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If You HAD to Start Over - What would you do Different???

Discussion in 'Newbie Helpdesk' started by Linda Buquet, Jul 25, 2006.

  1. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    If You HAD to Start Over - What would you do Differently???

    This powerful question is for you. Yes, <strong>YOU</strong>! Whether you are an affiliate, merchant, affiliate manager, an SEO or a blogger we want to hear from you!

    <strong>Knowing everything you know today,
    if you had to start over in your business,
    what would you do differently???</strong>

    Share some tips - Learn some tips.
    <img src="http://www1.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/558233/1/istockphoto_558233_thinking_heads.jpg" alt="" align="left" hspace="10" />
    The answers you share could greatly help others and you can learn something from the answers that get posted as well. An affiliate for instance might share that knowing what they know now, they wish they had focused on a small niche instead of creating a mall site and why. An affiliate manager could share that if they had to start their program over from scratch they would have structured it differently and go into detail about how.

    OK here is mine. I will probably add more ideas as I think about it. There are lots of things I would have done differently if I were to start my business over today. My business today is so successful and I feel so blessed to have all the great clients, wonderful affiliates, reputation and traffic I have today. However I can see lots of ways I could have gotten to this level much faster if I had done some things differently.

    <blockquote>Knowing what I know today I would have launched my forum 2 years earlier. I wasted too many years posting to, answering questions on and building traffic for other people's forums. People in the 'biz' have told me I should have my own forum for years. Why didn't I launch sooner? To be honest, I just let fear of the set-up, tech issues and spam moderation just hold me back. I basically let myself be frozen by the fear of the unknown. Now that my forum is well established, it's turned into one of the best decisions I have ever made - even though I started the forum later than I should have. The tech and spam issues were not insurmountable either.

    <strong>LESSON TO BE LEARNED: </strong>Don't let fear of the unknown hold you back from doing something you feel certain would help your business. Contract it out if you have to, but get moving if you are sure it's the right thing.</blockquote>
    I hope that this will turn into a rich discussion filled with lessons-learned and tips for success. Share your lessons, false starts or suggestions for doing things better. If you give, you just may get back far more than you thought possible.

    I told you mine...
    Would you please think about the question and share yours???
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2008
  2. Rob_TID

    Rob_TID Affiliate affiliate

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    I would have concentrated less on ways to get free traffic and more on strategies for monetising paid traffic.
     
  3. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Oh that's a good one Rob!

    So what's one of the "strategies for monetising paid traffic" that's worked well for you?
     
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  4. Lisa76

    Lisa76 Affiliate affiliate

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    Linda, this is a fabulous thread and can produce tons of learning lessons.

    I would have definitely stayed away from the saturated niches like Internet Marketing and Web Hosting and chosen a topic I have a passion for.

    My first site was a site on "how to market your website" and it contained a summary of a lot of the advice from the affiliate gurus. I tried selling all the books that taught people "how to market online" and my site just got swallowed up by all the competition. I didn't have the money to promote it so it was hard to be "seen".

    This niche is great if you're a savvy marketer like Linda, Stephen, Shawn, Allan, Ralph, Ken, etc. I admire those of you who have MADE it. But if you're a newbie like I was 7 years ago, it's so hard to get your site seen out here unless you build something that is so unique or you have the budget to promote it. It's funny that I had a site about how to make money online when I was barely earning much myself. I see lots of sites like that.

    So I would have definitely built a site on my hobby instead of choosing such a highly competitive niche.
     
  5. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    EXCELLENT point Lisa! I see so many affiliates doing the same thing you did. In fact I just remembered that the 1st affiliate programs I promoted about 8 years ago before I had a CLUE, were hosting and merchant accounts.

    Another point besides getting lost in the sea of other Internet marketers is that webmasters can be a tough crowd to sell to.

    I always recommend affiliate start with something they know about and are passionate about - hopefully in a niche. It can make generating content easier. Especially important, if you promote something you are passionate about it can keep you motivated in the early days when there is no money coming in.

    Another great lesson learned! [​IMG] Who's next???
     
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  6. Rugman.com

    Rugman.com New Member

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    Hmmmm. What would I do differently? I would have ferreted out the nearest local Affiliate Marketing Courses and enrolled. I'm also suspecting that it is best to live the roll of Affiliate and walk in those shoes before dawning the cloak of Affiliate Manager.
     
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  7. webshack

    webshack Affiliate affiliate

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    I would have concentrated on the keyword density on my pages more than the actual design itself, or in getting any type of traffic... I finally found that out after I had a very successful traffic-selling site about three years ago, (which I got disgusted with because of PP's policy of automatically honoring all refund requests for all "virtual" goods or services). Also, the text in "alt" tags for your images is MUCH more important than what you might think. You can also name all of your images with long hyphenated keywords and/or phrases.... I'll post more stuff when I think of it...
     
  8. Rugman.com

    Rugman.com New Member

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    Nice ones, WebShack!
     
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  9. webshack

    webshack Affiliate affiliate

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    Oh, I almost forgot.... when trying to think of a good domain, NEVER shy away from hyphenated domains... they actually work much better in search engine rankings than non-hyphenated ones, i.e., really-great-gadgets.com or something to that effect.... this is waaay more helpful than meta-tags, any day of the week...

    Thanks, Rugman, I'm trying to help out with some of the basics... (and not-so-basics LOL)
     
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  10. StephenR

    StephenR Affiliate affiliate

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    A. I would not have delved into marketing online/internet marketing products and services as a newb. As Lisa also stated I would have targeted a niche I was passionate about and would have devoted more time to....which would probably have led to developing an info product around that niche.

    B. I would not have shelled out $$$$ on regurgitated eBooks by "gurus" when all the information you need is readily accessible on the web if you know where to look.

    C. I would not have focused on ONE "golden egg" site for years. I think many marketers get wrapped up in one site too much instead of building their business. In the beginning I think I saw affiliate marketing more as a hobby. If you're going to get into this you need to look at it from a business perspective from the start and sit down and formulate a business plan on how you will make it grow.

    D. I would have outsourced much of the work I did myself (i.e. scripting, articles, copywriting, graphic design, etc.) via www.elance.com and www.rentacoder.com from the start. You can't do everything yourself...that's why people have jobs :) If you do everything yourself you will never really do ONE thing exceptionally well. In addition, it will take you longer to bring your new products or services to market which can severly affect your initial ROI.

    Umm...I'll probably add more to this but that's just off the top of my head. :D
     
  11. purplebear

    purplebear Affiliate affiliate

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    Awwwhh come on guys. I stopped here cos I thought I was gonna read on and on and learn all kinds of things. Don't stop now:) What I have read so far has been very helpful, though:)
    Hmmm where should I start??? Lots of areas to cover. Never in a million years would've thought I'd be doing this so hadn't any grand plans to start with. Can't really say much about what I would've done differently cos at the time I knew absolutely nothing. lol I had no clue whatsoever what I should have learned. Sure would've been nice to have known about here and my other favorite place. (learned most everything from there and some very nice and extremely patient affiliate managers who will never hear the end of me telling them how great they are lol )
    Domain name would've been slightly different (didn't know then) definitely would've learned html and css first before trying to make a site while learning.
    I'd say I would've done the niche but at the time couldn't find many ummm bears to try to sell. Still can't. Did actually start out waaaay smaller. Then cos I was small some turned me down when applying so then when some I may not have actually wanted did accept me actually ended up with more than I had intended.
    Hmm here comes the oh I'm such a softie. Have some on my site cos I just don't know how to say no if an aff. mgr. writes me a nice email for the ummm how many times nicely inviting me to join their program. Even though I probably didn't really want them but will feel bad turning him down and obviously ignoring isn't going to make them stop sending them....Just can't seem to say no cos I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings....so more gets added to site. So...it's gotten pretty big now. Try as I might the items I am really passionate about or just really like usually aren't the products that sell.
    I could go on writing for days but there are by now probably several posts in front of mine even though I started first. lol :) Maybe I'll come back later for another post of the what ifs. :) Yes I really am done now. lol :)
     
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  12. lingstar

    lingstar Affiliate affiliate

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    Two things I would have changed

    Morning,

    There are only two things I'd have done differently during the 9+ years I've been marketing online.

    1.) Not gotten complacent. My first product back in 1998 was magnificently profitable...until the rest of the niche caught on. If I had stayed alert, I would have turned on a dime before I actually had to. In other words, one should not have an ego when dealing with one's business.

    2.) Incorporated optins on every single page I built. I created 100s of portals on bunches of niches that generated tons of traffic...just think what kinds of lists I would have today if I had offered an optin newsletter!

    One thing Google has taught me...one cannot rely upon SEO for continued profits. Adwords folk recently got slammed, "thin" affiliates pages in the past months started searching for the Titanic, etc.etc.etc. heck, even eBay will be implementing an increase in their fees in the near future!

    Being proactive and not falling prey to complacency is key.

    A data point,

    Barbara
     
  13. Rugman.com

    Rugman.com New Member

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    PURPLEBEAR!!!

    YAY!

    How are you? I agree with Webshack that you should NOT worry about hurting anyone's feelings even if they are mine! You are in business, and what better thing is there than to make it with your passions if you can do it!
     
  14. purplebear

    purplebear Affiliate affiliate

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    Hmmmmm somebody knows me here?? Says Toronto and know Andy who think is the big ruggie guy in charge of it is in Fla. and Liz I know is in Canada somewhere but since she's doing her own thing now think she'd have her own co. name and not still Rugman...Hmmm that leaves the current aff. mgr. Dougg. I don't have a clue where he's from and doubt if he remembers who I am anyway. So....that means somebody else is using the username Rugman or I'm more memorable than I think and it is Dougg :confused: :D
    Sooooo if it is Dougg.....Hi :D Yipppeee I actually already know somebody here now:) Well sorta know lol :)

    Webshack - thanks and don't think you're being a smartass:) But..ya gotta realize how my mind works. lol If somebody takes the time to send me an email actually addressed to my name and says they had been looking at my site...blah, blah, blah somebody still took the time....and still feel guilty. lol:)
    Knew somebody would be posting while I was doing mine. Quite a few interesting posts:)
     
  15. Rugman.com

    Rugman.com New Member

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    ha ha, yes, it's me, Doug :D
     
  16. frogengine

    frogengine Affiliate affiliate

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    I would have secured a ton of good domain names.
     
  17. theGman

    theGman Affiliate affiliate

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    I wouldn't have take the times of success for granted and slacked off! I would have rather used that time to build deeper and farther for increasing the value the sites offered. A year later later, the tables turned and I'm still trying to get back where I was!
     
  18. KenMendonca

    KenMendonca New Member

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    Hey Linda,

    Depends on how far back we're going here. I guess the real easy thing to have done would have been to move to Costa Rica, start a poker site and be retired right now. Or go back 5 years move to California, fund Tom and be splitting that 550 million he and his boy got from Rupert Murdoch. Or jump on the Datafeeds much earlier and beat Digg.com to the punch.

    But where affiliate marketing is concerned, everything has sort of compensated for the various expansions that have occured through the passage of time. The only real thing you can change is finding an idea that will make people's lives easier or better and follow through with it. That's how you become successful.
     
  19. Billy Kay

    Billy Kay Affiliate affiliate

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    I started with ONE merchant - they offered me the same percentage with no customer hassles - if I switched from our drop-ship relationship to their new affiliate program. I made a lot of money and had a problem-free affiliate existence for several years :)

    It wasn't until after I decided to join every merchant at Linkshare did my days change fromm one affiliate-related problem to the next :)

    So... in hindsight, I would...

    1. Make websites that I enjoy. This way, when problems arise, at least you're dealing with something you like.

    2. Do my homework and research and compare similar merchants so as to avoid the "dogs"

    3. Always have a fallback plan - for when a merchant changes its terms, switches networks, etc.

    4. Develop a relationship with a merchant PRIOR to applying to their program, so that you both know who you are and what you do before you become "partners"

    5. I didn't know these boards existed until about 2 years ago. Communicating with merchants and other affiliates is imperative to success. So, find appropriate forums.

    6. Go to summits and conferences so that you can meet people in person. No matter how good your online relationships are, meeting someone in person is irreplacable.

    finally...

    7. Go with your gut. Even if everyone else says "this merchant stinks", go with your gut. Try. Experiment. Learn. Improve.
     
  20. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Great points Mike, Gman and Ken!

    EDITED TO ADD:

    Hey Billy Kay we must have posted at the same time, because I saw you online and was hoping you would weigh in. Welcome to 5 Star and thanks for some GREAT insight!
     

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