4 Hour A Week Challenge

My 4 Hours Affiliate Work Per Week – WK1 & Wk2

Adhering to my own “just do it!” principles has meant I just got started on my PPC project without laboriously setting up the required post, plus blog section. For the sake of accountability I’ll just pop a couple of headlines on what I achieved in week one and week two here.

Hoping to add some nice graphs etc as I go, but I’ll update the post with that once I’ve worked out how to do it.

Week 1 Results

In week 1 I had a total stinking cold, so I threw up 4 little tests for 4 merchants. Bing takes a while to really yeild in terms of traffic potential, so I knew it was important to just get something up there and starting to work. I’ll probably add more details in future about how many keywords and adgroups I’ve put up to achieve my results, but I didn’t record it during week 1.

Total Clicks: 78

Total Cost: £11.92

Total Revenue: £7

Loss: £4.92

T hat’s not at all bad for the first few days of a trial as cookies get bedded in.

Week 2 Results

Total Clicks: 46

Total Cost: £7.56

Total Revenue: £12.11

Profit: £4.92

Cumulative Total: 37p loss

This week I added an additional 6 merchants, bringing me up to 10. This hasn’t resulted in a traffic increase immediately, but it will bed in over a few days and product more. There’s less clicks this week, but these fluctuations are not unusual particularly given the small number of keywords and adgroups I’m working with.

Good Start!

I’m off to a pleasing start here. I’m just about breaking even, and the revenue I’ve had has come from 4 of the 10 merchants. I can see where the initial revenue is lying, and I can also see a couple of product groupings that are generating quite a few of these clicks and not a lot of the sales.

What I’ll do in Week 3

In week 3, I will monitor to see which merchants and terms aren’t bearing revenue. I won’t necessarily switch anything off, as its important to give a good test in a representative spread of their product. I will reduce CPC through some basic ad improvements and keyword refinements. I will also add some new merchants to keep the testing fresh.

Don’t forget, you are welcome to join in and set your own challenges and these don’t necessarily have to be about money as I mentioned in my introductory post.

4 Hour A Week Challenge

My 4 Hours Affiliate Work a Week Challenge

Like all good internet challenges this one sounds a little familiar. But we’re not aiming for the giddy heights of Tim Ferris here. I want to showcase something a little more relateable and achievable.

I’ve been having conversations with people struggling to get traction within the affiliate space recently. The “Affiliate Dream” is a telling phrase. It’s way too easy to spend a LOT of time planning and researching a project that quickly becomes so overwhelming you don’t know where or how to start.

With that in mind, I thought I’d set myself a “consistency challenge” using an amount of time every week that’s achievable for just about anyone, and share the results here.

Demonstrating The Uncomplicated Power Of Affiliate Marketing

What I am hoping to demonstrate is twofold. Firstly, the true power of affiliate marketing. You work an hour like any other job, but that hour doesn’t get you a wage only once. You’ve just sent an hour of your life out into the virtual world of work. That hour is now going to work for you 24 hours a day, and it’s sending all it’s wages back home.

Secondly, you don’t need a large, complex plan. Get in there and get a start on the quick wins, then you can go back later and add the fancy touches and details you’ve been spending your time dreaming up.

Without further wordy-ness, here’s my plan!

I’m Going To Spend 1 Hour Each Day Of My Working Week Doing Direct To Merchant PPC on BING And Here’s The Kick Ass Result I Want To Achieve…

Will it be a sun kissed mansion? Oh! A massive big Audi to zoom around in on the school run? Making like Shoemoney with the cheques that make you weak at the knees? Heck nope.I’m going to pay my council tax baby!

The Aim: £211profit per month

Why have I chosen this? Because it’s far more relateable than those (admittedly exhilitrating) pictures of people like Jeremy with those huuuge cheques. Guess what though? It’s still a life changing sum of money. No more Council Tax. An extra £211 a month I can pay towards my mortgage, or use towards a nice family holiday.

The Rules

Rules are important, so here’s mine.

  • My 1 hour a day does not include research time to find merchants who allow use of the display URL. I make a point of trawling around networks every now and again “just because” and anything I find when doing so goes on the whiteboard.
  • No broad match allowed. This isn’t actually a rule, I’m putting this here for the benefit of any unwary souls who read this, then decide to have a crack at Bing PPC for the first time. DO NOT BROAD MATCH TILL YOU SKILL UP A BIT. There. You have been warned, don’t say you weren’t. No apologies for shouty all caps 😉
  • I’m going to post a weekly update on progress with what I’ve done, and what it’s achieved each week. I won’t be posting specifics like merchant names and search terms. That’d be counter productive as I am sure you will agree. I’ve created a specific category for this challenge, and will do an update every Friday.

Anyone Care To Join?

Anyone want to join in for accountability? Post in the comments and perhaps we can set something up here on the blog.

Do bear in mind, it doesn’t have to be a financial challenge you set yourself. I’ve gone with a money based goal because I have a method to do it. If you’ve always meant to start that site, set yourself the challenge of throwing up any old blog skin without getting bogged in design and SEO, and get 3 posts a week into it. Just do something. Then watch it grow. The rest can be taken care of down the track.

Don’t dream. Do it. 🙂


Newtons Three Laws of Affiliate Marketing

Much excitement here at Affiliate Stuff HQ.  I’ve uncovered the original version of Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion.  Must understand stuff for physicists and science types everywhere,  but did you know he originally wrote them about affiliate marketing??

“This’ll be a smash hit” Issac said, and was all up for releasing it to the scientific community until his mate John Locke pointed out ” affiliate marketing hasn’t been invented yet Issac, you’ll probably get burned at the stake for being a nut job. You were only just lucky the last time after that business with the apple!”

“Bugger!” Issac proclaimed. “I was really on a roll there. Ah, to hell with it. I’ll make it about motion and change a few of the words around. Nobody’ll notice”

So here’s the original script, recently found by your roving affiliate investigator stuffed down the back of a venerable sofa in the British Library…

Newtons First Law Of Affiliate Marketing

An affiliate at rest will remain at rest unless they act upon a motivational notion.

An affiliate in motion will stay in motion with the same speed and with direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.


Affiliates have a natural tendency to keep on doing what they are doing. If you’re sitting thinking about getting started in affiliate marketing, or have a great new idea that you just keep failing to act upon, you’re likely to keep doing that unless you give yourself a bit of a kick up the jacksie. However, once you get moving on it… you’ll be hard to stop!

Newtons Second Law Of Affiliate Marketing

Acceleration of wealth is produced when an affiliate acts on an idea. The greater the idea, the greater the amount of ingenuity needed to increase the acceleration of wealth.

Well, we all know that in the “real” world, the more brute force you chuck at something – the quicker you can make it go. However, affiliate marketing is a more subtle beast and is powered by smart thinking and downright ingenuity.  The bigger your idea for success, the more clever you’ll have to be to get it building momentum.  Affiliate marketing is fueled by a combustible mixture of ideas combined with clever execution.

Newtons Third Law of Affiliate Marketing

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.


You know what a rocket does when it takes off, right?? It piles an enormous amount of power out of its rear end and the ground pushes back with an equal force sending it soaring in a skywards direction.

Well, the ground is your idea and the rocket is the effort you put in.  The trajectory you achieve?  That’s all down to what you packed the rocket with, innit?



Make Money The Marie Kondo Way!

Last week I was wresting with a long standing problem. I needed a minor Woocommerce alteration to progress a project. Duncan and I had struggled with it for months, and kept losing the thread of the project when other things got busy. The frustration was starting to become overwhelming.

Having recently found a developer who is doing some incredibly clever things with a PHP site of mine I hoped he was going to make my life easy. So I emailed him and asked if he could help a girl out. He said. “I could do it, but I’m stacked out, I’ll pass.” Denied! All the pain. We had a call later that day and he said,

“I can do WordPress. I don’t like it. It just doesn’t bring me joy, and I’m trying to say yes, less”

Two things here. First, I definitely worked out what his new years resolution had been this year. Secondly, his reply really did bring me a lot of joy, I laughed my head off because I realised I’d been Marie Kondo’d. I thought it was perfect he’d taken her decluttering priciples into his working life. He was so right.

Does This Bring Me Joy?

Well, does it? That’s what anyone aspiring to make money from their own ideas need to be asking themselves.

Many people embark on an affiliate project full of excitement about the money that can be made. That right there is the fatal mistake. They get excited about money, and then pick a project based around that. But really you should be making like Marie when you are deciding on how you’ll make that income. Ask yourself “What do I find Joy in?”

Find something that’ll bring you joy along the journey, not just when you achieve the object of your desire. If you don’t consider this, you’ll probably get bogged down in the clutter of boredom at what you’re doing. That’s because you need to put in a LOT of hard work on making money online before you start to see results. You’d better be putting the hard yards in on something that was already bringing you joy, because boy will you need that enthusiasm.

The Close Relationship Between Joy & Money

I have always written this blog because it brought me joy simply from having a conversation with people who shared my passion at any level. I have never made any effort to monetise it. Have I made money from it? You bet I have. Not directly, but from the friendships I’ve made, and from the pure “getting things straight in my head” benefit of writing down my thoughts to share with others. There has been a definite return on that investment of sharing my joy.

I also find joy in looking at traffic growing, seeing the data start to flow in, and then learning new things about how I can play around with landing pages, site speed, SEO, PPC, and… ad infinitum. The whole business of running a website is like one giant mind bending crossword puzzle. You need to enjoy nutting it all out, getting frustrated, putting in some wrong answers, before finally getting to those moments where you think “I’ve cracked this”.

Don’t Think There’s Money in Sharing Your Passion?

Take a look at what Marie Kondo and Mrs Hinch have achieved. From the joy of cleaning and decluttering. Don’t think you have a money making idea? Maybe it doesn’t matter these days. There’s a good reason “influencer marketing” is such a buzzword these days. Sometimes letting your joy lead the way without really knowing where it’ll take you will pay dividends. Or maybe you can find that audience first, and look at how you can get paid to share the joy later.

Digital Marketing Lifestyle

Celebrating International Women’s Day

I don’t work on Fridays. My celebrations so far have amounted to visiting the garden centre for a plant pot, doing a school uniform laundry, mopping some floors, and scrubbing out the kitty poo pans. I know, right? How am I not on the telly with this stuff??

In The Spirit Of Participation However…

This morning I asked my 5 year old daughter what she wants to do when she is older. She said:

“I want to be a Mummy when I grow up. How many sleeps is it till I can be a Mumma??”

Miss C – 8th March 2019

That got me right in the feels.

I told her that she shouldn’t rush to grow up, and to enjoy being looked after by *her* Mumma for as long as she could.

Right now, she can have fun in that completely unselfconscious way only kids can achieve. No worry about the state of the world, politics, bills, or the expectations of others. It’s a special time in your life when you will happily step out in orange trousers, a pink tutu, plus kitty ears and await adoration for your fashion sense. Stares?! Pah! My public loves me.

I’m so fiercely grateful that my work in Affiliate Marketing allows me to spend as much of this precious carefree time in her life as I want. I also think it’s quietly adorable that both her and her elder sister thought mysterious people were paying me to do just that – be a Mummy. They quietly proffered the opinion that I stay at home all day and don’t appear to do all that much. I soon disabused them of that notion. Sisters are, after all, doing it for themselves. Now they think a magic man in my computer sends me free money.

Affiliate Women on International Women’s Day

If you’d like to reflect on Women in Affiliate Marketing today, I do highly recommend you read Geno Prussakov’s blog piece:- Celebrating Women in Affiliate Marketing – published today in celebration of us webby gals. I just so happen to be included amongst the throng, and really enjoyed writing my contribution. After such a break from being “visible” I was also flattered into a near catatonic state when he contacted me about it. Some great words from talented ladies in many different areas of the affiliate industry, and a huge inspiration to read all the other answers.

Happy International Women’s Day to all of us.*

*19th of November in case you are thinking of being provocative enough to ask 😉

How To Make Money Online

Kirsty’s Bullshit Translator – Your Guide to Make Money Online Promises

One reason I originally started this blog was as an antidote to snake oil salesmen. Affiliate Marketing looks easy from the outside, so people want in. I hate that rubbish products are sold off the back of that desire, and that people who can least afford it end up lining someone else’s pockets.

Despite my long winded efforts droning on about hard work and persistence, these people (and I use the term loosely) are still here and making bank. As a public service I’ve created a translation of the sorts of claims made versus what they really mean.

Visit and make enough money to quit your job next month! Free System!

We will send you a (useless) video on how to make money.  By the time we tell you the way to make the REAL money even QUICKER you’ll be too excited not to give us your credit card details.  Subsquently you may discover that the initial $849.95 wasn’t for the entire system and that you will need to give us $200 per month so that we may drive 85,000,000 visitors to your site.  Per second. When those visitors don’t turn up, this will be your fault.  But don’t worry!  We can fix that RIGHT up for just another $500!

Our simple system will create you a website with no knowledge of coding required.  Cowboy Dave’s CASH GENERATOR is a simple little method that has made many of his happy customers thousands of pounds!

For a simple one off payment you too can own a website about a product you know nothing about which is exactly the same as the other 24,000 we’ve sold to the gullable here at Cowboy Dave Inc.  Once you get your site you’ll have no clue what to do with it, nor will you posess any of the marketing skills required to make a single bean.  However, worry ye not.  We’ll have your money by then and will be only too happy to draw your attention to the “No Refunds will be issued and all claims are for illustrative purposes only” clause in our terms and conditions.  We will think its great we totally blew smoke up your ass and took your money – and you can’t do a damned thing about it!

Make £35,000 a month with my completely automated online system. Absolutely no work involved, no website, no building lists, no advertising spend.

Seriously, I can’t believe people fall for my crap.  Myself and my good friend Cowboy Dave spend all our time competing to see who can make the most outrageous claim – and you guys still sign up.  To make things even more hilarious, I’m going to hook you into a monthy subscription and bombard you with advertising filled with increasinly ridiculous claims – and the odd request for cash to keep my Porsche 911 in petrol – those cars don’t run themselves you know (I’ve got 5,000 mug punters doing that for me).

Glossary of Punctuation and Accentuation

  • !!!! – We said absolutely nothing worth listening to in that sentence, and there was absolutely no information about what it is we’re trying to sell, but we’ve put these exclaimation marks in to show you just how dashed exciting our mystery product is.
  • Guaranteed – It’s guaranteed we’ll make money. You didn’t think we were taking about you did you?!  *guffaw*
  • UNDERLINED and IN RED and UNDERLINED IN RED -We don’t want you to read the words in between these because you might work out our product is about as substantial as a puff of air.  Hopefully you’ll be that desperate you’ll only see words such as MILLIONAIRE and also EFFORTLESS SYSTEM that is FREE TO RUN except for our $200 a month admin charge, and your first born son’s lifetime earnings but this bit is not in red or underlined so its invisible.  Sneaky eh?
  • $$$$Ours, not yours.

Repeat After Me

“…woah there! OK Kirsty, we can see this means a lot to you. We promise not to give these guys our money. Ever. Red lines are a red line and all that. Now go have a lie down in a darkened room will ya?! Jeez.”

My Life As An Affiliate

Lighting a Candle in the Darkness

There’s no better way to restart a long neglected blog than with an old proverb. So there it is. I’m lighting a candle against my own darkness, or rather my silence!

How Affiliate Stuff Got… Stuffed

The blog fell victim to a house move about 18 months ago. The day we moved to our long awaited purchase and about three minutes before my internet was due to be switched off, my hosting provider told me the site had been compromised and that I needed to do something or my whole account would be suspended. I told them to delete it. I just had time to rescue my post database before getting my move on. Subsequently we not only had to get a very run down house fit for habitation, but my kids had the worst run of sickness EVER. My eldest had no less than 40 days off school in her first year of Primary. Gastro, colds, fevers, and my absolute personal favourite – Chicken Pox followed right up by Scarlett Fever. Mmmmm… Victorian themed illnesses.

Fighting Back Against Isolation & Demotivation

Although the affiliate business is going *great* in the sense that I’m earning more than I ever did in the “good old days” (more on that in future installments), I have been struggling with isolation and demotivation. The move from Australia has been really tough. I loved it there, and it was a total wrench to leave. I had beautiful friends. A great lifestyle. Here… I’ve been struggling to feel at home and haven’t really felt the “blog vibe” as a result.

Sometimes a Positive Grows From a Negative

BUT. Recently I’ve been looking at results that have been more than I could EVER have dreamed of. At the same time I’ve just had a few years where there’s been a void where my usual effervescent enthusiasm should be. So how the hell have I seen a business shoot through the roof when I’ve had a terrible dose of demotivation and unproductivity?

Doing What is Easy

Hah! Look at me! I’m a lazy business genius. I could hardly drag myself out of bed in the mornings, I sat at my desk contemplating my navel and knew I needed to do something. But what? I did what I could do without thinking about it. All the millions of ideas that affiliate marketing can sprout in an enthusiastic mind… were all gone. I just concentrated on my unimaginative instincts. The results have been WOAH. This is something that John Lamerton talks about in his book Ambitious Lifestyle Business – concentrate on your key strengths for greater success. I recommend you read his words if you’re interested in Affiliate Marketing, or any form of self employment cos he’s built a very successful life and business from his affiliate roots. I do suspect he didn’t *really* mean you should do it because you’re too fed up to do much else. Nevertheless though, he’s right.

I’ve Not Really Been Sure What I Had to Say!

I’ve been feeling cut off from Affiliate Marketing. I don’t have that connection with like minded people any longer. When you don’t have that discourse with like minded people, and you’ve pared back your areas of operation to the bare bones… it’s difficult to come up with inspirational and useful content for a blog. That’s not to say I haven’t had ideas at times though, I have thought about writing again just about every day. Often I’d be mentally composing a post and having that “conversation” with my blog readers without being able to actually sit down and write it. Fortunately, I have written what I thought were good ideas down as I went. Lets see what I think when I read them again, hey?

An End To Feeling Helpless

Recently (as in the last year) I’ve started to spread out the old wings again. I took on a developer to do some interesting things with an API for me, then I had to do that again when the first developer got fed up of me. Well, either that or he changed jobs. You decide. I still can’t 😉

Collaborating with someone has kick started my brain again. Having to implement some new tracking, solve problems with landing page performance, look at user experience, and guide someone through the requirements has woken me up a bit. One of the issues with sitting in a room working on your own is that there’s nobody there to prompt you on to new things. My decision to outsource was the catalyst for another large jump in money coming in. I got my total web design and development investment back in two months. The rest has been pure profit.

Hopefully now I’ve dipped a toe in to outsourcing once more I can use the momentum to keep on going. I’m still not sure what direction the blog will take but it’s always done me so much good writing my thoughts down and opening conversations with other affiliates, or beginners. I never tried to monetise this blog before, because I always felt it more than paid me in knowledge and contacts.

Next Steps

I’m going to buzz through all the old posts, and put back up anything that is still relevant or I feel should be kept for posterity.

Anyhow, here’s a before and after pictures of new house stage one and two. Speak soon chaps x

A Few Months Later…

Affiliate Marketing – How Focused Are You?

What a stupid question. VERY. I AM VERY FOCUSED. I want nothing more than to improve my affiliate income or create one… oh look, a BUTTERFLY! *cough*

For people starting out, or for people like me returning to a full time career after a hiatus, the most important thing we need to get right is focus. The painful truth about affiliate marketing (or the absolute delight in my opinion) is that there’s not a prescribed method. There’s not a manual, or a job description, or a definitive list for success.

The mental challenges of the job go beyond working out the increasingly complex nuances of how you create revenue bearing traffic, and into developing the headspace that will keep pushing you towards those goals efficiently.

There is real adversity involved in being an affiliate. Not just in the process of “getting there”, for the reality is that most long term affiliates (like me!) have to achieve success repeatedly. It’s like any other business essentially, but it does seem to suffer from an effortless image. Propagated for the most part by sellers of snake oil.

Forewarned is Forearmed, so here’s a collection of the more obvious challenges of focus we face routinely at the cutting edge of weaving the old internet magic 😉

Too Much Focus

It can be all consuming. It’s so easy to spend every single spare second you have on affiliate marketing. After all, the more you work the sooner you get to those goals, right? Well, maybe not. Affiliate burnout beckons. If you don’t take that much needed R&R time you’ll often be sitting there at 1am achieving nothing without realising it. Checking stats, daydreaming, facebook, forums. NOT WORK!! Also, the excitement will quickly wane and turn to boredom. It’s so easy to give up on something because you’ve burned out your enthusiasm.

I recently had to pull some horrendous 12 hour days to get a time task done. Subsequently it took me 2 days to complete 1 days worth of tasks. Then it was another week before I slid back into a more usual rhythm of work I could identify as productive. I knew to expect this, but that time I needed to get a job done and fast to prepare for an upcoming Google change (more about those later!)

Spend fewer hours in front of the PC, make the time you do work count, start to develop an understanding of what’s a reasonable amount of work to get done in a “shift”. You, your business, and your personal relationships will be healthier for it. Trust me.

Stay focused. Proportionately.

Short Lived Focus

Instant gratification – there is none. It can take weeks or months for your hard work to start to really pay off. It’s way easy to take your foot off the pedal after a few weeks when you have barely earned the price of a beer after eye-bleedingly hard work. Self doubt creeps in, motivation drops. It’s incredibly hard to keep your eyes on the prize. I suffer on and off from this. Generally speaking I’ll have a period where commissions are sluggish, or some other adversity has crept in and I find it very hard to keep putting in the effort. Subsequently, everything rights itself, or a bit of work I did months ago blazes into life and I feel like a right old tit for having let myself become demotivated. I should know better.

These days, this is particularly true when trying your hand at capturing organic traffic. It’s very much a two steps forward three (hundred!) steps back endeavour at times. You can lose months or even years of work in an update. It is devastating. But you can’t look at what you lost, rather at what you kept. Because it’s there that the old phoenix will probably rise once more. You need to be an eternal optimist to be a successful affiliate. In the face of something that doesn’t seem to not be working, but also seems to be going backwards… you must persevere. And that’s a special kind of determination that requires you to be convinced that what you are doing is ultimately going to work. Well? Are you convinced? Really? Or does that Game of Thrones box set and a few beers look like a more productive weekend?

Stay focused. On your core strategy. More about phoenix stuff another time. When my own focus has improved enough to write cogently about it.

The Wrong Focus

Yes! You’ve made it!! You created that site and you can see a small but promising revenue stream. You get very excited. At this point it’s very common for distraction to set in. The imagination goes into overdrive. You spend several days working out how much more money you would make if you increased your traffic tenfold. You plan a network of related sites, for surely retirement to a sunny spot of your choosing is beckoning? Focus is lost, many domains are bought without due care and attention, several half started project are spawned.

Losing focus is one of the most toxic problems for would be affiliate marketers. There’s nobody there to tell us how to do this. We DO tend to be dreamers who aspire to greater things. Sadly that makes us prone to fantasy empire building with predictable results.

Stay focused. On the success you’ve already achieved.

Retaining focus is something I struggle with a lot. So this stuff… well lets just say I didn’t pull all the faults I’m claiming you have out of thin air. Keep pushing on and you’ll make progress. Simple concept. Often impossible to execute.

Good luck 🙂

How To Get Started in Affiliate Marketing

Kirsty’s Affiliate Analysis Pack – Measure Your Success

This post will probably be of most use to affiliates just starting out who haven’t yet given much thought to measuring their success!

Even if you have a very small affiliate business it’s really important to make sure you know exactly how it’s progressing.  I’ve found a few simple Excel spreadsheets to be invaluable in charting the progress of my business and planning how to move forward.

I decided to make available for anyone who wants to use them 3 spreadsheets (with graphs) that are altered versions of the ones I use to keep an eye on things. Here’s a list of what they keep tabs on, I’ve populated them all with mock figures so you can see how they chart things.

1. Monthly Sales

This spreadsheet tots up: –

  • Income from each network.
  • Expenses.
  • Expenses as a percentage of turnover so you can keep an eye on your margins.
  • Breaks results down into average daily profit ( I like to know how much I earn a day!)

The spreadsheet outputs the turnover, profit, and spend into a nice graph so you can see business progress at a glance.

I’ve found it useful for seeing the seasonal trends in my business and planning to iron them out with other revenue streams, charting the ebb and flow of income with different networks, to plan / forecast annual growth, and just downright reassuring when I’m unsure exactly how things are going.

2.Profit Targets

Just a simple spreadsheet featuring: –

  • Target V’s actual profit (with graph).
  • Percentage above / below target.
  • Tot up of progress, average monthly profit, projected profit & target v’s projected increase for the year.

Good to keep an eye on progress, and also good to stop yourself moving the goalposts mid year. I like to sit down and work out what I’m happy with over the next 12 months. Once its in the spreadsheet it’s set in stone!

Individual Site Profits

For monitoring the progress of individual sites.  This looks at: –

  • Turnover broken down into individual merchants.
  • Expenses.
  • Monthly profit (and that average per day metric again!)
  • Percentage of marketing spend of turnover (again to keep an eye on those margins)
  • Monthly traffic.
  • EPC per visitor to site.
  • Visits through to merchant / CTR.

This one is probably the most useful of all. It’s really incredibly important to monitor which sites are contributing good profits and keep an eye on the ones that aren’t.  I find that working out my CTR is really important – it lets me see any issues and address them quickly. Also, the site EPC is a fantastic metric. I use it to motivate myself and also to forecast how much I can increase my earnings by going out and finding similar traffic. I usually know how much work it is to put out X pages that bring in £xxx, so this is a great way to plan and effectively move forward to increase that cashflow.

I hope these help and if you have any questions on them please post below. No doubt I’ll have left some silly bit of Kirsty-esque maths in them that make sense to nobody but me. What can I say? I’m unique!

File Is Here>>

Contains all 3 spreadsheets. Right Click & Save Target As should get you a copy.

Ask Kirsty

Ask Kirsty – Niche Selection Isn’t As Easy As It Sounds, Is It?

Been a while since I’ve had a good “Ask Kirsty” through, this one is an oldie… but a goodie. It’s the old and still painful niche selection problem!

Hi Kirsty,

I need some advice. Im new to affiliate marketing and have been reading as much as i can for the past few months. While reading, there have been 2 things that seem to be repeated quite often, 1) pick a subject you enjoy and have a passion for and 2) just do it.


So, keeping inline with the ‘just do it’ statement, i started searching for a niche/product to promote early on but i didnt really think about picking a topic that i enjoyed. I thought that once i saw the money coming in then that would motivate me anyway.


So i found a kitchen appliance product that didn’t have a lot of competition and got about 27k local exact search (according to Google keyword tool) ad went about creating the site. Im a web developer/designer career wise so enjoyed the site creation, but now im stuck. I need to write content for it, but i have no interest in this product and find it so mind numbingly boring that i can’t bring myself to do it everyday. When i do write content for the site (reviews for each product) i find myself writing the same thing over and over again for each product. its basically the same thing from different manufacturers! i cant afford to hire content writers so the sites come to a halt.


So, i guess i realised the hard way why its important to pick a topic that you enjoy, at least until you get enough experience and maybe make some money.


But here’s my problem. Everything that i have any interest in is so heavily saturated and overly competitive that i don’t think i can compete and it wont be worth the time and effort to get so little reward. For example, i enjoy playing video games, but thats to broad a market and very competitive anyway. i could dig deeper and go for sub sections of the games market to target a niche, but these niches don’t really get any searches so again, its not really worth the time or the effort.


Do you have a tips or ideas of where i can go from here?

Well, Abbid I can immediately pick up on more than one common mistake that you have made in all of this. Clearly you’ve already learned the hard way about needing to be interested in what you are promoting, so we’ll skip that one!

So the areas you need to look at again are: –

Basing your niche selection purely upon what the Google Keyword tool tells you.

It’s great to give you a rough idea, but it often over and under estimates actual traffic you might get from your search terms.  Bear in mind that the data you are seeing has been collated on an automatic basis. Whilst it is a good way to investigate possible traffic bearing areas, I think it is important to also realise that it is often innaccurate.

Basing your niche selection around a single keyword

It sounds to me like you are subscribing to the “exact match domain” school of affiliate marketing. Whilst this particular bit of advice has been floating around for a while and has been very useful I think it is a mistake to accept it as gospel, and the thinking of it as a formula to succeed is a woeful over simplification. Remember that on any domain, you will not only get traffic relating to your main search term but on many related search terms if you take the time to put up decent content.  I have a single product domain which Google reckons has 880 monthly searches. I get 2,000 visits per month to it because I’m not only ranking for that term but many other related terms thanks to my decent content.

Thinking you need an exact match domain

You don’t. Yes, try to get something attractive looking with at least one important keyword in it – but don’t let it be a rod for your back. This mistake wasn’t obvious from your question, I’m just guessing. However a lot of people reading this probably let exact match domain availability rule their progress too much, so I’ve included it 😉

Letting your pre-conceptions build a wall against progress

You’ve only been involved in affiliate marketing for a short time, but already you have a very rigid notion of what you “have” to do to find your niche. Whilst any bit of useful advice you get in this game should be heeded, do not treat it like gospel.

First of all, are you absolutely SURE there’s no search volume around the small and targeted niches you have been thinking of?  If they are interconnected I’d consider doing a site to house say 5 or 6 of these, approach one at a time and add others when ready.

Secondly, how can you know that areas are over saturated without actually trying?  On each and every over saturated niche I’ve ever entered I’ve quickly realised I’m one of the only people knocking about who is prepared to spend time producing quality, unique content.  Choose a small area and don’t take on the big boys, but don’t be put off by a little competition either.

Tips and Ideas

I want to be a little more helpful than picking holes in your reasoning, so here’s where I’d go from your current situation.

  • Game controller site?  Any other accessories people might buy that you’re an expert on? Most gaming consoles seem to have a plethora of add ons. If I was doing a site like that I’d create a comprehensive section covering each console brand and review main products. Then I’d also create a section for each major use or type of controller i.e. “flight simulator game controllers”  At first glance, there are an awful lot of authority sites in that area… but as I said before, put out some quality content and you will get traffic. Large authority sites are often unable to break out of a set “mould” in their content and structure. If you personalise your approach to how you would shop for these things yourself, I’m betting you’d get traffic.
  • Sit down and list absolutely everything that you’d enjoy shopping for online, and use one of them. Over simplified advice? Yeah, definately but it does sort of come back to the “just do it” phrase you alluded to at the start of this question. You will have to start somewhere, and even if it turns out not to have been the right place, you will learn something you can feed into your next attempt.
  • Do not get disheartened if what you try first does not work. You absolutely must try again. Affiliate marketing is not an easy thing to master, there will be false starts and you have to get over them to succeed. Acknowledge that at the start and you have a good chance of winning!!

I think I’ll leave it there… plenty to digest as the post approaches 1200 words!

Good luck 😉