Affiliate Site Analysis –

by on November 1, 2011

A comment came in the other day on my article on Why Your Amazon Affiliate Site is Failing Miserably regarding the value of a certain Amazon affiliate website called   I’m a big fan of the site for the most part (wish I’d thought of it first!), having come across an ad for it on a few weeks before Adam from the site commented on here.

The comment from Margus was:

Hmmm not sure why you say thisiswhyIambroke does it right. Unless you have some great knowledge about the commission and sales they do, it seems the site is way too thin on content to pull in any real long tail traffic from google. The descriptions of each products are like 100 words long, it has like 100 affiliate links right on front page, makes me question really.

From my personal experience a site is able to pull in good traffic from google only if it has a clearly defined niche (like lets say black boots) and then it has separate pages on every possible types, shades, sizes makes etc. on the black boots. This site seems to be way all over the place for Google to actually understand what the site is about (other than it is obviously affiliate site with little content and lots of outgoing links).
So in order for it to get traffic to its site, it would need to build a lot of back links to each product page, and even then it is a bit questionable…

Only thing that is intriguing for me about it has things on there that are quite expensive ($17 000 dollar table??? WOW) So I guess if you manage to make a commission on that just once, you would be happy….

Margus, I have some experience with general Affiliate sites.  One  of my biggest sites is very general.  From your example above, my site would be about all kinds of footwear rather than just a specific niche like black boots.  You can do quite well by being general then drilling down for specific categories and products.  It’s like casting a wide net and seeing what you catch vs trying to harpoon a whale on your first fishing trip.

My number one rule with a broad affiliate site, use rapid fire and see what you hit.   Make a site and keep posting on topics in a broad niche.  Check your traffic reports and see if you naturally hit any keywords, then backlink for those.

So, let’s take a look at and break them down a little.  Adam, I’m going to be a little critical here, but you’ve done EXTREMELY well getting that site to a point where it could reach critical mass just in time for the 2011 holiday season.

First off, here is an example of a page from about an airsoft minigun.

Why’d I pick that page?  Because you are already naturally ranking #14 in Google for that search term which gets around 1600 searches a month, and I think a couple links like that one will help you get on page 1 for that term.  With no outside backlinks to speak of that page is already ranking in the top 20.  A little link love should drive it onto Page 1.

Thisiswhyimbroke Traffic Report

As of right now, has an 3-month Alexa rank of 40,000 and a 1-month rank of 25,000.  That means they are trending upward, which is great. puts their monthly traffic at 50,000 visitors also trending upward.

(Note – heard from Adam after publishing this that the 50,000 visitor estimate on is “very, very, far low” and frankly I believe him.  You don’t get 30,000 likes on Facebook without at least 50-100 times that in visitors – El Plumber)

From my experience a targeted product site can turn 1 visitor into $0.10-$0.25 in affiliate commissions during a normal month and $0.25 to $1.00 during the holiday blitz.   This is assuming people already have a buying intention when they visit your site.  For example, someone searching in Google for “blue widgets coupon” or “best blue widgets” has a buying intention.   I can imagine that is pulling WELL below that since most of their traffic is “cool site” traffic from places like Reddit and Facebook and not people with a buying intention.  Cool site traffic typically converts fairly poorly and needs a ton of traffic to make up for it.

Add ~30,000+ Facebook “likes” and there are potentially thousands of clicks every time they post a new product to their Facebook page.  Again, non-targeted traffic is really tough to gauge and convert.

Are they hitting $.04 a visitor and making more than $2000 a month yet?  Hard to guess with non-targeted non-buying traffic.  Only Adam can say for sure.

The great thing about Amazon affiliate traffic is that during the peak online holiday season (Black Friday through December 15th) conversions jump about 5X their usual rates.

So what would I do with if it were my site?

Taking It to the Next Level with SEO

It would take way too long to get into all the minor SEO  issues your site has right now.  But I’m going to touch the top three as I see them:

  1. Too many links on your home page.  You have some amazing viral link love going on with your site, but you have so many links on your home page you are diluting pretty badly.  Thin the herd!  Sort through your traffic stats and see which products get the most click throughs.  Grab a month with Clicktale and record some visitor movements to see how far 75% of the people get on your homepage, then cut it off there.
  2. Focus your linklove!  Use SemRush (love that tool) to see what valuable keywords you are currently slightly ranking for, then put a focus on those links on your home page.
  3. Longer unique descriptions of products.  Take anything you are ranking for in #2 above and write more content. Shoot for 300+ words for maximum SEO effect.

Advertising with Adwords

I’ve noticed via SemRush that you tried your hand at a little Adwords advertising.  However, as you probably quickly found out, people who search for things like “cool gifts” and “cool stuff to buy” don’t actually convert well.

Want to know a little secret of mine for finding good converting keywords to use with Adwords?  Use SemRush to find and steal competing sites best keywords!  For example, plug Thinkgeek in and check out what they are advertising in Adwords.  While I’ve never heard of a drink called “bawls” apparently it must convert to sales as Thinkgeek is paying for that keyword in Adwords.

It’s an awesome way to find what products tend to be other sites most lucrative.  But be careful!  They might be advertising not because it converts but because they bought a truckload of “bawls” and are just trying to offload it quickly.

Go through the full list of keywords they advertise for and you’re sure to find some awesome gems.

Be More Social

You can’t comment on any of the products!  That’s half the fun of a site like this and developing a community atmosphere can only help your traffic and profits.   Drop the Facebook Comments for WordPress plugin on there ( and let people go to town!

Stop Leaving Money On The Table

The biggest biggest issue I see on your site is that you don’t have affiliate links for your highest value items!?!!?1!!11   Hammacher-Schlemmer has a 8% affiliate program.  If you think no one  is going to buy that robotic jet ski through your site, then you haven’t been paying attention to the Occupy WallStreet protests closely enough.  Somewhere there is a high flying financier who spends his days counting his piles of cash and surfing the internet from his beach house in the Hamptons who needs that thing!  And hell, that’s a $1360 commission!

If that isn’t enough to convince you, the magic holiday season is approaching fast!  People click stuff on your site, which sets an affiliate cookie which lasts for 30 days on Hammacher-Schlemmer.  Then 20 days from now they come back on Black Friday and actually buy stuff and you get credit for it.

Want to really optimize your clickthrough and cookie dropping?  DON’T SHOW THE PRICE.  Make a cute little graphic for “Price too outrageously high to fit in this text box, click to see it!” and stuff like that to encourage people to click through.

Did This Help?

Adam, hopefully you see this and don’t get offended by the criticism.  You have a great site that has viral money potential and you are so very very close to breaking through this holiday season.  I hope you guys make it.  I’m rooting for you!

And hey if you want to take my advice, feel free to add The Electron Plumber to your Staff section.  I’d like my title to be “Awesomeness Consultant”.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sudarshan November 2, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Great post… I just love every part of it!! I am wondering how come the site got 30k likes… and it is bleeding links to amazon like this which makes it look very thin…. Is the traffic mainly from social networking sites or from google.!! Thanks for those tips man- they apply to any site and it looks like I have to do few changes to my website :)

anna November 3, 2011 at 11:35 pm

i like the tips you have for this site! one thing they’re doing right, though, is branding (which might be why the Google gods have been ignoring them). the EMD is a brand in itself and the mishmash of products on there also contribute to the site’s vibe (which i would call hipsterish geeky but i could be wrong). anyway, that’s what stood out for me on over there and what i would do well to duplicate in my sites–not the hipsterish geekiness but the attention to branding even though the site is doing something as generic as selling other sites’ products.

voice of reason November 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm

surely they just sink a bunch of cash on traffic.. monitor the numbers.. quite simple really if you have the funding and knowhow

Darko April 30, 2012 at 3:29 am

Hi there

I’ve recently discovered your site and it is great. Lot of honest advices! I’ve search through lot of internet marketing site but 90% was “month of reading for minute useful information”. I had one affiliate project 1 year before but I broke. Now, I slowly realized my mistakes. I am learning again and preparing for new site. You have one new reader .All the best

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