How I Grew A Niche Affiliate Site From $0 To $3,934 A Month In 6 Months & How You Can Do The Same!

You’re probably fed up receiving emails about how you can get rich quick through affiliate marketing – I know I am. Pay $10 or whatever and you’ll get an ebook showing what they did and how you can ‘copy and paste’ your way to success…. blah, blah, blah

Well, it doesn’t work like that and the only person getting rich will be the person selling the useless information.

But the thing is, you can make money from affiliate marketing. Good money. The kind that means you can quit your day job.

So, today I’m going to share with you exactly what I did to take a one product niche affiliate site from 893 visitors and $0 a month to 13,597 visitors and $3,934 a month in just 6 months. And the good news is, if you put the time in, you can do it too!

Oh, and just to be clear… all that traffic was free traffic from google’s organic search results. The only cost the site has is hosting at around $50 per month (I use Rackspace cloud hosting, which is not the cheapest, but worth every cent in my opinion).

And one final thing before I go on… everything I teach is 100% white hat. No dodgy tricks. You’ll be building a high quality affiliate site that will rise up the search rankings and stay there, no matter what the next google update brings.

A Little Bit About Me

Firstly, let me tell you a bit about myself.

The reason I think this is important is that I want you to be clear that everything I did to build the site and revenue can be done by you.

I have 20 years experience in internet marketing and SEO.

Is this an advantage? Yes.

Is it what made me the money? No.

Well, at least not directly. Even if you have no experience on the web it shouldn’t be an obstacle to building your own high quality affiliate site earning good revenue if you follow my advice and put the work in. And it will take work… there ain’t no copying and pasting here!

Actually, let me caveat the above by saying that the bulk of the work will be in that initial 6 month period. I now spend about 20 hours a month on this particular site and it continues to bring in solid revenue month after month.

Choosing Your Product

Ok, first things first. You need something to promote. So, how should you go about choosing the product for your niche affiliate site?

Here are my few golden rules, which I’ll expand on in a moment: –

  • The product has to be popular
  • The product has to be at a decent price point
  • The product should be available from a number of retailers (with affiliate programs)
  • The product shouldn’t be oversaturated in the affiliate space

So, let me go into more detail.

Popularity

There’s no point promoting something obscure that no one is interested in buying. Sure, you can make a few bucks by going for a micro niche, but for the real revenue you want something mass market.

So how do you find this golden product? This commission generating monster!

Well, you might be lucky and have experience of a popular product from a previous/current job.

This was the case for me with this particular site. I used to be a retailer of the product, so I knew how popular it was, but that doesn’t really matter in a way. It’s quite simple to find popular products to promote whether you have experience in the niche or not. Here is one of the best ways!

Amazon Best Sellers

Amazon is one of the biggest retailers on the web with UK sales alone of over £3 billion per year. They also have a pretty sweet affiliate program, which offers up to 8% commission!

So, if a product is popular on amazon, you can be pretty certain it’s going to sell well. But how do you find the popular products?

Well, the good news is those lovely folks at amazon tell you!

Here’s how to find the golden nuggets!

amazon_car1

First, navigate to a subcategory. In this example I have chosen ‘car seats and accessories’ in the Baby department.

On the left hand menu there will be a link for ‘best sellers’ (shown above).

You’ll now get a listing of the best selling products in the category, ordered by popularity. And if a product is in the top 10 sellers in a category on amazon, then it’s safe to assume the volume is there to start promoting it!

amazon_car2

So, it’s easy to find popular products, but here is where the other golden rules come in.

Price

The most popular product in this category happens to be a back seat mirror priced at £8.95.

At say 6% commission (amazon operates a sliding scale of commission from 5-8% based on volume) that’s going to give us about £0.44 per sale (you earn commission on the net amount). Not great, we’re going to have to sell a lot to make any decent money.

So, how about the third most popular product, which is a car seat at £84.95? Well, at 6% commission we’re going to make £4.24 per sale – much better!

For me a product at just below the £100 mark ($150) is ideal as it’s enough to net you a good commission, but not too expensive that you will have to work mega hard to achieve any sales.

Oversaturation

So, you have a product (or a few related products – say the top 6 car seats), which it could be worth building a niche affiliate site around. Next, you’ll need to check whether the market is already oversaturated.

If you are looking to promote iPads for example, you’re going to find huge competition and you are going to have to work extremely hard to achieve any sort of rankings. So do your research and take your time to find a niche that hasn’t really been fully exploited in the affiliate space yet. Trust me, they do exist!

There is of course a balance between finding a niche that you can exploit and also finding a product that will be popular enough to get the volume you require to make the site a lucrative proposition. Car seats was a good example as they will always be in demand – after all people are going to keep having babies, no matter what happens to the economy!

So, that’s some pointers for how to choose your product. Back to the story of how I grew my own niche site!

Month 1 (June 2012).

The site had been up for a few months, but at this point was basically was just full of placeholder pages (getting about 5-10 visitors a day). June was the first month where I started to proactively work on the site, build traffic and monetise.

My affiliate site runs on a custom CMS system I have designed, but for your own site you can use wordpress, or your preferred content management package.

Ok, so a little bit about the product I had chosen to base my site around.

It is a high volume product in the fashion/beauty niche with sales of around £150million per year and a retail price point of just under £100. It sells very well online – I know because I used to sell it.

One of the most effective ways of monetising a niche affiliate site is to offer price comparison for a product. If you can presell it with a great review and then tell the customer where they can buy it for the cheapest price, then your clicks are going to convert extremely well.

So, I decided that each of my product pages (there are around 10 variations of the product) would have the best review on the internet and an up to date price comparison table for 6/7 of the top retailers.

I have bolded ‘the best’ for a reason.

June was spent pretty much putting together highly detailed product reviews for each of the 10 products. Each of the reviews runs to 2,000 – 3,000 words and covers everything a consumer would want to know about the product.

boardHow did I write these reviews?

Well, I know the product to an extent from selling it, but as a man whose morning regime involves rolling out of bed, into the shower and out the door in 5 minutes, fashion/beauty is obviously not something I can write about from personal experience!

So, I did a lot of research.

I took one product variant at a time and trawled through google and firstly collected all the features and technical specifications for the product. Next I read every review I could find – good and bad (honesty is a good thing). I watched youtube videos. I read what bloggers had to say. I read and read and read until I felt like I was an expert on the product myself. And only then did I start to write…

And I say write because writing is what I did. Not copying. Not scraping. Not spinning. Writing.

I had researched the product to such a degree that I knew everything about it and could speak/write on it as an authority straight out of my head. It was easy for me to sell the product as I knew all the pros and cons like the back of my hand.

I repeated the same laborious research process for each product variant until I had detailed, lengthy, compelling reviews for each of them.

I didn’t start writing with a word count in mind, but as I mentioned above, each of the reviews ended up running to between 2,000 and 3,000 words.

The great thing about content this length is you will naturally use lots of different combinations of keywords and phrases without even having to think about it.

Keyword research is valuable in certain situations, but in general I am a firm believer in write for your users, not the search engines and the recent hummingbird update from google has certainly rewarded those who write in this way.

Google indexes text and with my 10 detailed product reviews in place I now had between 20,000 and 30,000 words on my site. By the end of the month, this increased text content alone was enough to lift my traffic from 5-10 visitors a day to around 40.

So here are the stats for June: –

stats10

Unique Visits: 826
Commissions:
£72.71 ($115)

Month 2 (July 2012)

So, I had a few sales and visits. It was time to up the stakes!

I’m a big believer in the content is king mantra, so I added a blog section to the site and started to add supporting articles. This is where you can really start to build traffic and also push visitors to your money pages (or directly to an affiliate offer).

What sort of content works well?

Problem/Solution

Well, the tried and tested method of identifying a problem and offering a solution has been used in marketing for years and there is a reason why. It converts!

Let’s say for example your affiliate site is promoting a teeth whitening kit. You might write an article titled something like: –

‘How To Get Whiter Teeth In 30 Days Without Visiting The Dentist’

I added the bit at the end as people hate visiting the dentist right?

Your blog articles should not be sales heavy. Gain the trust of the reader by offering high quality content which addresses their problem and then just drop a few well placed links to either the product directly, or to your review page. First and last paragraphs work well.

You should of course make sure your articles are well written, detailed, offer real value and are truly unique.

Just as I did with my reviews for my blog posts I conducted detailed research and then wrote my own articles, making them the best for their particular topic on the web. If for example a post was a tutorial, you can bet it was the most detailed tutorial on the web!

For more on writing articles/content have a read at these posts.

One post in particular that I spent a lot of time on and continues to be one of the most popular pages on my niche site was a detailed buying guide for the product.

The post is about 3,000 words long and really goes into fine detail of what you should look for when choosing the product, the differences between the various models, the benefits of buying online etc. Since I had done so much research when writing the individual product reviews this was easy for me to write… I had become a genuine expert on the product!

All in all I posted 11 blog posts on the site in July, with each one running to a minimum of 600 words.

Some Initial Links

I’m not a big fan of ‘building links’ any more, preferring to take a holistic approach of building great content, networking etc (more in my article about white hat link building), but to get this site off the ground I would have to come down from my moral high ground to an extent and build a few initial easy to get links.

I pretty much just submitted the site to a few higher quality general and blog directories, picking up maybe a dozen or so links.

I also dropped a few into other sites I have access to in the same (or similar) niche, perhaps another half dozen in total.

Finally I commented on a few blogs which had commentluv enabled to create links back to some of my blog posts.

And that’s it. Maybe 30 or so links in total over the month. Not the ones that would start to bring me real traffic, but enough to get a few more eyeballs to the site.

So in July I had: –

  • Created a blog and added 11 articles
  • Built 30 links to the site
  • Continued to update pricing information for the products

By the end of the month the site was getting around 100 visitors a day from google. Here’s the vital stats: –

stats11

Visits: 2,283 (up 224%)
Commissions: £245.44 ($391) (up 237%)

Month 3 (August 2012)

Work on site in August continued in much the same way it had done in July. I continued to create new content for the blog section of the site and added a further 11 articles.

With regards to the blog, I experimented with topical content this month, i.e. basing content/tutorials around current news events. One of the articles for example was based around the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

This type of content is good for bringing in short term traffic, but normally doesn’t have the longevity of tutorial/problem based content. It’s always a good idea to have a mixture of topical content and ‘evergreen’ content on your site.

I also started on my preferred method of proactive link building; guest posting.

Guest Posting

There is some debate in the SEO community about whether guest posting for links is white hat/grey hat and whether links from guest posts will continue to pass authority and help your site’s search engine rankings.

I’ve written extensively on the matter in the past, but to summarise I believe that when done right, guest posts are still a good, clean way to build links and promote your site to new audiences. For more on my thoughts and how to get the most out of guest posting, have a read at the following article: –

I secured 2 guest post slots in August, each of which had a branded link (i.e. nameofsite.com) to the home page of the site in the bio box and a contextual link to a product review page in the body.

So what did this do for my traffic?

Well, by the end of August I was averaging around 125 visitors a day. So growth had slowed slightly, but was still on the right curve… i.e. an upward one!

Here are the stats.

stats12

Unique Visitors: 3,164 (up 38%)
Commissions: £277.52 ($442) (up 9%)

Month 4 (September 2012)

I continued to create fresh content for the blog, although this had slowed from previous months as I focused more on off-site SEO. In total I added 3 new blog articles over September.

I picked up the pace on guest posting and secured 5 guest post slots on good quality sites in my niche. 2 of these posts were secured through myblogguest, which is a fantastic service for connecting those offering content and sites offering a home for the content. It speeds up the process of finding sites that will be interested in your content and outreach somewhat.

Update 19/06/2014: Unfortunately google took (unwarranted) action against MyBlogGuest, so it is probably no longer an effective way to secure guest posts for your site. Read more about it here.

Natural Links

The really good news this month was that the site was starting to gain some natural links, primarily to the high quality content (blog) pages I had created.

Quite a few of these links were nofollow, coming from sites such as ehow, however, I am a firm believer that these links, while not passing pagerank directly, help to increase your site’s trust by giving you a natural looking link profile.

Note: This is why it is so important to create, unique, high quality content with real value. It might take a little time, but if it is good enough the content will eventually start to pick up editorial links on its own and these are the links that will truly see your site rocket up the search rankings.

I also managed to get a link to stick on the main page for my product on wikipedia (I put it there), again good for trust in my opinion 🙂

Traffic continued to grow and by the end of the month I was averaging about 180 visitors a day… but this was about to take a bit jump! My commissions also pretty much doubled, which was pleasing!

So September in a nutshell was: –

  • 3 new blog posts
  • 5 guest posts
  • some natural links
  • a wikipedia link

And the stats were…

stats13

Unique Visitors: 4,047 (up 28%)
Commissions: £560.36 ($894) (up 101%)

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Month 5 (October 2012)

As we moved into the final quarter of the year, things were really starting to happen.

Right at the end of September my traffic had taken a jump above the 200 visitors a day mark and it continued to grow through the month, smashing through 300 visitors a day on the 22nd and staying up there for the rest of the month (peaking at 329 on the 24th).

I didn’t do much on site blogging this month, just adding the one article, but there was a new product variation launched, so I wrote up my detailed review, added the page and also created a couple of guest posts based around it.

Overall I secured a further 4 guest posts over the month and continued to pick up some editorial (natural) links.

The increased traffic was of course meaning increased commissions and by the end of the month I was averaging about £30 a day.

October’s stats: –

stats14

Unique Visitors: 7,156 (up 77%)
Commissions: £824.29 ($1315) (up 47%)

A Quick Recap

Before I go on to November and December (which is where the real kerching happens!), I thought it would be good to do a quick resume on the work undertaken (with timings) and growth in the first 5 months.

Work

  • Set up site for new format (8 hours)
  • Created detailed product reviews on each product (6 hours per product = 66 hours)
  • Created price comparison tables for each product (1 hour per product + 2 hours per week updating = 51 hours)
  • Published a total of 26 blog posts (2 hours per blog post = 52 hours)
  • Built around 30 initial links (directories etc) (16 hours)
  • Published 11 guest posts (with links) (3 hours per post = 33 hours)
  • Fiddling about with the design of the site (8 hours)
  • Attracted editorial links (through high quality content) (n/a)
  • Got link on wikipedia page for the product (1 minute!)

Total time spent: 234 hours and 1 minute.

I told you it wasn’t a copy and paste method!

If we split that into normal working weeks (i.e. 40 hours) we are talking 5.85 weeks worth of work, so let’s say I spent a total of 6 weeks working on the site over a 5 month period.

Traffic

So, I started off in June with a total of 763 unique visitors per month and by October I had 7,156 uniques, a growth of 837%… not bad!

Total unique visits over the 5 months: 10,257

Commissions

Of course I wasn’t doing this for the good of my health, and while it’s nice to see traffic growing the thing I was really concerned about was growth in commission.

Well the site had gone from earning £72.71 in June £824.29 in October, an increase of 1033%. Certainly a reason to be cheerful!

Total commission over the 5 months: £1980.32

So if we divide our total commission of £1,980.32 by the hours spent (234) this works out at a rate of £8.46 per hour… so far!

So… to November!

Month 6 (November 2012)

As I said right back at the start of this article, a lot of the work involved is front ended and by this point, with the site picking up editorial links and the traffic continuing to grow I didn’t need to spend a huge amount of time working directly on the site.

Over the month I published 1 new blog post and 2 guest posts. I did have to do quite a lot of updating on pricing as the merchants I was promoting battled to undercut each other (good news for me!) over the Christmas period, but overall I would say I spent maybe 30 hours on the site over the month.

And the traffic…

Well I stayed above 400 visitors…

And then on the 18th I broke 500 visitors…

And on the 26th I smashed through the 600 visitor barrier (619 to be exact)!

And the commissions…

Well they were rolling in nicely, at an average of about £40 per day.

Here are the stats for November.

stats15

Unique Visitors: 11,837 (up 65%)
Commissions: £1,282.42 ($2,046) (up 55%)

Nice! But after 6 months of hard work, the real payoff was about to come in December.

Month 7 (December 2012)

Ok, now for the literal money shot!

They say that pictures tell 1,000 words, so instead of waffling on, here are the screen shots of the December earnings from each of the affiliate networks I was using to promote merchants on the site.

amazon_earnings

Amazon: £1,789.49 ($2,854)

affwin_earnings

Affiliate Window: £624.73 ($996)

Other Networks: £26.42 ($42)

Total commissions: £2,440.64 ($3,934 at today’s rates)

Here’s the traffic for the month. It was pretty much the same as November. The record day was the 10th November, with traffic peaking at 658 visitors.

stats16

So, in a 6 month period the site had grown from $0 revenue and very little traffic to $3,934 and just under 12,000 unique visitors.

If we total up the commission for the entire 7 months it comes to £5,703.38 ($9,103).

Not bad for a site which is technically built around 1 product!

Let’s Recap How I Got There

So, a final recap of what was done to grow this site and how you can do the same!

  • Find a good selling product at an attractive price point, which is not oversaturated. Use amazon best sellers to find popular products.
  • The site is monetised through affiliate marketing with a detailed review and price comparison model on the ‘money’ pages.
  • The focus of the site is high quality content with the most detailed reviews available, tutorials, how to guides etc.
  • Do not copy and paste!!!
  • Ok, to build a few ‘nuts and bolts’ links to get you off the ground, but don’t go crazy!
  • Build some better quality links through guest posting
  • Promote your best content through outreach/social media. Note that it will be easier to attract links to content which is not overly commercial. That’s where the tutorials/how tos are great
  • Work hard!

While I would certainly consider myself to be an SEO expert, I did not employ any shady tricks to get my site up the rankings. I focused on offering true value and high quality content – the kind that google loves.

No need to go mad on links, just get some good quality ones to support your quality content and your site will rise up the rankings.

Remember I did this all post Panda/Penguin and in fact I never really worry about google updates as I know I play by the rules and whilst it can sometimes take a little longer, once you get your rankings you will keep them!

Here is one nice final screen shot showing the traffic growth over the period 🙂

stats17

Over To You!

So, that’s the story of how I built a site up from $0 to $3,934 in just 6 months. But enough about me… now it’s your turn!

There’s nothing to stop you creating your own successful affiliate site as long as you are prepared to put the work in. There’s no magic, drag and drop formula, so if you get an email offering you one put it straight in the recycle bin where it belongs!

If you have any questions or comments then please leave them below, I’d love to hear from you.

If you would like help or advice on succeeding with affiliate marketing then feel free to drop me an email and be sure to subscribe to the blog by email for loads more helpful tips on SEO and affiliate marketing.

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So, work hard and I look forward to hearing your own success story!

Update 19/06/2014

My affiliate site in this study continues to rank well, with traffic and sales growing year on year. I used a solid, white hat strategy, based on creating high quality content and real value, which means that I never have to worry about google updates knocking me down. Panda 4.0 actually, brought me increased traffic as did last year’s Hummingbird update.

Guest blogging has changed a little in the interim (it still works well, but you have to be careful), so be sure to read my guide to guest blogging in 2014 before looking for guest posting opportunities for your site.

And finally, for more white hat link building methods which you can use on your own affiliate site read my broken link building guide and also check out my new guide to creating Panda and Penguin proof affiliate sites.

Oh, I also revealed the stats for December 2013 here.

Recommended reading: I was partly inspired to write this post (although I’d been thinking about it for a while) by an excellent post by Matthew Woodward on how he built a top 100 blog in 12 months. Have a read here (after subscribing to my blog of course! 😉

About the Author

I'm a web developer, programmer, blogger and SEO expert from Glasgow, Scotland, with over 15 years experience in the industry. When I'm not writing about marketing and SEO you'll find me strumming the guitar in my band or listening to Revolver on repeat. Follow me on twitter, connect with me on google+ and add us on facebook to keep up with all the latest trends in SEO and online marketing.

Leave a Reply 163 comments

Biz Master - October 10, 2013 Reply

Wow you did a great work .this is an eye opening article for anyone you really want to make money online through affiliate marketing.i have learnt a lot from this wonderful post today.thanks for sharing your tips and advice.i really appreciate

Regards

    David McSweeney - October 10, 2013 Reply

    Thanks, glad you enjoyed the post

    Gerald Njuguna - January 30, 2014 Reply

    Some time back i commented that the Panda/Penguin updates were a blessing in disguise. In the past some site owners who had deep pockets only needed to build backlinks through automation and if you didnt have enough budget, it became hard to compete with them.

    I have a site that i registered the domain last year which i have never done any “serious” link building on it and it has generated over 200,000 pageviews and over 80,000 visitors in the last 30 days(as i write this)..I have just been adding content, content, content and the traffic keeps pouring in 🙂

    TalkativeGeek - July 27, 2014 Reply

    This is an incredible result and yeah it does take you both blood and tear to get this such an amazing result. Frankly, i have a few sites getting 20k each month but made only few hundreds each as it’s mainly targeting Adsense. I wonder if it works well with amazon.

Matt - October 10, 2013 Reply

Hey David, congrats that´s really impressive! I bet you´re looking forward to the end of the year again 😉

Did you also get commissions from other sources mentioned in the price comparison table?

    David McSweeney - October 10, 2013 Reply

    Thanks Matt, yes Christmas is always a good period 🙂

    Yep, the other merchants are promoted through the affiliate window network.

oloyede jamiu - October 10, 2013 Reply

Hey David,
This seems very interesting. I am very happy to see your niche site’s success.
I have started laying my hands on some niche websites. I pray its going to go well for me just like you’ve realized your success.
Even if it fails, i will not give up on building niche websites until i record a success in it.

Regards,
Oloyede Jamiu

    David McSweeney - October 10, 2013 Reply

    Hi Oloyede,

    Yes, success doesn’t happen overnight, but keep plugging away, working hard and you will get there!

Sanjib Saha - October 10, 2013 Reply

Hi

This was seriously an awesome read. Getting to 4000 USD per month was not easy, but you did a great job. I was thinking to start a niche site soon but I was confused where I should start from. And your article turned out to be an eye opener. Money is everywhere, all we need to do is show some dedication and work hard, rest will take care of itself.

Regards

    David McSweeney - October 10, 2013 Reply

    Yep, was hard work, but the rewards are there. Best of luck with growing your own site.

Tung Tran - October 10, 2013 Reply

Hi David,

This is awesome!

It really makes me think again about my method to build niche websites.

Can you update us on the stats/revenue of the site for now 2013?

Was it affected by the last Penguin 2.1?

Thanks

Tung

    David McSweeney - October 10, 2013 Reply

    Hi Tung,

    Of course! Here’s last month’s (September) stats.

    stats

    Unique visits: 8,782
    Commissions: £961.35

    September is kind of quieter for the product, but it’s still double what last September was. October so far is just under 4,000 uniques and around £450 revenue, so I’m anticipating around 12,000 visits and £1,200 or so revenue.

    I’m expecting to beat last December’s total (both traffic and revenue) so will be sure to update the post!

    I saw a slight increase in traffic after hummingbird (probably due to better matching for long tail phrases) and didn’t notice any change at all after Penguin 2.1. As I said, everything I do is white hat so I’ve never really been affected by a google update, except in a positive way!

      Tung Tran - October 10, 2013 Reply

      Hi David,

      Thanks for the quick reply! You rock!

      Can you tell us a little bit more about the reason of dropping in both revenue and traffic? 😀

      Is the product seasonal?

        David McSweeney - October 10, 2013 Reply

        Hi Tung, Like most consumer products it sells particularly well in the final quarter. The traffic/revenue has been pretty consistent all year, but there is always a dip late Summer (august/september) as people save the pennies after summer holidays and looking forward to Christmas. February normally takes a dip too when people have no money, but January is good with the sales, so it balances out!

Anoop Sudhakaran - October 10, 2013 Reply

Hello David,

This is a true demonstration of hard work and dedication. I am really surprised to see an Affiliate Marketer who researches his chosen product so well and decides to write his own articles. Most of them now a days just outsource it and never care about the quality.

Just curious as to what type of keywords you had aimed for with the minimal SEO you performed on the site. I know your content played the major part in here but if you could take a quick peek at the top keyword types (product name, product name + review, product name + price etc) that bought you traffic that would be great.

Thanks for this wonderful article. 🙂

    David McSweeney - October 10, 2013 Reply

    Sure Anoop… here’s last December’s top 10!

    1. brand name of product plural (i.e. hoovers)
    2. exact match for the most popular variation of the product
    3. product deals
    4. product offers
    5. product compare
    6. quite a specific one for a tutorial!
    7. cheapest product
    8. product promotion code
    9. exact match for second most popular variation of the product
    10. how to xxx

    Scanning down the top 50 or so words like ‘cheap’ and ‘best price’ keep popping up. In my reviews I naturally used phrases like ‘you will find the best price for the xxx right here’. Like I said, I just write naturally!

    Over the month there were 3,246 different keyword variations… that’s the beauty of creating detailed content and long tail traffic!

      Anoop Sudhakaran - October 10, 2013 Reply

      Fantastic! Just what I was looking for. I tend to write my blog posts naturally too, Although I have tried writing keyword centric posts too and they failed moderately. 😀

      Thanks for the quick reply. 🙂

        David McSweeney - October 10, 2013 Reply

        No problem Anoop, any other questions just give me a shout!

Jguiss - October 10, 2013 Reply

Really interesting, i have to read it carefully this evening at home 🙂 Also you have now a new follower !

    David McSweeney - October 10, 2013 Reply

    great, thanks for following!

Andy Cockayne - October 10, 2013 Reply

Great read David and very inspirational – I found you via Matthew Woodward!

Quick question re your domain name, does it have any relevance to the product whatsoever and what is your opinion on choosing domain names for affiliate (product) sites?

I’ve always tried to buy a bit of age with regard to domains but not sure whether it is worth it anymore…

Cheers!

Andy

    David McSweeney - October 10, 2013 Reply

    Thanks Andy,

    The domain name for this particular site has the brand of the product in it, however, I don’t believe there is any real rankings boost for this anymore and for future affiliate sites I will probably go with a generic domain. Agree that I don’t think there’s a huge benefit to aged domains now either (unless you are buying a going concern with a decent backlink profile).

      Murray - October 11, 2013 Reply

      The domain has a brand in it? is that not leaving yourself open to TM issues and having the domain taken from you.

        David McSweeney - October 11, 2013 Reply

        Maybe brand was the wrong word… it’s more a product name

Greg L - October 10, 2013 Reply

I love your focus about developing niche products. Less is sometimes more. If you can find a handful of quality profitable products/services, you have more focus to do a quality presentation and promotion for fewer items.

Become an authority in one small microniche and ConnectWith™ individuals wanting your product AND have the money to buy today. THAT is profitable marketing.

Cateva sugestii de articole si siteuri pentru weekend|Marius Morariu.biz - October 11, 2013 Reply

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Adrian - October 11, 2013 Reply

It’s always nice to read something that sticks to your retina, because in theory, we all know “how to”. I’ve savored every word, and I wish you the best of luck from now on.
One quick question if I may: did the website address help you in any way? not necessarily in terms of SEO.. did you choose it to have at least one power word like ‘deals’ or you knew it will come a time when it just wouldn’t matter?

Thanks again ~

    David McSweeney - October 13, 2013 Reply

    Hi Adrian, I don’t think keywords in the domain really give a boost any more, certainly not anything I would bother about. Creating a brand is the way to go!

Christian - October 11, 2013 Reply

Amazing post, thank you for taking the time to write it. Have a few questions to you though.

1. When you started writing these reviews. How did you approach the writing style? Did you write “personal reviews”, or “this thing is like that and not like that” kind of articles? Were you en expert, were you unknown, were you a somebody – how did it work?

2. How can you write so many articles about a single product? I mean, there must be a limit to the things you can write about; and I doubt the limit is far away from the first two quality articles.

    David McSweeney - October 11, 2013 Reply

    Hi Christian,

    Glad you enjoyed the post!

    1) I was an unknown and like I said I became an expert through my research (although I had background in selling the product). I wrote them in a personal, first person style and used one of my pen names (see this article for more on that http://top5seo.co.uk/why-j-k-rowling-would-make-a-great-seo/)

    2) That’s probably a good topic for another post, but briefly…

    In depth tutorials for the various uses for the product (maybe 7/8 articles there)
    A history of the product/brand (much more detailed than wikipedia!)
    Full articles expanding on some of the key features
    Topical content (current affairs etc with relevance to the product)
    Some celebrity stuff (it works!)
    Product v A competitor product (lots of scope for articles like this)
    Main buying guide
    Seasonal buying guides
    Product news

    There’s loads of scope for writing, you just have to think a little outside the box sometimes (like linking to current affairs).

    This article goes a bit into finding content ideas http://top5seo.co.uk/how-to-smash-through-writers-block-with-optional-jaffa-cakes/ but like I said, it’s probably one for a post of its own!

Brandon - October 11, 2013 Reply

Great post man — I really liked how detailed you got.

Don’t you think you got lucky (or you just did great keyword research), with the SEO?

Personally when I create new sites its always an uphill battle, even with great original content, to get the organic traffic coming in.

Thanks for the great guide,

Brandon

    David McSweeney - October 11, 2013 Reply

    I don’t really think that it was luck, it’s all to do with the research and finding the right product(s). No point promoting something that no-one is interested in. It’s hard work, of that there is no doubt, but that’s actually the beauty of it. For someone to try and come along and muscle their way into your niche, they are going to have to do the same work. It’s why I kept mentioning ‘copy and paste’ – a lot of would be affiliate marketers will just not want to spend the time required to make a truly valuable, high quality site. It’s why the burn and churn model is so prevalent.

Theodore Nwangene - October 11, 2013 Reply

A very superb and mind-blowing post Dav,
I love how comprehensive you made the whole thing which will certainly make it very easy for newbies to grab the deal :).

You really put down lots of work on this site all by yourself, why didn’t you consider outsourcing some of the work, especially the most tedious ones like most of the other guys out there are doing?

This really goes to prove ones again that Hard work really pays. At least, the most important thing right now is that your efforts has started paying off so, you can easily forget all the time you spent while setting up the site.

But David, if you finally consider to outsource some of the works later, which part will you like to outsource?

Thanks a lot for sharing man and, i will certainly visit your site again.

    David McSweeney - October 11, 2013 Reply

    Thanks Theodore,

    For my key sites I try to avoid outsourcing wherever possible. I know there’s the guys that say outsource everything, work 10 hours a week etc, but I just feel that for the really important stuff I like to do it myself. The advantage I have though is that I actually love writing, so creating content has never been an issue for me.

    A lot of people do outsource their content, but the biggest thing I would say is you get what you pay for. If you’re going to pay $1 per 500 words or whatever, then you’ll get an article that’s worth that.

    Generally I spend 2/3 hours on my articles (writing this one incidentally took me about 14 hours!). How long do you think someone is going to spend for $2/$3?

    The problem with poorly written content is, it might be enough to get past google Panda, but it’s not going to convert well.

    If you are prepared to pay a decent rate for high quality articles then that’s a different story, but if that is the case…

    Wouldn’t you have been better saving the money and doing it yourself?

Marketing Day: October 11, 2013 - October 11, 2013 Reply

[…] How I Grew A Niche Affiliate Site From $0 To $3,934 A Month, http://www.top5seo.co.uk […]

Jamie - October 11, 2013 Reply

Hi David,

Congratulations on the success mate. Nice to see a fellow Scottish internet marketer too!

Mark - October 12, 2013 Reply

Awesome article David! I have always felt that quality content would win out in the end. Of course the internet marketers’ mantra has always been quick and easy, push button, set it and forget it. Unfortunately, that is usually not the case, although we keep looking for it. Your detailed, honest, well thought out article, which is very rare, shows that it can work the right way with some extra effort. Thank you for the insights. It motivates me to keep going in this direction.

    David McSweeney - October 12, 2013 Reply

    Thanks Mark, yeah, I think the net is closing on the cheap tricks/shortcuts

Chris Kovalenko - October 12, 2013 Reply

Great article here David! This has really pushed me to get affiliate links back on my sites.

I have a around 3 niche sites (Based on the Sony PS Vita) so going to give this method a try.

But also look at other types of items to sell.

Thanks again for the insperation

    David McSweeney - October 12, 2013 Reply

    Thanks Chris, glad you enjoyed the post!

Maketta - October 12, 2013 Reply

Hello David,

This is the first time I have visited your blog. I came from Viral content buzz. Those results were absolutely amazing. Congratulations on your affiliate marketing success! I see that you put in a lot of hard work to achieve them. Thank you for sharing them with us!

    David McSweeney - October 12, 2013 Reply

    Hi Maketta, thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the post!

Affiliate Marketing: Have You Got What It Takes To Win | Andy CockayneAndy Cockayne - October 13, 2013 Reply

[…] top5seo.com, the principle writer is a guy called David McSweeney and his latest blog post called ‘How I Grew A Niche Affiliate Site From $0 To $3,934 A Month In 6 Months & How You Can Do The … really caught my […]

Jay Dorsey - October 13, 2013 Reply

David, thank you for the detail in your post. While it certainly helps to pick the right niche, I like how you used white hat techniques for the whole thing.

Thanks again, and good luck!

    David McSweeney - October 13, 2013 Reply

    Cheers Jay, I’ve practiced white hat seo for 15 years (at very worst maybe putting on a light grey hat sometimes…) and i’ve always achieved good rankings and never had to worry about google updates.

Brian - October 14, 2013 Reply

Very good post. One question should I build one site per product or one site for many different products.

    David McSweeney - October 14, 2013 Reply

    Hi Brian, there’s a place for both kind of sites to be honest. This site was very specific, but if you can find a more gap for a more generic type of site then it certainly opens things up.

Reducing WordPress Comment Spam - Jay Dorsey - October 14, 2013 Reply

[…] how David McSweeney grew an affiliate site using whitehat SEO to almost $4,000 per month in 6 […]

Chris - October 15, 2013 Reply

Hi David,

Great post. Just have one question on this. Love the idea of the price comparison at the end for better conversions. I know you mentioned that you use your own custom CMS but if I wanted to do price comparison on my own site can you recommend a decent wordpress plugin that can do this well or even a theme that has this in built.

Thanks
Chris

    David McSweeney - October 15, 2013 Reply

    Hi Chris,

    When I was setting this site up there wasn’t really anything that did the job, but that might have changed in the interim. Your best bet is probably to take a look through the plugins here http://wordpress.org/plugins/tags/price-comparison and there might be something that will work now. Will update if I can find anything decent.

      Chris - October 15, 2013 Reply

      Will do, thanks David!

Neena - October 17, 2013 Reply

First – kudos! – it is so great when hard work pays off!
I am wondering if this same approach could work for larger, non-niche sites as well.

Suppose a large site creates a series of pages and posts directed at one product and then rinses and repeats the process for a different product.

I would save the hassle of building a new site for each product but then I suppose traffic would not be as targeted.

Thoughts?

    David McSweeney - October 17, 2013 Reply

    As long as the content is good and stands on its own, then there’s no real reason why it wouldn’t work. I think the danger is though as you say spreading things a little too thin. That’s the good thing about niche websites that you are building authority up for a very specific type of product/query.

Friday is For Sharing Awesomeness - October 18, 2013 Reply

[…] at top5seo.com tells us how he built a successful niche site and started making money from it in only 6 months. He gives us concrete steps to follow. And best […]

Theo - October 19, 2013 Reply

Hi David,

Thanks for the great post.

I have a couple of quick questions/thoughts if I may.

I often find that many/most keywords (even with low volume) are dominated in the SERPs by “big” names — amazon, walmart, home depot, etc.

Since you described pretty much 100% white-as-the-driven-snow SEO for this project, does that scare you off? Or are you grabbing traffic from the long tails that these big boys can’t/don’t get? (I think I read in the comments above that 3,000+ of your UVs were from unique searches).

What I gathered from the post is that you don’t “really” worry about keywords, instead focusing on social, guest posts, and natural links (in addition to a handful of seed links you built yourself). Is this roughly accurate?

Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this stuff.

    David McSweeney - October 19, 2013 Reply

    Hi Theo, While it always nice to get decent rankings for ‘the money’ phrases, I’ve always found that the real traffic is in the long tail. The good thing about this sort of traffic is it is targeted too and converts well. As an example I remember going after the phrase ‘hair products’ for an ecommerce site and after about a year I managed to get up to number 1 spot. Did it bring it in traffic? Sure. Did it convert? Not really. The way people searched has changed massively (combined with auto suggest) and they are much more likely to type a sentence or question, than one word. Since the hummingbird update I have seen decent traffic gains on a few of my site as long tail matching seems to be even better. So yes, while it’s good for the ego to get number 1 spot for a word or phrase closely matched to your site, it’s not something I lose sleep about any more.

Paddy - October 19, 2013 Reply

Hi David

Some questions

Can you confirm based on your traffic figures, your website conversion rate from visitors to sales via Amazon was in the region of 3.5%.
When a typical ecommerce site in my experience converts 1-2% to sales from visitor traffic which stays on the site, how come visitors to an affiliate website who then pass to a merchant site convert at a much higher rate?
Is it because they are more targeted and that Amazon is better at converting visitors?

Would you not be concerned that the cake slices thinner and thinner as more affiliate websites are created? Ultimately is not creating your own brand products the best route?

Is there an optimal layout for product review pages and blog post pages to improve conversions which you could recommend or have as a template?

Dom (new convert to your blog)

    David McSweeney - October 20, 2013 Reply

    Hi Dom,

    you’re pretty much bang on. I just worked it out and conversion from visitors to sales was just under 3.4%. In terms of once they have clicked through to amazon, conversion was just under 20% (so 1 in 5 clicks converted to a sale). Amazon are great at ‘sealing the deal’, so if you can send targeted traffic to them it will convert well.

    You’re right that there are loads of affiliate sites, but so many are doing things poorly/give up too quickly. It takes hard work and dedication and a lot of people just don’t want to put the work in. It’s why the ‘work 20 minutes a day’ and ‘make money while you sleep’ guys sell so many of their useless ebooks.

    So, I think there will always be opportunities for those that are willing to work hard and provide value. Ecommerce is only going to get bigger.

    Creating your own brand/products is of course a great way to go, but there will always be room for both merchant and affilate. After all wouldn’t you be looking for affiliates to help you promote your new products?

    Finally, with regards to optimal layout, that’s probably one for a post in itself, so I’ll look at putting one together this week!

Paddy D. - October 20, 2013 Reply

Hi David
Yes fair comment, you are completely right when you say “wouldn’t merchants always be looking affiliates/(sales agents) to promote new products” that is something which will never (hopefully) go out of business.

Do Amazon pay you a further referral fee if the customer has already purchased through Amazon?

For example if I visit your site today and make a purchase, you get paid the fee.

but

if I then come back to your site two months later and again go to Amazon and make another purchase do you get another referral fee?

Is there any cap on the commission fee eg: if product has price tag of £500 etc

And just like Colombo, one final question, do you sell directly from the home page of the affiliate website or just the product/blog pages.?

Dom

    David McSweeney - October 20, 2013 Reply

    As far as I am aware, you would get the commission on an existing customer, assuming they clicked through from your site again.

    I don’t think there is any cap on commission, but the percentage you get goes up based on the volume of sales (which is fair enough!). Good thing is though, when you go up a level (say 5.5% to 6%) it is retrospectively applied to all the commissions you have previously earned in the month.

    This site doesn’t sell directly from the home page, just the product/blog pages, which because of the long tail traffic is where the visitors enter the site anyway.

Affiliate Marketing Tips | A Listly List - October 26, 2013 Reply

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Ahmed - November 1, 2013 Reply

How did you site do overall in October?

    David McSweeney - November 1, 2013 Reply

    Visits 11,450 (10,090 unique) and revenue of just over £1,000 so slightly less than I had anticipated, but still a good increase on the same period last year.

Onder - November 3, 2013 Reply

Hi David,

This post has seriously inspired me having just read it. It was also painful to read as it forced me to look at the things i’ve done over the year of running my personal development blog. And i’ve realised why my blog hasn’t grown. Since starting it in April 2012, it’s still averaging 20 uniques a day, which is terrible considering it’s been running for over a year now. Though I have to give myself some credit in that i’m still new to SEO and blogging and it is my first ever attempt at blogging.

I wanted to ask. How would you go about monetising a Personal Development blog?
I’ve tried copying the model most guys in the IM niche have done by reviewing internet marketing tools, creating youtube videos about it and getting people to buy though that.

But the Personal Development and Self-Help market doesn’t tend to have expensive tools to promote and am mostly relying on book reviews and including amazon affiliate links on my page. i’ve also interviewed a few authors as well…

Would love to hear your thoughts, as i’m completely stuck at the moment.

keep up with the great work!

    David McSweeney - November 3, 2013 Reply

    Hi Onder, glad you enjoyed the post and if it inspired you it has done its job! I’ve taken a quick look at your site, but will have another look over the next day or so and drop you an email with some thoughts.

      Onder - November 3, 2013 Reply

      Thanks David,

      Looking forward to your feedback.

Cole Wiebe - November 28, 2013 Reply

Hi David,

You’re so right, there is so much misinformation and ‘get rich quick’ hype out there. It’s always inspiring to read real case studies of affiliate projects that paid off.

– Cole

Nikhil - November 29, 2013 Reply

Till date I am using only Google Adsense for my blog. I am really interested to start a niche affiliate site, but I am thinking.. It’s quite difficult to develop. But today I got a total idea regarding the niche affiliate. Thank you for sharing practical tips with us. I will start a new project with your same strategy.

    David McSweeney - December 5, 2013 Reply

    Good luck Nikhil, just let me know if you need any advice!

Jijin Mohan - December 5, 2013 Reply

Hello David,

Wow that’s really great comprehensive post! Well no doubt affiliate marketing is really amazing task and challenging too. I”m not working on any affiliate for now as recently I’ve failed to achieve certain target from my niche site.

However your guide is really informative and helpful!

Thanks

Reginald - December 5, 2013 Reply

Hey mate!

First of all, holy cow! Congrats on that!

Secondly, you really write it damn good. I mean seriously, you talk the talk mate. I bookmarked this for future reference and o really appreciate your kind share on this.

Keep it up and I am looking forward for more (yes I am greedy).

Thanks for sharing!

    David McSweeney - December 5, 2013 Reply

    Cheers Reginald, glad you found it helpful!

Ken Nguyen - December 10, 2013 Reply

Thank David. I learned a lots from your post. For anyone who want to get started with Amazon Affiliate. You can check it out here:

Getting Started with Amazon Product API

Mart - December 12, 2013 Reply

Good on you David! I’ve been a reader of Matt W’s blog for a while and his mention was how I found your site. It’s an interesting story, but I think you could have made it better by adding even more detail..

For instance, you don’t dig into your rankings much at all. So the traffic was mostly coming from Google and the depth of content led to a lot of long tail traffic, but just how many search phrases are we talking here? What proportion of traffic were the major phrases delivering? Obviously “not provided” doesn’t help, but Webmaster Tools will give a bit of detail.

I’d also love to know how tough Moz Analytics Keyword Difficulty tool ranked your target phrases. And perhaps what your Majestic CF and TF scores looked like, come December 2012.

But most of all, these stats are from a year ago. How is the site doing now?! Still going strong I hope?

Cheers,

Mart

    David McSweeney - December 13, 2013 Reply

    Thanks Mart, there’s a few questions there (good ones!). I’m going to write a follow up post at the end of December/beginning of January with stats from this December and will look to answer as your questions (and some others) in the post.

Jason - December 17, 2013 Reply

Great post mate and lots of valuable information. I think your approach to affiliate sites is spot on. Did you actually target specific keywords or did you just write great content and not worry too much about which long tail keywords it would pick up?

Do you use google authorship on the site and what impact do you think that has on rankings?

    David McSweeney - December 17, 2013 Reply

    Thanks Jason. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t target keywords to an extent (product names for example), but I don’t get too hung up on them and the exact matches only bring a small percentage of the traffic in. Broad matching and long tail brings in the vast majority of my traffic and converts better. See this article for more.

    All my content is claimed through google authorship (although I have a few pen names for niche sites).

    David McSweeney - December 17, 2013 Reply

    Oh and yes, I think if you are not claiming authorship for your content you are/or soon will be missing out on traffic.

      Jason - December 17, 2013 Reply

      Cheers David, look forward to your future posts!

      Arthur Burlo - December 30, 2013 Reply

      The thing I am concerned with the most with Google Authorship is whether Google will make use of it to penalize webmasters for guest blogging, by zeroing any link juice or even penalizing guest-blog posts that link to the author’s site.

December Round Up – Traffic & Income - Do SEO Yourself - January 2, 2014 Reply

[…] you are interested in making money from affiliate products and niche sites then you must read this post by David McSweeney about how he grew an affiliate site from $0 to $3,934 a […]

Aman - January 4, 2014 Reply

Great post David and I love the way you persevered over the entire time period focusing only on the end goal. Most people just give up after 1-2 months and say “it didn’t work for me”.

Even with my niche site, I’ve found that the real money lies not with the primary keyword but with the long tail – more targeted traffic that results into sales

Ahmed - February 10, 2014 Reply

Ive came back to this post at least 15 times. Man this post is amazing.

Anyways i think i found the site 😉 but will not be revealing.

Hows it doing after a year? still going strong?

50+ Resources for Making Money with Niche Websites - March 13, 2014 Reply

[…] Study: How I Grew a Niche Affiliate Site from $0 to $3,934 a Month in 6 Months & How You Can Do the Sam… This is a great case study from David McSweeney of Top 5 SEO. David’s approach is a little […]

40 Awesome Case Studies for Bloggers and Internet Marketers - May 14, 2014 Reply

[…] How I Grew a Niche Affiliate Site from $0 – $3,934 a Month in 6 Months & How You Can Do th… by David McSweeney […]

Man Cap Quang - June 29, 2014 Reply

Hi David,

I admire you so much!
I want to build a niche site like you, can you explain more detail about my question: The niche site and blog site are on the same web site or on 2 independent web sites? And if they are on 2 independent sites, so in the post I must have a link to my niche site, is that right?

Thanks for your sharing and I hope you will be more success.

Thanks and best regards,

Man

    David McSweeney - June 29, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Man!

    The blog site is on the same domain as the main site, specifically domain/blog. Splitting them up is just diluting links/domain authority.

connor - July 2, 2014 Reply

This is a great case study thanks for posting it! I started a review site a year ago very similar to the way you do yours except mine recently collapsed to nothing. This post gives me reassurance that I was at least on the right track. Now I need to get back on the right track. I have one question how can you tell if you are promoting a product that is just too competitive? Thanks

Jamie Knop - July 12, 2014 Reply

Great read David.

Like you say the most crucial thing to any of this is putting the hard work in. People read too much and don’t take action.

Are you still running your hair and beauty retail website by the way that was turning over £2 million or did you sell it?

    David McSweeney - July 13, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Jamie, no, came out of that business a couple of years ago – retail is tough at the moment!

Thanakorn - July 13, 2014 Reply

Hi David,

Thank you for sharing your success. I’m a newbie in internet marketing. I’m doing follow you. I wonder that when you had compared price from 6/7 retailers. You have been affiliate with all of them but why your income from only amazon …,and another retailers why don’t have income? so that it comes from affiliate window(I had not known it before)? Could you please suggest me how to compare prices on detail.

    David McSweeney - July 16, 2014 Reply

    Hi, income came from all the merchants (but 90% from the top 2-3 who were most competitive on price)

Jake - July 19, 2014 Reply

Superb article, really genuine! unlike other articles on affiliate marketing that try to stuff long tail pro or market samurai down your neck! although it would be interesting to find out what keyword research tool you used in the process of making this website?

    David McSweeney - July 22, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Jake, with this site I had a good knowledge already about what people would be looking for, but forums are a good place to look for questions in a niche. Most of the traffic to this site is long tail though due to the detail in the articles and domain authority.

Kenny - July 19, 2014 Reply

Hi,

Your report is truly inspirational. However I do not have the same luck. I’ve been doing a couple of affiliate sites during my free time for a few years now and I seem to notice whenever I add affiliate links to my articles, my overall rankings for the whole site seems to drop like a rock. I can’t seem to understand the reason why, I’ve tried list style articles and dedicated single product reviews and it’s unique content.

For instance, my latest experiment I had 3 articles and I just left it to see if it will ever get traffic. After like 5-6 months I see decent traffic to one of my articles and that article had only 1 amazon affiliate link in it. So I decided to write a couple more product reviews with the same style with only 1 affiliate link in each product review and my traffic kept increasing until the 5th or 6th article it just drop and traffic is very low now.

Do you think it’s something to do with the affiliate link ratio with the whole site or maybe my content isn’t lengthy enough eventhough it’s unique for the drop?

    David McSweeney - July 22, 2014 Reply

    Hi Kenny, are you adding rel=nofollow to your affiliate links?

      Kenny - July 23, 2014 Reply

      Hi David,

      I did add nofollow. I’m wondering if I should noindex tags or could it be over optimisation by doing internal linking to the tag pages from the article itself. I have to really guess what’s going wrong.

mike - July 20, 2014 Reply

Hi have you got a link to the site to sell this car seat, so i can see how it was all put in place please.
Mike

    David McSweeney - July 22, 2014 Reply

    Hi Mike, the car seat was actually just an example… although it would probably a good niche to be in!

Hubert F - July 29, 2014 Reply

Hey David, this is one of my favourite posts on your website. In regards to keyword research did you do a lot before you got started in this niche? What sort of approach do you take to market research before getting into a space to minimise the risk of failing?

When you say you compare prices, are they all on Amazon or have you compared prices to different sites (in which you’re an affiliate for also)?

    David McSweeney - July 29, 2014 Reply

    Hi Hubert, as mentioned I as lucky enough to know this niche well as I used to sell the product, but normally I would do quite a bit of analysis before jumping in (depending on the overhead involved in creating/marketing the site). I’m going to write up a new post on the whole process start to finish taking into account where everything is in 2014 SEO/social media wise. I compared prices from multiple merchants, but amazon had the best conversion rate.

Esben Bock - July 29, 2014 Reply

Hi David,

Thanks for a great in depth article on creating great and stable affiliate niche sites. First article in a long time I actually read from start to finish.

Keep it up 🙂

    David McSweeney - July 29, 2014 Reply

    Cheers Esben, glad you enjoyed it!

David Alexander - August 1, 2014 Reply

Really interesting read David. I definitely learned a few things, and found your advice to corroborate my existing experience and theories. I do however always have one conundrum when beginning a project like this.

In terms of a) the website brand and b) the web domain

Do you go for the approach of making the brand look like an authority site and the domain to match and often not using a keyword orientated domain or at least not overly keyword oriented to the point where the brand name becomes a bit crappy? or the opposite, go for something keyword focussed like kitchen-work-surfaces.co.uk and have the brand name / logo of the site follow that?

I guess I tend to pick the former to appear more established and professional looking but have toyed with both. Curious to what format you generally use and what format you used for the site you reference in this case study?

Regarding your pricing stuff I would love to chat to you about a few tools I have tested lately which literally cover all bases in this respect. Life saver, currently doing a test project with a high quantity of products imported and requiring complete automaton as a result.

Thanks, keep up the good work.

    David McSweeney - August 1, 2014 Reply

    My advice would have been different a few years back, but now I would definitely say avoid keywords and try and create a brand. Would be very interested in the tools, drop me an email to [email protected]

Anthony - January 6, 2015 Reply

Thanks David,

It’s realy a motivated article… I’m on the way you did!
I’m now being on how to buiding backlink,
Do you have any advices…

Listen from you..
Anthony

50+ Resources for Making Money with Niche Websites | Trên 50 địa chỉ không thể thiếu nếu bạn muốn đầu tư và duy trì Niche Sites thành công | VietnamRich's Blog - January 9, 2015 Reply

[…] Study: How I Grew a Niche Affiliate Site from $0 to $3,934 a Month in 6 Months & How You Can Do the Sam… This is a great case study from David McSweeney of Top 5 SEO. David’s approach is a little […]

10 Real Life Amazon Affiliate Success Stories That Will Inspire You - January 19, 2015 Reply

[…] 2: $0 to $3,934 in Six Months […]

Daiyu - January 26, 2015 Reply

Wow…This was truly a magical article. It really opened up my eyes to the importance of quality content and even gave me some ideas for my own website and future niche sites.
Truly Thank You for actually being helpful! (rarest trait on the internet these days)

Kath - January 28, 2015 Reply

Really helpful David, and very kind of your to take the time to share this information. Having been toying with the idea of affiliate marketing as a second income, for a year or so now, and ploughed through so much BS, it was great to see something so refreshingly honest. This has given me the inspiration to take my first steps. Thanks!

The Niche Site Challenge 001 | Start Summit - February 3, 2015 Reply

[…] How I Grew A Niche Affiliate Site From $0 To $3,934 A Month […]

jay - February 3, 2015 Reply

Hi David nice post btw .

1 . I have some questions , when you’re creating a page or post are you using seo plugins to change the url or you letting it as it is . For example , i have a page which have title “what is the best gaming computer” (just example i know its a large competition) and results would be like this sitename.com/what-is-the-best-gaming-computer . Do you think its a good idea to change it for keyword you’re targeting “best gaming computer” and ended up like this sitename.com/best-gaming-computer . Or it doesn’t matter overall ?

2.

    David McSweeney - February 5, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jay, I would recommend going for shorter URLs where possible – 2 or 3 words is generally best. There’s not really an SEO benefit as such, but looks neater and easier to share.

Jake - February 17, 2015 Reply

Hi David,

you say there is only 10 different products within your niche, so writing 2000 – 3000
is definitely not too much in the scale of things, what if you have a niche with 100s of products in it? To get any rankings does that mean there should be 2000 word articles for each or would you recommend a different method?

kind regards

jay - February 17, 2015 Reply

Do you have any update ? or any niche that you have been working right now ? id like to hear some case studies and how its going so far.

Tin - February 18, 2015 Reply

Great post. I love posts like these where people share their real success stories instead of showing how to stuff without backing it up with real results. It’s good to know that some money can be made from Amazon associates because I’ve read otherwise from other affiliates’ posts.

I’m a very bad reviewer and writer, as you can probably tell from this comment. I don’t think review site is going to work for me.

Do you have any experience with a ‘store’ type site where the buy now button links directly to the amazon product?

Interview With SEO & Internet Marketing Veteran of 15 Years - March 4, 2015 Reply

[…] My tutorial on how I grew one of my own niche affiliate sites would be a useful reference as it details exactly how I chose a niche and grew a new affiliate site over a period of 6 months. […]

Ian Hart - April 19, 2015 Reply

Hi David – great post. I’ve just eagerly started out and applied to Amazon Associates a bit prematurely. They said come back when your site is ready. Do you know the main bars they base this on – traffic, content amount etc etc?

    David McSweeney - May 25, 2015 Reply

    Hi Ian, I think you need a certain amount of content to start. Also, do you have things like privacy policy etc in place?

Ian - May 6, 2015 Reply

Hi, great info you have here, and I will be coming back regular to check it out. I have recently set up my own affiliate site and seem to be getting a good number of visits and plenty of click throughs to my affiliate programs, but very few sales…..in one week alone a few weeks ago I had over 1200 click throughs from my site and through social media. ……….and 1 commission for 80p. What advice do you give to make the click throughs make a purchase. Thanks.

    David McSweeney - May 22, 2015 Reply

    Hi Mike, if you are generating click-throughs and it is not converting at the other end, then I would suggest that you are probably promoting the wrong products/site. Try and pre-sell the product before they even click through to the merchant whenever possible.

saloua - May 11, 2015 Reply

Hi david, thanks for your post i am a reader from morocco and i really enjoyed your article i was searching all over the web to find something that can give me a clear vision on how i can start an affiliate website and after weeks of research i was lucky to find your blog it was very exciting to see how the site have grown month after month i guess when u start a website its like your starting a buisness and you need to work hard to achieve what you are looking for in my case i am new in the blogging and affiliate world until the near future i never blieved that i can make a living from working online but after some research and diffenitlly after reading your blog i found that there are unlimited apportunities online so i am going to keep searching to have a large idea and then i’ll give it a shout so wish me luck .

    David McSweeney - May 22, 2015 Reply

    Thanks Saloua, best of luck with your ventures!

gawen - May 24, 2015 Reply

Amazon quitting Affiliate Marketing ?

    David McSweeney - May 24, 2015 Reply

    not as far as I am aware?

Guillaume - May 28, 2015 Reply

Hi David,

Many thanks for this post. It’s such an eye opener. In fact I have decided to try my luck after reading it. I am now working on a couple of affiliate sites. I started a month ago and I am seeing my first conversions. That feels great! 🙂
I have a question for you though. Excuse me if it sounds stupid I am new in this field but why are you nowhere giving away the URL of your website? It would be awesome to see how you built it, how it is organised, how it looks etc … Why giving away all information except this? Is it the fear that someone will want to do the exact same shop again? You’ve worked hundreds of hours on this. I don’t see this happening but of course I could be wrong. Thanks again for your post.
Guillaume

    David McSweeney - May 29, 2015 Reply

    Giving away the URL would leave it open to copying (which would happen) and negative SEO. I give away my full strategy here for how I chose a niche, ranked and built the site – up to individuals to find their own niche.

Torsten - June 12, 2015 Reply

Hi David,
some days ago I have found your site and was glad about it, when I studied your very informative post together with all comments. I am from Germany and a freshman for this topic. Since I have been studying everything that sounds like SEO and affiliate marketing.
My plan is to build a quality affiliate website. No niche product found yet. First of all studying, studying and I am thinking about buying a quality tool for keywords: I have tested Market Samurai and LongTailPro (trial) already. Latter tool is somehow not working with German Google keyword planner. It doesn’t fetch Google’s keywords. Because of continuous reviews about LongTailPro It would have been my choice though. Brian Dean for instance was comparing some keyword tools in his review. Included was this remarkable Swissmade Secockpit on his website Backlinko.com. Quite expensive and no trial is possible. My impression was positive until yesterday. Since I have changed my mind.
Now I start from the very beginning. I will keep in touch with you and your very helpful posts here.

Alan Young - June 14, 2015 Reply

Awesome post man! That really details a lot. I’ve just gone down the affiliate site route. It’s good to see your time frame for building traffic. I think some people think you just need to put a site up with a bit of content and you’re all good to go. Thanks for the great post 🙂

mahesh balan - June 15, 2015 Reply

i want to know which is the best amazon review theme to use? Do you have any suggestions……

    David McSweeney - June 15, 2015 Reply

    I generally use my own custom CMS, but recently used this theme from mythemeshop and it worked well.

Does Anchor Text Still Influence Rankings? I Analysed 255 Domains To Find The Answer [Case Study] - October 20, 2015 Reply

[…] had a fair idea of what keywords to look at (based on my experience with affiliate marketing), but also found a couple of helpful guides on high paying keywords/niches (for example this one […]

John - November 3, 2015 Reply

Thanks for sharing your journey. This is definitely an inspirational and informative article. My favorite part is where you did go an extra mile and made the reviews informative and man up to3000wors/post. At the end focus and hard work wasn’t wasted. Congrats!

Frederik Faarup - November 13, 2015 Reply

T r a n s p a r e n c y!

Great article, David.
The keypoint I took out from this: Research so much, that you become an authority in the niche you blog about.

Sub’ed.

    David McSweeney - November 17, 2015 Reply

    Thanks Frederick. Yep, you don’t have to start as an expert, but after a while (with proper research and writing about the topic/product) you should be!

San - November 28, 2015 Reply

Hi David,

Great Great article. My only question is….
Does this entire plan work still in end-2015 / 2016 to the niche site?
Or any specific update required??

Thanks David

Regards

Quinell - January 5, 2016 Reply

Hi David

I enjoyed this read very much, but I was wondering if I could maybe see your website. I want to make sure my websites look and feel works and what your store would look like, or do you just link the products to amazon from the blog itself?

So I guess I want to know :
1. Do you have a store, or do you affiliate link the products to amazon?
2. what do your blogs generally look like, or consist of in terms of products and content?
3. What would you say is better, having a store a long with blog page with articles of the products, or just a blog website that links to amazon and makes use of adsense?

Kind Regards
Quinell

James - January 5, 2016 Reply

Are you still doing this? Is it still with the same product?

Pramendra Singh - January 10, 2016 Reply

Amazing Article. I really don’t have words to express how confident I am feeling to start my Amazon Affiliate Site. And Yes, I am completely agree with you on your opinion when someone says “Download this guide and Enter the heaven within 1 Minute.” It’s really a crap. Either we make money using their foolish method or not, either we make money or not, but they will, definitely, that’s how they all make money. It’s a real case study and show proof of its success. Thanks a lot for writing such a wonderful guide. I need to read this guide again.

Six Figure Consultant: 4 Proven Services Every Blogger Can Offer to Make Money Online - January 17, 2016 Reply

[…] you can earn a great commission by endorsing valuable products in your niche that you personally […]

Adam - January 18, 2016 Reply

Hello David,

Good article. I am thinking about becoming an Amazon Affiliate myself but am working out the perks like you did above. I was just wondering if you could give us an update on your site as of 2016. Is it still generating income and are things growing or declining?

Thanks

Tracey - February 3, 2016 Reply

Hi David, thanks for the article. I’m completely new to affiliate marketing and may be asking a very silly question. I get the writing of the article, choosing your product, if I was to join the amazon affiliate scheme for instance, and I pick a particular product are you just creating a link at the bottom of your blog page saying if you want o buy the product click here, or using an image… Appreciate your comments.

Charles - March 18, 2016 Reply

Hi there,

It seems like your site is targeted towards the UK audience. Just a quick question, does your site also rank well in the US search results? Awaiting your response.

Thanks!

Tom Buckland - April 4, 2016 Reply

Hi David,

Nice post, will you be doing an update? Also what about a new case study? I’m attempting something similar but it’s very slow….

Dave Campbell - April 5, 2016 Reply

Hi David,

great article. I have had a couple of failed attempts at Amazon sites. On got a manual penalty from Google for ‘thin content’, but all pages had 1000+ words on each page, with 30 articles on it. I did however have Amazon links on every page. In your experience, could this have been the problem? How many pages of an affiliate site should have aff links on them? Thanks

vivek - April 17, 2016 Reply

I’m from India and I associated with amazon.in affiliate program but my traffic is coming from globally sp in this case should i have to create affiliate account for each separate country .

Chris - May 3, 2016 Reply

David,

I have set up a wordpress site and I am trying to monetise it, I’ve got a twitter acct and I am adding a few products. After reading your article its not too late for me to take a step back with the site and become more niche oriented.

My question to you is:
How do you determine the level of affiliate competition?

Robin Eyre - May 22, 2016 Reply

Hi David. I’m reading this in May 2016 and guess many of the practices are still the same, right? Well done indeed.
Regards, Robin

Debbie Gartner - June 26, 2016 Reply

Amazing results. Super impressed that you were able to get a wikipedia link. Not sure how to make that happen.
Anyway, thank you so much for the roadmap. I just launched a new niche site 2 weeks ago, so trying to expand and grow it (as well as my original site that does very well).

Lydia - September 27, 2016 Reply

Hi David,
Great post ,I am a beginner,just reading extensively on affiliate marketing and Blogging,hoping to create an exceptional blog site that offers solutions to problems.
Thanks so much for this post.

Ashutosh - November 16, 2016 Reply

This was really awesome David.

Good to know your techniques to grow the site and run like a business.

-Ashutosh

Steve - May 16, 2017 Reply

Hi David, Just out of my zeal about about an affiliate marketing site i stumble on your page i must say you the right guy i am looking for thanks so much for the post.
I would like to chat with you privately, kindly send me a mail via my address for us to talk more.

Daniyal - November 1, 2017 Reply

Hy DAVID MCSWEENEY,
I am Daniyal, I was Thinking for starting affiliate site and recently found your article.
It’s Awesome THNX For Sharing 🙂

Al - November 1, 2017 Reply

OK, this is all new to me and I’m older so still getting used to computers. Did you set up a blog site and are using it to send people to your affiliate link(s)? OR do you have an ecommerce site that you are also writing a blog on?

Would you consider giving us the link so we can see your site that you are talking about?

Thanks

Kevin Munro - November 12, 2017 Reply

Hello David,
I am a Newbie Affiliate Marketer, Believe me in this post, you explained very clear and with steps, helpful for me and to others affiliate marketer..

Rezan - November 18, 2017 Reply

Good stuff Spencer. Quick question on Amazon affiliate link. How long do you wait before placing link on a site? Do you place them immediately or do you wait until you ranking in the top 10 of google? Thanks

Sophia Jones - November 21, 2017 Reply

Great article, David.
The keypoint I took out from this: Research so much, that you become an authority in the niche you blog about.Thanks for sharing your journey.

Luthfar Rahman - September 29, 2018 Reply

Hei David,
Such an inspirational review of a niche affiliate site. I got your link form Neilpatel site! I am really inspired to go after with my niche site from the post. Thank you so much.

Regards,
Luthfar Rahman

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