A newbie needs some help

22 replies
I have a website that has been going only for about 4 months - only averaging around 15 visitors per day, no conversions and almost no clicks.

I don't know if it is worth continuing and have purchased another domain in the health and wellness area.

Can I get some advice - my website is vacationhomesinmexico.com

Should I change my niche? What am I doing wrong here?
#newbie #should i shut it down
  • Profile picture of the author astral walker
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    • Profile picture of the author Shannonlee
      thank you - i am switching to another host and am going to try to implement your suggestions
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  • Profile picture of the author kk075
    I agree with almost all of Astral's advice except for one thing- optimizing for "best vacations homes in Mexico" is going to be a challenge. That's putting you up against all the vacation and home rental sites and it is going to be very difficult to outrank sites like Homeaway and VBRO. They have tens of thousands of pages, many of them user generated, and they're all in direct competition with you.

    So instead of focusing on Mexico in general, I'd get much more specific. Split your sites up to cover Cancun and all the other major destinations and work towards ranking for them instead. Now, you'll still go with the "whole Mexico" theme so you don't have to change anything you've done so far, but the more localized you can be...the quicker you will see organic traffic.

    The other advice is great though- focus on food, entertainment, local culture, party spots, etc. When I read your blog, I should feel like I'm in Mexico and experiencing the environment, so be sure to hit all the senses and keep doing what you're doing. It will take time and it is a harder niche to get off the ground, but it also has a whole lot more income potential tool.
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  • Profile picture of the author joelraitt
    How you planning on making money with the site man? Personally, I dont like the slow grind of SEO for stuff like this - think you're better off testing with paid traffic first. If that works, then add some resources to SEO - that's my opinion.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shannonlee
      How would you suggest I use PPC? I am a newbie. I have one page 1 ranking on google "what about a bullfight" - but I was told to use bing
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      • Profile picture of the author bluebay
        A lot of good tips here on increasing traffic to your site via SEO, backlinking, etc.

        But don't forget the other important factor if you want to generate income = Optimize conversions.

        You can have a million visitors to your site, but if they're only interested in Mexican beer and bullfights, and not on booking a hotel room in Mexico, then all your efforts will be for naught.

        As someone with a few websites generating affiliate income, I would like to advise you to please put as much importance on your site's conversion as you do on traffic.

        You have two offers on your site: One is for booking hotel rooms via Booking.com, the other for singles who love to travel.

        The landing pages for your two offers will produce low conversions simply because when a visitor to your site clicks on either of these banners, they are taken to pages with a lot of "stuff" happening on the page, and it's likely that your site visitor won't take any action at all because there's no incentive or reason for them to take action.

        Take the Booking.com home page for example. For best conversions, it would be ideal if you had an article on your website such as "5 Best ways to save on hotel rooms in Puerto Vallarta" or "How to save 20% on your next Puerto Vallarta hotel booking". Your article gives great info on saving on hotel reservations. Toward the end of your article, you would mention how booking your hotel online can save X% or X amount of dollars compared to going through a travel agency (as an example) [make sure your stats are honest and accurate, not fudging the numbers ]

        Then at the end of the article, you'll have a nice Call to Action like so: "Here's an online site where you can book a hotel reservation in Puerto Vallarta and save 20% on a beachfront room and... [mention whatever other benefits that Booking.com offers compared to the competition]. OR: "Check out this site for great hotel deals in Peurto Vallarta"

        You then link to the Booking.com page with the list of Puerto Vallarta hotels that match the criteria you mentioned in your article. Do NOT link to the home page of Booking.com. You want to make it as easy as possible for your site visitor, so link to the landing page where it already has all the Puerto Vallarta hotels that match the criteria you mentioned in you article, and so they can easily find the hotel of their choice and make the reservation.

        The key is to have your site visitor take as few steps as possible to complete the action you want them to take, in this case: to reserve a room on Booking.com so you can get an affiliate commission. If they read a great article on your site about hotels in Puerto Vallarta with the best deals, but then you link to the home page of Booking.com, you'll have fewer people who will go through the effort of doing a search on the site for Puerto Vallarta hotels. Instead, link to the Puerto Vallarta hotel page so that they're now one step closer to where they need to be.

        Even better: find 3 hotels or vacation homes in Puerto Vallarta that are featured in Booking.com. Do research on these 3 locations by visiting travel sites online as well as the info provided on the Booking.com page for each resort/condo/hotel.

        Read customer reviews about these 3 locations anywhere and everywhere online that you can find the info. Begin to find the pros and cons of all 3 locations. Find common themes. Now you've got some cool and helpful info for someone that's interested in taking a trip to P.Vallarta but is interested in staying at a condo/apartment, not a hotel. BTW, This is in line with the advice by "kk075" and "Antonio Seegars" who say to focus on long-tail keyword articles.

        So your article can be titled something like "3 beachfront Luxury condos in Puerto Vallarta without the luxury price".

        After you mention each location in your article, you can do a link directly to that luxury condo right in your article (I'm guessing that you can create affiliate links to specific pages on Booking.com? Meaning that Booking.com allows that? similar to linking to a product page on Amazon, is what I'm trying to say.)

        This type of article topic will give you much higher conversions than writing about music in Puerto Vallarta (for example), and then hoping that the person who reads that article will click on your banner in the side bar "Book Your Hotel with Booking.com", and then hoping take they'll take the time to search for hotels on their own.

        Especialliy in the beginning, everything on your site should be about taking your site visitor (by the hand) to the action you want them to take.

        If you want a site visitor to book a hotel room, vacation home, etc. on Booking.com, then walk them through every step along the way. But don't just take them to the Home Page of Booking.com and leave them to figure it out on their own. By the time they start to figure out the home page, the next episode of The Bachelor will take their attention away from your offer.

        Think of it this way: Let's say I have a review site for vacuum cleaners where I make affiliate commissions on AMazon. If I write a review for a new Dyson vacuum, I will make sure to link straight to that particular product page. I don't link to the AMazon home page, and have my site visitor find the product on their own.

        For maximum conversions on your site, I would advise you do something similar. If you write an article on "3 kid-friendly resorts in Cancun" then make sure the links in your article go straight to those 3 kid-friendly resorts (don't forget to add your affiliate link ) on Booking.com. Yea?

        Also, switch your focus to "problem solver". You are solving problems for your site visitor. You are saving them time. You are doing all the research for them, so that they don't have to. You are providing value.

        By solving specific problems, you effortlessly will tackle long-tail keywords and get highly targeted traffic (which leads to maximum conversions).

        For maximum conversions, you want to solve problems specifically for people that are planning a trip to Mexico and are looking for a specific hotel/vacation home/resort for their specific needs.

        So how to find out what problems to solve so you can turn these into articles on your site?

        1. Check out travel forums: there's a "Mexico forums" section on Trip Advisor.com, and just running through a few threads can give some ideas on problems faced by tourists or some fun things that travelers are looking for.

        For example:
        You have the bride-to-be who wants to find the most romantic resort in Cancun for her and future hubby's honeymoon. Money is not an issue because her parents are paying for the trip (thanks mom and dad). But she doesn't have much time to do all the research b/c she's picking out wedding invitations and planning her bachelorette party and writing her wedding vows. So she does a google search for "romantic honeymoon resorts in Cancun" and your article shows up. She clicks to the article on your site, and you have the most comprehensive info available on 3-5 Cancun resorts and what makes these the most romantic. You include info about what other honeymooners have loved about these 5 resorts, is there horse riding or other fun activities nearby for newlyweds to enjoy? etc.

        2. The google keyword planner tool is a good place to find "problems"
        If I type in "beach resorts in Cancun", I start to get some cool ideas for future articles....
        Here are some interesting keywords that the google kw tool generated under the "keyword ideas" tab:
        --"hidden beach resort Cancun" = nice! Looks like some people are interesting in finding a secluded beach in Cancun that's away from the crowds. Are there any resorts on Booking.com that fit this criteria? If so...Bingo. You now have a cool article that will help solve a problem: "I wanna visit Cancun, but I'm not interesting in sharing a beach with 100's of other loud tourists." So, now you can write an article on "3 hidden beach resorts in Cancun for that perfect romantic getaway". You write a helpful, detailed review for each of those hidden beach resorts (or maybe Cancun just has one hidden beach resort?) and remember to link inside the article (with your affiliate links) to each page on Booking.com that links directly to that resort.

        --"best all inclusive resorts Cancun" = okay, this may be too competitive and a bit tricky to rank in the beginning. You'll want to do some keyword research and see how difficult it would be to rank for this one.

        Or, on second thought, don't worry about keyword competition (I say this at the risk of getting banned from this forum, lol). Heck, I've written articles on my product review website when it was a new site even though the keyword was highly competitive, but I loved the topic, and I just went for it. Maybe you know a good amount of info on "all-inclusive resorts in Cancun" and would love to write an article on that topic. Don't let Competition analysis discourage you. You may have a site visitor that comes to your site through another article, and sees your article on "all-inclusive resorts in Cancun" and that's the exact info they were looking for. So, you may not rank for "best all inclusive resorts in Cancun" but if you have traffic coming in from other related articles, your "all-inclusive resorts" article will start to get on-site traffic and clicks to Booking.com

        --"best family resorts in Cancun" = people are looking for a kid-friendly resort. If Booking.com has resorts that match this criteria, then now you have another cool article topic....or maybe even several articles. I can see this topic being broken down into several articles.

        So, the above keywords came from just punching in one keyword for one city into the google keyword planner tool. If you do this for a handful of cities in Mexico (make sure they have resorts/hotels featured in Booking.com), you'll have a nice list of article ideas. And these articles will attract highly targeted traffic to your site that are focused on booking a hotel room or vacation home in Mexico. This will give you a much higher conversion rate than an article on Mexican beers, because we don't know if that site visitor is also interested in booking a hotel room in Mexico.

        Other places for article ideas related to booking a hotel room/resort: travel magazines; online reviews on Amazon for books on traveling in mexico; other travel forums in addition to TripAdvisor.com.

        Remember, you're looking for problems that a tourist has (problems specifically related to finding the right hotel room/condo/resort) so that you can solve those problems with a helpful article, and each article will have a direct link to specific hotels that match what they need and solve their "problem/challenge".

        Make your path to generating income as short as possible. If you want to generate affiliate commissions from Booking.com, then make sure you target an online audience that's just steps away from booking their hotel room/condo/resort in Cancun, Rosarito, Ixtapa, etc. You do this by focusing on articles that single out a couple of resorts that match exactly what they're looking for: Inexpensive hotels in Acapulco; beachside condos in Playa del Carmen; Mazatlan vacation homes with pool and full concierge service (I made that up, don't know if that would really be a search), etc.

        Make each article as specific as possible in order to target as specific a group of people as possible (remember: you're solving problems). You want to position yourself for maximum conversions.

        Later on, you can have fun with adding articles on Mexican beer and other cool topics not specifically related to booking hotel rooms and vacation condos. But for now, get highly targeted traffic that you can convert on Booking.com and start making money!

        And finally, congratulations for getting to where you are. Most of us (including me when I first started) just can't get past that initial barrier of building a site. But You did it!...a sign of your inevitable success.

        Final note: I focused only on Booking.com for suggestions, but you'll want to take the same approach for your other affiliate offer: BestSingleTravel.com. Again, you'll want to make sure that they have affiliate links available for linking straight to a particular "vacation package" page. Linking to their home page just won't give you optimal conversions.
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      • Profile picture of the author aldog1396
        No don't do PPC because it's like taking a big risk and you will compete with the really big companies.

        Test you site out first with a small traffic package and see if it makes sales and if not make the proper adjustments.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shellg
      Originally Posted by joelraitt View Post

      How you planning on making money with the site man? Personally, I dont like the slow grind of SEO for stuff like this - think you're better off testing with paid traffic first. If that works, then add some resources to SEO - that's my opinion.
      Is it really a good idea to use paid traffic first? It seems to be a risk for us newbies that dont have much cash to spare.
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  • Profile picture of the author heruma
    You can try to guest blogging at other traveling blogs.
    If you have video's about the places your mention, you might want to upload to youtube and embed it on your site.
    You have a subscribe widget at the right of your page. My question is what do you want to achieved with it? My question as a visitor is "What's in it for me ?"
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  • Profile picture of the author hilear
    What exact keywords are you trying to rank for?

    Tighten up your SEO.

    Of the 6 article on the homepage only 2-3 are about homes the others are about architecture, chilis and bullfights. While they may be good articles they are not going to help you rank for vacation homes in Mexico.

    I would actually try and rank for a smaller niche like:
    Vacation Homes in Acapulco
    Vacation Homes in Cancun
    Vacation Homes in Rosarito
    Inexpensive Vacation Homes in Mexico
    Romantic Vacation Homes in Mexico etc

    With time and consistently building the site with more content you could gain some traction. As you start to add content people just seem to find you. You only have about 10 articles on the whole site right now.

    I have a site with about 100 articles on it right now. It is not ranking high for any main keywords either but my traffic is in the thousands every month and it continues to grow with the more articles I post around my subject matter.

    One thing I would do right now is write a "Free Guide to Vacationing in Mexico" or something like that with your best tips to having fun in Mexico and use that to get subscribers. Give people an incentive to subscribe to your service. This way you will own your own traffic. With a couple hundred people as subscribers you could have a business regardless if Google ranks you or not!
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    • Profile picture of the author Shannonlee
      thank you - i am having an ebook done right now.........
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  • Profile picture of the author Slade556
    Guest blogging on other websites in your niche is a good idea. It will get you more visibility.
    Your website is only 4 months old though, give it some more time before giving up!
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  • Profile picture of the author adrienneaileen24
    You should do some SEO to increase your site Page Rank & visitor. If you use more & more do-follow bank link, you will get a good result soon. because the Do-follow link increase the site page Rank & traffic at a time while the No-follow link increase your site traffic only. you should do the Forum posting, Blog commenting, bookmarking, Rss something like these.
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    • Profile picture of the author More Than Tips
      I like the previous replies they give good technical actionable advice. But one thing you really have to do is HAVE FUN WITH IT!

      Hey its Mexico! you should be painting pictures in peoples minds all the pleasures they can be indulging in when in Mexico.

      How about some fantastic pictures on Instagram and other social media sites with mouth watering lobsters and other tasty treats. All the water sports available and the music and festivals.

      Get people wanting to go there then hit them with your great resource on living there.

      There are people out there that are not searching for Mexico but they are searching for fun places to retire and or visit? Think like they do.

      And socialize! Find groups that love to travel and join the conversations.

      Sort of make your website a convenient resource but everything else is just fun interactions about traveling and the joys of being in Mexico.

      Now if you are not feeling Mexico then that is a different story....Maybe flip it to someone that can rebuild it and pick a place you really love to dive into and promote while having fun doing it.

      Good luck to you, travel niche is huge and lucrative!
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  • Profile picture of the author skyro
    First try find more ways to get traffic to your site eg. Creating post on Facebook groups in your niche , creating tweets , using pinterest ,YouTube etc. Utilize as much social media sites as you can to get your site out there and also paid traffic such as banner advertisement. Keep creating more good content as well. After begin to get more traffic find more ways to monetize your site eg. placing banners, cpa offers and adsense.
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  • Profile picture of the author johnben1444
    Originally Posted by Shannonlee View Post


    I don't know if it is worth continuing and have purchased another domain in the health and wellness area.
    The health and wellness area is a very competitive niche.
    Even the most experienced SEOer will have trouble getting
    SE traffic unless if you want to look at other traffic
    method which is almost a fuse.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shannonlee
      I actually bought a domain on depression and anxiety.......what is your opinion of that?
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  • Profile picture of the author newideamarketing
    Banned
    yeah you just need to increase the conversion rate, but first you need a lot more traffic sounds like seo
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidAllenNeron
    Originally Posted by Shannonlee View Post

    I have a website that has been going only for about 4 months - only averaging around 15 visitors per day, no conversions and almost no clicks.

    I don't know if it is worth continuing and have purchased another domain in the health and wellness area.

    Can I get some advice - my website is vacationhomesinmexico.com

    Should I change my niche? What am I doing wrong here?
    Your domain name is a gold mine; you're doing a lot wrong with your site.

    You should really live up to your domain name, get the ol' phone book out and find realtors or people trying to sell property as a vacation home, talk to people who just got back from Mexico, people who have vacation homes there; network, and find agents who have good listings and make deals with them... then advertise directly to people looking to vacation in mexico broadly and a more targeted campaign to people specifically looking for vacation homes in mexico.

    You need a more comprehensive website I think.

    You could really make it work depending on the direction you take it and the work you put into it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shannonlee
      so do you think I should make it more of a "real estate" site?
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      • Profile picture of the author DavidAllenNeron
        Originally Posted by Shannonlee View Post

        so do you think I should make it more of a "real estate" site?
        I think you could make a heck of a lot more money going that route, but that's just my opinion.

        You could make some big commissions and use all of that traffic to sell advertising and promote other related things to increase your profits.

        It's more 'relevant' in my eyes to search engines that it would be more of a 'real estate' site or at least a place where they can find other resources (with the end goal being "a vacation home in mexico")
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  • Profile picture of the author amuro
    Originally Posted by Shannonlee View Post

    I have a website that has been going only for about 4 months - only averaging around 15 visitors per day, no conversions and almost no clicks.

    I don't know if it is worth continuing and have purchased another domain in the health and wellness area.

    Can I get some advice - my website is vacationhomesinmexico.com

    Should I change my niche? What am I doing wrong here?


    Hi Shannon Lee,

    Instead of having just a website, you might consider having a squeeze page or landing page as well.

    To be honest, what looking at websites like this, most people - including myself just browse through the information and if they cannot find what they want, they just leave.

    Just for your info, a squeeze page is a single webpage that is designed for one purpose.

    And that is to capture visitors' name and email address. But in order to do that, you need to give away something of value.

    Instead of just building a site, why don't you write a short 5-10 report based on your site content and give it away for free?

    Doing that is much easier than building a site. You just type what you know in MS Word or Open Office before converting into PDF format.

    If people are interested, they will optin and at the same time you can leave your affiliate link below your final paragraph in that report?

    You can also follow up with them via autoresponder emails providing a link to your blog and offers related to vacations.

    And the reason why you need a blog besides your squeeze page is because you want to build a relationship with your subscribers by telling who you are and what you know instead of spamming them with offers after offers like most marketers do.

    For autoresponder, I only recommend Aweber since that is what I have been using for 5 years.

    To be successful in internet marketing especially newbie, you need 4 things.

    1. Free Report

    2. Squeeze Page

    3. Autoresponder

    4. Blog


    The first one is very easy to do.

    The second one you can do Google search or if you don't mind spending $, I recommend Optimize Press or Leadpages which most marketers are using these days.

    You also need to invest in web hosting and domain name to put the squeeze page online for as many people to see as possible.

    The third one is for you to send emails and add optin form for people to fill in their name and email address.

    And the final one is what you already have.

    Hope that answers your question.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
    You've received some good advice, but it's also broad and all over the map.

    A few thoughts:

    1. It's a huge mistake to make SEO your primary marketing focus.

    There's a lot of of talk around here about SEO, but it's not very smart because you're essentially allowing Google and similar sites to control your business. Do. Not. Do. That. You can invest TONS of time and effort optimizing your site for long tail keywords, getting back links, etc. but if Google comes in and makes even minor changes to their algorithm, your site can be tanked -- and all of your effort and time is wasted.

    I'm not trying to discourage you. But I STRONGLY encourage everyone to keep as much control of their own business as possible. Be smart and use relevant keywords, get back links where you can and it makes sense, etc. But DON'T make it your primary focus. SEO should be LAST on your list of just 5 marketing methods, for example.


    2. Pick 3-4 core marketing strategies and stick with them.

    The key is focus and consistency. It's hard to see any results without focus and clarity. When you have focus, you have direction and concrete steps to take, instead of floating around wondering what you should actually DO.

    Successful marketing is nothing more than good marketing strategies repeated over and over again. You're much better off focusing on 3-4 marketing methods and staying consistent with them, than taking a scattershot approach, attempting 20 different marketing methods and being consistent with none.

    Which marketing methods you choose will depend on your product, niche and target audience. However, a social media presence is non-negotiable and video is BIG -- and getting bigger.

    For your Mexico vacation homes example, 3 good marketing channels would be:

    1. Facebook
    2. YouTube
    3. Your site/blog

    That's it!

    Facebook and YouTube have HUGE audiences already and you need to go where the people are. Social media also requires commitment and consistency. So pick one or two sites and stick with them.


    3. DON'T run PPC unless you know exactly how you're going to make money.

    So decide on how you'll make money. Are you going to sell your own products/services? Affiliate products/services? Ads on your site?

    You first need to have an idea of what you can afford to spend based on potential return (sales).

    (Tip: It's faster and easier to sell affiliate products/service than creating your own. Places like ClickBank and JVZoo will tell you what's selling well right now. Even if you want to create your own product/service, you can TEST quickly and easily with a similar product/service as an affiliate. )

    However, you DO need to be prepared to spend some money to build your audience. And smartly run PPC campaign is a great way to build an audience and get customers. In this example, you're using Facebook, YouTube and your blog. So you'll need to learn Facebook and YouTube advertising.


    4. Have a specific process/objective in place before starting any marketing.

    Usually, this is NOT an immediate sale. Your goal should be to build your list first. Once people are on your list, THEN you can market to them over and over again via e-mail.

    So your flow looks like this:

    Traffic > Opt-in page > Autoresponder series (or e-zine) > Sales page

    Your goal on Facebook, YouTube and your blog is to 1) provide value and 2) build relationships to get people onto your list.

    So pick a niche with all of this in mind. Marketing is all about building relationships, which takes time. So pick something you can stick with for a while, because it will take some time to gain some traction. DON'T pick something strictly because it looks like you can make a lot of money quickly.

    Once you've chosen a niche and your marketing channels, we can recommend some training courses for you to learn what you need.

    To get started though:

    1. Decide what you actually want to sell. Pick a niche.
    2. Pick 2-3 marketing channels.
    3. Focus!

    Hope that helps!

    Michelle
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