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Thread: Monthly Budget for Niche Affiliate Marketing Site

  1. #1
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    Default Monthly Budget for Niche Affiliate Marketing Site

    Hi there : )

    Even though I realize that monthly costs to maintain a new niche affiliate site are minimal, I am wanting to make sure I'm not missing anything with regard to budgeting 'for success' as I start a new endeavor.

    I thought I'd take a stab at understanding possible costs, here, with the exception of PPC paid advertising (which I ironically understand fully) -- so, for learning purposes for all, if you can see where something is 'missed' in this budget cost list (as I am a total newbie), please add it in (with comments) based on your experience.

    Please note, I am still trying to 'fill in the blanks' in my understanding, trying to understand costs upfront, and there are some things that will be absolutely lacking or wrong in the costs below ; )

    Please let me know what I'm forgetting, what I'm not including, and what should be added that may be of 'common sense' value, based on your experience (and, please state your experience - longevity, success, and/or niche - so that we understand the value of any bells and whistles you recommend - or 'basics' I've missed):

    (Note: I realize to just get 'up and running' it can be as low as $10, so I am trying to explore other costs I might be overlooking, and identifying 'bells and whistles' for optimal results...so, this is very 'a la carte' and not in any particular order - like a menu of options - and therefore any other fun/effective suggestions are encouraged)

    COSTS
    Domain Fee: Up to $12.00 if on GoDaddy.com (or more, if popular), and free with one hosting site I'm aware of.

    Hosting Fee: If HostGator, approximately $8.00 monthly, not counting the free first month with Lynn's coupon code. The bonus, to me, is being able to add multiple sites.

    WordPress: Free

    WordPress Theme: Free, or optional cost for theme selected.

    WordPress Plugins: I have not traveled far enough into setup to know the cost of these...but many plugins are recommended to make everything operate correctly. Help! : ) **I think this is where I need the most help**

    Paypal Account: Free

    Ability to serve as Affiliate with a Merchant: Free (takes know-how and organization, and the ability to maintain relationship sometimes based on ability to generate traffic)

    Ability to hone SEO in a 'white hat' way with design and keywords: Free (takes time and learning)

    Twitter Account to send traffic to site: Free

    Facebook Account to send traffic to site, and to share site blog/deal infos to FB followers: Free

    Blogging: Blog comes with WordPress setup ~ Free (takes time and learning)

    Hosting Guest Bloggers: Free (takes maneuvering : )

    Placing a Blog Article on another relevant site: Free (takes maneuvering : )

    Other Online and Offline No-Cost Marketing Methods to Drive Traffic to Site (not discussed here, but there are many): Free

    Email capture for sending newsletter and Email specials to opt-ins: Free

    Automated Service (Autoresponder) to send newsletters and Email specials: either Free (one service I know of), or AWeber seems to be the best: $1 first month, $20 for over 500 subscribers per month.

    Other autoresponders to filter Tweets to FB, or filter Blog posts to FB: Still investigating...seems to be many, and is mainly based on preference...so any info/opinions here are appreciated.

    Google Adwords Account = Free

    PPC Costs = Varies (I'm familar with this)

    Google Adsense Account = Free

    [Other Bing-type or advertising networks & cost?]

    Cost of purchasing products sold by merchants in order to review = Varies

    Online Trend Research Services = Many are free

    Syndicating via RSS Setup = Free

    Ongoing Education and Educational Products/Tools = Essential, Some Free & Some Not - Varies

    Joining Affiliate Network = Free


    ***********

    BELLS AND WHISTLES: (Please note again that I realize that success 'can' be achieved without these, but just listing out what I know of in terms of 'bells and whistles')

    * NetMechanic - can notify you if any of your sales/affiliate links are down - $20/mo.

    * OrganizedAffiliate (software) - approximately $70 (to organize details for multiple merchants and sites)

    * WordTracker - either almost $400 annually, or about $70 per month

    * Paid Content - Varies

    * UltraEdit (text editor) - supplements or replaces notepad, but notepad suffices - either $60-$90 for purchase

    * Bookeeper - I understand this is highly recommended : ) - Varies


    ***********************

    Soooo....What am I missing? : ) Thanks for any thoughts!

  2. #2

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    WOW that is an overwhelming list!

    I don't even think 3+ years in that I use even half of that. Not sure what else to add other than the mailing list/autoresponder I don't believe one should use a free mailing list/autoresponder program.

    Maybe you could add under bells and whistles to hire a virtual assistant?
    ~Angie~

    Visit Newton's Travels, a couples & multi generational travel blog!

    Twitter|Instagram

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Houston, TX
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    Most (if not all) of the plugins will be free. There are some specialized plugins that would fit in the Bells & Whistles category like Pretty Link Pro, BackUpBuddy and plugins for ecommerce, affiliate programs or membership sites.

    I would definitely budget for at least 1 live event per year (like NAMS) and a mastermind membership (like Lynn's Elite Forum, Bob The Teacher's IM Success Library or Mark Hendrick's ISS for example).
    Christine Cobb
    Confused about Aweber, selling products and other technical challenges? [read more...]

  4. #4
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    thanks for your thoughts, Angie! Super appreciated : )

    this is great confirmation, and, again, Lynn's thoughts on this seem to ring true: It does not take a lot (financially) to get this going...that is 'so' encouraging : )

    have a great weekend!

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Thanks, chriscobb! : )

    It was hard finding out info about plugins, and I didn't want to get part way into
    establishing the Wordpress site without anticipating everything (I roll like that ;-)
    Might be a fault, but I am trying to overcome it : )

    Yes, I had forgotten about adding in education and development...I included
    them in my head, but didn't list - thanks for mentioning!

    Chris, confirming: is it your experience that I can have ecommerce and and an effective
    WordPress site without spending any money on plugins (until I want to upgrade)?

    Also...is changing a plugin 'later on' as an upgrade something that would wreac havoc
    on an already established site? Believe it or not, asking myself this question is
    causing me to definitely 'make' the investment in various areas...because 're-doing'
    would be both costlier and a hassle...

    Any additional thoughts are appreciated & thanks again for your previous thoughts
    and taking the time to contribute! : )

    have a great weekend!

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    hey, Angie : ) Another little question for you ~~

    A VA would be hired well into making a profit, correct?

    Would you say that a site at at least the $1500 mark, profit and/or revenue
    on a monthly basis would merit a VA...or would you say it's really
    not necessary until more revenue/profit -- and easily apparent growth
    potential by adding a VA -- is achieved?

    Thanks for any thoughts! : )

  7. #7

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    I don't think that you would have to be well into profit to hire a VA. Just need to invest the money you do make wisely Maybe you would start out hiring out for less work in the beginning and add on as you make more.

    I personally still hire out on a limited basis.
    ~Angie~

    Visit Newton's Travels, a couples & multi generational travel blog!

    Twitter|Instagram

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Virginia & UK
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    Wow that is quite a list but excellent that you are approaching it this way - so many people don’t and it's so much harder to put it all in place afterwards!

    I'm a web business broker so I know how important it is to have the finances organized and under control from the get go. I have my own sites too so know this from that perspective as well but am completely a non techie (don’t know a word or dash of code) and only started with WordPress after I sold a WP premium theme business for someone back in 2008, but am a total convert. Here's what I've learned in building a couple of sites on WP. Let me know if you would like an Excel spread sheet that you can use to generate a profit & loss statement by month – I’ll upload to Google Docs and get you a link. It probably has some other expense categories you may or may not have based on your niche but also some that I don’t see in your budget list.

    I also have a list of WP Plugins - all are free - one word of caution from my own initial over use (if one is good then more must be better right?) of plugins - use them only "as needed" to add functionality or better experience for readers as they can affect page load speed too. My experience is it's very simple and easy to install and uninstall or deactivate plugins. The trick is to do add them one at a time, then check that nothing "broke" as a result - that way you will know if one does not work and who is the culprit.

    An Auto responder, like AWeber is IMHO essential (I’m sure Lynn will have a referral link for you - do a search on ClickNewz for that) and will address the email capture and newsletter delivery at the same time as giving you list building (Opt in) forms for your site too. On WP themes they are pretty easily added in the admin settings (site wide) and or on an individual post or page using the html provide by AWeber.

    There are plugins and or widgets that will feed your posts and Tweets to Facebook and vice versa - be careful though that you don’t end up "stuffing" your timeline or feeds with the same posts from 3 or 4 different social streams because that's annoying and will have people leaving in a hurry.

    You may want to look at budgeting to use TweetAdder or a similar tool to build your followers quickly and I think it's about $20 a month you can stop and start as needed. Otherwise you can just do it the slow and sure way without spending on that – many books and blog posts out there to show you how.

    Hootsuite will allow you to "schedule" tweets with a free basic account but the Pro upgrade lets you “block schedule” tweets for just $5 a month and could save you a lot of time.

    Bells & Whistles:
    There are FREE plugins to
    Notify you if your links are broken.
    Automated Back-up to an Amazon S3 account (cheapest video/data backup hosting out there not as scary as it looks at first and works great I rescued my Dad’s site in minutes using that service was so grateful to have it)
    Ninja Affiliate is what I intend to use now that I am getting into more affiliate stuff but until now I just used an Excel spreadsheet and again you are welcome to that if you want it.

    Book Keeper – Quick Books is so easy to use and integrate into a website and will save you a fortune in accountant fees every year. But if you can’t or know you won’t do this yourself then absolutely pay someone to do it for you from the very start, actually do it from right now because all your development and research costs are business write offs too. I cannot tell you how important this is if you ever come to sell the site /business.

    Chris Cobb made an excellent point – budget for a brainstorming/mastermind membership and continuing education too. Again you will save way more than spend on these things simply from the mistakes they will stop you from making. Lynn’s and the other elites are a great resource for all types of help, feedback and tips to save you time, money and trouble.

    Virtual Assistant – A good VA can be what PUTS you into profit faster, if they help you stay organized and productive. My concept of a VA is that you connect with someone who helps you be more efficient, effective and above all more productive. Hire one to do the things you can’t or won’t do that you know you should be doing. It may be you have to start as Angie said with limited hours due to cost but the great thing about a VA is you get what you pay for and you pay for what you get. Know what you need done and a good estimation of how long it should take then decide how much (more) money you could make if you outsourced those tasks and gain the time to accomplish other more lucrative tasks on your list.

    Hope this helps, let me know if you want any of those XLSS or lists and I'll get the uploaded somewhere that you can pick them up.
    Cheers,
    Deb

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Fort Lauderdale, FL (Southern CA; Southern CT; Detroit)
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    Thank you, Angie, for your additional helpful thoughts about hiring a VA : )

    Debra, thanks so much for your contribution to my thinking process - super helpful to understand
    perspective from people already engaged in the process (and, also, a good double check on 'current'
    practices, as many preferences can change with new technologies) ~~

    Yes, would be highly interested in the Excel spreadsheet you mention, and I am now following you
    on Twitter as well : )

    It's this type of information and access that makes this site so wonderful; I hope to be able
    to contribute going forward with my own perspective/experience (what comes naturally to some of us,
    and what some of us 'take for granted,' could really 'make' someone else's day) ~

    Thanks again so much ~ truly grateful!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Fort Lauderdale, FL (Southern CA; Southern CT; Detroit)
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    Angie ~~ additional question: when you mention budgeting for a VA...is this the equivalent of using a site such as vworker.com, or having one person in particular as a VA? Also, if the latter, do you have any recommendations for locating and evaluating VA options, or bringing a VA onboard? Thanks! Best, RayEnergy

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