Making Progress with SBI

It’s been months since I started working with SiteBuildIt, and I’m sure that you’ve been keeping uptodate with the posts and pictures of my site(s). But I haven’t really told you much about my experience of the program, and the different phases I’ve gone through.

The Basics

It took quite a while to digest the material from the SiteBuildIt program from the purchase date, and that’s not a surprise, really. I didn’t start building the site until I was comfortable with the initial steps of the program, and had completed my basic keyword research.

The Action Guide in SBI is crucial to the whole learning process, and you can read much of it yourself, though it may not always make much sense if you don’t have access to the tools mentioned! But it’s a thorough treatment of the basics of business building, and one that many new members skim through as they race to Chapter 6.

It’s in the first few chapters that I wrestled with the choice of my site concept:  blogging, coffee, or Taiwan. In reality, I could have chosen all three of them, and (if I have time) I may well pursue the others, the numbers all turned out to be really good.

So in the first three months, I decided that my concept had legs, and was in some demand using the numbers provided by the BrainstormIt Tool. Then I worked on the keywords choice, and came up with a basic siteplan that really helped propel me to answer the question: Can I make money with the concept?

Can I make money with the concept?

Actually, the question is really a lot different from the typical  yes or no questions you might expect. Even lower keyword demands may be profitable if you have the right skill set, and so it was actually not such an obvious to answer.

But I did identify several methods by which I might generate some revenue: Display Ads, Affiliate programs, and Display Links, of which I anticipated that I might make more money from Display Ads at first, but that Affiliate products may be better and more profitable long term.

False Starts

So I went ahead, all eager and registered my first domain; started work on the Look & Feel of the site, and wrote my first articles. Unfortunately, I discovered that I had registered a name with hyphens that had an active unhyphenated variant on the same subject.

It took a while to come to the painful decision to start over, but I’m 100% glad that I did. I did lose a little traffic, and some money but I felt that removing the sword of Damocles was the responsible thing to do.

In January, I refounded the site, diverted all traffic from the original domain, and redid the entire site. It also coincided with some technical problems at SBI that needed fixing, but within about four days, I redid the entire site, and it started building from there. I only had about 25 pages at that point, most of which was policies and boring stuff, totally not related to the subject I chose.

Where now?

It takes a while to build content that is worth reading, but the biggest and most important tactic is finding the keywords for articles that you need to write. You need to find keywords that have sufficient demand and limited supply for you to have any chance at having realistic traffic levels.

I actually spent quite a while trawling sites with traffic issues, and was confident enough with my choices to realize that it was perhaps the MOST important choice you could make.

Choosing a word with sufficient demand and limited supply really is matching a product in demand with a market! But it’s amazing how often website owners fall down on this basic step by selecting keywords that had outsize competition, and limited traffic. In other words, the owners are going to have an invisible placement because there’s just too much choice in the market place.

Commercial Intent?

The second issue is one that I also failed to grasp properly for my first few websites: commercial intent. In other words, my good buddy Steve who’s developing his business niche very nicely now wrote:

"Commercial Intent – Are people buying in that niche (check Big G’s keyword tool to see if people are spending on Adwords). Search your keywords and read the Adwords and see how others are monetising the niche." – personal email.

But having some tools to assess commercial intent really REALLY helps a lot! I found my education sites really weren’t what people were spending money on, at least with the keywords I chose. I guess checking people’s wallets to see what they really do vs. what they say they do is paramount!

Knowing that people are looking for things to BUY really made a lot of sense, instead of chasing customers with things to sell that they didn’t particularly need, had no interest in, or didn’t trust you enough to buy through you.

10% of $1 is not much: 1% of a million is a lot!

The third issue that I’m now facing is choice of market: I opted to choose a market with a lot more demand, but in doing so, I may have chosen a much smaller pie to get a share of than I could otherwise have chosen.

However, I have resolved to build out the site as much as I can, co-opt the more lucrative keywords and try to take a chunk out of the larger market. I’m not sure that I will be successful, but I have already set myself several long term goals with the site:

I would like to get 7500~10000 page views a month at the end of phase IV. I hope that I will have about 10c per unique visitor meaning that I should earn about US$350~500 potentially. At that point, I guess I may have a site with about 200 pages or so of detailed, relevant coffee related materials.

So where are we now? I mean, NOW!

Phase I: the goal was to create 51 pages including 35 pages of content, get to about 20 uniques per day, and have a good set of keywords with potential.

In fact, I reached that goal around March 22nd, though I have yet to tidy up a few articles properly. Traffic has been building well, so far.

Phase II: this phase is just an interim phase. But I figure it’s pretty important to the site’s overall success: I want to improve the content of my existing pages ( I don’t necessarily mean rewriting the content, though it’s possible). I want to:

  • Improve the meta information, esp. the choice of secondary keywords, and change the meta description to something much more engaging. I’ve already changed four pages, and partly changed a fifth.
  • Improve the on-page features to create a page where readers will linger a little longer to watch a video; look at pictures; read a related article or search for an additional article to read. The pages on the top of my sidebar already meet most of those criteria.
  • Build out the backlinks to the site by carefully selecting directories, websites, blogs, article directories, and other relevant locations so that I can get some decent in-pointing links. I will also expand some outpointing links to other sites, but I’m very picky about those.
  • Beginning Monetization: I’ve already selected three or four candidates for monetizing the site, including Adsense,  Infolinks, and Popshops which I will experiment with. The most crucial in the short term is demonstrating that it is POSSIBLE to make money with the niche I have chosen. To that end, I’ve added Adsense to about 10 pages that are the most visited T2/T3 pages or that are linked from the sidebar.

Even in Phase II, I’ll be adding some new content occasionally but it will be some time before I complete Phase II properly … I still have over 40 pages that need revised, and I only have a little time each day to do the entire project, so it’s going to take some time!

Phase III, IV, and further…

Once in Phase III, I’ll be expanding the content to over 100 pages, and I hope to have that completed by the anniversary of the site on December 21st, 2010. I’ll also be expanding C2 options, soliciting more aggressively for submissions, and so on. I’m hoping that by that point, I’ll be earning $50.00 per month for at least the second month, but I’m not confident about monetizing the site properly yet.

Phase III is much clearer than Phase IV at the moment, so I’m going to worry about Phase IV only when I’m nearing completion of Phase III! This site on SBI is the most ambitious project I have ever undertaken, but with good competition out there, I feel I could really achieve something superb, rewarding, and remunerative in the long run.

Wish me luck.

Nine Tips for Getting Started with Google AdWords: Steve Sutherland’s Suggestions

AdWords is quite a learning curve, but Google breaks it down nicely into chunks with the Starter Edition. When I wrote and told my friend, Steve from AgentsChat, he immediately offered some great advice. In his email, he wrote 9 useful tips to get me started.

I’d like to share them with you.

Nine Tips for Getting Started with AdWords

Great. I have a great book on the subject called Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords – I can lend it to you next time I see you if you want.

Things to remember –

1. Look into ‘Exact Match’ and ‘Phrase match’ options (heaps of info if your Google for ‘Adwords matching options’ etc) – you may be throwing away money on using the default ‘broad match’ if you are not careful with it.

2. Google automatically give you Pay Per click ads on their search results pages and the content network (Adsense on sites – Contextual network I think they call it now). Some people prefer to turn off the content network and just focus on the search results – you can test both. You can even target specific sites with the content network if you want.

3. Look into the ‘insert keywords’ option – you can set it so that if the user types in ‘investing’ then that word will show up in your heading or ad – when the word shows up it will be in bold and thus get more attention and more clicks – more clicks = cheaper bid prices.

4. The other factor for bid prices is ‘quality score’ (should be no problem for your home-page) – to get the best quality your keywords should be in your ad, and on your landing page.

5. Grouping keywords into tight Adgroups gives more flexibility to meet quality score – don’t just do one big Adgroup as the ads you write won’t be relevant to all the keywords.

6. Go through your Analytics account to get an idea of terms that people used to find you – you can then target these terms in your keywords.

7. Investing keywords will be expensive so you could take quite a different approach and choose other keywords that are cheap (Taiwan Blog, is one idea)

8. Your ad structure looks good – many recommend the pattern

Catchy heading (with keyword)
Stress a benefit (possibly with keyword)
Call to action (possibly with keyword)

9. Run two ads together – the one with better CTR will be cheaper so go with that then test another if you have time.

Hope that helps. this turned into a rather long email – you can turn it into a blog post if you like.


Unfortunately, I’ve not had great results yet, but I’m still working on the early stages. It’s not difficult to get started. I did have one problem with an affiliate page that I wanted to market because Google Adwords TOS didn’t permit my initial efforts, so I’m still struggling with the affiliate side of the effort.

Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

About the author: Emilia Johansson works with on a daily basis. She has many years of experience in affiliate marketing and has been working with different online projects since 1998.

What can we never can get enough of? For sure, it’s time and money. It’s sad to see that a big part of the American population spend more time working than they do with their family. Adding to our concern is the fact that the yearly cost of living increases around eight to ten percent while the income only increases around two to three percent. As this is happening before our eyes many seek a job by the side to get an extra income. This is where affiliate marketing comes in as it’s a great way to make with the Internet.

What’s great about affiliate marketing is that it’s easy to do and the start-up costs are exceptionally low. Time will also be on your side – as the Rolling Stones said. Many have been so successful with affiliate marketing that they’ve been able to quit their day jobs and started working from home instead. There are however a few things one has to take into consideration while working as an affiliate. Read this article in order to get tips and tricks about everything from how to find affiliate programs to how you get heard in the crowd.

How to Find Affiliate Programs

The first thing you have to do if you want to work as an affiliate is of course to find an affiliate program. How does one know what affiliate program to choose as there’s thousands to decide from? Start with having a look at your website or blog. What segment are you an opinion leader in and who are your visitors? If it’s education you’re passionate about then you should look for great education affiliate programs. Don’t stare yourself blind on the commissions either, conversions are just as important if not even more. When you’ve done this you’re up to a great start – now you have to get noticed.

Getting Noticed With a Blog

As many blogs are offered for free it’s an extremely inexpensive way to make money as an affiliate. Create a blog which is dedicated to a specific topic, preferably something you feel passionate about. To get a rank on the search engines you need to update your blog on a daily basis and put in specific keywords which are relevant for your niche.

Money making affiliate marketers working with blogs place specific ads or banners on their site. What these ads have in common is that they are all relevant to the blog’s content. For example, if you write about education, you really only should have ads which in some way is related to the topic. It’s the only way you’ll make money with affiliate marketing.

Devote Yourself to The Merchant

Another way many affiliates make money is through creating a website which is entirely devoted to some specific merchant’s products. These websites are, as blogs, inexpensive to make but they require knowledge about how a website is created. If you know this then you can promote products through writing about news happening in the industry, events and if you’re really good it’s not a bad idea to tailor the site to a specific brand and its products.

Even more important here than with blogs, is that you know how to work with search engine optimization. If you have this know-how you’ll be able to maximize your traffic and hopefully also increase your income immensely.

We hope we’ve been able to help you a little bit with your dreams of working at home. Of course, success isn’t going to happen over a night but if you stick to it you might soon be able to work from home as an affiliate!

This is a guest post by Emilia Johansson from