Hello everyone, I am a long time lurker of this board who has finally decided to step out of the shadows (this is literally my third post). Why is my third post a journey thread? Well there are a number of reasons: I am literally two weeks into starting my first Amazon affiliate website. I want to be kept accountable - cliche I know... but I want to take this seriously. I want to learn from other members - As the title says I am a beginner. To give back to the forum that has taught me so much. DISCLAIMER: This first post is going to be long. There is a lot of info I want to fit into my first post. So be warned! A Bit About Me, Myself and I I am going to start my journey off by giving you a bit of background about myself to give this thread a bit of context. I am a 26 year old accountant who works for a big four accounting firm. I earn a decent salary and am good at my job. So why internet marketing? Simply put, the work life balance of an accountant is awful. I work incredibly long hours, for clients I dislike, for a boss I dislike and work which does not interest me. I love the idea of being my own boss and being accountable (excuse the accounting pun) for the work I do and the money I bring in. As an accountant I see plenty of clients making an absolute killing with home businesses, many a lot like internet marketing. So why can't I do it to?! I love computers. I love the internet. I love the idea of marketing and selling. So internet marketing seemed like the perfect fit. Internet marketing to me is freedom. Freedom to build my own empire. To do things the way I want to do them. What Action Have I Taken So Far? My actions over the last 8 - 12 months will go against a lot of what people on this forum advise. I have literally spent hundreds of hours reading and educating myself. I have read many many finance books in the local library. I have trawled through countless BHW forum threads. I have watched hundreds of hours of tutorials on youtube... But I was stuck in Analysis Paralysis HARD. In hind sight it is easy to see that this was a massive mistake... So recently (2 weeks today to be exact) I started my own Wordpress Amazon Affiliate Site. The Journey Begins Note: I am a beginner in the fact that I have never made an affiliate website before or made any money online. I HAVE however done my homework and hope I am in a good position to make a profitable website on my first try (we will see!). If not I will learn from the failure and move on. But I will try to document the whole process. The following is what I am going to cover in this section of the post: Niche Selection - What am I going to market?! Keyword Selection - Rank and bank baby! Website setup and theme - Needs to look nice and be easily navigated Persona set up and personalisation - Develop trust to bring in the dollar bills! Mail List - Keep em coming back for more! Content - The reason for visiting my site Traffic Kick Start - White hat takes time... Niche Selection As a beginner I found this part of the process quite hard. How do you find a niche that isn't too competitive, actually sells and is evergreen (not seasonal)? It is worth noting that the niche I was looking for is one that is relatively micro... but not to the point where it is only ONE type of product. I don't want to make a churn and burn site. I want a site that I can (if I decide to) make into an authority site on the niche I choose. I spent approximately 4 hours trawling through Amazon digging deeper and deeper and creating a spreadsheet in excel with a 'possible niche' column. I Started with products I have an interest in... and then crawled deeper and deeper. Amazon is an incredible site in the fact that it can literally take you on an awesome journey of products just by clicking 'related to' or 'people who bought this also bought'. Once I had a list of about 20 - 25 products I began to do a bit of research in the trusty old google search. Are these products in demand? Are people searching for these? Are they buying them? What is the rough competition like? What are the forums like? I performed a semi SWOT analysis for each product. This helped me to cut my list down to about 3 possible niches. The one I ended up going for is one in the 'Health Care' niche (no I am not selling fat loss pills). I won't go into too much detail (for obvious reasons). But here are some facts: It is an evergreen niche - google trends shows a nice upward slope. There is huge demand for the product - there are plenty of amazon best sellers. Forum questions like 'should I buy xx', 'where can I get xx' and 'has anyone used xx what do you think?'. There is a large selection of the product on Amazon - Plenty of content to write about!!! My rough competitor analysis showed a definite hole for me to add value! [more on this below] I am not sure how to link to another BHW name (new to posting) but Davids355 does a guide on niche selection which is amazing and helped me out a whole lot. I mentioned I was a beginner right? I will add a few 'hindsight' type notes in pink for each section where I have learned from a mistake or have fucked up in some way. So while I am super positive about the above niche... and I reckon I can make some decent $$ from it. One thing I note is that products in this niche are selling from $35 to $150 which is rather low. Especially with Amazon commission rates. But I think that because they are selling for such low amounts that the conversions will be quite high (we will see). Keyword Selection So I had a niche selected. Now it was time to find some long tail keywords to rank for in google. I began by registering an adwords account and typing in some short tail (seed) keywords to get an idea of the traffic and some possible other keywords to research and 'add' to. Google adwords is great as it spits out a tonne of helpful keywords that are broadly related to your seed key words. I saved these into excel, along with the monthly searches, competition, CPC etc. I then went through the list and did a 'cull' of keywords that weren't relevant or were too specific. Excel also has an awesome filter function to cut away keywords that did not meet certain requirements (minimum monthly searches etc). What I was left with was a list of keywords that had a decent search volume per month (150 - 5000) and had buyers intent. I used a few tools like keyword shitter and ubersuggest to generate a larger list. What I was left with was a large list of potential keywords... I needed to cull these more. So how did I do this... Things I was looking for: Demand for the product - how many searches per month. Keywords with buyers intent (review, best, cheap etc). Low or easy to beat competition (more on this below). Keywords I could easily generate content around and were relevant to my niche. Now the hardest part about the above was definitely the competitor analysis. I found some awesome keywords... but I have never ranked a site before. I have no idea who I can and can't beat. However while I primarily want to rank in SERPs I also have other means with which to generate traffic. I downloaded 'SEO quake' and 'Mozbar' for my browser and began searching google for the keywords that were left on my list. I was analysing the top 10 results. What are their PA, DA... how many backlinks, what type of backlinks? Are they an affiliate site? Authority site? E-Commerce etc... Are their backlinks from a cheap spammy PBN or from authority sites? This literally cut my keyword list back from 100 to about 15 keywords which I thought I have a chance at ranking for. In hindsight I really think I should have spent more time on this area... as I think some of the keywords I have chosen are going to be a lot harder to rank for. We will see. Live and learn! At the moment Im using a feature called 'SEO keyword magic' which is in beta on SEMRUSH which (while in beta phase) is free to use. This is literally the best free to use keyword tool Ive found so far. Once my kewords were chosen I began to create an excel document with how I was going to structure my website: I can always expand on this model... but this is the skeleton that I can build on top of. Without sounding like too much of a fan boy... Davids355 has an awesome keyword selection guide which I wish I had read before settling on my keywords above. I think some of my 'primary keywords' are going to be a lot harder to rank for. I have found some good long tail keywords since then (using the SEMRUSH keyword magic tool) which I have added to my website plan which I think I can easily rank for and bring traffic to my site. My niche is good in the fact that I believe the traffic I do bring in will look at many of the other pages on my site. I am also going to use some other methods to bring traffic to my site. Website Setup and Theme As you already know I chose wordpress as the CMS for my website. I have no programming knowledge and wordpress is incredibly simple to use. I won't be going into too much detail in this section as there are numerous threads on BHW about setting up wordpress. However, I did spend a lot of time looking at different themes for my website. Being in the 'Health Care' niche I wanted a theme that was free of clutter and very 'simplistic'. The theme I settled on was 'Genesis'. It is a very basic no frills them that not only looks nice but is easy to navigate. Cue first $$ spent on the journey so far $59.95. I also registered a .com domain at namecheap: $7.95 (Not EMD - but a brandable domain) and registered for hosting at hostgator $0.01 (first month) [yes I used some lucky buggers affiliate link - I'm good like that]. Persona Set Up and Personalisation At this stage I began to think about setting up a persona for my niche. I wanted to create a person who is suffering the same condition as other people in my niche and add a personal touch to my content and product reviews. While this can be seen as unethical... I really am doing my research in this niche and adding value. I am not fleecing customers or selling snake oil. For my alter ego, I set up a facebook, twitter, tumblr and wrote an in depth about page. Mail List Before adding any content I also took the time to set up a mailing list plan. I want the traffic that does come to my site to come back (plus a large list for email marketing never hurt). For this I used a wordpress plug in called mail munch and integrated it with Aweber. As an incentive I wrote a 15 page e-book about my niche and set up mailmunch to pop up with a form that reads: "Enter your name and email below to recieve a free copy of the e-book 'The ultimate secrets to treating *niche*'. Have not had any traffic to test conversion etc... but will play around with it as things ramp up. Content Content is king. The amount of times I have read that in these forums is enough to drive that concept into my brain for life. So how am I going to write some 'royal' content? Well the first way is by writing the content myself. For this website (at least at this stage) I am going to write all the content. This is a huge task, but I want to get a feel for the type of content that works before I decide to outsource. I also want my content to stand out from my competition. So the first thing I did was research what they were doing. I typed in my keywords and looked at the top 5 websites. What I found was a lot of 'wall of text' style articles filled with medical jargon that were frightening to look at and boring to read. So how am I going to make my content stand out? The first thing I have already mentioned. I have created a persona. A person who is experiencing this ailment. All my content is going to be written from his perspective. Not as a doctor or a person pedaling products. While my ultimate goal is to sell products through Amazon and make money. To do this I first need to help people. The way I am going to do that is by writing genuine articles that I believe will help my targeted traffic and is stuff they will actually want to read. My first piece of content My first article (my pillar article) is written as a guide. It is 5,000 words long. There are no massive paragraphs and I use lists, headings and punctuation to create an easy to read post with lots of 'white space'. In my guide I outline things like 'what causes the ailment', 'how to know you are experiencing the ailment', 'how severe is the ailment' and finally I list the treatment options available (where I add some personal preference and experience - based on my research of things that ACTUALLY work). All of these sections have long tail keywords that I will link to other content I have either already written or am going to write in the future - based on my earlier website plan. In my articles I use plenty of images. The images I source from free image sites with CCO images like pixabay. I also use product images from Amazon where appropriate (with my affiliate link of course). I also create my own images such as: I use a free tool called canva (google it, I can't post links yet). It allows you to make professional looking blog title images in seconds - Thanks to whoever linked the tool to me. I can't remember which thread I read about it on... but it is invaluable. I also use Canva to create what I call mini infographics... things to catch a user who is skimming the pages attention. Example: In my content I also add a massive dose of my own personality. An example of which I'm sure you would of picked up in this post so far. Currently on my website I have: Pillar Article (overall guide) 5,000 words 'Best Niche Items - That I know work!' article 1,000 words 'Diagnose yourself' article 700 words Two 500 word product review articles A top 5 product review article 1,000 words I will look to add more and more content as the weeks progress. Traffic Kick Start The last thing I have done is create profiles on 6 forums in my niche. In these forums I have been posting 1 or 2 posts per day advising people and trying to make a friendly / authority figure type name for myself. I have not yet posted my links on any of these forums. I have also signed up to google alerts for my article and downloaded buzzbundle (however I haven't played around with it yet). Where to from here? So above is a very long winded and (hopefully) informative first post of my journey so far. I plan to update this thread regularly, however I won't set in stone how often (maybe every 1 or 2 weeks). My plan over the next month is to add a shittonne more content and begin to slowly start building both social signals and back links. I'm hoping some of my longer tail keywords will be able to start ranking with a few blog comments and good onpage SEO... but I am a n00b so I don't know. In terms of asking questions etc... I will be happy to answer... Just remember I am completely new at this, so take what i say with a grain of salt. If you have advice PLEASE post it. I am here just as much to learn as to share my journey. And once again. Cheers for being an awesome forum. Æsteroth.