You know when you’re scrolling through some of the fantastic Online Marketing Facebook Groups @ProperPBN, @TheLab, @LionZeal, @CloudLiving – and you see that question that you want to answer, but know it’s going to take too long to give a reasonable answer. Well… I Decided to turn my answer into a guest blogging appearance with Chuck and all the communities I actively network/buy/sell/trade in.
I thought about writing one or two strategies and then I realized… Why not take a look at my mind map of how I scale Amazon affiliate sites at differing stages of earning. In the circles I run in everyone has a different opinion on how to effectively turn a positive ROI, as well as keep the website growing and stable. I was reading James Dooley + Fat Rank’s (Digital Assets) Blog post from earlier this year when it hit me. Who cares if I can spend what my website is earning every month to keep it growing – when do I start making money on this venture? I immediately sold 2 of my affiliate portfolios that made me stable income, but simply were not profitable to keep STABLE.
I recently reinvested those sales into 4 new Home/Garden/Tools related niche websites that are all earning in what I call the “Stable Earners” category featured below. The Home/Garden space has provided me with some fantastic earnings and evergreen topics that it was a no brainer for me. I’ll go into their specific strategies below.
Table of Contents
- 1 Growth Stage $100-250/mo
- 2 Stable Earners $250-500/mo
- 3 Authority Track $1,000+/mo
- 4 My Preferred Path in 2018 and Beyond!
- 5 Preferred Vendors List:
The 3 stages I like to break my sites into are as follows:
- Pure Growth – $100-250/mo
- Stable Earners – $250-500/mo
- Authority Track – $500-1,000/mo
Alright – let’s dive into each of these strategies 1 by 1 so that you can begin implementing TODAY on all of your sites within these brackets for growth + ROI. I am also including a few of my favorite vendors that have helped me grow my portfolios along the way.
Growth Stage $100-250/mo
Growth is a tricky stage – mainly because you have just enough money to grow the site, but not a whole lot left over at the end of the month. Too many people focus on backlinks at this stage and not enough on the content that keeps your website growing. Good content costs around $20/1,000 words at the minimum, so you can focus on sculpting your relevance and building your authority over time.
Adding 3,000-5,000 words/mo adds up very quickly (36,000-60,000 words/year). The first thing I do is look at existing money pages and run them + your top “affiliate competitors” not amazon/walmart/ etc etc through this free little tool. This tool will simply compare your competitors word counts to yours. For example, If the site is earning $100 you should spend money improving your sites existing content and building out more supporting content under your main Pillar Page. Surprisingly, having TOO much content can actually box you out of some niches and having too little will do the same.
It’s important to remember in this particular strategy to keep your investments low around 40-50% of your monthly earnings and see what cream rises to the top from your content plan.
You can focus 75-100% of your monthly earnings for Rocket fuel.
Rocket fuel ensures your site can become competitive at a price. If you’re happy with your website earning enough money to pay for your power bill every month then go ahead and skip this next strategy.
I define Rocket fuel as enough power to break you through the atmosphere into Earning Phase. So what does that encompass? You should be posting 7500-10,000 words of content/mo and building up as many niche specific links that you can afford in that budget range. The fact of the matter is some of my best websites are ranking with <50 Referring Domains so select your links with precision and stay conservative on anchors until it’s time to hammer a specific keyword home. In this stage if you can hand select 2-3 links/mo and keep pumping content you will see fantastic results with OPTIMIZED content.
One thing I’ve learned over my 9 years in online marketing is that most affiliate sites are like a vegetable garden. With plenty of seeds in the ground, constant watering (fresh content) and a little bit of fertilizer (Links), and plenty of sunshine (Googles Love) you should have a clean crop of healthy websites. Each website is different and has different needs just as some plants require more sun and others more water. Look at your specific niche and make adjustments.
When evaluating which option to choose you should only focus on the first strategy when I have hyper targeted niche website that doesn’t seem to be able to make it to the next earning bracket. Your next action should be to stabilize the website and sell it. The second strategy I am currently implementing on 10 affiliate sites.
After selling off a few portfolios over the last 6 months I’ve been in a rebuilding phase of assets in 3 main portfolios:
Most of my portfolios have all 3 types of site stages. They each have a flagship property that helps propel the rest of the growing and earning sites as they age. This gives you plenty of time to find the right keywords and right link partners + affiliate offers. In SEO there is no magic bullet so why would I only work on a single site in a single niche?
For example: I have one website that I wanted to become a major authority site in a mommy niche. I went bonkers on content and spent $5,000 in the first year. I spent equally as much on links if not more and how much does that site earn me now? $9-10/month. That site is being rebranded on one of my new websites so that I can salvage the content and the links, while imbuing authority into another one of my growing properties. If I did not have another property I would be $10k in the hole and ridiculously upset at how the project turned out. Now I have a path to redemption and 200k words on any growing site is a shot in the arm.
In most cases your goal should be to make it to my favorite stage.
Stable Earners $250-500/mo
This stage is where you can make some serious coin buying and renovating established affiliate sites from other people. I have become such a big believer in this space that I recently spent $25,000 buying 4 different web properties in this earning bracket. I focus on websites that have healthy growth trends, clean anchors, clean link profiles, and plenty of room for growth within the target niche.
Sometimes I’ll buy two sites in almost identical niches and combine them into a single authority site. 😀
Not everyone has the capital to do this correctly, but if you are patient enough it can happen. I was lucky enough to buy one of my competitors websites recently in the exact same vertical as my $1,000/mo earner. This website fluctuated from $250-500/mo in earnings but was SO MUCH BIGGER than my website, but didn’t have buying tables, clickable image links, or any form of CRO other than plain text links. I was able to increase earnings by 300% in less than 30 days. See what direction I’m heading? There is plenty of opportunity in this stage from $250-500 you have a couple of paths to choose.
- Go the slow and steady route and continue following the strategy from the tier below for maximum growth. Invest 50% of your monthly revenue here knowing that you are approaching the 25-30X realm of selling your assets. On the high side you are looking at a $15,000 exit if you think the niche is maxed out and you’ve come close to approaching a positive ROI with stable rankings. Most SEO’s say they’re waiting for a 6 figure exit and that’s fine, but I can tell you that taking home $15,000 with a website that pays for its growth is a beautiful thing.
Here is an example traffic report from a $800-1,000/mo earner doing this exact strategy.
- You double your previous efforts here and invest >75-100% of your monthly revenue into Rocket fuel. As previously noted, Rocket fuel for me looks like an all out assault on content reinvestment. I like links, sell links, buy links, but there is something about getting a shit ton of content in a single Pillar That starts sculpting your relevance and your “authority” in a niche. Don’t be afraid to build more and more links to your homepage during this stage. Your website clearly has authority in the space so let’s keep strengthening the beast.
This is where I see the biggest long term returns in setting your website up for future success. A lot of SEO’s talk about sites “popping” onto the first page out of nowhere. This is definitely one of those times that you can keep that growth coming.
Here is an example of a site growing from $100/mo to $500/mo in 60 days.
Authority Track $1,000+/mo
Authority track -$1,000/mo this is by far the trickiest segment to break through on your journey to a six figure flip and stable monthly income.
When my site gets to this stage I have to really ask myself “what’s next?” Depending on the size of the niche and the price of the product you have an idea of what sells and the conversion rates you can expect. After making some back of the envelop conservative and aggressive estimates in the niche forecast you can now decide how you will invest your monthlies. At this stage you are selling on Empire Flippers at worst for a cool $30k.
At this threshold you should have enough power to start the Steam Engine.
The Steam Engine concept is simple – fead the beast! If you publish content and it ranks on pages 2-4 then you just need to keep shoveling coal. This is where your sites’ content freshness and momentum carry you once they get going. Keep content velocity high during this period and link velocity stable, but incredibly specific. You cannot risk a site like this for a few extra PBN links. Go as niche and relevant as you can here and make sure your anchor analysis of the top 5 is within conservative ranges. As always plan your anchors accordingly and make adjustments as needed. Each niche has a different anchor algo for the most part. Don’t be afraid to start conservatively and then salt and pepper your site with more keyword anchors slowly.
My first plan of attack loading the steam engine is to start adding 15,000-20,000 words of content monthly to start building out the pillars of my foundation. Each Pillar should consist of 20-25k words at a minimum so this can help you grow quickly. There isn’t a whole lot that >100k words of relevance sculpting content can’t do to a site that is growing like this.
If your site does not index fresh content on the first 4 pages then you need to consider a couple of different approaches. Take the money while you can and consider selling this property, sculpting your relevance, or building more links.
Here I would reinvest 15% of earnings into keeping the website stable, while cashing out on a profitable website that could still grow with time. I can honestly say that this happens more often than one would think. You’ve spent probably years building this site into something that earns four digits monthly and you are just stuck. Some people like to swim upstream, but i prefer following my gut and experience in situations like these. Anybody that has managed hundreds of affiliate websites in their career can tell you about trying to “force a website to the top” This can become a low to no ROI project very quickly if you don’t watch yourself.
Your next option involves Sculpting your relevance. The easy answer is going DEEP into a niche rather than going wide into more niches. This is genuinely one of the best ways to get your site “unstuck” at this stage in the game. Focus on How To’s and informational traffic articles here as a way of building relevance. Too many people get lost in the world of “Best/Top style content and miss out on plenty of buyer rich keywords below it.
Building links in this stage becomes easier as your site has referenceable traffic numbers and hopefully a small following. If you’re reading this then your site doesn’t index fresh content on the first 4 pages. If you say your website has plenty of relevance and deserves to start ranking then you need some links. Your asset is earning >$1,000/mo at this point so don’t risk it on some cheap links that won’t do the trick. I would slowly start buying/outreaching for 5-10 links/mo at targeted Pillar pages and the homepage if you’re able. You need to strengthen that root domain in order to get unstuck.
My Preferred Path in 2018 and Beyond!
Time is so so critical in this game we all play. I don’t have time to build website after website from the ground up anymore. I love using aged domains from Sumit Kumar Bansal for money sites. This + purchased clean and healthy earning sites take up 50% of my portfolios. The other half are brand new domains organically grown for the last 2 years.
The way I look at it – I could spend $5,000+ on a site’s content + links to get it ranking MAYBE or I can buy an existing website earning $200+/mo for $5,000 and grow it from there INSTANTLY. Google takes too much time for me to HODL my brand new sites in niches that I don’t know will earn or even be able to rank in. Time is money and I don’t have any to waste.
Stack the deck in your favor – one thing Diggity told me years ago was about taking up the entire first page for a couple affiliate niches. I thought he was nuts until I decided to try it one day in 2017. It completely changed the game for me. I used to build sites from the ground up in dozens of niches and hoped that they panned out. Some would rank really well and convert like trash. Others would have trouble ranking, but the earnings were fantastic! Once I found those niches that converted well and had stable algorithm cycles I decided to double and triple down in the profitable niches with a little bit of link juice help and “previously used link targets ;)” from my existing assets in the niche. Do not over do this and start establishing patterns like the 2016 blog roll pbn massacre, but take advantage of your ranking and banking assets to give your site a quick boost.
I will leave you with a final question – what are you going to do now that you’ve been given several paths to choose?
Preferred Vendors List:
Thanks to Charles Enormous Guide on the Best SEO Vendors this year most of you have plenty to choose from. The list below details people who have directly impacted my business in a positive way whether it be Content, PBN Links, Niche Edits, or On-Site Optimization.
I’m a big believer in having a singular voice in any one of your specific portfolios for consistency’s sake. There is nothing worse than having to retrain your writers to work within your review template over and over again. You also start to depend on this writer to guide your readers on their next purchasing adventure.
Done For You Money Sites + Auction Domains
Sumit is providing some of the most gangster auction domains in the business. He has a ridiculous inventory with a wide selection of niches. If you’re like me and you are expanding your affiliate portfolios often then you should take a look at the SERPSeeds product. SERPSeed’s was developed by Sumit + Yeshua in 2017 after building me custom made affiliate websites on top of rebranded auction domains. I helped them develop a product that is clean and effective at ranking for very profitable keywords. Definitely recommend.
James Gregory has been one of my longtime go to’s for HIGHLY SELECTIVE niche edits within my desired vertical. If I have a website about riding a bike I am getting links from RD100+ sites that are about riding your bike in a park. This can absolutely jumpstart any young site with 5-10 good links. These links have pushed several of my properties to the top of the Serps, but they have also helped my websites gain enough relevance to “pop”.
Monthly PBN Link Rentals
Rank Club, previously known as Matt Diggity’s “Diggity Links” are a fantastic way to dip your toe into a niche without over investing resources. The links range from $5-50/mo for varying degrees of RD based domains. The sites have given me results in some $1,000/mo niches over the last year and I feel relatively secure in their deployments.
Done For You On-Site Optimization
Clint Butler and his Digital Agency Digitaleer have an absolutely killer On-Site package that runs you $97 for 10 pages and $197 for 20.
I’ve sent him client sites and affiliate sites over the years and I know he and his team will be thorough in getting my website where it needs to be…. Most of us only have 10 or so “BEST” pages that need optimizing anyways so why not try him out for a Benjamin?
Besides my internal team of active outreachers (It’s only 2 people, but it’s still plural) I have to give Diggity the nod again in developing Authority Builders. Having been able to see this service under the hood first hand and through my Affiliate Portfolio partners I can tell you this is something special. Link prices are right for vetted and so far clean guest posts and “white hat” links. Definitely worth a look if you’re in the $75-100+ a link range.
Many of you were hoping I was going to give away all of my best writers.. You’re partially wrong. I highly highly highly suggest hiring your own writer for each and every one of your portfolio sites. I find fantastic US based writers on Upwork for $15-25/1,000 words and I copy paste + format into WordPress and push send. No mistakes and supreme quality.