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I’m currently working on building profitable content affiliate websites — hopefully to 6+ figures within a couple of years or so.
So when I came across an interview on Niche Pursuits on how travel blogger Shelley Marmor achieved this in less than 3 years of starting her first site, I was intrigued to hear how she did it.
Shelley started her first site Travel Mexico Solo in April 2020 at the height of the pandemic when no one was traveling. Since then she has launched a further 4 sites (3 more travel sites and 1 travel blogging site) and by the end of 2022, she earned $52,604 in one month alone.
I was particularly impressed with the speed with which she achieved these great results.
So I listened to the interview and these are the top 9 strategies I got from the interview of how she did it!
1. You Need a Fast-loading Site
Shelly changed her sites over to a good web host and a really fast theme (Kadence) in July/August 2021 and her traffic tripled in 1 month (making no other changes).
(Note: You can view your site’s core web vitals assessment, performance, accessibility, best practices, and SEO metrics over at the Google PageSpeed Insights page).
2. Learn SEO
Shelley’s background is in journalism. She had to relearn writing for SEO if she wanted her articles to rank, as journalism is more about storytelling.
3. User Intent is Very Important
Think about what a person is thinking when they’re typing a search query into Google and try and answer the searcher’s intent with your article.
4. Writing a Cluster of Variant Articles of the Top Performing Articles
If one article starts earning 1k a month, she’ll write say another 10 long-tail keyword variants of that same article. For example, if ‘best hotels in LA’ performs well, then she might write more articles such as ‘best hotels in LA for families’ or ‘best hotels in LA with free breakfast’.
5. When Starting Out, Go After Keywords You Can Rank For Quickly
With new sites, your goal is to write articles targeting long-tail and/or lower or even zero-volume keywords that you can hopefully rank №1 for straight away. So then you get out of the Google sandbox and are ranked faster. Also, try and rank for numerous keyword variations in one article.
6. Create the Best Post Available for that Topic
Look at competitor articles in the top 3 positions on the first page of Google and make it better by adding more points or options, charts, infographics, maps, backlinks and interlinks etc.
7. Look at What the Data is Telling You
Look at your site analytics and double down on what’s working. So if something works, repeat that strategy over and over and over again.
8. Build Backlinks and Internal Linking
Be proactive in backlinking. For example, Shelley would give away a 2500 word SEO optimized article to a DA50+ site for free to get a backlink.
She also links to her smaller sites from her main site. That’s why a 6-month old site is doing say $2.5k and getting 40k sessions. She also creates internal links between articles on the same site.
9. Find High Paying Affiliates to Add to Your Articles ASAP
If you want to monetize your website, start adding high-paying affiliate links from the start. Plus treat your content affiliate site as a business, not a hobby if you want to make money.
Learn More Tips and Strategies from Successful Travel Blogger Shelly Marmor
If you’re like me and want to learn Shelley Marmor’s strategies in greater depth and detail, you can buy one or both of her mini courses (I bought both and learned a lot more about her affiliate marketing strategies and how she finds lucrative keywords).
Course students can also join her private Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers Facebook group.
The two courses available are:
1. Affiliate Marketing 101 MasterClass (Beginner)
This 2-hour MasterClass has 6 modules.
(The course is US $49 at the time of publication).
Module 1: Affiliate Marketing 101
Module 2: The Customer Journey
Module 3: User Intent
Module 4: Buying Keywords
Module 5: How to S.T.A.R.T. with affiliate marketing
Module 6: Affiliate Post Anatomy
2. How to Find Affiliate Marketing Keywords (Intermediate)
This 1h 40m MasterClass has 5 modules.
(The course is US $149 at the time of publication).
Module 1: Understanding Keywords & Keyword Research Tools
Module 2: What are affiliate keywords? (And what aren’t they?)
Module 3: How to find affiliate keywords that will make you money
Module 4: How to find *hidden* affiliate keywords that will make you money
Bonus: Module 5: Amazon affiliate keywords (And why you’re likely doing them wrong)
I liked the fact I could watch over her shoulder so to speak, and see the exact strategy she used to find keywords using Keysearch — an economical search tool. You can also use other search tools if you prefer and just apply her methods and strategies.
There is also a Done for You Blog Post Template (US $14 at the time of publication) for bloggers who want to learn the exact structure Shelley uses for her affiliate marketing posts that brings in thousands of dollars, month after month.