If you’ve followed my Amazon niche sites follow-along then you know that every couple of weeks I post a progress report on what I’ve done on my 9 niche sites and how much I’ve earned each month from Amazon.com and other affiliate programs.
I am building all 9 sites on expired domains with new and unique content. This progress report is the fifth update and concludes 8 weeks since the launch of my niche sites.
The tl;dr version of this report is that I am a lazy slob and not a lot was accomplished in September. Yet I’m still really happy with the earnings so far. Apparently I am not only a lazy slob. I’m a competent lazy slob.
So what’s new?
I know… I know…
It’s on my to-do list for October.
This month I added 3 new pages of content and upgraded 5 existing pages. By “upgraded content” I mean that I added new keyword phrases, fixed the copy, and moved things around.
Let’s take a look at the difference in click through rate and visitor volume after I revamped the top landing pages on sites G & B.
For both of these sites I used the content template from site G that’s responsible for over 50% of my sales.
Here’s the before and after results for 2 of the pages on site G.
First up, this is the page on site G with the most visitors and the most clicks to Amazon:
Here’s the second top converting page on site G:
And here’s the before and after results for site B.
Now I know I’m onto something with this content template. I just need to get my ass off the beach and do some work. Speaking of, here’s my moment of shame.
Manictime tells no lies. I put in a pathetic 29.5 hours of work for the entire month.
7 years after college and I still haven’t changed a bit. This niche site follow along is the equivalent of having an entire semester to finish my senior thesis but waiting until he night before to start. Pulling an all-nighter and still getting a B+ for 50 pages of BS I pulled out of my ass with pure coffee running through my veins was adequate. But I know I could have done so much better.
I can still do so much better. So why can’t I sit down and do the work? Why am I like this!?!
I’m one of those annoying people who needs proof before I feel ready to take massive action.
Note to self: Congrats. You have data. Go do some work.
This month I’m going to KISS and stick to this template for all future content on these niche sites. I stress myself out too much every time I fiddle around with stuff and try out a bunch of untested content formats. I end up procrastinating and doing nothing at all. 🙁
Data = less uncertainty = less anxiety = less faffing about = more productivity
Total Visitors: 855 (+220 from August 2014)
Total Affiliate Link Clicks: 151 (+54 from August 2014)
Total Visitors: 3,623 (+1694 from August 2014)
Total Affiliate Link Clicks: 1227 (+744 from August 2014)
How much did my Amazon niche sites earn in September 2014?
An increase in CTR is great, but it’s still meaningless in the grand scheme.
What matters is sales & conversions.
Along with an increase in CTR from my sites to the merchant, the conversion rate on both Amazon and the CJ merchant went up this month.
Like last month, I promoted merchants on cj in addition to Amazon for site G. For September I earned a total of $1107.52 USD with site G.
Take a look at the £34 performance incentive from the cj merchant.
Yahtzee! More money!
Total Earnings: $1107.52 (+$615.39 from August 2014)
Conversion Rate: 7.77% (+2.17% from August 2014)
For site B I found another merchant on cj but their commission rate was a dismal 2%. It would not make sense to promote them over Amazon without a really good reason.
One new tactic I tried with site B is to promote one of the deals in Amazon’s bounty program which pays for signups to subscriptions like Amazon Prime. I got 2 referrals this month for a cool $6 in referral fees. Sweet! Site B made a total of $22.91 in combined sales and referrals.
Total Earnings: $22.91 (+$21.13 from August 2014)
Conversion Rate: 5.86% (+3.66% from August 2014)
I know some of you are going to say “Meh. This is just the holiday season increase in Amazon sales.”
Okay, so maybe Christmas sales could be the reason for the increase in conversions on Amazon.
It still doesn’t explain the CJ data. And based on the Amazon sales data I doubt that the Christmas rush is the reason for increased Amazon sales.
Besides the products I’m promoting, people bought random everyday stuff like trash bags, hangers, and door knobs. Okay, so somebody did order one birthday gift card and I got a $1 commission for that. Other than the gift card I don’t see any gift worthy items in my Amazon orders report.
I don’t know about you, but where I come from, door knobs and trash bags are not the type of things you would wrap up and gift to somebody unless you really hated them.
I believe that the improved sales numbers are the result of more targeted search traffic (due to a possible increase in rankings) and better onsite copy.
Things I’ve learned and where I’m headed in October
Here are some factors that could account for the difference in performance between niche site G and niche site B.
- Average price of targeted products for site G is $220 versus $40 for site B.
- Competition! The first 2 pages of search results for site G’s main keyword is full of ecommerce listings and untargeted pages on content mills like about.com. For site B, the first two pages have several results from real niche sites. When I say niche sites I don’t mean little 15-page “made for adsense/amazon” sites. I’m seeing actual sites run by fanatical bloggers and they have a ton of real links and keyword targeted content.
- It’s a bad idea to go into a niche you know nothing about. I have no idea what I’m talking about when I write for site B. Contrast this with site G where I am basically selling to myself.
- I clearly gave myself too much credit when I spaced these progress reports out to one per month. From this week forward I will post a progress report every week. Even if there isn’t anything to report for earnings/traffic I need to force myself to create new content and build some links. If for no other reason than to have something to write about in my reports.
- If I hate writing so much then why don’t I just outsource? While writing about widgets sucks, you know what sucks even more? Going through and rejecting articles by “professional SEO writers” on elance who create content that’s as engaging (and makes as much sense) as a school report written by a drunk Chinese study abroad student. To get the type of content I want I’m going to need American bloggers or copywriters who can speak and manipulate the English language. At an average of 1200 – 2000+ words per page this comes out to $40-$200+ per piece of content. Nobody’s got that kind of budget here!
Summing up week 8 of this niche site case study
September earnings: $1130.43
September expenses: $0
Total earnings since the start of this follow-along: $1624.34
|The Niche Sites|
|Month 2 |
|Month 3 |
|Month 4 |
|Month 5 |
With total earnings this month of $1130.43 I am 22.61% closer to my goal of increasing my income by $5000 every month from niche sites.
Questions? Comments? Do you have any hacks to deal with chronic procrastination? Leave a comment!