Starting out with some furniture affiliates

Bedroom FurnitureI am brand new really to affiliate sales but with a set of furniture domains that need something on them I decided to start and it was also part of my list of goals for this year.

I paid around $1000 for my programmer or coder or whatever you would have him called to make my own script for my domains that easily lets me pull in product feeds and display the content. I couldn’t find anything off the shelf that I liked especially with a nice admin area and my script makes everything really simple and efficient and is custom designed to deal with my feeds, I wanted the look of the homepage to be more of a store look with good categories instead of a price comparison type of site.

Price Tapestry (php) does a good enough job of listing products imported through feeds but I don’t have the skills to modify it and rather than use it and seek out someone to modify it for me I chose to get a script made specifically for me using the guy I have used in the past to writes something up in asp. The first site was outdoor furniture and there were a lot of questions to answer for how I wanted it to work, the hardest part is that if you use a few merchants they all have different categories and sub categories so there was a fair bit of coding when importing feeds that checks for similarities and duplicates, once imported I can also edit and manipulate the categories so that it’s more keyword friendly and doesn’t duplicate itself too much.

Another problem with most scripts is once imported you need to wipe it and import again when doing an update with new feeds which would change url’s and annoy me so it was decided that the script could check for duplicates when importing and leave existing products alone only updating any changes to them like price, this was one of the key reasons I had the script written for me, I wanted it so that when I downloaded a newer feed I could update everything without starting afresh, this took quite a bit of time to achieve.

I also wanted the ability for products to be rated and reviewed built in and voted on, I may intend to use that later and it’s easier to get all my wish list sorted at the start, so it was quite an investment in the script but as I knew I had a good few furniture domains I was confident that come time I could put it to good use on more than one site and make it pay for itself.

Once the script was done and installed and tested I could quickly and easily put bedroom furniture together and pull in a few feeds which took about 20 minutes to set it up from scratch!

So far nothing adventurous done, I joined Affiliate Window, chose merchants with applicable feeds for the two sites and had the sites created and then put them live. So the last month is the first main month they have been getting a bit of traffic and are indexed in Google, I think you will find them both in Google.com now even though it is early on 🙂

So I’ll give some stats for the 2 sites, remember that they are brand new so I am not expecting much – it is my aim to eventually lease them out for a set monthly cost but that will likely be nearer the end of the year.

Bedroom Furniture
Adsens
e
February $58.10
March     $109.80

Outdoor Furniture
Adsense
February $20.07
March     $70.90

Affiliate Sales Commission (Combined)
March ~ Confirmed £50.27
Total £50.27 = $101.14
From Clicks of 319

So that works out at around $0.32 per click  for the aff sales so far – much and such the same as the Adsense, baby steps but at least a little bit of income rather than leaving them dormant. In total for the two sites they have earned $360.01 since inception a couple of months ago which is well on the way to paying themselves back for the scripting bill, however that one script was an investment that I can roll out to living room furniture and any others that I wanted.

I am pretty happy with them for what they are, a nice vehicle that lets the domains gets some use, get indexed and ranked and will hopefully let me get them leased out at some point in the future, another added bonus is that while the domains are in use it helps me come to a price for leasing them, if one of the sites ended up bringing in around $500 per month from Adsense & Aff sales then that would have a bearing on how much I would ask for a monthly lease. My first leased site was earning around $600 per month so when pushed for a price on leasing it I asked for $1000 per month which I got – more than it was earning but I was happy to get a secure & reliable income from it leased out, it also gave me the confidence to stick to my guns when I was asked if I would take less.

So I guess for the affiliate sales part I am up and running, another goal achieved, No.5 on my list was to start affiliate sales and although small… it’s a start.

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.

Comments

  1. My blog is focused on interior design and furniture, but I never thought that people buy furniture on the web. 🙂

  2. how will you detect when a product has been removed from the catalogue and remove it from your list?

    • I will be leaving old products in place, even if they are no longer sold I can still pass visitors across and get commission on sales, and the oldproducts could still be ranked and commented on.

  3. Just incase your not aware of it, your bedroomfurniture site is returning some script errors.

    Microsoft JET Database Engine error ‘80004005’

    System resource exceeded.

    /sidelinks.asp, line 536

  4. Nice post. The more I see how well your mini sites do the more I’ve realized I need to expand into other niches.

    I’m currently deep in the video games niche, but the keywords and affiliate programs offer pretty low payouts.

    Congrats on the sites though!

  5. Thanks for the post Scott. Very informative, and gives me something to aim for with my futon furniture site.

    Have you done any work to see where most of the adsense clicks are coming from? Are they evenly spread about the site, or focused on a few pages, like the home page and the top level pages for each category?

    • Not as yet Nigel, I was in two minds to have Adsense at all but it seems to top up the earnings for now, I will experiment though and perhaps get cleaer data later.

  6. Scott, care to share what you had to pay to have a script like that developed? Have you thought of selling it to others? It sound very interesting to be able to put up sites like that in 20 minutes or so.

    • I paid around $1000 Mikael so it was quite an investment.

      • $1000 is quite an upfront investment in minisites but then again… with the results you have already proven it seems to have been a great investment. And I’m sure you have only seen the top of the iceberg.

        Was it a coder you already knew or did you hire him from rentacoder.com or similar?

  7. I don’t quite get this – a site earns $600 per month and you lease it for $1000 per month?

    • Yes, but I was only doing Adsense/Yahoo PPC ads, whereas the end user that leases the site can actually monetise the traffic much better by being a retailer not an affiliate. In fact if you take the actual traffic details and compare that to buying the equivalent traffic through Adwords the lease was cheaper for the client. For this example Bedroomfurniture.net had 2000 visitors last month so at say $0.50 per visitor if I leased it for $1000 in the future that would be good value against the Adwords top 3 position Estimated Avg. CPC of $1.03 – $1.46

  8. Did you not consider using a blog like wordpress ? With a plugin to update data.
    Was there a specific reason for using Affiliate Window? Instead of CJ etc..
    Thanks 🙂

    • No reason to be honest, like I said I am brand new to it so inexperienced – I knew what I wanted and didn’t see anything out there and already knowing a guy that could create it I decided upon that route, I also knew having a few domains that I could use the script on, the investment would be spread across possibly 5+ sites. I don’t have any experience with Worpdress so that’s probably why I didn’t consider it. I had an account with affiliate window already and they had both advertisers and product feeds in appropriate file formats needed, excel CSV files so didn’t need to look any further for now but it’s a learning curve for me.

  9. How about using Amazon? I don’t know if the have feeds but they have a nice API to pull products from them.

  10. Scott –

    I found your site while browsing the 45n5 top 100. Congrats on building your own script (or having built) to do the hard work for you.

    Should you decide to continue in the affiliate marketing side, take a look at a script called Build a Niche Store. I use it on more than 100 domains and with roughly 1-2 hours spent per site, you can generate very good earnings, depending on the niche itself.

    The link in my sig has quite a bit of info on the product via my own blog, but the two developers have their own forum as well.

    Good job again,

    Mark

  11. I experimented with furniture about a year ago and got wildly varying results – some campaigns were insanely profitable, while I couldn’t get other retailers to convert for anything. I guess that’s about what I’d expect with most niches, though. The main thing that drove me nuts was that I was never once credited for a phone sale by anyone, even though the companies claimed to track them.

    • That’s very true Stefanie – there would always be sales that affiliates don’t get credited for but have provided the initial lead, the site is just for the short term for me (hopefully) – I do plan to lease the site/domain out for a fixed fee this year.

  12. Everything looks great! I’m so impressed and inspired by the success and progress you are making with your online properties. Looks like you guys accomplishing stuff on your To Do list.

  13. hi, you have a really good site here.. actually i have a blog about coffee tables. but things have been slow. traffic is about 30/40 per day.

    i’m wondering if its because i dont do PPC/adwords and stuff…

    your content is really informative. have subscribed to your blog. will be back for more.

  14. Hi Guys

    I have been an avid reader of self made minds for quite a while now – this post I find particularly interesting as this is just what I have set out doing too! Have been running a few sites for about the last 6 months with adsense, made a bit of money but nothing to write home about. So I have now dipped my toes into the world of affiliate marketing. Like some of the other comments here, I did not have the upfront costs to pay a programmer to design me a script, but after much trawling of the net I came across Affilistore which completely addressed evrything I need to acheive – it is completely free if you don’t mind leaving the link in the footer, otherwise it costs £100, it’s also for use on as many domains as you like! It will handle feeds from all the major affiliate networks, either by manual upload of csv files or by pointing the script at the URL of the feed making refreshing the feed relatively simple. I have quite indepth knowledge of xhtml/css so modifying bits of the site to my needs was not too bad, but I have absolutely no idea when it comes to php or any other scripting language, but this was really quite straight forward to install and configure – I was up and running within about 45mins and my affiliate feeds and banners streaming into the site. This maybe a good stop gap for some other readers here, who like me don’t have upfront fees to get things going.

  15. hi, that’s a good tool. for physical products, is it better to have something like a store rather than a blog to promote the product?

  16. Scott, your site is making nice pin money from the adsense ads, but I wonder if this could harm your affiliate earnings in the long run, you must be getting a lot of leakage there. Have you giving any thought to removing the adsense and seeing if that boosts your affiliate revenue?

    • Yes you are correct, I did have it Adsense free for a while and it will likely go back that way after I gather some stats on the first few months Stephen.

  17. I am always in awe of the amount of information you guys share here, really good stuff. However if I could pry just a bit more and ask… why furniture?

    • When looking to buy a decent set of domains for leasing/affiliate sales late last year I wanted
      1/ Something that would not go out of fashion
      2/ Something that can be researched and purchased online byu customers
      3/ Can have high value sale amounts
      4/ Have decent levels of search engine traffic
      5/ Have a decent vartiety of types allowing more than one name/site

      Furniture kind of did all that for me Joe with the different rooms in a house so I bought a few domains for the future.

  18. Good post. You make some great points that most people do not fully understand.

    “I also wanted the ability for products to be rated and reviewed built in and voted on, I may intend to use that later and it’s easier to get all my wish list sorted at the start, so it was quite an investment in the script but as I knew I had a good few furniture domains I was confident that come time I could put it to good use on more than one site and make it pay for itself.”

    I like how you explained that. Very helpful. Thanks.

  19. Hello Scott

    Great post, just wondering if you have considered selling a copy of your template/script, since its yours and unique?

    Mally

    • Because it is mine and it is unique means I would rather the reverse and not have it everywhere, even if that means a missed opportunity to make a quick profit,

  20. How do you work out if you should lease it or not? If its making a lot, you know you have the skill to seo it more and get it making you even more money. Is it simply a case of you don’t have any more time to spend on it?

  21. Jenny, eventually you will hit a wall with seo. As you get closer to number one the difficulty to go even higher gets exponentially harder, so there comes a point where it isn’t worth working on that site anymore and is best to start up another niche.

  22. Hi Adam, I think that would depend totally on what market your site is in. If its something popular like cars, then a jump from 3rd to 2nd would make a worthwhile difference. Similarly with niche markets, getting to the top isn’t as hard, but it will be worth it as you will be seen as an authority by people for that niche.

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