In 1998, I was a young mom that cut coupons from the Sunday paper and matched them with sale prices to save money on groceries. When I started dabbling with creating websites – the doctor I had worked for bought me an “HTML 101” book – I created a website to share the deals I found online with coupon codes. That was my introduction to the affiliate marketing industry. I found it so exciting to tell my readers how to get a scanner free after rebate at Staples while earning commission on those “free” scanners.
In the year 2000, I registered my first domain name, ShoppingBookmarks.com – all domains were $35 per year back then, and you had to register them for at least two years, so $70 was a big investment that I hoped would pay off (luckily it did). I manually updated all the coupon codes and links via Frontpage everyday. I probably had 30 main competitors, and I was friends with most of them.
Eventually, it became cumbersome to keep up with all of the merchants, networks and coupon codes. And more people realized the money that could be made with coupon code sites, so my competitors instantly jumped from 30 to 30,000. If you search “coupon code site” today on Google, there are 67 million results!
I gradually moved from being a coupon code site to a deal site where I highlighted “Kim’s Top Deals”. And I started blogging, using affiliate marketing to focus more on niche sites. I had to change my strategy with the times. And to reiterate what I said yesterday,”Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.” I’ll be announcing another new change soon.
So, can you still make money with a coupon code site?
If you’re RetailMeNot.com, yes! If you’re not, probably not on coupons alone.
Most other coupon code sites have had to change their strategy and not make coupons their main focus. Valuable content should be your focus.
Neil Patel said it best, “Consumers will be less likely to click on links… as an affiliate you will have to spend more time creating valuable content and educating before you generate the sale.”
Once you have good content, you may want to add coupon codes as an additional revenue source or add to make sure that you don’t lose your visitors who set out to find a coupon code for their purchase (that you originally referred).
A good example of this is Groupon. They originally started by selling discounted local services and then their own goods. They expanded their website to now offer Groupon Coupons where visitors can find 70,000+ coupons for 10,000+ stores, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Sak’s Fifth Avenue. Those two affiliate programs are hard to get into, so Groupon must be doing well by adding coupon codes!
*The use of “trumps” in my blog post title is by no means is an endorsement for Donald Trump. Hillary has my support. Let the bickering begin.