Friday, August 12, 2005

Latest Project: Dart Supply Site

I launched another new "affiliate site" this week, this time on a topic that I truly enjoy: . The idea for a site on dart supplies is one that Albert and I have been tossing around for the last few months - mainly because we buy our own dart supplies online, and play every week at local tournaments.

The timing was good as League starts up this month, and everyone is getting together to form teams and organize sign-ups. I spoke with the guy that runs our group (MTDA) about the site at a tournament earlier this week, and offered to post all of the events & score sheets - and any other information he had - on the site all season.

That turned out to be a good deal for us both. He needed the info up on the web... and the site will benefit from the word of mouth referral throughout the MTDA. It will be a place they can look up their ranking - and something to bookmark and check back on.

There isnt a place to buy dart supplies here locally. Most people have to wait until a big tournament where there are sponsors and suppliers... or drive to Nashville or Chattanooga to one of the nearest stores that carry a decent selection.

Still, the prices online are generally a lot lower (not to mention saving time & gas money). Albert and I scout eBay just about every week for good deals, in addition to checking out the few good dart sites that we buy from. In fact, we just got a set of power point darts on eBay yesterday for $10 (a great deal, I know!).

Anyway, the site went together pretty quick. I did a bit of research and found an affiliate program that I liked - the products were good, prices were right. I chose to work through NetShops because they house a number of great programs, and also offer dynamic datafeeds.

Outside of the product pages, there isnt a lot of content just yet. But I imagine that will change as the season kicks in and the site grows. There will be weekly updates for League & tournament details... and I'm considering a discussion forum. There's plenty of room for this to expand depending on participation & feedback from our local group.

Other "content" areas I'm working on: event listings worldwide, practice drills, links to Pro events (Phil Taylor, etc), and any articles or other information I can find that would be of interest...

Back on topic - I found a great program, put together a simple template and researched Keywords. From there the site went together fairly easily... although I have to admit that I formatted the product pages manually (instead of using a program to create pages directly from the feed). I added a mailing list, of course (through my account at Aweber)... and that was it.

Next on the list are the basics:

- Start an Adwords campaign (done)
- Create an XML Site Map to submit to Google
- Get quality inbound links pointing to the site

I started working on the Link Strategy (#3) yesterday and found that there are quite a few sites, directories, blogs & forums on the topic... so quality links shouldnt be too difficult to get. Most of the organizations & associations are happy to exchange links, too, so that's a good place to start.

I'm looking forward to working on an affiliate site that I have such a personal interest in. It's one thing to 'promote what sells'... quite another to have something like this that you truly enjoy.

I'll be signing up for the Fall League this Wednesday. I've never played on League so I am really looking forward to it. I've made some great friends playing in the local tournaments... and even won a little cash here and there ;) A few of us are heading up to play in the Music City Classic this weekend, too - should be fun!

Here's the link: . Feedback & suggestions are welcomed!