For more than a decade that I have done affiliate marketing, I’ve built hundreds of affiliate websites to promote everything from car insurance to shed building blueprints.
I think the highest amount of websites I owned at a single time hovered right around 250, and these were mostly comprised of 4-5 page websites targeted around a single keyword earning $1-3/day with Google Adsense. If you been in the game for a while, you’ll remember this was a thing back in the day before Google released it’s first Penguin Update.
Anyway now that I’m older and wiser, how many websites do I think affiliates should own if they want to make the most money?
For me the answer is as many as you can competently run, which I believe for most people will be 1 to 3 websites.
Putting All Your Eggs In One Basket
I think the biggest argument against owning only a single site is the age old saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, but over time I realize that this doesn’t really apply to websites that are built well. Affiliates often approach this idea in terms of number of websites when they really need to be thinking about diversification of traffic.
Most affiliates think “Well what if there is a Google update and all your traffic is wiped out?”, yes that is possible, but this only impacts you if you are heavily relying on Google for traffic. However if you are just focused on 1 website, you should also be building out the other types of traffic as well.
When it comes down to traffic acquisition, as webmasters our options are as below:
In the above graphic we see that search engine traffic represents only one of the streams of traffic you can build for a website.
If you only own a single website, hopefully you are building out social media traffic (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest etc) and are likely also building your direct traffic (people that visit your site regularly) due to the regular content you are putting out there.
We don’t really have much control over “referral traffic” as that depends on other websites referencing ours, but even this grows over time as well.
Ironically you can have a 100 websites and not even realize you are “putting all your eggs in one basket”. For example many affiliates that have this many websites are usually only dependent on search engine traffic, and a single Google update can wipe out every single one of their websites as it is likely they are all built the same way.
So if you own a single website and are working on building the 4 types of traffic outlined above, you are in fact diversified already and ironically better protected than someone who has dozens of websites relying on a single type of traffic.
Big Ballers Usually Have One Website
Over the years, every time I saw an affiliate banking hard ($10k+ a month) it’s always usually someone that owns a single website. Sure affiliates that have dozens of sites can bank for a little while, but the people always raking in the big dough over sustained periods of time are always the people that seem to have a single website that they put all their time and effort into.
This makes sense because if you’re focused on just one website, from a content perspective you can grow it really large, and of course content rich websites are backlink magnets which of course leads to more search engine traffic.
Furthermore when you have a large website, you begin to become an “authority” in whatever niche you’re in, and thus it becomes much easier to sell stuff. Whether it be your own products or affiliate products, if a website is deemed an authority in a subject, their recommendations obviously will be taken a lot more seriously to its readers.
Think about it, are you more likely to buy an affiliate product based on a recommendation from an unknown 20 page affiliate website or from a website with thousands of pages of content owned by a guy with 1 million+ YouTube followers? Obviously the latter.
Again that isn’t to say that if you own dozens of websites that you can’t make a lot of money, it’s just from my experience what I’ve seen over the years is the people that are out there crushing it usually only have a single website.
If you’re consistently creating content and are active on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube etc. it’s very unlikely that you can effectively manage more than 1-3 websites. It just takes too much work to tweet, create videos, engage with followers etc. with multiple websites.
Again remember it’s more important to diversify your traffic sources than it is to actually diversify your website portfolio.
Ironically enough the single websites that have tons of content and diversified traffic also rarely get hit by Google. And if they do, they usually bounce back with a subsequent update assuming they aren’t engaged in any sort of gray area link building.
So again in my opinion having a single or a few websites that you put your heart and soul into on the regular is what’s going to make you the most money period.
Final Thoughts Moving Forward
So if you’re an affiliate that is reading this that is currently managing dozens of sites, I would encourage you to sit down and really think about your long term goals.
How are you currently developing these websites? If it’s just by slapping content together and relying on paid links and search engine traffic, I truly believe that you may be better off picking 1 or 2 of your best projects and fully developing those websites and just abandoning the rest.
Focus on one website and get the social media going, email list growing, and pour resources into quality content. You may earn less in the short-term, but after a while your efforts will be rewarded and your new “mega-site” will start earning more than all your other projects combined.
Again this strategy is a long-term play, so you have to decide what’s right for you. This is just my recommendation, and something that I am starting to work towards with my own projects.