I haven’t posted anything in a long time as I’ve been busy with my affiliate websites. This post details exactly what I did to build and grow my first affiliate website to $1000/month. Expect no fluff in this post as I really don’t have time for that. Everything will be straight-forward and to the point. If you’ve any questions, feel free to drop your comments.
A Brief Overview
Let’s start with data first.
This was my first ever affiliate website that I started back in September 2016. Yes, call me a newbie. The website made it’s first 70 cents in October and then next 5 bucks in November. Here is the earnings data to date:
Here are some of the key stages explained in detail:
1. Keyword Research
I didn’t waste a lot of time in keyword research. In fact, I accidentally hit this niche and found it through someone’s Facebook timeline. Before that time, I had no idea about how keyword research works. You won’t believe but I actually setup my website right after I came across the niche. All I looked at was search volume (5k+ Average Monthly Searches) and product price ($90-$200).
I had no idea how to do a competitor analysis and what it takes to rank a website. But once my first round up post was live, that was when I learned I should do keyword research. I used KWFinder and Ahrefs keywords explorer to analyze keyword difficulty and then discover more related keywords in that niche. Ahrefs is better at checking keyword difficulty, but it’s expensive for beginners. So I find KWFinder economical and useful at the same time.
Please note that if you’re solely relying on metrics from these tools to make your decisions, you are mistaken. I mostly use KWFinder for finding more keywords in a niche. I do look at the keyword difficulty values, but that’s where my research begins. Manually evaluate search results. Analyze your competitors, their on-page, off-page and everything they’ve done to rank. Only then you’ll be able to decide if you should be aiming for this keyword or not.
If ^^that’s your excuse for not starting a niche website, join the NicheHacks Facebook Group. This group is owned by Stuart Walker from NicheHacks who is a famous internet marketer. You will find 100’s of niche website ideas if you read his blog and follow FB group closely. I’ve started 2 new websites recently and NicheHacks FB group is where I discovered those niches.
- Google Keyword Planner
2. Domain and Hosting
I went with a partial match domain. Back then, I had no idea about EMDs (exact-match domains), PMDs (partial-match domains) and branded domains. I just thought it was a good name and I went with it, without thinking of any SEO aspects. But now, I prefer going with branded domains.
I see a lot of people wasting too much time on this step. Please don’t. Come up with any name and move on to the real thing. I got a domain for $12 and hosting for $9 at Namecheap. A really good hosting package for getting started. You can host up-to 3 websites which is great. Though I have started hosting my new websites on Siteground now. Expensive, but better in a longer run.
But if you are a beginner, don’t bother investing too much on hosting if you have limited funds. Save that money and spend on more important stuff like content and links.
If someone told you content is king, that’s true 100%. Good content is extremely vital to the success of your website. A well-written piece connects with readers and definitely converts well. You can outsource your content or write it yourself if you don’t have enough funds.
I didn’t have enough funds but I took a different approach. I partnered with a content writer and offered her a percentage in the ownership. There are endless possibilities when you want to get things done. All that’s needed is your desire to take action.
I told my writer to write more content than what our competitors on page 1 had. So we went with 3k+ words approx. This was published on the homepage. There was nothing else published for the next month.
Then I published another round-up in November. And the website has total 5 money posts (2500+ words) and 4 informative articles (500+ words) as we speak.
Don’t under-estimate the important of OnPage SEO. I didn’t know much about it until I came across few of the best internet marketers; Matt Diggity from Diggity Marketing and Charles Floate. Trust me, I was so sick of information overload and trying random bullshit from the internet until I found them. Both these guys really know their stuff and all their advice is based on real data and rigorous testing. I haven’t directly interacted with any of them but they all make a huge contribution towards the success of my affiliate website(s). Go read their on-page SEO guides and make sure you implement it right.
4. Off-site SEO
Being a beginner, I wasn’t aware of maintaining anchor text ratios, link velocity and all that technical stuff. I read somewhere to reverse-engineer the competition and replicate. I did the same. So one of the main competitor was having around 300 links. 90% of the links were blog comments with exact-match anchor text. I replicated. (I’ll never do that again, even though it worked well back then).
I spent some time in acquiring scholarship links as well. Like I sent out 25-30 emails and was able to secure 4 good edu links. I found it daunting later on and stopped. Now that everyone seems to be doing this, I don’t see any value though some people might disagree.
Next, I did some guest posts on a couple of websites like all those famous self-publishing platforms including HuffPost, RebelMouse, Medium, etc. And again, I was blatant with anchors. The website was stuck at page 5. Later in November, someone told me about Hatred, a vendor on Konker. That was the game-changer actually. I got 10 links from him. He didn’t only deliver excellent links but also suggested anchor text changes for my order. (I was going exact-match again :P). After Hatred’s links and kind advice, I did some more guest posts with long tail anchors and tried to diversify my anchor profile.
Now if you ask me about final anchor-text distribution, here is how it looks like:
- Target – 80%
- Variations and Long-tail – 10%
- Naked – 5% (Profile links, Image, Audio, PDF Submission, etc.)
- Branded – 5%
My site was probably sandboxed until February and it picked up after that. I didn’t maintain a good link velocity and went hard on exact-match anchors. This is something I avoid now and you should too.
Summing it up
This website was crazy beginning to a fruitful journey. I have started more than 5 websites after this and almost all are a success. There are a couple that have crazy success stories. One of them was actually setup on a $5 expired domain and it made a whopping $1000 within a month. If I find time any sooner, I will write a blog sharing more details about that website.
I have tried my best to write down all that popped up in my mind. Still, I am sure there’s details I might have missed. If you’ve any questions, feel free to ask and I’d love to answer.