Creator of blog Money Lab Matt Giovanisci decided to completely revise its business after a change of scheme contributions partners at Amazon. At 11:42 am on February 23, 2017 I think. “My life sucks”.
The time I remember so clearly because I was waiting for my flight to Austin. One of the readers Money Lab sent me an e-mail, which is doubted, whether to join a cooperation program with Amazon due to the change rates of interest deductions. I had no idea what hes talking about, then figured out and published on the page in Facebook the following:
Judging by the comments to publish, very soon, my profit would have reduced by about half. Ive been talking to other Internet entrepreneurs that it is impossible to obtain all the income from one affiliate source. Just one of the Board of Directors of the company, to completely destroy your business.
As a result, the Board of Directors was held in the Amazon, what my profit could potentially be reduced by half. Suddenly I had to reevaluate my entire business model. I was in Lazarus Brewing Company in Austin, and during a conversation with Stefan realized that can no longer rely on income from affiliated sources.
This was my chance to switch to other flows of funds and sources of income that I could control. In March 2017, I took a vacation to explore new business models used by large media companies, and stopped to listen to all these old stories about passive income and affiliate marketing. Then I decided that enough to be an online entrepreneur — its time to create a real media company with a new means of income.
All the profit I get from the two online brand. Roasty and SwimU. RoastyCoffee.com receives 100% of its profits from Amazon. In February 2017, it was $3121.
Within a month, the website was viewed 96 868 people. In March (after Amazon abandoned the old structure of variable deductions) income of $1553. Monthly video views have increased to 98 448. Profit fell 55%, that is, was even less than I thought.
With SwimUniversity.com it wasnt all bad, because in this case only 70% of the profit came from Amazon. In March 2017 SwimU on the partnership agreement with Amazon earned $9226. Hits for the month was 273 175 (not a season).
That is about $0.03 to each view. Last year people brought me $0,02. That is SwimU with the new structure of royalties and feels even better. Profit partners bonus and not the main income.
I want to run a company with several brands in the small consumer category and to receive a stable profit from advertising contracts and digital products. I have improved and optimized the brand SwimUniversity in the following ways: Below I will try to explain how I have completely revised my business model after all this crap got on an affiliated “fan”.
SwimUniversity is a website for owners of swimming pools and Jacuzzi, where they can learn the proper care and repair. We publish detailed articles, videos and guides. I started this website in 2006 with the purpose of collecting traffic and advertising sales.
In 2010, traffic doubled. And in 2011 tripled to 160 060 visits. All because I created a very shameful article and used questionable SEO practices.
In 2012, when I started doing more high-quality content and publish videos on YouTube, visits fell to 84 553. Bloody Penguin (anti-spam algorithm from the Google search engine — vc.ru). Normal money I did not bring.
Maybe somewhere in the $250 per month via Adsense and then at the peak of the swimming season. And in order to directly sell advertising, I have had enough of traffic. So I focused on creating more insightful articles and videos. In 2013, traffic increased to 157 639.
But really SwimU “alive” only in 2014. I tripled the traffic to 428 193 visits, and I started calling advertisers. My work in 2012-2014 truly paid off in 2015, when SwimU reached 1 517 666 views. I started to earn good money.
I have created a successful lifestyle business. And I could improve all these indicators alone. However, I wanted to create a media company with several brands, so I opened Roasty and Money Lab.
I want to work with talented and knowledgeable people. People who want together with me to make the Internet a better place. SwimUniversity publishes digital content, so it was necessary to hire a man who brought to order in the materials.
I wanted someone who would create a deep materials and weekly newsletter. He could do it himself or hire freelancers. I sat and calmly described all. What you need to do to such a person, what character he should be and what it needs to have the ability to recognize quality content and the talent to do something like that.
The questions were these: I sent the form to subscribers of the Money Lab (approximately two and a half thousand people) and published it on his page on Facebook, a couple of community and on Twitter. Two days later I wrote 28 applicants.
But of the total number only one stood out. I kept in mind the “secret” answers to some of these questions, and if people called them, I just called him for an interview. For example, if anyone mentioned in the answer of one of these materials, I immediately suggested him to talk.
Besides, the material I have proposed to criticize, was published on the website SwimUniversity, and I assumed that because of this applicants will not be honest in their criticism. And so it was. Only few have left a really interesting answer. The one I eventually hired, called some of the “secret” answers, and was painfully honest in his criticism.
And I liked it. Over the last two years I added a lot of unnecessary materials just to maintain weekly content updates. Just because “Google loves it”. Most likely, this is not true.
In my opinion, to platforms like SwimU or Roasty, you can only create sensational content, which will always keep the site at the top and attract traffic. Sensational content, I call deep, entertainment and multimedia stories or easy to understand guides with a good design. Todd Tresidder talked about auditing content to FinCon 2015.
In the speech he mentioned that his traffic has doubled. And hes not alone. Analyze the content on your website and take one of four decisions for each of the materials:
I manually added 373 published records in Google spreadsheet. Surely there are ways and easier, but I did. Then I use Google Analytics found 50 publications over the past year that attracted the most traffic, and are noted for their blue. And green — those that need to improve.
Then I chose the materials that had to be removed, — that is, those who initially did not show up on SwimUniversity.
I added a column called “Include in other text or to supply a 301 redirect”. Removing the publication, I added to the table link to another page. But if the site didnt fit, I did return to the home page via “/”. To implement redirects on WordPress, I used a free plugin Redirection.
But recently I got the premium version of Yoast SEO, so now I use it. Then I gathered all the materials on the same subject. For example, in the above image you can see three text:
It was a short write on a specific topic, and all of them were related to cleaning a Jacuzzi — that is what the owners Jacuzzi are doing every three to four months. I copied the contents of the three records and collected from them material How to Drain and Clean a Hot Tub (“How to drain and clean the Jacuzzi”). Then removed the three notes, and set redirect to the new article. I deleted 88 records, and then I only have 285.
And, frankly, more work no end. While early to speak, whether to increase the traffic. Besides, I cant compare traffic for different months. Its now April, and the traffic grows, because soon will start the swimming season.
However, I plan to do a comparison of the traffic Roasty and lock indicators Money Lab. Feel, the audit content is still a major impact on the site. I wanted SwimUniversity has become one of the fastest sites on the Internet, thanks to what would improve SEO and, therefore, increased traffic.
Moreover, 72% of the visitors read SwimU on mobile devices, so the download speed is very important. Here is the Google Analytics metrics for 2016: Here are two tools by which I measure the page load speed:
Google rather give advice, but GTmetrix actually analyze the page shows that it loaded slow and what is fast. Since I already fixed the page loading speed SwimU before writing this material, I will demonstrate with Roasty, as it is not yet optimized. Render blocking CSS easy to fix. I just move it to the right so that it faces the tag </body>.
However, this screen makes me angry for several reasons: Okay, Google. Lets see what GTmetrix says.
Well, the download speed is not so bad. But scripts Facebook, Google, and SumoMe is again prevented. Had to make a decision about which plugins to use. But first I corrected what I could.
This material became my guide. Lets see, now showed GTmetrix.
Oh yeah, SwimUniversity works like lightning. Look at those green bars. Great, now put this beauty on the components:
Lets see now what say Google Pagespeed Insights. The main reason for the speed of my website is that I deleted SumoMe. This is a great plugin that uses multiple processes, I need.
Last year and a half it worked relatively well. With his help, I quickly added a popup window with an email address, a welcome message and a “smart” menu, and then tested what works best. But I decided to get serious about their sites, and that means so much to rely on third party plugins it was impossible. Below is a video that shows how I created my plugin and replaced them with SumoMe.
I as a reader sites “Share” button seems annoying and unnecessary. And I never, no one not clicked. I do it manually, directly via the social network. On the court in 2017, and we all know how to use Facebook.
However, according to SumoMe, do people really click on these buttons. But I dont know if they really want to share the post or just click on them accidentally. Anyway, SwimUniversity I removed them. Also removed these buttons with Roasty and never put them on Money Lab.
The purpose of my social media marketing to attract traffic to the site. According to Google Analytics, from social networks to the website comes only 13% of all traffic. 80% of this amount come from Pinterest and only 16% from Facebook. Facebook generates a very small part of the traffic and to do on it an emphasis, in my opinion, not worth it.
But if she ever changes its algorithm, Im going to strangle someone. What is interesting. Those 16% of Facebook traffic coming to your site through an entry that serviced swimming pools not in any way connected. People are sharing it only because I saw it on Pinterest.
Like, should pay more attention to Pinterest. The last few years, we published one or two articles per week. They are automatically sent to subscribers through RSS into Mailchimp.
However, quality content according to the statistics of visits to a cut above the rest. On SwimUniversity still come crowds of people because of the cool materials that I wrote four years ago. Just a few of the materials created in the last two years, ranked in the top 50. So our new strategy is to publish content less frequently, but to make it really high quality.
SwimUniversity is a timeless resource. To update it is like to Supplement the book, not a blog. Every month we create cool new content or updated old, on the verge of a rating. More than two thousand words, there are graphics, videos, and helpful links.
“On the verge of rating” means that the materials are good, but they have a low. To see these, you can use the console Google search. Here are examples of content Roasty, which we could improve:
At the same time we are improving the creation and distribution of weekly compilations of the best materials. And yet we do it manually. Is automatic RSS-feed with all the latest materials (as the last two years), we now have a newsletter, which fall into three or four material, United by one theme depending on the time of year. For example, in April and may, the content will focus around raskonservirovana and cleaning pools.
Newsletter works as a reminder that its time to do pool maintenance and Jacuzzi as well as a selection of tips. And, I think, the people retain these newsletters and share them with friends who also have pools. Oh, and in the end, I did sell a course on how to use Asana for $25.
I unbridled love Asana. Everything that happens on SwimUniversity begins with Asana. Including editorial calendar, a calendar of mailings and tracking of advertising sales. Now SwimUniversity there are three streams of income:
I want to increase the percentage of revenues from advertising and digital products, and partners — to reduce. So I will have more control over what happens. In addition, the income from partners I regard as an additional resource that you want to invest back into the company.
To increase revenue from digital products, Im testing a new product called SwimUniversity Live. This is a paid webinar for people who want to learn how to reopen the pools and maintain them. For $25 you can attend the lectures, ask questions, and download recorded video. And for $49 you will get access to the webinar and download the guide.
Advertising SwimUniversity mission is to help owners of swimming pools and Jacuzzis to learn about new and relevant products. For example, now these people can learn about new sustainable filter for pools only if it is sold in local specialty store. In addition, industry has no direct access to the owners swimming pools and Jacuzzi.
The creators of these eco-friendly filters have to be advertised through thematic magazines and exhibitions. Have SwimUniversity have the opportunity to give these advertisers direct access to consumers. The more people learn about these products through SwimU, the more they will ask your shop to put them, and the more products will be sold. Everybody wins.
That is, the more money you can earn, you need only to come to the realization of this process. In 2016 SwimUniversity brought $56 350 income from direct advertising. We do not use Adsense or other similar products.
I personally write and call advertisers. Yeah, on the phone. Such was our advertising products in 2016:
I really didnt want in 2017 to sell on SwimU advertising. But the same advertisers again came to me. Last year the sale of advertising was not very good because I tried to sign big deals on advertising packages at a cost of approximately $10 thousand each. This was easy to sell to companies interested in informing about their product, but not in profits.
The advertiser with whom I have worked before, contacted me and asked whether it would be possible to advertise his one-time mailing. I turned him down. But after some thought I decided why not sell a single newsletter. To insert it is five seconds, and send this product, we will in any case.
I listened to the advertisers and created new product. Single sponsored e-mails. For advertisers this is a cheap method of communication with customers and test their message across. And this product the advertisers will like it, because before it just was not.
And since our newsletter only comes out once a week, this imposes constraints, forcing to do everything quickly. A couple of weeks we had sold the newsletter for the entire swimming season. At first we didnt take a lot of money for this product, but I knew that in the future the price will be increase. The more subscribers, the more you can ask from advertisers.
Cheap we made it in order to demonstrate the capabilities of the advertisers. Tasted the mailing list, they will return to us. But this is only what concerns the distribution. We have two other products:
Special sponsorship texts work just. The advertiser pays us to publish new material on a specified subject. Name of company-sponsor logo and link to its website appear under the title and at the end of recording. This product is timeless.
After the sale he lives forever on the website and it never changes. But this year I got the idea. On our website there is a recording with great performance.
Theyre not sponsored because were written before we began to offer advertisers such a service. But why not give advertisers the opportunity to sponsor such publications. I got in touch with the current advertiser who might be interested in such an offer. In exchange for a big discount (its still beta) he will share with me data on ROI and will help improve the product.
So in may well be testing it within a month. One of our content will be sponsored, in addition, there will be a creative made advertising banners. Content relevant to the surrounding content, so everything is just perfect.
Our goal is to see whether these banners on sale. If impact, in a month you can sell more premium materials. And all this only in order to earn more money through your own products and not through partners. Income from partners we will invest back into the company, to spend on the creation of commercials, hiring employees and so on, so that we have more subscribers and traffic.
Remembering the flight to Austin, when I thought its over, I cant help but notice that now after a couple months of relaxed revision of the business all the way. Now everything is fine. I have a good strategy with a completely working business models.
The most important thing I realized when I took a vacation in March. Thinking about what I really want, I came to this conclusion. We need to think big and do only high-quality content. Regardless of the form of my content Id like to get people talking.
“Matt does cool stuff”. I want my brands was equal to other companies. And I dont want to depend on the next Board of Directors, which may in the blink of an eye to destroy my business. It is important to create extremely high quality content that is useful and brings pleasure to the reader, and the company money.
And if I continue to stick to this line, Ill be happy regardless of how it will look in my company. Send a private cases, in which you managed to improve (or, conversely, worsen) the performance of the project, [email protected] Interesting experiments are sure to get the heading “Cases”.