Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
The classic board games online shop ClassicBoardGamesHQ.com is now live and open for business! Go check it out, I’ll wait.
Whew, what a ride that was going from nothing to launch in just 7 days (working one or two hours every day on it)! Here’s how I did it.
How I Launched An Online Affiliate Business In One Week Flat
I’m gonna keep this brief, as I’m expecting to write a much more detailed ebook/pdf about it once I’ve been running Classic Board Games HQ for about a month (so that I’ll have a little more information for you).
- I made a list of things that interest me. From this list I picked 3: board games, music and gadgets.
- I opened Google’s Keyword Planner and started searching for keywords related to my shortlist of topics. For each keyword I searched, I looked for something with Low competition and 1,000-15,000 searches. I didn’t want to get my feet wet in a highly competitive market, so I went with something a little more low key.
- For each keyword that Google suggested I ran a quick exercise to find the best keyword for me (at this stage with so little online business experience):
- does it have a domain available? (this helps SEO)
- is it a market that has a lot of products I can sell? (since I’ll be making money from affiliate sales)
- does it actually interest me? (I refuse to work on something I don’t care about)
- can I write about it? (my primary marketing will be inbound SEO)
- how expensive are bids for ads? (just in case)
- My favorite keyword / keyphrase after running this exercise on almost all the results was “classic board games”. It’s a low competition market, with cheap bid costs and 2,500 searches a month.
- With the keyphrase in hand, I purchased the domain classicboardgameshq.com. Classicboardgames.com was not available, but adding a small pre- or suffix works just fine for SEO purposes.
- Using the same hosting account on Bluehost I had for my personal website (the one you’re reading right now) I created a new WordPress website and assigned it to the new domain.
- I headed over to ThemeForest.com and purchased a wordpress theme that had both the look and feel of the store I wanted, and it included a bunch of woocommerce-ready plugins. Then I installed the theme on my new WordPress site.
- I made a small list of things, features and pages that I want in my store. With just a week to work with and The 4-Hour Work Week still buzzing around in my head (I’ve been rereading it and it’s friggin’ awesome) I applied the 80/20 principle to my list of features and got rid of 80% of them, deciding to focus all my efforts on the top 20%.
- I created an Amazon Associates account. Couple of forms and button clicks and I was an official Amazon affiliate.
Now I was ready to get started building my website.
- First I focused on adding products to my store. The idea was that, if there was one thing I needed in order to launch, it was product. So I started with that. I created four categories (board games, tile games, card games, and game accessories) and I added a few products in each category that spanned the spectrum of that particular category. In the future, I will add the in-betweens.
- Once I had 20 products I switched focus to the content of the website. Starting with the homepage I filled in any necessary sections (such as what ClassicBoardGamesHQ.com is) and got rid of all the “future nice-to-haves” (such as a slider showing customer feedback).
- Next was the logo. I needed something that would work for now, then I will upgrade in the future. So I searched images.google to find logos of websites and businesses that were similar in style, feel and market that I wanted my business to be. Taking inspiration from the various logos (and seeing what they were doing wrong) I fired up Illustrator and got to designing. An hour later I had my logo. If all else were to fail, I would have probably gotten a cheap one from Fiverr.
- Finally, I filled in the one page I felt was indispensable: the contact us page.
I finished all of this yesterday so seeing I had an extra day before launch, I went ahead and polished the site up a bit.
- I added the banner you see on the home page. This took some time of course, but it does add a lot to the website’s look and professional feel. And it will drive a few extra sales, for sure, not to mention helping SEO with it’s large “classic board games” keyphrase right up there at the top of the page.
- I added the blog. The blog would have been the next big thing to add, but since I had some time to kill I decided to launch it now. I needed 3 blog posts to fill in the homepage section nicely, but since I didn’t have time to write 3 posts, 2 of the 3 posts are simply shares of Wil Wheaton’s TableTop episodes. I would have preferred proper text blog posts, but those will have to do for now.
- And I added a bunch of new products to help beef up the store a little bit.
All-in-all I’m quite proud of having launched an online business from scratch in 7 weeks. Of course, what my online business experience lacked was made up for by my experience in web development, writing and graphic design, so that helped a lot.
This was a crazy week, that’s for sure and I look forward to what the future of Classic Board Games HQ (and mine) holds.
What would I change? Well, the biggest time sinks were adding all the products and finding a niche to get into. The niche I wouldn’t trust anyone to do for me (since only I know what I like and what I would want to work in), but next online business (if this does well) I’m definitely getting a freelance virtual assistant to add the products for me. I wanted to do that for this one, but I think the experience of doing it myself, even though it sucked the life out of me, was invaluable.
So here’s to the future. Wish me luck.