Every now and then we come across an exceptional affiliate marketing story — some are so impressive that we just have to reach out and interview them!
Today’s interview is from someone you might not have heard of in the headlines. But he’s well known in his space and is making his mark all the same.
He’s been a blogger since 2012 and runs a number of interesting sites, mostly monetized with affiliate marketing.
I’m really happy to have Istiak Rayhan on the blog today to tell us about his story and to answer a few questions about what’s been working for him over the years.
When I saw he’d recently taken over a familiar site called WPLeaders.com, I was really interested to hear about the acquisition and what else he’s been up to.
So without further ado, here’s our interview with Istiak.
1. You’ve been blogging for a number of years now across various sites. But for those who don’t know you, can you tell us about yourself and what you do?
Hi, I’m Istiak Rayhan. I’m a full-time blogger and an internet marketer from Bangladesh. I’ve been blogging since 2012. I run a few blogs, including RoadToBlogging.com, WPLeaders.com, HostLater.com, and SetYourOffice.com.
After completing my BBA and MBA, I decided to be a full-time blogger rather than go to a regular job. So far it’s been an incredible journey. Apart from blogging, I’m working with some local startups as an angel investor.
2. You recently took over the WPLeaders.com site from Hesham Zebida. What kinds of challenges have you faced so far with taking over that business and building it up?
Now let’s talk about why and how I took over WPLeaders from Hesham Zebida.
While running RoadToBlogging, I get many blog post ideas related to WordPress. But I can’t cover all those ideas on RTB, as it’s not a dedicated blog for WordPress topics. That’s why I realized that I should start a blog about WordPress.
I didn’t want to start a blog from scratch. I was looking for an inactive blog with good potentiality. I found that Hesham was not updating WPLeaders.com regularly, so I approached him, and he quickly responded. We settled on a high four-figure price.
As we didn’t use any platforms like Flippa, trust was an issue. But we’d known each other for a while. I was a regular reader of Hesham’s Famous Bloggers. So I trusted him and sent the money before getting the domain name ownership. It was a smooth deal. Hesham was very helpful. However, I don’t recommend this method to everyone. Only make this sort of transaction if you’ve known someone for a while.
After getting full control of the blog, I started changing affiliate links. Since Hesham was using ThirstyAffiliates, it was not a tough job for me at all. I quickly replaced all the links.
Then I started updating old posts which were already getting organic traffic and sales. In most cases, I changed the full content of the post and updated it with Thrive Architect to make it more attractive and engaging. This has helped me to get higher ranking on Google as well as generate more affiliate sales.
Now I’m publishing two to three new posts every week and regularly updating old posts as well. The blog is generating decent four figures every month.
3. What has been your biggest win when it comes to affiliate marketing? Be it on the WPLeaders site you’re concentrating on or elsewhere? For example, maybe share with us a strategy that has paid off well or something you’re proud of.
It’s tough to name one as the biggest win. But I will always remember my first biggest earning from a single affiliate program, which was $1800. So far, I’ve made over $100,000 from that program.
4. If you had to start again tomorrow, what would be the first thing you’d do to rebuild your affiliate marketing empire?
I would monetize the blog from day one. I used to wait for traffic to come before monetizing the blog. But that was the wrong strategy. Affiliate Marketing doesn’t require a lot of traffic. You can make money even from a few visitors. I’ve applied this technique at SetYourOffice.com. And I got my first Amazon sale with very low traffic (zero to three visitors per day).
Another thing I do is cloak all product/service links via ThirstyAffiliates, even if they aren’t affiliate links. This way I’m better able to monetize my blog. For example, Ahrefs (SEO tool) doesn’t currently have an affiliate program, but there is a possibility it will launch an affiliate program soon. So what I’ve been doing is cloaking the link before inserting it into blog posts. When Ahrefs starts the program, all I’ll have to do is change the link to an affiliate link, and it will be applied to every link.
5. What’s your number one tip for new affiliate marketers?
Try to understand the buyer’s intent. It’s not about understanding the difference between commercial and informational content. You need to know how and when visitors convert into customers. Not all your visitors will buy in the first place. You need to offer them a free trial or an affordable solution or just a free solution.
6. What’s in store for the rest of 2018? What do you hope to do more of?
One thing is sure: This year, I’m not going to launch any new blogs. I’ll be focusing more on team building. Currently, I have three members on my team, and I’m planning to expand it.
Affiliate Marketing helps me to make money even when I’m not working. Last year, I was in Hajj (Muslim Pilgrimage). I was inactive for two months. But it didn’t hamper my earnings. I want to apply the same technique to working so that I can get things done even when I’m not working. A good team can help me to do that. So this year my primary focus is to build a team.
7. Where can people find you and follow what you’re doing?
And finally, Thank you and the ThirstyAffiliates team for such an awesome plugin and for taking this interview.