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, 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.