I wanted to do a follow-up article to my article: How I Build a Website in 10 Easy Steps. First, let me thank everyone who “shared” that article via social sites like StumbleUpon. It ended up getting a crazy amount of traffic with over 15,000 views in two weeks, so thanks for that.
Of course building a website for most affiliates and webmasters is probably the easiest thing – it’s what to do NEXT that’s the tough part. With the website mentioned in that article, OrderofBooks.com, being a month old now, I wanted to write an update on how the site is doing, and talk about 10 things I have done or will do, now the site’s actually launched.
How the Site is Doing
Before we go any further, I thought it’d be good to give an update on how the website’s actually doing since launch.
Traffic wise, it’s been great. It started ranking for the primary keywords almost immediately. In the month of July there were 1,360 unique visitors brought in from the search engines.
My only source of income in July was from Affiliates.
Honestly, I am ECSTATIC at the early results. My aim with the site is to make $250 a month, and to hit 16% of that after one month, with my weak-ass call to action(“Best Price Here” beside every book) and only about 5% of the eventual articles I’ll ultimately have on the site is fantastic.
Now let’s get onto things that I have did since launch, and things I will be doing…
1: Content Writing
This is the obvious one that everyone should be doing after a website is launched. Keep it “fresh” and keep adding content. The site currently has 34 pages of content up. The majority of these are simply “order of books” but there is a couple of exceptions, like some news items and a user interaction article.
The news items are something I will try it – if a book is announced, is it worth me writing an article about it? Will enough people pre-order it? No idea, but things like that you have to try and monitor to see how they do.
User interaction articles are good too, as it can keep people coming back. Along with a poll I did to encourage user interaction, I’ve started writing a monthly article covering “what I read” with the hope that visitors will contribute too, which helps keep the brand name of the site fresh in their mind. Also helps them in regards to coming back if there is replies to any of their comments.
I’ll continue to have content published on a regular basis on the site – ideally daily, or every 2nd day. This is a site that will rely heavily on quantity of content to increase income.
2: Link Building
I actually haven’t did any link building on the site yet, but this is something I should be doing to increase rankings, and cement my position as the #1 site for the primary keywords I am targeting. The topic of link building is so vast I’m not even going to begin to cover it in this article, but it’s something I’ll be looking at doing over the next few weeks. I’ve traded a couple of links to other book sites, and had a few friends blog about it but that’s it.
If you don’t geo-target, you’re an idiot. Plain and simple.
Geo-targeting is a MUST for practically any website, for so many reasons. First of all it’s just plain silly to promote poker rooms to US players that can’t play there, or send Canadians to a US-based retailer when there’s a Canadian equivalent that they would use instead.
Second, you can use geo-targeting to further improve your call to actions. You know that call to action you have on your page, midway through an article, with the eye-attracting text “Best Online Casino”? Change that to “Best Online Casino for Canadians” and watch the conversions rise. It’s like personalizing a site for a user. That’s why so many of those dating/weight-loss popups and banners you see mention your home city based on IP.
For geo-targeting, I decided to focus on the UK, US & Canada at this time. UK people see links to Amazon.co.uk, Canadians see Amazon.ca, and the rest of the world including USA see links to Amazon.com. If I see a surge of traffic from other countries then I’ll look at considering them.
If English isn’t the primary language for that country then I’ll even look at translating the content for that country. Of course when you do something like that you need to pay attention, and make sure it’s worthwhile. Then if it is, you can continue to do it for other countries.
So for example – USA, Canada and UK were my top 3 visiting countries. Australia was 4th but with only 31 visitors. If that number increases, then I’ll look at also geo-targeting for Australia and promoting an Aussie retailer.
Seriously, geo-target. Get the Epik GEO-IP plugin for WordPress, use coupon code DealerDan so it’s only $40, and enjoy making that money back overnight. That’s not an affiliate link or coupon or anything – I make $0 from that. I just cringe every time I visit a poker portal and see the US Flag prominent everywhere, being that I’m based in Canada.
4: Making Things Easier for Myself
After you’ve built a website, it becomes a “grind” where you’re mostly doing the exact same things over and over again. What I like to do is do that for a week, then look back at what I did, and see how I can make it easier for myself.
With OrderofBooks.com, the most obvious part was adding the actual lists of books. I had to:
(1) Write in the title of every book in order.
(2) Write in the year of every book in order.
(3) Add in the individual URLs from 3 different Amazon websites.
All within special HTML tags. It was a real chore, taking around 30 minutes depending on the author. Now one thing I could do right off the bat is outsource this – and I did to my employee – but if you’re outsourcing, you still want to make it as easy as possible for the person who is doing the work. It’s cheaper for you, and the easier the job the better they’ll do.
So I got my coder on the job, and we made it so that all I do is grab the ISBNs and put them in a list like this:
That’s all the work required from my end, and the program he wrote outputs it like this:
It now takes mere minutes to generate a page of content.
What you NEED to do is evaluate and re-evaluate everything that you’re doing, and look at ways to make it faster, be it shortcuts on code, php includes, outsourcing, whatever. If you don’t do this the “grind” will eventually get to you and put you off working on your websites.
5: Analyze The Traffic / Understand Your Visitors
One thing I love to do with a new site is sit back and analyze every visitor that comes in through the door. You can get solid information with stat programs like Google Analytics, and even more detail with software like Clicktale.
I like to look at the keywords that brought the visitor in, look at what OS/Browser etc they are using, and try and determine who the visitor is, and what exactly they are looking for. With Clicktale I’m able to see exactly what they do on my website – how fast they read it, if they click anywhere else etc – and am able to get a good idea of how well my website served them.
People are always so focused on conversions, but I pay a lot more attention to non-conversions. I like to look at those visitors that came to my site, and figure out why they left. Then look at ways to convince that visitor to DO SOMETHING on my site. Something that will make him remember the site. Maybe an easy link to bookmark it? A comment option? A vote in a poll?
You won’t make money from every visitor to your website. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try.
In the case of OrderofBooks.com it’s likely that the visitor is using it as an informational resource. Perhaps he just wants to know the order of a certain book series so he can hit up his local library or used book store the next day? Sure, that’s fine. But then maybe I should provide a one-click printable list of the book series in order for them to carry in their wallet? Or a one-click solution to e-mail or text them the list? All branded with my website URL of course, so they don’t forget it.
Of course you can also learn a lot from the visitors that DO convert, which leads me to…
6: Better Call to Actions
Having the best possible calls to action on your page is important. Sometimes you don’t know what the best CTAs are, so have to resort to split-testing to determine what works and what doesn’t.
My initial call to action was a very tame and vague “Best Price Here” beside each book title, as indicated below:
Now that was working, but maybe it could work better. People like buttons, so adding a button to click would be a good idea. I’m also using geo-targeting, so I really should take advantage of that.
One additional thing I noticed however was that 35% of my sales were Kindle sales. With books mostly being available in hardcover, paperback and now e-book format, I decided to take advantage of that as well. So I have now changed the CTA to this:
It still needs a bit of work – the buttons are a tad “squashed”, but it gets the point across. It’s a “choice” call to action too, which is always my preferred call to action. Now the users not thinking “should I buy this book via this link?”. They’re instead thinking “Do I get the hardcover, paperback or Kindle version?”. It’s like linking to an online casino or online poker room. Rather than say “Click here to play”, I prefer to offer them options to “Download”, “Visit the website” or “Instant Play”. That way the user immediately bypasses the “Should I click this link” phase, and instead hits the “What link do I click” phase.
Of course, adding these calls to action isn’t enough; I need to analyze them, see what people are clicking, do split testing, try out a wide variety of different things and make sure these are the best possible CTAs I could do. I noticed a few visitors visiting from their iPads for example; it might be worth me creating CTAs specifically for that crowd. “Read this on your iPad right now – click here” or similar.
7:Additional Profit Options
Often when affiliates build a website, they have a one-track mind. A poker affiliate for example will make his lone source of income from revenue at poker rooms, when there are so many other options. Poker software, poker training videos, poker e-books to name just 3.
One thing I’ll be doing over the next couple of weeks is hopefully adding AdSense. On top of that, there are numerous other affiliate programs out there I can and will promote. I’ll set up some sort of banner rotation in the next few weeks, promoting things like e-book readers, audio book websites etc.
Once the banner rotation is set up, I’ll also be able to sell ad space to companies and bring in income there. I can also start to promote DVDs of any books that were made into movies.
Finally, I’ve just started adding merchandise links to some of the pages. That visitor who is searching for the “order of Jack Reacher books” may not be looking to buy them online, but he’s most likely a fan of Jack Reacher. Therefore ideally he’ll see something like this:
And make a purchase there.
8: Targeting Secondary Keywords
This is another thing a lot of affiliates slack on; they figure out their primary keywords, but then forget all about additional keywords.
I don’t want to give TOO much away here keyword wise, but one example would be people who, instead of typing in “_____ order of books”, type in “_____ order of novels”. Boom, just like that, additional keywords to target.
People also like recommendations, and while doing keyword research I noticed a common key phrase was “If you like ________, You’ll Love…”, so I’ve started optimizing slightly for that phrase, with a section like this at the end of each article:
9: Protecting My Brand/Keywords
This site is making money and doing well. The future is bright. A large part of this is simply lack of competition. Unfortunately “lack of competition” is something that doesn’t last. (Especially when the idiot webmaster writes a series of articles explaining everything that he’s doing!!!)
If you’re making money off a niche that isn’t too competitive – look to keep it that way. Based on the main keywords that are making me money, I’ve bought a few additional domains. Maybe I’ll build on them and maybe I won’t – but the main thing is making it harder for other people to compete with me.
Sure – you don’t NEED an exact match domain to rank – but it really does help, and is always a great way to get off to a rolling start when it comes to ranking in the search engines.
Plus if it ends up being a profitable website, I can end up building the additional websites and completely dominating the search engines. Let’s say the #1 result on Google for a phrase gets 60% of all clicks, and that’s where you rank. Guess what? That’s 40% of people that AREN’T clicking through to your website. Yet if you end up ranking for #2, #3, #4 etc then you’re able to capitalize on those people.
:10: Being Patient
The final advice I can give you when it comes to what to do after building a website is simple: patience.
Sometimes things don’t work out. Maybe your site isn’t ranking, maybe you’re getting visitors but no conversions – whatever. Lots of bad things can happen.
The worst thing you can do is be impatient, and make rash, drastic decisions. One of my friends recently built a site, and was frustrated that he was only ranking #12 for the phrase he was targeting.
Rather than be patient, slowly build the site and turn it into a quality resource, he ended up buying numerous “link package deals”. Within a week his site went from 20 quality backlinks to 5000+ backlinks, mostly due to blog comment and forum spam. His google ranking went from #12 to #700.
As Benjamin Franklin so aptly put it: “He that can have Patience, can have what he will.”
If you’re doing everything I suggested in these articles then don’t sweat it – you’re doing everything right, and it’ll eventually pay off.
Hopefully you all enjoyed these two articles, and managed to read them all despite being over 5000 words in length! If you run a blog or website I’d love a link to OrderOfBooks.com, and there are numerous options below if you want to share this article with others. Thanks!
Finally, on the topic of books, please blindly buy the first book in the Nick Stone series, entitled Remote Control. I’m not saying that because I want to make money from affiliate links; I’m saying that because I recently discovered the Nick Stone series and it’s my favourite series of books of all time, and I am recommend them to EVERYONE. Seriously, trust me and buy Remote Control blindly. 5 Chapters in you’ll be hooked.