Every week I get an email from the Warrior Forum showing some interesting forum threads that have been started recently. This week, one of the threads discussing how many websites you most online business owners have got my interest. After going through that thread, I thought I would cover this topic in more detail specifically concerning how many affiliate marketing websites you should focus on. First, I will cover the two main arguments as it pertains to this question and then, I will give my opinion and what I have learned over the years through my own personal experiences experimenting with both sides of the argument. Hopefully after reading this article, you will be able to save yourself some time and start seeing sustainable success sooner.
The Diversification Argument: Having As Many Affiliate Sites As Possible
Historically in affiliate marketing, one of the most popular strategies implemented is to have 10’s or even 100’s of different affiliate marketing sites up and running. You might not have a site that makes 10’s of thousands of dollars per month, but what if you could have just 20 sites that each earn $500 per month? That’s an income just about anyone would love to have. Better yet? You are so diversified that even if one of your sites gets hit hard by a Google algorithm change or you get dropped by your affiliate partners, it’s no big deal. You still have 9 other sites to carry you through until you can figure out a solution.
There are two updates that really spooked people into diversification. Those updates are the Google Panda and Penguin updates. Back around 2011, many affiliate marketers who focused only on one site saw their business destroyed overnight by losing substantial rankings in the search engines. So alas, the argument of diversifying began, and those who argue to diversify make a very good argument.
The Authority Argument: Focusing All Your Time And Resources Into One Big Website
On the other hand, there are many affiliate marketers who argue that you should build “authority sites” in niche industries. Basically, you need to find a niche and dominate it. In order to build a true authority website, you need to perform quite a bit of research before starting the site, then create something that provides real value to your website visitors. It can’t be a 10 or even a 50 page site, it must eventually include hundreds, if not thousands of high quality content pages. While this takes time to build, if you can dominate a niche, you can end up growing a real business online that can’t be easily replaced.
Some examples of authoritative niche-based websites includes sites like Anguilla-Beaches.com. On that site, a young teenager by the name of Nora decided to build a website focusing on her favorite travel destination – the island of Anguilla. Not only is this a highly targeted niche, but over the past decade her site has seen sustainable growth in both traffic and profits. Her site is well recognized by Anguilla business owners who receive business due to her promotions and advertisements. She has become nearly irreplaceable.
Another good example is the website TruckingTruth.com. A former truck driver decided to make a website that would help new truckers pass their exams and acclimate to life on the road. It now earns him a full-time living and the site dominates search results for phrases like “how to become a truck driver”. The TruckingTruth name is now a brand name and is well recognized in the trucking industry.
My own personal niche site, DogFoodInsider.com, focuses specifically on dog food reviews. The site is only 2 years old and now receives thousands of visitors daily. It may not be an “authority” in the dog food niche quite yet, but it’s well on the way.
As you can see by taking a look at the examples above, those sites are full-time jobs in themselves. Someone who is building a website like that by themselves would hardly have time for other sites, but it doesn’t really matter. All of those sites have proven to be sustainable over the long-term.
How I Personally Run My Affiliate Marketing Business
When I first became an affiliate marketer, I was one of the “build lots of sites” people. I liked the idea of diversifying and having several different income sources. Over time, however, I have swayed more towards the “authority site” argument. Here’s why…
The majority of website traffic for almost all sites on the web is Google. Over the past several years, Google has changed their search algorithms substantially. These changes have almost made micro-niche websites obsolete. To be honest, I don’t think Google ever wanted micro-niche sites to do well in the first place, but due to many faults in their algorithm, small websites were able to do very well for many years.
The times have changed. Google no longer sends traffic to small sites like they once did. Sure, you can get some traffic to a small site, but it usually isn’t enough to earn $500 per month or even much less than that. Plus, if Google sees your small website as just a digital brochure to sell affiliate products or display ads, you will get penalized by the Google Panda algorithm. Every month, Google has more powerful computers and is able to better determine websites that truly provide value to people. Building small “just good enough” websites is a losing battle, unless you are able to somehow derive a lot of targeted traffic through some other source.
Now, when building an authoritative site, you can’t spread out your efforts between multiple sites. You just can’t. You have to decide who you want the winner to be and go at it full-steam. Trust me on this. This is especially true for those of you who are new and have never started an affiliate site before. On the surface, it may sound easy to start a blog and write an article per day on it. It may even sound so easy that you can write 3 articles on 3 separate sites. Well, it’s not that easy. Even if you were able to write 3 awesome articles per day, you should focus them all on just one site.
“But, then, how do you diversify!?” I hear you proclaiming. Great question!
How To Diversify Your Affiliate Marketing Business
There are two different ways to diversify your business if you focus on a single, high authority site. For starters, you can diversify your traffic sources. Once you have a decent amount of free search engine traffic coming to your site, start experimenting with social media promotions or even paid advertising. Truth be told, search engines will probably always be your highest form of traffic and fortunately search engine traffic converts like crazy. However, you should always be exploring new ways to get people onto your site, of which there are many.
Now, here’s how I personally diversify. Once a website is making some revenue, I don’t take the money and buy a new car or go on vacation. I OUTSOURCE! From the very first time I earned a $7 commission, I reinvested it. I hire writers through Constant-Content.com, and find programmers on Elance.com to get my sites to grow even faster, with less work. Eventually, once I’m able to get everything outsourced and STILL earn a profit, I then start another site and do the same thing.
In other words, I diversify by creating not just a bunch of small websites, but by creating as many authoritative websites as possible. This is only possible if I have help and reinvest into the business.
What this means is, in the beginning, your affiliate marketing business will NOT be secure. Even when you’re making some money on your first site, you could possibly lose it all before you’re able to start a second site. I understand that this doesn’t sit well with many people, but nearly every start-up company has had to go through periods where they are not secure or diversified. That’s the risk small business owners must take initially. There was once a time where even Google and Facebook were little piddly companies. Small businesses like stores and restaurants may take 3 to 5 years to even see a single penny in profit.
The point is, creating an online business is just like any other business. You need to take risks, at least at first, and dominate just one little corner of the internet first. Once you have that dominated (which may be YEARS), you can re-invest into having other people build you more sites. The more sites you have, the more you’ll make, the faster you’ll grow through outsourcing, and the more you’ll be able to diversify. When you’re first starting though, you have to take some risks by focusing all your time and energy on the site you truly believe in.
Focus On Something You Already Know And Love
Everyone has a passion or knowledge about something. In order to build a true high authority website, you must have a very intimate relationship with the niche. If you don’t, you’ll burn out and you’ll never succeed. Sure, creating a website about hemorrhoid cream could be profitable, but how long will it take before you burn out writing about hemorrhoids?
I always focus on websites I truly care about. I have a passion for driving safety, so I created Drive-Safely.net. I also love dogs, so I created DogFoodInsider.com. I’m a huge fan of sharks and find them to be fascinating, so I made SharkSider.com. Perhaps my biggest passion in life is my business, which is centered around affiliate marketing, so I created this site.
If you take a look at any of my personal sites which I listed above, you’ll notice that none of them are small sites that were easy to build. They have taken years in most cases (this site is only about 1 year old as if this writing). And you know what? Before any of them made me any money, I loved building them because they are about topics I enjoy.
Affiliate Marketing Is A Business That Takes Time To Grow
One of the biggest problem I have with other so-called expert affiliate marketers out there is the products and training courses they promote that give people the impression that affiliate marketing is somehow fast and easy. I’m here to tell you those people are lying and are only saying what you want to hear so that you’ll buy their crappy training course.
Most small businesses take 3 to 5 years to ever see a profit. And that’s after those business owners have dumped 10’s or 100’s of thousands of dollars into their business. With affiliate marketing, you need virtually no start-up capital, but people think you can make a full-time living in a few months.
Fortunately, since there is virtually no start-up capital needed to start an affiliate marketing business, it is realistic to shoot for 6 to 12 months before profits are made. If you keep building, those profits will grow exponentially over time.
…Think about that for a second. You have the ability to start your very own business, part-time, without any start-up capital, and earn a decent living within a year or so. Even if it takes 2 years to earn a full-time living, that’s amazing! There is virtually zero risk involved! All it requires is consistent effort over the long-term. If you can focus on long-term success, you’re already ahead of almost everyone else who just wants a quick buck.
Focus on serving your visitors with awesome content that they love, build an authoritative site around a topic that YOU love, and once that site begins earning revenue, OUTSOURCE and scale up as quickly as you can. If you do this and never give up, you are almost guaranteed to succeed.