Shop Codes subscriber numbers reaches first milestone

There are now over 100 subscribers to the Shop Codes newsletter, which is double the amount of traffic I received from Google organic search listings one day in June.
July was a record month for Shop Codes in terms of traffic and sales but June was a scare after the highs of May when my site was in the top three results for many profitable keyword searches.

Google only sent 52 unique visitors to my site on 21st June. This was a significant blow as the amount of traffic has an impact on the amount of profit.

I had a determination not to spend my May profits on Google Adwords, which does not represent value for money, so I looked at alternative methods of attracting visitors.

I first launched an RSS feed. I’ve opted for manually editing mine rather than just plugging it into a Word Press updated site. The result is that it includes a tailored paragraph that deliberately includes the discount code in the content. My traffic statistics show that this is published on other websites.

The RSS feed is powered by FeedBurner who have since been bought by Google.

I then chose to launch an email newsletter. This has been something I have been deliberating about for many months. I’d not launched one sooner as I wanted the design and content to be exactly right. However with traffic dipping to a low of 225 unique visitors a day I opted for the easiest solution. This was to have FeedBurner send an email based on my RSS content.

The result is each time I update my RSS that includes a new url, an email newsletter is sent out to subscribers. Potentially then an email could be sent daily but by monitoring what urls are included in the RSS I have a pretty good idea of when a newsletter will be published and what will be included.

Today I have 105 subscribers to my newsletter, which is double the amount of visitors Google sent me one day in June. That’s exactly what I set out to achieve two months ago.

Priority Message!!!

I’ve spent much of the sunny weekend, inside catching-up on two weeks worth of emails. Having read them once, when I log into Affiliate Window I then have to re-read and accept the “Unread Priority” messages that are highlighted in red as soon as I log in. They must be important, some have three exclamation marks.

I’m not convinced that they are indeed “Priority”. They include ‘program closures’, ‘postponed launches’ and “15% Fixed Rate of Commission for August 07!!!”. Come on, surely I don’t need to know about a fixed rate of commission? Do I?

It’s not the type of email I would ever read as commission levels don’t interest me. I’d rather make ten sales at 5% using a discount code, than no sales at 15%, without one.

So I read on past the hype “you will be in the money”. This is where I’m ready to hit delete (or “submit” in the case of the Affiliate Window interface.)

Then I catch the “Priority” part of the message …
“… affiliates are not allowed to promote any discount codes. Doing so may result in pending transactions being cancelled or temporary suspension from the programme.”

Ah that sounds important. Less of the sales time wasting message and onto the hard facts. Why couldn’t that have been in the subject line instead?

Stay Mobile with your business

I’m in the middle of a two week holiday abroad but I’m still very much in touch with my business, using the Internet on my mobile phone.

Opera Mini

This Internet browsing application is amazing and works for java enabled phones. Here are just some of the websites I am able to access whilst I am away from a computer.

Google Mail

All my personal and business email is forwarded to my Google mail account. I’ve currently got 540 unread emails in my inbox but using my filtering techniques I can quickly see that 28 include the word “codes” and so are likely to include new discount codes for my site. 27 include the word “voucher”, 136 refer to “sales” and 6 are for “closures”. By using the filtering I can read the emails I consider to be the most important first.


I can quickly see live daily traffic statistics and what keywords are driving visitors to the site. Whilst I use Google Analytics, I always check Statcounter first as the page formats very well on my Sony Ericsson K800i.

RSS Feeds

By subscribing to my favourite web sites I can keep up with the latest posts on and away from the business keep up with what’s happening at Middlesbrough Football Club and see what my friends are doing on Facebook.

So in summary, using my mobile phone I can always keep up-to-date with what’s important to me via accessing email, forums and social media sites.

“Please remove your site from Google, page one …”

I was shocked to read this email today from a merchant, asking me to stop Google spidering my site. This blog includes posts of how I try to improve my rankings, so why when I get to the top of page one, after 39 days of using legitimate search engine optimisation, would I want anything else?

The email went as such:

“If you type {merchant X} in Google you get your site with the shop code on the first page and from checking my discount record it would appear that more people are using the code than the commission that I pay you. Can you install a robot txt to ensure that Google does not pick up your page for my site?”

If each merchant were to send me the same request and I did that, then I may as well stick to my nine-to-five.
Shop Codes is currently receiving record levels of traffic yet despite that, this particular merchant’s page is rarely visited.

It has only been viewed a total of 33 times by 25 unique visitors in the last 30 days, peaking with 5 views on 14th July 2007.

In the last 30 days, there have only been 15 visits from people searching with the keyword {merchant X}.

It appears the real issue is that people are using my site as a resource and I am not receiving commission for every person that goes on to purchase. I am fine with that as long as the majority of people still click the affiliate links. Many code sites have gone down the route of hiding the codes or framing the merchants sites. Going down this route just makes the code one further click away. Then, when the user clicks to reveal, the merchants site opens up in a new browser window. This may make me more money by having more cookies installed but I am satisfied with my current revenues, not to have to use this approach.

But to tell Google to ignore my site would be business suicide. Only last month all my pages were stuck in the Supplemental index or on page 37 and that was not a good place to be in.

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