SPI 003 (Transcript): Affiliate and Niche Site Strategies Revealed with Glen Allsop

Pat: Hey what’s up! Welcome to the third session of the Smart Passive Income Podcast, thanks for listening in, and guess what? We’re going to get right into the content. I have a featured guest who I cannot wait to share with you, to pick his brain and just get everything out of him because he’s just 21 years old, but he’s done so much online, and he makes a lot of money online, and I can’t wait to share his thoughts with you, so for a brief introduction: at 15, he built his first website which is awesome I wish I was doing that when I was at that age. At 16, one of his websites was featured in the book DJ’ing for dummies. At 17, he was making thousands of dollars per month offering internet marketing services. Next year, at 18, he was head hunted to become the social media manager for brands such as Nissan, Land Rover and Hewlett Packard. At 19, he quit his job to work on his own websites and projects. And at 20, he sold the 10th biggest personal development blog in the world which he built from scratch for a mid five figure fee. And right now he’s just traveling around the world, making tons of money online, so it’s my pleasure to introduce Glen Allsop from Viperchill.com, Glen thank you so much for joining us today.

Glen: No problem Pat, that was an awesome introduction and it’s good to be here.

Pat: I stole it from your webpage but I hope that is okay.

Glen: I know.

Pat: Glen and I are actually really, really good buddies online and although we’ve never met he’s in, you’re in South Africa right now. Right?

Glen: Yeah for the next couple of months, I’m in South Africa.

Pat: And then you’re headed to?

Glen: Thailand is my next destination.

Pat: That’s amazing. That’s so cool. We feel like we have a pretty strong connection even though we are on the other side of the world from each other. Because of what we do online and our, what our main purpose is which is to help people and if you go to his blog at viperchill.com where he specializes in viral marketing, search engine optimization and making real money online. You can see exactly that. His posts are like artwork. They’re just so helpful. So thank you for all you do Glen, I, we, I mean, I and everyone else I know we really appreciate it.

Glen: It’s not a problem, thank you.

Pat: You share a lot of info on your blog and some of your best posts, at least in my opinion are about link building and search engine optimization but this all relates to how you make money online and that’s through, mostly through affiliate websites is that correct?

Glen: Yeah, that’s true.

Pat: Okay great now the, there’s a post that Glen wrote a few months back called the process that makes me thousands of dollars per month online. And I wanted to just have you really quick, give a quick overview of what your process is and how exactly you make thousands of dollars per month online.

Glen: Sure. So it’s pretty much a four, five step process. The first thing I do is I will write down my fears, things that really bother me. Any problems that have or any passions. At least when i started out doing this. So, I had a list of ten, fifteen items that kind of cover those things. After that I’d go out, go out online and find out if there are people with these same problems and these same passions and see if there is a large enough audience that you can possibly make money from later. And after I have my problem down and see if there is a big problem out there, get out and look for things I can promote relating to that. It might be eBook, software, anything like that. And I’ll go out there and build a website around that product. So buy a relevant domain, setup that website and then I will use SEO as you said that’s my main traffic strategy and I will use search engine ranking to drive traffic to that website. And hopefully have those people who are searching for that thing go and buy the product I am promoting and that way I’ll make money.

Pat: Alright. You make it sound so easy and now I like to get into detail about each of those steps for our listeners because I know we are interested in exactly what you do and I’m going to try to get as much out of you as possible.

Glen: Sure.

Pat: So the first thing you said step one is to write down your passions, fears and problems. Why do you start with this rather than doing keyword research first?

Glen: I do this because keyword research is kind of, is very robotic and it’s very logical. So for example when you are first starting out you might pick an industry that you have no real interest in so for me it might be knitting or something like that. It really doesn’t interest me. So after like ten articles about knitting, I’m not going to be really passionate about building up my website. So it’s very, I think it’s good to be able to build a website around something that you really care about. If anyone has support questions when they come to your website and they need help with something you can answer them easily. And later on and I’ve done this with quite a few sites, once I started making a lot of affiliate sales I end up wanting instead of just getting a commission from the things that I promote I want to get a hundred percent on the sales so I will make a product that will be better than what I was promoting originally. And it’s kind of hard to do that if you dont really know the industry you are talking about. Those three reasons are pretty much why I do, why I focus on things that are important to me that I’m passionate about or I have a problem with so in the copy I can really, in the sales page I can really talk about things that other people might be interesting and they can really see that I know what I am talking about on this subject which of course helps me get more sales as well.

Pat: So you mean you wouldn’t be able to write an eBook on knitting?

Glen: No, definitely. I have to outsource that one.

Pat: That’s really, really great advice and I think that’s something that is really important for everyone to understand is that I’ve done the same thing where I’ve done the keyword research part first and I just got in to industries that I was not interested in. And you’re stoked about it at first and you may put 10 or 15 articles on the website to try and get traffic and to drive sales but there’s just, all those sites I started died because I just didn’t have the passion for it. That is something that is really, really important to understand. If you want to really take things to another level of like you said creating your own products and earning a 100% of the income from your traffic.

Glen: Yeah, exactly.

Pat: Why are fears and problems something to consider. We always think about, we always hear people say oh do what you love to do. Why are you taking it a step further and talk about your fears and your problems and write those down as potential markets?

Glen: Sure. So like the three things for me it’s passions, fears and problems. And the reason that I have this things is that they are things that all people are willing to spend money towards so at the end of the day you are always looking to if you are going to be selling something you want to sell something that people are happy to spend money on. So to take your passions further people are happy to buy like equipment like a guitar or something like that. Whatever it is to take that passion further and if you want to get over something if you have a fear of something people go to hypnotists, they buy eBooks or whatever it is if you have a problem. So for example you want to make more money in marketing or Forex or very popular one I have people talking to me is people want to learn how to jump higher because basketball is very popular in the States. Little things like that where people have something they want to overcome and because it’s something that is really bothering them they are happy to put money towards that to kind of overcome that issue and just rid it for their life. So those three are angles that people are most happy to spend money towards so then you are more likely to make money targeting those angles.

Pat: That is very, very smart. Do you find that passions, fears or problems which one of those three do you think that has the potential to make the most money from or does that depend?

Glen: Fears and problems definitely. It really does depend on the industry so going back to the guitar example. Thousands of people play guitar, if you can sell a guide on that there’s a lot of people happy to pay for that. If there are issues like anxiety or the other example I used learning how to jump higher or slam dunk or something like that. People can also spend a lot of money on those industries as well. So there is no clear cut answer but for me personally I think fears and problems do work very well.

Pat: Very good. So we have, we’ve written this three things down the next step is to see if there is a market with similar interest. What is your process for finding, to try to see if there is other people who are interested?

Glen: I have quite a simple process to honest. The first thing I do is use the Google keyword research tool they’ve changed this quite a lot recently, it used to be very open, very easy for anyone to access but now they’ve kind of limited how much you can use it unless you have a paying adwords accounts. So they try and redirect you to adwords after a few searches.

Pat: I’ve noticed that.

Glen: But what you can do is you can go to the keyword research tool and as you will know Pat you put in the kind of phrases. So for example say one of the fears I had was or something that I want to overcome was to learn to learn how to like computer programmer, learn a programming language. So I go over to the keyword research tool and I’ll put a language in there. It might be learn Php programming or something like that. I’ll just put that phrase in there and you can instantly see how many people are searching for that phrase every single month in Google. Now I dont know if it’s very, very exact like how much info they are willing to give away on some things but it’s very good indicator of how many people really are searching for that term and you can see if a market is if there are a lot of people with that issue or if they want to learn something. And generally the bigger the market the more competitive it is but the more money there is to be made.

Pat: Right, right.

Glen: Along with that I would also put tools into, phrases into Google trends. So for example say I found a phrase that is based around something I know a lot about and it has a good search volumes. There’s a lot of people searching for it every month. I’ll go into Google trends and just put that phrase in there so that’s google.com/trends and I can see over time if the search volume for that is going up, if it’s declining or if it’s staying a steady volume cause I dont want to get into a market where less and less people are searching for it year and year which is what I’ve done, I’ve built websites and found out that  through no fault of my own the number one ranking just gets less and less clicks as time goes on cause it’s just not a popular topic anymore. You can go old school and just talk to friends, talk to your family, ask people online the kind of things that would they be interested in a product around this topic? Would they like help with it? If you are going on like looking for people who are interested in learning a programming language, you can go to forums and just see would you be interested in a product on this kind of topic and if you’ll get a lot of responses then you know that is something that is quite a large audience. And then another thing that I’ve, the last one I’ve implemented this quite recently into my strategy for whenever I build new sites is just using the search field on twitter. So just go to search.twitter.com and type in the kind of phrase and just see if there is a lot of people talking about that thing. There’s a lot of people looking to learn php, there’s a lot of people looking to buy a new guitar, learn how to play guitar, all that kind of thing. People are so happy to talk about their passions on twitter so using the search engine is also a good idea.

Pat: Yeah, that is excellent and a lot of people aren’t afraid to talk about their fears and their problems too on twitter. That is a great technique and we always forget that twitter is actually a search engine and it’s probably one of the most up to date real time search engines available so you can get highly targeted traffic. You can, you can understand what people are thinking right now about your potential market. So that’s really great advice. And what’s nice about what you do because you’re put, you’re entering this keywords into your, your Google keywords ad words tool. You can because their, its, because it’s a fear or problem or a passion that you have you understand the terms that should be placed in there. Right? You just go off a common sense. Is that correct?

Glen: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Pat: Okay, awesome. And all those tools that you mentioned are totally free which is great. So you dont need any money to start this type of thing. I know there are tools out there like Micro Niche Finder or Market Samurai that could help you but you can do all this things for free. So up to this point step one. Write down passions, fears and problems and step two see if there is a market with similar interest. You dont need any money for that at this point.

Glen: No and I think it’s, I think it’s, like there are tools out there that can help people Market Samurai, Micro Niche Finder that kind of thing but I think if someone is just starting out then it’s good to know how to do this manually. So when they want to use a tool they kind of understand that the information it’s giving them back as well so…

Pat: Good call.

Glen: Definitely if you are just starting out go the manual route and try out this free tools.

Pat: Very good call. I definitely agree. Okay so we have step one, step two. After you find a market with similar interest say you have a fear, like I have a fear of spiders. And I find a whole, and I find a market that has similar interest. People who are also afraid of spiders and I know that they are there because they’re on twitter talking about it or they’re in forums. Now what do I do? Your next step you said was to find a relevant product to promote. Where would I go to find these types of things?

Glen: Sure. So there are tons of places you can go and the first one I’m going to talk about is clickbank. And what I used to do the kind of, the strategy I use now this five steps they’ve changed a lot over the years since I started when I was 15, 16. So in the past originally I would just go to clickbank pick something that I knew a lot of people were buying so you can look at the statistics on there like gravity, sales and see if something is popular. Then I would go backwards and see the kind of phrases I could go for and using the keyword research tool see which ones are popular which products are getting searched for a lot and then I’ll pick the one that interests me the most. So I kind of do the first three steps that I do now but do them totally backwards to how I currently do it. So clickbank, I rarely, these days I dont use it as much. I would if I find something I like to promote it’s usually unlikely that I can go to clickbank and find the product. This is totally just for me I’m sure thousands, like there are literally thousands of products in there so there is a good chance that if there is something that you want to promote you can find it in there but for me personally it’s not what I use so much anymore.

Pat: You might as well check it out though just in case.

Glen: Yeah, definitely check that out. Another one is Amazon, I’m not a huge fan of this cause they pay very, very small commissions I think it’s something like 3% if you are just starting out depending on how many sales you make. So, but if you are really looking for something to promote, there is literally every item you can think of on Amazon and if it’s bigger, to get priced items like digital cameras then that 3% obviously makes, it’s a lot higher value than if you are selling toothbrushes or something like that. So that is a good place if you are really struggling to find anywhere an affiliate program for what it is that you want to promote then Amazon is an option. Something else may just be so for example some things I promote are products and services that I’ve use personally so for example you promote Market Samurai and that’s because you’ve used it a lot and you know you can recommend it to people so they will have I believe they do they will have their own affiliate program or say I like the thesis wordpress theme. They have their own affiliate program and I can just sign up through that. So a lot of things that I promote now are things that I’ve needed in my day to day life or to help me with marketing or anything like that and the company that creates a product also has an affiliate program. So I will use that to promote what it is they are offering and make money through them.

There are a couple of others, there’s companies like Azoogle ads, you need to generally you need to kind of verify that you do know what you are talking about in regards to affiliate marketing if you want to use them. Commission junction when I ran a personal development blog. There’s a lot of kind of self help products and that kind of thing that are only available through commission junctions, that is definitely one to check out. And finally I will just go to forums, if it’s warriorforum.com, if it’s digitalpoint.com. Just any of the big webmaster forums and you can say to people okay I want to promote this product whatever it may be or in this industry what is it that I can promote and do you have any companies you know of that can help me make commission for promoting it. So if just go on forums if you’re really lost and you can ask for advice and there’s people who will be happy to point you in the right direction for where they go in regards to being able to sell products and making a commission on those.

Pat: Yeah I think that is a great one the last one you mentioned going to like warrior forum or digital point forum and just simply asking that’s something a lot of us dont do anymore. We think we have to do everything on ourselves but there’s so many people out there especially on those two particular forums that they can, they’ll probably know things that we dont know and they can really, really help us out. They’ve actually, I love digital point forum and warrior forum. They both have helped me out tremendously in the past. So just so a recap on where you can find products to promote to your market that you found. Click bank is a good one. I’ve used that before. Amazon.com although they pay low commissions what’s nice about Amazon is that they have a really, really good upsell strategy and you dont make money just for one product. You make money for all the products that that person buys after they get to Amazon. So all those upsells and every, they might find a DVD that they might like at the same time just so that they all get it shipped at the same time. You get money on off of those too so that is something and that is important to understand. Just simply going to the products that you’ve used recently and seeing if they have an affiliate program. Market Samurai didn’t have one for a while but they implemented one and I wouldn’t have known unless I had visited the website and seen on that blog that they had launched it so definitely go and check it out. Not all programs and companies out there will say that they have an affiliate program straight away or there might just be a little button on the bottom that says affiliates but definitely go and check that out. Cpanetworks, like Azoogleads and commissionjunction are great. And like you said before going to war, going to forums like the warrior forum and digital point forum. So that is a lot of places that you can find products to promote. So I think everyone out there, you dont have an excuse anymore.

So next, so we have step one write down passions, fears and problems. Step two; see if there is a market. Step three find a relevant product to promote. If you dont find a product then you kind of start over, is that right?

Glen: Generally yeah but it’s kind of hard not to find something that you can promote. And if a market is big enough you know you can take the time out and it is something that you know about. You can take the time out to create it yourself. So you can create the eBook; you can hire someone to make the software or whatever it is…

Pat: Exactly I’m glad you said that. Yeah I mean when I started with the lead market for the green building exam stuff there were no products to promote so I created my own and I crushed it so making a 100% profits on that. So definitely something to consider if you cannot find a product. Now step four is build a website around that product and you know there’s a ton of information on the web about building a website but just really quick. I mean I know it starts with the domain name and how it relates to that product. What, what’s your preference? Do you always go for the exact keyword term or do you try to create a brand new term around those keywords or how does, how does picking a domain name work in relation to those products?

Glen: Generally so when I started out doing this, most of the sites I had now they kind of small market so I might have entered the keyword research tool and found my kind of indicator between five and 20,000 people searching for a phrase per month. So I’ve generally pick something with that kind of market. And ideally I will try and get the exact .com for the phrase. So if it’s something like learn to play guitar then I’ll try and get learntoplayguitar.com or learnphpprogramming or whatever the phrase might be that I found from the steps previous I will try and get the .com for that domain, the .com domain for that phrase. That is very rare, it’s very hard. I have actually spent thousands of dollars now on getting these exact .coms from the people who own them just because I know how valuable they can be and it makes it a lot easier to rank in search engines if you do have the .com but otherwise I will kind of change the extension around a bit. I will use things like HQ on the end or I might put the word my in front or the little I like Apple do in all their products. Just kind of, get all, I’ll still try and have like one of the main words in there if its guitar, php programming just at least one of the words in there to sort of give me a bit of relevance. I kind of regret telling people about this when I launched my eBook because now if I ever want to buy a domain with HQ on the end they literally all taken and if not almost all are. Yeah you’ll find that is probably the case now too. But if just modify them a little then I think that’s still useful. If I dont…

Pat: Do you use hyphens at all?

Glen: No I hate them. I dont think, I think they look kind of ugly and you rarely see them so much ranking highly in the search results and that is not something I like to use to be honest.

Pat: Okay cool.

Glen: And the same for extensions. I definitely prefer having a .com over something like a .net .org .nfo or anything like that. There was a time when, there was a whole day in fact in Google where every single .nfo domain disappeared from their index and they are very clear that they dont, they dont change the value like they dont say a .com was worth more than a .nfo in their rankings but we know that kind of thing would never really happen to a .com every single .com disappearing from their index. So, I kind of in my opinion that .coms are still like they carry the most weight as far as the and just to add if I was going for a larger industry so if it’s something I’m doing a phrase like let’s say a hundred thousand exact searches a month, I’m more likely to pick a phrase that is kind of brandable because my strategy is going to be a bit different. I can’t just put up a quick website, get some links and I’m going to rank straight away. I will have to put a lot of work into it so I want a name that’s brandable, people can talk about it and its sounds relevant to the industry but generally I just try and get the .com for the phrase.

And for the website I keep it very simple. Some people were very surprised about this one. I first kind of mentioned this tactic. My websites are usually just five to ten pages at most. I even have sites ranking number one in Google that’s just one page and Google like, people are kind of amazed by that but it is true. It’s better to put a few pages up there and have to put some effort into your website. And if you dont know what to put on there so my homepage is just literally the aim of all of my website homepage is just to get people off my homepage and onto the product page. See if you can’t get people onto the site where they can actually buy something then you are not going to make any money anyway. It doesn’t matter how good you site looks or how good your copy is. And the rest of the pages you can just throw that out. So it could be an FAQ page, could be contact us, could be about us, just could be more articles about the topic. Anything like that just really fill out the site and it just makes it look more natural. It’s not very natural for Google to rank one page websites very highly. You won’t see that in a competitive industry so definitely you just fill it out with a few pages and just keep it simple.

Pat: Awesome and you’re using wordpress to build all this websites quick and fast?

Glen: Yeah. Some of them, sites that I’ve had for a while now they are just on static html I dont really update them so it’s a non issue but for most of the sites now they are built on wordpress. Yeah.

Pat: Awesome. So about how many of these websites would you say you have that are out there?

Glen: If you asked me a few months ago, I’d say I have about 30 to 40 of them. I sold a lot of my websites to kind of, I want to focus on a lot bigger kind of consolidate them and just focus on a lot bigger markets. So right now I have about 12 websites I think live that I’m kind of working on solely. So I work on a few websites with other people but for me personally I have about 12 of them now.

Pat: Awesome. And how much time do you spend each day on each of your websites that are out there?

Glen: To be honest my whole I’ve been working a lot since 2009 on this affiliate sites and my whole goal for 2010 was to really eliminate myself as much as possible from every project. So there’s only two sites that I work on and that’s even including my blog site. I update my blog myself and there’s another site that I work on personally but apart from that I am just paying people to you whether its ad content, build links and some sites are totally on autopilot which is why I love search engine traffic so much. See I generally need just an hour or two per day to run my websites but I like to put in a lot more hours because I’m still aiming to make a lot more money that I am currently so yeah I’m still putting quite a bit of work in.

Pat: Right okay, see out there people who are listening that is passive income right there and, live on the show with us. That is amazing Glen. Congratulations for everything that you have done and I know you are going to crush it with your new stuff too. So getting into the last step. We’ve talked about the four things. Writing down your passions, fears and problems. Second seeing if there is a market. Third finding a relevant product and four building a website around that product. And the fifth thing after you have your website it does no good until you get traffic to it. What are your, I know we could talk for another four, five hours about traffic and strategies and search engine optimization but just to finish up the show what are your top three strategies for generating traffic to this affiliates sites that you create?

Glen: To be totally honest with you I do very little in terms of traffic sources besides looking for search engine traffic so most of my time will just be spent building quality links to this sites. So for people who are kind of new to this, there are tech links from other websites that are relevant to your industry liking back to you website and that helps you with your search engine rankings and move higher up in the listing. So that is how I spent most of my time for each, sorry what were you going to say there Pat?

Pat: Sorry so just so everyone knows, so you’re going for free natural organic traffic from Google. You’re not paying for any ad words or any facebook ads or anything like that?

Glen: For one website I am doing PPC and if I am totally honest with everyone that is one thing I really need to start looking into. I’ve spent so much time looking into social media, seo and PPC is something that I dont have that much knowledge on but I have a very simple campaign set up for one website and that is making me quite a lot of sales for the money that I put in. Besides that I just focus on seo for these little affiliate sites.

Pat: Okay awesome. So, so far we dont, the only money you are spending is pretty much for the domain name and the hosting I mean even with traffic you can get it for free.

Glen: Yeah and if I can, but of course my time is kind of if we put a value on that the time it takes to get all these links, get articles written that you can put on article directors that kind of thing. Then you can still spend quite a bit there.

Pat: Okay, sorry to interrupt but I, keep going…

Glen: Sure. As far as links go so yeah so that’s definitely my main thing just getting good quality links is definitely quality over quantity as far as getting search engine rankings. But surprisingly there are certain things they dont sound so valuable they still work quite well. So I used directory submissions so I might just go to a digital point and there are people selling submissions to directories say 500 at a time for $10. It sounds kind of dirty and it’s not really valuable but if the industry is not very competitive I found that to help me every single time I’ve done this, just get very easy ranking and it’s again, it doesn’t sound that great but it definitely does help. The tactics I prefer are things like article marketing. So, I’ll have an article about the subjects and I’ll go somewhere go to somewhere I like, like ezinearticles or goarticles.com or something like that. Just put up that article there and in the bio of those you can put a link back to your original website so that is just creating relevant quality links for yourself and what you can do is like I said earlier is I also focusing on sites now that are in much bigger market places so I can’t just rely on article links or directories. They are just not enough for this very competitive niches. So I will go out there and build relationships with this groups of people. People who have blogs, people who have forums, people who generally that have sites that are very, very popular, very active with a large audience and kind of build connections with them and I’ll happily link out to them and hopefully in return they will one day link back to me and that will help out my site.

And another strategy that I like to use finally is simply you type in your phrase in Google and look at the top websites that are ranking already and just see where they are getting their links from so it might be also from article directories or just directory submissions whatever it is or it might be resource pages from libraries, anything like that. And you can just go to those same websites and just go and try to pick up the same backlinks that they have because it is obviously helping this people to rank and it’s going to help you as well. So yeah everything I do regarding traffic to this affiliate sites is just focusing on backlinks

Pat: Awesome, yeah back links are super important. A follow up question to the last thing you said. How would you go about finding out what websites are linking to your top competitors?

Glen: Sure, so you get the url so I use this example in recently one of my post is I’m trying to rank my blog viperchill for the phrase viral marketing so I think it’s fourth in Google right now and I’m just behind a domain called Wilsonweb.com. So what I would do is I’ll take the url of their page that is ranking and I will go over to Yahoo and the reason that I go to Yahoo is that they show a lot more links. Google are known to only show about 10% of the backlinks that they know about whereas Yahoo tend to show you pretty much everything. So I will go over to Yahoo and I’ll type the phrase links or L-I-N-K with a colon and then I will put in the url of the page that is ranking and just do that search and it should show you all of the backlinks to that individual page that is helping it rank. And if it’s a site like that where Wilson web is very authoritative like the page that is ranking isn’t the homepage. It’s also good to look at the links to the homepage as well so that you can quality links that way.

Pat: Awesome, thank you for sharing all that and you know that’s the fifth step and that is how you find traffic to your site. And then you know the sixth step is just earning commission and which you dont even need to do work for. You put in all the work already and Glen is a great example of someone who is doing affiliate sites and killing it and now moving on to even bigger and better things. So we’re coming up to the end of the show and we are running out of time but Glen I just want to thank you so much and I know my listeners want to thank you as well for all of the information that you gave here on the show and on your blog and wherever you are. You never cease to amaze me as far as how much content and information you give away because I know you do want to help. So thank you Glen so much and if people want to get more information about you or check out what you are doing where would you recommend they go?

Glen: You can check out my blog as you mentioned earlier. Viperchill.com. That’s V-I-P-E-R C-H-I-L-L. I’m pretty active on twitter as well so that is twitter.com/viperchill and I do try and respond to every single blog comment I get or every twit this days so if you want to get in touch that way then I will definitely get back to you.

Pat: Alright dude, thanks so much this is, this interview is gold and I’m sure a lot of people will benefit from it. So thank you once again and we’ll chat soon. Alright.

Glen: Yeah, not a problem Pat, thanks a lot.

Pat: Alright, take care.