Successful Affiliate: Becky Turner

Becky Turner is not only a successful affiliate with a website that attracts 2 million visitors a year. She also has created her own product which she sells via ClickBank.

She earns about $4,500 to $5,000 a month, with sales now increasing rapidly. [UPDATE: Becky's profit is now $7,000 a month.]

The topic of her most successful affiliate website is lucid dreaming.

A lucid dream is a dream in which you're aware you're dreaming. Becky says lucid dreaming is the ability to consciously direct and control your dreams.

"It transforms your inner dream world into a living alternate reality - where everything you see, hear, feel, taste and even smell is as authentic as real life. Lucidity occurs during altered states of consciousness when you realize you are dreaming - and your brain switches into waking mode inside the dream."

Becky, who born in England in 1983, says she began lucid dreaming at the age of 14 when she developed a keen interest in dreams and psychology.

"I love learning but never went to university. I've worked in office admin and later as a financial journalist before escaping the rat race."

She now lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with her partner Pete and works from home running her Lucid Dreaming site and a few others.

I interviewed her about her success as an affiliate and also asked about her experience as an affiliate vendor.


Let's start with the nitty gritty. How many visitors are you getting and what revenue are you generating from your most successful affiliate sites?

World of Lucid Dreaming - This currently receives 180,000 unique visitors a month which translates to around US$3,500 a month. More than half of that income arises from sales of my own digital course, The Lucid Dreaming Fast Track, with the remainder coming from affiliate revenues.

Improve Vision Naturally - This is a much smaller niche which attracts 13,000 unique visitors a month but still generates US$1,000-$1,500 a month. I have one main affiliate partner (merchant) which accounts for all affiliate revenues.

Sheltie Planet - This site gets 14,000 unique visitors a month but I'm yet to find a good way to monetize it, having been through quite a few options. At the moment I just have Google AdSense and Amazon links up which deliver US$250 a month.

[UPDATE, May 2012:
Two months after this interview, Becky's sales of The Lucid Dreaming Fast Track have grown 40%. She now makes a total profit of $7,000 a month.]


What's your view on AdSense?

I prefer my own products or strong affiliate programs over AdSense. However, it still plays a role and can be a useful backup if other income streams aren't performing. I'm currently exploring the possibility of direct advertising on World of Lucid Dreaming - and AdSense makes a good test run so I can assess what click-through rates are achievable and how much I can realistically charge for ad space.

I find some websites lend themselves to AdSense a lot better than others, even once you have carefully designed, targeted and placed your ads in optimum positions. So I would never create a website with AdSense as my primary monetization strategy, it's just too risky when conversions or cost-per-click may turn out to be low.

You're attracting impressive traffic to your Lucid Dreaming site. Where is most of your traffic coming from? Search engines? Other sites?

Over the past 30 days, organic Google searches have accounted for 70% of my web traffic. Facebook accounted for 10%, and direct traffic another 10%. The rest came from smaller search engines like Bing and Yahoo, as well as social media like StumbleUpon and Reddit.


I know you started with SBI. Are you just following SBI's advice on attracting visitors, or do you know some other tricks you can share with us?

SBI has tremendous advice for attracting web traffic. Four years after first taking SBI's course, I still build every page with SBI principles in mind because it has served me so well. These include careful keyword research, competitor analysis and Search Engine Optimization. Each article is tightly focused on one keyword phrase and you'll see that reflected in the title, description, sub headings, body text, HTML tags, text links, and even image names. That makes my articles much more likely to appear when someone searches Google for my specific keyphrase.

There are also off-page criteria (such as link building) although I have let this go over time. In the beginning it is important to get other sites linking into you. However, once your website gains popularity, other sites start linking to you without you even knowing about it. The thing grows on its own. I love that.

One thing I learned more about outside SBI is to write highly authentic, engaging articles. Put a part of yourself into every single post and write content that people will really want to share. Learning to write well takes practice. At first you'll discover just how terrible a writer you are - that's actually progress! Then you can build up your skills, analyze your work as objectively as possible, and learn to edit and polish articles before you hit "publish".

SBI makes it clear that you should "write what you know" and draw from personal experience, but to take this to an advanced level means spending a lot of time writing and honing your skills. Once you get to a decent level, you suddenly have a lot more power to educate and inspire your audience, and this is one thing that makes blog posts go viral. I would say it's the difference between an average blog and a runaway hit.


What do you think are the most important things affiliates should do to attract visitors?

Research your niche before you begin - SBI has a great tool for assessing demand, competition and ultimate viability. Take your time and plan your site around the most viable keywords. Optimize every single page as best you can. Get a clean web design - it doesn't have to be flash, but it must be tidy and uncluttered. Learn to write for your audience - address their needs and keep surpassing their expectations. Build lots of content!


Are all your sites still made using SBI?

All my sites are made using SBI's principles, but not all were made using the technology. Once I had one subscription to SBI, I had access to all the tools and knowledge I needed, so I ran the other sites off BlueHost. This is fine if you are familiar with FTP and writing your own HTML pages. However, some people like to use SBI for every single website they make, as it simplifies the whole process. I just needed to spread my wings a bit.


Do all your sites use templates designed by Peter? Great designs, by the way!

Thanks! Peter Casale (my partner) is a professional web designer and always mucks in when I start a new website. He makes customised SBI templates to order as well as free form web designs, working with all sorts of clients from celebrity chefs to mining companies on the London Stock Exchange.


What has been your experience with SBI?

SBI launched my career in online business, at a time when I didn't even know what a "blog" was. Yes, this was in 2008. You could say I was behind the times!

I'd just emigrated from London to Auckland, an ex-financial journalist who didn't want to rejoin the rat race in this new found paradise. I just wanted to make a living doing something I loved, ideally working for myself, and making decent money from it. This was a tall order - and not many people follow through on such dreams - but SBI took me there.

I'm so grateful for everything SBI has taught me. I now love what I do. I would never have figured this out by launching a WordPress blog and hoping for the best. SBI builds businesses, that's the difference. Of course, it took a lot of my own hard work but I can clearly see I would have missed this career opportunity without SBI.


I see you launched your own Lucid Dreaming training guide in August 2011. Why did you do that when you could have just promoted other people's products?


The main reason I created The Lucid Dreaming Fast Track is because I saw a gap in the digital market. There was perhaps one real competitor offering a complete beginner's guide to lucid dreaming, and I felt they priced themselves out at US$59.95. I knew I could create an even better product and charge much less.

The other reason I went solo was because I realised it would be a good way to de-risk my business. Working with affiliate partners is great on the surface, because all you need do is recommend their product and take a profit share in return. However, there are some risks and downsides to this model, as I have discovered first-hand:

  1. Your affiliate partner (merchant) dictates your commission rate, the product price and any bonus payouts. Even the slightest change in these numbers can seriously affect your income and you get absolutely no say in it.

  2. Your affiliate partner can drop their product or affiliate program at any time. This happened to me just recently, so now I need to source an alternative partner I can trust and re-write all my product reviews - or simply lose this income stream altogether.

  3. Your affiliate partner may develop different values to you. One of my top affiliate partners gradually started cross-selling more "alternative products" like healing crystals which I don't believe in. Profiting from these product sales would violate my moral values, so I have to replace this affiliate range too.

  4. Your affiliate partner may go out of business or stop paying you. Even reputable companies who usually pay you every month may shut down shop and decide they don't want to finish up paying their affiliates, leaving you at a loss despite your ongoing sales efforts.


So, mostly it's about de-risking your business and taking control of your own income streams. Ideally, you want to be in charge of your product price, your customer payment system and your advertising methods. Creating your own product takes time but in return you will reap 100% of the rewards for as long as you want to run with it.


How long did it take to create the course?

I couldn't say exactly, but it was a long time. First I wrote a 111-page ebook (The Art of Lucid Dreaming). Then as a supporting guide, I decided to write the 26-page ebook (Meditation Advice for Lucid Dreamers). The final part was an audio hypnosis session for lucid dreaming, requiring me to write an original hypnosis script. I outsourced the rest: graphics, book layout, hypnosis narration, music and digital mastering. The course was then complete.

But a course doesn't sell itself... Next I had to write my sales page. First I hired a professional sales writer to create the page for me. He guaranteed results but it failed miserably (unfortunately I'm still fighting for my money back). After that I wrote the page myself and got a trickle of initial sales. Over about three months I re-wrote and tested the page again and again, until sales conversions were around the 2% mark. Finally, I was making a good income for all my efforts.

Last week I filmed a 2-minute sales video for the Fast Track, which I understand can really help improve conversions. This took only a couple of hours of my time, but I outsourced many hours of expert video editing and post-production. The video should go live at the top of my sales page and on YouTube any day now.


Has all the time and extra effort been worth while?

Definitely! I spent many months working on the course and many more months re-working my sales and marketing materials - but I have learned a whole lot and, financially, it's really paying off now too.

It's also been fulfilling creatively; I have a product which I'm very proud of, and which has received lots of positive feedback from customers. It's exciting to have your knowledge put into the market in multiple formats: first web, then ebook and now Kindle too.


How are your own product sales going?

Good - and growing fast. In February, profit from the Fast Track amounted to US$2,200, and sales in March are already way ahead - we should be looking at doubling sales this month.

It's very motivating to see periods of rapid growth like that, and right now I'm seeing huge growth month-on-month, mainly derived from increasing organic search engine traffic.

I keep a very close eye on my traffic and conversions, and I take action if I notice things dwindling. Despite the downturn in the wider economy (surely a factor for anyone selling anything these days), the main influences under my control are: page hits (how many people I can drive to my sales page via my website) and sales conversion rate (how many people actually end up buying).

I think it's very important to have goals and so my long-term aim is to double my conversion rate to a healthy 4% which, based on my current web traffic, will generate upwards of US$9,000/month.


Have you made an effort to promote your affiliate program, or is it just on ClickBank?

The Lucid Dreaming Fast Track is ranked well in the ClickBank marketplace. I also have a dedicated affiliate page on my site with full details and marketing materials.

I'm really no expert in running affiliate programs but I have noticed a few things so far:

  • The majority of affiliates will generate few or zero sales, which I can only assume is due to their marketing inexperience, limited blog traffic, or limited ad budget. I'm told then when things notch up, most affiliate sales come from a select few partners who are highly experienced and active.

  • Most affiliates never make contact with the vendor. I'd actually prefer that they introduce themselves, tell me about their website, and ask for a free review copy so they can do the product justice. If an affiliate can potentially generate thousands of dollars in sales, it's definitely worth my time talking to them.

  • You can target highly active affiliates by selectively approaching them, rather than waiting for them to stumble upon you. Having worked in the lucid dreaming niche for four years I know most other lucid dreaming webmasters and offered them all free review copies. Now I intend to seek out high traffic blogs in the broader niche of mind development who might be interested in promoting the Fast Track.


I'm sure there are plenty more ways to promote your affiliate program, and this is something I'm still figuring out as I go. My priority with the Fast Track (being my first ever product) was to get the sales conversions to a healthy rate before getting too many other salespeople on board. I'm just reaching that critical point now.


How many affiliates do you have and how many sales to they make?

I have a few dozen ClickBank affiliates but sales are limited. This year I'm going to focus on recruiting active affiliates in relevant niches so I hope to have a different story to tell soon...


Do affiliate questions take up much of your time?

Not at all... As this part of my marketing strategy is underdeveloped, I hear very little from affiliates. The affiliates I do have tend to work in the background without contacting me. Occasionally one comes forward and asks specific questions about conversion rates, which is a good sign - they know what they're talking about! I like to hear from people like this as it's great to have a switched-on player discovering your product.

[UPDATE, May 2012: Becky has switched her affiliate program from ClickBank to a more sophisticated platform, JROX. For affiliates interested in promoting her Lucid Dreaming Fast Track, she now pays a generous 65% ($24.05) on tier 1 sales and 10% on tier 2 sales.]


With a bunch of websites, forums and your own affiliate program to run, you must have a lot of energy? How many hours a week do you work? Do you outsource many of the tasks?


Becky-Turner.jpgHa! Most people think I just sit around all day doing nothing! Physically, it's just as demanding as any other job. I have a lot of mental energy to expend though, which is perfect if you want to make your living running a website.

The good thing about running websites is you can build them up at your own pace. For a beginner, it is actually a lot more demanding to grow a 10-page website in the early stages of development, than for someone like me to maintain a 200-page website with an established traffic base. However, there is always a limit to this rule.

Some time in 2011, with six websites to my name (three of which were still in early development), I started to feel my attention being split too many ways. I also had two forums which took up time to manage. Yet to succeed with a particular project, I tend to become quite obsessive with the details. I need to fully immerse myself into my business plan, to feel fully motivated and know I'm giving it my all. I realised I couldn't do this six ways.

I also realized I didn't want to run six average-performing websites; I wanted to run one outstanding website that could one day make my fortune. So I decided to focus on World of Lucid Dreaming as this is the most successful website with the most growth potential. It was a hard choice because in a way I've left all my other "babies" behind (only rarely updating them if I feel the necessity) but it has turned out for the best.

I don't outsource anything I don't have to. I'm lucky to have Pete to offer free labor on the design front (that's what partners are for isn't it?) and seek out good deals when I need other technical help. I got burned once by outsourcing work and admittedly that has put me off if I can at all help it.

Fortunately this kind of business doesn't require extra staffing. You can outsource off-site elements but I'm not convinced they do that much good any more. For example, so-called SEO experts contact me every month offering to grow my business through offsite promotion - like link building, article submissions, directory submissions, and so on. But I have come to find these efforts a hollow attempt to trick Google into liking your website. They don't really work and each algorithm update will reveal that to be increasingly true. Authentic site building is the way to go; and the only way I can do that is by pouring myself and my experience into my business.

Today I probably work around 20-25 hours per week on my website, with weekly goals of:

  • Researching and writing one new article

  • Designing new banners and monitoring click-throughs

  • Monitoring sales and improving the conversion rate

  • Stripping out affiliate products which no longer resonate

  • Maintaining and moderating the public forums

  • Handling customer queries promptly

  • Responding to new business ventures

  • Networking with other webmasters

  • Writing guest articles and doing off-site promotion


One of the most time consuming tasks (up until a month ago) was responding to reader emails. So many people have questions about lucid dreaming! Everyone wants to know something specific about their own efforts... Are they doing it right? What can they do to improve? Can I interpret their dreams? Is this normal? Why isn't this happening? Do I think they're getting enough sleep?

For years I answered every question in detail but eventually the numbers got the better of me. The website now receives 2 million visitors per year and I can't handle all those questions! I felt like an agony aunt and I began to feel this wasn't even helping me to grow my business - only diverting my attention to unpaid, one-on-one coaching.

Since removing my email address from public view it's given me a much needed break from reader questions and now I can focus on just growing my business again. I definitely think it was the right decision. Though it's not as handy for my readers to just fire me a question whenever they need to, they have other avenues like the FAQ or the forums. And now I can put more time in writing quality content which will ultimately benefit them too.


Congrats on your success. What do you think makes your Lucid Dreaming site a success while many affiliates are struggling?

Thank you! I would say that if you plan to succeed in online business, you'd better to do it right. There's no sense slapping up "just another WordPress blog" (I can't believe that's their own tagline) and hoping people will come by and give you free money. There are strategies to this game. SBI taught me one particular winning strategy and I stuck to it religiously.

It also helps that I landed an exciting niche (not through luck - but another clever SBI tactic) and remain committed to developing my business in as many directions as I know how. I know that any smart, motivated person can replicate what I've done (or better) using SBI, and I fully recommend the course if online business appeals to you.

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UPDATED: June 7, 2012
March 22, 2012

Comments (38)

Said this on March 22, 2012 At 09:37 am

Hi Allan,

I thought this was an interesting story but I think Becky Turner is doing something seriously wrong...

Let me explain.

I have one small website that attracts nowhere as much traffic as Becky is getting. (I have less than 1000 visitors a month on that site)

And it still makes me around $400.00 a month on affiliate commissions. 

My honest belief is that if Becky is getting that much traffic, she needs to rethink her monetization methods. She should be doing much better than just $4500.00 to $5000.00 a month on her site.

P.S. I really hope you approve this comment. I'm really curious what others have to say about this...

Thanks,

Carl

Said this on March 22, 2012 At 04:03 pm
Hi Carl, Good point.

It looks as though at Procellix.co you're targeting buyers who are in a "ready-to-buy" frame of mind because they're desperate to get rid of cellulite, while many of Becky's visitors will be curious people seeking free information. It's tough work converting people who are looking for free information.

Still, you've got to admit that Becky is doing VERY nicely. Which site would you rather own, one attracting less than 1,000 visitors a month making $400, or one attracting 180,000 visitors and making 10 times as much, with lots of scope to improve?

Based on my experience, I have a very rough rule of thumb for beginner affiliate sites. I reckon for every 100 visitors a DAY, a beginner affiliate will often be able to earn $100 a MONTH (from AdSense and affiliate commissions). Results vary widely, as your example shows.

A huge advantage Becky has over you is that because of the type of content she provides, other sites naturally link to her site. I love owning sites like that, where links to your site keep growing, simply because people like your articles and recommend them. You must find it much harder to get unrequested links to Procellix.co.

Becky's challenge is to increase her conversion rate. Your challenge is to increase your traffic.
Said this on June 4, 2012 At 12:28 pm

Hi Allan,

You are absolutely right of course. Heck... I imagine Becky's site will be around long after my procellix one is gone. In fact I would love to have the time (and resources) to do a site like that.

My main problem was capital so that's why I went after the "low hanging fruit". But to be totally honest I'd trade my site with hers any day of the week :-)

Best Regards Allan

Said this on June 9, 2012 At 11:07 am

excellent post and article my question is how to increase the traffic what methods do you recommend?

Said this on June 9, 2012 At 07:42 pm

Hi BigAl, Getting traffic is a HUGE topic. A more appropriate place to discuss it would be on our forum or in the SBI forum. (I see you're an SBI user. There's a wealth of good advice inside the private forum, and in the rest of the site which SBI users have access to.)

BEFORE you try to get more traffic, one of the first things you need to do is slowly go through every page of your site with fresh eyes, looking for things to fix, things to improve, so that you make your site worth linking to. You need to tidy up a lot of rough edges. If you haven't looked at the pages for a while, you'll probably be surprised at how many things you spot that could be improved.

Just one little example... You write about "Eating-healthy at a-barbecue" with two hyphens. Remove the hyphens. They doen't belong there and look odd. Look at the words in your nav bar with fresh eyes as though you're visiting the site for the first time. The unnecessary hyphens look very odd. They don't belong. Compare your nav bar and your pages with the nav bars and pages in successful SBI sites.

Begin sentences and headings with a capital letter. They look odd when you don't.

Your site doesn't have to be perfect - lots of enthusiasm can take you a long way - but it needs to be not quite so rough, I reckon. If your site is too rough, other website owners will be reluctant to link to it. 

After fixing those things, here's one thing you could try. Perhaps you could write some guest posts for related blogs and websites. That's a good way to get related one-way links. If you try this, you might want to ask a friend to proof-read the articles. It's often difficult to spot our own mistakes - much easier to see other people's mistakes.

Read my reply to Robert, in which I suggested he needs to ask himself what he can do to get attention.

Said this on July 25, 2012 At 08:48 pm

Hi Allan,

That's a good question that everyone marketing a product online should always asked: "how to increase the traffic what methods do you recommend?

I started working online about 2 years ago and it hasn't been easy for me. What have I learned? I have
learn to get a good mentor if I want to have success in this field. And I'm doing just that. My bills are being paid for every month and needed cash for other expenses are being cover. This is whats working for me.

 

Said this on March 22, 2012 At 03:50 pm

Inspiring story, I hope I can emulate this one day. Thanks for the tips.

sandy
Said this on March 22, 2012 At 04:17 pm

Thank you for this post. I have read your site inside out and also SBI material. I am really confused. Can you help clarify what is meant by an affiliate website? This is my question. SBI's focus is on developing personalized content (content in which the user has personal experience). But there are many websites online that provide information only on different topics without the emphasis on the web owner's personal experience. As one who doesn't have a "personal experience" that has enough content to develop hundreds of pages, what can people like myself do? Is it enough to research and provide information without it being so "conversational" and geared towards subjective analysis.

Every day I love giving and sharing information; but I don't necessarily give it on a topic for which I've had personal experience with? So is the internet business world not for me? Or would I be better off building a website or blog providing words of encouragement or advice or tips? I'm serious here. 

I hope you can answer if there are other models for affiliate sites other than those just on topics for which the web owner has direct experience? Of course I can't compete with wikipedia; but can I just give pure information and tips and be successful?

What are your thoughts on this?

Said this on March 22, 2012 At 05:53 pm
Hi Sandy, By an "affiliate website" I simply mean one which is owned by someone who is an affiliate. In other words, owned by someone who earns money by promoting other people's products.

There are dozens of different kinds of affiliate sites and dozens ways of earning money as an affiliate. A few years ago, I wrote a 2-part article called "53 Ways To Make Money With Affiliate Programs" and I certainly didn't cover every method. If you read that idea-generating article...

http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/articles/53-ways-...

...it might just confuse you more, because the options are so wide and varied. There are thousands of affiliate merchants and millions of products to choose from, and how you decide to promote them is up to you. You're limited only by your knowledge and imagination.

Like Becky, I strongly recommend SBI - http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/buildit - because it takes you by the hand and leads you through the process of choosing a profitable niche, building a site and promoting it.

If you haven't already, I urge you to study the free Affiliate Masters Course...

http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/articles/free-aff...

It includes a lot of helpful info about selecting a profitable niche.

No, you don't have to write about your own experience. The Affiliate Masters Course may surprise you and help you find a niche in which you already have some knowledge that you've overlooked. If it doesn't, it's possible to BECOME interested in a totally new topic.

I like conversational websites like Becky's in which the owners talk about their own experience. It makes the website more credible. Revealing a little info about yourself and your personality is good for sales, because people like buying from people they know, like and trust. From personal experience, I very strongly recommend this approach.

However, there are other ways to make a site credible. One way is to interview experts and get them to describe their own interesting experiences.

Just to give one example, you could do a survey of your friends, asking them what weight loss methods they have tried. They could rate the methods from 1 to 10. You could take photos of your friends, put them on the site, and you'd have an interesting site containing personal experiences. (Weight loss, by the way, is a fantastic mass market containing eager buyers but it's also incredibly competitive, so may not be the best place for a beginner to start, unless you have a really eye-catching, innovative angle. Maybe you can adapt this idea of interviewing friends and experts for some other niche?)

Another way to make a website credible is simply to look and sound professional.

However, there are millions of bland, boring sites on the Internet. Whatever you choose to do, don't create one them! Doing so hugely decreases your chance of success. The SBI way, done well, is the exact opposite of boring.
Said this on March 22, 2012 At 04:27 pm

Thank you for this great article, and congratulations on your success, Becky!

It's always wonderful to hear of someone doing so well with a "non-internet" focused site, but something "real" like lucid dreaming.

Said this on March 22, 2012 At 09:23 pm

Hello I came through Lisa's Link. It's amazing what you have accomplished and Thank you for sharing awesome Article!

Said this on March 23, 2012 At 01:34 am

Very informative article and so true about the problems doing affiliate sales for other companies. I rebuilt an old site but still have many companies and products. Quite often some suddenly vanish or decide to change their strategy and quit the program.

You really answered some questions about the so called seo experts who promise but can't deliver. Sometimes outsourcing doesn't work either. Have you used twitter as a sales tool? My feelings are that it is hit and miss. people can't be staring at twitter 24/7. 

Said this on March 23, 2012 At 08:45 am

Hi

I'm an SBI owner and I've just run what I assume must be the main site concept kw's for Becky's site through BrainstormIt and this is what came up.

lucid dreaming - V10873 RS5205 P2089

lucid dreams - V3601 RS2746 P1311

lucid dream - V3203 RS3156 P1015

These values don't resemble anything like what would come across as a good potentially profitable site concept, on the face of it anyway, so how, even with good kw optimization and good content is the site getting such high traffic. The first thing you learn with SBI is that the content has to be good but also that the numbers have to show good demand and not too much competition.

Said this on March 24, 2012 At 02:48 am

Hi Kenny

When I ran my lucid dreaming keywords through SBI's Brainstorm It originally (in April 2008) the figures all fell into SBI's healthy range for adequate demand and limited supply. I will try to dig them up to show you and compare to the numbers you've got here.

Possibly the market has changed a lot since I began this site (I know a lot of other sites have popped up on lucid dreaming in the last 12 months alone) plus is it possible my own site has now skewed the results for supply?

I do remember, there was already a good supply in place which meant the competition was moderate. But SBI does say "do NOT become number bound!" so I viewed those sites individually and still felt I could do something different from the main competition.

Interestingly, since 2008, search demand for lucid dreaming has gone up - thanks in part to movies like Inception which has raised awareness and interest in dreams and the subconscious. There is a Google tool that will show you this increase and it really is massive. This was not something I predicted! But I was riding on the idea that self development is and always will be a sought-after niche.

Going back to specific keywords, I did have on my MKL some very juicy long-tail phrases such as "how to control your dreams", "lucid dreaming techniques", "sleep disorders", "paranormal activity" etc etc. I can't tell you the profitability numbers for those off the top of my head now - but they must have been decent as these are now Tier 2 page titles on my site. So the site concept was based around 10+ strong T2 keywords and not just the primary keyword of lucid dreaming. I hope that helps! And I'll try to get back to you with my original supply & demand numbers so you can see why I chose this niche to begin with.

Said this on March 25, 2012 At 06:58 pm

Hi Kenny. Here are some of the top results from my original Brainstorm It session (in the order: demand, supply, profitability). From memory I think SBI advises having at least one keyword with demand >1000 and at least 10 with demand >100. I also put these particular words to the top of my list (which totalled 500+ including a lateral search) since they all had strong profitability values and so I focused on these when making my site plan.


lucid dreaming
13067
5614
2328

lucid dreams
10534
2567
4104

lucid dream
6083
3087
1971

lucid dreaming guide
559
29
19276

how to lucid dream
773
42
18405

lucid dreaming techniques
844
82
10293

lucid dreaming machine
400
42
9524

what is lucid dreaming
622
89
6989

lucid dreaming methods
220
1
220000

lucid dreaming pills
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Said this on March 24, 2012 At 12:20 am

Hi Allan, This is an interesting article about Becky's website and business. She is right that SBI does teach valuable lessons about building a business and the importance of focusing on your business rather than the distractions on the internet of which there are many.

I would be interested in reading your thoughts on whether SBI website/business owners should also have a Facebook Fanpage/Business Page. There appears to be a significant shift in traffic generation towards social media rather than only relying on search engine optimized pages.  SBI now incorporates social media tools into its website building. Do you have any wisdom to give for someone starting a small business website - whether to incorporate social media from the start or to concentrate on original keyword focused content pages?

Regards

John Cosstick

Said this on March 24, 2012 At 02:15 am
Hi John, Excellent question but I'm not the best person to ask about social media. I know Google is placing more and more importance on social media but I've managed to do well in affiliate marketing while spending only the barest minimum time on social media.

It would be a good question to ask social media expert Dave Cupples when he has his free Q&A session on March 27. You can see the news item about the Social Media Q&A Session on the main page at http://www.AssociatePrograms.com

My guess is that he would tell you that SBI provides those social media tools for a very good reason. :)
Said this on March 25, 2012 At 07:06 pm

Hi John, I recommend starting a Facebook Page for your website in most cases. It helps create a sense of community for your site, especially if you don't have comment functions like Allan has here (I don't).

It also means you can promote a new article and get lots of targeted traffic to it in seconds. My lucid dreaming site has almost 6,000 fans and my Sheltie Planet site has 8,500 fans. They also help new content go viral which is a nice traffic bump and surely must boost each article's ranking on Google from the outset.

I have written a "how-to" guide on going viral on Facebook. It's not foolproof (certainly some niches gain interest better than others - consider a dog page vs an accountancy page) but it should kick start things for you: http://www.career-evolution.net/how-to-promote-your-business-on-facebook.php

Dan Curtis
Said this on March 24, 2012 At 10:54 pm

Becky,

I am bookmarking your article. You are an excellent businessperson and a great example for all of us.

And drop-dead gorgeous too! (Oops. Am I supposed to say that?)

Dan Curtis

Murigi
Said this on March 26, 2012 At 03:03 pm

I am new in SBI and currently still organizing my MKL.  Becky's story has encouraged and motivated me to move ahead with even more dtermination.  Thank you.

 Murigi

Said this on March 27, 2012 At 02:51 am

Love the article it’s nice to see a successful website, this is just what I needed motivation, sometimes I feel like giving up.

Said this on May 1, 2012 At 11:06 pm

Great post, Becky.  I really appreciate the depth of your sharing.  Too many people are posting short posts based upon some watered down ideas of what people can handle, and that keeps them inherently more superficial.  Thanks for taking the time to share so much with us, it certainly sparked some great ideas for me.

Said this on May 5, 2012 At 04:40 pm

very nice. Got inspiration from you

John Cowburn
Said this on May 16, 2012 At 06:06 am

Nice story! I think Becky has got it right, conversational articles which naturally attracts readers.

But one question - what is the point of Lucid Dreaming?

John

Said this on May 17, 2012 At 11:13 pm

Hi John, Becky says you can use lucid dreaming to act out your greatest fantasies and for personal development.

Her FAQ says: "The reason so many people are drawn to lucidity is because it sets them free and allows them to do impossible things in the dream world. Once you learn to induce conscious dreams, you can control your actions, manipulate the scenery, and drive the plot as you see fit. This enables you to explore the depths of the oceans or the edge of the universe. You can travel forward in time, fly to the moon, or run like a cheetah. There are no limits in the world of lucid dreaming."

Well, no limits except your imagination!

My view: Why do you read novels? To experience the pleasure of losing yourself in an imaginary world. I think you could give the same reason for trying lucid dreaming.

Said this on May 21, 2012 At 12:21 am

There have been some exciting developments in the two months since I did this interview with Allan.

I'm pleased to report a 40% growth in sales of my digital course, The Lucid Dreaming Fast Track, which now generates $3600/month and has boosted my bottom line to $7000/month. 

I've been contacted by several internet marketers who read this interview, and inspired me to scale things up. I've transferred my affiliate program from ClickBank to a more sophisticated platform which allows multiple tiers (JROX).

JROX allows affiliates to monitor their stats more closely, pick up a range of marketing materials (to which I'm adding more every day) and - most importantly - earn more! Im serious about affiliate sales and have decided to offer 65% ($24.05) on tier 1 sales and 10% on tier 2 sales.

My lucid dreaming affiliate sign up page is still the same. I hope to recruit some super affiliates and see sales rise even further... I'm still learning as I go, and am finding my affiliates have many things they can teach me :)

I'll keep posting as things develop.... Thanks all for your very encouraging comments!

Said this on May 21, 2012 At 02:39 am

Great information thanks for sharing this information about the affiliate business and make them successful thanks for sharing with us..

Said this on June 8, 2012 At 12:32 pm

Becky seems to be living my dream… lucid or otherwise. I congratulate her and must admit to a bit of envy. 

I, too, started with SBI. I developed a web site that I envisioned making money by going the “sell someone else’s products as an affiliate” route. So far I haven’t made one sale and my Adsense revenue doesn’t even cover what SBI charges me. Clearly I’m missing something.

But I digress. 

One thing Becky touched on confirmed what I have been thinking about as the best way to start making money online. That is to develop your own digital products as the focus (the core) of an online business, and look to make money as someone else’s affiliate as a secondary revenue source somewhere down the line. 

For a beginner, there just seems to be so much out of your control when it comes to making money as an affiliate. And Google doesn’t help with the way they keep making changes. Building a business based on SEO traffic appears to me to be like building a house on shifting sand. 

I seem to have blown an opportunity for making money online by spending so much time on the approach I used. SBI certainly gives a great education for building web sites, and I highly recommend them for that. 

However, there are too many variables that continually change, and if the things I’m hearing about “cutting edge” SEO are true (and who really knows?), then SBI will need to change a lot about what they teach in their guidelines. 

I don’t think I want to go back and make changes to hundreds of pages that would take me hundreds of hours. All for the “possibility” that making the changes would actually work. I think I’m done at this point… just too discouraging and unrewarding. 

Yes, if I had to do it all over again I would follow Becky’s “World of Lucid Dreaming” example and create my own products as the basis for an online business. 

Becky, I wish you all the best as you grow your businesses, and I appreciate that you took the time to share good, honest information about what’s working for you. It’s both helpful and inspirational.

Regards,

Robert

Said this on June 9, 2012 At 12:03 am

Hi Robert, Nice looking site! I'm sorry to hear it's not generating much revenue after so much work.

Creating your own product IS a good idea, but so too is being an affiliate. Affiliate marketing is a multi-BILLION-dollar industry. Lots of affiliates do very well out of it. Yes, there are a lot of challenges, but the rewards can be very good, too.

As far as SEO goes, remember that SiteSell's Ken Evoy can study 40,000 SBI websites in a huge range of different niches, seeing what they do, and know which sites get traffic and which sites don't. That puts him in a unique position online to know what actually works and what doesn't. 

Let's have a quick look at a couple of ways you might be able to turn things around.

First, improving rankings in search engines. I wonder if there's some way you could think of to generate high quality one-way links to your site?

I think a high priority should be writing first-person articles on your adventure travels for other adventure travel websites and blogs.

With all the travel you've done, you should have plenty of ideas for articles. Not just a list of travel tips, but first-person accounts describing your experiences. Articles that will tempt readers to click on the link to your site to learn more about your experiences.

If that would be too much of a struggle for you, perhaps you could interview adventure travelers and get those interviews published as guest posts.

Second, your content. Your site looks really professional, but I wonder if it's totally in tune with your market. When I think of adventure travel, I think of adrenaline junkies looking for excitement - bungee jumping, heli skiing and taking high-speed jetboat rides down narrow gorges. I wonder if your website's "look and feel" is a bit too, sorry to say it, impersonal and staid for that audience. You could liven it up a bit by injecting more of your own personality into the writing.

As you know, travel is an intensely competitive niche. I'd hate to see you give up when with a bit more work and a few tweaks to show there's a real person behind the site you might start generating decent revenue. And perhaps revenue that could continue for many years.

In summary, because you're in such a competitive niche, I think you need to do more to stand out from the crowd. Maybe you could write an article for your site called "Top 10 Crazy Travel Experiences" and get a few friends on other travel sits to link to it. Maybe you find 10 crazy YouTube videos and  post them on your site (it's surprisingly easy) with a very brief intro for each one.

Start asking yourself, "What can I do to get attention?"

Said this on June 10, 2012 At 01:01 pm

In the article you said; "Over the past 30 days, organic Google searches have accounted for 70% of my web traffic. Facebook accounted for 10%, and direct traffic another 10%. The rest came from smaller search engines like Bing and Yahoo, as well as social media like StumbleUpon and Reddit."

Are you primarily focusing on organic traffic based on keywords that you have prominently placed or how did you get your site (or any site) in front of organic searchers?  I understand the concept of organic searches and what qualifies, or at least I think I do.  However, I don't understand what drives some search results organically to one site over another, if it is all truly 'organic.'

Can you give some insight on this?

Thanks

Said this on June 14, 2012 At 04:13 am

Hi Jonathan. Organic just means it falls naturally in Google's search results, and isnt a paid ad.

I am highly focused on deriving free organic traffic, based on keywords I've placed in SBI's recommended 'hourglass formula' (more at the start and finish, fewer in the middle). It becomes second nature to write articles in this format for the net. This doesn't replace the need for compelling content, but it does help people find you when they are searching Google for your specific info.

What gives one site prominence over another in organic searches? Google has an algorithm which is complex and constantly changing, but we do know a major factor is how your keywords appear in terms of:

- body text density (without kw stuffing)
- text anchors
- headings/subheadings
- image meta tags
- inbound text links from other sites

There are many sites and courses dedicated to teaching you this strategy in detail, and I learned it while taking SBI's training. I only ever use legitimate white hat techniques in my search engine optimization. Ultimately Google is getting better at weeding out the sites that use spammy techniques and demoting them, so there's no point in trying to trick the SEs - just be genuine in your approach.

Hope that helps!

Said this on June 14, 2012 At 03:59 am

Hi Robert. Thanks for the lovely feedback and support! I had a quick look at your site too and wanted to offer some useful feedback, as I really do think it would be a shame to abandon this site now.

At first glance it has all the makings of a successful SBI site. (I like the photos in the header, they're really great.) Like Allan says, I think with some focused tweaks you could see some real ROI.

For more traffic, I'd consider the length of your homepage. My lucid homepage is quite long at nearly 3000 words. It used to be <1000 words. VERY soon after upping the word count, the ranking jumped from page 4 to page 2 on Google. I think this just gave me more opportunity to pack more juicy keywords in....

I'd also back up Allan's ideas for writing more high-impact, personalized articles. This is something I'm still learning to do, but when you hit on an in-demand topic with the right angle, you can get 50,000 Stumbles and it really makes your week! :) Your website has great potential for this, especially with your own outrageous travel stories or info about bizarre places from around the world. You already have the core website in place so I urge you to use this as a springboard to create some superb viral content. 

In terms of income, the top right hand area where you have your 'Subscribe to this site' box - this is prime advertising space. I would definitely use it for an image to an affiliate product review or direct/PPC ads, and make it big and prominent (can you fit a 160px banner?)

I would test ditching the 'Share this page' buttons at the center top, in favor of smaller Facebook, Tweet and Stumble buttons (these are the ones that work best for me).

I might also drop that horizontal ad at the center top, as a test. It doesn't scream any particular benefit (you have to stop and read it) and I'm thinking the eye skips straight over it and to the main title anyway.

The perfect formula for ads is hard to get right and involves lots of trial and error, but these are the alternatives I'd test out first. I'm guessing the AdSense at the end of the page gets a low CTR - if so, drop it, because it distracts people from entering into the C2 submission below, which is more important than a few extra bucks at this stage.

I'd also consider a PPC medium rectangle text/image ad at the top left of each article, with text wrapped around it. I do this on my Sheltie website (eg: About Shetland Sheepdogs) and it's the best configuration I've found yet for this site.

I also feel many of the content pages look ad-heavy which puts readers off. It's important that they are encouraged to delve into your content, so you get the relationship, as well as clicking ads. Rather than quantity, go for quality. Drop the ads that rarely get clicked and keep testing placement of the ones that do work.

Some of your Tier 3 page links looks like ads too, such as writing 'Rating 4+ stars' in red, I don't know why, it just looks like an ad to me! Since these are actually linking to more articles, I'd make them obviously so. Place a little thumbnail image (works great for my lucid site, giving more structure and clarity to the reader). Also consider converting the title from the basic "Adventure Travel Mexico" to someting with more emotion and benefits like "Adventure Travel in Mexico - Experience Exotic Cuisine and Awesome Architecture".

That's all for now :) I do like to get into the nitty gritty!

If I had to sum it up I'd say: think about the reader experience - what they WANT, plus how you want to direct their attention around the site. Each page should have its own Most Wanted Response (that fulfils their need) and should be free of any clutter (namely, ads and unused social bookmarks) that isn't doing its job.

PS - don't worry about Google's SEO changes, it can drive you crazy. Long term: just focus on writing strong, keywrod focused, viral content that people really want to read.

Best of luck!!

Said this on June 14, 2012 At 06:18 pm

Hi Becky, Thanks for taking the time to give such comprehensive, useful replies. You deserve all the success you get!

Said this on June 15, 2012 At 01:57 pm

nice post....i love it

Said this on July 2, 2012 At 06:47 pm

Hi Becky

This is a really inspirational article. I am just starting out on my path to Entrepreneurship, and people like you give people like me fuel for the dream.

I certainly will be taking into consideration the points you make as I implement my Affiliate marketing plan.

Thank you

Steve

Said this on July 8, 2012 At 11:49 pm

Thanks Great Article. Good story. Best Tips and tricks. It open my mind.

Said this on July 20, 2012 At 04:33 am

Great information thank you for sharing this information about the affiliate business and make them successful thanks for sharing with us. It is very helpful to us.

Said this on October 18, 2012 At 11:06 am

The struggle is relentless, it will definitely produce results. However, it is very difficult to be a successful affiliate marketer. However, it is not impossible, I am very motivated with exposure to the above experience, may be more enlightening and makes everything easy. Pray for me, thanks.

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