Welcome to aaron chua make money blog

Hi, welcome to my blog. In this part of my world, I talked about how to achieve financial freedom by learning how to make money online through creating sites and earning from them.

Below are some current and past make money projects that details my learning journey.

My current experiment in making 50 amazon site niches. If you have not been following this challenge, best place to start is this resource page for the amazon challenge, that lists all the articles that I have written so far.

My experiment in making 1000 a month through adsense in 9 months.

If you came here looking for low cost startup ideas, here are 140 startup ideas that you can browse through.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Creative ways to market your business

Marketing your business is never an easy task. There are many different ways to market yourself, but often times you have to think outside of the box to get your point across. There are a few simple steps you can take make your business stand out from the rest of the crowd

A great way to market your business is to team up with other local businesses. See if there are any available spots open on your local chamber of commerce. Start showing up to community events and making your presence as a local business known. Another great way to market yourself is to team up with other local businesses and offer deals and specials to the community.

 If you want to take the step and market yourself on your own, host your own events. You can use these mixers as a way to invite the community out and get to know them as they get to know more about your business. You will have to find a good restaurant or bar that allows you to have conversations, but still offer plenty of entertainment for guests. A piano bar, like BIG SHOT PIANO LOUNGE RESTAURANTin Arlington Heights, Illinois is a perfect example of a great destination to host an event like this.

 If you want your business to grow, you will have to put in the effort. This means putting the time into marketing your business to potential customers. You can rely on word of mouth marketing to do some of the lifting, but you will have to go out on your own and do some of the work yourself. Owning a business is an exciting, if not challenging, opportunity. If you have committed to starting your own business, you have to commit to growing it and keeping it viable. Be creative and market yourself to watch your business grow.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Earn money online in 2016

Making and saving money has become easier than ever with the emerging of technology. The following are some ways to do both because if you aren’t taking advantage of the money that can be saved and earned, then it seems like you are throwing money away. 

If you are a proficient writer then there are quite a few places to earn money. There are various content production companies that hire writers and sometimes pay very well. Building a portfolio of your writings is important as many of these companies require samples to be allowed to write in their community.

Saving money online is very easy as there are vast amounts of coupons and deals offered. Even huge sites like Groupon offer coupons for companies like Travelocity that are updated daily. You are not doing yourself a favor by not checking out coupons before departing on a shopping trip.

Selling old or used things online can help earn some extra money without doing too much work. With online auction sites and online payment systems like PayPal, the consumer is much safer than they were in the past when selling or buying things online. Old smartphones just laying around can bring in quite a lot of money as there are people is buy and sell old phones for a profit.

Buying used items online can help save money as many items are as good as new but the owner upgraded or found no use for it. This is especially true when it comes to technology. Around Christmas time, there are ads on sites like Craigslist of TVs or smartphones for a fraction of the price you would pay for the new item. The owner is selling them because they were bought a newer or better version of the product they already owned. If lucky, some posters are willing to give things away for free as long as you handle the transport of the object.

Technology has made making and saving money easier than ever. Next time you are thinking about going shopping, look around for some deals or coupons online before you depart. The worst thing that can happen is you save a little bit of money, best case scenario is that you save a bunch of money.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Can a domain recover from a penalty over time?

I wrote a post last year saying that aaronchua.com is no more because it seems to be under a penalty. I drew this conclusion based on (i) it has lost its sitelinks and (ii) it has lost rankings for many of its keywords.  After a year of non activity, I was surprised that this penalty seems to be lifted by itself. If you do a search for aaronchua.com, you can see that it has regained back its sitelinks.

Click the image for a bigger view

Hence, I decided to continue blogging here again. No point wasting an aged domain that has real content on it in case I need to channel its PR to a new site. More importantly, I have learned quite a bit during the past year and this is a good place to share some of these lessons and insights. 

How to make an Amazon niche site for 2014 and beyond

I never quite making amazon niche sites. However, these site look very different from the first batch that I made last year during the 50 Amazon site challenge.  Most of the these early sites were filled with buying keywords. The articles were mainly concerned with terms such as 'best product', 'product review', product under XX dollars" etc. These kind of articles do bring in buying traffic that converts very well but the problem they create is making your whole site looks like a spammy site, regardless how good your articles are. 

Since then, my affiliate sites have gotten a lot more diversify. Each of them now has an information and an product review component. The informational aspect has no monetisation embedded and their purpose is to serve the user which hopefully can attract some real links which can be channeled to the product review page through onsite linking.  I found this model to be working very well and most of my sites do receive natural links from search traffic visitors who found them useful. 

Is building links necessary to get search traffic?

None of my affiliate links have gotten into any penalities. One of the reason is that I don't build any links to them. None what so ever.  I focus on identifying a good niche and focus on writing all the content to answer the problems for that niche. It works very well and my sites can gather search traffic in a matter of months with no manipulative linking on my part. Below is a screenshot for one of new sites that was built in May this year.

Click the image for a bigger view

Sorry I can't reveal the site at the moment but I might do so when it gets a bit stronger as a public case study. The bigger point here is that you don't need links to get search engine traffic, especially in 2013. Google has been ruthless in rolling out their algorithm updates and it actually makes it easier for proper sites to have a shot at claiming the first page for many keywords.


This site proves that some domains do recover over time especially if you know you have not done anything that might trigger a penalty. Sometime, you just have to let the search engine sort itself out and hope for the best.

It feels good to blog here again and I will be writing some stuff that you guys who still want to make some money online will appreciate.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Aaronchua.com will be no more

For the few readers that I have, this is to inform you that aaronchua.com will no longer be updated. This is mainly due to the EMD penalty which, strangely enough, has affected this site. I have no idea how to reverse this and I have no intention of trying since this is not a money making site for me. I will still be blogging at my early retirement blog so I hope to see you guys there.

Thanks for all the time you have spent reading aaronchua.com. I hope you have gain something from it.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Dead end sites Time to get rid of mine

I wake up this morning, look at my numbers and say to myself "what do the f*ck am I doing?".

I had over 100 sites Only of a few are making serious money and I was wondering what am I doing with the rest?

Enough! Time to get rid of what I called dead end sites and move on to sites that had the potential to be a real business.

What are dead end sites?

These are sites that had very limited potential. Example? How about this? Blue torch  holder. How dead end can you get? Limited branding. Limited product extension. Limited audience. So, why make them? Because they bring in money fast. Small amounts but fast money. This creates a tiny sensation in our brain telling us that we are on the right track because money is coming in. Just do more and we will see bigger results. That is why we throw ourselves into these dead end projects so fast and furious. Just look at all the Squidoo madness going on now. People are contented grabbing a couple of hundreds or even thousands more before Christmas comes.

Enough of these dead end sites and projects!

Why am I contented with sites that make only a couple of bucks per month when I should be thinking of doing things that bring in millions of dollars.

Yes, millions of dollars. That is only a tiny fraction of the amount of money flowing through the Internet right now. I have  restricted myself enough. Time to really go forward and work on open end sites.

However, open end sites have a big problem. They might not have immediate result. Why? Because they are so open ended that they can go anywhere. This means that you might not be doing the right things during the initial period even though the site has potential.

What if you picked the wrong model?
What if you picked the wrong audience?
What if you picked the wrong product?

Open ended site need time to figure itself up. To be able to experiment and learn what is working and what is not. The good thing is that they can lead to many possibilities which is why they are open ended. Try doing that with bluetorchholder.com.

My early retirement blog is an example of an open ended website. It can go literally into different models. I can sell an ebook, I can create a social network for people who want to retire early, I can sell a newsletter picking the best investment for the week. What I can do with it is not fixed but I need time to figure out where my niche is and how best to make money from it.  However, once I figure that out, you bet that I will be making more than USD10 per month.

How about you? Have enough with dead end sites?

Saturday, 13 October 2012

How to make money with Amazon 2013 edition

The making money online landscape has changed significantly since Google rolled out Panda and Penguin. Making money with Amazon is no exception. Before the algorithm changes, my Amazon niche sites were pulling in close to USD1000 per month in amazon affiliate fees. They were all wiped out when the changes came. Fortunately, I didn't give up completely and started my Amazon 50 sites challenge. Last month, they are close to making USD250. So slowly but surely, I am starting to earn with Amazon again.

Today, I was reading Griz's old posts and they reminded how good the past few years have been. In terms of making money online, there was no keywords you couldn't target. Loans, cosmetic surgeries, cars, product keywords, credit cards, hotels etc. As long as you work continuously on getting backlinks that contain your anchor keyword, achieving high rankings is matter of when, not if.

I am afraid things are not as simple now. Certain keywords and niches such as landlord building insurance are off limit and I need to recognise this change. However, that is not saying that I can't make money with niche sites. While most IM folks have gone off the niche site bandwagon and started making authority sites, developing their own products or selling kindle ebooks, I still make niche sites and are earning money from them.

In this post, I like to share what I have learn from 10 months of doing the Amazon 50 site challenges. It is going to be long but hopefully, you can gain something from it.

The steps for making money with Amazon have not change. They still boil down to the following:
  • Select a niche
  • Pick keywords with high search volume and low competition
  • Create content
  • Build backlinks to the site
 However, how I go about doing each of the steps has completely changed.

How to select an Amazon niche

Most people combine keywords and niche selection into one process. I don't. I like to examine niches independently from keyword research. In fact, my niche needs to be more forward looking so I look closely at news and forum discussions. That is how I turn up keywords such as glamping.

Most IM folks depend on tools such as adwords, longtail pro, market samurai etc. These tools are backward looking and they are actively mined everyday. To avoid competition, I need to look elsewhere for my gold mines.

So what do I look? News , forum discussions, trend sites, blogs from forward thinkers etc All these represent gold mines that I find gems in. By the time these new niches appear in the keyword research tool, I will be 6-12 months in front of everyone with my content and links.

Using this criteria, my camping site (4seasontent.org) will fail the test. That is why it has not made any money. It is competing in a niche which is saturated with both real brands as well as other IM folks. Just check out this competitor: 4seasontents.org. He or she also doesn't have any traffic as well, thus strengthening my point that it is difficult to compete in niches where there is nothing new to optimise for.

How to chose Amazon keywords that you can rank

After the Google Panda and Penguin updates, learning how to pick the right keywords have become more crucial. In fact, learning what keywords are impossible become more important than search volume. Unlike the past, I now totally avoid certain keywords because I can never ranked for them, no matter how much content I write or how many backlinks I throw at the site.

First rule to remember: avoid product keywords.

Although Amazon is all about products, it is getting next to impossible to rank for any forms of product keywords including category product keywords, brand product keywords and even product model keywords.

Below are some screen shots showing you the Google search results from the amazon sites that I have revealed:

Mini cupcake maker

4 season tent

Gps tracker for kids

In every one of these product keywords, you see real ecommerce stores or brands taking the top slots. That was not the case in the past where niche sites or article directories such as hubpages can rank for them. 

I don't know whether this was part of the algorithm changes but from a user point of view, things have definitely changed. As an affiliate, I need to step away from these keywords because I know I can't rank for them no matter how good my SEO skills are. Google has predefined what kind of sites should appear for these product keywords and if I can't be such sites, I will never get into the first page. 

That is not saying that I can't make money as an affiliate. I just need to find other keywords that I have at least some change of ranking. So what is the secret?

Find keywords that requires subjective human opinions

Or what I called humanised keywords. These are keywords that indicate that searchers want to read from other sources besides the brands and the ecommerce stores. They represent areas where niche review sites and personal blogs have a chance to compete in. 

The most common example is the word 'reviews'. Take any product keywords and add "reviews" behind them. You will see a completely different search results.

Let's see one such result when I take one of the keywords above i.e. gps tracker for kids and add "reviews" behind:
Gps tracker for kids reviews
By adding the word "reviews", I now can see sites such as toptenreviews.com as well as article directories such as Squidoo and Article Dashboard. Heck, even my own site is ranked just behind Amazon. This is how I am able to get traffic for my Amazon niche sites even though product keywords have become off limit.

This strategy can be applied to any humanized keywords. Besides 'reviews', other examples include:
  • ratings
  • recommendations
  • best
  • all the Q+A type of queries that might lead to a purchase
Hence if you want to make money with Amazon in 2013, learn how to pick these keywords and you will see search traffic.

How to write content for your niche sites

What I try to do is to focus on what information searcher might need with before or after the purchase of the product. This is how I try to add value in all my niche sites. For example, in my minicupcake site, I am starting to include recipes that users can use after buying the mini cupcake maker. In my early retirement site, I created an excel sheet that calculates how long it takes to retire early based on dividend investment alone.

The worst kind of content goes round and round without addressing the main points. I used to write articles that read along these line (if it is an article about interior decorating ideas):

"It is easy to come up with interior decorating ideas. All you need to do is to take a close at your surroundings and try to draw inspiration from them. Most people have ideas not because they thought deeply about it but because they observe all the stuff happening around them. If you want to have more ideas, learn to adopt a different perspective and .... blah blah blah"

Nowadays, if I am doing this article, I will borrow a book from library and learn the different interior decorating techniques. I will then find images to illustrate these techniques and create a long list post.

A lot of work? Yes but I can't take short cuts anymore if I want my sites to survive Panda or other future algorithm changes.

How to build backlinks to your niche sites

I believe in quality over quantity when it comes to backlinks. A couple of value passing links wins over hundreds of spam links. To get those, I used a concept called link sponge.

This concept is similar to link wheels or link pyramids. In case you are not sure what these are, this is how they work. Folks would build web 2.0 sites on public blog networks such as those on tumblr, webs.com etc. Each of these sites links to either another web 2.0 site or to the money making site directly. They in turn will be strengthened by having lots of spam links from blog comments, forum profiles, directory sites etc pointing at them.

The idea is to get these web2.0 sites to absorb all the spam links and point that link volume to your money site. Since web 2.0 can take more link abuse due to their domain authority, they effectively act as buffers to your real site. If you attempt to throw volumes of such spam links directly at your site, be prepared to see it disappear from the SERPs.

So, link sponge works in similar fashion, with one important exception. Rather than absorbing spam links, link sponges are real resources that can absorb authority links. For example, there are many established sites that give out free links to sites that have valuable children resources. If you want to absorb these links, you need to build a useful resource that will be linked by these child friendly sites. Then use this site to link to your affiliate site in the kids market. That will be a hell of a link!


Affiliate marketing will still be well and alive in 2013. There will be always be room for a site to recommend products or services to its reader. The trick here is to learn where to look for niches where you can establish a useful site that isn't too competitive and where you can still earn a nice commission.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Is SEO dead? A claim from Yazekie

There is a blog post in the Yakezie networking claiming that SEO is dead. I have left my comment there but I don't know if it got through because their commenting system is so messed up. So, I will be reposting that comment here in case it didn't go through. No point wasting good content! LOL


SEO is a marketing tactic. Just in all marketing tactics, as long as someone knows how to use the tactic well, it will continue to be a useful way to acquire users or customers.

There are lots of spam emails but do you think 'email marketing is dead'? Probably not. Similarly, SEO will never die.

Most folks who claim that SEO is dead saw it as a pure manipulative practice designed to misguide the search engines. That is not what SEO is all about.

As to whether your suggested SEO practices are sufficient, let me just say this: within each marketing field there are differing levels of expertise.

In email marketing, there are people who has 50% open rate and there are folks who scrape by with 5%. Can we live with 5% open rate? Of course we can, but a good email marketer knows all the practices that makes email marketing more effective for him.

Similarly for SEO. Anybody can live with basic SEO or even no SEO. However, for those who understands and applys it a bit better gets to enjoy a higher success rate.

Basically, SEO is about the following:

- keyword research
- content
- links
- feedback metrics

Any one of the four areas have depths that can make one's SEO more effective. Take link building for example. Most SEOs falsely believed that links are everything and they advise getting volumes of spammy links. The real link builders like Eric Ward understands that the true value of links lies in their ability to pass traffic and visibility to the site. As such, his link practices are safe, generates a return for the site owner and avoids depending 100% on Google traffic.

I shall stop here but I hope you understand where I am coming from. SEO cannnot be dead if you know how to use it effectively.