My First Mini Site – November 2010 Report

Traffic & Conversions – A Case Study

I talk a lot about “traffic and conversions” being the keys to success online. I even have a consulting company that focuses on helping businesses and bloggers with those two goals; and I get really good results for my clients. One downside to that work is that I can’t really talk about my clients’ projects in specifics. I can, however, talk about my own sites.

I built an affiliate marketing mini-site to target a popular keyword phrase. The goal of the site is to target people looking to buy a particular product, then to sell that product via my affiliate link. To target that audience, it’s crucial to appear at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Traffic

Traffic to this site is entirely through organic SEO. I’m targeting one primary keyword phrase, and about 6-10 secondary keyword phrases.

Monthly Traffic Stats

Google Rank for primary keyword: 1 out of 74 million  

CTR from SERP: 24%

Visits in November 2010: 199 Visits, 179 Visitors

Conversions

Getting traffic to my site is great, but it doesn’t mean much if that traffic isn’t buying anything. With less than 200 visitors a month, I have to make every one of them count. For this site, a conversion happens when I make money from an affiliate commission. I have two steps in the conversion process:

Step 1: The visitor must click on my affiliate link to the merchant’s site
Step 2: The visitor must make a purchase at the merchant’s site

Monthly Conversion Stats

Step 1. Out of 199 Visits, there were 171 clicks on my affiliate link. That’s an 86% click-through rate (CTR) on Step 1.

Step 2. Out of 179 Visitors, there were 21 purchases. That’s an 11.7% conversion rate overall.

Earnings

So, those are some pretty good stats, but how about the earnings?

This is where the story stops being so exciting; and it’s because my affiliate links are through Amazon.com, which pays a fairly low commission rate. In this case, I’m only earning 6% on my referrals. Still, let’s have a look at the figures:

Sales at Amazon: $1,747.52

My Commission: $94.44

Revenue per Visitor: $9.76 (at Amazon)

Visitor Value: $0.53 (to me)

Reflections

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this month. This is my first mini-site and I’ve learned a lot during the process of creating it and doing the SEO and design work.

Some things about it are pretty good:

  • My overall conversion rate is about 10x higher than the industry average for $100 product. Woo hoo! That’s a reflection of two things: good keyword research and a high-converting website design.
  • My visitor value is higher than I expected.
  • I’m ranking #1 on Google
  • I’m getting roughly 25% of the total US search traffic for my term.

Some things about the project could be a lot better:

  • I’m getting less than 200 visitors a month, which isn’t very many. If I’d chosen a more popular term, my traffic would probably be higher.
  • The worst thing is something that I can’t really change for this project: my commission rate. To generate $1,750 in sales from less than 200 strangers is pretty good. The problem is that 94% of the money goes to Amazon. So, my share is small. Future projects will focus on promoting products with better payouts.

I only spent 5 minutes working on the project this month, writing a single blog post on the site–not a bad effort. All told, I’m happy to have a site that is making money. If it keeps earning like this, that’s an extra $1000 a year.

Next up, I’ll see if I can take what I’ve learned and duplicate the results or even improve on them a little bit.

Stay tuned.

Comments

  1. Mikey Mark says:

    Hello, interesting post, but no follow through with it. Care to share the website or at least some tips in the design and what inspired you. I would like to learn from your experience, I am at the beginnings myself.

    • John says:

      I knew someone would eventually call me out for neglecting this blog. The site did much better in December. I’ll write something up next week about how it did. Then something bad happened with the site, and I’ll share why it happened and what the impact was.

      I will also share some tips about how to get a high conversion rate, why I designed the site the way I did.

      Cheers.

  2. Leah says:

    Ditto to the above — any follow up?

    • Sasikumar says:

      Thanks Dan, Good info. I have several quitseons: 1. What is a good percentage conversion rate? During the year we average about 1% of visitors who make a purchase. Sometimes it less. During the peak season (Christmas, Mother’s Day, etc) it get a little better around 2.5-3%. 2. How effective is pricing dropping. We drop our prices to a very low profit margin, didn’t notice a lot of change. Any comments?

      • John says:

        Hi Sasikumar,

        1. A good conversion rate really depends on what you’re selling. Something in the 1%-3% range is normal, but some sites convert at 10% or more. The seasonality you mentioned can be a big factor in some product categories. Many of my sites only really make money in the holiday shopping season. There is always room to improve your conversion rate. Testing is crucial no matter what rate you’re converting visitors.
        2. Price dropping can be effective in some cases, however I’m strongly opposed to discounting your prices to the point of having a low profit margin. Unless your brand is all about being a discount store, discounting will usually erode the perceived value of your brand. I prefer to focus on building the best products possible and then charging a high(ish) price for them.

        I hope that helps.

        John

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