My first ever affiliate site was chappals.co.uk (view it here in wayback machine).
I started it in June 2016.
It was in the ‘Asian footwear niche’.
There were a few reasons that I decided on this niche:
- Amazon paid 10% on clothing products.
- My wife is from India so I could easily have my content fact checked.
- It’s not a very competitive niche at all in the UK, yet there is a large asian population here so I felt it had the potential to be very lucrative.
Let’s have a look at it:
Both of them ranked on page one at their peak (peshawari around posiion 3, kolhapuri around position 6).
I did a few strange and unnecessary things with this site though, including:
- Building a ecommerce style page for sarees, where all of the products where actually affiliate links to amazon.
- Building a ‘support us’ page where people could leave their name, and website if they paid a nominal fee.
- Having two menus, one above the logo and one below it.
- Using ‘pages’ rather than ‘posts’ for all the content, I only have one actual bog post on the site.
How did it do?
Unfortunately, I don’t have access to any historic GA data for this site anymore and I’ve deleted the Amazon affiliate ID from my account so I can’t see that either.
However I know it was getting around 3,000 sessions a month at its peak.
Affiliate earnings topped out at £30/$40 month.
I did try Adsense on it for just over a year and during that time it didn’t even earn enough to meet the payout threshold, it earned about £30 from Adsense in a year.
Problems with this site:
- There’s a reason that Amazon pay 10% on clothes/shoes…they don’t conver very well.
- I was hyper focused on ranking for these sandals keywords. ‘Kolhapuri chappals’, ‘peshawari chappals’, my whole site became primarily about those which limited it’s potential.
- By far the biggest problem with this niche is that I wasn’t genuinely interested in it meaning I got bored of it and let it die.
- I wasted time getting useless links.
If I’d built this site now what would I do differently?
- I’d outsource all the content.
- I’d scrap the ecommerce store and focus on blog content.
- I’d use a simple theme.
- I’d put it on a .com
- I’d broaden the scope of the blog significantly, to cover all things Asian fashion.
- I would use posts rather than pages.
Key takeaways for anyone starting out:
So if you’re starting out building an affiliate site the key things you can learn from my first ever affiliate site are:
- It’s best to choose a niche that is interesting to you until you can afford to outsource the content.
- Focus on writing content that is informational rather than transactional…for example the keyword ‘kolhapuri chappals’ would mostly be typed in by someone looking to buy, they can’t buy directly from me so it makes more sense to rank an ecommerce site top for that keyword. Instead write informational posts like ‘how are kolhapuri chappals made’, ‘how to darken kolhapuri chappals’.
- Use posts rather than pages for articles…makes it far easier to scale the site up.
- Don’t waste time & money on useless links.