(aka – The Tale of Two Minisites)
(aka – Knowing When to Hold ‘Em, When to Fold ‘Em and When to Scale ‘Em Up)
Sorry, couldn’t decide on just one title for today… 🙂
If you’ve been following my first Case Study on BuildMyRank, you’ve watched my intrepid little minisite climb the rankings and increase its earnings. However, chances are you aren’t very impressed by the amount of money it’s making – $20-30/month at last count.
It’s okay, I don’t blame you! If I thought that $20-30/month was the end game for this site, I’d be pretty disappointed too. The truth is, affiliate marketing minisites are only the beginning step in my business model. Now I get to begin the fun process of scaling up the site!
To help you to understand what I mean by “scaling a minisite,” I want to first contrast the minisite in my Case Study with another minisite I started around the same time. I don’t want to go into too many details about it, but basically, it’s in the weight loss niche and everything about the target keywords looked good when I first had it built. Good search volume, low competition and good indicators of buying intent.
But after almost a year, nothing. Well, next to nothing – the site made a few affiliate sales, but the conversion rate was incredibly low compared to the number of visitors coming to the site. Fortunately, because I started small in this niche, I don’t have a lot of time invested in the site – so it won’t break my heart to walk away from it.
That’s why I start small and scale up – and why I recommend you do the same. When you start with a small minisite, you’ll be able to figure out what works and what doesn’t, before you invest a ton of time or money into something that isn’t guaranteed to work. And once you do have a minisite that’s gaining momentum in the rankings and earning a small amount of income, you can put more work into growing it, knowing that the site will continue to convert on a larger scale.
Here’s how I plan to scale up the minisite from my first Case Study:
1. Add more content to the site
Right now, the site only hosts six product reviews. It’s a good start, certainly, and it’s enough to draw some people in – but it definitely doesn’t stand out in the niche. Obviously, I’d like to add more product reviews (and add more product lines in general), but I think the site could also benefit from informative articles, tutorials and other content to round out the user experience.
2. Expand into other sub-niches
About two weeks ago, I took a field trip to a brick and mortar store that serves this niche, and it was hugely eye-opening. There’s a whole other sub-niche out there that I was completely ignoring! I haven’t done any keyword research on this new sub-niche, so I’m not sure exactly how I’ll incorporate it yet, but my trip was a good reminder to keep my eyes open to other opportunities in this market.
3. Add more user functionality
Members of this niche are notoriously active – they form meet-up groups, attend niche get-togethers, and even have their own dedicated stores in the offline world. But on my site, there’s no way for them to really engage with my content, which is one area I’d like to expand on in the future. I’m not exactly sure how I’ll go about adding this, but some ideas include video demos of new products, forums where users can share their opinions or even a product ratings system.
Obviously, the ways that you scale up your own minisite will be different from the list above, since you’re likely in different niches with different interests and demands. If you aren’t sure how to best scale up your own minisite, simply check out the Top 10 Google results for your target keywords and see what other sites are doing. This will give you clues on what Google values, and what visitors expect to see from a site in your niche.
Do you start with small minisites and then scale them up as they show promise? Or do you have any other advice for new marketers who aren’t familiar with the concept of scaling?