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.

Friday, 30 December 2011

How to make money in 2012

No goals, no money. Simple as that. This is not a new year resolution post. It is a target setting post where I outlined my plan for achieving financial independence. 

In this old article on mine about targeting buying keywords for beginners, I talk about my money making 2011 target was USD5000 per month. If you read this post on why my adsense dropped in 2011, you will know that I have actually achieved it. Even if I did manage to lost a big chunk of my adsense income, my other online income sources are still keeping me alive : ).

Overall, 2011 was a year that was filled with its ups and downs. It was exciting to see my online income jumping to 5 figures and really open my eyes to what was possible. At the same, the same rate in which my income fell also exposed me to what was the risk of churning out low quality niche sites.  If I am to summarise 2011, it would be this: making a full time income online is certainly possible but you need to build quality sites from day one to avoid penalties down the road. 

So, 2012, my goals is still USD5000, on top of my current income. However, the actually composition will not be purely adsense. I think over replying on one income source is a huge mistake that I shall not repeat in 2012!

How is what my ideal income streams will look like by end of 2012:
  • Amazon: USD2500. My current amazon earnings is about USD200-300. I hope the 50 amazon niche site challenge can take me to this level.
  • Adsense: USD1000 from cosmetic surgery sites. My current adsense income from this niche is around USD600 (down from USD5k) and I want to grow it back to at least 1k again.
  • Selling sites: USD1500. I intend to sell some of my amazon sites once they have a history of making a recurring income. I can’t manage so many websites forever. Eventually I will focus on those that I have interest in to continue to develop them. For the rest of the sites which are earning money but have no attraction for me, I want to offer them to my readers first before putting them on Flippa for sale. Rather than peddling some tools or other products, it is better to offer you guys income producing properties that will make you money! Imagine that! Buying something that actually gives you cash, rather than a tool that you HOPE can give you money.
It is a relatively simple plan. However, if executed well, I believe it is a very realistic target. I would love to hear what are your ideas for making money for 2012. The comments are open!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Low competition keywords: How to check your keyword competition

A favourite question among beginners making money online is this: can my site rank top in google?” A lot of times, this boils down to your keyword competitiveness. This is not an easy thing to understand.

Many seo blogs or money making blogs will advise on some simple rules for beginners to check the keyword competition. Such common advice include:
  •          Check the PR of the top sites
  •      Check your keywords in ‘quotes’ and see how many pages are there in Google. There is even a blog post I read recently that says you need to click on the last result to see the true competing pages. Most of the time, that article claimed, the number of actual competing pages is lower than what is shown. Yes, all good seos know this. It is known as the supplement index where all unworthy pages go to. : )
  • ·      Check the backlinks of the competitors using yahoo explorer, which no longer exist : )
I used to say such nonsense as well when I started out (check out my old post where I give really bad advice on how to check your keywordcompetition). As I learn more and experiment more, there is actually more in-depth competitive analysis you need to do to learn whether you can really rank for a keyword.

Let’s take a step back to understand what we mean by keyword competition

Very simply, keyword competition means whether there are people competing with you on a particular set of keywords. It may sound stupid but most people lose sight of what we mean by competition.

Is there a company or an individual out there trying to rank for the same keywords?

Keyword competition is not about some pages that happen to rank for the keywords because of their domain authority or internal links. It is someone doing everything they can to SEO those keywords high in the search engines.

So, how do we know whether there is somebody competing with me on the same keywords?

This is what I do.

For any accomplished SEO, he or she will do everything possible to get his or her site up in the ranking. That means the keywords:
  • will be in the title
  • will be in the urls
  • will be in the content
  • will be in the backlinks used to link to the site. 

Knowing the above, this is how I do keyword competitiveness analysis

Step 1: Learn to use the following Google operators in the google search bar:
  • intitle: "keyword" to check whether keywords are in the title page
  • inurls: "keyword" to check whether keywords are in url
  • intext: "keyword" to check  whether keywords are in content
  • inanchor: "keyword" to check for whether keywords are used in backlinks
Step 2: Note down which sites appear in almost all the search result when you used the above. Any site that appears in all the result means they are actively competing on the keywords using both onsite and offsite SEO.  

Step 3: Pick low competition keywords which to me means, no more than 3 sites are actively competing for the keyword. If your keyword research shows there are 10 sites that always appear in the search reuslts when you used those search operators, you know they are very active on the SEO front.You are competing against the pros and whether you can win them depends on your resources and your level of understanding of how SEO really works.

The above is what I do to pick low competition keywords. It is not a simple matter of saying whether the top sites in the search engines have high PR, backlinks etc. It is knowing whether there is an intention on the part of the websites to compete for that keyword. If there is no intention, you typically can beat them regardless of how high the PR and low many backlinks the sites have.

In my future posts, I will talk more about advanced competitor analysis.  where you need to know what are the weakness of your competitor and how to exploit that fact to your advantage. 

Saturday, 24 December 2011

How to sell a website and make money

If you want to know how to get more money when selling your website, here are some tips that you might want useful. These are questions that are being asked by a reader so I thought it will be a good idea to share the answer to everyone.

Is it better to try to sell them all at once, group sites that are in similar niches or just sell one by one? Which alternative do you think will be able to give me the maximum profit?

It depends. If you have sites that generate significant income i.e. anything above 50, it is better to sell them one at a time. Bundling also reduces the average price per site.

That being said, if most of your site are making less than 50, it is better to bundle them so that as a whole, the revenue is significant enough to attract buyers’ interest.

If you want to bundle, it is better to do so in similar niches.

I've often heard that adsense sites usually sell for around 10x their monthly earnings. What is your experience with this and how could I get more for my sites?

Age and total earnings level will affect the kind of multiplier you can get. For young sites (less than a year) with small earnings (less than USD50 per month), the multiplier might be less than 10. For aged sites with proven earnings record of above a few hundred dollars per month, you can get somewhere between 18 to even 24 months.

I have sold and purchased sites for 15 to 20 months before. Most of these sites earn at least USD500 per month and a year of earnings record with rankings for multiple keywords.

If you have some high traffic keywords that are close but not yet at the top, it might help to push your valuation higher as well.

Just don’t expect a high multiplier for an average site.

If you really want higher valuation, look for niches where there are not many sites that people can buy. One such niche is the amazon sites. If you look through flippa, quality amazon sites are hard to find. Most of what is available are autoblogs with no proven earnings record.

Other minor factors might include the PR, the quality and design of your content.

One thing that I got worried about is when i'm advertising my site for sale on flippa for instance. Since the sites that I want to sell all have adsense blocks, I'm worried that people might start clicking on the ads which could cause me to be smart price or even worse, banned from adsense for invalid clicks. Any tips on that?

It is better to turn off your adsense during auctions. You can take a screenshot of your site with adsense on it and post that as an attachment.

Besides invalid clicks, there are tools that can use your adsense ID to find all your sites that use the same adsense codes.

Same thing goes for your google analytics account as well. Take the code out when you are selling on public marketplaces.

Do you know good resources (paid and free) that you could point me out so I could learn more about it? I've seen those two guys on, what's called, adsense flippers or something like that, but I still haven't managed to read their site.

Selling and buying websites is relatively new so there isn’t too much resources dedicated to it. What I can recommend are domain blogs. These guys are used to buying and selling domains. Use their sale techniques and apply them to websites.

Here are a few that I like:

If you have more questions about selling your websites, please feel free to email me or post them in the comments sections.

Have a merry Xmas 2011!!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

50 amazon sites challenge progress report #3

Want to learn how to make money with amazon? Follow my updates on the 50 amazon niche sites challenge resource page.

Since the last update, things have been moving along quite nicely. First, the progress!
  • I have added two more amazon sites, making the total to 8. 42 more to go!
  • I got my FIRST sale from the first batch of newly created sites (site 4). These domains were registered 2 weeks ago with no content and backlinks. Now, it is making sales. Who says you can't make money with new sites?
  • I have spotted another 2 niches. Domains have been purchased but the sites are not built yet so I didn't put them here in the table below.
  • Good news is 7 out of the 8 sites have started to receive search engine traffic. That is quite nice given that most sites are less than 2 to 1 week ago. Anyway, you can check out the numbers below. 
Note: The traffic stats are for the month of Dec only while the cost and earnings are accumulated across months.

SiteNicheCreated Cost Monthly EarningsMonthly Visitors Type
1ToyJun 2011155 45567Purchased
2ApplianceNov 201125NA37Self Written
3WineNov 20116743216Aged
4ApplianceNov 201130674Self Written
5BicycleDec 201125NANAOutsourced
6StorageDec 201120NA21Outsourced
7ApplianceDec 201110NA8Outsourced
8BeddingDec 201134NA6Outsourced

How many backlinks to rank a niche site
I will have a separate post on this topic but I want to note here that I have been experimenting wtih different backlink services to see what is the minimal to start getting search engine traffic. I don't care which keyword I am ranking for. As long as the backlinks can give the site enough PR to start drawing search engine traffic, I am good.

This is why you see different cost of building the sites above. This is mainly due to the different backlink services I am trying. Some are more expensive than others hence the price differentiation.

Once I have more data, I will create a post on the different backlinking services you can consider for your amazon sites. 

Future posts on how to make money with amazon
I am learning a lot of how to set up these amazon niche sites. These lessons will of course be shared but I want to share what readers want to read first. Below is a list of possible topics that I can write about. YOU tell me what you want to read.

  • 5 new ways to generate ideas for amazon keywords. I am not be using amazon.com, google keyword tool or other tools that have been fully exploited by other marketers
  • Achieve better conversion with the right site layout. I have experiment with a few themes and layout and have a sense of how to layout a site to achieve higher conversions for amazon sales.
  • How to outsource effectively so that you spend the minimum amount of cost for each site.
  • A detailed case study for one of the sites above where I will REVEAL the site's url!
See you in my next amazon site challenge progress report!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

How to track amazon sales

This is a simple tutorial to show you how to track amazon revenue from the different sites that you might have. This is one of the reader’s question from my previous post about my amazon niche site challenge progress 3 report.

It is a fairly easy process but not obvious so this step by step guide with screenshots should help. For those who are not sure why we need to do this, it is to help you to know where the sales are coming along. It works in similar ways as the channels in adsense. Knowing which sites is making amazon sales can help you to know who are your winners.

The first step is to log into your amazon affiliate account. Note that this is your amazon affiliate account, not your normal amazon user account.

Once you are logged in, click on the account settings button as shown in the screenshot below:

By the way, as can seen from the screenshot, I already made USD470 this month : )

In the next screen, you need to click on the manage ID button as shown below:

Finally, you click on the 'add ID' button and choose the name you want. I always use the same keyword as the site I am tracking to make it easier for me to remember.

Once your IDs are created, you need to use them whenever you are getting the amazon links from the product page. The screenshot below shows you where to change your affiliate IDs.

I hope this tutorials is useful. I am off to make money money with amazon!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Why I am not making money online

Some of my regular readers might remember my little experiment in setting up an adsense money making course. That experiment was of course a big failure as most of the participants failed to put in any work.

I got an email from one of them a couple of weeks ago and this is what he has written:

"Dear Aaron it has been sometime since you last guide me on making money online on niche. I has register the domain as promise But I find it hard to do autoblogging for this niche as i find little website about it. Need your further guidance here."

Firstly, I must apologise for making this email public as I have not seek the permission of the author. But I do so because there are some things written in this email that irritates the hell out of me.

  • Autoblogging. What the hell %^$^^: When did I say that you will use autoblogging for your site? I stressed that you need to have original content. Autoblogs are temporary money making blogs. They are great for people who have a factory line to keep churning them out. As a beginner, don't take the shortcut. Learn how to do a proper site for God's sake.
  • Doing work? This email was a couple of months after I have given him a keyword spreadsheet to work on. I thought he was busy writing the content. After all these months and the best he can show is a autoblog? I could set that up in 1 hour. So, what did he do during these months? I am not sure and I am too angry to ask. If you don't even have 'time' to do the work, give up making money online. Internet is not a money printing machine. Processes have to be set up, content has to be written and promotion of the content needs to be done. Without all these, how in the world are you going to make money?
  •  Need my advice? For what! Taking time from me means I have less time to do my own work. I am not charging anybody for my advice so I appreciate it if the least you can do is to implement certain things before asking for my time again. I am not going to give advice to someone who just did an autoblog. 
Sorry about the rant. The important takeaway is that nothing happens by itself. Why do you think I started the 50 amazon site challenge? It is to push myself to do more so that I not only make more money but I can learn more about being a great amazon affiliate.

If someone like me who is already 2 years into the game and earning a full time income is pushing myself, who excuses do you have for not doing the work if you are a beginner?

Thursday, 8 December 2011

My adsense earnings down for 2011

If you want to know the ups and downs of an average guy who is trying to make a living with adsense, this is the post for you.

I started making money with adsense in Sept 2009. I remembered my first month earning was around USD7. Despite the small amount, I saw the potential and was excited by the fact that I can generate money just by writing content.

Adsense success stories

Since that USD7, I am been working hard to build my adsense sites until earlier this year. This is how my adsense earnings look like from just focusing on one niche. The earnings are from Sept 2009 to June 2011 and doesn't cover my other niches:

Sept 2009: USD7
Oct 2009: USD35
Nov 2009: USD88
Dec 2009: USD73

Jan 2010: USD270 (My bamboo blinds site became top 5)
Feb 2010: USD68 (My bamboo blinds site dropped out of SERPs)
Mar 2010: USD100 (My first cosmetic surgery site starting to get traffic)
Apr 2010: USD 198 (First cosmetic surgery site becoming stronger)
May 2010: USD 170 (May update, suffered a drop in some keywords)
June 2010: USD220
July 2010: USD220
Aug 2010: USD390 (Cosmetic site starting to rank from high traffic keywords)
Sep 2010: USD 630 (Cosmetic site ranking in top 3 for some keywords)
Oct 2010: USD860 (Cosmetic surgery site keep on increasing its traffic)
Nov 2010: USD1458 (Started 2nd cosmetic surgery site and 2nd adsense account; earned $70)
Dec 2010: USD 1100 (Christmas month so less traffic)

Jan 2011: USD 1900 (1st cosmetic site $1400, 2nd cosmetic site $300)
Feb 2011: USD 2500 (1st site $1800, 2nd site $700, started 3rd cosmetic site & 3rd adsense account)
Mar 2011: USD 3000 (1st site $2000, 2nd site $900, 3rd site $100, bought 4th cosmetic site and applied for 4th adsense account)
Apr 2011: USD 3950 (1st site $2500, 2nd site $1100, 3rd site $20, 4th site $300)
May 2011: USD 4500 (1st site $2600, 2nd site $1200, 3rd site $200, 4th site $400)
June 2011: USD 5200 (1st site $3200, 2nd site $1200, 3rd site $300, 4th site $400)

How to earn 5000 with adsense income
The above shows my journey on making USD5000 with adsense. It wasn't easy especially in the beginning when the rewards was so little compared to the efforts I was putting in. However, I did learn a lot about creating a passive adsense income. The main lessons were:
  • Focus on the site that is making adsense money now to increase the earnings. Forget about other sites that are not doing anything for you.
  • If you are making money in one site, create more sites in the same niche. You will make money faster because you know how to tackle the niche, how to write the content and what keywords are easiest to rank for. 
  • The increase in adsense income comes in jumps. Your earnings will be stagnat for a while but when it jumps, you can really see the difference. 
My adsense earnings dropped!
 This story will have a happy ending if things continued this way. Unfortunately, they did not. I lost about 80% of the 5k in a matter of months after June. Let me explain:

  • July: 2 of my 4 adsense account were disabled. That means a lost of USD700 as the 3rd and 4th cosmetic surgery sites were on these 2 accounts.
  • August: I sold my second cosmetic site to raise cash in anticipation of buying a new property in District 9, which is the most prime area in Singapore. While it felt great to be able to afford my new home, the lost of USD1+k was not something that I want to see. 
  • Oct: The dreaded Panda 2.6. My first site dropped in rankings like a rock and now only earned USD600 compared to the USD3k it was earning before. 
Due to the above chain of events, my adsense earnings from this niche fell from USD5k to USD600.

Risks of adsense income
I have heard about such adsense horror stories before but to experience it first hand is something else.

With adsense, there are 2 main risks: the risk of getting your adsense account banned and the risk of losing your rankings and traffic. I have experienced both in the space of a few months and the impact can be quite shocking.

In fact, if you are from Asia, the risk of getting your adsense account banned is quite high. I have a couple of friends who have also suffered from such decisions and most of them are at a lost of what to do next.

This is why I am shifting my perspective on how to create that 10k in passive income. It is also one of the reasons why I putting more resources into making money with Amazon. While making money from Amazon still carries the risk of losing your rankings, at least you are now not at the mercy of the adsense team. Taking out that one risk is already a much better value proposition from my point of view.

Passive income goals for 2012
Was it fun losing money like this? Of course not! I don't think many people can take discouragements like this but I decided to push on in creating a passive income stream.

Although I am definitely not able to make UD10k per month this year in passive income, it will continue to be my goal for 2012 and 2013. If you want to know what is my detailed plan, stay tuned for my forthcoming posts on how to make money in 2012.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

50 amazon sites challenge progress report #2

Here is an update on my 50 amazon niche sites challenge. If you are new, you can refer to all the articles and "how to make money from amazon" guide in this resource page: amazon site challenge.

Let's look at the progress of the 4 sites that I started towards the end of November. The biggest news is that I am starting to see some money, although the amount is not signficant. In total, I earned about USD29 for these sites. Not surprising, these earnings came from sites that are either purchased or aged. It really goes to show that making money online takes time. If you are not willing to wait for your site to mature, then do what I do: start buying websites to make money, rather than building them yourselves.

In terms of cost, I am happy to  keep the cost of building a new site to under USD40. The reason why it is so cheap is that each site only has 1-2 600-1000 word articles on it, which cost me USD5 to outsource. Including USD10 for the domain and another USD5-10 for backlink packages, the total cost will be less than USD40.

The reason I am putting so little content is that I want to see which sites can give me the best ROI. My strategy is very simple. If a site that has little content and crappy backlinks can bring in traffic with its exact name domain and good onsite SEO, then it means the competition for the keyword is weak and I will can put more resources to develop it if the traffic converts. This is the most accurate way of telling whether your keywords has strong or weak competition. All other tools are just estimates and not as reliable as real data like what I have gathered for my sites.

The only major expense was a USD57 backlinks package that I bought from Warrior Forums for the wine site. I am willing to put in the investment because this site has high conversion rate as can be seen from its revenue. Hence, I felt justified to spend more money to increase the traffic for the site of which one way is through more powerful backlinks. Another will be to add more content to it.

SiteNicheCreated Cost Monthly EarningsMonthly Visitors Type
1ToyJun 2011155 8220Purchased
2ApplianceNov 201125NA8Self Written
3WineNov 20116721299Aged
4ApplianceNov 201130NANASelf Written
5BicycleDec 201125NANAOutsourced
6HomeDec 201120NANAOutsourced

Another good news is that site#2, which is a completely new site is already starting to see search engine traffic despite being only a few days old. If you are wondering what is the secret to getting traffic to your website or blog when they are new, it is all about keyword selection. All I did was to pick a very low competition amazon keyword and optimise the site around it. I paid 2 fiverr gigs for some very weak backlink packages to get them indexed.

Below is the traffic level for site #2

Click to enlarge

All the current traffic comes from long tails and goes back to my point that learning how to write good SEO copy is crucial if you want search engine traffic early. It is not always about backlnks. This site has crappy backlinks but I write the content in such a way that maximises my potential for longtail traffic. 

For Dec, I have already build 2 more sites as can be seen from the table above. Site #6 is now already on page one and I have installed analytics today to see if it has any traffic. You will get to hear more about its performance in the next report.

Overall, I am quite happy with the progress. I though I wil only start this challenge in Dec but I have already 6 sites up. The only thing now holding back is the keyword selection. It is not easy to find amazon keywords that have search volume, over USD100 products and have exact name domains. I managed to find a few but I need to get more if I am to hit my 50 amazon niche site target.

Hope you enjou reading this progress report. If you have any questions about how to have an income from amazon, please leave them in the comments.

Monday, 28 November 2011

How much traffic to make money from Amazon

Knowing how much traffic you need to make money from Amazon can help you to forecast your earnings and the efforts you need to put. Of course, this is all useless if you only think and not do! In this post, I will give you actual stats from 2 of my amazon sites to see the kind of conversion rates that you need if you want to make money with Amazon keywords.

The first site that I am analysing is not part of the 50 Amazon challenge. It is a 2 year site with 5 posts that is ranking in the top 3 for its primary keyword. It makes around USD50 per month and is the kind of ideal size and earnings level that I hope to achieve for all my new 50 amazon sites. 

On average, this site has around 1200 unique visitors per month, which means 40 unique visitors per day. Last month, it has around 600 amazon product clicks and 30 sales. This means the conversion ratio from site visitors to amazon is around 50% and from amazon clicks to sales is around 5%. I would say these numbers are high and I will talk about how to achieve such high CTR for amazon niches in a future post.

One thing to note about this site is that the product the site is selling is not USD100. In fact, it is quite low with a price range between USD20-USD50. Hence, my per sale commission is only between USD1.20 to USD3. If you followed my advice and go for higher price product, you should earn more per site or you need less traffic to get the same earnings.

The second site I am looking at is the new site that I purchase for the 50 amazon niche sites challenge. You can read the details of how I buy this website to make money. By the way, if you interested in looking for money making websites for sale, I suggest that you bookmark my site as I be announcing more sites for sale here.

Below is the screenshot for the amount of traffic to the blog that I have recently purchased for USD155.

Click image to enlarge

On average it is receiving around 35 unique visitors per day, which is near the traffic level for the first site. In term of click through to amazon, it is around 13-15 clicks. That means the CTR for this site is around 37-40%. Again, this is quite close to the 50% that my first site has achieved.

So, in the past 4 days, I have sent around 50 visitors to Amazon and I have zero sales. If assuming my amazon clicks to sales is between 2-4%, I should have a sale for this site within this week. Let's see if the numbers hold.  My only concern is that this product is above USD150 so the sales ratio might be lower.

In summary, to make USD50 in amazon, your site needs to have at least 40-50 unique visitors a day with a CTR of around 40-50% and a sale ratio of around 3-5% if you have a low price product. For a higher price product, you need lower numbers. I hope this has show how easy it is to make USD50 for an amazon site.

By the way, I have put a resource page at the top of the site to summarize all the stuff about this 50 amazon site challenge. Check it out here

Thursday, 24 November 2011

50 amazon sites challenge progress report #1

I have been busy starting the 50 amazon niche sites challenge. I will be posting my progress regularly to update any of you who might be interested to follow the challenge. If you do, I guarantee you will learn something about making money with amazon. With the sheer volume of sites that I will be making, there will be insights that will surprise both me and you. In the worst case scenario, at least I can tell you which niches suck for amazon : )

As I mentioned in the first post of the challenge, my objective is to create 4 amazon micro sites per month. Out of the 4, 1 will be purchased, 2 will be set up with content supplied by an outsourcer and 1 will be written by me personally. However, in the course of doing the sites, I have added one more category. These are aged sites that I owned which I have done very little with. Instead of wasting them, I will be resurrecting some of them. These type of site will be called 'aged sites'

Amazon keyword research done
For the past week, I haev been spending a lot time researching on my keywords. Currently, I am happy to have around 20+ keywords, which is more than enough for the next few months. Coming up with these amazon keywords have been quite time consuming. I literally comb through many parts of amazon to see what products fits into the niche sites format that I want to create.

Having said that, I rather spend more time here at picking easy to rank and potentially profitable keywords, rather than trying to compete with other more competitive keywords in terms link building. As I mentioned in my post on how to develop a SEO strategy, your SEO resources need not be 90% allocated to backlinks if you know how to use other aspects of a SEO campaign in your traffic building.

Buying amazon sites to make money
So far, I am happy to announce that I have made my first successful acquisition. This amazon site sells rideable toys, which is a category of product that meets my amazon keyword selection criteria. This product sells for over USD100, has a number of good reviews and is not on the best seller list of Amazon. Perfect for my challenge!

The price that I paid is USD155. The nice thing is that it is currently ranking for certain keyword which reduces my SEO workload. However, the quality of the content is very weak and is something I will need to fix later on. Traffic wise, it is drawing about 30-40 visitors per day, making amazon sales a very likely possibility.

Other amazon sites
I have also secured the services of a good writer. He will start work after thanksgiving and I really look forward to his content filling up my 2 amazon sites per week. In terms of rates, we have not finalise the number but it will be USD7-15 depending on the length that I want for the reviews.

So for the time being, I am doing all the writing. I have completed site 2 with 5 articles up, of which 1 is 1000 words, 2 are 500 words and 2 are 300 words.  2 backlink packages have also been paid for at fiverr. These are meant to get the site indexed and to get some PR. It is not for ranking targeted keywords.

I have also written a 1000 word review of the 4th amazon site t. I spend about 2 hours researching on the product before writing it to make sure that the review is useful and covers all the necessary questions the user might have including warranties, prices, functionalities, safety etc. I will have a couple more articles before making the site live this weekend.

All in all, I am happy with my progress. Below is a table showing a summary of my sites. I will be updating this table every time I do a progress report. The cost incurred currently includes the price I paid for the toy site, the domains I have registered for the other 3 and some backlink packages from Fiverr.

SiteNicheCreated Cost Monthly EarningsMonthly Visitors Type
1ToyJun 2011155 NA~1200Purchased
2ApplianceNov 201120NANASelf Written
3WineNov 201110NA100Aged
4ApplianceNov 201110NANASelf Written

One or many sites to make money?

After posting about the 50 amazon site challenges, I had a few private conversions about whether do you need one or many websites to make money. Rather than highlight the pros and cons of each methods, which many had already talked, I just want to say you will need to do both. It is just a matter of timing in terms of which one do you embark on first.

I believe that focusing everything on one site will make the site a quality site. However, the challenge is knowing what niches to focus on. Some will say follow your passion, which is a good advice but you better have a concrete plan on how to monetise your passion beyond just adsense, which tend not to pay well for 'passion sites'. The thing about passion sites is that they are also competitive because most of our interest are the same and there is oversupply of information in such markets. On any single day, there will be more sites about video games than can openers.

So, beyond passion sites, you can have niche sites that target markets which are not based on any broad interest. In these markets, you need to know what product converts well and is easy for a beginner to dominate. This is when the many site strategy becomes useful.

No data in the world can 100% tell you how easy and profitable a niche is. Most often than not, the best niches I am in are 'accidentally'. They are found through the analytics on my sites and hence are not competitive but are lucrative. To maximise my chance of finding these niches at the early stage of my online career, I started many sites, and creating lots of longtail keywords in each site. You will be surprised at the ways that people can find your site if you have a broad enough keyword base.

It is only after you have found such a niche then you can focus on your efforts to make it a super authority site that can draw in thousands of visitors per day and earn you a full time income. If you want to create such a site when you are new to making money online, the chances of picking a wrong is going to be sky high, which is why I don't recommend such a strategy to beginners.

If you are new to making money online, I suggest create a couple of small sites in niches to test their conversion and your SEO ability. You can also create a boarder site when you find your golden goose.

Monday, 21 November 2011

How to choose amazon keywords

As part of my 50 amazon niche sites project, I am literally spending hours doing product research on amazon to uncover good products to promote. Since some of you might also be trying to find good amazon keywords to promote, I thought I will share how I am doing it.

Before I begin, let me state that there is no one way of doing it. This is just my way. I am sure there are other ways that people have found success with as well.

Let's go through the basics
  • Expensive products with good reviews: I choose products above USD100 and have at least 5 good reviews. This is quite common advice among many amazon affiliates. There will be some that says you should also sell some cheap but high volume products to bump up your commission rate. I don't disagree with that as well. 
  • Sufficient search volume: I target amazon keywords that have about 1500 monthly search from all the long tail keywords combined, not just on one keyword. As I said, my approach to SEO now is not to hammer many links at one keyword and hope that it will rank. I write comprehensive ad copy that targets many different keyword expressions. Linking building is a not the best use of your resources. Think about that for a while. 
So, the above are the basics and the easiest part of finding good amazon keywords. The next part is what will make or break your success.

How competitive are these amazon keywords that you have choose.

Judging competitiveness of keywords is an art, rather than an exact science. There are some who say it is easy to outrank amazon pages and others who say it is virtually impossible. So who is right? The answer is: it depends.

SEO comes down to onpage and off page optimisation.

For onpage optimisation, you can use search engine operators such as intitle, inurl, intext etc to know whether an amazon page has been well optimised. The trick here is to avoid directly competing in keywords that amazon pages are well optimised for.

Keywords expressions can be varied and ever changing. If you are targeting "ballet shoes for kids" and found that amazon pages use this phase in their page titles, urls and text, why not target "kids ballet shoes"? This avoid any unnecessary direct competition. Remember, 20-25% of all keywords are new so that there are always new ways of searching for the same thing.

For offsite optimisation, amazon doesn't directly build links but there are other 2 indirect ways that are attracting links to these amazon pages.
  • inner links
  • links from other amazon affiiates that are promoting that particular product
These 2 types of links at their strongest for best seller products. Think about it. If a product is a best seller, it will receive inner links from amazon's best seller list as well as  promotional links on the pages of other relevant products.  All these inner links will make outranking the amazon page a much tougher task.

Besides inner links, a best seller product tend to be well promoted by other amazon affiliates since everyone has been taught to do keyword research using this list. Some of these affiliate might not have 'nofollow' tags on their affiliate links, thus passing PR and link juice to these amazon pages and strengthening them in the process.

To avoid the above possibility, the best way is NOT to promote a product from the best seller list. Instead, go really deep and try to dig out products that meet the first two criteria but are not on any list. This is how to maximise your chances of outranking amazon for the product that you are trying to promote.

So, do I make sense? I am not sure but at least this is how I pick my amazon keywords.

Next post will be my progress on the 50 amazon niche sites project.

Friday, 18 November 2011

50 amazon niche sites challenge to make money

I am starting a 50 Amazon niche site challenge. As the title implies, I am going to create 50 amazon sites with an intention of making USD2500 from them by end of Dec 2012. In this article, I will going to set the rules of the challenge as well as to give my reasons for doing this.

For older readers, you will know that I made nearly USD1k in amazon last Dec. You can read the post here on how to make money with amazon. In case you are lazy to click on the link, here is the screenshot of my earning last Dec.

Unfortunately, after the Google Panda, most of my amazon sites were destroyed in the ranking, resulting in the fall of my amazon income to its current level.
 So, why would I want to do this 50 amazon niche sites challenge?
  • Make serious money: Amazon can make you serious money if you do it right. By choosing the right products to promote, your earnings can take you past adsense very easily. My past approach was too spammy. For this challenge, I intend to create quality amazon sites. In a upcoming post, I will talk about different amazon niches and how you can add value to them through a combination of different types of content. (Updated: you can read this post now on how to make quality niche sites)
  • Diversify:  This past year has been quite a roller coaster ride for me. Going though Google Panda, banning of my various adsense accounts, etc, I need to diversify. If you reply on search engine traffic and you use adsense, it is a double exposure. Your income can go down if either the algorithm change or the adsense team doesn't like what they see. Doing amazon at least takes care of one risk. In the future, I need to diversify my traffic source as well but one step at a time. 
  • Market research: Nothing beats building sites in many niches to learn about their conversion rates and ranking difficulty. You can do all the keyword analysis or competitive analysis you want but Google has over 200 factors in its ranking algorithm so you can never get it right. I rather learn from building the site and looking at actual numbers. Every niche I got into, I always learn something that can be applied to other sites. 
So, enough of the reasons. How will I do this 50 amazon niche sites challenge. 

I intend to create 4 sites per month, starting from Dec 2011 and ending in Dec 2012. This is will give me plenty of time to build the sites up. This is how I will build them:
  • 2 niches sites per month will be created through outsourcing. Each site will have 5 articles that cost around USD10 each. Another USD20 will be spent on buying backlinks and another USD10 for the domain. In total, each site will cost me USD80 to create. More backlinks and content will be added if the sites perform.
  • 1 niche site per month will be created by me personally. I will write the articles and do the backlinks myself.
  • 1 niche site per month will be bought. I like buying websites to make money because they shorten the process. I will be buying small niche sites that target a product keyword from Amazon. Specifically, I will be looking for sites that have product keywords but monetized with adsense. There is a chance that earnings for such sites to increase if I manage to turn the adsense into amazon earnings since product commissions are always higher than ad clicks.
In terms of earnings, this is my expectation. Each site is targeted to earn at least USD50 per month. To do that, you need specific product selection strategies. In my next post on how to make USD100 with amazon, I will cover this topic in more details, including estimating how much traffic you need to make that money per month per site.

If you are interested in this challenge, why not you create your own challenge and I will link to your site on your progress?

Before I go, here are some topics that will become my regular monthly posts. The reason I don't post regularly is because I have no topics to do a monthly update. Now I have : )

  • Income report on my earnings from buying websites: There are many income reports on the web but few deal with earnings only from websites that they purchased. It is almost like an investment report but the investment vehicle of websites should make the monthly update interesting.
  • Income report from this 50 amazon niche site challenge. I will giving a progress report on how things are for this challenge. I might even reveal a couple of sites as examples : )
  • Income report from another challenge that I will be announcing soon. This is with regards to learning how to make money with Infolinks, a google adsense alternative. 
See you guys soon and work hard to make money online. 

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Why are cute taiwanese actresses pictures on aaronchua.com

Some of the regular readers might notices the cute images of taiwanese actresses in this blog. Why I doing that? Well, for aesthetic and testing purposes.

This particular blogger template that I am using always takes the first image in that post to create a thumbnail for the homepage and sidebar widget. The problem is that it distorts the images and making them look damm ugly on the site. I know there must be some way to change this in the html section but I am not a coder so I came up with a funny way so doing it, which is to use a standard size picture of a taiwanese actresses so that visually, the blog looks pleasing : ).

Another reason why I am doing it that way is that I am experimenting with new presentation style. What happens when you start adding these image with alternate text that don't gel with the content for your site. Most likely, nothing will happen. Maybe I am will start to draw in different type of traffic. The thing is: nobody knows unless you try.

That is the bigger point with SEO as well. Blogs are not static creations You don't always have to stick with the same format and presentation. Mix things up a bit and you might be surprised at the kind of results that you will be getting.

Finding long tail keywords - A case study

As allured in my previous articles, I have been using a long tail keyword tool called keyword strategy tool. Today, I am talk about how to use to tool and why I trusted it.

 The point about this tool is that it gives you an easy way to mine long tail keywords. Why is targeting long tail keywords important? Well, they are uncompetitive and can even rank without backlinks if they are aged enough. More importantly, you are not vulnerable to any particular keyword's ranking which save you a lot of heartache during Google update such as the recent Google Panda 2.6.  The challenge is that you need to produce a large volume of content and you need to have a constant way to finding long tail keywords. This is where Fraser's keyword tool comes in.

One of the main motivation for me to use the tool is the man behind the software. He is called Fraser Cain and is the owner of a super authority site on astrology and all sorts of crazy universe related stuff called UniverseToday. It is a PR8 site with almost 100k visitors per day. This man KNOWS how to build big authority site.

How does he do it? He believes in creating quality content that is targeted at long tail keywords so that the articles get natural links, i.e. what Google wants. Initially, he has his own spreadsheet and database to manage the millions of long tail keywords that is bringing his site traffic. However, as more and more people start to ask Fraser about his keyword management process, he realise that converting his own inhouse tool to something that can be used by others will be a great business.

This is how the long tail keyword tool came about. Since I trusted Fraser, I don't mind giving his tool a go.  So far, I am quite happy with it. As mentioned in my previous post on making money with wordpress themes, I am currently using the tools to create posts that targeted long tail keywords for wp themes. It is rather difficult to squeeze into this niche as it is rather competitive but I have been please with the result. So far,  each new page using the suggested long tail keywords has brought in abo15-20 visitors per day. If I can keep the posts up, these long tail keywords will collectively bring in hundreds of people per day looking for wordpress themes.

Ok, so how does the tool work.

When you first signed up at keyword strategy tool (first month is free), you will need to create a project.

Click to enlarge picture

Next, you need to start giving the projects keywords to feed on. This can be done in a couple of ways.
  • linking to your google analytics
  • add a code to your site
  • linking to your google webmaster
  • manually key in your keywords
Ideally, this long tail keyword generator works best if you have more than 3000 keywords in the database so that it can the low competition ones for you. Once you entered all the keywords, the tool will start to update all the information about the keywords. This will take a day so just leave it on in your browser. Below is the screen you will use to manage the keywords.

 Click to enlarge picture

Assuming you have done all that, it is time to play with the filters at the top. There are many different filters you can use. I normally just use the competition one to show me the all the low competition keywords.

The best part about the keyword strategy tool is that it will continue to update your projects with new keywords. This is because of the linking you have done with all the analytics and webmaster accounts. Hence, what will happen is this: when you first start a project, there will be an initial list of keywords you can work with and create content for. When these new content draws in new keywords, the tool will be updated and finds more long tail keywords for your site. This is a virtuous cycle that will ensure that you never run out of low competition and long tail keywords to target.

So, if you are interested to give this a try, the first month is free. Doing it yourself is to best way to test the keyword strategy tool.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Make money with elegant wordpress themes - I just did!

I have been buying websites to make money faster and have actually lots to share. That is for other posts but for today, I just want to make a quick note about something I am quite happy with. A new site I bought last month has lots of potential to make different revenue streams. The upside is obvious but the downside is that each new source of online income is a learning curve. One such income stream is actually affiliate sales from selling wordpress themes.

I have never earn any online income from selling wordpress themes so all this is rather new. Today marks the first sale I have with this source of income and I am rather pleased with it. The screenshot below shows my income dashboard.

Click on image to enlarge

One of the exciting things is that amount of revenue you can earn which is USD19.95. That is quite a large comission! A few of these will be enough for a nice passive income stream. However, it wasn't easy. Firstly, the conversation rate is low. About 1.5%. Secondly, there are some really steep learning curves here. Below are some of the learning points for me:

  • Sending visitors to individual theme, rather to the homepage has a much higher conversation ratio. Although it takes more work to create the individual links, the payoff is worth it!
  • Ranking for wordpress theme keywords is a challenge. Maybe because the payoff is good, there is a lot of competition in the search engines, even with long tail keywords. Currently, I am using Fraser keyword strategy tool to see if it can help me to fish out low competition long tail keywords for this wordpress theme niche. By the way, it is a great tool and I recommend it for only USD26 per month. 
  • Avoid targeting 'free' in your wordpress niche, unless you have a clever way to monetise it like what Michael did with his freewp.com site.  Check out his post on it. By the way, Michael is the real deal in making money online. He is way above me in terms of business development and growing his company. I highly recommend his blog. 
I am only starting to make money in this niche so my learning points are quite limited. Once I get my earnings to a few hundred bucks, things should be more interesting. Here is my plan to grow my online income using wordpress theme affiliate:

  • Look through my list of analytics to identify potential low hanging fruits. This is more complex than it sounds becuase this site I bought generate about 1000+ keywords each DAY! Shifting through the data is an art by itself and is part my daily SEO activity. This is what I mean in my post about how to develop your SEO strategy.  It is never only about links. For this site, how you manage keywords and keywords growth is already a huge SEO effort. More on this when I talk about how to do SEO for large sites. 
  • Signing up for more wordpress theme affiliate. Currently, I used elegant themes. It might not be the best in terms of conversion. You always need to test your monetisation once you have the traffic. I am going to sign up woo themes and themeforest to see if they can perform better.
Will keep you posted on this project. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

How to build niche sites after Panda 2.6

Ever since google panda has affected many niche site owners, there have discussions talking about whether the niche sites are still viable ways to earn money online.  I think it all depends on your definition of niche sites. If you think niche site is all about putting up a few pieces of outsourced content targeting a keyword, then believe me when I say this model will not last long. You might get away with it for the short term but Google will catch up with you one day.

For me, niche sites does not mean low quality. It only mean focusing on a smaller topic but giving it the maximum value that you can. So, how does a high quality niche site look like? This is what I will be exploring in the coming months.

It is not a secret that my sites were affected by Panda. My income dropped by 5k which is not a small sum by any means. This got me into thinking about how to build sites that can last. The best way to learn is to build them and this is what I will be documenting here as I begin my journey to building quality niche sites.

The first thing is to have a clear idea on how to be valuable. In many IM circles, quality means longer articles. That is not the only way. I can point to sites that doesn't do this but can ranked really well in the search engines. My method is to learn from these sites.

My goal for 2012 is to build 10 high quality niche sites. I have a couple of ideas but not enough to build 10 sites at once. What I will do is to spread them over the one year period. I will build more when I have more ideas but it will not be like what I did in the past. Just mechanically building sites without them being an interesting or unique idea.

The first idea I have is to build a niche site in the design niche. If you are similar to this niche, you will know that there are many gallery/showcase type of sites that provide readers with inspirational design ideas in particular areas such as business cards, logos, websites etc. I have spotted a few untouched areas and I will be building a site in this manner. The value proposition is this case is clear: to be the leader in the new design area that other designers will like to look at for inspirations and ideas.

Here is a hint for you if you are interested in building such niches. Go to any design blogs and look at their articles that collects different designs for inspirations. Each of these articles is actually a separate niche that you will do well by building a full site for it.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Selling sites to make money

Just a quick note to say that I have put up a new page that will list out the niche adsense sites that I am selling.

After taking to quite a number of beginners in this online money making game, motivation is a really issue. Not everyone has the faith and determination to continue to work on a site for a a number of months without seeing any returns.

I have try to create na online partnership with 10 beginners but things didn't work out. Even with keywords already supplied to them, it is still hard to motivate people as there is no money to be seen.

Hence, this is my latest approach to helping beginners. Buying sites that are earning are great stepping stones as you will be learning and earning money at the same time. In terms of motivation, it will be easier and hopefully, that will let you see more success down to the road.

The sites I am going to sell are not based on just one keyword. Going forward, I am going to create more adsense sites that will not have trouble with Google. They will be keywords that really needs information. Moreover, I want to make sure that they can be expanded so that the new site owners don't get stuck on the same revenue after buying the sites.

If you are interested, take a look at the websites for sale page.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Can you make money with autoblogging

What is autoblogging and can you make money from it? That is the question posed by one of my readers. He also asked about why would someone sell an autoblog on Flippa given that it is 100% automated and you can make money from it?

Fortunately, I have a real experience in buying a autoblogging wordpress site to make money. As I mentioned in my post on buying websites to make money, investing into income producing web property is something I am very keen to do now. I bought this site in April this year and the site is:


When I first bought it, it was doing well. Without any work, search traffic was increasing and earnings was great. See screenshots below for proof.

 Click the image to enlarge

In  May alone, I earned USD200 from Amazon. I was thinking to myself: wow, what a great buy. I paid 1k for it and it has already paid 20% back in the first month. 

Unfortunately, things don't turn out that well. One fine day, traffic suddenly dropped and I lost all my rankings. See the drop in traffic below:

 Click the image to enlarge

Why did it drop? I had no idea and that is the risk you will be taking if you want to create or buy an autoblog. Ultimately, there is no free lunch in the world. Without any effort, i don't think the site will sustain itself.  

How does autoblogging work
It is pretty easy to set up an autoblog. I looked through the site that I bought and it was basically a wordpress autoblogging plugin called wordpress robot doing the work. You just need to install this plugin, chose the keywords you want, the source of the content and the plugin will start to pull the feeds into your site. 

 Once that is done, you just need to give the site a few links to get it indexed and crawled. Over time, the accumulation of the content will draw in mountains of longtail traffic.  That is how my site manage to pull in nearly 400 visitors per day without actually ranking for any major keyword. 

To understand why this happen, you need to understand how black hats that started this whole autoblogging thing works. Most of these guys are coders. What they did is to build computing scripts and infrastructure that can let them scale up as many autoblogs as they want. They understand that most of these autoblogs will be gone but they don't care. They just make the money and with a touch of a button, create the next batch to replace those that might have suffered like mine. 

So, going back to the question of whether autoblogs make good investment, the answer is no. It is better you learn to create them in mass and make some short term cash. As to why they are being sold, I hope the answer is straight forward. They want to cash out because they know these type of blogs will not last. 

If you are interested to know more about my experience in buying websites for investment, my next post will talk about them in detail.