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.