September Recap and October 2013 Business Goals

October 3, 2013 - by admin · Filed Under Affiliate Blog, Affiliate Goals Leave a Comment 
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    September Overview

    September was a bit of a hangover to the productive month I had in August.  I didn’t spend any outrageous amounts on domains or websites, and in general I just grinded away focusing on just two of my sites.

    Earlier this week, I also went to the Google Campus for the first time to go to a 2.5-hour talk on “marketing for startups” and do some networking.

    The only “business” I did was acquiring ETFs.co.uk (Exchange Traded Funds) for a small sum as well as mobile poker website for $600 that I bought in order to repurpose the content.  I was pretty happy with the ETFs domain, especially after doing some research and finding that the biggest banks such as HSBC are now offering them to investors.  I also bought LifeAfterUni.com domain for a small fee (in case I want to switch to a brand domain at a later point) and sold MobileSlots.co for the same amount.

    I spent most of the month managing writers, planning and uploading new content for my sites.  I ran a 5th PR campaign, which didn’t get as much traction as my previous ones unfortunately.

    One of the things I was proud of was using PR tools to invite careers experts and recruiters to contribute to my site.  This included articles about postgrad qualifications as well as getting some unique graduate profiles published on my site.  I also had some success running my own “awards” which contributed to a couple of links.  The last thing I did was switch over my site from a CPC advertising network to a CPM model, which should be much better for my bottom line.

    During early September, I also secured a deal to work with someone who’ll be offering one-on-one coaching to graduates on my site.  I’m quite proud of this since it was out of the box thinking, adds additional value to my site and required a little sales talk over the phone.

    Research Alternative Income Sources to SEO

    If I’m honest I actually spent most of my time sat at the laptop procrastinating about ways to build a business away from SEO.

    Without going into too much detail, I read somewhere that the average UK website receives 35-40% of traffic from search.  If we then assume that around 25% of website traffic is direct type-ins, you’re talking about 50-60% of new visitors to UK websites coming from Google (who have 90% market share in the UK).  This means if you run a traditional content website, you’re pretty much dependent on Google regardless of how clever you are at marketing.

    With this in mind I’ve been trying to think of alternative business models to content websites altogether as opposed to just finding new traffic sources to my existing sites.  Ideally I’d like to be in a position where only 30% of my business is dependent on SEO.

    I came up with a few alternative business solutions.

    • The most obvious idea was to start a consultancy or agency.  Although I have an “agency” website at Searchable.co.uk, I’m not really trying to find new customers at all.  I’m not a big fan of the performance-driven results that SEO clients nowadays require, and I wouldn’t feel good about basing my entire strategy upon getting lots of guest post links (which seems to be the main strategy for agencies like Zazzle media).  The truth is, I now see SEO as part of a bigger, all encompassing notion of inbound marketing.  Although I’m happy performing technical on-site analysis, optimization or consulting as individual services, I don’t think I’d have the resources or willpower to provide a complete inbound campaign for less than £1500 per month.
    • The second idea was to look into white labelling.  The advantage of white labels and product-driven businesses is that you can use traffic sources such as PPC, PR, media buys, affiliates and referrals to drive leads rather then relying content-heavy blogs and SEO.  It would also be a great experience as a business model.
    • My final, most likely solution is to start a jobs board service on my site, using existing traffic, partners and PPC as acquisition methods.  I’ve already been in discussions with a few potential clients to get a “feel” for the idea and I think this will go ahead in October.
    • Other ideas I considered included starting an affiliate forum/community portal, an ecommerce venture or getting a part-time job.

    October Goals

    I just hired an infographic designer to get started on one for my main finance website. I’m really looking forward to sharing it later (follow me on Twitter @AffiliateFYI) and hopefully it’ll get some picked up by half a dozen sites after doing some personal outreach.  I’ll also be asking my AMs to help promote and Tweet it.

    It did amaze me how most agencies that I emailed were quoting around $1500 for infographic design.  Luckily I managed to find a solid freelance infographic designer who quoted around $300-$400.  It just goes to show the huge markup that agencies add to their prices when compared to freelancers (e.g. content, design, coding, services).  You’re always better off finding a reliable freelance contact where possible.

    Other then that, I’m hoping to get some more experts to contribute to my graduate site, publish some more interesting interviews, and write some more content for my SEO blog Searchable.co.uk.

    Follow Me on Twitter @AffiliateFYI for Even More Affiliate, Business and SEO Updates!

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