Alex from DehydratorBook.com

Posted by on Jul 29, 2010 in Success With Site Build It

Alex from DehydratorBook.com

Alex from DehydratorBook.com has created a niche site that while it may not give him financial freedom yet, it provides him with $500 per month and keeps on growing.

And Alex now knows how to do more of the sites like that. And that knowledge is in my experience priceless.

dehydrator website

My SBI site is DehydratorBook.com, which reviews food dehydrators and offers recipes.

For the last six months, the site has averaged over $500 a month.  I
built it to learn about online marketing, so any money it generates is
a cool bonus.

1. Did you know what you wanted to write about or did you have to find a niche?

I didn’t know what I wanted to build a site around when I ordered SBI.
Since I wasn’t going to be relying on my SBI site to pay the bills, I
knew I could take my time.  The Action Guide recommended not getting
stuck on an idea too early, and I remembered that.

After reading the guide, which took a weekend because of all the links
and notes, I checked out the forums.  The brainstorming thread you
started was about 20 pages long at the time.

(Last time I checked, it was over 40.  That thread is a must-read for
anyone that can’t decide on a site concept.)

After the forums, I visited your vacuum site.  I think you can see
your influence, as I wound up building a site about food dehydrators.
(I took nearly two months to decide on that.)

You may remember I emailed you for your thoughts on the idea, and you
predicted an average of $500 per month for the site.  That would’ve
been good enough for me, so I moved forward with it.

It also helped that I’ve wanted a dehydrator for a long time and the site (it’s a
business!) was a reasonable excuse to splurge on an Excalibur dehydrator.

2. How did you progress?

It took three months before I had my first 100 unique visitors in a
day.  I didn’t start putting ads up until then.  I started with Amazon
because they carried all the items I was going to write about.  Also,
because they sells so many things, I knew there was a chance I could
get commissions on items that had nothing to do with my site.

I use a little Adsense on a few pages and tested Chitika for a short
time too.  It didn’t make sense to me to be sending traffic to those
advertisers, since I already knew what they’re selling.

I could get cents for the click, but maybe that click to Amazon would’ve earned several dollars.  So on product review pages, I don’t use Adsense, but
I have some pages (like recipes) where I don’t have anything to sell,
so I use it on a few of those.

By December (the site launched in late May), the site was averaging
only 275 uniques/day, but still earned about $650.  January traffic
and commissions dropped (probably a natural thing), and then I slowed
down work on the site because I got bored.

At one point, I took down all Adsense code, because I thought I’d
rather have my traffic to go Amazon.  But I went to the Affiliate
Convention in LA, and keynote speaker Danny Sullivan joked that he
never heard of a site getting penalized for having too much Adsense.
I put it back on a few pages, and while I’m not saying that was the
cause, the effect was those pages’ rankings improved.

For two or three months, I stopped updating the site.  Traffic and
rankings were stable (stagnant), and I didn’t think it had potential
to earn much more.  I moved my site from SBI to another server when it
was time to renew.  The site was fine, but I forgot that it would
break all the C2 pages.

I left things broken for a little while, but when I came back to it, I saw traffic and revenue were improving.  So I felt it was time to fix it up, but it would’ve been too much trouble to rebuild all the forms and submissions.  I moved back to SiteSell.

Now the site gets 600 uniques/day and it looks like this month will
set a new high for income.

3. Can you share a few tips of what really worked well for getting more traffic?

I think getting a guest post on the site wisebread.com was the biggest
break.  That article was syndicated on msn.com, and that’s when I
learned the quality of a link was much more important than quantity.

When evaluating links, one of the best advice I read was to judge it
for its traffic instead of trying to guess its potential SEO benefits.
The idea is that traffic leads to exposure, which can lead to links
(or perhaps, sales).

For SEO, I emailed you for advice on the Yahoo Directory, and you said
it’s worth the fee.  I got that, and then submitted to a few more paid
directories.  They hardly send any traffic, but what I like is they’re
expensive for your competition to copy.

(Yes, I realize it was just the previous paragraph that I suggested
looking at traffic, but I don’t think anyone expects directories to
send much.  With directories, I look at the page my site would be
listed on and consider if I want to be associated with the others that
were accepted.)

4. Your plans for the future? (or anything else you’d like to share!)

I’m surprised the site is still growing, hitting 700 visitors for the
first time yesterday, so I think I’ll be adding more pages and working
on links.  According to Yahoo, I only have a couple hundred backlinks,
and that’s far from safe.  I see a lot of competing sites popping up
(everyone should be using Google Alerts), so that motivates me to keep
going.

I don’t have plans for another SBI site, but I’ve been able to apply a
lot of what I’ve learned in the AG to my other projects.

Thanks again for letting me share my SBI story here. And more thanks
for sharing your success and ideas, both here and on the boards.

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    12 Comments

  1. This is a very good story of a good website developing naturally with a few hiccups and on its way to succeeding. I especially like the statement ” That article was syndicated on msn.com, and that’s when I
    learned the quality of a link was much more important than quantity.” It solidifies the previous post written by tomaz and just how important it is to work hard for those high PR and niche relevant inbound links.

    I just recently went through a complete overhaul of my website with keywords, titles, descriptions, internal links, filename changes, photo size increases, alt tag adjustments, and navigiational structure changes. I am already seeing improvement from the changes that I haven’t seen in months. I have started on the hard search for great inbound links and it seems half the websites I go to are abandoned, but still have great PR.

    I do have one question. If you are a PR2 website. Should you try more to get PR 5-6 websites to link to you or should you focus more on PR 3-4 websites because they might listen more often?

    [Reply]

  2. Alex here. if you’re asking me Dwight, I would say don’t worry about the PR. If your site is going to be useful to his readers, then he’ll want to link to you. Maybe see if you can write a guest post for some sites.

    [Reply]

  3. Congrats Alex, how did you get a guest post, you just asked them?

    [Reply]

  4. Alex, congratulations! Does just about all your income come from Amazon? What percentage is from Adsense? I see on your site you’ve used Amazon widgets a lot. Do you find these work really well? I’ve personally used only text links so far but you’ve given me some great ideas.

    [Reply]

  5. Jeremy, wisebread has a ‘guest post’ page on their site where you can submit articles. You can probably find several sites/blogs in your niche that accept guest posts.

    Nisheth, I rely a lot on Amazon, which is bad. Adsense makes up less than 15%. I don’t have it on a lot of pages, and I don’t have enough traffic for it to be really profitable. I like the Amazon widgets and links because they fit in well with the SBI’s emphasis on preselling.

    Good stuff here: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2009/08/19/amazon-associates-tips/

    [Reply]

  6. Alex,

    I’m new to aff. marketing. I wanted to know if you need a companies permission before you put their product images on your site?

    [Reply]

  7. I don’t ask for permission because I don’t use their images for promoting other products, and it’s usually the same image Amazon uses for the Build-A-Link tool they provide.

    [Reply]

  8. How do you decide which products to review?

    In your case, lets say a manufacturer has 10 models of food dehydrators in their line, do you just review them all?

    [Reply]

  9. Keyword research to see which to do first, but yes, the aim is to get them all reviewed.

    [Reply]

  10. Alex, how are you able to review so many products? I mean, how do you get to use them? Do you contact manufacturers to give you a review unit?

    [Reply]

  11. I’d love to get an answer to vr’s last question. It’s a shame to leave the comments open with a good question like this regarding a product website. I’m interested in building a product based site but am curious about how to review products without actually owning them.

    [Reply]

  12. Type in the product in Google, read the top 10 pages in Google about it and then compile a review based on that information.

    [Reply]

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