Amazon Niche Site Challenge 01: A First Look Into the Details

When I first explained my Amazon niche site challenge and followed it up with an earnings update in my November income report, many of you wanted to know more about exactly what I do to monetize these sites (besides using Amazon) and why earnings may have varied between sites.

I’m still not going to reveal the actual URLs of the sites, but I will go into a lot more detail about the general niches I’m targeting and provide a lot of other information that I think you will find helpful and/or interesting.  If you don’t already know about my Amazon niche site challenge, I suggest you read the introduction first.

General Monetization Strategy

Within this “challenge,” each site I create is built around the following monetization methods:

  1. Amazon’s affiliate program
  2. Google AdSense
  3. CPA network offers

I’ll explain #1 and #2 briefly because I think most of you are already familiar with them, but I’ll go into a bit more detail on #3, because I suspect that some of you haven’t had experience using CPA offers to monetize a website.

Amazon’s Affiliate Program


This is the primary form of monetization with Amazon niche sites (makes sense, right?).  Because these sites are based on products that Amazon sells (which is just about everything), I use numerous contextual affiliate links within each page or post on these sites.  I won’t go into a ton of detail about strategies here, mainly because I’d be publicizing information that I paid for in the Niche Profit Course (my review is here along with the Amazon niche site challenge introduction).  Here are a couple key points that really make a difference:

  • Use Amazon affiliate links often
  • Always have images link to your Amazon affiliate links, as people love to click images

I’m finding that while a site has low traffic, it may take some time to earn money with Amazon.  Unlike Google Adsense, where you’re paid by the click, Amazon pays you when someone buys a product from them within 24 hours of clicking your link.  It’s going to depend on the niche, but if you aren’t seeing a high conversion rate, it goes without saying that you’ll need more traffic to get more clicks (and thus, more affiliate sales).

Google AdSense


As much as I hate Google AdSense ads (which is why you’ll never see them on this blog), they are very effective in just about every niche.  Your earnings per click will vary by niche, but if you have traffic, you will get clicks.

Some people have expressed concerns about using AdSense ads in conjunction with Amazon affiliate links, under the assumption that having one will inhibit the other (e.g. having AdSense ads will reduce the number of people who click your Amazon links because they will click on the ads or become distracted by the ads).  I disagree with this assumption - I actually think AdSense complements Amazon affiliate links nicely.

I’ll illustrate my logic with an example - Let’s say you have a site about computer games, and someone lands on your site looking for computer games.  There’s a good chance that they will be interested in what you’re writing about.  If you wrote about Game X, and they were looking for reviews about Game X, there’s a very high probability that they will click through your affiliate link.   If you wrote about Game Y, which targets similar video game players as Game X, you may also get clicks on your affiliate links.

However, if the person was looking for Game Z, completely unrelated to Game X, there’s a good chance they’ll click off of your site.  If you have an AdSense ad that happens to advertise Game Z, there’s a better chance they’ll click your AdSense ad instead of just returning to Google or another site.

My point is, AdSense is great to capture “accidental” traffic, or traffic that your site doesn’t specifically target. When you get the visitors you’re targeting, you don’t have to worry about AdSense ads distracting them – they will be (or should be) more focused on your content, and thus more likely to click your affiliate links.

CPA Network Offers


This is one monetization method that I don’t see quite as often, but I think can still be very effective in helping your niche site earn more money.  For those who aren’t familiar with this use of the acronym “CPA,” it stands for cost per action.  In other words, a CPA network will pay you a certain amount of money when a visitor from your affiliate link completes some sort of action (which often involves filling out a form).

In many cases, you can get paid for someone doing something as simple as inputting their e-mail address or even ZIP code – they don’t even need to purchase something.

Example

If I have a niche site about consumer electronics, I might put up a banner ad, link, or even publish a post about entering to win a free $1,000 Best Buy gift card (this is an actual example of one of my CPA offer links).  When someone visits this link and inputs their e-mail address, I earn $1.30.  This is a lower payout example – there are many more that earn far more money.

Offers like the one I linked to above are usually “too good to be true,” but no more so than any other sweepstakes offer.  The terms and conditions of the contest are readily available on the page where the visitor enters an e-mail address.  There are other types of offers like free credit reports, free loan quotes, etc. (and those are the ones that have higher payouts, generally).

You might ask “why don’t have I have all my friends and family input their e-mail addresses?” or “why don’t I create a bunch of e-mail addresses to input?”  It’s the same reason you don’t click your own AdSense ads – the CPA networks are wise to this kind of fraud, and you would risk losing all earnings as well as getting your account banned.

These are the CPA networks I have used and can recommend:

They are free to join, but they’re sometimes picky when it comes to approving applications.  They will usually want to speak to you on the phone to make sure you’re a real person with good intentions.  Be prepared to show them a website you own, and briefly explain how you plan to earn money with their networks.  There are strategies for getting approved to CPA networks, but I’ll let you Google that (it’s outside the scope of this blog post).

A Sneak Peak at My Amazon Niche Sites

Although I’m not disclosing very specific information about each niche site, I’m hoping you will still get some value out of this.  All data presented below is for November – I started these sites mid-month, which is why it won’t look like a full month of data.  The earning amounts were taken straight from my November income report.

Niche Site #1

  • Niche: Computing
  • Traffic Snapshot:

  • November Earnings
    • Amazon Associates: $46.89
    • AdSense: $5.84
    • CPA: $18.90
    • Total: $71.63
  • Explanation: This has been my most successful Amazon niche site so far, but the fun didn’t last long.  At its peak (600 visits in one day), I was at #1 in Google.  Over the next week, I bounced around between #3-5 in Google, and was then “sandboxed.”  The majority of the earnings you see was earned over the course of a few days, when the traffic peaked.  The site is still indexed, and my backlinking strategies have been completely legitimate, so I’m hoping the site will emerge from the sandbox soon and back onto page 1 of Google.

Niche Site #2

  • Niche: Computer Accessories
  • Traffic Snapshot:
  • November Earnings
    • Amazon Associates: $4.10
    • AdSense: $1.19
    • CPA: $0.00
    • Total: $5.39

  • Explanation: This is clearly a lower traffic keyword that I targeted, but you can see that even low traffic, low value keywords (the worst kind, basically) can still earn a worthwhile income.  $5.39 isn’t much, but over the course of three years, that’s nearly $200, which isn’t bad for the 5-6 hours I put into this site.

Niche Site #3

  • Niche: Gaming
  • Traffic Snapshot:
  • November Earnings
    • Amazon Associates: $0.99
    • AdSense: $2.46
    • CPA: $2.50
    • Total: $5.95
  • Explanation: For some reason, this site seems to be getting a lot of international traffic, which I think is the reason the traffic hasn’t converted very well.  As you can see, this site gets four times the traffic of site #2, and its earnings are about the same.  I’m going to need to tweak this site and see what I can do to get it to convert a bit better.

Niche Site #4

  • Niche: Computing
  • Traffic Snapshot:
  • November Earnings

    • Amazon Associates: $0.00
    • AdSense: $0.00
    • CPA: $0.00
    • Total: $0.00
  • Explanation: There’s not much to say here except that I created this site near the end of November, which is why there was little traffic and no earnings.  Of these four niche sites, I believe this one could have the biggest potential, but we’ll have to wait and see how it goes!

Conclusion

Well, there you have it!  That’s the first look into the detail of my Amazon niche sites – in the future, you can expect similar posts.  As I create more and more niche sites, I may need to cut back on the traffic screenshots (because otherwise the posts will get extremely long), and may need to figure out a more organized and concise way of presenting this information.

Earning with Amazon niche sites isn’t a lightning fast process, but you can see that with a little bit of work, I was already earning a decent amount of money in less than a month from when I created the sites.

If there’s something I didn’t cover here that you would like to know about these sites (besides the actual URL, of course!), please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer it!

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the RSS feed so that you don’t miss any future updates about my progress. Thanks so much for the support, I really appreciate it!

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20 Responses to “Amazon Niche Site Challenge 01: A First Look Into the Details”

  1. Nice work Eric. As you know I’ve entered your Amazon Niche Challenge as well and have been having some success (further proof that this strategy definitely works).

    I got 5 sites up around Thanksgiving and most are doing well.

    4 out of the 5 sites are in the top 10 in google for their respective keywords and again 4 out of the 5 are earning money for a total of ~$175 since inception (all through amazon aff links). not bad.

    Look forward to continuing the challenge with you!

    dinesh

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    That is awesome man – it sounds like you’re doing better than I am so far. Keep it up!

    [Reply]

  2. Awesome post, Eric! Very exciting stuff! In terms of Niche Site 1, are you waiting for it to emerge from the sandbox before investing more time and effort or are you still actively working on it? All the best,
    Ian

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Ian – I’ve continued adding some backlinks, but in general I’ve stopped working on this site. Once it emerges from the sandbox, I may go back and add more to it depending on where the rank stands.

    Thanks for the comment!

    [Reply]

  3. Great inspiration! Learned alot.

    If anyone could help: I have mixed info on how to get approved for Amazon Associate program.

    What Steps do I need to do for quick approval to become an Amazon Associate.

    I do not have a website.

    Thanks Much…

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Renata – I actually just replied to your e-mail about this a minute ago. I would suggest creating a free website (via Blogger or WordPress.com) and publishing a few blog posts, before applying to Amazon Associates. This way, they can see you have a legitimate way to use their affiliate program and it will increase your chances of being approved. I would even say to make your blog about some kind of consumer products, which would be very Amazon-friendly.

    Hope that helps! :)

    [Reply]

    Renata Reply:

    Excellent…I will do just that…Thanks kindly!

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    No problem!

  4. Wow, I just love Niche Sites, I also think I should take a look to CPA Networks offers, I’ve never tried them.
    I will stay tunned for more.
    Thanks for the share Eric!
    Fernando recently posted… Make Money Blogging

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I love niche sites too. :) Thanks for the comment, Fernando.

    [Reply]

  5. I will keep an eye on this, I think I’d be interested in following it as I’ve thought about trying Amazon in the past. :)
    Dean Saliba recently posted… 5 Sites To Sell Your Blog

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Sounds good, Dean – hopefully I’ll have some more enticing results in the future. :)

    [Reply]

  6. Awesome work, E! I really need to get on the ball and create a few of these niche sites! This is some big time inspiration for the would-be niche marketer/internet entrepreneur. If you set up a dozen of these, you can really generate income that you can live off of.

    Thanks again for the inspiration, buddy!
    Kevin Douglas recently posted… How to Plan for Year Long Travel

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Absolutely – I hope to create a lot of these and really build myself a nice portfolio. If I can motivate you to do it too, I’m happy. :)

    Thanks for the comment, Kev.

    [Reply]

  7. Hey Eric,

    I found it interesting that your Amazon earnings are actually higher than the Adsense income. Your Amazon affiliate tactics seem to be working well for you, so keep it up!

    By the way, I liked your idea to have images link to affiliate products – ingenious! I would have never thought about it myself. Thanks for the small tip. :)

    Christina
    Christina Crowe recently posted… Why Do You Blog Be Honest Now…

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Christina – I think there could be months where AdSense income exceeds Amazon income (it’s that way so far for one of my sites this month) but ideally, you’ll always earn more with Amazon.

    As far as linking your images goes, it’s definitely one of those very small changes that can make a big difference!

    [Reply]

  8. I suggest you to split your income by adsense, amazon etc in your next income report. Your blog is really nice. My adsense income is also approx $60-70 per month. I wanted to increase it to some thing really good.

    I collecting lot of content to launch my sites in next few months. I agree that site which makes $2 month can also make good money in long term and will established site. But like that we can develop 1000sites of 30 pages but google will not allow this as most people will afraid of doing this. So, making 50 big sites with 50k traffic for main keywords will make lot more money and easier to maintain.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Rahul – if you take a look at my last income report, you’ll actually see that for my Amazon niche sites, I do split my income by AdSense, Amazon, etc. so that you can see where everything comes from.

    You’re right that larger, authority-type sites have much higher earning potential, however I think it may be more difficult to create 50 large sites with traffic of 50,000 visitors/month compared to hundreds of smaller niche sites. Also, the larger sites will probably take much more time to maintain since they will likely require more content.

    I actually think it’s a good idea to try to have a mix of small and large websites, if possible.

    [Reply]

  9. Hi Eric

    Interesting post about your earnings! Is there any update about your site getting out of the sandbox?

    Look forward to the update!

    Thanks

    Dave
    Dave recently posted… Looking to Buy an Electric Razor

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I believe all of my Amazon niche sites are out of the sandbox now, even if they are not ranking highly on page 1 of Google. Look for June’s income report in a week or two…it’s going to report my best Amazon month yet!

    [Reply]

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