We always talk about how important tenacity is for affiliate marketing and Jake is the perfect example of this.
Dom + HPD Team
How much experience did you have with affiliate marketing prior to starting with an HPD site?
I have always liked the idea of a website kicking in extra income on the side, so I had a few sites that I tried to ‘flip’ from website selling services such as Flippa. None turned out to work and I got burned on one of them.
What attracted you to HPD in the first place?
My friend Bill knew that I was looking at creating a portfolio of websites. He came across the site somehow and told me about it, and he bought a couple niches as well.
What attracted you to the niche you started with?
I am a bit of an entrepreneur, so there is a side business I have been trying to grow and develop products for, so when I saw the niche in the market of my product, I bought it with the intention that down the road it would be a good avenue to promote the product. I would have a review site and build awareness for the other businesses product at the same time.
After receiving your site, what did you do first? How did you decide this?
Right after I received the site I believe I setup a Hoth basic package. I also investigated other sites that were similar to mine. There weren’t a lot, and I think I got lucky with the actual niche that was chosen, because the keywords have been easy to rank for and after the Amazon change on affiliate %, my category gives 8%, which is really high compared to some of the others, like electronics, which is 2.5%.
What did you struggle with the most at first? How did you resolve this?
The same thing I still struggle with today: patience. I want to be able to jump into developing backlinks and content, and see immediate results. This just doesn’t happen with SEO, it takes an incredible amount of patience and it still drives me crazy. It is hard to push yourself to spend time on content when you don’t see an impact for weeks, or sometimes even months.
What are your thoughts on the support you got from HPD? Technical support, Facebook Community etc? How important do you think these things are to any affiliate marketer, whether they use HPD or not? (In other words, do you think it’s important to have a community to help you etc)
The Facebook group is great, a lot of positive people that share the same goal: figuring out what works with affiliate marketing and SEO. A lot of new people that are willing to soak in new information. And a few experts as well. The tech support is very responsive. We forgot to transfer my site domain ownership back when it started and when my site went down on the year lapse, they got it back up within a day or so. For the topic of SEO, a community is an essential part of figuring out how to optimize your site. There are SO many strategies and so many opinions on what influences SEO, so you kind of have to try and cover as much as you can and hope you have a good basis. I’ve taken a few strategies away from the community, and I hope they have taken some away from myself as well. People shouldn’t be afraid to tell other’s about their success and what works, because they might build off of what you have done and help you back even more so. The stronger the community, the more everyone in it benefits.
You mentioned that you had tried affiliate marketing before and not had much success, but now you’re having some decent success. What, in your opinion, led to the change?
Mostly services provided by The Hoth. But also just further investigating what to do to help SEO. Neil Patel is an amazing resource too.
Can you tell us some details about your current stats? Monthly traffic, monthly sales and income, monthly expenses, total income, how long has your site been going, anything else to include.
Right now I am seeing about 5000 visitors a month which is generating around $1,000 in income to me. Monthly expenses really depend on what SEO I am doing for the month. For instance, last month I did a Hoth Mega ($1,000) so it was probably about even. I am still in the red actually but the prior months were $500, $250, $125 so I have been roughly doubling each month. So far I have spent about $4500 on the site, but if you consider that affiliate sites can sell for 15x-25x your monthly revenue, I would consider the value to be way above the cost so far.
How do you plan to increase these numbers?
Keep doing paid SEO and getting my rankings up. I’m first page on a lot of the keywords and long tails, but around 5-9 on most of them. If I can get a handful up to 1-3, I estimate it will generate around 10k a month. I am expanding the site to include other related products too, which open up even more room for affiliate income. I started the site as a certain niche, but am starting to include related products. We’ll see how that goes.
What’s the number one thing that you think most people will struggle with when following in your footsteps?
Losing motivation and getting discouraged with slow results. SEO takes time, sometimes a year or two before you really get going. And it sucks. Spending money on something you feel that has no effect on your site is tough to swallow sometimes. And you don’t want to be a fool and keep wasting money. But have faith, follow the SEO tactics that the mega-marketers are using and you will see results. Don’t give up. Others will and this leaves the affiliate market open for those that are willing to keep faith in the process.
What kind of strategy have you employed to get your site ranking and earning? What kind of things will you do in the future?
Document EVERYTHING. If you make a change, post on a forum for a no follow backlink, buy an SEO package, change alt text in an image, document it. You’re going to see changes over time and it’s hard enough knowing what caused it but if you have everything documented you can start to see trends and identify what is working.
Take notes from competitors! Go to the #1 ranking affiliate site and do what they do, obviously it is working. Target the same keywords as them, include the same number of outbound links, internal links, and have the same length content. Send them an email! Tell them you feel that you share the same audience and it would benefit you both by throwing each others links on both sites. Use SEMRush (Click here for 14-day free trial) and get a list of all the keywords their main page, that is your competition, contains. Then go to google and type in each of of those keywords, then find the #1 site for that keyword and do the same thing. Then go to the ‘Searches related to ‘ section at the bottom of the page and repeat the whole process. This will give you everything google considers relevant for your topic and I bet you will start outranking the other sites because most people don’t go this far in depth.
After posting new content, post it on everything you can: fb, twitter, reddit, instagram, pinterest, any and all.
Add content to your existing pages: check the keywords your ranking for on SEMRush for a particular page. Find the ones you rank in the 10-30 range and write another 500-1000 words focusing on all of those keywords and add them to your content. they will all be boosted another 5-10 positions and you will have a bunch more Page 1 results. Do the same thing for competitors keywords.
What else would you like to add about your experience?
I feel that I have been fortunate with the niche, but also have put a lot of focus on trying to be better than the competitors. Continue to read other’s experiences about what works and what doesn’t. Sign up for newsletters on SEO focused websites and read their content. Continue to be patient and don’t lose faith!