from ads to e-commerce

Move your Website from Adsense to E-commerce

As you might imagine, I get questions. I try to answer them as best I can, and sometimes they turn into dialogues. In this discussion, Tom and I talk about affiliate sites, converting them to Ecommerce, and much much more. This dialogue has been edited for clarity, and updated to reflect the changing realities of Ecommerce and affiliate marketing.

Hey Dave
I cannot help but get up and running on e-commerce. While I have and continue to have success with Adsense. I cannot picture myself writing articles all day for a living or manage a team of writers. I’m used to and love to work for my money as I take great pride in my work. Anyway, I know you recommended a book on the forums but there seems to be a number of books from the author.
I need help with finding reliable suppliers and more importantly getting up and running. I have set aside $1,000 to start with. I have a “supersite/superstore” in mind, but I’m trying to figure out if I should start with a “1 product at a time approach”.
I already know what I want to sell, have space available. It’s just a matter of getting organized and doing it


Hi Tom,
$1000 is plenty of money to start an ecommerce site – depending on the products and the deal you set up with your supplier(s). To start with, you need to have a real shopping cart site, like here:  You will also need a merchant account. You can use the one Shopify sets you up with to keep things simple.

Then you have to set up a distributorship with the manufacturer of the product you want to sell, and arrange for drop shipping, or get a FEDEX or UPS account.

Once all that is done, you are ready to go. — BUT you still have to do all the same keyword research and linkbuilding, just as for an AdSense site, or have someone else do it for you.

Ecommerce is the best way to monetize – but you still have to get traffic first.

Thanks for the response. I was hoping to build the site with “Market Theme” which integrates with PayPal perfectly (I’m registered as a business account there)
I’m already in contact with several suppliers, but I looks like 1000 doesn’t seem to be enough money now that I am in contact with them. What would be a comfortable amount to start with?
I have no problem getting the traffic ( I “get” the SEO methods) and a UPS account.
I guess I’ll just wait til I come up with more money

Hi Tom,
One of the things you need to have is a realistic expectation of orders. What you may want to do is set up a test program to determine demand. This will tell you what kind of volume you may get, and will inform your initial cash needs a well.

You can do this fairly inexpensively using Adwords. Using Adwords allows you to “pretend” that you already rank for your keywords, and make sure you do not end up like some who work hard to rank, and then find that the traffic doesn’t buy. In addition, tracking which ads / keywords drive conversions tells you a LOT about how you will want to set up your product pages, and what text, meta tags, etc you will want on them.

If the demand is just not there – find a different product. If it is, and you know your costs, you may have a way forward.

I would also recommend, even if using a drop shipper, keeping a small reserve of product on hand. (epending on the nature of the product, of course – this won’t work if you are selling sofas!) Not all suppliers are dependable. And when you have a customer who wants something right away, sending an email that you are out of stock can cost you the order.

With regards to the Market Theme, I have used that in the past, and it works fine. It is not the most attractive choice. If we are going to do a store with WordPress, we would go with a Studiopress theme, and Woocommerce. Lately though, Shopify has become our cart of choice. It’s really inexpensive, and easy to set up and run.

Also, you don’t have to worry about updates, plugin updates, getting hacked, and all the other stuff that goes along with WordPress.

Just curious, is it possible to turn a site from affiliate based to ecommerce base. This idea just popped into my head. For one, it will keep start-up costs low and will give me an idea of what is selling before ordering physical products.

Tom, that is a great idea. I have a site that started as a single kw site, then became a 20 page adsense sniper, then I solld products on it as an affiliate, and now it has a shopping cart. It really doesn’t matter how you monetize, so long as what you choose is what works best for your niche and capabilities.

Hey Dave
Thanks for the prompt response. I’m completely new to affiliate marketing so your going to find out, I will have a ton of questions so please be patient and hopefully I will not bug you.
So I bought ReviewAzon and I’m already lost. My question is, what WordPress theme works well? Hopefully, there’s a free one, but I’m willing to spend money if there is a premium theme that I could use for the long haul and converts well.

Hi Tom,
There are a ton of themes out there that will work. We always use Studiopress, unless there is a specific reason not to. While you can certainly find free themes that work, I like having support, and a solid backend.
I would start with an affiliate site first and get used to writing product reviews. If you need help with this, just PM me and I’ll send you some resources.

I’m a big fan of WooThemes so I went with one of them. For some reason I thought a special theme was required. While I’m using ReviewAzon, I noticed it pulls a ton of information from the Amazon page. (product description, details, customer reviews,etc). Would this replace product reviews (I doubt it)? Any ideal settings?

If you want to rank – new, original content. There is no other way. There is no quick way, easy way, effortless way.
I spent over an hour this morning dictating an 1800 word article that will only drive traffic to my reviews.
Reviewazon is ok – but I like doing it myself better. It gives me more flexibility when writing reviews, and I can make them my own.

So I searched for the product online and noticed several individuals simply copying and pasting the manufacturers product description. Is this legal?

This is where I explain to Tom how to properly write a review. But this same process is what you should be using to create your product descriptions in your Ecommerce store.

It is legal, but stupid. How will your page rank for that product if you have the exact same content as everyone else? This is what most of my ecommerce competition does, and why I outrank even the manufacturers for some items.

  • First, gather together all the info you can on your widget.
  • Then rewrite everything. If your site has a widget review, it should include all technical info, specifications, links to the manual, any pictures or videos you can find, rewrites of customer reviews, you name it.
  • Put together a complete review, make it as nice as you can. Focus on making it useful. What would you like ot find if you were going to buy one of these?
  • Try to give real info….what do they want to know before they lay down the cash?
    • what comes with it
    • is there a warranty
    • what about shipping
    • is gift wrapping available
    • how do I work it
    • are there different types / colors / attachments / options
  • The specs are a gold mine – say your widget features all steel construction – why does that matter? Go to manufacturers website and find out. Does the competition use aluminum?
  • your widget is waterproof – is the competition’s?
  • how about an article that compares the top sellers in that category on amazon by feature?
  • If the product lists 10 features / benefits, each one should be worth a paragraph….
    • 1000 words comes quickly…
    • Solid, real, useful content wins every time.
  • The absolute master of this: Rob Snell. Browse that site. It is a graduate course in ecommerce. Notice it is not pretty. What it is is informative, useful, and very very profitable.