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Achieve Financial Independence with Medium Comp. Amazon Affiliate Sites

Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by Toro, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. Toro

    Toro Newbie

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    Hey everyone.

    Quick intro about me:
    I'm 25 years old. I have been a passive member on BHW since 2008 (forgot password to my old user and can't reset because my old email acc is locked...), and I have been half-assing internet marketing for years while I was studying and working regular jobs and just procrastinating. Moved abroad in 2012 to go to college and study business. Moved back in with my parents after college in 2015 so I could save up some money. In early 2016 I said "F**k it!" and broke up with my long-term girlfriend and told my parents I was gonna travel for a few months. Bought a one-way ticket to South East Asia with the plan to live on my savings while establishing an online income source. I have brought my bad habits of procrastinating with me and I need to be held accountable for my lack of productivity. Accountability is the reason I create this journey.

    Goals:
    • Short-term: $1,500 a month so I can live comfortably here in SEA and also pay down student loan debt. Will try to reach this goal as soon as humanly possible.
    • Long-term: $10,000+ a month to achieve financial independence. Be able to live comfortably even in the most expensive cities in the world while also investing/saving for retirement. Hopefully will achieve this in the coming years.
    Plan on how to achieve goals:
    • Create several affiliate websites in low/medium competitive niches (will focus mostly on one specific site in this journey).
    • Traffic will be organic searches from doing SEO.
    • Will rely on the affiliate websites for income, and perhaps flipping them when I feel they have reached their max potential.
    What I've done so far:
    • Website #1:
      • I created one amazon affiliate review website with 70-80 articles/reviews during the summer and fall in a small niche where keywords are mostly ranking on 2-3-4 page.
      • I have 6-7 "pillar articles" that each target one of the biggest kewords in the niche. I had a goal to rank a few keywords on the first page during December so I would cash in on the Christmas sales, but I failed due to procrastination, over-optimization-penalty and being a newbie at building PBNs quickly enough. I learned that PBNs are time-consuming and I think I will just buy backlinking packages for now until I earn more money.
      • The KW competition is mostly 30-35 in KWfinder. Earnings are usually $100-$200 a month but earned $500 in December. The products in this niche are mostly selling in the range of $50 to $300.
      • (This website is mostly "completed" in terms of content and I only need more diversity links and PBNs to rank keywords to start to earn some decent cash. My traffic goal for this site is 11k+ a month. That would make it grow close its potential and earn $1000-1500 a month. I will not spend too much time on this site, and when I mention it I will refer to it as website #1 in later update)
    • Website #2:
      • Also amazon affiliate review website. Started it in December but took some time off during Christmas.
      • Right now it has 20+ reviews, but could potentially grow to over 200 reviews as my domain name could cover several categories in this niche. Not written any "pillar articles" yet.
      • No links are built. Ranking some of the long-tail product keywords already on page 2-3-4 and two of them at the bottom of page 1.
      • I have a good feeling about this website. Already sold 2-3 products without off-page SEO and earned roughly $17 so far.
      • Keyword competition is mostly 30-45 in KWfinder. The market potential is even bigger than Website #1, and the product prices and categories are even broader.
      • (This journey will be focused mostly around this website in the beginning)
    • Also wasted time trying to create other websites and projects based on some new exciting ideas I had that has not yet resulted in any sales. I recognized they were mostly distractions from my main sites so I have put these projects on the shelf for now, and I will try not to act on any new project hunches for a while in order to focus on my main website.
    What to do next:
    • Website #1:
      • Experiment with on-page and off-page SEO.
      • Will purchase link-diversity package to dillute anchor texts. Also gonna try to find some high quality PBN links from BHW marketplace.
      • Will try backlink anchor text dilluting, internal linking and testing for kw density, etc as I still have some keywords not ranking for the correct pages.
    • Website #2:
      • Continue writing reviews, starting with the highest priced items.
      • Building out a killer home page with a super long "pillar artcile" targeting most of the big keywords in this niche. I will have each keyword in the h2/h3-tags. Like "Top 3 [category #1 keyword]", then write a quick summary with the top rated products and link to the individual reviews, then do the same with "Top 3 [category #2/#3/#4 keywords]". Later in the journey I will maybe build a specific page for each big keyword and link internally to them from the home page, but for now I will just try to have them all on the home page.
      • I plan to build links only to home page in the beginning to boost up the authority, and get a broad range of keyword anchors pointing to it. I am also hoping that this will boost the inner pages and individual reviews by internal linking.
      • Buying a backlinking diversity package.
    I probably won't update this journey every day as I find myself spending a lot of time in just writing this first post, and I would rather use most of that time on building the websites.

    For the newbies reading this: I won't go into the details for you, sorry about that. Don't have time to explain how I do everything (how to do keyword research, what plugins I use, backlinking, etc). There are lots of info on this forum from smart people who are crushing it online. I'm just a newbie myself who has committed to a project, and I will research, learn, try things, test and stick with what I think works for me long term. I suggest you do the same.

    I will occasionally update you guys with what I have done since the last update and the results I get. As mentioned, the main purpose of this journey is to keep myself accountable.

    Thanks to everyone for reading this and I hope to keep this journey going until I reach my goals.

    - Toro
     
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  2. asap1

    asap1 BANNED BANNED

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    Good luck OP. :)
     
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  3. DTutahey

    DTutahey Registered Member

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    Don't give up, I am on a similar track right now!
     
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  4. Zanskar

    Zanskar Regular Member

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    Goodluck with your journey!
     
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  5. littlewebdragon

    littlewebdragon Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Good luck :) Quite a post and seems well organized for a journey indeed :)
     
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  6. HEB

    HEB Registered Member

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    Good luck in your journey.
     
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  7. louiszhao

    louiszhao Regular Member

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    Where r u exactly in SEA? I'm in SEA too :)
    Good luck!!!
     
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  8. MisterF

    MisterF Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Sounds like you have thought it through in depth, good luck.
     
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  9. Hawkster

    Hawkster Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Good luck buddy - You got this
     
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  10. goblinsystems

    goblinsystems Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Good luck!

    So if I understand correctly, website #1 is already getting traffic? Or is it penalized from before? If not.. What is your CTR and conversion rate? It might be worth spending a good amount of time optimizing here.

    I know it sucks to split hairs over this stuff, it's easier to just churn out new content, but it makes such a difference to the bottom line. You could be making twice the money with the same amount of traffic.

    Be careful with the link buying, there are only a few sellers here that do it well from what I hear. Make sure to do your due diligence.
     
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  11. SEO FOX

    SEO FOX Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Good luck Buddy, Keep going.
     
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  12. Lazdu

    Lazdu Newbie

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    Good luck with journey! Bookmarked
     
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  13. Toro

    Toro Newbie

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    Thanks for all the support!
    I'm now accountable to all of you for getting shit done :)

    Thailand at the moment.

    Yes. I agree with you about this. I'll keep working on #1 while I'm building #2. I’ll be careful, but in the past I've been too careful and paranoid and it has held me back from getting things done. I have to take some risks.

    UPDATE #1 (Post #2 but the first update)

    I'll share the rough stats with you here as I forgot to add it in the first post. These sales are 98% from Website #1 and the dates are from the summer of 2016 to February 2017:
    Clicks: 3220
    Shipped items: 220
    Returns: 10
    Conversion rate: 6.8% (was 7.7% for last year, and below 5% for this year)
    Shipped items revenue: $15,800
    Avg. price per item sold: $71 (avg. commission: $4.45)
    Total earnings: $980

    Earnings per month:
    Jul: $ 40
    Aug: $ 65
    Sep: $ 20
    Oct: $ 120
    Nov: $ 110
    Dec: $ 500
    Jan: $ 70
    Feb: So far $35

    Rough Google analytics stats for Website #1 so far (Summer 2016 to Feb 2017):
    Sessions: 7000
    Users: 6000
    Bounce rate: 76%

    So basically my click-through on affiliate links are 46%-53.6% if you count sessions/users. It is where it should be, and I have plenty of links as well as native ads. I’m thinking maybe I should have fewer and more well-placed links so I don’t risk getting banned for having thin content compared to the number of links. The RPM (revenue per thousand impressions) is roughly $140 which I am quite pleased with! I think $100+ is usually considered to be good. So in my opinion it has great potential.

    All the traffic I get is mostly from long-tail keywords or individual reviews. None of my main keywords are ranking on the first page yet, and some are ranking with the wrong pages (will explain below).

    Can't wait to rank it higher and get more traffic. As I mentioned in my first post, 11,000 in monthly traffic should earn me $1540 a month if I can keep the RPM high and I would reach my short term goal. I'm excited to see if Website #2 will beat that.

    What I've done since last time:
    • Website #1:
      • bought a backlinking package to get some anchor text diversity.
      • bought 50 PBN links distributed with 10 different anchor texts.
      • messed around with IFTTT for social media sharing of my posts, but just seems to be taking too much of my time and efforts. Maybe I’ll come back to it later.
      • wrote 3 articles that I could interlink to my pages that are not ranking correctly to give “topic relevancy” or whatever.
    I have been having the issue that a few of my main keywords are not ranking for the correct pages.

    I’ll use an example to explain what I mean.

    Let’s say my review site is in the golf clubs niche. My main keywords are:
    Best cheap golf clubs
    Best putter golf clubs
    Best wedge golf clubs
    Best iron golf clubs … etc…

    I build one page for targeting each of those keywords, and those pages have these URLs:
    Golfcentral.com/best-cheap-golf-clubs-review
    Golfcentral.com/best-putter-golf-clubs-review … etc…
    (This is not my domain nor my niche, it was just a name I thought of to use in this example)

    My problem is that the cheap-keyword is ranking on the putter-page, on spot #50, and the cheap-page is ranking no keywords at all.

    I thought there could be several reasons for this. I thought maybe it could be an over optimization penalty. I experimented with on-page factors such as reducing keyword density, removing alt tags from pictures, replacing keywords with synonyms, etc. But no effect.

    There's also a theory of "topic duplication" which means that google basically thinks both pages are about the same topic because your URLs and Titles are identical with the exception of ONE word. So you get a penalty for having multiple pages on the same topic, or only one page ranks for both keywords, and you don't get full effect that you would by having separate pages optimized for each individual keyword.

    So I’m experimenting with shortening the permalinks of the pages so they will share fewer words. I removed the “golf” of the permalink since it’s already in the domain name. They have been changed to:
    Golfcentral.com/cheap-clubs
    Golfcentral.com/putter-clubs … etc…

    I use 301-redirect from the old URLs to the new ones. This way the URL is more specific about what the page is about. I may also try to experiment with synonyms to make them look more unique, but still rank for the correct keywords, like:

    Golfcentral.com/best-cheap-clubs
    Golfcentral.com/top-putter-clubs
    Golfcentral.com/excellent-wedge-clubs … etc…

    I also posted 3 articles only to establish “topic relevancy”. If the page for “cheap golf clubs” is not ranking for the correct page, I write an article about “Most Affordable Golf Vacation Destinations” or “Where to Buy Low Cost Gear Bags for Golfing” and give an internal link back to my “cheap golf clubs” page. If I do this 2-3 times with other articles about something cheap/affordable/low cost and I have synonyms for cheap in my anchor texts, I can let Google know that the page I’m linking to is relevant to these topics and it is an important page. Will continue doing this and I’ll let you guys know if this works.

    • Website #2:
      • Wrote and published 2-3 reviews. Ideally I would post 3-4 each day.
      • Started planning out the huge pillar article for the front page
    I'm a bit worried I may have too many links in my reviews compared to the content. I put 3 “buy now/click to check price” in every article as well as I hyperlink every picture of the product. I also have the native ads below each post. Don't want to get my associate account banned so I think I should play it safe from now on and have fewer but more visible links, maybe center them in the articles.

    What I need to do next:
    • Website 1:
      • Write more articles to give topical relevancy to my main pages
      • Experiment more with on-page aspects of the pages
      • Sit back and wait for incoming link juice
    • Website 2:
      • Continue writing reviews
      • Still need to write that big pillar article
      • Still need to buy links but need content first.
    • Personal life:
      • I have to move in one week, so I have to go apartment hunting. It’s not a big deal since all my things fit in a backpack. I’m living on a budget in a studio without a kitchen. Right now I mostly work from a cafe because I can't get work done in the same room where I sleep. I want a bigger place with a living room that I can use as an office when I want to work from home and with a kitchen so I can cook sometimes. Need to get a decent monitor to improve productivity.
      • Have to go to immigration and see if I can extend my stay in this country.
    Just realized I have maybe 7-8 months left until I run out of money. I have to become more productive and build these niche sites faster. I have to start earning $1500 a month before then to cover my living expenses and my student loan payments...

    ... There is no plan B ...

    Back to work
    - Toro
     
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  14. hippo123

    hippo123 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Good share, thanks!
     
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  15. Toro

    Toro Newbie

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    Update #2

    Not much have happened since last update, but I need to hold myself accountable and update even though not much has happened. It is all part of the journey. And now I feel compelled to be more productive before the next update.

    February was a terrible month! Here are the rough stats:

    350 clicks (407 in January)
    18 items ordered (20 in January)
    19 items shipped (15 in January)
    5.1% conversion rate (compared to 4.9% in January)
    $850 shipped items revenue ($1100 in January)
    $44 avg item sale ($73 in January)
    $50 total earnings ($74 in January)
    $2.60 avg commission (compared to $4.90 in January)

    The conversion rate has been low since new years and the items sold were much cheaper in February as they have been in previous months. The reason for this is that I lost some rankings I had for keywords related to the most expensive category, so I get fewer of those potential customers visiting my site. They were usually bouncing between spot #10 and the second page, but now the page is not ranking and instead my home page is ranking, but on page 3, 4 or 5 usually. Almost all sales are still coming from Website #1.


    What I've done since last time:

    Website #1:
    • I have tried optimizing the on-page for Website #1 even more, but have not seen any results yet.
    • Wrote more "supporting articles" linking to my inner pages, but still the wrong pages are ranking... So frustrating. Will do more research about this.
    • Still waiting for the linkbuilding packages to be delivered. Will probably take a month for full effect.
    Website #2:
    • I have not done any linkbuilding for Website #2 yet as I'm still working on the content.
    • Still writing drafts for my front page and a few reviews.
    • Been doing a lot of "design" of how I want my lists and tables to look for my big article, but it probably doesn't matter that much. I'm not a coder but I know some CSS.
    Personal life:
    • Moved into a cheaper apartment and it is only partly furnished. I still need a decent desk and chair, also need to buy a bicycle so I can get around town.
    • Bad news: The internet in the new apartment is absolute shit. Usually below 0.5 Mbps and unstable. But maybe it will help me to focus on writing content and less procrastinating. I can always head out to a café when I need fast internet.
    What I will do next:

    Website #1:
    • Get the damn pages to rank for the correct keywords
    • Improve rankings
    • Maybe update the content and write a few more reviews since some new products have been introduced to the market
    Website #2:
    • Write more content
    • Start backlinking to build authority
    EDIT: If you didn't know, Amazon has updated the commission fees for affiliates. They will move away from the tiered fee system and instead base the percentages on categories. It will not affect me too much as most of the products in my niche fall into categories with decent commissions, but it still limits the potential for my sites as they previously could reach 7-8%+ in the future, but are now limited to a lower percentage. This has made me start thinking about maybe monitizing my next projects (whatever I choose to start after completing the content-part for Website #2) by something other than Amazon, maybe Ads or CPA. I have some ideas, but will talk more about it when that times comes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
  16. issorc

    issorc Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Where are you currently living in SEA? Good luck anyway!
     
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  17. Holzr

    Holzr Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    All the best. Shall be following.
     
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  18. gary2

    gary2 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Good Luck with your journey:)
     
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  19. Boriss

    Boriss Elite Member

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    Good luck OP!
     
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  20. _Richie_

    _Richie_ Newbie

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    best of luck with your journey
     
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