assets

Building Real Assets on the Web

Wow, it’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything on this blog.

I feel like that’s about how I start every post. Today I read a great post by Nathan Barry called The Billion Dollar Blog. It’s basically about a bunch of different people turning huge blog following into real businesses. It got me thinking, so I wanted to post an update about what I’ve been up to.

Where I’ve Been

If you’re reading this blog, then you probably got here from my post about my years of affiliate marketing and online ad buying. During that time I generated a lot of revenue building other people’s products and brands. I did get a nice commission cut but I didn’t have the foresight to build something of value for myself.

I didn’t create any lasting relationships with these customers. I just forwarded them on to other brands that would make the initial sale, pay me my commissions, and then continue to sell these people other products and things. I was happy to make my cut, but I missed out on a great opportunity to build something of value that could keep bringing me revenue.

Like that post says, business dried up for me. I don’t really do much paid traffic anymore. Every now and then I test out some affiliate offers for a little bit of extra income but don’t have much luck anymore.

On top of that, I wrote a post about my battles with mental illness. I suffer from Bi-Polar I disorder along with severe anxiety and depression. While I’m doing pretty well with my medications, the anxiety still gets me every now and then. I really hate when I post something online, like Reddit or Facebook, and get either straight up dicks commenting or just very confrontational people. It makes me super anxious to post anything, even to this blog. Plus I’m extremely tired all the time, so it’s hard to work on things after my normal workday. Plus I have a family to take care of, etc.

Enough with all the depressing stuff. I was told that people don’t want to hear about that. So I’m going to talk a little bit about what I’m doing lately.

Using Affiliate Marketing to Build a Real Asset

I have all this history of being successful with affiliate marketing, even though I called it 10 years of failure. I wanted to take that skillset + my web development skills and try to build something that can actually be considered an asset. I want a website that I can keep making money from monthly, and maybe even eventually sell.

I’ve started a tech blog in the past and made pennies. It took a large amount of work and effort to make tutorial posts, and the ad revenue paid almost nothing. I learned a lot from the experience though. If I could go back I would probably try to turn it into some paid courses or eBooks. I’m moving on from that venture though.

So I stumbled upon this site called Niche Pursuits. Spencer there talked a lot about Amazon based affiliate sites and even shared some great case studies. So I thought maybe I would take a look at that. I also saw some affiliate style sites selling for real, decent money on Empire Flippers and Flippa.

Playing the Long Game

So I decided I wanted to focus on creating a web asset that could build over time and maybe even become an actual business. I started two Amazon affiliate sites. Instead of going after paid traffic, I’m trying to build a following using Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

I started these two sites at the beginning of the year. I create a lot of posts, all written by myself. I target keywords with low competition, as my sites are not going to rank for some of the high competition keywords being so new. I use a tool called Long Tail Pro to do my keyword research at the moment.

Yuge Profits!

I’m really kidding here. I’m not making huge profits at the moment. I brought in about $500 in Amazon commission so far in 2020. As I said, I’m playing the long game here. The goal is to continue to write posts, grow traffic, and send that traffic to affiliate offers.

Now I have my own sites with my own traffic. I’m capturing email leads and sending offers to people. Site #1 is making much more revenue per 1000 views (RPM) than the other at $104 RPM. Site #2 is seeing something like $12 RPM. However, I don’t see any real way to scale site #1, so I’m focusing on growing site #2’s traffic.

I’ve seen 22,845 visitors this year to site #2. I got hit early on in my journey with Amazon lowering affiliate commission. Then there was a Google algorithm update a few weeks ago that knocked a lot of my keywords out of the top 100 rankings. It’s a small set back for now. I’m going to continue posting to site #2 and hope that my traffic bounces back.

I bought a domain name for a 3rd site, but I have to decide if I want to try building it now or focusing on site #2. I think I will give site #2 priority for at least the rest of this year and see how things go.

My ultimate goal here is to build enough traffic to my affiliate site that I can build and sell my own products to this audience. I think that is where the real value is.

Conclusion

So that is what I’m up to now. I’m still working a full time job that pays very well, but I always find myself wanted to have my own business. I will continue to work on this as a side project and maybe one day one of these sites will blow up and I’ll be able to work on something I like full time.

In the future I may post more about how to actually get these types of sites up and running, the plugins I use, the tools I use for keyword research and SEO, etc. That’s if there is any interest in this type of stuff from my audience.

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been working on.

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John Ward

Hi, I'm John. I dabble in the world of side projects, advertising, and affiliate marketing. By day I'm an IBM Watson Consultant with over 10 years of experience. I'm also a pretty experienced web developer and like to write tutorials and about other things like business and life experiences.