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JOURNEY [Journey #2] Hobby + Affiliate Site | will I make it this time?

ThulfWaatu

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OVERVIEW
My last journey was a flop, but I learned a great deal from that.

With the experience I got by running that first site in 2017, I've created 2 new sites in 2018.
  • Hobby site (3rd of March, 2018).
  • Affiliate site (5th of April, 2018).

Hobby Site Journey, 03.03.2018-31.05.2018.png

The hobby site will be monetized by adsense and the like; tech field.

Affiliate Site Journey, 05.04.2018-31.05.2018.png

The affiliate site will be monetized with Amazon mainly; outdoors sports. For June, the pageviews are around 1000 already.


PLANS
They are rapidly growing, which is motivating, but the problem is, I can't work on them in the coming 9 months starting from July (military service).

With that said, what I've done is I've layed a sort of groundwork only. I have not monetized them yet because I'm not sure how things will end up with me not being around to babysit and/or collect the money... I'm just going to let them sit like this and grow (including June's work) for those 9 months, pretty much. Maybe I'll get to do some maintenance on them from time to time, but that's about it.


TECHNICAL
The domains are bought via GoDaddy for 2 years. They are on a VPS (virtual private server, Vultr, $3.60/m) managed by ServerPilot hosting service (free). I've implemented https for both of them and they're using relatively optimized simple free themes (Best Simple and Wisteria).


SEO
I feel good about the SEO on those new sites. The hobby site has no SEO-level competition basically. The affiliate site has relatively low competition overall - there's some room to snap untouched keywords basically.

The on-page SEO for the affiliate site in particular has:
  • 1500-4000+ word articles with pictures, short paragraphs, useful content, etc;
  • interlinking to useful and relevant sources within the site itself with ultimate pillar content for each category;
  • low competition keywords for the most part already bringing in users with buyer intent.
  • (user friendly - useful yet simple and pleasant overall feel of the site(s))

The off-page SEO is not something I'm overly concerned about. I feel like there's no need for it in all actuality. I'm pretty sure that simply having better content will do the trick over time. I'm in no rush.


MONI
All is paid in advance for 2 years. The affiliate site is sure to make at least some money, that's a given. Just needs more content and time...

I'm not quite sure how I'm going to monetize the hobby site though. The audience is not looking to buy anything in particular, but there are some potential ways to monetize it (adsense; contacting digital product sellers and suggest to give their solutions more visibility on my site by demanding a small monthly fee - right now the free solutions are at the front and most nobody needs to scroll past the free solutions on the lists of ways to do what they want to do; etc).

Expenses:
  • 2 domains: $65
  • VPS: $70
Revenue:
  • not monetized yet
 

ThulfWaatu

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Oh, I always forget something... I should have added:

INSPIRATION:
Inspiration.png


This is some relatively random Amazon affiliate journey I came across on /r/juststart (reddit) that truly showcases how things might look like for me as well one day...
 

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hi @ThulfWaatu

Glad to see you learned a lot from a project that didn't end up well. It happens to everyone including myself. I made tens of sites that failed due to numerous reasons. No need to go and elaborate now, businesses are set to fail or succeed, that's for sure.

I highly suggest post lot more content and do search engine optimization, not only on site but as well as off-site.

If you have the budget you may outsource the content problem, so you hire freelancers to write for your site.

Let us know if you have any questions we'll do our best to help you and succeed.
 

ThulfWaatu

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UPDATE

Hobby Site Journey, 03.03.2018-30.06.2018.png

Hobby site (started on 3rd of March, 2018; monetized on 21st of June, 2018)

Affiliate Site Journey, 05.04.2018-30.06.2018.png

Affiliate site (started on 5th of April, 2018; monetized on 25th of June, 2018)

I'm thinking maybe I should have stuck with the hobby site from the start, but I planned it the other way around back then.
I'll let the hobby site sit while I bring the affiliate site to working passive state,
and then I'll get back to the aged hobby site to work on it as an authority site.

You'd think I'd be ecstatic to see the little bit of money (3.50€), right?
But the fact is, it's so, so out of my control (not stable) AND I won't actually get my hands on it till it reaches, if ever, 100€. BUT even then there's the risk of adsense going: a la your adsense account has been terminated because you mispelled something somewhere...​
 

ThulfWaatu

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hi @ThulfWaatu

Glad to see you learned a lot from a project that didn't end up well. It happens to everyone including myself. I made tens of sites that failed due to numerous reasons. No need to go and elaborate now, businesses are set to fail or succeed, that's for sure.

I highly suggest post lot more content and do search engine optimization, not only on site but as well as off-site.

If you have the budget you may outsource the content problem, so you hire freelancers to write for your site.

Let us know if you have any questions we'll do our best to help you and succeed.
Thanks!


About outsourcing content... That's probably the only thing I can't do.

Not that it's a bad idea, but I simply can't do it considering the circumstances (lack of time and money - already one of those would stop me from outsourcing content, but I've hindered by 2 instead). There are 2 extremes to content writers: on one end, you've got the guys who don't know how to write, they're everywhere, and then there are people who have the talent, but they cost like an absurd amount of money to just write some sugarcoated words for me... The amount of time I'd have to spend testing them out till I find "the one" would take me months. I'd rather write myself, make a few mistakes, learn, get better at it and spend none of my precious money.

I'd prefer to rely on only myself, at least at the beginning.


I've been following all the Amazon Niche Site Gurus out there for a relatively long time now. What I'm trying to follow from the distance is what Income School guys are preaching.

I haven't bought any of their services, but they're sharing most of it bits by bits, and I've accidentally done almost exactly as the run the program. It just makes hell of a lot of sense, super white hat approach, no inner conflicts due to not being forced to deal with shady tactics nor shortcuts, and they give a good outline of things will probably work out. It feels like they've nailed it. (One of the guys is somewhat experienced while the other is a beginner himself, so they have 2 different perspectives to things and it just works for them so well).
 

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but they cost like an absurd amount of money to just write some sugarcoated words for me...
I personally witnessed this, a professional writer with a high rating on multiple freelancing platforms and good portfolio asked me exactly $100 per 1000 words article in the "make money" niche and as well "search engine optimization".

And of course I passed the offer and went to iWriter, I purchased a couple of articles and excuse me but they were complete trash, near to what automatic spun content tools do.

After that, I decided to try some webmaster forums and bought some decent content from 2 people for that specific project and after that, I populated the site with content created by me, it does take a lot of time to outsource, to research, but that's what it is.
 

ThulfWaatu

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UPDATE

Hobby Site Journey, 03.03.2018-31.07.2018.png

Hobby site (started on 3rd of March, 2018; monetized on 21st of June, 2018)

Affiliate Site Journey, 05.04.2018-31.07.2018.png
Affiliate site (started on 5th of April, 2018; monetized on 25th of June, 2018)


The ads on hobby site are performing better and better. For August, the revenue is already at 9 € (01-08.2018-18.08.2018).

The affiliate site is also growing. It's currently targeting American crowd (amazon.com), but the traffic mainly consists of UK crowd (amazon.co.uk)... So all the clicks are pretty much wasted because the people from UK don't buy from the .com amazon.


All I need to do is sign up for the other amazon regions as an affiliate. I'd also need to find the time to work more on the sites. Imagine if I got to keep on working on them... I wonder how much money they'd be generating already.


Expenses:
  • 2 domains: $65
  • VPS: $70
Revenue:
  • G Adsense: 7,36 €
 

Harrifar

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Affiliated marketing is the best business of the current time as online shopping and surfing is becoming more and more popular in the current time. You just need to post the content which is well optimized. Your website will improve with the passage of every day. Best of luck!
 

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Ive always wanted to try affiliate marketing but I don't know where to start. I've once learned years before from my old client that some online stores required established blogs or website for them to approved being an affiliate but what about the newly blossomed blogs? Just say I wanted to create my own blog and create some quality contents on it, what are the things that I must do to be approved as affiliate to online stores? And is it really necessary to invest in domains? Can't I start with creating blogs for free like in wordpress? Is it not possible to earn using those free platforms?
 

ThulfWaatu

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Affiliated marketing is the best business of the current time as online shopping and surfing is becoming more and more popular in the current time. You just need to post the content which is well optimized. Your website will improve with the passage of every day. Best of luck!
Thanks for the encouraging words. I sure hope things will improve with time.

Ive always wanted to try affiliate marketing but I don't know where to start. I've once learned years before from my old client that some online stores required established blogs or website for them to approved being an affiliate but what about the newly blossomed blogs? Just say I wanted to create my own blog and create some quality contents on it, what are the things that I must do to be approved as affiliate to online stores? And is it really necessary to invest in domains? Can't I start with creating blogs for free like in wordpress? Is it not possible to earn using those free platforms?
There's really not much to getting approved nowadays. At least that's how I see it. It comes down to common sense: there's no point applying to anything when there's no real traffic on your site (doesn't have to be established) or when laws were broken to gain traffic, etc.
When it comes to free blogging platforms though, there are ways to monetize them - just google how to monetize wordpress.com blog for example. Loads of answers pop up immediatelly.
There are, of course, rules to everything, and to break them all down to bits would take literally years as I don't know what exactly you're unsure of.
 

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UPDATE (August)

Hobby Site Journey, 03.03.2018-31.08.2018.png

Affiliate Site Journey, 05.04.2018-31.08.2018.png

Had to bring in a correction when it comes to the money gained from the hobby site. Google Adsense recalculated the money I actually got to my balance a little based on their way of doing things. A good chunk of money I saw coming in just disappeared as a result.

Overall, the hobby site is making more than it costs to run it, so that's a positive.


When it comes to the affiliate site, I signed up for the Amazon-affiliate uk region (traffic mainly from UK, so...) and implemented OneLink binding all the regions I'm signed up for together, sort of. As a result of that, clicks increased, but that's it. No conversions... That's making me ask myself questions like: what am I doing wrong; etc.

I've started to outsource content at a rate of 1$ per 100 words, but I'm already seeing a lot of random nonsensical fluff in their "highly researched" claim. They may have a way with words, but they're basically empty and meaningless words/sentences if somebody actually in need of some information happened to read them.

It also doesn't help that the affiliate site is to do with outdoor sports niche, and summer is over - traffic will see a drop for the non-summer periods for sure and I'm not sure if I'll have the motivation to work on it then.
 

ThulfWaatu

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I have personally tried it all and for long time with little or no success, i almost gave up on all this stuff as well so i feel you for sure. I was tired of scams and empty promises. This year i finally landed in the right place and made a ton of money, i suggest everyone new or seasoned to add massive cash flow to your income click the link and down load this free information. I hope and want to help change as many lives as i can like this did my life for the best its ever been. CLICK>>>> Download FREE

This is a textbook scam though. Either that or you've really missed with something, I'm not sure with what...
 

ThulfWaatu

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UPDATE (September)


Hobby Site Journey, 03.03.2018-31.09.2018.png

Affiliate Site Journey, 05.04.2018-30.09.2018.png

Maybe things will work out eventually?

I've got my main focus on the affiliate site.

Even the harder keywords have started to rank for the first page.

And I've accumulated enough content to simply link to within new posts for more relevancy - it's as if the site is becoming more and more like an authority site or something as I learn about the topic the site is about myself. Soon I can create the main pillar articles linking all the smaller ones into one, essentially. So, instead of reviews and info pieces I can start making best and top 10s with strong sources supporting my claims of something being best or 2nd or 3rd and so on, etc.
 

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So, instead of reviews and info pieces I can start making best and top 10s with strong sources
That is correct.

It's tough doing search engine optimization, creating the articles takes a lot of time but you will be happy with the rewards once you become an authority site.

Keep working and keep updating us, buddy.
 

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UPDATE (OCTOBER)

Hobby Site Journey, 05.04.2018-31.10.2018.png


Affiliate Site Journey, 05.04.2018-31.10.2018.png

Expenses:
  • 2 domains: $65 (March, 2018 - March, 2020)
  • VPS: $70 ($42.44 left of that $70, approx $3.60 per month, $28.8 in 8 months total)
  • Outsourced content: $100 (starting from August, $1 per 100 words)
Revenue:
  • Adsense: 25.92 €
  • Amazon Affiliate program: 3.95 €

Quick note from November, 2018:
Had my first affiliate sale that netted me approx. 30 € . The affiliate commisions in October were from just the cookie while people bought some random little things after having clicked on one of the affiliate links.
 

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I'm now in the process of outsourcing more content ($2 per 500 words).

The plan is to have lots of little review-type articles that all link back and forth with a best- or top-type pillar article.

It's going to be about 30 new little "review posts" that ultimately link to the "top products" pillar article.
 

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UPDATE (NOVEMBER)

Hobby Site Journey, 05.04.2018-30.11.2018.png

Affiliate Site Journey, 05.04.2018-30.11.2018.png

Relatively happy with November.
Had 3 sales of the items the articles were actually about this time and got a pretty glorious sum of money from just those 3 items (47€)!

I just get this vision playing in my head: what if it was summertime already; because the site is seasonal and wintertime is not where it's at.

If only I wrote more... I now feel more motivated to write a little again. Already published a new post for December (and it's 3rd of December). It looks to me like it's gonna work out for sure now!

Expenses:
  • 2 domains: $65 (March, 2018 - March, 2020)
  • VPS: $70 ($42.44 left of that $70, approx $3.60 per month, $28.8 in 8 months total)
  • Outsourced content: $108
  • Total: $243
Revenue:
  • Adsense: 37.79 €
  • Amazon Affiliate program: 54.62 €
  • Total: 92.41 € ($104.96)
 

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Amazing work, maybe is it worth to change a niche/product from Amazon to another site? For few thousands of pageviews it's really possible to earn way more, in affiliate marketing consider it and good luck! :)
 

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Amazing work, maybe is it worth to change a niche/product from Amazon to another site? For few thousands of pageviews it's really possible to earn way more, in affiliate marketing consider it and good luck! :)

Perhaps so, but for now I'll stay with Amazon. Nad thanks for the input.
 

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Happy New Year!
UPDATE (DECEMBER)

December was profitable (in my eyes, that is).

Got 40.58 € from Amazon affiliate commissions on the affiliate site and 8.28 € from the hobby site, so 48.86 € in total. That's a huge sum of money made from internet for me, considering it's basically passive income. This month 2 items that I actually wrote about were bought on the affiliate site, and that alone netted me 39.25€ of that 40.58€ - just from 2 items!

I've accomplished my initial goals of 20 € a month from the internet, kind of.

It was the month before that I got from the affiliate site 49.54 €, and now 40.58 €. If it kept up like that, saying if I made another 40 € in January, I'd get close to 1000 € selling the affiliate site. That alone is just a good-to-know feeling. I'd not sell it though. The site is barebones still, lots of content that can be added, lots of money potential, I think. Though I have a feeling that all the current sales are due to the holidays, so it might just be a spike of sales these past few months, so the goal is not yet consistently reached.


Expenses:
  • 2 domains: $65 (March, 2018 - March, 2020)
  • VPS: $70 ($38.19 left of that $70, approx $3.60 per month)
  • Outsourced content: $108
  • Total: $243

Earnings:
  • Adsense: 46.07 €
  • Amazon Affiliate program: 95.20 €
  • Total: 141.27 € ($163.13)


Hobby Site Journey, 03.03.2018-31.12.2018.png


Affiliate Site Journey, 05.04.2018-31.12.2018.png
 
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