When starting out with your niche site, you might think that getting traffic is the end goal. When a site is young, it definitely does seem like all you need to do is get to page one, and everything will be sorted after that.
Unfortunately, a lot of time this is only the beginning.
With my shaving site, I had been getting more and more traffic every month, especially since doing the link building I mentioned in part 4. Unfortunately though, income was stagnant, hovering around the $30-50 per month level.
I was coming to the conclusion that this site just wasn't going to be a big earner. Maybe people didn't want to buy $150 razors off Amazon when they could get a nice wet razor at the local pharmacy.
Maybe my copy wasn't good enough and I hadn't been able to persuade my visitors to invest in a straight razor.
At some point though, it occurred to me that maybe the problem was simply the way I had set up my site and my page structure.
What Prompted Me To Try Some CRO
I remember reading a comment on a post somewhere which told the author that 2,000 monthly visitors was enough to be earning $100 or more per month. I agreed with that statement.
Then it hit me, my shaving site was getting double that kind of traffic, and yet I was only earning a fraction of that amount.
I started to do some testing with conversion rate optimization (CRO), and over the course of the next few months, I was able to really increase conversions.
One of the major factors was to spend just a few hours re-structuring the affiliate links, banners, call-to-actions, and structure of my top performing pages.
I did this by finding out which posts of mine got the most traffic, then I followed some “best practices” for Amazon pages.
To really understand and see examples, you need to read this article: https://www.humanproofdesigns.com/increasing-amazon-affiliate-commissions-by-300-case-study/
For a quick summary, I basically included “Recommended Products” and “Our Top Pick” images into my pages, so people could quickly and easily click through to Amazon.
As I blogged about in the post above, my income increased 300% over night, and I was later able to scale the site up to $2,000 per month just by rinsing and repeating these steps on other pages.
Again, read this post if you really want to learn more about how I did it.
There were some other factors that contributed to an increase in income too though, and I'll talk about them below:
- I removed all “Non-Amazon” products for the site and replaced them with Amazon links.
- I started promoting other razors types and accessories
- I transitioned the portfolio listings into review posts.
Taking Down The Non-Amazon Products
When I first started the site, I wasn't really enamoured with the thought of promoting products on Amazon. After all, the commissions are so low and the cookies are only 24 hours.
I've since changed my opinion on Amazon, as I wrote about here, and one of those reasons is because of what happened to this site's income when I switched to Amazon.
First of all, even though the commission period is shorter and the percentage is lower, Amazon gets a tremendous amount more conversions.
Secondly, and on the same tangent, other companies just may not convert all that well. I had tried recommending specific razors on a lot of my posts, and they just didn't convert. The commission was about $30 and the cookie period was a month, but this was made irrelevant by the fact nobody was buying the razors.
Thirdly, the universal cookie that Amazon offers can not be underestimated. After I switched out the non-Amazon products, I started making multiple commissions daily. 30-50% of them came from products I didn't directly link to or promote. I simply sent people to Amazon, and let them do the work on conversions.
The Amazon “Here's what other people bought” section is fantastic.
Promoting Other Razor Types and Products
As I mentioned in an earlier post, when I first started this site, I believed that I should just be promoting straight razors and badmouthing every other type of razor. I felt it was my job to steer people away from Wet Razors and Safety Razors, and convince them to try straights.
Well, some people don't want to try straights, they just want you to tell them what the best safety razors are.
People don't necessarily want you to tell them WHY something is good. They've already made their mind up on this. They just want you to tell them which one they should buy.
When you realize this, affiliate marketing gets that much easier.
The article that made me realize was this was one that compared safety razors and straight razors. Initially this article poo-pooed safety razors and showed off five reasons why straight were better.
As part of my analysis of the top pages on my site, I realized this article was ranking very well and getting more traffic than any other post on my site.
I decided then that I should switch the article's tone and explain the pros and cons of both razor types, concluding that some were better for different needs. I then listed the top few razors of each type.
My income went up massively. People responded well to me telling them how it was, rather than trying to force my will upon them.
At this point, I realized I could do the same and talk about the best accessories, such as razor strops, stands, bowls, and brushes.
I've already extensively pointed out what was wrong with my site's structure initially, and focusing on “Best of” and “Top 10” posts went a long way to rectifying that. What I did next was to look at my portfolio posts and turn them into reviews.
For example, one portfolio listing was a Dubl Duck razor. I had about 100-200 words talking about the razor, and listing some of its features, that was it. When I was done transitioning it to a review post, it was close to 1,000 words long.
Not only did this mean I had a much higher ranking for that keyword, but it also got more conversions, and as a bonus, it removed a lot of the lower quality thin content on the site.
Review posts are the mainstay of an Amazon affiliate site, so this shouldn't come as a surprise.
A Final Note On CRO
One thing I have learned from the many sites I've operated over teh years, is that what works for one site might not work for another.
I've had some sites where the above banner changes had little effect, and I've had other sites that converted well without me even doing that much optimization.
The key thing is for you to start doing some experiments as soon as you have a little bit of traffic (500 monthly visitors is a good starting point). To save you time, just focus on the top 5-10 posts trafficwise. If the changes you make have a positive effect, roll it out sitewide.
The things I talk about in the post which I linked to above (and again here) are the most reliable “best practices” though, and are the way we build our done-for-you sites for customers because of that.
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Missed the earlier parts of this series? Go back to the beginning here.