Hieu Nguyen’s Success Story: Selling A 9-Month Old Amazon Affiliate Website For $17k

GRAPHICS - Hieu Nguyen Banner - FB

I always love success stories – especially when they come from my readers.

Today, I have the pleasure to share with you the story of how Hieu Nguyen has built and sold one of his very first websites for over $17k in just a short period of 9 months.

His success really proves that what I teach here on Cloud Living really works, and anyone can do the same with hard work and dedication.

Ok, Take it away Hieu…

1. What is your name, where are you from and what is your current job/profession?

Hi everyone, I’m Hieu Nguyen from Vietnam. After 2 years of working as a software engineer in a boring outsourcing company, I decided to quit 2 months ago. I’m now doing Affiliate Marketing full time, mostly building Amazon niche sites.

2. How did you get started on building amazon affiliate websites?  How long have you been building websites?

After 1 year of working in my day job, I realized that I didn’t like it, and didn’t want to live that boring life. I thought I had to find other thing to do… more freedom, more fun and of course, more money.

Last June, I found a local Affiliate Marketing course that discussed many ways of making money online. After a few videos, I stopped watching the rest, and just focused on building niche sites with Amazon.

I built 2 niche sites with my own content, but they were too competitive, and I was too impatient. I gave up after a few weeks.

Luckily, at that time, I found http://www.nichepursuits.com/ and https://www.cloudliving.com/. Both sites contained a lot of informative and valuable posts.

From there, I learned how to find an easy- to-rank keyword, outsource content, and build backlinks that work. I decided to build another site following their advice.This was last August and now, it has become the website that I successfully sold at $17K. .

3. Tell us about one (preferred) or more about your successful websites.  What is the URL and what niche are you targeting? If you are not willing to publicly share your domain or niche, that’s just fine.

I should keep the URL confidential to protect the buyer. It’s in a seasonal sport niche which has much more traffic and buyer intent during the summer.

4. How much money do you make from this successful website(s) each month? Feel free to share your traffic stats as well.

Here is my income breakdown from September 2013 to May 2014:

September 2013: $0

October 2013: $16.00 (It didn’t rank on Google yet, sales from Bing/Yahoo)

November 2013: $20.00 (It didn’t rank on Google yet, sales from Bing/Yahoo)

December 2013: $127.02

January 2014: $110.92 (The main keyword ranked 1st in the middle of the month)

February 2014: $325.54

March 2014: $551.65

April 2014: $1,298.06

May 2014: $1,632.47 (EF migrated my site to the buyer hosting on May 22)

So I got $4,081.66 in 9 months from September 2013 to May 2014. That’s about $453/month. I sold it for about $17k.

Traffic since the site started:

Hieu Nguyen’s Success Story: Selling A 9-Month Old Amazon Affiliate Website For $17k

The total cost is about $3500 (content, link building, broker fee), so I got about $17,500 in profit.

5. What is the main reason for this website’s success?

I think it’s keyword research and effective link building strategy.

6. How Did You Find The Niche? What’s Your Criteria To Determine Winning Keywords?

I dug all the categories on Amazon, took note, then used GKP to find main keywords having >1500 US monthly local search.

After having a few buyer keywords, I used Long Tail Pro to analyze the competition.

With this main keyword, I saw a forum thread, some low PA sites on 1st page, so I chose it.

7. What’s Your Content Strategy For The SIte? Did you Write the Content Yourself or did you Outsource?

After 2 failed niche sites, I tried to outsource content on oDesk following these guides:



Fortunately, I found a new writer who always produced good quality content with a low price; but, we lost contact. She just didn’t reply to me anymore without any reasons.

8. Do You Use WordPress To Setup Your Website? If Yes, What hosting, theme and plugins did you use? How Did You Structure The Site?

I used WP to build my site. It was hosted by Bluehost with Genesis and eleven40 Pro child theme.

Here are my main installed plugins:

  • Contact Form 7: for contact page
  • TablePress: for table comparison chart.
  • Universal Star Rating: to show star rating on tables.
  • WordPress SEO by Yoast.
  • WP Smush.it: to reduce image size.
  • WP YouTube Lyte: to lazy load videos.
  • W3 Total Cache: to speed up my site.
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

My niche site had the same structure as Tung’s dumbbell site and Spencer’s knife site: a static homepage of 3k words about buying guide, and top 5 product reviews. There are also some information and product review articles.

9. What’s Your Strategy To Drive Traffic To Your Website? What Link Building Tips Can You Offer?

My traffic is mainly organic from Google. I also followed Tung and Spencer advice:

  • Building base links using brand name, naked URLs, and generic keywords.

After the 1st month, I used SHERLOCK HACKS GOOGLE PART II service, same as Tung’s dumbbell site.

  • Boost the ranking with PBN posts and high PR links.

About one month later, when most the base links were indexed, I started link building phase 2.

I didn’t have enough money to build my own PBN, so I bought some PBN blog posts from BlackHatWorld, and high PR links from Seolutions. Charles Floate also reviewed it here.

Diversify backlink types, anchor texts and make use of PBN when it’s still effective.

10. How Well Does Your Website Convert? Did you do anything to increase the conversion rate?

It’s only about 2.3% in total, but much lower in the first six months. I only added some clear CTAs above the fold. So far, it helped increase the CR. I think there are many available spaces for CRO, but I did not implement anything before selling.

11. How did you sell your website for $17k? What was the process?

I sold my website on Empire Flippers, which was a great experience. I just had to submit my site, and prove my traffic/earnings, and then they did all the other things: finding buyer, payment protection, migration and hand-off.

12. How has the success from this website impacted your life?

I can prove to my family that I can make money online and live the way I choose. And with the $17k sale, I can build out more niche sites now.

13. Do you have any additional tips or advice for others that would like to replicate your success with their own websites?

Try to copy other people’s success first. Stop reading here and there to search for the secret sauce. Just go for it! You can find all you need on nichepursuits.com and cloudliving.com.

Be patient and never give up!

14. Do you have a blog or other place that people can following along with what you are doing?

No, I don’t  have a blog yet.

Want your story to be published on CloudLiving? Shoot me an email and share your story.

Tung Tran

Tung Tran is the founder of CloudLiving.com.
  • Hieu Nguyen says:

    Thanks for sharing my story Tung!

  • Stuart Walker says:

    Great post. And awesome when someone who followed your advice had some real success.

    Congrats Hieu and Tung.

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Thank Stuart! I also learned a lot from your blog.

      • Stuart Walker says:

        Cool glad to hear it.

        What’s next for you? More niche sites?

        • Hieu Nguyen says:

          Yup, I don’t have any plans besides niche sites now. I feel quite overwhelmed in what to do next. Any suggestions, Stuart?

          • Stuart Walker says:

            Seems to me you have a good understanding of how niche sites work so I’d probably focus on making more if I was you.

            Can you send me an email through my blog please Hieu? I’d like to talk to you a bit more.

          • Hieu Nguyen says:

            Yes, I’m building out more sites now.

            Just shot you an email.

  • Steve Knowles says:

    Great post, very inspiring for newbies ans shows with determination and hard work you can do it.

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Yes, hard work pays off!

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Your’re welcome Josh 🙂

  • Congrats on your success Hieu! Quick question – how many articles did you have on the website? How often did you add content? Thanks in advance!

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      I have 23 content pages in total. I didn’t post frequently. Just 12 pages at the beginning, and the others after the site got #1 rank.

  • It would be great if you could break down the total cost of $3500 spent for the niche site. Like how much for content, backlinks, PBN, VA, etc..

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Here is the expense break down:
      Content – $100
      Backlink – $300
      Seolutions – $250 (5 months, I share the package with my other site)
      Broker Fee – $2800

      • Thank you very much for sharing, Hieu. This really helps 🙂

      • Tea Partiers are Obese Racists says:

        “Seolutions – $250 (5 months, I share the package with my other site)”

        Hi, how did you get 5 months for only $250 from SEOlutions? The cheapest option I could find is $129 for 1 month. Thanks.

        • Hieu Nguyen says:

          Yes, I bought the smallest package – $129 for my 2 sites (~$50 for this site, and ~80$ for the other).

          • Tea Partiers are Obese Racists says:

            Thanks. I have 2 final questions:

            1) There are two $129 options. One is for 100 high PR links and the other is for 130 PR3 links. Which one did you get?

            2) Did you use the buffer sites options (5 or 10 buffer sites)? Or did all the links go directly to your niche sites’ homepages? Thanks.

          • Hieu Nguyen says:

            1. I got the mixed one. It’s more natural.
            2. I didn’t use buffer option. But if I bought it now, I would use that for less risk.

          • Tea Partiers are Obese Racists says:

            Thank you for your answers!

  • Great post!

    Can you specify which of the packages from High PR Solutions you used?

    • thelongmillion says:

      I notice that service places links in the footers/blogrolls of high PA sites. Sounds a little spammy to me and high-risk, but I guess it worked for you.

      • Hieu Nguyen says:

        Yup, use it at your own risk. It still works well. You can choose the buffer web 2.0s to reduce risk.

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      I bought the 100 High Mixed PR Link package (50% extra link coupon) for it and my other site: 50/100.

      • Tea Partiers are Obese Racists says:

        “I bought the 100 High Mixed PR Link package (50% extra link coupon)”
        Hi, do you still have the coupon code for this? I only could find the 30% extra links code from Charles Floate’s site.

        • Hieu Nguyen says:

          You should check out their sale thread on BHW forum.

  • moussaif said says:

    great story my biggest problem is building links because I can’t buy a guist post from high pr sites

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Buy some PBN blog posts, mate!

      • moussaif said says:

        thats gonna cost a lot of money that I don’t already have

        • Hieu Nguyen says:

          You can find some affordable services on BHW. Remember to read the customer reviews and pm them if need.

  • alpha bands says:

    Great job @disqus_YHXAds2Wr2:disqus! I saw you had 5 reviews posts and 1 large homepage article, I was just curious how many pages did the site have total?

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      It’s 23 content pages.

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Yup, you guys are very helpful and skilled at selling websites 🙂

  • Hey, you are absolutely success. I’ll try my best to do just like you. I’m building second niche site now and currently implement links to my website. I’ll try as your suggestion. Thank you so much! 🙂

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Thanks Raweewan. I also followed your journey back then. Love your success with Kindle and absolutely niche site now.

  • Hieu.. congrats .. newbie here wanna ask a qn: for the backlinks, do you do it on one particular page with one keyword or on the root domain/main page only? I’m a bit confused on how to get backlinks effectively.. thks

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      You should get links for other pages/posts as well. It’s much more natural.

  • Awesome job Hieu! $17k is a good boost in income and it’s quite the proof for any doubting family members. Congrats!

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Thanks Josh! Congrats on your site sale, too 😉

        • Hieu Nguyen says:

          No, I did follow your NSC, and listed my site on EF after you. Saw your site marked as sold there a few weeks ago.

  • Koen van Emden says:

    Great story! Do you guys recommend no following the privacy policy? I’ve got mine ‘followed’, but I’m doubting about it, because it’s kinda much duplicate content.

    Thanks, love cloudliving.


    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      I did nofollow that page. But it’s not important, I think. No one want to rank that page, so you don’t have to care about that.

      • Koen van Emden says:

        Ah thanks. But I mean that google might see it as duplicate content if you dont no follow that page.

        I recently had a drop in visitors on one of my sites so that is why im asking.

        • Hieu Nguyen says:

          Yup, so you can test. Just nofollow that and see whether it causes your drop. Who knows 😉

  • Great work Hieu! I am at the beginning of that journey now myself…..good for you for not giving up after your first 2 failures!

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Thanks Scott, playing with Google takes a lot of time and patience. I see you’re having success with your parnership also 😀

      Good luck on your journey!

      • Yah, I am not a techie and was tired of outsourcing everything so the partnership works~! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Great job Hieu. Thanks for sharing your story, I’m sure it will be an inspiration for lots of others!

  • Christian says:

    Congratulations Hieu, that’s a great success story!
    I’m just wondering how the sale and transfer process worked with those Seoloutions links you were renting? Were you able to transfer that link rental as well?

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Of course, yes. It went as smoothly as the site sale procress.

      • thelongmillion says:

        How many months did you subscribe to the Seolutions package for?

        So you got 150 links, and broke it up half and half among two different sites?

        • Hieu Nguyen says:

          I subscribed from this January.

          Yup , 50 links for this site, 100 for the other.

  • Larry Gonzaga says:

    Nice work Hieu! Big payoff from your work.

    Was the transition with EF easy?

    And how did you change all the amazon affiliate codes? did you do them 1 by 1 by hand?

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Thanks Larry. Hard work always pays off.

      I already transferred the SEO account to the the buyer.

      And about the tracking ids, Empire Flippers changed them. Don’t know how they did, it seemed that they did one by one.

  • Congratulations, Hieu! That’s awesome buddy. Keep up the good work.

    I completely agree with you on this:

    Stop reading here and there to search for the secret sauce. Just go for it!

    It easy to adjust the course once you are moving forward. Thanks for sharing your story with Tung.

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Thanks Doug! You’re also my inspiration.

  • Tiago Andrade says:

    Congrats Hieu!

    Question: living in Vietnam, how did u manage to access Google US to check if your niche was not taken by google american advertisers (proxy?)? I mean, depending on the niche and the place you live, google always places advs for that specific keyword before showing the rank. I know that with longtail pro you can cut off some of these competitive niches….. but even the ones that are not so crowded you may face this issue and at the end spending some money in non profitable niches.

    Thanks and congrats again!

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Thanks Tiago.

      For this site, I just did keyword research, finding a keyword with good monthly search volume, easy to rank, didn’t even notice if it would be profitable. At least I had the experience to rank a site 😀

      • Tiago Andrade says:

        got it! I’m still fighting some demons to rank as well 🙂 have a nice weekend! cheers

  • Congratulations Hieu!
    I’m a Vietnamese too. Good to listen success story of you.

  • Congratulations Hieu Nguyen!
    Great story.
    I’m a Vietnamese too.

  • Congratulations my ai đồ <3 :3 ! Stay focus keep shipping

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Thanks mate! Fuck yeah!

  • Yeshua Quijano says:

    Congratulations man! This Sherlock Hacks Google package is really popular, will try this to my new website. I was actually afraid to keep my sites longer because I get a feeling that it might get penalized after 2 months.

    I’m doubly inspired and motivated to push through with my niche sites now.

    Took a while before the site started earning money no? By the way, my dad worked in Vietnam and he really loved your country!

    • Hieu Nguyen says:

      Thanks Yeshua! Good luck with your niche sites.

      Many friends tell me that we shouldn’t use Sherlock anymore, it can make you site be penalized in the future. Use it at your own risk mate.

      Come here and visit us! You’ll love my country as well, Hehe.

      • Yeshua Quijano says:

        No more Sherlock? That’s too bad. What package can you recommend today?

        Will definitely visit. Maybe if I sell a niche site? haha

        • Hieu Nguyen says:

          I don’t know. Many niche site builders out there are using THE HOTH service. You can take a look.

          If you want to talk more, drop me an email at nguyentrunghieu (dot) itus (at) gmail (dot) com. Hehe.

          • Yeshua Quijano says:

            Yup, I did check up on THE HOTH a couple hours ago. It’s a bit expensive though. Thanks for the quick reply! Will send you one. Cheers.

      • Yeshua Quijano says:

        Can you I PM you in BHW? I’d love to ask a few more questions.

  • Lâm Hoàng says:

    I sold my site earning 800$/mo ~~~~ 5k 🙁

  • That is Awesome! Congrats on continuing pressing forward after your failures(learning experiences) 😉

  • just a matter of time before google catches up with these fake review tactics. One manual review from google and its, boom, zero earnings.

    Actually do real reviews of products if you want to make it in the Amazon Affiliate world, it’s the only way.

    • james lee says:

      couldn’t agree more. Fake reviews are not helping the real buyers out there.

      I built a certain product website and had to buy all the competitor products so i could actually review it rather than make up a fake review. You do a real review and the website will stand the test of time. End off

  • Great article, i first found it on december 2014 and it inspired me to start working.
    I started work on my niche site on january 1st. My site is almost 3months old. 🙂
    I spent many hours on writting content, i tried few writters, but i found out that my own content is much better.
    I hope i am going on right direction,
    On first month, january i made $35,
    February it was about $25,
    now on march the site has already made $88.
    Just now few main keywords are starting to show up on google… let`s see how it goes 🙂

    Again many thanks for great article.

  • Thanks for the great advice. You guys rock. Tung, do you offer personal coaching>

  • Md. HAbibe Azam says:

    Thanks for sharing this story. Is is so inspirational.

  • Aaron Geremia says:

    Very nice success story. Hope I can write my own success story also in the coming months. I am planning to dive into this kind of income stream in 2016. Thanks for sharing.

  • Hi Tung & Hieu, (if you’re still here!),

    Great story and very inspirational.

    I seem to have got to this party a bit late, but a great read and quite interesting to see how this site was built out using a formula.

    My question would be, this formula was working very well a few years ago i.e. long content homepage with smaller informational inner pages, but is this still a viable option in 2016 for small niche sites?

    We are hearing lot & lots of tlk about how we now should pivot towards creating authority site to get any kind of traction, but I am not super convinced about this and I still think there is room for these kinds of sites…However it would be great to know what you think, Tung


    • Hi Harry,

      Yes. There’s still room for this model but it is totally up to you to follow it. It all comes down to what you want honestly.

      For me, I think building a long-term asset is really the way to go so I’m not doing this model anymore because that’s a big sign of thin content affiliate site for Google. And it’ hard to scale later also.

      And I think we can always start small and scale up once we get good traction.

      And check out this article http://www.cloudliving.com/examples. Those examples are the living proofs that the model doesn’t work as well anymore. You can see that most sites in the list were penalized.

  • Imteaz Galib says:

    your story inspire us. Thank you very much to share it.
    Thank you Tung also who share Hieu success story.

  • Thank you for the great information!. I am very new to this. I feel like I’m missing something re cost ect. Why can it not be all done free? And with no intention to get rich, I mean I want a perfect niche that I can create free and will be successful re making money that can go to charity’s ! Now I know it sounds crazy, but there has to be a way! I DO NOT HAVE all the skills / funds to do this, but I would appreciate any help/ even if it’s done by someone else ! Help ourselfs help everyone. If someone out there wants to help everyone’s cause! email me . Kind regards Andrew

    • Even a non-profit charitable business costs money to start. So no you can’t start a biz for FREE.

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