Today I have re-jigged the holding page, tweaking the layout slightly. I’ve also signed up for a new Google account for Mummywear and added the latest Google Analytics code to the website. I wanted to get a good web statistics package in place from the very outset, and although for simpler sites I am a strong proponent of Statcounter, Google analytics would seem to provide many of the tools required for more complex marketing analysis. I’m also considering the use of some ppc (pay-per-click) advertising at some future point, and there are useful integration tools within Google Analytics which I’d like to explore. I’ll blog in greater depth on the subject of Google Analytics when I have some feedback on how effective a marketing tool I find it.
I’ve also been doing some fairly intensive reading around the subject of affiliate marketing online, and have been further investigating competing sites in my niche. One thing I am keen to find out is whether or not I need to develop an information-rich site before I approach potential new retailers.
Next tasks also include:
Creation of a favicon and perhaps a standalone logo.
Investigation into whether Joomla/Virtuemart, Magento, or another platform represent the correct content management system for the site.
Mocking up a site layout and getting some feedback on design/colour scheme/navigation.
Installation of CMS.
Checking which Affiliate Programmes I currently have relationships with – I’ve signed up for a couple but without going any further in terms of marketing or development – offer suitable retailers.
Making a list of target retailers.
Signing up to new affiliate sites.
Developing content for the site in terms of original articles and web copy, suitable topics for blogging and useful tools or applications. I like the idea of a newsletter for expectant mothers, date predictors, links to baby name sites and so on.
Over the past 5 years I have developed a skillset combining graphic and web design, web development, ecommerce, Joomla! development, Virtuemart customisation and search engine optimisation, along with an in-depth understanding of internet marketing. Every time I develop a client project there is a part of me that resents the fact that my work will provide a continuing business tool and income stream, of which I share no part except for ongoing hosting and maintenance income.
I’ve long flirted with the idea of developing my own affiliate marketing site and applying my skills to give it search engine prominence. I’ve even bought a number of domains with projects in mind and have a joint venture in development for an ecommerce bookshop. Affiliate marketing appeals because it offers the enticing prospect of developing a (relatively) passive income stream, using a model which can be duplicated in a number of niche markets.
The idea is to set up a website featuring a range of maternity fashion from a number of UK maternity retailers. Customers will be able to compare products from all the major retailers before going on to purchase the products on the retailer site. I’ll take a commission on the sale, without the headache of order processing or fulfillment.
Day zero involved purchasing the domains, setting up shared hosting using my reseller account, creating a logo (which will no doubt evolve as I develop the site) and putting up a holding page.
I intend to spend a working hour each day on managing the project and any free time I have developing and promoting the site.
I’ll blog, hopefully daily, on progress. This will act as part social marketing, part blueprint for further niches. I intend to give the site a full year to develop, but to keep a tally of income vs expenditure as I go along.