A Befuddled 2007 Indeed

Being skint and single on 1st January 2007 made me doubly determined to make 2007 a very successful year. I knew the key to success was my own determination. So I made a conscious effort to be single for the year (not that girls were knocking my door down) and work as many hours as my body could handle.

I was determined to make my ShopCodes a success and drag me from rags to riches, whilst at the same time raising my own profile in the affiliate industry I’d been active in for so many years.

I could raise my profile by generating volumes and sales and being a bit controversial. Both appeared to do the trick.

JANUARY – THE ONLY WAY IS UP

I started the year at rock bottom, with over 20,000 in debt and struggling to pay off the crippling credit card interest rates. I successfully applied for a loan, stopped using my credit cards and then worked solidly on my website. By day I work for a telecommunications company and by night and evenings, I was working hard on making my website a success.

My ‘inspiring’ blog post was backed 21 times on the affiliates4u site and it was nice to share my progress.

FEBRUARY – BEFUDDLE LIMITED

When I was still making substantial commissions post Valentine’s Day, I had to take ShopCodes very seriously, as I may have had to become VAT registered. So I attended an Entrepreneur Conference and a few weeks later I was director of my own company.

MARCH – BEFUDDLED ME?

I attended my first ever affiliate event, on the DFDS trip to Amsterdam. I was shy so dragged my housemate Ben along but felt at ease as soon as I arrived as Jasper made me feel so welcome. This is where I met fellow affiliates such as Keith and John, who I made a lasting impression on by singing in the Heineken brewery.
I launched this blog at the same time with a view to raise my profile and inspire with honest tales of tragedies and triumphs. The honesty has been recognised by Kieron, winner of Affiliate Marketing Blog of 2007, who says, “a great example of blogging done well“.

APRIL – GOOGLE CHECKOUT

I started a thread about how some Google Checkout payments weren’t being tracked. The debate got very heated at times and the post was promoted to the home page of the a4uforum site as Moderator’s Choice. My post signature included my website url, so for a while I had a good PR site linking prominently to my own.

MAY – GOOGLE LOVE

May 2007 was better for me than December 2006. That was some achievement. I wonder how much the above link influenced how Google liked my site. This graph shows how traffic rose sharply. My site was appearing in the top 3 results for many targeted keywords.

JUNE – GOOGLE PAIN

June was a painful* month following the highs of May. My July blog post includes a graph that shows the severity of the fall. To counteract this I launched an RSS Email newsletter service, which now has hundreds of subscribers. *Even though it was ‘painful’ I think the commissions received that month still matched my monthly salary.

JULY – LEEDS MEETS

A Leeds get together organised by Nadeem saw the like of Elaine and family and Stu Foster attend. It was great to meet Elaine and Dave especially who I’ve later gone on to meet up with on later events.

AUGUST – VOUCHER DIARY

I launched a second voucher code site as insurance and opt to use WordPress and experiment a little. VoucherDiary is not a site that I often have time to look at but I do monitor the statistics on a daily basis to track what is working well for SEO. This is a site that gets a handful of visitors a day but it has an issue in than in it’s nature it will feature more out of date content than not.

SEPTEMBER – BEDSTAR CONTROVERSY

Little did Kier of Webgains know when he asked for help on a4uforum. My site, or rather my tracking url, had replaced the BedStar site in the Google organic listings.

His post had 160 replies and was viewed over 4,300 times. Many people had differing views on whether I should receive the commission.

In the same month I had to ‘Save Befuddle‘, when Google presented a ‘malware’ warning on their search results. My traffic dipped from 5,000 unique visitors a day to 1,000. I had to delete hundreds of pages and build the site back up as a quick fix before my holiday. Today, it still has several thousand page views a day, despite only having limited content. I am looking to change hosts, so that I can develop the site properly during 2008.

OCTOBER – a4uexpo

I marketed myself across blogs and the a4uforum to try and win myself a pass for a4uexpo in London. I got lucky with buy.at and stayed on the yacht where Kieron and a few others were staying. Here I met up with many people who I’d only had email contact with previously, including the likes of Hero and Jess and even my competitors such as Joe and Mark. It was also here I found a new drinking buddy in Kirsty.

In the same month, I also got trapped in my own kitchen. Nothing to do with affiliate marketing but the humour got your attention and the post was backed 14 times.

Oh and Google sent me a five figure cheque for VAT overpayments, pushing my business account over a credible milestone.

NOVEMBER – BUY.AT PARTY

Travelled to Newcastle to meet up again with more friends* at the Christmas Cracker. Took advantage of the free bar, went clubbing and left the casino with more money than I went with. Winning 5 from Kirsty’s cracker helped. An all round excellent night of networking.

*The affiliate marketing industry is so special that it’s great that you can get to know and work and drink alongside your own competitors.

DECEMBER – ‘MEGA MONDAY’

On the first Monday of December I received record traffic and made record commission, approximately 400% higher than the previous days. ‘Mega Monday‘ was indeed Mega. If I had more days like this, then I wouldn’t have a day job too.

ShopCodes performed so strongly thoughout October and November that I won several of the merchants incentives competitions. I didn’t have to buy many Christmas presents this year as I received or won gifts worth over 850. To me, this was more satisfying than earning commissions as it showed that my site was competitive against the competition and that I had got myself on the radar. Only twelve months earlier I had to beg for a single advent calendar.

2008 – ?

More commissions? More controversy? Yes, please!

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6 Responses to “A Befuddled 2007 Indeed”

  1. Happy New Year Ray, I still haven’t forgiven you for nicking my bloody fiver. Argghhhh!!!!!!

  2. […] Well, here I am sat sitting here in my affiliate jimmy jams contemplating yet another year that has simply flown past. Kieron , Ray and Nadeem (in Two Parts) have already published fine overviews of their year. I could reflect in the same organised way they have… but to be honest 2007 was an absolute blur and much of it involved me visiting some of the most exciting places in the world. […]

  3. Hi,

    Great Post, A bit like dejavu, I am sat here 1st jan 2008, totally skint now looking at ways of going forward and paying off all the debts. This site has proven it can be done.

    Here Goes,

    Good luck to everybody in 2008

    Kevin

  4. Thanks for the mention Ray, was great to meet you too and best wishes for 2008, hopefully we’ll meet up again this year somtime.

  5. Congratulations Ray, a great year and confirmation that hard work does pay off.

  6. A very interesting year indeed. Please don’t remind me of that BedStar thread though, that was a real pain, glad we got it all sorted in the end though!