Online Success Story:
Debbie Wells VintageDancer.com
I have two sites vintagedancer.com and www.1940s-fashion.com
Vintagedancer.com is my primary site and my labor of love and now profitable business. The site promotes clothing, shoes, and accessories that are new but look old/vintage/antique.
I have an affiliate ecommerce style shopping pages will all the items I find by era/decade and men/women so that people looking for clothing in a specific time period can get to it quickly.
I also blog about fashion history- using keyword research to target specific phrases and then promote matching products. I like to think that I sell products through education...
I created my first info product on 1940's fashion a few months ago. It sells on both vintagedancer.com and it's primary home 1940sfashion.com. The ebook includes a detailed fashion history with hundreds of photos, shopping links, and advice for wearing or making clothing from the 1940's.
Primary buyers are vintage fashion fans, people new to wearing vintage fashions of the 40's (like Swing Dancers), and students doing research.
1. When did you set up your website?
November 2009 I launched vintagedancer.com after trying a few others that I dropped because of lack of interest in the topic. Prior to that I had joined a Network Marketing company that I eventually dropped once I realized that I prefer to talk to people online then in person. Needless to say I am a bit shy so the online world seemed like a better fit.
2. What gave you the idea for this particular niche & website?
I love costumes and history. When I met my husband 2 years ago we both discovered that we loved dressing up and attending history themed events.
The more events we attended the more I had to research fashion and figure out what to wear. It was fun but frustrating that there is a lot of information about historical fashion online but hard to find good clothing, especially if your on a budget.
Light bulb moment. This niche seemed like one I could stick with for a long time and hopefully be profitable.
3. Did you have any experience with online business prior to creating this website?
No. My main motivation for an online business was to be in control of my our income, have a business that is (somewhat) passive, and be able to work from home so have I could quit my job and raise a family. Plus marketing always interested me so online marketing seemed like a new challenge I could really get into.
4. What did you do for work prior to setting up an online business?
I still work a full time job as an Event Coordinator for an annual sporting event. Its a fun job but it takes up a lot of my summer and pays very little so I want to get out of it. The good part is that in the non summer moths I have plenty of time to work on my sites while at work (shhh don't tell my boss.) I plan to retire from my 9-5 job within the next year and start a family. My husband is a software engineer so he helps me with technical stuff when I can't figure it out (which isn't often.)
5. How did you initially promote your website, and if different - how do you promote it now?
Initially I went crazy and thought if i made a forum and community for other vintage dancers it would be easy to sell clothing to them. I dropped that once I realized I didn't want to talk about dance as much as clothing and that your friends (aka my dance community) are never going to buy from you.
Now I primarily write blog posts for the site and optimize product descriptions with keywords. Since my niche isn't that competitive I usually rank on the first page of Google for most of my keywords.
I have had a harder time with SEO for my 1940s-fashion.com site. I am bad at networking with other sites for reviews/giveaways/guest posts so I need to do that more in order to get more sales. I also have an affiliate program for the ebook but my affiliates are not working very hard : (
6. Is your website profitable? Can you share some basic traffic & profit stats with us?
Yes. Finally just in the last few months my sales really took off.
I started with 100 a month, then 200, then 400 then last month a $1000. I am set for another $1200 this month and its just growing leaps and bounds. I get 35,000 hits a month on a variety of keywords all from search engines. Of those hits I make 3-7 affiliate sales a day.
My ebook is slower to sell at about 60 hits a day, 3 sales a week, and $240 a month. I thought an info product would really sell well but for me it hasn't met my pie in the sky expectations. It's still worth it just slower to be successful.
7. What are your plans for the site going forward?
Continue to use keyword research and matching products to educate and sell. I want to expand my current ebook and probably write another one and use a different method of marketing than SEO for it. I also want to expand my social media presences and network with similar sites/bloggers.
8. What ONE piece of advice would you give someone interested in starting their own niche site or blog?
Only one? Never give up. It took over a year to make any sort of decent profit and it was disheartening but then all of a sudden your hits skyrocket, your rankings increase and your sales are rolling in. In that moment all your hard work pays off and you can say "I did it." You will never get to that point if you give up.
9. What tool can't you live without? (I added this one since I know i'll get a lot of questions.)
Popshops.com is the tool I use to make my ecommerce pages. I love it. Without it listing the thousand of products I promote it would have been beyond my technical skills.
-Thank you, Debbie and congratulations on your success!