$10K Challenge Update #9

Welcome to the 9th update of my $10K Challenge. If this is your first time reading, check out what this challenge is all about here.

Below are the things that happened since the last update (February 2017):

Key Successes

  • Traffic has hit a new record - 200,000+ visits in March
  • Started list building
  • Increased Shipped Items Revenue to Amazon by 24%

Key Failures

  • E-commerce project got delayed due to slow incorporation
  • Income potential dropped by 30% due to Amazon’s new fixed commission rate

Website Stats - March 2017

More...

Domain Profile

I used Ahrefs (paid) and Open Site Explorer (free) to help measure the effectiveness of my promotional efforts by tracking these metrics:

  • Domain Rating: 47 (+1)
  • Referring Domains: 284 (+38)

Traffic

Traffic

My site didn’t see any negative effects from the Google Fred update and traffic even hit a new record at 207,708 visits in March.

Income

Income

We finished March 2017 with $5,917.04 which was $685 less than what we had in February 2017.

While it doesn’t seem like a significant drop month-over-month, especially after the new Amazon commission change, what you don’t see in the picture above is that we were actually able to increase Shipped Items Revenue to Amazon by about 24%.

Here's more data on this:

February 2017

March 2017

Shipped Items Revenue

$77,902.12

$96,951.82

Earnings (Bounties not included)

$6,481.83

$5,767.04

Avg Commission Percentage

8.32%

5.94%

So, with the old commission rates, we should have earned $8,066 from Amazon in March.

It’s sad that Amazon decided to drop their commission rates, but let's not spend time crying over something that we don’t have any control over.

Some people might have been wondering if building Amazon affiliate websites is still worth it.

And my answer is a definite YES for a few reasons:

  • ​While it must have been awesome to get that 8.32%, earning $5,917 in a month is nothing to sneeze at.
  • There are many good affiliate programs out there. Amazon is just one of those.
  • Amazon is also not the most profitable way to monetize your site. And it shouldn’t be the only monetization method either.
  • It might be the easiest and fastest way to monetize, so we use it to help build the foundation of our online businesses.
  • But, after your site is established with strong traffic, you should look for other ways to monetize.
  • Most importantly, Amazon affiliate program is just the first step – what we’re really building is a media asset that can grow into a sustainable business.

To illustrate the last point, take a look at the image below:

This is a concept I borrowed from Rob Walling’s guide to bootstrapping a software business and made it applicable to our industry.

This is the right path that I believe everyone should follow in order to build a sustainable business starting with a simple Amazon affiliate website.

I’ll do a post explaining this concept in more detail soon.

What We’ve Done in March 2017

Other than executing regular link building campaigns and publishing new content, what contributed most to the increase in traffic and shipped revenue was that we went back and improved a lot of the old articles.

Basically, we made the articles more in-depth and did A/B test to increase CTR to Amazon.

A lot of work has been done to the e-commerce project as well. We have tested sample products from the labs to make sure they meet the quality we wanted.

We’re almost ready to start selling now. We’re just waiting for the incorporation to be done so we can fund inventory from the corporation’s new bank account.

Goals For April 2017

Our main focus in April is to try different ways to monetize the site better.

After reviewing the site’s performance over the last few months, I realized that it was heavily under-monetized.

At the level of traffic we’re getting now, the site should be making way past the original goal of $10,000 monthly.

So, the key manager of this project and I have mutually agreed that it’s time to refocus and spend most of our time on monetization instead of pushing for more traffic.

Our plan of action over the next 30 days includes:​

  • Test different affiliate offers and networks
  • Convert current traffic into leads by implementing some list building tactics
  • Create an autoresponder series to monetize the email list​

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed my 9th update.

From now on, I’ll do this monthly so you can have a better idea on what I’m doing to grow the site.

Personally I think adding the e-commerce can really skyrocket the revenue way past the original $10k goal I’ve set.

If you have any question for me, feel free to leave a comment below or post in our Facebook community.

You can also join my online course AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp, if you want to fast-track your way to success with building Amazon affiliate websites.

People are having great success with the program and many are on their way to their first $1,000 monthly. Check out some of the most recent ones below:

Click here to learn more about AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp

Tung Tran

Tung Tran is the founder of CloudLiving.com.
  • I have a site in the health and beauty niche as well. What affiliate programs are you thinking of testing out? There doesn’t seem to be that many options besides ArtNaturals program which pays 7% with a 90 day cookie.

    • There are a lot more than that 🙂 But I have to keep this a secret for now.

  • Congratulations. What interest me sometime is not how much the gross earning is but the net income, can this be clarify?

    • I’m reinvesting about $2k a month back into the website on content creation / link building. So the site is netting about $4k a month.

      • Well done, that is still a very good ROI

        • Yeah the site is in growth stage now so I’m reinvesting a good amount back to increase the earnings further. If I just want to maintain it, then the cost would be much lower.

  • Great progress! Congrats.
    Can you share what has worked for you in improving CTR?

  • Hi Tung, i have one thing to say, you have to promote products more than 100$ , because The majority of your product between 10 an 30$ , with your traffic now you have to earn at least 10k$ per month, o know some sites Amzon Affiliate can make more than your website, and their traffic less than your .

  • Congratulations.can you recommend any books that changed your way of thinking about buissnes.

  • Congratulate you on the deserving result. I’m considering your training course, but my strategy is slightly different from your targeted outcome, I wanna build a niche site or authority site that is associated both income stream: Amazon Affiliate Association and FBA. A little bit confused, could you give me some hints?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Yes then the course is perfect fit for you. The course helps you build a site successfully, then you can FBA the products and send the traffic over.

  • Very impressive! Thank you for this information
    Small question: have you any experience with other seo tools?
    I’m trying to make a right desigion )
    Tell me please about the ones you’ve named.
    I found Serpstat tool few days ago – it has all functions I need and small price. Have you heard about this tool?
    Want to compare.

  • Hi Tung,

    I see that a big part of your SEO efforts was through guest posting. Would you say that was the main reason for all the organic traffic you’ve brought over the months? Do you pay a fee to any of the webmasters publishing your post? Virtually all the blog owners I reach out to respond with a fee to publish a post.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Yes guest posting has been my key tactic to get links. It’s normal to pay for guest posts. But they must have do-follow links in order to be worth the investment

      • Hi mate,

        Thanks for replying! I see that a lot of your links are going directly to your homepage. I always thought you need to link to the specific URL you want to rank for. But I see that for the pages you rank (like the face wash article) you have just a few links pointing to it.

        I hope you will speak about the importance of root domain vs specific URL links in your upcoming post on Niche Pursuits 🙂

        • It’s important to build links to your root domain so that you can strength the overall domain.

  • Hi Tung,

    Can you please let me know what web host you are using for thankyourskin.com ? Thanks

  • hi tung, this’s good challenge, you’re inspire me.
    my question is common like a noob :
    1. i feel it’s little anoy and difficult to register amazon account for non residential US since they using phone verified, any tips about this?
    2. tips for amazon closed account, 3x i have got closed accout.
    3. you using payoneer to received payment from amazon, right?

    Thank you for answer tung, keep it up 🙂

    • 1) I don’t. I registered my account years ago.
      2) Sorrry cant help with this too. My account never got banned.
      3) Yes

  • Hi Tung,

    Thanks for the great content!

    After reading a couple of posts on your blog and this series of “challenge posts”, I know you are mainly hiring your writers from Upwork and Textbroker.

    For Upwork,
    1) Do you hire a writer that is also having a blog in your niche? Let say for ThankYourSkin.com, do you hire writer who is also the owner/founder of skincare and cosmetics blog?

    2) Do you always include their name as the author (Eg: Hannah Do) like in ThankYourSkin.com?

    Thanks in advance.

    • 1) No. My writers are from the Philippines. But it’s better to hire people with real experience.
      2) Yes

      • Thanks for the fast reply.

        Regarding (1), wouldn’t be having any conflict hiring a writer with real experience (having their own blog with the same niche as mine), since their own blog could potentially be my competitor?

        Would love to hear your insights.

        Thanks Tung!

        • 1) No. It’s even better as they can potentially link to you as well 🙂 It’s a win win. They get money, you get exposure to their audience.

          • Tung, you are really a great expert in this! Thanks!

  • Did TYS get a penalty? I’ve seen traffic and rankings dropping a lot in ahrefs

  • Hey Tung, well written article.

    So you’re building your niche sites up with SEO traffic right?

    Is there any software you recommend that automates the outreach process? So after you write your great content getting it in front of other bloggers sites and on social media so that they see how great of a resource it is and share it with their readers getting you traffic and links coming in?

    We’ve tried Ninja Outreach and Buzzstream and they were very ineffective.

    • There’s no tool that can fully automate your outreach. Effective outreach requires personalization. We use MailShake

      • Hey Tung,

        100% agree, the message and outreach needs to be personalized.

        What I’m looking for is a tool that helps you to efficiently get you information so you can personalize then helps you outreach in multiple ways.

        So for us, to build relationships we’re subscribing to our target’s mailing list, finding blog posts they are active on and responding to comments so we can join in on the conversation, monitor to see if they post anything new so we can be one of the first to comment, finding if they are responsive on fb and twitter, finding posts they are mentioned in so we can tweet and share those, and even finding out conferences they are speaking at so we can be sure to attend. Then we use convoluted spreadsheets to track all this haha.

        A tool that can help with some of this process and organize it would be amazing.

        • Well buzzstream can do some basic tasks like finding twitter, facebook, etc. But still – nothing beats human when it comes to networking and making relationships 🙂

  • Yes Buzzstream doesnt help much.

    I’m seeing more and more that I’d have to build this inhouse.

    What do you think about a tool that will find and subscribe to your target blogger’s mailing list, monitor their blog and alert you so we can be the first to post a comment on a new post, find blog posts they are active on and responding to comments so you can join in on the conversation, find if they are responsive on fb and twitter, find posts they are mentioned in so you can tweet and share those, and even find out conferences they are speaking at so you can be sure to attend, ect. With a CRM like Pipedrive to manage it all.

    Do you think something like this would work well to help automate and organize the work? Would it be attractive to content marketers and SEOs?

  • Great progress Tung! It’ll be very interesting with e-commerce integrated.

  • Thanks, Tung Tran for being $10K Challenge Update #9 it’s my first comment on your blog although I follow your blog almost a years.I want to start my Amazon niche site journey already pick my niche so one question if possible reply me which platform you recommend for native writer as I always prefer UpWorkbut not much experience about copywriter or hirewritter.com.

    • I’d try Problogger.com job’s board – it’s really the best place to find high quality writers

  • Hey Tung,

    Love the new theme of ThankYourSkin!
    I’ve had GP Pro sitting in a folder and your setup definitely got me inspired on using it.
    I’m stuck on how you did the Tabbed Recent Blog Posts section. Any chance you could point me in the right direction? 🙂

    Regards,
    Jordan

    • That’s a custom coded feature from my developer. I can’t help with this one 🙂

      • Hey Tung,

        Would you be able to refer me to your developer? 😉

        How much did the project cost you by the way?

  • This is awesome. Thanks Tung

    One question though; I had a look at the site and it appears that in many instances, you self-host Amazon product images on the site ( instead of displaying them through and API ) I thought that this was against Amazons TOS for using their affiliate programme and coul get your account suspended?

    Is this just a risk tolerance thing or am i missing something?

    Thanks!

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