December 10, 2022

Justice for Gemmel

Stellar business, nonpareil

The $1.2 Million Part-Time Affiliate Site

andrew fiebertA common theme on the show: how do you make money online?

In short, you do it by solving other people’s problems.

We’ve got a really fun example of that today with an online business that helps people come up with gift ideas.

The business is Giftlab.co.

It’s a 5-year-old website that’s already earned over $1.2M as a part-time project for today’s guest, Andrew Fiebert.

You might recognize the name and the voice — Andrew co-hosted Listen Money Matters, a really fun podcast in the personal finance space.

He’s also the co-founder of the popular affiliate link management tool Lasso.

Tune in to The Side Hustle Show interview to hear:

  • how Andrew creates and monetizes his content
  • how he optimizes his older posts to increase CTR and revenue
  • his keyword research strategy for finding super-low competition longtail queries

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Inspiration to Start Giftlab

“We kept it private for about 5 years, because we were like, ‘Oh my god, why is no one doing this?’” Andrew told me.

The idea for Giftlab was born from doing keyword research for the Listen Money Matters site and podcast, Andrew explained.

Andrew and his wife would do a lot of keyword research for Listen Money Matters, and would often stumble upon good gift idea keywords that were super low competition.

Seeing an opportunity there, Andrew said he and his wife decided to, “Throw our hat in and give it a shot.”

Keyword Research for Gift Ideas

There are loads of different keyword research tools on the market that’ll work.

Andrew’s preferred tool is Ahrefs, primarily for the keyword difficulty score and traffic potential metrics Ahrefs provides.

When evaluating competition, Andrew said, ”Our thesis is to avoid competition at all costs.”

To find keywords that Andrew deems as low competition, he runs reports in Ahrefs around gift idea keywords.

Andrew said he’ll then target keywords with search volume as low as 300 with the lowest possible keyword difficulty score.

The longer tail the keyword and more specific it is, the better.

Andrew said this is because the more targeted a query is, the higher the conversion generally is. This means you don’t need as much volume to bring in revenue.

If you browse Giftlab you’ll see gift ideas for niche topics like dolphin lovers and a first day of school.

These are good examples of specific longtail queries, as opposed to just “gifts for women” which are very competitive.

Other Keyword Research Tools

Content Strategy

Andrew explained that his team is always publishing new content. But they actually spend more time improving and updating older content.

Over the years, millions of people have visited Giftlab. Andrew said he uses the data from his visitors to improve his content.

One way he does this is by looking at the items being clicked on most from a list of gift ideas.

Andrew then reorders the list so the most clicked on items are at the top.

Andrew said that over the years, Giftlab has declined in traffic. But he’s been able to increase the revenue by optimizing his content.

Initial Traction and Growing Giftlab

“The first year we didn’t make anything,” Andrew told me looking back at when he started Giftlab.

The second year, Giftlab made a little over $9,000.

In year 3, Giftlab made $40,000. This was the point where Gitflab really became a business, Andrew told me.

From there it’s been multiplying each year at a more rapid rate.

Even during the first couple of years when things were moving slowly, Andrew said he didn’t consider giving up or changing course.

Through working on Listen Money Matters for years prior to Giftlab, Andrew knew that growing an online business is a war of attrition.

“A lot of times you … win by continuing to show up and staying at it,” Andrew said.

The Future of Affiliate Marketing

Andrew’s co-host Matt Giovanisci has been on the Side Hustle Show a number of times.

Most recently, Matt was on episode 444 where he was offering Raffaele Di Lallo some advice.

Matt was very outspoken about the future of affiliate marketing being bleak. He was advising Raffaele to double down on his own products and pull back on affiliate marketing.

Andrew said that Matt is not wrong, he agrees that you should try and create your own products where possible.

But that said, Andrew also said that affiliate marketing is still growing year over year and there is a lot of money to be made if you do it right.

He also added that it’s not possible for most people to create their own products. So, acting as an affiliate is often easier, or even the only option.

Link Building and Promotion

Andrew said he’s not done any active link building for Giftlab to date, but he’s attracted some powerful links.

“I just really think that if you create something that people need and want and is good, it will just get links,” Andrew told me.

Informational Versus Commercial Content

Andrew started out creating informational and commercial content. But he quickly shifted to almost entirely commercially-driven content as this is what was working better.

The commercial content — his lists of gifts — was ranking quicker and higher and driving more visitors to the site.

Content Creation Process and Cost

Andrew uses a “checklist manifesto” across all of his businesses. This is essentially a checklist he uses when either he or his wife or a writer is creating content.

Andrew shared an outline of his content creation process, which looks like this:

  • Look at the top 10-20 posts for a keyword to get an idea of the intent and how to write the article.
  • Take the top 3 articles and give the links to a writer as an example of what is required, but direct them to make it “10 times better.”
  • Run the article through Clearscope, an AI-powered tool that suggests additional keywords to add to the article for SEO purposes.
  • Pop the article in Grammarly for a final grammar check.
  • Build a minimum of 10 internal links to the finished post.
  • Assign a category, add some high-quality images, and some other on-page things.

As for cost, Andrew said he pays his content team around $20-25/hr. Each article takes about 2-3 hours to write while updating a post takes around 1-2 hours.

Optimizing Posts for More Revenue

Optimizing gift lists is something Andrew and his team do on a regular basis. His affiliate link plugin Lasso helps with this process.

Lasso provides data on which links are being clicked the most. This enables Andrew to shift the most clicked products to the top of the list, as well as remove products that aren’t getting any clicks.

Another way Andrew optimizes his posts is by looking at what people are buying when they click through to Amazon.

If he sees customers buying items that aren’t even on Giftlab, he’ll add those to his lists.

Andrew explained that you need good taste to start with when choosing gift ideas, but ultimately “the crowd determines the taste.”

What’s a Typical Day Look Like?

“A big part of it is just showing up. I know what I’m going to do, but hopefully, something magical happens,” Andrew said.

Lasso is growing quickly, so a lot of Andrew’s time is spent managing the team behind Lasso and development.

Andrew values the opinions of his customers, so he spends a lot of time listening to feedback.

His kids are just past toilet training, so that’s been keeping Andrew busy on the personal side.

Andrew’s #1 Tip for Side Hustle Nation

Show up every day and don’t give up.”

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