Just want to chat? Talk some smack. If it doesn't fit into one of the areas below then you'll be posting here (Note: Please try and find the best section before posting here)

Hello All! - Website Questions

chris338
Posts: 17
Joined: 11 Oct 07
Trust:

Hello All! - Website Questions

I'm glad the site is back up and ready to go. I look forward to seeing the posts from familiar "faces." I've been with Affiliorama for almost a year now, but I haven't been able to make much headway on the website department. I'm trying to "ease" my way into this business by starting a basic ecommerce site. I have a site almost ready at http://www.myfavouritecandy.com. It's hosted by godaddy. You could say that I would use it as a content site for SEO and google adwords. Of course, I know there's not a lot of market for candy. I don't expect to make a ton off of this site, but I'm trying to figure out how to do the basics. How do I optimize for google adwords? How do I handle the payments? Basic PHP coding? I'm trying to do this myself so that I can learn to crank out websites for products I want to promote.

But, I have to admit this is extremely hard for me. I used all the shortcuts I know of so far: I started with a template from templatemonster.com. I then used wordpress for the blog. I grabbed phpBB for the forum. I'm using osCommerce for the store. I'm starting with Paypal for the merchant account, but would like to move up once I'm making any money at all.

The store is basically installed. The blog is fine. The forum is just out of the box, but it is at the bottom of the priority list. I'm having trouble with changing links in PHP. HTML is a piece of cake, but I'm lost in PHP. I've posted a project at Elance to help me get over the hump, but most people thought I was wanting a site built from scratch. Average bid: $750. That's way too much for finishing questions in my opinion.

So this is my BIG question: How much of this stuff are we expected to know on our own and what should we outsource? It doesn't seem that hard on the surface, but as you dig in, it is a huge timesink.

I've spent the last few weeks doing nothing else in my spare time but trying to get this site up and running. The learning curve to get SSL installed, MySQL set up correctly, domain forwarding, etc. just takes a long time. Am I being too anal? Should I just outsource all of it? I'm learning, but at what cost?

My main goal is to just "slap the site up and start making money" but in reality it's not that easy, at least not for me. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Feel free to visit the site and critique it. I promise to keep a thick skin.

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from everyone!
  • 0
Site Admin
aletta
Posts: 3719
Joined: 09 Jul 06
Trust:
There's a pretty good reason why we recommend that you try earning some cash as an affiliate before you try to sell your own products. The learning curve is steep enough for affiliates who don't have to deal with the stuff you're talking about. For a first site I think you've set yourself a pretty hard task there.

Another reason to try earning cash as an affiliate first is simply to get some money flowing in. As you've discovered, if you're going to go the way of the merchant you've either got to know a hell of a lot, or be prepared to outsource a lot. As you've also discovered, that costs $$$.

I'm not trying to rain on your parade too much. It's awesome that you're prepared to learn all this stuff and make a go of it. I'm just thinking that for your first efforts you should probably focus more on learning the marketing side of things, and leave the programming until you've got the resources to handle it.

And I'm pretty concerned with your comment that there's "not a lot of market for candy", because that means that you're sinking an awful lot of time and money into a project that might not actually pay for itself. Particularly if you're going to promote it though AdWords you REALLY want to make sure you've got a profitable market. I know you probably just want to do it to learn a bit and hopefully not mess it up too much (I've recently bought myself an old van for such a purpose ;) ) but think about how you're better off spending your energy.

And if you reeeeeally still want to do it (just like I reeeeeeeally still want to learn how to fix the rust on my van... ) perhaps you could post your specific issues here for us to look at. The site isn't up and running so I can't look at it, and I'm not sure what you mean by "changing links in php". We've got some php geeks lying around here somewhere, maybe they can help.

As for your question... how much do you actually need to know... I think it's more important that you know about the market research and marketing of a site than the actual building. You can outsource the building, but you can't outsource the market research. But if you build a site without market research.... eek! I don't really expect affiliates to have much more skill than some average HTML, some PHP "tricks" like includes and redirects, maybe a little bit of playing in your .htacess, but the most important stuff is SEO and market research. You can get a site up and start earning good money with just a few skills.

Now that I've penned you a novel, I hope it hasn't discouraged you too much. You can either soldier on and realise that you've set yourself a pretty hard task and just accept that, or you can rethink your approach, put the candy site aside for the time being, and try to get some cash flowing in with something a bit easier.

Just like I'm going to attempt to change my oil and oil filter before anything else.

Good luck!
Aletta
  • 0
Are your changes not showing up on your website? Try doing a hard refresh! http://www.refreshyourcache.com/en/cache/
 
Moderator
evobilly
Posts: 726
Joined: 27 Oct 08
Trust:
hey im only newbie so i can't help much but ive had a look at ya site and there seems to be alot of bits not working or loading im guessing you would know this already thoough

also as someone just lookin with out buying what else is your page going to offer?
an idea for more content could be some candy making recipes that maybe links off to a candy makin e-book

as im a newbie i have lots of ideas but have trouble puting mine to action so have not made any $$ as yet so i can't say it will help or work :)
  • 0
For the best guide to sell physcal products as a affiliate check out Matt Carters Rapid Profit Formula http://online-income-masters.com/getrapidprofitformula.php

If your having trouble re-writing your articles i recommend checking out this tool to make it quick and easy http://goto2.com/rewriter

If you want to outsource your articles this place seems to be good value and easy to deal with, and its free to sign up they offer a 100% American writing team http://bit.ly/bhv4Fu
 
chris338
Posts: 17
Joined: 11 Oct 07
Trust:
Special thanks to Aletta for the advice. I'm following it and focusing on building some PPC campaigns right now. I have to admit, even following the courses I've bought, it's like slogging through quicksand for me. I'm having to learn all of the tools that they say "we're not teaching how to use this tool." You're expected to already know it. And that's fine, but when it's the first time you've ever used Google Adwords Editor, there's a learning curve there. But I'm going to methodically press through and get these things done.

Thanks to EvoBilly for the comments. Good ideas. I had in mind to involve the readership somehow. I don't really want to just critique the candy all on my own. Theres a site out there that gives out free movie passes if the person submits a movie spoiler that is published on the site. That's a great site, themoviespoiler.com. I wonder how much money he's making from that? In any case, there are some great candy websites out there with lots of content. I hope to slowly build up a readership through incentivised involvement. Recipes are a good idea.

To Aletta, I have hired out the rest of the candy site so that I can just get it running correctly. It's my first tussle with Elance so we'll see how that goes. I know that you can use them to build your landing pages and I wanted to see how they did just answering questions. We'll see.
  • 0
chris338
Posts: 17
Joined: 11 Oct 07
Trust:
I hired out the rest of the site development and worked on IM stuff the last couple of weeks. But the candy site is done now. Now the question is how to promote the site as SEO. I know it's not my primary income source and I'm going to work on more profitable niches for SEO, but as Affiliorama seems to focus most on SEO, I'd be interested to hear advice on ways I can start moving my candy site up in the search engines. I have a couple of modest google adwords links on the blog and on the forum. I found out it doesn't work with SSL, so it's not on the candy store portion of the site.

What do you think?

http://myfavouritecandy.com
  • 0
Site Admin
aletta
Posts: 3719
Joined: 09 Jul 06
Trust:
What market research have you done for this topic? Have you done any keyword research? That's usually the first place to start, because it'll give you ideas for keywords to optimize your site for.

In order for you to move your site up the search engines, you need to have keywords that you want to move it up the search engines for!

Have you gone digging through.... uhh.... candy forums to see what people are talking about or wanting from their candy? Perhaps I don't know enough about candy, but I'm struggling to see the great need or want that this site is going to fulfill. Is it for people who can't find a particular type of candy in their home town and they want to buy it on the internet? Is it for rare and unusual candy? Convenience candy?

In marketing we talk about USP (unique selling proposition). Why would someone buy from your online store rather than a competitor's? (Or, indeed, their local supermarket.) Once you know that it all becomes easier.

If you can give us some insight into your "vision" for this site, we might be able to help more with the SEO and monetization aspects.

P.S: "British" has one T :)
  • 0
Are your changes not showing up on your website? Try doing a hard refresh! http://www.refreshyourcache.com/en/cache/
 
Moderator
evobilly
Posts: 726
Joined: 27 Oct 08
Trust:
hey i had a quick glance at ya site i am only a newbie but seems like theres not much content and the blog not sure what sort of market your aiming that at as one post is about hoping to make money another is bout good bargins you can get at the supermarket? are you trying to send people away
sorry to be so blunt!
  • 0
For the best guide to sell physcal products as a affiliate check out Matt Carters Rapid Profit Formula http://online-income-masters.com/getrapidprofitformula.php

If your having trouble re-writing your articles i recommend checking out this tool to make it quick and easy http://goto2.com/rewriter

If you want to outsource your articles this place seems to be good value and easy to deal with, and its free to sign up they offer a 100% American writing team http://bit.ly/bhv4Fu
 
chris338
Posts: 17
Joined: 11 Oct 07
Trust:
No, it's not problem. I don't mind the bluntness. This site was just to learn how to get a site put together. The candy website is a bit of a hobby. I don't expect to make much money from the candy website.

Thanks for the tip about British. I'll fix that.

The real goal of this site is just that I love candy. My unique selling proposition (for now) is that the cream candy and the licorice is not really found anywhere else. You can't get it at the store.

But that's all beside the point. I just want to know if the site looks visually pleasing. How does an ecommerce store work, how to I manage a forum.

I'm going to learn these things.

I know people are more concerned with real business here, so I won't post anymore about the candy site. I was just excited to have my first site built.

I'll get down to business for a real market that I can actually make money with now. Hopefully it will go twice as fast as this one as I've learned a lot.

Right now, I'm focusing on pay per click. I have the markets picked, keywords picked out and put into groups and analyzed.

Next is to work on the landing pages and then build the test campaigns.

Thanks for the input on the candy site.
  • 0