Around this time last year, I was working as a full-time freelance writer. Often, I would stay up all night, completing writing task for clients, even when there is nothing to do, i’d be awake anyway, because it has been a lifestyle; staying up for most part of the night.
On this particular night, I stumbled upon a very interesting keyword.
I know tons of stuff about affiliate marketing, because I have tried and failed several times, I had given up on the idea of starting an amazon store after failing several times.
Awake I was, checking through Google keyword planner to vet the keyword I had recently stumbled on.
As at this time last year, Keyword planner was free and easy to use; now the data is not so straightforward anymore, especially if you’re not a huge spender on Google Adword, you would only be served with throttle figures, which is obviously of no use to you as a marketer.
This post is about my journey for the past 11 months as far as making profit from amazon niche site is concerned, I intend to share as much information as I can, in this single post, and hopefully, it would inspire someone out there to break all odds and get started with something.
I said “get started” because I know how easy it is to know so much and not execute a single thing.
I know how easy it is to give up because you think you’ve failed too many times.
Maybe you’re not “called” for this lifestyle, maybe you’d be better off busting your ass on a 9 to 5 job, at least an income is guaranteed at the end of the month.
But just before you shutdown your PC and commence your job hunting journey, read my experience and see if it would in a way change your mind.
For clarity and simplicity purpose, I would break the post into three sections:
I would use the timeline to explain what I have done, and how some myths from the “guru” as regards amazon marketing has been broken.
Beginning: The Making Of an Empire!
This section covers the setting up process, how I selected my keyword and how the contents and every other in between was done.
The first advice you get from guru as regards creating amazon niche site is to be very careful when it comes to selection of your niche.
This is a very good advice, but most gurus are not doing a good job in explaining how niche selection process works.
They would tell you to visit amazon, or check categories on authority site, look for well priced product with good review, copy the product category. Punch it into keyword planner, affix buyers intent keywords (something like; best, review, comparison etc) and check for the search volume. If it’s about 800+ then you should absolutely check for competition, if the competition is not fierce, then you should go for it.
While the advice is a very legitimate one (that’s how it should be done for the most part), they have mistakenly (or intentionally) excluded the fact that several hundred or thousands of people would do it just the way you’re doing it as well.
What this means is that, you’re setting yourself up as a competitor or for competition in the nearest future. While competition cannot be totally ruled out (it’s not like you can patent a keyword), it’s very important to minimize it.
Thinking out of the box when it comes to niche selection is the first step to creating a successful amazon nice site.
Let me give you an example of what it means to think outside the box…
…You’ve seen a nice product (following the guru’s advice), rather than punching the keyword + buyers intent into keyword planner, how about adding a little bit of variation?
Let’s say the keyword is targeted at male buyers, how about exploring the female buyer side of the market? Or the kids or teenage buyer’s market.
Maybe kitchen knife for left-handed people?
In my case, the primary keyword was a very competitive keyword, but this is a niche with lots of potential, it’s something I wasn’t willing to give up on without a “fight”, so I looked into ways in which the keyword applies to other set of buyers, and viola! I got the right one.
Another important thing to take note of is that fact that, there are awesome keywords out there (without buyer’s intention attached to it). What this means is that, you don’t have to stick to the traditional “best + keywords”, “Keywords + Reviews” etc.
Many will argue that the CTR to amazon would be low, even if they somehow landed on your site, this is wrong in most cases. All you have to do is get people on amazon, and they (amazon) would take care of the rest.
The CTR on amazon for my site is close to 11% in its first three months, and it’s currently about 7% right now (Due to massive increase in traffic), despite the fact that the primary keyword does not have the traditional “best” or “reviews” attached to it.
And yes, I still rank for the best keywords, even though it’s not primary targeted.
The take home here is to think beyond the surface. Look into a niche with spender. Females generally spend more. Mothers spend more.
Setting Up Your Site:
As mentioned earlier, I learn a great deal through trial by error, I have failed couple of times, but each round of failure has taught me something very significant.
There was a time I learnt how to setup wordpress site, other times I learnt about SEO, etc. In a nutshell, I knew enough about wordpress and SEO to get me started.
Take note that I was starting the site on a meagre budget. All I could afford was the hosting fee, which was ridiculously cheap being the first time offer.
I couldn’t afford a premium theme, I couldn’t afford a logo, and of course, I couldn’t afford the stylish thrive content builder and several other plug-ins that makes a site looks really beautiful.
This brings us to the very first lesson under this sub-heading…
Your site can be very ugly and still make decent income. You don’t have to set aside hundreds of dollars to get started. If you can afford it, fine! If you can’t, don’t use that as an excuse for not getting started.
Get yourself a hosting account, install wordpress (God bless the team that created this CMS), install a free theme, and necessary plug-ins, and get started anyway.
My site made about $288 during its first 15 days, and as far as I can tell, it’s probably the ugliest review site on the world wide web at that particular point in time.
I have since then reinvested some money in the site, and it’s now a very beautiful website. So yeah, I am no longer the webmaster of the ugliest website online anymore.
For site hosting, I strongly recommend Web4Africa They’re affordable and most importantly reliable.
Writing Your Content:
In this regards, I consider myself blessed. I wrote the articles myself. I know this might not apply to everybody, since we don’t have equal abilities. But if you’re an average writer, you should give it a try, the more you try, the better you get at it.
If English is not your primary language, and you’ve not mastered the language well enough to write a comprehensible article, am afraid you would have to cough out some money in getting the contents done for you.
There are several guides on the internet on how to write a well optimized amazon site article, I won’t waste time writing on that, i’d just like to point out a few things that might help you as a new site owner.
There is a difference between informational article and a marketing article. An informational is teaching the reader how to get things done, while a marketing article is trying to sell something to the reader.
If you follow due diligence in selecting your keyword, there is a 50% chance that the reader has his or her wallet close by, all you have to do is persuade them to click on that CTA (Call to Action) button, and you’re a step closer to making sales commission.
What this implies is that, your CTA must be very compelling. You must master the art of getting people to click on that button.
… If you would be outsourcing your content, it’s very important to create an outline.
Most people end up with poor content because all they did was sending the keyword to their writers.
These guys are not marketers! They’re writers.
If you want them to do a very good job, you should spend some amount of time writing out a detailed instruction on what you expect them to write. Spending 10-15 minutes in developing a guideline would go a long way in improving the quality of their delivery.
Yes! That’s it. That’s all you need to get STARTED.
-Carefully selected niche
– Setting up your site (Web4Africa Hosting)
-Well written content.
But it doesn’t end there. In fact, it’s the beginning of your journey.
Continued Effort: The Journey From Oblivion To Limelight.
If you’re a religious person, you’ve probably heard the word “hell” couple of times. You know, like sinful people burning in hell and all that. For the non religious folk; Google search what hell means if you don’t have an idea already.
Google is the “Hell” of the world wide web. That’s the simplest, most humane way to describe the situation. Back in the days, Google wasn’t smart. It would push any site to the front page as long as you add enough keyword on the page. But for over 5 years now, Google is smarter than ever. They created something called “Sandbox”. You can replace that word with hell. It fits perfectly as well.
Google sandbox is like a pit where all new sites are dumped. It’s your responsibility as the webmaster to climb up that hole by all possible means. The only way to climb up the ladder is by getting ladders or ropes to from sites that are at the top already.
Ladder and ropes means backlink.
Getting a backlink is not as easy as it sounds, so you should read extensively on the process involved. I won’t write about it here because there are several articles on the topic already.
You can either go the black hat way, grey hat way or White hat way.
In my case, I settled for the grey hat. Because I was building a small niche site and equally lucky to have made some money from my site during the festive period, I spent the money on getting some web 2.0 links for the new site.
TheHoth is a service I recommend and I know several other affiliate marketers can corroborate my claim on how good they are. If you intend building an authority site, and you have ample of time on your end, and a fairly moderate budget to keep things going before the site starts making money, I would advice that you focus on white hat SEO method.
But if you’re building a relatively small site, with earning potential of let’s say $2000-$4000 at it’s peak, then there is no harm in going the grey hat way (my definition of grey hat includes PBN links). Since you know the risk involved, you can focus on making income from this small to medium site and reinvest the money into an authority site.
That’s just my opinion. Feel free to discard it.
Either ways, it’s important that you get backlinks to your site as much as you can. People talk about the impact of social signal, I tried it, and frankly, I didn’t see much impact on my ranking, so I wouldn’t talk much about it.
For my site, the more link I build, the higher my ranking. And I also discovered from the stats, that age plays a very important role in site growth.
No matter how hard you try, it would take at least six (6) months before Google starts taking your site and it’s content very serious. But once you gain that traction, you’d be happy you put in all the hard work earlier.
Present and Future:
I wish I could write extensively on optimizing your site, where to put CTA, the button color, how to design the site, when to start building backlinks and all other stuffs. But I have decided not to write about all that.
My reason is fairly simple, these things makes the whole process looks complicated, and lots of people end up being overwhelmed by information to the point of giving up right before getting started.
Not sure where to put your CTA? Just put it somewhere! If it’s not converting, then change it and see what happens.
If you intend to succeed as an affiliate marketer, you should be willing to make mistakes, fail and try again. There is no perfect way of getting these things done, you sort of learn on the job. You learn from your mistake as well as others. The more you execute your plan, the better you get at it.
Suprisingly, my then ugly looking site made a little above $5,000 in November, and few days into December, it has made $2,000 already.
Based on the knowledge I have gathered from this experience, I started another site few months back, and the site is doing pretty well as far as growth is concerned. Most of the primary keywords are on second page, and it’s very obvious that the site would be a huge success once I focus on building more links to the money articles.
I had to chip in that, so that you would know how important it is to learn on the job, every failure and mistake would teach you a valuable lesson. A lesson that would be applied to your next adventure to make it much more better than the previous attempt.
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