So in part 1 I talked about going from a static site to a dynamic one, and then reading a blog post about making a little commission from an Amazon Associates link. I had started to think for the first time about monetizing my site. Never having had ads of any kind on any of my sites – there looked like there could be a little potential here. First I figured Amazon sold books – and all geeks read books, especially technical ones. Why couldnâ€™t I add links to Linux books at the end of my Ubuntu posts? So I did. I had written one very lengthy article about my adventures converting video files in Linux on my Ubuntu box. An Oâ€™Reilly book about hacking multimedia in Linux had helped me a lot, so I linked it at the end of the aritcle. I ended up not only selling a few books per month, but sometimes when people clicked the book link – they bought other things as well. I didnâ€™t make a lot, but it amounted to maybe $25-$30 every 3 months. Not bad for a single page.
A few months after that I wrote the article about my Sprint A920 cell phone and learned about Commission Junction. Commission Junction (CJ) has thousands of separate companies you can link to and sell products for. I had wanted a car charger for my phone, and purchased one online that had free shipping. I saw an â€œaffiliatesâ€ link at the bottom of their page, and when I clicked it said to sign up at CJ to promote and sell their merchandise. So buying that charger actually led me to find about about CJ.
I waited until I got the charger, was pleased, and then signed up as an affiliate with CJ. Then, on my cell phone article page I linked to the chargers and other accessories for the phone. I had a really good article about my cell phone, but wasnâ€™t really getting any traffic from search engines or anything. All the tips and tricks I learned in cell phone forums, and after awhile I became knowledgeable enough to be able to answer questions. I began posting answers and help in some of the more popular forums, and after I answered I would post something like – â€˜check out my help page hereâ€™. Pretty soon I was getting some action on my cell phone page. It started at 50-100 unique pageviews per day, and within a month was seeing 1,000 visits per day. For awhile (when the phone was popular) I was making $30-$50 per month commission from the cell phone accessories on that one single page. Now I had 2 distinct pages that were driving people to my web site. I wrote some more how-to articles about Ubuntu Linux and linked more books. With the additional traffic I was making $50 or more per month consistently now. It was about this time I learned of a new aggregator plugin for Drupal that would suck in rss feeds and post them to the front page on the web site automatically. This would change everything (more to come in part 3)â€¦