I can't believe it's May already...
It feels like I wrote the last case study update a couple of weeks back, not 130 days ago.
The thing is- we've had a crazy start of the year. 99% of our focus went to order fulfilment and improving our systems across the board, so I really didn't have time to work on the blog.
But that's about to change...
To kick things off (and before we start publishing actionable posts from the industry-leading experts), I've decided to give you guys a short case study update.
While the case study isn't 'active' anymore, the site keeps on improving and dominating its niche. That's mostly due to a couple of different factors, but more on that later.
$100k CS Site Stats In 2017
Here are the final numbers for our case study site in 2017:
Definitely not bad for a 12-month old site (at the time). We almost reached our goal, but ended up short by a couple of k in revenue.
Let's see how the site's been performing in 2018.
$100k CS Site Stats In 2018 (Jan 1st - May 8th)
We've started to see some serious gains as soon as the domain age hit the 12 months mark. That, combined with our other efforts resulted in this:
What Did We Do?
You're probably wondering what the heck did we do in order to see such gains, but the answer is rather 'simple'.
We're slowly moving away from Amazon.
Well, we're not 100% moving away, but all that targeted traffic we're getting can serve as a leverage to negotiate better deals than the default Amazon's commission rate.
And that's exactly what I did.
I reached out to manufacturers, big/medium brands, and retailers in my niche and offered them a piece of the traffic we're getting. I literally said that I'll add their products to our buying guides for free (no affiliate deal whatsoever) for a week, and if they like the traffic & conversions, we'll negotiate a direct deal.
I haven't heard back from most of them, but I managed to lock in 4 deals with reputable brands for a commission that's in the 8-15% per sale range (Amazon is 4-6%).
Another caveat is that their price point is a bit higher than the other similar products on Amazon, but that doesn't stop people from buying them. If you combine the higher product price and 2x commission rate, we should start seeing huge gains on our income statement.
3 of those brands aren't selling their products on Amazon, but those products are really popular and have solid search volume on Google.
I anticipated (guessed) that they'll like what I have to offer, so I went ahead and published 80-or-so product reviews from the big brands (that are not selling on Amazon). Since our site is aged and in the 'authority mode', Google picked most of those up and started sending a ton of extra traffic to the site.
I also joined AvantLink in order to add more affiliate deals to the site. Commission rates are generally higher than Amazon's, and there are a ton of active merchants out there. It's a bit too early to say, but I really like what I'm seeing so far.
Should YOU Move Away From Amazon?
I'm not saying that Amazon's affiliate program sucks. It doesn't. But it's important to start exploring different/better deals once your site starts bringing in decent amounts of traffic. That's how you'll increase your bottom line and stop your site from plateauing too early.
80% of the affiliate links on my site will still be pointing to Amazon, but I'll push most of the traffic to the better offers (typical marketer, eh?).
If you're just starting out or have a site that's getting less than 1k daily unique visitors - I'd focus solely on Amazon.
So, What's Next?
People close to me are constantly asking me why don't I stop actively working on the site and earn passive monthly income or why don't I simply sell the site.
The answer is simple.
There's still a lot of room to grow and I don't want my competitors to catch up and take over my rankings/traffic/earnings.
Once the site hits the plateau and stops growing for 3 months, I'll CONSIDER selling it.
Right now, we're not even close ;).
Here's the action plan for 2018:
What do you think? Are we on a good track to hit our goals?
If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments section.