From Adsense To Amazon Then Online T-shirt store.
This is an update to Zweapons, my Zombie niche site. In this post I will share how my original monetization plans of Adsense took a turn, which then brought me to going with an Amazon affiliate model and also a Spreadshirts POD (Print On Demand) business model.
Niche Site Lesson Learned
When I first starting building Zweapons, my plan was to put together a website based on an interest of my son and I, get it ranked on Google then slap some Adsense on it. You can read the past posts here http://www.zzzprofits.com/niche-site-duel-challenge if you’re interested.
Everything started as planned. I threw together a wordpress website, outsourced some great content, then implemented an SEO & backlinking campaign. In fact things were going even better than I expected. In under 3 months I ranked front page for my 2 primary keywords “Zombie Weapons” & “Best Zombie Weapons”. My plan was to get the traffic to at least 100 visits per day then implement the adsense code. The day my rankings hit page 1, my traffic jumped instantly to over 200 visits per day.
Just as I was about to add the adsense code I decided to double check the TOS, and there it was.
Weapon Related Content
“Google ads are not permitted to appear on sites that sell, facilitate or advocate the sales of weapons and weapon accessories. This includes but is not limited to the sales of ammunition, gun parts, hardware, pistols, rifles, BB guns, sporting guns, air guns, blow guns, and stun guns. This policy also prohibits the placement of ads on sites which sell explosives, including fireworks.”
Even after reading the weapon policy, I thought Zweapons might still qualify, but then directly under their weapon policy, I found their violent content policy.
Our program policies don’t allow Google ads to be placed on content that contains graphic or gory images such as bloodshed, fight scenes, and gruesome or freak accidents. Publishers are responsible for every page on which their ad code appears and for screening any text, images, videos, or other media which will appear on a page with Google ads.
I will admit that Zweapons is a bit in the grey area, but if there is one thing we have learned about Google Adsense, it is that you don’t mess around with something that could potentially get your account banned. If you get banned by Google that’s pretty much it. I have read countless stories online of people who’s accounts were banned for no apparent reason. I decided it wasn’t worth it. Especially since i have other sites that run Adsense that could be affected from being banned.
Alternate Methods of Monetization
The truth is, that it never even occurred to me that my site might not be Adsense appropriate. It is one of my weaknesses. I tend to come up with an idea then just charge ahead with it. However, I think that in the long run this turned out to be good. It took me a little while to decide what to do with Zweapons.
Amazon Affiliates Model
After scouring forums and blogs for monetization ideas, I decided to to go with an amazon affiliate model. Amazon has just about every melee weapon available as well as thousands of survival gear equipment products. Since Zweapons is basically about prepping for a doomsday, it seemed like a perfect fit. So I decided to turn Zweapons into primarily a website that would review and promote equipment & gear that would be handy in the case of a zombie apocalypse.
So far this looks like a good decision. Each month I am seeing my Amazon affiliate commissions go up. Month one I made $5, then month two almost $20, and now month three looks like it will increase as well. Traffic is slowly increasing and I will continue to create more product reviews and blog posts over time.
One of the things i have learned in “make money online” websites, is that it is always a good idea to diversify if you can. This brings me to my next form of monetization I decided to add to Zweapons.
The Spreadshirt T-shirt Business Model
To be honest I don’t remember exactly how I came up with this idea, but I remember for some reason every time I was searching zombie related products, certain t-shirt designs kept popping up. At some point I remembered reading about how some people were doing really well with their own print on demand t-shirt business. A light bulb went off in my head and the next thing you know I am an internet expert on print on demand companies and popular zombie t-shirt designs.
After much research, i concluded my top choices were either Cafe Press, Zazzle or Spreadshirts. I closely weighed the pros and cons and decided Spreadshirt.com was the winner for me.
The 4 primary reasons I chose Spreadshirt were :
- They had the best base price point. This meant I could keep my prices reasonable yet still make a good profit.
They had the best quality printing if you used their plot printing flex method.
They had specialty inks, like glow in the dark & shimmers that could be used in my designs
The stores were very easily customizable and i could have full control over SEO.
The one thing to be aware of, is that if you want to utilize their flex plot printing( In my opinion this is the way to go if you want the best quality), you will need to have an understanding of how to create and manipulate vector graphic files. As an alternative you can custom create shirts by using existing images from their marketplace and adding custom text with their online text creator. Basically anyone can create their own shirt biz this way.
All in all I would have to say that it was quite easy to get my own t-shirt store up and running and integrated into my website. I have always wanted to have my own t-shirt biz so it was pretty exciting to see it up and running. The best part is that it is completely free to setup. You can see my zombie t-shirt design store here. I would recommend this for anyone who has a biz that could benefit by adding custom shirts, apparel or accessories to the mix.
After all that, I decided that Zweapons would become more of an authority zombie site. So now I plan on adding more zombie related features over time. I actually really enjoy working on Zweapons. Writing survival product reviews, and designing new zombie t-shirt designs is fun to me, which definitely keeps me interested and active on the topic.
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