people come up with. We also need to figure out how our approach to the subreddit is going to change as we continue to grow, because it's clear that the low-maintenance days are coming to an end and that the way we've been handling things isn't going to work. We're open to suggestions on that, though those of you who'd prefer a completely or almost completely unmoderated subreddit are probably always going to be disappointed. The same for people who demand that every mod action be published and put up for debate and review.
Our main goal is that we want this to be as friendly and welcoming a place for general Magic content as a subreddit our size can be, and that means sometimes we're just going to take action to kick people out, and some things just aren't going to be allowed here. We know there's a dedicated faction of people who think that makes us horrible censoring fascists, and who will roll their eyes at what they see as us doubling down on it, but that's not an aspect of this subreddit that I see changing.
That depends, in large part, on you. Last time around our main focus was on the subreddit rules update and flair, and we got good feedback and made use of it. This time around, the main things are:
- What should this subreddit be about? What type of content do you want to see here, and how can we get that content here?
- How can we keep this feeling like a friendly and open place as we continue to grow?
Ideally here we're looking for specific actionable feedback. This is the internet, we've heard insults and personal attacks plenty of times and they don't have any effect at this point. Similarly, we've heard plenty of "just do this
", where the person suggesting it often either doesn't realize we already do that, or doesn't realize how much they're glossing over with the word "just". We try to pay attention to what people do and don't like and also to the way the subreddit as a whole reacts to things -- for example, the stickied posts this week for Zaiem Beg's thread, and the "Black Designers Matter" post, seemed to be generally well-received, the "open thread" for discussing the card bannings less so -- but we very rarely get useful specific feedback, other than the "mods all suck, resign and kill yourselves" stuff that comes with the territory. So if you have that kind of feedback, please let us know about it.
How To Leverage Long Blog Posts To Build Your Brand
submitted by W1ZZ4RD to juststart [link] [comments]
You guys were not joking with the amount of shit posts that are ending up on this sub lately.
So, in order to change that, I thought I would throw out something that I have done in the past and am still seeing success with today. Leveraging your blog posts/articles to build a BRAND.
I did it, you did it, almost everyone does it. They get started, they crank out some content, and they expect money to come in. You can make a great living doing this, but you will find it almost impossible to hit the "next level" unless you focus on building a brand. You see the rare comment here of people hitting 20, 30, 50k+ per month....I would bet almost anything their site is a brand that people actually CARE about.
In order to actually get there, you have to create value, have a strategy and create trust with your audience. But how the hell do you create value and trust with an audience that does not yet exist?
One of those ways is utilizing a platform that people already trust: Amazon.
The basic idea before we get into the actual guide is twofold. 1:
You are going to take your longest article or articles, and turn them into an ebook. You will create a coveinterior and publish this on Amazon via the KDP platform. Chances are, no one will actually want to buy your 99 cent ebook, so you are going to make it FREE (with a work around) and use this as a lead gen for your website/email list. 2:
You are then going to take your longest article/articles, and turn these into an AUDIO book, which again acts as a springboard from Amazon to your content to build trust, educate and let them know about your website.
Step 1 brings you no money up front, but if you do this right can net you a LOT of affiliate income and build your list at the same time. Step 2 actually surprised me when doing my taxes. I currently have a single audio book live and it brought me in a few thousand dollars in royalties the past year and I havn't looked at it or touched it since.
Here is a bit of proof that this works and has led to hundreds of thousands of downloads:
So, let's first go over the free book, and then the more exiting method the audio book. Creating A Free Book On Amazon With Your Blog Posts
I am not going to go into detail on how exactly to create a book (this is fairly straight forward), but you will need two things. 1:
Get a KDP Account (free): https://kdp.amazon.com/ 2:
Get a Smashwords account (free): https://www.smashwords.com/
Create your book, format it, and get it uploaded to KDP. This is so straight forward (Google it)
In order to get your book perma free on Kindle, you need to get your book free on other major retailers that Amazon actually has some respect for. The one that I used was Barnes & Noble and this took about a week. Here is how to do it! Smashwords
Smashwords is another retailer of ebooks. What makes this service so powerful is that its free, and they also distribute to major retailers such as Barnes & Noble, OverDrive, iBooks, and Kobo. Upload your Book and set a price of free
It will almost immediately go online at Smashwords as a free book. On your dashboard, you will see that it has been submitted for premium status. This is where the magic happens. A real person will take a look over your work, and if it has followed all of proper formatting, then it will soon show up in the big retailers mentioned above.
It is VERY important that you follow their style guide. It can take a few days at a time for Smashwords to review your book. If it is not up to par, they will deny you, give you a list of things you need to fix, and then you can resubmit it. One of the things that I did wrong was do my table of contents a different way than they wanted.
Another reason I was denied was that my book had links back to Amazon, so remove those as well if you want perma free status. Premium Status Achieved
Once your book has been looked over and has achieved premium status on Smashwords, it is just a waiting game from here.
Eventually, your book will show up on Barnes & Noble. This is one of the only online retailers that Amazon seems to care about. I tried to ask Amazon to price match me as soon as it was free on Smashwords, but it seems they have no respect for this service and I had to wait. Emailing Amazon
Now, you could wait and wait and eventually Amazon should pick up on the fact that your book is free somewhere else. If you are not in the business of waiting for months on end, it is time to do something about it!
What I did was take the URL from Barnes & Noble, and email Amazon from inside my KDP dashboard. At the very bottom of your dashboard, in super small text, you should see Contact Us.
Click on Contact Us –> Pricing & Royalties –> Price Matching, and send them an email asking them to help you out. I told them I had a reader on my blog disappointed that he could get my book for free on my website as well as Barnes & Noble but had to pay for it on Amazon. A few hours later I got an email back stating that while they can decide to price match or not, they had forwarded it to the correct department and a few hours after THAT it was priced to free!
Do keep in mind that this is going to be geo dependent. If you want your eBook free on All Amazon TLDs you need to give them links from all GEO URLs from the major retailers Note:
There are a million and a half Facebook groups for free books. Go post in a few of them to get the ball rolling. Once you have those initial downloads, everything should take off and remain a stable stream of downloads and traffic back to your site if you put links in your book. ALSO, make sure to put some sort of ask at the end of your book for a review, a subscribe to the email list, or give the reader something if they visit your site.
Now, let's get into how even more money is made, by taking that same book/books and turning them into audio books spreading your brand around the internet. Making Money Selling Audiobooks (ACX) Through Amazon Note:
I am going to be copy and pasting images from my own site because there is no way I am downloading a rehosting these. Feel free to complain about self promotion in the comments XD.
In order to be a successful internet marketer, you always have to be testing new ideas and markets. Time and time again I see people who want to make their first dollars online actually succeed in doing so but after many months or many years, it all dries up.
Because these people were not willing to adapt and keep learning. This is the number 1 reason that people fail. They do not want to test the market but keep doing the same thing over and over again, getting stuck in a vicious cycle.
During some downtime a while back, I stumbled across a video of a guy doing thousands of dollars through audiobooks. What really perked my interest is that these books are being sold through Amazon, or more importantly, Amazon’s audio book platform audible.com.
This is one of the biggest audiobook portals in the entire world and I myself have purchased a few during some long road trips.
When I first started selling t-shirts online, the driving factor and where most of my success came from is that they are being sold on Amazon where the customers already are. I did not have to drive traffic at all, only give an existing audience what they wanted. This opportunity looks EXACTLY the same and the competition is so low, its crazy! Chances are, your blog posts will fit right in. Why Audible.com (Amazon’s Audiobook Platform)?
The very first thing I did was take a quick look at how much traffic the platform was getting. I was seeing people put up some pretty impressive numbers (into the 10 figures a month range) so before I dove in, I wanted to make sure the market was actually there.
What I did was take the domain (audible.com) and run it through similar web. This website is incredibly helpful in estimating the amount of traffic that a platform receives each and every month. It is WILDLY inaccurate, but gives a brief overview. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/audible.png
As you can see at the time of writing this (I wrote this ages ago), there is almost 22 million visitors per month with an average duration of close to 5 minutes.
This is exactly what I want to see!
Lots of traffic, and relatively little competition because there are not that many books out there.
I was down to give this method a try and to my surprise over a year later, it actually worked. Getting Your First Audiobook Published on ACX
Before you attempt to put up an audio book at all, you need to make sure you RESEARCH the niche. Just as with everything else when it comes to internet marketing, you need to make sure that there is customer demand, but that you can break into the market in the first place.
The way we do this is pretty simple. Audiobook (ACX) Niche Research
First, you want to look at Amazon.com for books (NOT audiobooks). For the sake of this example, lets use the first niche that came to my head “merch by amazon”.
Head on over to Amazon.com and just type in the niche you are interested in. If you are pulling back results that are not books, just follow it up with “book”. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/amazon-page.png
At the very top of the image, you can see that there are over “10,000” results for this niche. This is a good sign, that means there is customer demand there! Customers want to read and learn more about this niche.
I also happen to hold the first and third position for this keyword (those are my books) so it makes this experiment a little easier to start!
Even if there are a lot of results, you want to make sure to click on the first page of products, and look at the BSR or best sellers rank of an item. The lower the rank, the better it is selling.
You can see this in the product details section of the product page: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/product-details.png
The best sellers rank is dependent on the category you are selling in. In this particular instance, this book gets about this many downloads per day: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/merch-by-amazon-book.png NOTE:
Old screenshot but this book still averages almost the exact same downloads per day even over a year later.
Now that we have determined that there is customer demand here, we need to check the competition on Audible.com
In the upper right hand corner you will see the search box. This is where you want to put the same search term that you checked over on Amazon.com.
Click on search and see what comes up!
In this particular case there are ZERO results (note: there are now more than a few results). That means that there is definitely customer demand over at Amazon.com and there are literally zero books on this subject on the audible platform that Amazon owns (and gets 20+ million visitors each month). There is clearly an opportunity here.
After you get good at searching, you will realize that almost every niche under the sun has very very little competition.
What you want to look for is where there are lots of results with a good BSR (under 100k on Amazon.com) and you want to see that there is less than 100 results on Audible.
The opportunities here are almost endless. Remember, it is all about niching down! Vegetable Gardening: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/veggy-gardening.png Sleeping better: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/sleep-better.png Make Money Online: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/make-money-online.png
If one of the most competitive niches on the internet (making money online) has such small search results, then you KNOW this is an untapped gold mine. NOTE:
Screens are from when I published the book. Numbers are changed, but go check. Still stupid low competition in most niches that your blog posts are in. Getting Your Audiobook Created
Now that we have a niche, we need an actual book! Any one of you reading this has the ability to write their own books. It does not matter if you are a great writer. However, if you are NOT a writer, no interest in being a writer, and simply want to get a book up to test this method, there is an easy way to do that.
I will be going over how to outsource the actual book creation as well as the audio voice over for that book once it is complete.
Your book can be as long as you like or as short as you like. However, how long it ends up being is going to determine what kind of royalty you get once the entire process is complete. Because of this, I would recommend about 20-25k words per book. This should put your final audiobook at just over 3 hours in length and this is where you make the best money. To hit this, you may want to take a few of your articles and combine them.
We have a niche, we have a target length for the book, now we just need to find someone to actually write the thing!
Go hire someone or do it yourself. This is pretty self explanatory.
I find that having a general outline for your book is the easiest way to get a good quality product. You can do this by looking at the chapter headings of some of the best sellers. Compile a list of all the headings, and then formulate your own online so that your book will be the most comprehensive book on the market for that niche. Upload Your eBook to Kindle (if you didn't previously)
Before you can actually create your ACX book, you will need to upload your book to Kindle. This is a platform for ebooks that sell on Amazon and ANOTHER avenue for you to make money with your book (outside of audible sales).
Head on over to kindle here: https://kdp.amazon.com/
Sign up for an account and enter in all your information so that you can get paid.
Now that you have an account, you need a few other bits before you can actually upload your book.
First, make sure you familiarize yourself with the cover requirements here: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201113520
You now need to get a cover for your book created. The idea image requirements for kindle for your book cover are 2560 pixels by 1600 pixels.
Your book cover is important!!
I know everyone always says not to judge a book by its cover but we all do it. You do it, I do it, and your potential customers are going to do it too!
Because of this, head over to upwork and post a job for an ebook cover designer. There are a lot of very very talented artists out there and you should get an amazing cover for your book for $20-$30 dollars.
You can see here the cover that I went with that sticks out on the page: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/blueprint-cover.png
Now that you have your book and your cover, let’s upload to Kindle!
Log in to Kindle and click on the Kindle new title button: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/create-a-new-title.png
After you are done adding the Kindle eBook, I would highly suggest adding a paperback as well. We will not be focusing on the paperback, but this is just another avenue that you can make money from your book.
Give your book a title (what is on the book cover), an author, and a description.
Make sure your description is long and detailed. I like to tell a little bit about what is in the book as well as outline the chapters and what the customer will be learning when they read the book.
After you have filled those out, it is time to enter in some backend keywords. These are keywords that you want the book to rank for. Think like a customer here. Whatever they might search for, enter these as your back end keywords.
You have 7 boxes of keywords to fill up here. No need for any punctuation. As long as the keywords are relevant, enter them in.
Once you have your keywords selected, choose a category for your book, and then click on continue.
Now all that is really left is to upload your book, the cover, and pick out pricing: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/manuscript-.png
You do not need to enter an ISBN so go ahead and click save and continue at the bottom of the page.
Set your book at $2.99 or above, and select the 70% royalty share. If you price below $2.99, you will get a much smaller cut. Since we will not be focusing on the actual ebook, every time it sells, we want to maximize our profit. (This is if you are just doing audiobooks and not the free book method mentioned above)
Now all you have to do is scroll to the bottom and click on publish your book! https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/publish-your-kindle-book.png
It can take a while to publish, but I typically see all my books going live within 24 hours. You need to wait for your book to go live, so in the meanwhile, I would suggest publishing the paperback version as well! Publishing Your Book to ACX (Audible)
If you have made it this far and are still with me, impressive.
So far you should have a book with a cover, and it is published on Kindle meaning it is for sale on Amazon.com.
This means we can FINALLY start creation of our audiobook!
To begin, head over to ACX.com and sign up for an account. This is the dashboard for audible.com which is where we want to publish our book.
Again, fill out all your information and take the tax interview. Once you have done that, click on “Add Your Title” from the upper right hand corner.
Search by keyword and find your book on Amazon.com. Once you have found it, click on “This is my eBook”. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/my-ebook.png
Once you select your book, you will see a popup that asks what you want to do with your ebook: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/produce-ebook.png
Now the fun part starts!
You can either upload audio for the book you already have (which I assume you don’t), of you can find someone to narrate the book for you. This is not going to be free, but you can find some real talent out there that will read your book and allow you to publish audiobooks without ever using your own voice.
Select the first option and click on continue.
Accept the terms and conditions, and click on continue.
The next page is where you want to fill out your book information. Since your book is already on Kindle, most of this is going to be selected for you.
The interesting parts are these: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/book-deetz.png
This lets you say that you want to receive auditions from narrators but also lets you describe the voice you are looking for. I like to select this based on the topic of the book and what would fit best.
After you upload a test piece of your book for your narrator auditions, click on next.
The next page is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the entire process. You can pick how you pay the person that is narrating your book. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/pay-narrator.png
By default, the first option is going to be selected (Royalty Share) but you do NOT want to do this!
If you have a successful book, that means you will giving half your royalty away for many years to come.
Instead, select pay for production and pay your narrators up front. I have found that the lowest level of $0-$50 per finished hour (PFH) works well and you get some quality people applying to narrate your book.
For a book of 20,000 words, you can expect to pay a little over $100, but you do not have to do any of the work yourself!
You will start getting auditions almost immediately over the next few days and you will be able to see this in your top menu. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/auditions.png
Make sure to go through all the auditions and listen to each one of them as everyone has their unique style and some attach specific notes about the project to their audition: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/auditions2.png
Once you have someone selected, all you have to do is then make an offer, and they will do the rest!
The narrator you chose may send you a few questions over messages, so make sure you are watching your email whenever those come in.
Once your narrator has finished the book, you have to approve it. After you approve it, you MUST pay your narrator before the book will go live on audible. This is not very clear for a first time user.
I was expecting the system to use my card on file, but had to follow up and actually send the narrator the money over paypal. After that occurs, they will also approve the book, and it will get final approval from the ACX team! https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/approval.png
Once you receive that email, it is just a waiting game as the book is pushed out to retail! https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/book-to-audible.png TIP:
If you email the ACX team and ask nicely, they will give you 25 codes for free books so that you can give them out to people for review. This is a good way to bump your book inside of audible and start getting downloads. Wrapping It Up
When building your business, use every tool at your disposal to drive traffic and build up your audience. Focus on building a brand and not just a website.
Find which foods you should buy from which grocery stores to maximize your nutrition and minimize cost
submitted by recover__password to Business_Ideas [link] [comments]
My business idea is finding the cheapest way to make a recipe by telling the user what ingredients they need to buy based on what they have and what cooking equipment (e.g. a slow cooker) they have. The recipes are chosen starting with the cheapest ones to prepare based on how much the user is willing to spend on groceries. It calculates the cost of the recipe by downloading a list of products from many grocery store websites and does some math to figure out which ones they need to get. Different diets (keto, diabetic, gluten-free, etc.) could be supported but would be difficult. I have created a proof of concept which solely maximizes nutrition (and no recipes) but it does not have a UI that the user can interact with.
This idea received significant interest on povertyfinance
, but just posting in one location is not indicative of market interest.
When using the app, the user would be shown a list of recipes that they can make and what they need to buy from the grocery store.
The Dinner Daily is very close to what my idea is. The differences between my idea and The Dinner Daily are:
- support Canadian grocery stores (The Dinner Daily is just for the US)
- knows what food you already have
- shows total cost for recipe
- takes into account cooking equipment
- database of many hundreds or thousands of recipes
- ability to input a custom recipe
- can go to a mix of grocery stores to find the best deals
- can set caloric/macro restrictions (e.g. find recipes that have a certain amount of carbs/protein/fat)
However, there are several issues with my idea that I don't know if I can overcome:
- from my very small market analysis, people don't want to pay to save money. This means I would have to resort to ads, but I don't know if that would be profitable (see how I could potentially fund this below.)
- from limited data from Facebook ads, people 13-17 are by far the most interested in the ads. Unfortunately, this demographic doesn't have access to credit cards that they could use to pay for the service even if they wanted to.
- there hasn't been any support on Kickstarter (trying to advertise it via Facebook ads but the ads are not driving a lot of traffic.) It may have been too premature of me to start a Kickstarter.
- if a product is not a website, I can't add it to the database. This means that farmer's markets and other smaller stores cannot be listed.
- there is a grocery store company which owns several other grocery stores which means that I can access that pricing data very easily, however, other grocery stores require a very intensive web-scraper (i.e. running a full browser because of how the data is retrieved on the website) which is computationally expensive.
- the MVP is still a lot of work in terms of time; it requires getting a database setup, parsing and matching the products, a lot of storage for the recipes, and I have to make a somewhat-decent website. The MVP could run on a server that I rent for $5/month already.
- I could get grocery stores to list sponsored products but I would have to be a very large company to do that
- I could list Amazon affiliate links to cooking equipment from the recipes (e.g. "This recipe requires a slow cooker, click here to buy one from Amazon")
- I could have a subscription model where dietary features could be behind a paywall (although users could share accounts)
- I could have a lot of ads on every page
- I could aggressively ask for donations and be a non-profit
- Try and start a Kickstarter (currently zero traction)
Other competitors that do something similar:
- mysupermarket (discontinued but the parent company is not)
- Comparasaurus (compares individual products but not a basket; unclear if it is for Canada)
- Adimo (billed as replacement for MySupermarket; appears very similar but unclear exactly what it does)
- Supersmartlist (very similar; offers baskets and recipes but only for UK)
- LatestDeals (UK flyer aggregator; no recipes)
- checkout 51 (grocery cashback app)
- snapsaves (sold to Groupon)
- flipp (flyer aggregator for Canada)
- FAVADO (discontinued; parent company is not)
- GROCERY PAL (coupon list)
- IBOTTA (grocery store cashback)
- SAVINGSTAR (relevant coupons for grocery store items)
- SHOPMIUM (like flipp for the UK)
Is this idea viable? Could be pivoted to be more viable?
(Month 7) My First Steps in Amazon Affiliate - It Hurts!
Previous months: submitted by l0v33 to juststart [link] [comments]
What's up, juststarter family!
First I want to say that my previous update was removed by reddit's filters and even moderators could not help with this. I don't worry too much about this because mostly I write these updates for myself. Month6 was a good one because I god x3 clicks and x3 impressions that month. I think that the compound effect of internal and external links and a couple of huge HARO wins contributed to that. Also I made 16 sales and my site was approved on amazon affiliate program.
And how about this month? On one hand it sucked because of HARO. I tried outsourcing the HARO writing to a very good writer. However, only one pitch was successful out of eight written and sent. Maybe it's just the statistics or a seasonal trend. But now I think that I should return to writing the pitches myself because I have a gut feeling of how every pitch should be written, how every sentence should be built, which order of points would be optimal to get quoted. What do you think, should I test this out?
The traffic did not change too much but that's how it works: endless despair brightened up with short spikes of growth. (LOL, I actually compared the numbers and it grew significantly! I was so focused on other things that didn't notice that! Very pleasant feeling!)
I started receiving the clicks but had zero sales previous month.
There are two reasons:
- The guides that generate most of clicks lead to products that are currently unavailable :( This was partially resolved by using the links from alternative affiliate program. What do you guys think, maybe I should write that "you can read the review of this product but we strongly recommend checking the alternatives link1 link2 and link3? And lead the visitors to alternative products that are available?
- I don't know why but many visitors just will keep scrolling and then exit without clicking to products. I view the recordings from Hotjar and 80% of sessions are just monotonous scrolling of a page and then exit. That's weird. I think that I'm ranking too low and my visitors aren't actual people who are looking for products. I think, these are my 'colleagues' :D.
Also I had an interesting insight: Visitors who actually click the affiliate links almost do not scroll the page. They just land , spend a couple of seconds and then click the featured picks. Is this pattern common for your sites?
What was done:
- Published 7 more articles - now I have approx. 190K words
- Purchased 4 links to my main site
- Purchased 10 links to my satellites
- Accepted a guest article from a really good person who also allowed me to publish one guest post for her
- Wrote two guest posts and two of them are already published
- Built two very strong links through outreach (DR60 and DR91) - it's simply impossible to buy something like this. And if it would be possible, it would cost 1-2k per such link
- Build a single link through HARO , the site has DR 87
- Also tried speeding up my site but can't say that I succeeded. My site still has low scores, but I don't care too much because all the competitors are also not too fast. But this doesn't ban them from ranking.
At the end of the day:
- 27.3K impressions in GSC (+73%)
- 151 clicks in GSC (+128%)
- 159 organic new users in GA (+169%)
I feel pretty happy, entertained and proud of myself for writing this report. It showed me that my progress does not stand still. Yeah, it would be even cooler if I had a couple of bucks from affiliate program. But I'm sure that this won't be a problem in future as long as my traffic keeps growing.
Also I have a very pleasant feeling that I'm the owner of that site: a couple of guys asked to write a guest post for me, some guys definitely would like to have the traffic I have...and even one person asked me if I would like to sell this site :D. I treat my site similarly to other guys who love their car or motorcycle lol (my total investment is also very close to Harley Davidson 883 Sportster).
That's it. See you next month!
What are the minimum traffic requirements for Amazon associates to accept a site?
My site has decent amt and good content but just went live. My end goal isn’t Amazon affiliate $ but some companies I recruit for bc I get paid for hires. Also, I post insider tips as well as free professional resources for others in my field. As part of this, I link to products that people should buy if they work in my field. I want to link to Amazon bc I know people will order them on Amazon or Target or Walmart online anyway bc of the pandemic. Should I apple to AA now or wait until I get traffic? If I get denied, can I try again later? submitted by paintingsandfriends to Affiliatemarketing [link] [comments]
Our own step-by-step startup/project launch checklist
submitted by DrJigsaw to startups [link] [comments]
Hey guys! So my co-founder and I launched several projects/businesses over the past 2 years (incl. our marketing agency, local tour agency, and a bunch of other stuff). We usually go through the exact same process for every project launch, so we decided to turn it into a checklist, both for ourselves & the internet people on Reddit.
You can check out the complete checklist here
, and here's a Reddit-format-friendly post:
Step #1 - Research Phase
Before you start planning your launch, you need to figure out your overall product and marketing strategy. Here’s what you need to think about:
- Create a list of competitors in your niche. Make a spreadsheet that includes:
- Competitor Name
- Pricing Options
- Key Features
- Define your product & business. Decide on the following:
- What’s your business model?
- What’s your pricing model?
- How many pricing tiers do you offer?
- Do you offer a free trial?
- Is your product freemium?
- Which key features are you going to focus on for launch?
- What’s your differentiator? How are you going to beat the existing products on the market?
- Spy on your competitors and figure out which marketing channels are getting them the best results.
- Content Marketing. Do they publish blog posts on a regular basis? Do they promote their content on social media? Do they get a lot of Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn shares?
- SEO. Do they have good rankings on Google with their blog posts? Do their landing pages rank on product search terms? You can check this by running their website through SEMrush or Ahrefs.
- Search Ads. Are they running ads on Google Search? You can check this by running their site through SEMrush.
- Facebook Ads. Are they running ads on Facebook? You can check this through Facebook Ad Library.
- Affiliate Marketing. Check their website footer to see if they have an affiliate page up. You can also do this through a simple search query: “site:[competitor website] affiliate program”
- Referral Marketing. You can usually find this in the footer. Check what kind of referral terms your competitors offer.
- Now, use everything you’ve learned so far and create a pitch deck if you’re planning on raising money, or a business plan if you’re not.
Step #2 - Slap Together a Website
Time to get things rolling. The next step is to create a website & lay the foundation for your marketing.
- Pick a domain name. Pro-tip, all the good “.com”s are taken. Go for something more creative like a .io, .xyz, or other TLD. We recommend using NameSilo for buying the actual domains, they don’t do price-gouging, unlike most providers.
- Buy hosting. We recommend using SiteGround - they have 99.99% server uptime, and their customer support is amazing.
- Pick an email marketing provider. It doesn’t particularly matter which one. We usually recommend MailChimp since it’s free for up to 2,000 subscribers.
- Create relevant social profiles. The key here is relevant. If you’re a B2B enterprise software company, you really don’t need an Instagram profile where you post selfies. Usually, most startups go for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
- Create a landing page for your product. You’ll need to create a landing page that sells your product. In 99% of cases, we recommend using WordPress. It’s going to allow you to be a LOT leaner than having your tech team code your entire website from scratch.
- Create other essential web pages. E.g. about us, contact us, pricing page.
- Set up a payment processor. We’d recommend Stripe (the best option on the market) or PayPal (if you really have to).
- Set up Analytics. You can pick between Google Analytics, MixPanel, or other alternatives.
- Set up a business email. We recommend using G Suite. Dealing with your hosting provider’s email service will be a pain when scaling.
- Launch a blog. If you’re planning on using content marketing or SEO for your marketing (which, in 2020, most product companies do), you’ll need a blog.
Step #3 - Do Some Pre-Launch Marketing
If you have the extra time and resources, you can start marketing your product way before you’ve even launched. Usually, this involves:
- Add an email capture on your landing page
- Incentivize early adopters. Offer them something extra than just a “we’re going to email you once we launch!”
- Drive traffic. Usually, the best channels to use for pre-launch marketing are content marketing, SEO, and PR. More on each channel under “Ongoing Marketing” below.
Step #4 - Get Some Initial Traction
Once you have an MVP, you want to validate 2 things: that your product works, and that it can drive conversions (and hence, revenue). Here’s how to do it lean:
- If you did pre-launch marketing, launch an email to anyone that pre-signed for your product.
- Cold call your first 50 customers. The easiest way to get your first customers is to do some cold calling. After all, if you can’t sell your product on a one-on-one call, how will you sell it to strangers on the internet via text?
- Find leads on social media. Use Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter to find leads on social media and pitch them with a direct message.
- Run search ads. If you have a flexible budget, you can run search ads on direct intent keywords. E.g. if your product is a resume builder, you advertise on the keyword “resume builder.”
Step #5 - Prep For Launch
Every startup gets one “launch” in its lifetime. Here’s how to make sure you get it right:
- Create a Press Kit and put it up on your website. This is going to be helpful for journalists who want to write about your website.
- Gather a list of journalists that wrote about your competition. You’re going to email them during launch and ask for a feature. Use tools like Hunter.io or Clearbit Connect to find the journalist’s email addresses.
- Create a list of all your acquaintances that use ProductHunt (PH). You’ll want to ping them and ask for support once you launch on PH (more on this in the next step).
- Create a list of all your friends and acquaintances who might have connections to your target audience. You’ll reach out to them during launch.
Step #6 - LAUNCH!
Time to hit that big, shiny red button and LAUNCH!
- Reach out to all the journalists you listed in the last step and pitch your product. The PoV of the pitch should be “hey, you wrote about [competitor x]. We have a similar product, but here’s how ours stands out…”
- Launch on ProductHunt
- Reach out to all your friends and acquaintances we listed out in the last step, and ask for a share of your product landing page. For the best results, you should also give them the EXACT text they should use when sharing the page.
Easiest Way to Write Effective Buyer's Guides for Your Amazon Affiliate Site
submitted by romangcopywriter to Affiliatemarketing [link] [comments]
Buyer's Guides are one of the most effective ways to get some Amazon affiliate sales on your site.
And the following structure is one of the best ways I know to write a buyer's guide and get clicks/sales.
I'm not going to go too much in-depth on each section (as I would be writing a novel if I did), but this is the basic formula that I've seen most effective for affiliate site owners
Hope this helps those who aren't too sure how to best write these:
Title Your title should be formatted as follows:
"# of items" + best "products you're reviewing" + for "something the products are used for" + - "some good headline" Example:
10 Best Vacuums for Cleaning Your House - Get All the Dirt off Your Floor With Ease
Now obviously you can come up with a much better title than this. But the point is to show you the title formula that works. And you should make sure to fit a long-tail keyword in there.
The long-tail keyword here would be "best vacuums for cleaning your house."
Your intro is crucial in terms of convincing a reader on your site to continue reading your guide. So you should make sure this part is as interesting as possible. Intros should be:
- a clever story
- or a shocking fact
The point is to get your traffic to read on. Pretty much YouTube-like "clickbait." Keep your intro at around 200 words
, not much more than that.
Product Comparison Table
If you're on Wordpress, download some comparison table plugin and make use of it. Much of your traffic will probably not want to read your entire buyer's guide
. Since that's the case, make it easy for them to quickly find what they need so they can make a purchase if they want.
Putting a comparison table right at the top of your guide with information such as the product specs and star ratings, side-by-side, will help you get some affiliate sales from traffic who otherwise wouldn't have read your guide.
Before you get into the meat of the guide, you're going to want to add another section for potential buyers to make a quick without having to read your entire guide.
And that's why you want it up top.
For each product, you want a heading. The heading format should be "Product" - "Best for Something".
No matter how many products you have, you should always have 1 product that's "best overall", 1 product that's "best for budget", and all your other products "best for a specific feature/need."
Blah Blah - Best Overall
Ha Ha - Best for those With Green Hair
Some Name - Best Budget The template for each short product review should be similar to the following:
- Name of the Product (formatted in the example I gave above)
- Picture of the Product
- Specs and Features of the Product
- Pros & Cons
- Call to Action Linking to Amazon
Do this for each product in the review section for your guide up top. If someone on your site wants a little more info than what's on the comparison table, but doesn't want to read the entire guide, this is for them.
Make the features, pros/cons clear, and make it easy for them to buy with a clear CTA. Keep these around 400 words each.
And add some of your own variations to this.
The Buying Guide
Hopefully your comparison table and product review section are so great that you had readers buying from your Amazon link before they even made it this far.
But in truth, a small percentage of your traffic will want to read your entire guide, they're really trying to learn about their product options, and they really want value. This is for them, and you're going to give them value
. This is also how you're going to rank your page higher on Google - because besides SEO, ranking is actually highly dependent on the quality of your articles.
Use this section to get most of your long-tail keywords in (without stuffing them of course). And link out to other high-quality authority sites in your niche. A great format for this section is to:
- Pick some feature to discuss
- Discuss that feature
- Pick a winner out of your products that does this feature best.
Battery life is important because of blah blah and something else...etc etc.
WINNER: Some product!
If you're using this product, you want to make sure it's lightweight, etc.
WINNER: The lightweight product!
You get the idea. Use this format to fill out your buyer's guide. It tends to work really well, keep readers engaged, and give them the value they want.
Feel free to change up this style if you have better ideas. Your buyer's guide should be between 1,500 - 4,000 words.
It's up to you and your niche which wordcount works best.
Remember to continue linking your winning product for each category to your Amazon affiliate.
Great, you've finally made it to the end. I know you must be tired after writing such a long buyer's guide (but don't skimp on this part
Your conclusion is the last thing anyone who's decided to read your entire guide will read. And it's your last chance to get them to use one of your affiliate links.
Keep your authority and your professionalism. Make your conclusion just 200 - 300 words at most.
Get your main keyword in here one more time.
And don't choose a specific winner in the conclusion. We want the potential buyer to choose what's best for them.
Simply go through and reiterate how your product niche will make their lives better.
And There You Go!
That's the template for Amazon buyer's guides. Hope this helped.
Launched my tool - Newsy - Turn your un-used domains into an automated content aggregator
submitted by marvelogs to Domains [link] [comments]
Heya there domainers,
I'm a programmer from Australia and for the past ~3 months or so, I've been working on a small project of mine called Newsy, which I finally launched recently. Problem
I've bought ~40 domains over the years, hoping that one day I will develop them. I kept finding domains I liked and kept buying them. Of course, I don't have time to turn all of them into something, so most of them have been just sitting there doing nothing. I don't planned to sell them, I don't like parking them using those silly parking pages. But I hated my domains not doing anything. My Solution
Perhaps this isn't for everyone, but what I wanted to do was. - Create a tool to turn an un-used domain into something useful. - Make sure that I don't have to maintain them and it runs itself. - Would be even better if there was a way to monetize domains (it's hard, but let's try!)
So Newsy was born. https://www.newsy.co
In a nutshell, Newsy does the following
- It creates a content-aggregator site (similar to Reddit?) based on keywords that you choose.
- It has automated membership + newsletter so visitors can sign up, read, comment, vote, receive newsletters (hopefully they'll come back too!)
- Bring your own ads - put your own ads (Infolinks, Amazon affiliate links, anything). We don't take any cuts.
- Build SEO and traffic over time.
- Completely automated! - I've set up 20 of my domains this way - it's almost exactly what I wanted! :)
Lots of things to develop still and more to explore. Hope you guys find it useful and please do let me know if you have any ideas, suggestions, questions - available at [[email protected]
Growing A Blog Network To >$25,000 A Month! - May 2020 - $6447/$25,000.
submitted by shaun-m to juststart [link] [comments]
So rather than just track one domain as I had planned, I have decided to just track the progress of all of the domains in my network as I look to grow it in the future. My initial goal is to get to $10,000 a month with an outsourcing system that I am trying to put together and then use it to rapidly grow from $10,000 to >$25,000 as soon as possible. Last month I managed to make around $6447 but I think that the stimulus cheques going live in the USA helped increase the sales for the month and expect this to normalize to $80-$130 a day until my newer domains age in and start making money.
I have no idea how long this journey will take to grow to being able to pull over $25,000 a month or even if I will reach it but its something to work towards for the future. I also have a video version of this post on Reddit
that you can check out if you prefer information in video format too. One quick thing to add is that the Amazon Affiliate income screenshots below for the actual domains are from Amazon.com that usually makes up around 75% of a domain's income with the other 25% coming from the other Amazon storefronts with a very small amount coming from Adsense and eBay.
Domain 1 - >$169 Income
I have a dedicated site report video for this domain on Reddit
covering the domain and its history. This is the oldest domain that I still have in my money site network and as you can see from the screenshot of its traffic analytics, it was hit by the Google Medic update drastically slashing its traffic pull from Google. It managed to limp on from that pulling just over $300 per month but it was then hit by the Amazon commission rate cuts in April 2020 falling from a commission rate of 8% down to 3%.
Due to being in a niche policed by the Google Medic update, I have no plans to put any more time or money into this particular domain so I am just going to leave it as it is to limp on. As you can see from its income, it managed to make almost $170 last month from Amazon.com plus its income from the other Amazon storefronts as well as Googles Adsense program.
Domain 2 - >$1612 Income
I also have a dedicated site report video for this domain on Reddit
covering the domain and its history. As you can see from its traffic analytics, this domain has also been hit by two Google updates, the Florida 2 update in Feb 19 and the September 2019 update too almost killing the domain, thankfully though, the Google update in November 2019 managed to recover it from both of the updates and it is currently doing better than ever with May being its highest income month. The dip around March/April 2020 is due to the virus lockdown and people panicking as this niche is far from essential buying so people were not searching for the items.
Outside of being previously hit with two Google updates, the main issue with this domain is that it is extremely niche and hard to scale with nw content until the next generation of products are released for it. Although I will release new content for these products when they are released for the domain, I have no plans to add any new content to it until then and product cycles can be as long as five years for this niche with some being around three years.
Another problem for this domain right now is that the majority of the products are made in China and they are currently out of stock with the official Amazon supply chain for the USA. I think that this is due to the virus lockdown causing issues with shipping and I have no idea when the products will be back in stock. On the flipside of this though, local retailers who already have these products have been listing them on Amazon charging as much as double their normal price and they have been selling. More and more retailers have worked this out though so the prices are rapidly normalizing again but someone paid over $1200 via my affiliate link when the item is usually $550-$650.
Domain 3 - >$3047 Income
I also have a dedicated site report video for this domain on Reddit
covering the domain and its history. As you can see, this domain has also been hit by a Google update, this one was hit by the May 4th 2020 update dropping traffic by around 20% unfortunately but it is still my highest income domain to date. Again, the dip in traffic around March/April 2020 is due to the virus lockdown and these items being in a niche that is not essential so people were not searching for them as much.
Just like domain 2 above, this domain has an issue with being too niche that I have already managed to cover the vast majority of the content that I can think of for it until the next round of products are released. Thankfully though, product releases for this niche are usually every two to three years with multiple brands being involved in it so I should be able to churn out more content in a few months for this domain.
Domain 4 - >$156 Income
I started this domain in January but I am currently just planning to leave it to see if its traffic ends up growing or not. Unfortunately, this domain is having a number of issues with the indexing problems Google are having right now and although domain 5 also has these issues, force indexing posts for domain 5 seems to help but with this domain, Google just kick the posts back out of its index after a week or two. The content in unique and usually over 2000 words so I doubt it is a thin or duplicate content penalty or anything like that but its really annoying me. This screenshot
is from this domain Google Search Console showing the coverage tab for this project. The bars are the number of pages that Google has in either their crawled, not indexed or discovered, not indexed categories. I became aware of these issues with Google indexing system around the 9th May and you can see that the initial force indexing of the content did help and the number of pages Google were aware of but didn't index reduced drastically but they then started to increase again.
I have not published any new content to this domain so the pages getting kicked out of the index are the older pages that force indexing initially managed to get in the index. There have been posts on Reddit
from other people having this same issue too and Google has also said that they are aware of it and have pushed a fix live. Unfortunately though, judging by the comments to this Tweet from Google
where they say that they have pushed their fix live, it seems it has done little to nothing with some webmasters reporting that it is actually worse now.
In addition to this, the niche for this domain has been hit hard by the Google May 4th update too. Although the domain is too young and still in the Google Sandbox to see the effects of this in its traffic analytics due to not having many posts on in the top 3 of Google for their search terms, many of the keywords are now much higher competition than they were prior to the update. Just like domain 3 though, many of these higher strength pages now ranking on the first page for this domain search terms are only niche relevant and not keyword-relevant so I think Google may make some tweaks and may make this a viable niche again.
For the foreseeable future though, I have no plans to publish any more content for this domain and if it is not making enough to cover its domain registration and hosting renewal in January I will just leave it to die. Fingers crossed that Google can fix the issues with their indexer and potentially tweak their May 4th update for this niche.
Domain 5 - $0.03
This is the domain that I launched last month but unfortunately, this domain is also having similar problems to domain 4 above with the May 4th update from Google having an effect on the pages on the first page for its search terms as well as the indexing issues. Thankfully, this domain seems to be keeping its pages in the index once force crawled
though giving me some hope that future domains will not be like domain 4 and have their pages kicked out of the Google index. The increases in domains that are not indexed for this domain is due to new content being added rather than older content being pushed back out of the index.
This domain is targeting broad informational keywords rather than later targeting specific buyer intent keywords like the domains above. This means that the May 4th update from Google has had a more serious effect on the domains on the first page and although the new pages Google has put there after the update are more generic, many of them are relevant to the keywords now. I did a manual check of all of the keywords a few days back for this domain and I would only consider less than 30% of the keywords with published content on the domain to still be low competition.
I do plan to come back to this domain in the future but I am going to wait before publishing more content to it. I want to see if the indexing problems get fixed, stay as they are requiring forced indexing or if the pages start getting kicked out of the Google index like domain 4. In a few months, I will check how this domain is doing and make a decision on putting more time and money into growing it but for now, its paused.
This domain is not currently online and is only in the very early stages of planning. With any luck, I will be launching it early next month or the month after. The goal of this domain is to serve two purposes, the first is to test out a system that I plan to use for outsourcing as much of the blogging process as possible to freelancers to free up my time. The second is to try out some patterns for keyword research that I have seen after going over the SERPs for my domains above. Google definitely seems to be putting more weight on results from sites such as YouTube, Reddit, Quora, Amazon, and Pinterest since pushing last month's update out so I have had to adapt my keyword research method.
Essentially, I am hoping that this domain will be a way to move forward with outsourcing as much as possible as well as developing a successful keyword research method for the future. I currently have just over 100 keywords planned for this domain that I plan to use for the project that I would still consider to be low competition.
This domain is not currently online yet either but I am considering using this domain as a project to keep me busy where I can publish the content myself as I plan to outsource content creation for domain 6. Not only will this keep me productive and hopefully result in an income from the project but I am half considering using nothing but this keyword research method based around nothing but zero search volume keywords
for the project too.
I have been messing around with it for a few years now for a small number of pages on each of my sites but PhilReddit7 posted in the comments that it is basically the same keyword research method that he uses for the domain in his case study
that managed to pull almost 50,000 organic hits last month on a domain that is only five months old.
As I plan to publish the majority of the content for this domain myself, I will have to find a niche that I am comfortable enough with to smash out tons of content without having to do much research so I will probably go with one of my existing hobbies or interests. On top of this, if I can find solid, low competition keywords that actually have some search volume then I will go with them rather than the zero search volume keywords but still plan to integrate some of the zero search volume stuff into this domain in the future too.
A step-by-step guide of how I would build a SaaS company right now - part 2
submitted by lickitysplitstyle to startups [link] [comments]
This is part 2 of 5. Part 1 LET'S DO THIS!
Big thank you to everyone that upvoted and commented on the last post.
I’m pumped, this is part 2 of 5 for those keeping track at home.
- Start with your revenue and monetization plan (are you targeting a sector that has money and can/will pay - Part 1)
- Align yourself with others in your space (cheapest way to get traction/credibility)
- Work on road mapping your product to align with what complements your partnerships (cheapest distribution)
- Work on building a marketing strategy that can help expose and align your brand while strengthening its recognition with your partners (will this make us both look good)
- Build customer advocates along the way, tell their stories (lead with examples)
Early traction, everyone wants it, very few people know how to do it effectively. Hell I’ve seen it all, run all the experiments, all the tests and I can tell you from experience if you have the patience, slow, steady, and surgical is the way to grow. Especially in the beginning.
In part one we spent a lot of time asking some basic fundamental business questions. Including, an exercise in the importance of being able to niche down.
We’re going to expand on the niching down because it’s how you gain clarity and find people to align yourself with early on.
The goal of this will be to understand:
- How to niche down
- How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity
- How to position within that market
- How to give yourself the biggest chance of success
I’ve chosen to outline these in all our steps for niching down.
You’re going to see these steps move from research to market evaluation to list building stopping just short of outreach. We’ll touch on this in part 3.
Last week I took a call where someone told me their target market is males 25-45 that like sports. This is the most important part of your entire business. I’m serious.
Let’s rock through this together so we can get you super focused and know where and how to spend your time and money.
(The below was laid out in part 1 and was the layered niching exercise) LEVEL 1: We’re a helpdesk product. How to niche down
The big question is “for who”?
So you’ve picked the type of product you are building and a use case, the problem is there are lots of people like you out there and this doesn’t tell me much about your market, it’s too broad. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity
Because this is so broad, it’s impossible to actually target a market and without being able to do that, it’s not possible to recognize opportunities, there’s just too many of them. How to position within that market
Competition is good and bad, but it’s always better to be a big fish in a little pond, the best way to reduce the size of your pond is to niche down as much as possible while still understanding a large enough TAM (total addressable market). How to give yourself the biggest chance of success
No wasted effort. Every idea, concept, must have a small goal attached to it.
It’s too expensive to try to be everything for everyone and when you take this approach you end up failing at doing any one thing well enough for people to switch.
Let’s build on this. LEVEL 2: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies. How to niche down
Pick an industry or trend that is on the rise - look towards a shift or something that relates to changes people are making in their daily routine.
In this case we picked eCommerce because it’s on track to hit over $7 Trillion worldwide this year and has steadily been increasing across all brands. So we have an industry with a large enough economic driver to let us start niching down. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity
We now buy things online that we never would have thought to do so even just a few years ago. Amazon is selling Tiny Homes now, seriously, if you can buy it, odds are you can do it online. There are massive opportunities to bring goods and services to people through convenient online shopping. And with that increase they will all need a help desk platform to provide the best experience for their customers.
Customers today don’t want to speak with people, they want answers quickly and easily. It’s all about reducing friction. How to position within that market
Narrow down within the market. eCommerce is a good starting point, there are different industries, subsets, and categories. Go narrower. Start thinking about where the friction exists in the industry and for what subsets. How to give yourself the biggest chance of success
In the beginning, it’s going to be an uphill battle, picking the right trending industry will give you the best chance of success. Something that is rising up to the right in popularity is way easier to sell into than a trend that is declining.
Know your competitive landscape.
Everyone has a competitor, whether direct, partial, or mildly related. Spend a lot of time on understanding this and knowing that your product is part of a very large landscape or landscape of potential competitors. Any one of the existing partial or mildly related competitors may be building something to more directly compete with you down the road. Practical advice
Most companies stop here and hope for the best.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a go to market plan or a sustainable business model.
There’s an important bit worth mentioning here as it will become a theme of this entire post.
Great products enhance workflows through features, the focus isn’t on the product but what the product enables people to do. Success in the software business is all about understanding existing workflows and simplifying the experience.
As you do this exercise to niche down ask yourself:
What does the current workflow look like?
What are they currently using?
How are they currently using it?
Where are the gaps? What are the best practices for creating workflows?
Always seek to understand how your product works in a workflow - what role it plays, how it best optimizes - this is the data play referred to in Part 1.
What are the things that matter most to people in the eCommerce space?
That’s a lot of questions with even more answers, when you peel everything back it becomes very clear that it’s not possible to answer all of them without going deeper.
Too many people to talk to, too many industries, too much everything.
Let’s take a different approach - how I got to Shopify in the next niche down. No successful new SaaS company today launches without an integration.
So let’s find an eCommerce platform to integrate with.
We have to look for a stable player that has an app store and is a market leader.
As a starting point, my goal is to be a help desk for ecommerce companies.
- I need a list of all eCommerce platforms
- I need to understand which help desks they already integrate with
- I need to understand what people like and don’t like about them
- I need to find out which platform is going to be the best fit for my product
There are lots of sources for this and even more articles, google and read.
If you’re looking for numbers though and data, use BuiltWith and run a search on the platforms after you have your list to figure out which is the most popular.
Ok so we have our list of eCommerce platforms, we’ve analyzed the data, made sure they tick all the boxes and we’ve run our reports and found that Shopify powers 1.2 million stores.
Let’s lock it in as our next step in niching down. LEVEL 3: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify. How to niche down
It’s more than just market size. Going with a market leader is always a safe bet but it also provides the most competition. Sometimes going with a smaller platform that doesn’t get all the attention is a worthwhile research project. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity
There are two sides of the opportunity and this is something that I didn’t touch on in the original niching down. Shopify and BuiltWith categorize the types of stores that are on the platform, so you can niche down to a certain type of store, for example just cosmetics or just apparel.
The other side of the opportunity is putting together your list of companies currently operating in the ecosystem. How to position within that market
Smart people are really good at collecting data and interpreting it.
Let’s get some data.
How to give yourself the biggest chance of success
- Go to the shopify app store
- Type in “Support”
- Click paid on the left margin and click the “Support Category”
- Use something like Simple Scraper ( a great chrome plugin, no affiliation)
- Get your scrape on, this shows 87
- Time to get busy - categorize them
- Pick the ones most similar to your offerings
- Click on them, look at their reviews - all of them on shopify Scrape them
- Go to G2 and Capterra and look through all those reviews as well
- Put them all in a spreadsheet, read them all, highlight those that stand out
- Find the ones that are popular, others that have features people like etc.
- Document, and integrate the baseline features into a trello board on your product roadmap
- Take all the bad reviews and complaints - look for gaps that you can fill
So take a look above, we went from a bunch of questions to being able to do a ton of market research to do product research and understand the current market offerings and where we might be able to gain some ground and offer something people might be interested in and ARE PAYING FOR.
How do you stand out?
You need to have a workflow that is 10x better than a current competitor in the market with a strong roadmap that lays out how you intend on optimizing this workflow. Features are built to augment the workflow and simplify the work of your clients employees, less work, more data, better understanding.
Ok so we’ve narrowed it down to eCommerce and Shopify and we have a list of other products that are currently playing in the space. We’re now looking at workflow - let’s figure this bit out. LEVEL 4: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify and Shipstation. How to niche down
Add another variable - it doesn’t have to be Shipstation, but it’s a good example as for eCommerce you’re likely shipping products places. By adding another variable, we’re shrinking our population to target. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity
The biggest problem for all companies these days is combining different one off services and getting them to play nicely together. Stand alone products usually outclass all in one products as stated above because the focus is better. This is generally always going to be where you can find a gap in the market as the integrating of products is an afterthought rather than something contemplated in the very beginning.
How do you decide on the technologies you want to work with? How to position within that market
Don’t guess. Understand the workflow of an eCommerce company and how it relates to support. For instance, most support tickets relate to order status, tracking, and returns. These all involve the store, transaction, the service desk, and the shipping carrier. Look for ways to streamline the experience for the service rep - for instance if refunds require approval, build a system that allows for all those tickets to be queued up with an easy interface for approvals or different color tagging to allow for them to be easily sorted by type.
By focusing on two technologies you can start by creating a better visual collaboration between tools to improve overall experience. How to give yourself the biggest chance of success
Stack the deck in your favor.
Focus on where you can drive early alignment between your product offering and the audiences of your now two products. When you reach out to both companies especially the smaller ones like a Shipstation, you can collect more information about who they are catering to, volumes etc.
Most companies have a partner program - look into connecting with the lead.
When the time is right you might even get a shoutout on their social or blog or you can decide to co-publish some research report together. Lots of options.
Let’s double down on what being niche allows us to do:
- Know our audience
- Research with purpose
- Personalize outreach with early feelers
- Better understand a realistic TAM (total addressable market)
- Understand overlap between products
- Early alignment with bigger names
This whole topic is about alignment, alignment with partners, customers, and your product.
We have a list of potential customers now, but we need to segment them down further. LEVEL 5: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify and Shipstation that have less than 100 skus. How to niche down
Why less than 100 skus?
This means they are small enough to try a new product. It also means you can see what works and what doesn’t work on a potentially smaller store. When you’re managing a store with more than 100 skus, things get a little complicated, it’s an arbitrary number but changing internal processes and workflows when you get to that level means that your staff is coming from a place of having used a system before that could handle the volume and trying out something newer or unproven is a tall order.
This process can be applied to anything, if your product does better project management look for people that run less than 20 projects at a time or projects that are less than 6 months, whatever it may be. We’re starting small.
Always default to the path of least resistance. Work smarter, not harder. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity
I’m sure this could be automated, but in lieu of it being automated, you should start by manually figuring this out for yourself.
That list you have from BuiltWith that has urls, yeah we’re going to use that one.
Put the websites in the spreadsheet you downloaded, then create a new column and add “products” to the url - so you have the website in cell A, the word “products” in cell B then in blank cell C write “=CONCATENATE
(A:B)” congratulations now you have cell C that will take you straight to the product page to see how many skus they have.
Update this hack doesn’t work on all shopify websites like I had hoped and after some research it seems like this is a bit of a struggle point for others as well.
I’m sure someone could write a script to scrape this information.
Go find an intern or hire someone to do all the lookups for you or find someone to write a script to automate the results - remember always work smart.
Run this and you’ll come up with your go to target list. How to position within that market
The best helpdesk for stores on Shopify using shipstation with less than 100 skus - all of a sudden this starts to sound like something someone would almost search for. That’s the point.
We’re working our way down where it becomes a simple checklist if someone was searching for things.
Shopify - check
Shipstation - check
Built for smaller stores - check How to give yourself the biggest chance of success
Remember you’re not building a product for everyone yet, your goal is to dominate a niche. You can always expand from there.
So we’re about half way through and we have figured out our potential partners and now we’re working on narrowing down this customer list. Before we dive in and start reaching out we need to really understand who we’re targeting and we need to start small.
Let’s narrow this down even further. LEVEL 6: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify and Shipstation that have less than 100 skus and do less than $10 million in annual revenue. How to niche down
Why the less than $10 million in annual revenue? The only reason I would say this in the beginning is that they won’t have as much traffic and ticket volume, they make for better early clients, you can learn a lot more from their use cases and improve the product without worrying about something going wrong and a larger client really getting mad and churning. You also usually have greater access to work with their staff to improve your product. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity
Unless you’re currently on the front lines, you need to find some early providers of feedback that are on the front lines. In essence, this is the starting point of a community and information play.
There aren’t a lot of data points available about companies in the early stages. People always have questions and there are limited resources in the early days, even across similar companies.
(Just look at reddit there are tons of repeat answers and questions.)
Someone answering tickets all day is the last person that wants to provide feedback, as much as they would like their job made easier, they don’t have the time. How to position within that market
“But I need a big logo to let people know that I’m real.” You don’t, not in the beginning. All you need is a few good customers that are open to lending you the feedback you need to get better. A lot of smaller brands do a good job of branding, play the long game, find brands that are growing and try to get in early - grow with them.
Logo hunting has its place but you need to find product market fit before you can really make that happen.
By now you have probably figured out that whenever possible you should automate things. The way you do this is through data collection.
Using logic, math, and a spreadsheet you can do enough to be dangerous.
Use a service to figure out what their unique traffic is, take a look at their products and assume that their cart value is around 2-4 products per order then take the conversion rates by industry - you can find these online they are openly listed.
Your sheet will look something like this:
Company, Traffic, Conversion Percentage, Order Value, Sales Percentage, Revenue
eCommerce blended average is 2.2% - go use a spreadsheet and some formulas and bam you now have the revenue numbers. We’re not looking for exacts here, but more generally a good estimate.
I’ve actually run these numbers, if the products are sold through other channels, Amazon, retail, etc, then a rough estimate would be around ~33% of the revenue will come from the ecommerce store.
Factor in a range based on the size of the brand and it’s channels this should give you a rough estimate of the revenue even if they don’t publish it. How to give yourself the biggest chance of success
Provide value - the most overhyped phrase but still true - the question then becomes, with something as subjective as “value” rather than just create, instead ask and create. This part is coming up, we’re almost ready to turn this on.
We’ve started to move from who are partners are to who are our potential customers. This is on purpose - my stance is that your first customers are really your partners and you should work on aligning yourself with those that are the best fit for your product.
You want your first clients to buy into your vision and invest the time to help shape it.
Ok on to the next - LEVEL 7: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify and Shipstation that have less than 100 skus and do less than $10 million in annual revenue with support teams less than 5 people. How to niche down
So now we’re getting into the easier stuff - this is just a simple LinkedIn Search - small teams are usually before the real deep process point, they are also really good at providing feedback on tools that can actually help them out. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity
If you have less than 5 people on a team, it’s a small enough number to target the entire team - multi prong approach to product awareness.
For customer support they are often the least paid and they have the most stressful jobs - it’s an all around shitty position to be in, so if you can provide them joy, you’re going to make fans quick. Also, they aren’t usually sold into, they are rarely asked their opinion, etc. How to position within that market
Give them a voice. The same goes for any lower level positions as well by the way. When people are getting started in their careers they are looking to hear about the jobs people have even at the lower levels but the resources just aren’t there. Even for more senior roles, it’s hard to get a beat on what the current status is of their projects, people don’t like sharing - I still don’t know why.
We’re seeing communities around Sales popup SalesHacker, sales
, Bravado etc. We don’t see as many for other roles, there is a wide open space in this. I don’t see any places for people to better understand customer support/success which is THE ONLY INBOUND TOUCHPOINT WITH CUSTOMERS POST SALE. How to give yourself the biggest chance of success
This is part of the philosophy and psychology of understanding human dynamics. Find a persona that you can relate to immediately and build your product around fixing their problems, be obsessed with this.
They get paid nothing, but they’d like less tickets, how do you reduce that ticket count, how do you bring other parts of the business that they may need to have access to more prominently in your support system so they don’t have to have multiple windows open. How do you build something to maximize their efficiency?
Better yet, how do you tag someone in the CRM and flag it over to the sales system to see if they purchase more product as a result of a good interaction with support - this is how you turn a cost center into a revenue generator. This is a killer feature that I’m not aware of out of the box.
This could unlock a commission structure and reward system for what is arguably becoming a dealbreaker for most companies.
Which is a great segway to the next drill down - you should be starting to see how this all really blends together if done correctly. LEVEL 8: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify and Shipstation that have less than 100 skus and do less than $10 million in annual revenue with support teams less than 5 people who are looking to automate their processes. How to niche down
They have to be looking to automate their process or improve their workflow. When people find a tech stack that works, oftentimes new technology doesn’t stick around very long, we’re all creatures of habit. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity
You’re only looking for people that are talking about processes or a company that has something related to the pride they take with their process - you can check out BuiltWith and see a list of products they have tried over the last 18 months.
When a company is testing a bunch of different products it means they are looking for a better process. This is your sweet spot. How to position within that market
You’ve seen me sprinkle “workflow” into this post. This is pretty much a preview of Part 3 and the importance of product design.
Your product must improve someone’s existing workflow. If it doesn’t it’s not a viable product.
There are two parts to this, does your product improve an existing workflow AND how easy can your product be inserted into that workflow?
Remember, this is their business and they need to make a transition as smoothly as possible with as little disruption as possible. This goes for any product you’re selling. Change is hard.
Understanding a company’s process really is everything.
If people aren’t looking to automate or improve their process, there’s a good chance you should change your approach immediately and work towards more of an education campaign and double down on what it would take to let people quickly switch over from an existing platform. Focus on reducing friction. How to give yourself the biggest chance of success
Looking for people that are interested, not those we need to educate early on.
Data migration and implementation is one of the main reasons people don’t want to switch or entertain new products. There is always a fear of lost productivity.
Everyone is looking to automate right now, but the price has to be right, and that includes not the subscription amount, but the training, the migration, the new workflows, the time to adopt, the willingness to adopt, etc.
During almost any transition, the company will be paying for two systems at the same time during that handoff. This is rough, not enough companies actually address this in a meaningful way.
The argument is that a pure SaaS play doesn’t exist or shouldn’t exist for an early stage company, there should always be a service and consulting component. Hold everyone’s hand, understand their problems and make them feel like you’re building a product just for them.
Ok we’re almost there - LEVEL 9: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify and Shipstation that have less than 100 skus and do less than $10 million in annual revenue with support teams less than 5 people who are looking to automate their processes who are currently using Zendesk. How to niche down
Zendesk - great platform - but has its limits that only show up based on workflows. Zendesk will work great until you have a workflow that incorporates other tools - then it starts to struggle.
This is true of most large legacy platforms. As legacy platforms moved up market to Enterprise for revenue reasons, they usually forget about smaller teams. Instead relying on dev house partners to do customizations.
This is where industry experience really comes into play - knowing the goals of a company or team, their workflows, and where you can create a better solution for those with those workflows for things that the legacy platforms prefer to source out to their dev house partners. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity
Your calls can now go from generic to focused with questions that can hone in on workflows and gaps. For example, Zendesk’s UX/UI sucks for partner integrations, we’ve seen companies like Kustomer, Gorgias, and others become more popular because of a better UX/UI that supports the whole customer experience and journey. This is a fundamental switch in approach.
From one of our earlier research steps we found 87 companies that people were using for support with shopify, we have them in a spreadsheet, we then could take those and put all the competitors in builtwith to run some reports to understand market penetration (you can do this with number of reviews as well by the way if you’re lazy - don’t be lazy).
Download your list - populate your CRM - you now know what people are using, how long they’ve been using them.
Narrow down your list to the top 20 clients - yes only 20.
Even if you have 100 clients or a thousand clients at this point, this process works for every single Sales rep you have - and I’m going on a 95% chance none of them are doing this stuff. And if you tell me they are, I know from the amount of generic ass emails I get regularly spewed out to me they aren’t doing it well and I guarantee you money is being left on the table. (Topic for another day) How to position within that market
You know what software they are using, you know their tech stack, your goal is to figure out their workflow. If you don’t know, ask. You should understand the general business workflows for the industry - again industry knowledge is required.
Engage them with conversation and find out. Base your questions on conversations you’ve had with other people in the space and be a source of information about how other people are doing it.
The above is completely able to be put into a human measurable process, one based on quality over quantity, relationships over transactions, and geared towards long term growth.
Be about the things that other platforms are not. Focus on changing the narrative from cost center to revenue generator.
The helpdesk for Shopify and Shipstation customers looking to streamline their processes and free up their support teams to become revenue generators in an organic and measurable fashion. How to give yourself the biggest chance of success
It’s all about workflows, data, and automation.
Niche down, learn from the inside out, follow the trends and work on being able to tie back data to creating more revenue no matter what your product does and you’ll be able to start conversations with people actively looking to create more optimized workflows.
Focusing on a legacy product and small businesses usually allows you to find a sweet spot, they don’t find value in all the features because they won’t use them all. But they do want the more advanced features like automation and workflow help. These are usually cost prohibitive in the platform.
This is why you focus on workflow over features, you’ll never catch up with the big guys in terms of features, but there are always ways to compete on workflows, because everyone has their own independent goals around them. There aren’t standards, only best practices.
Side note - there are entire companies that are hired to implement systems like Zendesk and build integrations on top of it and it’s a market leader. The same goes for any market leader. LEVEL 10ish: You can add location to the end of our narrowing down. A company physically local to you (at least this was the case prior to COVID-19) can allow for an in person visit which has been massive in building trust with early clients. Makes it easier to have a conversation as well.
That’s it. Go through this process, substitute your values, keep drilling down and recognize opportunity along the way. When you do it correctly you’ll see massive improvements for your initial outreach.
Emails go from:
We’re a new helpdesk company.
We’re a new helpdesk company for customers that use Shopify and Shipstation. We help agile support teams that are looking to better automate their workflows. Our integrations also allows your support team’s interactions to be directly tied into future revenue generation.
I can tell you from experience I’m visiting the url for the second email even if I’m not looking to make a change. This is a good place to stop, we hit question 2 of 5 and we’re almost at the halfway point.
If you have more specific questions about this part just drop them in the comments and I'll respond to them.
CASE STUDY: Transitioning my niche site to ecommerce using Shopify
Disclaimer submitted by Mark-JST to juststart [link] [comments]
: My site is very small and I don't purport this to be a gamechanger for, well, anyone. I just wanted to share something that is seeming to work well for me.
I started my niche site in 2018 -- it is focused around a particular type of vehicle that has a hobbyist following. Initially the site was monetized through a combination of Google Adsense and the Amazon Associates program. At some point, I started trying to diversify the income as much as possible. For me, this meant adding the eBay Partner Network for some items and applying for Ezoic as soon as I met the requirements.
I also experimented with some small affiliate programs but didn't have much success -- I had to get very creative to find them as most of the stores I really wanted to refer sales for did not offer an affiliate program. I reached out to them multiple times seeing if there was something we could arrange. I even offered to just sell display ads to them, but no dice. The result was signing up for a couple small affiliate programs with low commissions and low sales volume proructs. This frustration was the start of my desire to curate my own store of products I genuinely want to sell.
Shopify and subdomaining
I use Shopify to host my online store. I am a software engineer by profession so I generally don't consider ease-of-use and setup to be the most important factors when choosing software -- I just want whatever is the most effective. There are other options like WooCommerce that I have heard great things about.
However, for me, Shopify is almost magically easy to use and offers everything I have needed or wanted so far. Following Warren Buffet's advice to "buy what you like" I actually bought as much stock in the company as I could after using it for a month. Everything just works exactly how I expect it to. I have never struggled to find any answers or documentation about anything. The support is phenomenal.
It's just a great product -- to me I think they could be a bigger company then Amazon in a few years because it allows anyone to create to sell online and maintain a lot of control, something retailers lose with Amazon. I signed up for the Shopify affiliate program because I want
to refer people to it, not to
refer people to it. I helped my cousin set one up for his beef jerky business and it took 20 minutes before he was online and it has been a gamechanger. The small independent grocery store across the street from me is surviving (probably thriving) through COVID-19 because they allow online orders through Shopify and window pickup. But most importantly, it's great to get the little notification when you make a sale, especially when the margins are so much higher than affiliate, but I'll get to that later.
For me, I used a shop.mydomain.com
subdomain for my Shopify site. It's great because there are no conflicts with your Wordpress site and it's a very clean looking link. Shopify has some documentation
on this if you would like to try it.
Selling items yourself is great mainly because you get to choose and experiment with your profit margins. Want to experiment with razor-thin margins because you know your visitors will shop around a lot? Try it. Want to raise the price so any one sale is $80 in profit but you don't have to pack and ship as much? Might work, try it! Between Google Analytics and Shopify's analytics stats, you can measure anything you need to.
Here's a concrete example of one item from my site. I sell a particular type of spark plug that is used on a vehicle that my site is partly focused on. This is an item I have sold/referred in one way or another since the beginning of my site in 2018:
- Amazon Associates commission: $0.84 (before commission slashing!)
- Average Amazon Associates sales/month: 3
- Shopify profit margin: $14.06
- Average sales/month: 4
This is a small item that is extremely easy to buy in bulk and pack/ship quickly.
I actually averaged more clicks to this item when the destination was Amazon, so my conversion rate actually went up
when I moved away from Amazon. I charge a few dollars more than Amazon and many other online retailers for this item. I could probably do some experimenting to find the optimal price/sales ratio, but I think those numbers speak for themselves.
One of my early fears was that the trust people have for Amazon and their affinity towards Prime is hard to challenge, but my opinion is that the trust you gain by writing well-researched, meaningful articles and being an active participant in the niche you serve makes people want to support you.
Dropshipping has negative connotations because of the bastardized "buy cheap small items from overseas and make 4000% profit while the user doesn't know that the item wont arrive for 2 months" format that is shown by YouTube influencers and the like. However, dropshipping is simply collecting a sale yourself while having an underlying price agreement with a supplier who will pack and ship the item for you. The first item I sold through my Shopify store I actually sold on a dropshipping basis.
This was a line of products within the $200-300 price range, and I also sold these through the Amazon Associates program before. It was nice to make $10-17 for one sale, but I felt like I should be making more. I called the company that produces this item and asked to buy 3 or 4 to sell myself, but he suggested dropshipping instead which I was interested in as these items are rather large. I agreed to buy the items for around $160-200 and now I profit around $60 per sale -- the only effort required on my end is sending an email (gave them a card to have on file) and adding the tracking number to Shopify when it is available. The credit card points are nice too!
One other thing about this that I think is important -- It's really nice to have personal relationships that this kind of business offers. The guy that answered the phone was the owner of the small business and he's the nicest guy, great to deal with and it feels good to get him some sales, especially during a crisis like this. I actually met up with him at an industry event and we talked for a long time. He's an older guy and at some point I want to get him setup with a better online presence especially as he sells a lot of other products over the phone that I can't necessarily refer in my niche, but could definitely benefit from a real online store and web presence. I am building similar relationships with other suppliers and personally I love it.
If you go the route of stocking and shipping items yourself, the scope of products you can monetize through your site broadens drastically. For me, there was always a certain type of item that I wanted to sell, but I could never find a good version of this item on Amazon or anywhere that offered an affiliate program. This was actually one of the retailers I reached out to asking for an affiliate program to no avail. Then I asked for a dropshipping agreement -- the answer was still no. However, it's a lot easier when you ask to buy 50x of one item. They processed my distributor account in a day and had my items to me by the end of the week. It is now my best selling item!
Shipping Logistics and Tools
One of the things that I think could be a dealbreaker for people is something I personally really enjoy -- stocking, packing, and shipping items. My inventory is small enough to fit in a walk-in closet in my apartment. I love the process of getting the Shopfiy "ca-ching" notification, packing the order, and dropping it off at the mailbox. Here are some tools I have used to make this process more efficient:
- Label printer: I initially bought the cheapest option on Amazon. This was a mistake. That thing was absolute garbage. Then I bought a Brother QL-1100 and I love it. It's nearly $200 but worth every penny. The driver worked immediately, a stark contrast to the earlier printer. Prints quickly in very high quality. You can get away with using a regular printer, cutting out the label, and taping it on your package, but the presentation value is much better with a good label printer.
- Standard printer: Use for leaving a packing slip, order receipt, etc.
- Computer: Definitely not important, but I like to have a dedicated laptop for my "ship station" right next to my label printer and regular printer.
Here is part of my dedicated "ship-station" where I manage my store and print labels/packing slips. https://i.imgur.com/TdRfvEK.jpg
I would probably wait to receive the items you're selling before selecting the packaging you're going to use. That way you can take exact measurements and consider alternative sizes/types of packages. One of my items is a collection of smaller items. I throw away the box that my supplier ships it in, and put it in a bag that goes inside my small mailer box. I use a particular size of bubble wrap which was also specifically chosen to protect the item, while also taking up all of the surrounding space. It's much easier to make all of these choices when you have the item in front of you.
Here's the previously mentioned item (spark plugs) in the box I chose (bubble wrap not shown!) There is no wasted space when it is packed. https://i.imgur.com/IXgTxm0.jpg
For me, I use USPS for nearly all of my orders. It's usually the cheapest option and very fast for the size of item I have. I live in an apartment complex and I can just drop my packages in the mailroom and they get picked up daily. Shopify will show you all of the available shipping options with speed and price. For international orders, it's only a few dollars more, and I think it goes from USPS and gets picked up by DHL.
Another benefit of this approach is that you have infinitely more opportunity to make a good impression on your customers which is huge if your items are the kind that might be reordered, or if the customer may be interested in other items you sell. For me, item presentation is also important because as I said, I am operating out of a spare closet in my apartment, so I want to look as professional as possible.
Here are some ways you can do this:
- Light box: You definitely don't want to just pick pictures from Google Images. Take your own pictures. I bought a decent sized light box from Amazon for around $70 and it makes a massive difference. I would link it here but it seems like it's no longer available. I have an iPhone SE which is worlds away from most good cameras these days, but with the light box my pictures look extremely professional. This is not an item I sell (it's my beard comb) but I did a quick comparison of using the light box vs. my initial approach: using printer paper with an overhead lamp.
- Custom packaging: As discussed before, get your measurements and then choose the package you want to ship in. For me, I wanted to have some custom packaging with my logo on it. I didn't buy in huge bulk so it cost me about $3 per mailer box for the first order of packaging. It's a lot when my margins are mostly $20-40, but to me it is important. For companies to consider, I strongly recommend UPrinting or Packwire.
- EDIT: I originally noted issues I had with Packwire here but Phil from Packwire spotted it and he is sending me a new shipment free of charge that we expect will solve the issue I had. Thank you Phil! Based on this experience alone I would recommend trying them out if you need custom packages.
- Packing slips/notes: All of my orders contain a thank you note to the customer with my name and email. I thank them for the order and ask them to reach out if they have any questions or concerns. I also ask them to reach out if there's any item they would be interested in that they do not currently see on my store. I haven't had any responses recommending products customers would be interested in, but I did have one customer ask about using the item. I sent him my number and he gave me a call and I explained everything to him. I think my store will be his first stop if he ever needs anything else.
- Dual use of label printer: Use your label printer to look more professional. On the item that I put into a bag and then into my mailer box, I have item label stickers that I put on the bag. It has my logo and the item title and ID number of the item within my store. It is a nice added touch and I think it looks very official.
I have not yet started experimenting with any form of ads. All of my sales thus far have been the result of organic traffic from the content on my website funneled through to my store. This month I am going to experiment with Facebook and Google Ads. Obviously this may not work but if there is a decent enough margin after the increased customer acquisition cost I will continue. I will report these results later!
Legality and Relationship to Affiliate Marketing
Keeping in mind that we in this business typically operate as affiliates, the golden rule is to make sure you are recommending the absolute best products to your site visitors. Thinking back to the Casper mattress affiliate drama
, there should be research and thought behind your recommendations. Selling the items yourself does complicate this. I have used all of the items I sell on my store. When I moved my links over from Amazon, I kept the notes indicating that I have used the item, but I also added a link to an explanation of my store.
I think it ends up being an extra vote of confidence when I explain to users: I have tried the items I sell and think they are the best in their category. I used to sell these items as an affiliate and would receive a commission, but I believe in them strongly enough that I now stock and sell them myself. I am not the only one who sells them and you can certainly buy from others if you find a better price/shipping speed.
I'll restate what I said before because I think it is extremely illuminating: My conversion rates went up when I moved items from Amazon to my own store!
The bottom line is that you need to be explicit about these things to be safe and honest. I think my niche works particularly well for this as people are looking for a.) What exact version of the item do I need? and b.) How do I use it? I know many niche sites are focused around "Top 10 X" type content and this may become a lot more difficult within the honesty/legality context. Something to think about.
As a final note, I still operate this as a sole proprietorship. Eventually I want to get an LLC for it. I have been upfront about this with all of my suppliers and none of them have required this for a distributor agreement.
Here are my income sources over time. I apologize for the colors used in the line charts of individual sources, I could not figure out how to configure those. https://i.imgur.com/bkeK6PJ.jpg https://i.imgur.com/8ES9cG5.jpg
As you can see, my site is very small. However, the relationship between the decline these past few months in display advertising revenue (Ezoic literally sent an email saying to expect lower rates) and the Amazon Associates rate cut charted against my growing Shopify revenue really opened my eyes to the benefit I gained from diversifying towards ecommerce/Shopify. I still keep the older sources of revenue, but I actually think I will consider eliminating them in the future, especially display ads. Diversification is necessary when the revenue source lacks control -- Amazon Associates can slash rates willy-nilly, eBay Partner Network can apparently just decide to not pay me for a large sale I made, who even knows what these display ad networks are actually getting paid for our clicks or if every click is considered, etc.
Selling the items yourself gives you a lot more responsibility, but a lot more control. One of the primary reasons I'm so excited about this is that my inventory is still VERY small. I am working to add new items and it's wonderful because even if I only sell a few, the profit margins make it so much easier to spend the time to create the content and stock/ship the item -- a luxury I never had with Amazon.
Please feel free to ask any questions! I'd love to help if I can.
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