One of the great things about being an affiliate is the ability to step away, and take time off from work, without it affecting much of your income.

I have been involved in marketing since 2009, at one point in time I had built and managed over 30 websites ranging between 200 and 1,000 pages each. Of course I had used WordPress to manage my work-flow, had a small team of loyal writers and relied on friends and family for image editing and basic day-to-day operations. The word successful is relative, as we all have different meanings for the word success, but I was profitable. I had little trouble keeping up with bills, and the wants of my family as I put more time into my websites, it eventually became my full-time job. I did this for several years before burning out, and my websites took a backseat to life. One of the great things about being an affiliate is the ability to step away, and take time off from work, without it affecting much of your income. That is, to a point.  

Protect and Future Proof

After taking a year off, only working the meet the bare needs of the affiliate sites to keep them online and running, I came back refreshed but still, overwhelmed. In my mind building nearly 30 sites was a way to protect and future proof my earnings, in the event that one site would be banned or hacked. Yet still, I couldn’t help but think had I only built just one or even two massive sites, maybe I would have been better off. After all, this would free up much of the time I spent on maintenance, updating plugins, along with tinkering with various themes and layouts.  

Reputation and Domain Authority

One of the biggest challenges for any webmaster is, not only creating useful and engaging content, but getting external websites to link to that content. I had the content, along with the links, but they were spread out across many different websites. So many, that while each site had built up a good reputation and domain authority, it was still next to impossible to compete with much larger sites. I knew this issue had to be solved sooner or later, but I didn’t take the action needed to do it until much later. By this time a few more years had passed, and I was running short on time again trying to keep up with the needs of many sites. At this time my wife and I had recently had twins, cutting my time available to work even shorter, while increasing my need for income.

Take Action and Hope For The Best

At this point I started researching the effects of merging several sites into one. I found the best course of action would be to do a refresh of much of my content, merging many of the sites together using 301 redirects and then notifying Google via webmaster tools, of the content’s new home. I had to then reach out to all the previous external links I had gained over the years, asking for an update pointing to the content’s new address, then hope for the best. Of course it took a while for some of this content to start ranking and receiving traffic again. Many of my old backlinks where lost, but I had gained an enormous amount of time to start building again. No more tinkering with updates, different layouts and searching for what went where. I also started saving a ton of money on hosting fees as well.

Advice On Search Engine Optimization

If I was forced to give my competition any advice, it would be to not get carried away and start a new website with every idea that pops into your head. Avoid super niche website names, and go for something niche, but a little more broad to give yourself some room to grow. Back when I started it was easy to get carried away as ranking for a niche term simply meant just having an exact match domain name. Search engine optimization has come a long way since then, and search engines are much more advanced, incorporating artificial intelligence into their algorithms. Quality content, backlinks from trusted sources, page speed, click through rate, security via SSL, mobile friendly pages, location, and so much more is now Incorporated into SEO. This requires much more attention to detail, with a major focus on quality, along with everything else mentioned above. Hardly achievable with an entire network of websites.

So all of this brings me to where I am today, after months, literally months of work. I am now down to just a few large (I know, another subjective term) websites. Now optimized, mobile friendly, fast and slowly climbing back up the SERPS.