The End of the Month in Numbers

The 30th and 31st of the month are the busiest days for ShopCodes. These are the days that monthly offers typically expire and new emails arrive from merchants listing the offers for the days and weeks ahead.

I aim to remove all expired codes and sales from ShopCodes and not have them present just because I’ve got a page ranking well in Google for a nice search term.

This is made less painful when merchants replace a code with a new one or extend the expiry date. You’d be amazed at how many merchants only offer codes at Christmas time though, so some of the merchants pages look typically flat for some of the year.

To give you an understanding of the work I’ll need to do in the coming days, here’s some numbers.

78 promotions expiring 31st or expired on the 30th.

32 of those promotions involve Exclusive code merchants. These are merchants that have offered me a unique or branded code or landing page. If it’s the actual Exclusive code that is expiring and not just a generic sale, then I’ll have to send out up to 32 emails, to merchants and affiliate managers.

10 of those Exclusive code merchants have my Exclusive code expiring today. I’ve since sent 10 emails to affiliate and network managers asking for a new code or to extend the existing code. Having an Exclusive code extended is not a given and some merchants don’t reply to the email and some may say their business model has changed (See below). So you have to list the benefits of them providing a unique code, such as increased exposure above-the-fold or some sales figures.

Of the other 22 Exclusive code merchants, the unique code is ongoing and their monthly offer is changing. This is a simple task of me removing a line of information or replacing it if a new offer has arrived via email.

Once I’ve taken care of all the 32 Exclusive code pages (and I have 143 in total) I look at the generic codes.

Of the other 56 promotions expiring, 54 are codes and 2 are sales. (I only really promote sales where the expiry date has been set.)

I don’t just delete the expired codes, I do a search in my email inbox to see if there’s an update from that merchant. I filter all my emails and I currently have 39 unread emails in my inbox containing the word “code”. I’ll work on these emails before others. Now, it’s 44. Told you today was busy.

And finally 1 top merchant has informed me that he can’t extend the Exclusive code he’s provided as they are phasing out discount codes until the end of their financial year.

To some who promote Figleaves, this may be a blow. No more so than me, as they’ve been my number one merchant for quite some time.

I’ll be taking a closer look at their site later this evening to see what other content I can add.

Content Is King for Code Sites Too

As the voucher code debate rumbles on over at affiliates4u my own stomach has not rumbled a bit as my code site has been getting fatter by the day.

It’s been my focus this month to not to be too reliant on search traffic that includes the keywords “code” or “codes”. Basically because for 2 weeks I had very little traffic anyway.

By fattening my site I can capture those visitors looking for sales or other promotional offers. So I’ve spent more time updating merchants that haven’t got codes but do have some cracking offers, such as this example for Orange.


So my code site is adding more content. Maybe not down the line of writing 1000 word product reviews but it is a start.

{Tongue twister ahead} Here’s a warning to those content site owners that complain about code sites that don’t yet include codes on their own sites. Code Sites will become Content Sites!

Adding codes takes a lot of time and effort but over time these webmasters will become more efficient and be able to add codes more seamlessly.

This will allow them to fatten up their site with non-code related content.

The big code sites already do this. For a part time affiliate like me, I have to pick and choose which merchants I promote and how. This is often dictated by the perseverance of the affiliate manager.

Added Value

To show that code sites don’t just steal commissions from other affiliates. Here’s two lines from my log files this morning that demonstrate that ShopCodes brings in seasonal traffic and product traffic. The search term “sat nav voucher codes” goes direct to my Halfords page but could have been any merchant.

The other search is “halfords easter offers”. Now as it happens I don’t actually have their Easter offers on my page as I’ve not received their latest newsletter but I list about a dozen product offers.

So webmasters, why not start adding codes to your sites? As I’m adding non-code stuff to mine.

What’s Wrong With Flowers?

This creative promotes a 10% Mother’s Day code from BeCheeky.com, who specialise in sensual and flirty women’s thongs & g-strings.

BeCheeky Mother's Day

Sending an embroidered thong in pink to mum just seems so far removed from the usual card, chocolates and bunch of flowers.

Or is Mother’s Day also a day for sending presents to your mates fit mum?

ShopCodes.com You’re Blooming Too Early

At a4uexpo in October, I was rushing around the place (OK, sauntering with a hangover) telling everyone I was keen to run a mobile site in 2008. I was a long way from achieving that goal as I could barely manage my existing website. So knowing I should walk before I could run, I set about creating a 5 point ‘secret plan’ to get me there by Spring.

The plan included sorting out my brand; using a new tailored Content Management System and fleshing the site out with a new design.

ShopCodes.com logo draft

What better way to launch all these new enhancements but on a new shiny domain too? How about ShopCodes.com that has been irritatingly just sat there useless with an ISPs default holding page for many months.

I had to own that site. It just made perfect sense. It would tick all the boxes and more.

During November I contacted Sedo.com, who buy and sell domain names. They would value the domain; I’d give them a maximum bid; they’d contact the owner; negotiate on my behalf and try to acquire it for me.

Sedo enjoy a success rate of over 70% but by the New Year they’d still not managed to get a response by the owner. All I knew was the domain was up for renewal in a couple of months time, so I registered my interest at Snapnames.com who could bid at a live auction.

Then just one month ago Sedo got back to me saying that they made successful contact and that the owner had immediately accepted my four-figure bid.

Then after a nervous three weeks of waiting and lots of support tickets between companies during the transfer process, the domain ShopCodes.com was finally in my hands and safely registered on TUCOWS with my current preferred ISP Servage.

I used my January trip to San Francisco to acquire some International exclusive codes and I was hoping I could keep the .com a different entity from my existing ShopCodes.co.uk.

I didn’t want to just use the .com to target the US but it was a good opportunity to try out a new CMS and design and avoid duplicate content issues by listing non-UK merchants at the start.

However, after I’d 302 re-directed the .com to the .co.uk as a temporary measure, Google started linking to my ShopCodes.com site at the expense of ShopCodes.co.uk. Even Google says this is the exception and not the rule.

It means that Google thinks users will rather see the .com rather than the .co.uk. Fair enough but I’ve no content on that domain yet.

Traffic also dipped as Google didn’t recognise the .com as a UK site. So the home page is not being returned in Google UK search results pages. It does in the full web search.

I quickly addressed that by using Google Webmaster Central tools. However, with that double blow, traffic has crashed 75% in the short term.

So I am walking before I am running but I am currently sprinting to fix these short term issues. So you may see the end of .co.uk and the launch of .com this week.

The site just won’t have any bells or whistles. As it’s blooming too early.

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