The $10k Challenge Update #3 – December 2015

Welcome to the 3rd update of my $10K Challenge. If this is your first time reading, check out what this challenge is all about here.

Below is what happened in December 2015.​


Key Successes

  • Published an infographic which turned out to be a massive success (results below).
  • Earned 3 backlinks from big online magazines (DA80+) and a dozen of smaller sites.
  • 170.31% traffic increase.
  • 476.04% income increase.
  • Bullet Point 2

Key Failiures

  • Tracking is still not in place.

Website Stats for December 2015

Domain Profile

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

  • Domain Rating: 40
  • Domain Authority: 15
  • Backlinks: 667
  • Referring Domains: 40
  • Organic Keywords: 9,500


10K Challenge Update December 2015

Total traffic almost tripled in December as a result of a successful infographic promotion campaign.

Organic traffic also hit a new record averaging at 550 sessions a day in the last 7 days.


To my surprise, the site earned $589.35 which was a 476.04% increase compared to November.

This significant jump could be due to 2 reasons:

  • Holiday season - December is always the best month for Amazon affiliates and income is likely to double or triple.
  • Increase in organic traffic - With new powerful backlinks earned, the site is ranking on page 1 or even #1 for some main buying keywords.

Some people may wonder if I’d see a dramatic earning drop in January but I think it’s not likely to happen.

At least it will do $600 and if things go well I may even hit my first $1000 month with the site.​

Content & Promotion

In this section, I’ll share more details on what I did last month to get that significant growth. 

New content published = 1 post

Only 1 post was published last month because all the effort was spent on creating and promoting the infographic.

Now that the site has acquired some decent links, I’m going to apply a content calendar and produce new content every week.


It took me a while to figure it out but now I’m pretty confident with my ability to produce powerful white hat backlinks efficiently.

The core strategies I focused on were:

Blog Commenting - This is more of an effective way to build relationships in your niche rather than a link building tactic. It also keeps your site safe from penalties by adding diversification to the backlink profile.

My recommendation is to make a list of 150 - 200 relevant blogs and pick 5 a day to comment on.

Guest Posting - Guest posting has gotten a lot of bad rap over the past few years, but the truth is that it’s still working very well. Just need to make sure that your posts are published on high quality sites only and avoid any site that looks spammy.

Here’s a free guide on guest posting by Jon Haver at AuthorityWebsiteIncome.

Gael Breton has just published a step-by-step guest posting blueprint for his Authority Hack Pro members as well.

Infographics Outreach - Also called Guestographics by Brian Dean from Backlinko, this was the main driver of my site’s significant growth last month.

The strategy sounds so simple yet so effective. Here’s how to do it:

  • Step 1: Create and publish a really good infographic.
  • Step 2: Find people that are interested in your infographic.
  • Step 3: Reach out and see if they’re interested in your infographic.
  • Step 4: If yes, offer to write a custom intro.
  • Step 5: If they like the idea, write a quick 200-word intro with a link back to your site.
  • Step 6: Send them the intro and get your link.

Here’s a quick video I put together to explain the process in more details:

This is my first video so I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section. There are still some glitches in the video, but I decided to just put it out there instead of trying to make it perfect.


As always, I’m happy with the progress we’ve made in December.

The results proved that it’s still very possible to grow a new site quickly using only white hat promotion tactics in 2016. (I'm going to cover all of the strategies in details in my upcoming course AMZ Affiliate Bootcamp).

Here’s what I’m going to focus on in January:

  • Launch a systematic guest posting campaign following AH Pro’s Blueprint
  • Work with my content manager to apply a content calendar posting 3 articles a week.
  • Work with my technical support to set up proper tracking in Google Analytics

That’s it for update #3. I hope you learned something new that could help you grow your own site better.

What do you think of my progress so far? Do you have any questions regarding my current content and promotion strategies? Feel free to let me know in the comment section.

PS: There's a new FB group exclusively for Cloud Living readers. Come join me at

Tung Tran

Tung Tran is the founder of
  • Hi Tung,

    Congrat on your success last December, look like your CR is great, but how about your CTR? Did you track them and try to increase it? How many percent do you think is good for Amazon Affiliate Site?

  • Hey Tung,

    Congratulations for the success of your authority website. I have few questions.

    1- When did you make your website live (published 1st Article) ? Did you face any sandbox time ?

    2- Will you rely only on Google traffic for this project or will you use social media traffic and paid traffic (Facebook) as well for this project ?

    3- Will you rely on Guest post and Infographics white hat technique for this project or will you try some other white hat seo link building types as well in future for this project.

    • 1. First article was October 15th 2014. But I stopped for a year and the 2nd article was July 6 2015.
      2. It’ll be Google traffic at first, then I’ll try social traffic maybe in a few months
      3. I’ll try everything eventually but for now just focusing on what works.

      • Thanks Tung,

        Ahrefs shows 40 Refering domains but how many refering domains in Google webmaster tool?

  • Hello Tung, I’m a new follower of your stuff and thank you for sharing this.
    I learned a lot.

    Maybe I missed it but.. do you use any soft to build your backlinks?

      • Nice!
        then I’ll clarify my question 🙂
        written manually and you find everything by yourself? or you use like market samurai or scrapebox or something like that?

  • Nice one tung, i have always followed you right from the very start of niche site creation.

    I hope to see more success from you. Thanks a lot for the motivation

  • Matt Price says:

    Tung, you have one of the best sites out there for aspiring affiliates – to be so up front with everything you do is so rare in this industry and really means that you’re giving so much more value to everyone that reads your blog – thanks for sharing!

  • Nice job with the site Tung. Steady progress and good to see you moving to white hat tactics as well.

    How much content do you have on the site? Is much of the traffic going to a few key pages? Or is it spread around and coming in via lots of long tail keywords?

    Keep at it! Looking forward to the next update.

    • Thanks Matt!

      Currently I’m having about 40-50k words on the site. 70% of the traffic are going to the top 7 pages which are ranking for thousands of keywords 🙂

  • Have checked most of your posts, which ispired me very much, when will the tutorial from come out, I am interested, BTW, it seems that you are not a english speaking guy, how do you pratise your english so well, thanks again.

    • It’ll be available around March. For my english, I just practise a lot!

  • Hey Tung!
    I just joined AHPro last week, might be ask you a few questions inside the program. I’m followed the email marketing blueprint at this time. I’m thinking about re-design my email marketing auto-responder at my blog (Thai & English), glow the list and sometime promote the offer.
    Let me know when your course is up, since my first email segment will be newbies who want to make their first affiliate niche website and I think I can promote your course with my list.
    Nothing much update with my authority site, since I’m currently changed the way of content from just SEO article to in-dept product review articles with more than 3000 words each.
    Well, talk soon and have a happy day!

  • Tung,

    Congratulations..Nice growth for your niche blog.

    Do you think blog commenting still works? Many say due to no follow links,there is not much SEO value attached to it?

  • Awesome job man, thanks for citing us and I’m super happy to see your turn to white hat is going extremely well. Give it some more time and you will be killing it!

    • Thank you sir 🙂 Couldn’t have done this without your help.

  • Thank you for sharing Tung. I wanted to know if you will mention a bit more about the ExpertsList you mentioned in update #2. Your blog is very nicely done, interesting, fast loading and attractive. Thank you again for sharing!


  • The video was quite helpful; I learned a lot and your English is good (your writing is better than that of many Americans). Are you actively building links to your buying guides or are they ranking well on their own? How did you get approved for a Sephora affiliate account, did you apply? I tried via Linkshare but it appears they are private. Also, how long does it generally take for you to rank a buying guide on the first page? Depends on kw of course but it seems like it takes a long time if you’re not building links to the pages themselves?

    • Thank John!

      I did build some guest post links and the infographic helped a lot.

      I didn’t sign up for Sephora.

      Yeah it depends on the competition but generally 4-6 months would be good.

  • Congrats man

    Within 3 month you build 667 backlink . is it not massive link building … Need your suggestion ! what should i do fo my niche sites ….

    • Most of the links are from Pinterest shares. Referring domain is 43.

  • Awesome job man Tung Tran … i have a question ?

    How many back link i build in a month for a niche site ?

  • Hi Tung,
    This post has become my guidance to grow my authority site. I love the part when you tell us where you got your links and what it’s impact to your site. Thank you.

  • Hi Tung,

    I Have just created my first WordPress site. I am very interested in affiliate marketing and have been doing my research online. However I would much rather prefer learning from someone that has started from the bottom like i am, and worked up.
    I know your very busy but if I could get an email to ask you some questions that would be greatly appreciated. And hopefully I can return the favor to you any way possible.
    Thank you

    – Joseph Hopkins

  • Hi Tung,

    I’m really happy to hear about your success! I’m actually starting up my own authority site myself and will definitely be following along with your journey 🙂

    Wish you all the best dude!


  • Hey Tung, love your work. Keep it up!

    Regarding the blog commenting, how do you put the list together?

    Do you literally Google keywords in your niche and blog comment in high PA pages within the sites? Or are there other things that you look out for? Have you written a post about it for reference?


  • Hi Tung,
    Congrats on the huge Amazon income jump. You rock. Just a question, what do you mean by no Google Analytics. Dont you just have to copy paste the code on to the website or use a plugin if its WP? Am I missing something here?

    • Ah I mean detailed tracking like click through rate to amazon and some financial tracking.

  • Joshua P. Cornwell says:

    Awesome article! I’m so happy you’ve seen such imdediate success. I know you have been working hard, but it didn’t take long to get your results. This is very inspiring for people like me who haven’t seen as much immediate success. Keep up the good work and continue to provide all this amazing value! Thanks Tung.
    – Josh

    • Thanks Josh! The first few months were brutal but I stayed calm and now the results are motivating 😛

  • Great to see the progress you’ve made on the site Tung, and glad that Backlinko’s infogrpahic tactic worked for you. I love the idea of adding videos into your posts. After a while you’ll be a pro!

  • Hi there,
    it would be good to mention how much time you spare on this project (daily/monthly average), so that we get good idea what it all means not just in terms of spendings, but also time effort required.


    • Hi Martin,

      Yeah I’ll definitely include that in the next report. But I’d say I worked less than 100 hours on this because I had a good budget and outsourced a lot of the work.

      • great, when are you publishing article #4 🙂
        Or is this the site you say in the email that you sold for $10k? I hope not 🙂

        • No. That was 2 years ago. This site is worth much more than that.

  • Hey Tung,

    Thank you for another fantastic post. I recently got into Amazon Affiliate too but instead of creating my own niche site, I publish all my posts through Got 13 orders from the first day, thanks to someone who shared the post on Flipboard.

    Do you think that would be a good idea? In term of long or short term? Thanks

  • Hi Tung,

    I am curious…. the Thankyourskin case study is a local (Vietnam) website, to sell products locally ? if so, how come it’s English only ? Or are you positioning it as a global or US based site ? Can you discuss the pros and cons or what is behind that decision ? Cheers

      • I gathered that’s because US has the largest buy/sell market for websites.

        Although, here’s an idea…. with much of the West wanting to do business in Asia, a website capturing the international markets (US + Asia) is quite a nice niche ? In the US, 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs are building websites to sell to US investors. You will have less competition if you can bridge the gap. Any investor/buyer are likely to be willing to pay a higher premium for a “global” site.

        • Each country has its own shopping behaviors. So its really hard to create one site to meet both.

  • I find it interesting to see you didn’t do a SILO. Also thinking you are losing a ton of recycled traffic by not putting a mailing list/autoresponder option somewhere.

    So this has been just Amazon commissions alone?

    Also curious, how much of your initial 5k investment money have you used so far?


    • I’ll do a detailed update on that. 100% revenue is through Amazon now.

      • Hey Tung,

        I’m ready for an update 🙂 Visiting your blog every day in hopes to find a new post.


        • Haha I’ve been busy with some other work. I’ll do one probably next week.

  • Yet to get January report. I would love to know how is the site’s performance in the month of January. January seems to be a bad month when it comes to conversion rate and buyer’s mindset.

  • Hi Tung,

    I read above that with only less than a few posts you managed to generate traffic to your site to get revenue by the first 3 months. What were the methods you used to gather traffic when you only had a few posts? I mean SEO wise, with only a few post you most likely won’t get indexed very high up right? Hope to hear from you!


    • The site has over 50 pages ~ 60,000 words so I don’t think it’s considered “a few posts” 🙂 Check out update #3 to see what backlink strategies that I used.

      • Jessen Siew says:

        Hi Tung,

        I am sorry i misread it! Do you mind sharing how did you launch 50 pages and over 60,000 words on your side within 2 months? Do you outsource a bulk of the writing too?


        • Yes. I outsourced content mostly on Textbroker and Upwork. It’s just a matter of having good process. I have a VA to help upload the content to WordPress too.

  • Hi,
    Nice article!
    Could you advise how to make a nice infographic like yours with such a low cost ($50)?
    Also it would be a great idea for a post to share your outsourcing secrets, as it seems you do a lot of outsourcing with great results.


    • I have a friend who happens to be a designer 🙂 I can’t share her info as she asked to.

  • Hey Tung,

    I just went through the video again, and great stuff!

    I wanted to ask when sending the email outreach work to VAs, do you give them an email to use or do they use their own email?

    Was wondering how you do it and how you tracked if all the targets were sent to by the VA.


  • Hi,
    I would like to know more about blog commenting please. Do you include a link back to your website?


  • Hi guys, interesting website here. I have been reading here for a while and just wanted to say hi.

  • Hey tung. I have read last two post about 10K challenge. I have heard about the website thankyourskin long before. But didn’t know, you are the owner of it. So, I am so excited to find you as I like the website before I knew you.
    Your, present article provides a whole bunch of information how you converted a site to profit step by step. It has been very helpful for me. I love you buddy. Thanks a lot. Expect your better health always.

  • I’m really hoping to utilize the infographics idea this month. Guest posting is still a huge stopper for me and I haven’t gotten around to making it work. Anyways, hopefully we get around to that some time. Again, thanks for highlighting the steps clearly as usual.

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