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October Q/A Roundup
Hey it’s Opossum here! Welcome to my free monthly Q/A Roundup. Today’s post is on some of the best questions in the last month. Each week I write about a new topic or analyze a new digital business. If you’re not a subscriber, here’s what you missed this month:
There are a lot of new emails on my Substack lately. The last 4 months has seen more growth then the entire first year.
First, thank you. I love seeing this project grow and help people.
Secondly, I feel like many of you are missing some context about this Substack and Twitter account. It is not designed like a normal newsletter. I’m not going to send out emails just to send out emails.
This Substack is designed to be read from the beginning like a course. It’s designed to build on top of each other to help you grow your first digital business. Sure, you can skip around some but to really get the full value, you need to start at the beginning.
The second one will be good given it’s election day and some people are bound to overreact no matter what the outcome of today brings.
I’m setting up an affiliate site in X low ticket niche. Is this feasible?
The question was actually about an *extremely* low ticket product. Their question was an immediate no given the affiliate cut. It’s the same reason you don’t do Amazon affiliate as a main business strategy. The cut to the affiliate takes an enormous amount of traffic to make any real money.
If you read the post on back to the basics, you’ll find this formula. It’s the basis for almost all internet businesses.
Revenue = Conversion Rate X Average Order Value X Traffic
Written another way to apply to affiliates yields this.
Revenue = CTR X (merchant) CVR X % commission X (merchant) Average Order Value X Traffic
If the product AOV or the percent commission is low, you have to scale your traffic unbelievably high to make the same amount of money. Assuming all of the other variables are equal, being an affiliate for a $10 product compared to a $100 product, means you need 10X the amount of traffic to make the same amount of money.
10X the traffic means 5X-10X the amount of content that you have to rank on Google/YT/etc. to make the same amount of money.
Hey! Can you do a bunch of free work for me?
I don’t mean this in a mean way. It’s just unrealistic. When I had a few hundred followers, I did free high level site audits and would check out a deal if you were buying a property. Something that I would normally charge a few thousand dollars for. They trickled in and it was manageable to help out people here and there.
Now? The requests have increased 10X and it would be a full time job to help out everyone individually. Luckily, I’ve built out enough content that anyone reading my Substack (from the beginning) and actioning on it, has enough context to do them their self.
If you read the posts from the beginning while having your website up on another screen, you’ll have more than enough knowledge to figure out what you need to change.
What’s the lowest time and max profit WiFi business I can start?
This is a truly mind blowing question when you think about it for more than 5 seconds. All of business is value arbitrage when you think about it. If there was such a magic long term business model that a beginner could execute on, you would never know about it for two reasons.
I would start 100 of them and tell absolutely no one. I’d make as much money as humanly possible and guard the secret with my life. Anyone would.
The opportunity would disappear. Once an opportunity is found, competition increases (time to be competitive) and profit decreases. That’s what happens when competition enters a market. The golden geese only last for a short window of time before it goes away.
I’m walking into negotiations this week with a brand. I’m trying to negotiate affiliate commissions with a brand that doesn’t have an affiliate program. Do these rates sound reasonable and what pitfalls should I avoid?
Background - The site has very little traffic. Website owner is trying to convince the business to start an affiliate program. Website owner has 0 experience building an affiliate website.
You can't negotiate an affiliate deal when you're going to be sending like 50 people a month to their site. They're only going get 1-2 sales a month.
It's not worth the time for the founders/executives to even have the conversation. You're essentially walking in a salary negotiations with zero work history and a GED and asking for $100k salary. You have no proof that the conversation is even worth it.
Going into the meeting, the founders of the company may not realize the above. Once they figure it out though, one of two things is going to happen.
You're either going to be forever ignored after the meeting OR potentially laughed out of the room.
You can try to run your first digital business like you have a billion dollar brand name behind you like you do in your day job, but it’s rarely going to work out the same way.
You and your first digital business have a $0 brand name behind it in negotiations and track record.
Is X or Y a reasonable ask for a VA?
Is X or Y a reasonable ask for an employee?
Yes. To go further on that question though. Anything you can, they can do.
They're not weird aliens that have limited abilities. They're humans that just happen to be on the other side of the planet in a cheaper cost of living country with a different culture. It's just like any other remote employee in the US. Some suck. Some don't have experience. etc.
Hire for skillset or hire for intelligence and train them.
Some do do shit work. Some don't. Even if their productivity is 50% of a US employee, you're paying 10% of the cost so you're still getting a 5X return on your money compared to hiring a US employee.
I've got a 3 month old site, getting 70% of my traffic from bing, 10% duckduckgo, 10% google, 10% other. Why do you think so much from Bing?
It could be a lot of things.
1. You don't have much traffic so the % of traffic coming from each search engine isn't going to match the broader population. (statistical noise)
2. Your keywords are more targeted to bing searches. (more old people)
3. Bing is more forgiving of a site being new and not having a lot of history (sandbox)
The only number that really looks off is Google. If Google started ranking you the numbers would look normal. Focus on SEO for Google.
I was wondering, what type of security do you usually suggest for an affiliate site to prevent hacking?
Any threat that you encounter until you get big is likely to be mass targeted. Most all of these attacks are going to be stopped by:
- Using a secure password that isn't reused and can't be brute forced guessed
- Making sure your theme, plugins, etc. are always up to date
- Don't use "no name" plugins as their security is likely to be more vulnerable
- Use a CDN
If for some reason you think you need to take it a step further, use Sucuri. The above is going to be enough for 99% of websites.
When building out a niche site, how much of an "expert" do you have to be on the subject?
Not going to lie, for about 85% of my content, I feel that I'm just regurgitating info people could already find online and it's probably more "credible" than my site (WebMD vs my new unknown site).?
Just more than the average reader. Dead serious. That’s why so much of the internet has crap information on it and everyone is always confused. Specialists rarely create a resource for people and if they do, it’s not optimized for Google. Most websites are ran by marketers that outsource most of their content to non-specialists.
Most people in the US suck at math. When they teach their 10 year old math, they come off as geniuses. That’s the internet in a nutshell.
If you're in a YMYL niche, you better make it really look like you know more or Google will never rank you.
Health is one of the hardest to rank in this context. Not only because there's stricter requirements by Google but because you're competing with massive sites like WebMD and Healthline that have been around for decades. Those sites aren't 5 people pumping out content. They're massive organizations with revenues in the hundreds of millions.
If you're in a position to be the first for your Niche, is this helpful to SEO?
Yes. Yes. Yes. Take advantage as fast as possible. It may not pay off until that niche gains momentum, but it will pay off.
Not only will you rank in the SERPs when it’s easier, it’ll be harder to push you out of the SERPs and you’ll be able to brand yourself/site as one of the biggest experts on the topic.
Lastly, feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.
If you’re subscribed to this newsletter, you need to keep in mind why we’re here.
Your boss and company, no matter how nice, doesn’t care about your future. Nobody outside of a few family members and select friends care about your growth and your future.
You are the only one that can save yourself and make your life what you want it.
Single player. Just you.
This Substack is here to help you build a business and build the life that you want. I’ve laid out the basics to understand, analyze, & grow most any online business.
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Disclaimer: Nothing written here should be construed as legal for financial advice of any kind. These are opinions and observations, written by an anonymous cartoon Opossum, built up over years working in e-commerce & affiliate marketing.