In June 2016, I launched my premium training course AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp* to the public after spending more than 6 months and $20,000+ on development.
*As of June 2017, the course has been rebranded to Cloud Living Academy.
It has been my biggest project to date featuring 8 comprehensive modules with 120+ high quality video lessons covering each step in the process of building a successful affiliate website in great detail.
Since then, more than 550 people from all around the world have joined the course and many have gone on to generate 4 - 5 figure income for themselves using what they learned.
I loved it from a day 1. Why? All topics were organized in a simple way to understand. Open forum with (now) 600+ members will answer your every question within few hours. My results after almost a year? Not spectacular, but not bad either. I didn't spend as much time as I wanted, so I can only blame myself 🙂 My earnings are growing steadily, being 600$ for the last two months (earned 2800$ in total). Let's hope it will be better and better!
In about a years time following only this course, I have gained a good grasp on affiliate marketing. Since the launch of my site just over a year ago now, it has generated $4632 in income via Amazon alone. Considering I only paid a few hundred dollars to join Tung's course at the start, it has been a great investment of my time since I now have an asset which pays regular passive income.
I joined the course 8 months ago (at the time of writing) and not only has it helped me to make my first $1 online but it helped me to eventually flip that site for $2,000 - not bad for my first project!
The course has also been recommended by many top industry experts as the go-to place to learn how to build and grow a successful affiliate website.
However, as 2018 is right around the corner, a common question asked among students and members of the Cloud Living community is:
Does the course still work?
The short answer is yes, but it can be better.
Let me explain:
First off, the core fundamentals of SEO will always remain the same.
In order to rank high in Google, you only need 2 things:
- High quality content
- Powerful backlinks
And those are the topics that the course already covered in great great detail.
If you follow exactly what I teach in the course, you'll be able to create high quality content and build a lot of powerful backlinks - and as the result your website will rank.
However, over the past 12 months, there are 2 major changes that you'll need to be prepared for in order to be or keep being successful in 2018:
Amazon associate program is not as lucrative as before
In March, Amazon decided to lower their commission rates which led to a 30 - 50% drop in revenue for many websites.
There have also been many reported cases where accounts getting banned without clear explanation - this is a big risk especially when the majority of your income is dependent on 1 single affiliate program.
More recently, many affiliates have been complaining about the incredibly low conversion rates they get in the past few months. You can check out the thread here.
The Google Fred Update makes it harder to build sites with only affiliate content
Fred was first rolled out also in March and have been causing a lot of problems for affiliate site owners.
From my analysis, sites with a lot of affiliate content seem to get hit the hardest while other sites with more balanced ratio of informational / commercial content are mostly un-touched.
If you follow what I teach in the course, you would have a balanced content strategy and you should be doing fine.
In the case of Thank Your Skin, I pushed the boundary too far with affiliate content and that's the biggest reason why the site has been decreasing in traffic.
What Should You Be Focusing On To Be Successful in 2018?
After analyzing hundreds of sites over the past few months, below are the things that I think you should focus on in order to really grow your website in the next year:
Build an email list
I know it's nothing new - but this is something that our SEO community should be focusing on a lot more.
Like most people, the majority of my income has always been from direct sales via high ranking articles, but I'm actually putting a lot more effort into list building and email marketing.
Because from my experience with Cloud Living, having an engaged email list is really the best and fastest way to drive traffic and revenue.
I can literally drive 1000+ visitors to any new blog post with just a few clicks.
I'm already rolling out list building strategies across my websites and are seeing positive results.
Find better affiliate offers
As I said above, with the change in commission structure, Amazon is not as lucrative as before.
And there are actually hundreds of better affiliate offers that you can promote to your audience.
Some of the top places to find affiliate offers are:
With an email list, promoting these offers is even easier. All you need to do is write some good promo emails and send them out to collect $$$.
Publish more epic content
Epic content is the type of content that delivers a ton of value, gets people super excited, and as a result drives tons of shares and backlinks to your website.
My new article on speeding up WordPress is a good example of epic content.
The article is just 2 week old but it has received 200+ natural social shares and thousands of visitors. It's also converting 6% of visitors into subscribers.
Or look at the most popular article on Cloud Living - 5 Great Examples Of Successful Amazon Affiliate Websites (2017 Edition)
According to Ahrefs, this article is linked to 132 times from 61 unique domains. It's also ranking for 2,700 keywords and currently getting a lot of organic traffic from Google.
This is working so well because in the end this is exactly what Google wants: to improve the quality of their search results.
Grow social media channels
Over the past few years, social traffic has been growing at an accelerated rate and is now taking a bigger portion of the pie than search traffic.
From my analysis, sites with big social followings tend to do much better in the SERPs as well.
So it's foolish to keep ignoring social traffic.
In the past few months, my team and I have been experimenting with different types of social traffic and we have seen really good results.
For example, here's Pinterest traffic for the past 30 days for one site:
Here's another property that is getting a lot of traction on Facebook:
Launch your own products
Lastly and most importantly, you need to launch and sell your own products.
Affiliate sites come and go. But the common thing about online businesses that last and thrive years after years is that they all sell something whether it's digital or physical.
In fact, many big media publishers have started to focus more on selling their own products as well.
This is simply because:
With your own products, you can make a lot more money faster.
For example, if you sell a $37 ebook, to reach $1000 a month you only need 27 sales. And you have total control of the customer list and you can upsell to them which help increase the lifetime customer value.
You can also explore other traffic channels other than just SEO.
With a good funnel in place, you can afford to do paid traffic and that's really when you can scale your business very quickly.
I know creating a product is not always the easiest thing to do - but it's possible.
If you want to build truly sustainable business, then having your own products is a MUST.
What's Coming in
AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp Cloud Living Academy 2.0
With the new insights I've learned from experimenting on my own and talking to other practitioners in the field, I decided to completely revamp the course with a lot of new and updated content.
This will be the first major update to the course since launched so I'm gonna call it version 2.0
This update will contain all the latest strategies and tactics that are working well for me and my small circle of successful friends.
Here's what you can expect to be included in this new version:
All current training courses will be updated or remade from scratch. Here's a quick overview of what I have planned for the first 4 core modules:
Niche Selection System
- Rebuild from scratch
- New niche selection criteria with less focus on picking Amazon niches and more focus on the potential to make money with other affiliate offers and selling products.
- Keyword research process only requires one single tool (Ahrefs) to improve efficiency and reduce total investment.
The Content Machine
- Update old lessons.
- Add new lesson - How to optimize your content for perfect on-page SEO.
Perfect Website Setup
- Add new lesson - How to plan and set up your site silo structure the right way.
- Add new lesson - How to set up a good looking website on a budget.
- Add new lesson - How to set up your website for email lead generation
Link Building Blueprint
- Update old lessons.
- Add 2 new link building tactics that no one has talked about before.
- Add new lesson - How to scale your link building outreach with VAs.
New Interactive Step by Step Roadmap
One of the common problem that beginners face when starting out is that it's easy to get overwhelmed with a big list of things they need to do.
And that usually causes many people to slow down or even give up.
In order to help people overcome that, I've been working on a very unique feature that you probably haven't seen anywhere.
Introducing: The Cloud Living Roadmap
The basic idea of the roadmap is to provide you with a clear step-by-step plan on exactly what you need to do to start and grow your website.
The roadmap will be divided into several phases and in each phase you have a clear list of things to do.
You can track your own progress within each phase of the roadmap. When you complete a step, you check it off and your progress in percentage will be updated accordingly.
As you work through the roadmap, there are certain milestones you need to achieve in order to move on to the next step.
There are also regular checkpoints where you can submit your questions and get timely answers from me to avoid getting stuck.
New Social Traffic Tactics
Getting traffic from social is getting more and more important and this is something that you can't ignore in 2018.
Pinterest is working really well at the moment for me so that's gonna be the first course for social traffic.
And a lot more cool stuff coming soon.
I'm working on a lot more cool stuff to release to premium members for free but It'd be much better to underpromise and overdeliver so I'm just showing you the major changes in this post.
I use feedback from the community to decide the new features, so let me know about anything you’re stuck on, I'm here to help.
Have any questions? Just comment below or shoot me an email to [email protected] for a quick answer.
When Are You Receiving All These Updates?
Updating a big course is definitely not super quick - but I'm working extra hours to make sure the major changes get done first so you can be prepared for 2018.
I'm will be slowly rolling them out as I finish each part. But I'm estimating about 2 to 3 months to finish everything.
If you're current members of Cloud Living Academy, you'll be notified as soon as a new update is live.
If you're not yet a member and you've been considering to purchase Cloud Living Academy (formerly AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp) but price is an issue, then I've got good news for you 🙂
Starting this (Black) Friday, through (Cyber) Monday, I'm giving you a chance to get the course (any package) at 20% off.
(24th - 27th)
I'm usually not a fan of discounting my products.
But during the last few days, I've had more than a few people reach out to ask whether I'm offering a discount on Black Friday for my course Cloud Living Academy (formerly AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp)
So here you go.
Mark your calendar to not miss this really quick sale.
Come Friday (all through Monday) you'll be able to get my stuff for 20% less.
Will email to let you know as soon as the discount is live on Friday.
Have an amazing week!
The best part is - if you purchase the course this Black Friday, you'll automatically get the new updates when they're ready.