Case Study 4 – Exciting News and a Wrap-up

Case Study 4 – Exciting News and a Wrap-up

Hey there, Common Sense Marketers!

I’m excited to wrap up my latest case study on improving conversion rates with some exciting news – the site has made its first two sales in the past month!

So today, let’s break down what’s been going on with this site and what I’ve been doing to get it to this point…

First of all, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out both of my previous Case Study 4 update posts:

Case Study 4 – Meet Our Conversion Rates Test Site!
Case Study 4 – Progress and Setbacks

You should also take a look at the educational posts I’ve published as a part of this case study, which revolve around specific topics I was addressing with this case study:

How to Get Website Traffic Fast
Fun Times with SEO: Building a Subdirectory Blog
Selling Simplified – 5 Steps to Descarifying Copywriting
Effective Email Marketing Techniques

(PS – You should definitely check out the post on copywriting from this series. It’s one of my favorite posts I’ve written so far!)

Anyways…

The purpose of this case study was to turn around a minisite I picked up from Flippa, which sells a $7 report in the skin care niche. There’s a lot more to the site – including an upsell product, an affiliate product listed in Clickbank and a few other goodies – but for this case study, my focus was on simply improving the conversion rates of the main site.

Over the past month, I’ve…

Built up a subdirectory blog on the site, which helps me to capture more long-tail keywords and boost the amount of unique content on the site. I outsourced the writing and used Artisteer (free trial; aff link) to create a theme that mimicked the look and feel of the main site. I set up the content to post automatically for a few months and included a footer redirecting people back to the main site.

Jumpstarted the traffic to the site with the following promotions:

• Answered 10 questions at Yahoo Answers, leaving my link as a reference on seven of them.
• Commented on 10 blogs within the skin care/personal hygiene industry.
• Submitted one unique article to five separate article directories and Web 2.0 sites (then pinged the links created to ensure they were indexed).
• Set up a trial campaign at BuildMyRank to generate 10 backlinks on high PageRank blogs.
• Experimented with paid search on both 7Search and the Google Adwords Content Network.

Made a few tweaks to the existing copy and site design in order to create a more professional feel and a stronger call to action. I also started my first split test for the site, which is testing two different variations of the (admittedly not that strong anyways) headline. I didn’t get nearly as much accomplished on this area as I would have liked, but it’s going to be a major focus of mine in the future for this site.

Because of these efforts, my results with the site have been improving slowly, but surely.

As you can see, I’ve lost rankings in some areas, but this month’s SERP placements show my target keyword in the Top 200 in Google for the first time since I’ve owned the site. Yeah, it’s nothing to write home about – and I’ve got a long way to go to get the site in the Top 10 – but it’s a start!

As a result of these higher placements and the promotional work I’ve done to the site, traffic has increased substantially over my last reported results.

The number of backlinks pointing back to the site is also showing some pretty fun improvement over the past 30 days, and I have no doubt that continuing the work I described above in this area will lead to even more traffic and better rankings.

Finally, although my current split test isn’t showing a definitive winner yet, you can see the two conversions that have occurred so far – one for each headline variation I’m running.

So, unfortunately, I can’t say that I’m ending this case study having totally turned things around or that, as a result of my efforts, the site is now earning enough to put my future children through college. The total earnings of $14 don’t even begin to offset what I spent having content written, on paid traffic or on the e-Junkie subscription to host the product in the first place.

But I am excited by the results – it’s a start, if nothing more. If the site is able to make sales even with its crappy sales copy and low placements in the SERPs, I’m confident that it’ll do even better as I continue to make improvements.

Looking ahead, I’m still planning to work on this site, with a focus on the following areas:

Improve the damn copy – I had been planning to work with a professional copywriter to have the site re-written (which is why I haven’t made substantial changes to the text so far), but it sounds like that might not happen at this point. If not, it’ll be up to me to make improvements, based on the feedback I’ve received so far on the site.

Update the graphics – There’s no question that the site looks dated, and the graphics used within the products themselves aren’t much better. At some point, I’d like to re-do the graphics to look more modern and more enticing.

Continue my backlinking/traffic work – An SEO’s work is never done, which is why building up good quality links to the site is going to be a focus of mine for a long, long time. I plan to continue with the methods described above, reevaluating occasionally to make sure I’m using the techniques that are resulting in the biggest gains for the site.

Right now, it’s tough to make work on this site a priority, as I have enough other competing demands on my time, including that pesky day job, plus the time I spend on this site or doing freelance writing for my clients. Going self-employed next year should give me more time to work on this and the other minisites in my portfolio – which is good, as most of you know my goal is to build my passive income back up to the levels I’d achieved a few years ago.

Currently, I have a total of 12 minisites in my portfolio, including some (like this one) that I’ve purchased and others that I’ve built up myself (including the site from the Community Marketing Challenge earlier this year). Although I won’t be sharing this level of detail about my work with all of them here, I’m planning a lot more strategy-oriented case studies based on my work with these sites starting in early 2012.

So if you have any questions about working with minisites, let me know. You never know – your questions or comments might lead to fun new case studies here on Common Sense Marketing!

Image: DonkeyHotey

5 Responses to Case Study 4 – Exciting News and a Wrap-up

  1. Paul Evans says:

    Nice ! And I see you bounce late is extremely low…that’s a good sign that you are getting some engagement there with your content.
    I like the focus on conversion rates here – you are definitely in a minority doing this on affiliate sites. I hope you get 10x as many sales in December
    Quick question – which A/B testing software do you use and would you recommend it vs Google analytics?
    Take care
    Paul

    • Sarah says:

      Hey Paul – Thanks for stopping by!

      Personally, I just use the Google Website Optimizer program for my split testing. It’s free and easy to use, although I know there are tons of other great options out there with more advanced features.

      If anyone else has some good recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

  2. Congrats in your first two sales. Small victories are good. They help you keep going and keep the project interesting. I’m working in a new website and I can’t wait to get the first sale. Your post gives me some confidence 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      Ricardo – Thanks so much! You’re right, even though it’s a small success, it’s just the start of something that I can grow to be much bigger.

      Best of luck with your web projects – you can do it!

  3. viviana says:

    Hi Sarah, you’re pretty smart in SEO. Thumbs up! If your site is on the top page of Google, your site will get traffic which means sales too. Don’t forget that building relationship is important too. Social buzz is important. People buy because of their trust.

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