(Transcript continued from the Episode 119 show notes and audio podcast)

Late Night Listener Feedback

I’m getting a lot of feedback from those of you who listened back in Episode 103, anxiously awaiting the Late Night Affiliate course. It is coming. It’s taking longer than I thought it would. It always does. I need to learn. You would think that I would learn this lesson. The course is coming, material is being created, and I’m very excited about how it’s shaping up.

If you are interested in that course, there will be a number of beta spots available when it first opens up at a dramatically reduced cost. If you want to get on the list for the opportunity to be notified about that and considered for a beta slot, you can check that out at LateNightAffiliate.com. Right now I’m hoping to get some beta testers in there some time in January. We’ll see how that goes. I’m struggling through the holidays trying to get that created.

Just in full transparency, we’ll talk about this in a future episode, this is one of my major goals for 2017. Not just the release of that course, but the promotion of it, creating webinar campaigns, Facebook ads, and all that kind of stuff. We’ll be talking about all of that on the podcast, because of course this is an internet marketing podcast and I’m going to be doing internet marketing to promote that course. It will make an interested case study for us to assess throughout 2017. The issue of course is in order to promote a course you have to have a course, so I’m working on that. I’ll keep you updated accordingly.

I wanted to give a shout out to those of you that have been trying to hold me accountable on that. Particularly, most recently, Rick Smith. Rick, thank you very much for checking in on me at Twitter, that’s really great. It’s great to know people are listening and care about what’s going on here at Late Night Internet Marketing. Thanks for all of the shout outs, guys.

This Week in Internet Marketing News

It’s that time of year in internet marketing news when we started getting all of these predictions for 2017. I really enjoy these posts because some of the predictions are just goofy and I don’t agree with them, but some of them really resonate. I want to call your attention to a post over on the Moz blog by Gianluca Fiorelli, SEO and Digital Trends in 2017.

Gianluca does a couple of things that I think are completely awesome. If you go check out that post one of the things that you will see is a graphic that he put together of all of the official Google algorithm updates, all of the businesses and companies acquired by Google or their parent company Alphabet, all of the topics of the major posts on the Google Webmaster Blog, all of the main Google patents that were published, and products that Google released into the marketplace. He plots all of this as a function of time on a graph and tries to get a holistic picture of what Google is up to.

I think Gianluca’s top level conclusion is Google continues to move steadily towards what he calls a mobile-only world. I think this is for real. I use mobile myself, personally, way more than I did two or three years ago. If I hit a website that is not mobile-friendly or doesn’t have a good mobile treatment, I’m out.

Google knows this and they are really starting to talk about going from what they have now, which is a desktop first index, meaning that desktop sites have priority in the index and that’s sort of the way they’re thinking about the index when they crawl the internet and compile the index, to a mobile first index. I think that means two things for you the blogger.

One thing it means for you the blogger is clearly you need to have a truly responsive and outstanding website. If you go look at LateNightInternetMarketing.com and you pull it up in your mobile browser and your iPad and your desktop, you’re going to get exactly the same website but it’s going to be rendered differently depending on the size of your screen. If you want to see how this behavior happens, go to LateNightIM.com with your browser open as wide as your monitor on your desktop, then grab the right edge of the browser and start slowly moving it in and closing down the window size to make it more and more narrow. When you get all the way down to as narrow as it can be, then it’s about as narrow as an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy. When you do that you can see that the website moves around, it changes the elements to fit the size of the screen as you’re dragging it.

That’s known as responsive design. It’s very important for 2017, and quite frankly it’s been important since 2015 when Google started penalizing sites that didn’t have a mobile version and calling them out in Google Webmaster Tools and letting them know that their website and webpages were not mobile-friendly. That’s going to be increasingly important. Outside of the U.S. it’s even more important because elsewhere in the world people are relying even more strongly on mobile websites. So, it’s really important that you have a responsive theme.

I’ve gone through several iterations of the blog and I’ve had blogs hand coded and so forth, and I have decided wholeheartedly on this Elegant Theme’s framework theme called Divi. I love it because it allows me to rapidly prototype a page and make it look like anything that I want. I can do landing pages and custom blog pages, or whatever I need to do. It’s super easy to use, it’s all drag and drop, and it’s highly recommended. We’ll talk about Divi in a future episode some more, but if you want to take a look at that you can find it through my affiliate link at LateNightIM.com/divi. I really like this theme. I’ve used many, I used Thesis in the past, a lot of you are aware of that. But I’m converting all of my sites to Divi, I really like it and it handles this mobile responsive thing very well. You can see that if you drag your browser window back and forth like I was describing.

That mobile thing is going to be one thing. I think the other thing that is going to be increasingly important, and this is something that I haven’t tackled that I need to research and cover in a future blog post, is this issue of accelerated mobile pages, or AMP. AMP is a technology that Google, Twitter, and others collaborated on, and basically it’s a definition for stripped down HTML. HTML of course is the language that your website uses to communicate its webpage to your web browser, your web browser reads the HTML and makes a pretty page.

The thing is that when you’re doing all kinds of fancy stuff, like we normally do on regular desktop blog pages, there’s a lot of overhead to that. There’s heavy styling, images, etcetera, and all of that eats up bandwidth. Typically for mobile bandwidth on a worldwide basis is slower than it would be on the desktop, and it’s also usually metered. So Google, for mobile experience reasons, want stripped down code. Also, usually mobile processors that are doing the rendering are more lightweight than the desktop processors. You’re not going to have a 4 Core i7 in your phone like you do on your laptop.

All that to say that Google has this standard and has been excited about accelerated mobile pages (you’ll see it referred to as AMP) and their search engine will request an AMP page from you, oftentimes, if you have it.

Now, I have not implemented this on LateNightIM.com, but this is something that I’ll be researching for you in the future and we’ll have a future episode on AMP. Basically the idea for WordPress would be to install a plugin that creates these stripped down versions of your webpages and makes them available and compatible with the AMP protocol, and then when Google requests a page from a customer that is on a mobile browser from your website, if you have an AMP page available they’ll return the AMP page to the searcher on mobile, it will load much faster and everyone will be happy.

Google will be happy because it will give the searcher a better search experience. The customer (the searcher) will be happy because they got the content they were looking for faster. You will be happy because Google will preferentially (at least in theory) include your pages in the search engine rankings because it loads faster and supports this user experience that you can achieve with AMP.

There are lots of issues with AMP. There have been all kinds of implementation challenges. If you listen to Yoast, Yoast prefers the AMP plugin by Automaticc, the same people that write WordPress. That plugin automatically creates AMP versions of all your pages, but there are issues. It doesn’t play well with the Yoast plugin in the sense that it ignores some of Yoast’s settings, there are issues with getting Google Analytics tracking code onto the AMP versions of the pages, and all kinds of stuff. As a result of that, Yoast has written a Glue plugin that glues the Yoast plugin to the AMP plugin.

All of that to me sounds like a giant mess, so I haven’t done anything with AMP yet. I think in 2017 AMP experimentation will definitely be on my list and I’ll let you know how that goes.

For now, what I can tell you is that for 2017 Gianluca’s prediction seems spot on to me, and that is that mobile will be increasingly important in 2017. Whatever your plans are for creating affiliate websites or working on a bigger legacy blog that you have, you better be thinking mobile first.

Affiliate Site Earning Potential Calculation

This week my buddy Andrew Hansen released an outstanding post over at AndrewHansen.name that brought back to mind a topic that I haven’t talked about in years. I used to call this affiliate math. If you look back on the Late Night IM blog, I used to publish this information that helped you understand how to predict how much money a particular website that you were building would make, and I called it affiliate math.

I thought this was particularly important because we just talked about this easy SEO strategy last week where if you’re third or fourth on the list in Google you can expect sort of 10% of conversions or less, so an easy way to get more search engine traffic is to push your site up on page one. Stuff that you have at the bottom of page one, you should move it to the top. All of that has to do with the number of people that click on your links. Well, if you expand that as one of the many conversions that you need to make to get an affiliate sale you can start to get an estimate of the kind of money that you can make with an affiliate site.

In Andrew’s example he particularly talks about Amazon, but this is generally true with any affiliate website. Let me take you through this and help you understand if you’re thinking about building affiliate websites and you’re wanting to know how much money you can make – and notice this is different than “how much money will I make,” I’m not saying how much money you will make and I’m not saying how long it might take you to make the money. I’m also not taking into account the fact that you might do something to screw everything up. This is just some guidelines that you can use to maybe build a spreadsheet to figure out how much money you should invest in your website.

So you’re going to build this website on some topic. We talk a lot about blue suede shoes on this podcast, so let’s say you’re going to build a blue suede shoes affiliate website. When you do your keyword research for blue suede shoes you find that the top four or five keywords about blue suede shoes have approximately, if you add up the number of searches per month that your keyword research tool tells you, about 10,000 people a month are searching for the top three terms in blue suede shoes, whatever they are – best blue suede shoes, most comfortable blue suede shoes, or other kind of blue suede shoes terms. Maybe there’s a particular brand, Nunn Bush blue suede shoes.

Let’s say you have a page that you’re going to build targeting some keyword terms that are very closely related and the top three of those have 10,000 searches total. If you were able to get to the third position in the search engine results where you were the third site listed – maybe the number one site was Amazon, the number two site was Walmart, and you were number three – for a number three listing in the SERPs you could expect something on the order of 10% of clicks.

Of course you’re going to optimize your title tags and your description like we’ve talked about in the past to try to get the best search engine click through rate that you possibly can, but let’s say you get 10%. That means that when you get that amazing page that is targeting a search term with 10,000 potential keyword searches that you might get 1,000 of those searchers to your webpage. That’s pretty good.

And you can scale these numbers. Maybe you’re targeting something with 1,000, so at 10% you would think maybe you can get 100 people to your website based on that one page.

Of course when you first publish that page it’s not going to be ranking number three. This is after the fullness of time when you’ve written excellent content and it’s better than all of the competition and you’ve built backlinks and so forth, and now you’re ranking number three with this page after you’ve done all of that work. Maybe this takes months and months, but eventually you rank number three. When you rank number three you’re getting 10% of the traffic. In this example you’re getting 10% of 10,000 visitors and that’s 1,000 visitors.

So you get these 1,000 visitors and then of those 1,000 visitors if you write an excellent article, and you use great principles for copywriting, and it adds a lot of value, people love your article and it’s engaging, and based on that engagement they click through to the product, then you are looking at a click through rate of maybe 30%. So of those 1,000 visitors maybe 300 actually click through to the affiliate offer that you’re promoting.

Now, if you’re promoting an affiliate offer from Commission Junction, Clickbank, or some other affiliate outfit, a lot of times there will be earnings per click information that you can get. Let’s say that you look at the earnings per click information and you see that people who promote that offer are getting something on the order of $0.50 per click. You send 300 visitors in a month from that webpage and you can expect on average to make $0.50 per click, that’s going to be $150 for that page for that month.

Let’s say you have multiple pages on your website that are of this quality. Let’s say you have 10 excellent webpages and they’re all of this nature. Then you could start to build a case that this is starting to look like a website with ten $150 per month pages on it, you’re starting to talk about a $1,500 a month website.

In a lot of cases you won’t have that much traffic to work with. You’ll be starting with 1,000 visitors. In a lot of cases you’re going to have a hard time ranking these keywords because you’re new at this or whatever, and it might take you a very long time to get skilled enough or to beat the competition. What we’re talking about here is what is the end game potential of this website, if you work on a website for a year, what is its potential.

That’s why I often talk about the number of pages that you want to target for an affiliate website. It’s not five or ten, like we used to do in the old days. It’s more like 50 or 100 pages, because you want to multiply this effect. Your website needs authority and you want the maximum chance for ranking these things and getting the search engine traffic.

Basically, you can have a content plan for your website and for each piece of content you can look at the top three keywords that you’re likely to rank for with that content; add those up, multiply it times 10% because you’re hoping to rank in the top half of the first page, and then multiply that number by 30% because you’re hoping that you’re going to be able to write a good enough article that 30% of those page visitors will click through to the product, and then multiply that times the earnings per click.

Now, if you’re using Amazon it’s super tricky. Andrew covers this in some detail in his article, I strongly encourage you to go read that. He talks about what his experience has been on Amazon. The bottom line number he comes to is something on the order of $0.50 per click. That’s one of the reasons I used that in the example.

This is confusing because it depends on the price of the product that you’re promoting, it also depends on other products that get purchased because people who click through your link to Amazon you get credit for anything that they buy in the next 24 hours. It sort of depends on what the behavior of your traffic is, but Andrew’s experience is in the range of $0.50 per click. Every visitor that he can get over to Amazon, a little cash register sound goes off in his head and he gets about $0.50.

That’s the right way to think about this kind of topic. When you’re asking yourself, “Can I build a six figure affiliate website?” then you can go do that math backwards. You can say of my pages I think that I’m going to be able to build some pages that make $100 a month. So if I have a website and I learn how to build pages that the page itself generates something on the order of $100 a month and that’s $1,200 a year from one single page, you can very quickly understand to make $100,000 you need an 80 page or so website. So you can kind of figure that out.

When people ask me, “Can I build a six figure a year affiliate website in a year?” the answer is, “Typically that’s really hard,” because when you think about average affiliate performance we’re not talking about six figures from a single website in a year, that’s not really typical. Does it happen? Absolutely. I’m aware of people who have shown me evidence that they’re making thousands of dollars, somewhere around the order $25,000 a month, from an affiliate website. Depending on the niche, it can be more. Pat Flynn publishes his affiliate commissions from his website and he has tens of thousands of dollars in affiliate commissions from single products that he is promoting on that website and on the associated properties.

So it is totally possible when you have this massive following to do a lot, and it’s totally possible in particular niches to do a lot even if you don’t have a large following. When we’re talking about the average Joe Blow kind of person who is building an affiliate website, maybe for the first time, we’re not talking about a six figure business in the first couple of months. This is the math that supports that.

I hope that makes sense to you. I’ll flesh this out a little more in the show notes for this episode and you can take a look. If you have questions about this or my math, or if you want to challenge it, or you didn’t quite understand, just drop me a line over there on the show notes, or if you want to leave me a voicemail go over to LateNightIM.com/connect and hit the voicemail button and you’ll be talking to me with your PC microphone through a tool called Speakpipe that’s super cool. I look forward to hearing from you and what you have to say about that. Let me know if you have any questions.

Wrapping Things Up…

That wraps it up for today. I have a few more presents to wrap here as we roll into Christmas. I hope you make some fantastic amazing progress on your business between now and the end of the year, because 2017 is going to be a barnburner.

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