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.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Banned from amazon and adsense!

Feb is not a great month.

Banned from adsense

First, my friend's adsense account was banned. This was the account that I used for one of my cosmetic surgery site of which I have reported its earnings in my monthly earnings reports. There was no specific message except something along of the line of invalid clicks. This is crazy as there was no abnormal clicks or spikes in the account so I don't know how google came to this conclusion. Anyway, this marks the third adsense account that was banned. Interpret this info as you would.  The ban means that I just lost the income from Jan and Feb for this site. Shit!!!!

Fortunately, I found a great adsense alternative which I will talk more about in a future post. If your adsense account has been banned or if you did not manage to get one approved, you might want to look out for that post.

Banned from amazon

The above was nothing. The worse news is what I received in my inbox this morning. Double shit!!!!!


It has come to our attention that you are artificially increasing your advertising fee earnings by automatically tagging Amazon sessions to your account.   This is a direct violation of the Operating Agreement to which you agreed when registering for the Program.  You can find the complete text of the Associates Program Operating Agreement, including Participation Requirements, via this link:


We insist that you cease this activity and remove all Amazon content from your site(s) immediately.  Moreover, because you are using the Associates Program in ways in which it was never intended, your account has been closed and you will not receive further payment. Any other accounts you may have or may open in the future will be closed and advertising fees withheld without notification.

Best regards,

Why I was banned from amazon

Frankly speaking, I have no idea what "automatically tagging Amazon" even means. After discussing in a private forum, some members think that it might due to some themes or plugins. My own gut feel is the fact that I have used a redirecting plugin which causes the ban.

The plugin will cloak the links so that instead of showing http://amazon.com/blah blah, it is showing http://sitex.com/recommends/productX.  I think this is against their new terms of service in Feb 2012 as stated below:

"In addition, you must not use a link shortening service in a manner that makes it unclear that you are linking to an Amazon Site."

 Another possible reason is the auto blog which I have mentioned in my post here about can you make money with auto blogs. This auto blog, for some reasons unknown to me, generated a huge amount of amazon impressions even though I don't have that kind of traffic to back it up.

Take a loot at the stats from my Dec amazon earnings:

You will noticed that there were 30K clicks and mostly from that autoblog! This could be a reason for the ban as this auto blog is somehow 'automatically tagging amazon'. However, I had disabled this site since end of Jan so I am not 100% sure this caused the ban.

Can I get my amazon affiliate account back?

I am not sure I can. Of course, I can always get another amazon account as they are not as strict as adsense. However, the thought of replacing all the amazon links with the non redirected links makes me sick in my stomach. Do you know how many pages I need to go through? Geesh, making money online is not an easy thing at all!

Another amazon affiliate alternative is skim links. I just applied for an account but I am not sure how strict are they with the quality of the sites. I intentionally submitted a pure amazon site i.e. there was no other info besides product reviews. We will see how that goes.

A realistic look at the make money online journey

I have posted about my ascend and descend of my adsense earnings in this post on why my adsense earnings is down for 2011.  However, I want to list the journey of what you are likely to face as you embark on your money making journey. This is what I have been through and I hoped you have better luck than me!

-First 3 months: Excited about being able to make money online. Lots of possibilities come to your mind. You will also try to understand how everything works and end up confused as hell.
My advice: Do as you learn. It makes everything easier. Don't have to get everything right when you are starting.

- 3-6th months: The passion started to die down as there are no visble results. The hardworking ones would have put in a lot of work but the results are pathetic. You might not have earned a single cent yet.
My advice: Keep working and learning. There is always a breakthrough waiting to happen if you continue to work at it. You might realise you are doing the wrong keyword or you might be focusing on too many sites or keywords ro you might learn how to repeat your first dollar success 100 times. These kind of realisations don't just happen. It will happen only when you continuously apply what you learn.

-6-12th months: Things might start to look up if you have been working hard. You might have earned your first 100 dollars per month. For those who did, you will feel like king of the world. Suddenly, your perspective changes and you realise that working for a job is not the only way to make money. You might even dreamt of working from home.
My advice: This is a good time to start learning about the bad things that can happen. Be prepared for the worst while you still have not much to lose.

-13th -18th months: You might have successfully scaled your sites and earning more than 1k per month. Congrats! You are now convinced that making money through online works! You see endless possibility now and are prepared to scale it up even further.
My advice: You must do things right at this point. Don't take shortcuts. Produce good quality sites with the money you have. Find a purpose for your site besides making money.

- 19th-24th months: Suddenly, problems start to happen if you have not been doing the right things. Your sites might get affected by algorithm changes or your accounts got banned. You realise that things are not as passive as they seems. You get disillusioned and learn to pick yourself up.

My advice: None. I am at this stage right now. I don't know if I want to continue with this path. Getting sites affected by panda and getting your adsense/amazon accounts banned are not fun things at all. One lesson I have learned is that SEO makes you  lazy. You tend to forget the fundamentals of a good site because you can get all the traffic just doing backlinks and putting up sub standard content. You can get away with it for a while but things will come back to you.

Hence, my advice for those making some money is to start investing some of these money into better content or even your own product. Look at the startups to see how they are creating products that bring real benefits.

Don't get lazy in your make money journey. SEO is a valuable skill. Don't waste it.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

How many websites to make money

I am going back to the topic of how many websites you need to make an online full time income. My previous article pointed out the fact that the hardest part of any online business is to find that one niche that can make you money. This is why it is good to try many niches, either with your own niche site or through web 2.0 platforms. The purpose is to fish. Sometimes I wish there is faster and more cost effective way to find good keywords and niches but unfortunately, that is not going to be the case. 

Friday, 10 February 2012

How much money can you make online - Income report #2

Welcome to super late income report for Jan 2012. Nothing much happens as the income for Jan has maintained on the same level as Dec although the composition has changed. Let's take a look shall we:
 (in case you are not aware of what kind of earnings I am tracking for this income report, please refer to the explanation here: income report #1)

Adsense Income Report: USD948

Almost made it to 1k last month with adsense. Remember that my 2012 make money goal for adsense was to hit 1k for 2012.  Looks like I can achieve that without doing anything else. This will leave more time for amazon which I am still struggling with.

That being said, I did order a new homepage backlink service for site 1 that you see below. In Feb, this site seems to be coming back from Panda and I want to see if the addition of new powerful links can help to bring this site back to its USD400 per month record.

Yes, I am not always supportive of using backlinks but in a competitive industry such as cosmetic surgery, the competition leaves me with very little choice. I will report back on how effective this homepage backlink service is once it has passed a month.

Click all images to enlarge

Amazon Income Report: USD412

As expected, amazon earnings fell after Christmas. In January, the income dropped from USD630 to USD412. Ouch! The good thing is that the composition of the amazon earnings has changed from being concentrated in a few sites to a larger base of sites due to my 50 amazon niche site challenge. With time, I am confident that this new network of amazon sites will make serious money as I have not seen money coming in so fast with such new sites.  Give them a year and see what happens : )

Click the image to enlarge

Total Income: USD1360

So,  not much happening. This is how it is my friends. There is a delay effect in making money online and my results show this.

During the Oct-Nov period, I basically did nothing due to the panda update affecting my motivation.  As a result, nothing happen in Jan as there was no work done before that. Conversely, all the stuff I am doing now will only reflect in the results in the coming months.

If you are stuck in the same siutation of not seeing results even though you are putting in the hard work, then be patient, The results will come!

Have fun making money online.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Work hard to make money

I received many visitors who search for this term "can you really make money online'. This is not surprising given that there are lots of scams and rubbish online. However, to those who asked, you can really make a full time online but there is no shortcuts around it.

I have been making money online since 2009 although the money in the early years were tiny. The important thing however is to realise that the making money online model works but it needs a lot of commitment to get there. There is no such things as fast money so stop searching for terms such as how to make money online fast.

In this article, I am going to lay out how much work you really need to put in to start seeing results. Don't expect half hearted efforts to result in money pouring in. It wouldn't and the sooner you realise this, the better. You need massive efforts to see massive results.

Ultimately, my model in making money is simple: build sites that can rank well in search engines so that the traffic that comes to my sites either clicks an ad or buys a product from my affiliate link. The more sites or the more content I have, the more money I will make. So, what the hell is 'more'. What does more means in my eyes.

Here is what it is:

For those who have not money but are willing to write

Aim to write 3 articles a day. That will give you 150 articles in a month. 20 articles can be on your side while the others can be used as backlink articles. Just doing 3 article a day with give you a solid site that has 20 pages of content and 130 backlinks. It will be enough to gather traffic and clicks if you know how to pick low competition keywords.

Multiple that with 12 months and you will have 12 strong sites by the end of one year. This is going to make a huge difference to your income. I guarantee it. Compare this to the person who is only making one site and adding a couple of article and backlinks per month, you are going to have a much higher probability of selecting a good income producing niche.

For those who have money but are not willing to write

There will be some of you who just hates to write. It is fine if you can invest a small sum of money into creating websites. 20 articles will cost you around $60. 130 backlink articles will cost you around $130 or less if you manage to find low cost writers. The total cost per site is only $190.

For $190 per month, you are building a potential business that can bring hundreds of dollars each month for many years to come. You cannot get a better rate of return than his. For $190 per month, you have a chance of building something that can get you out a boring job. All for just $190.

For those who have no money but are not willing to write

There is still hope for this bunch of folks. The answer is to starve yourself. Yup. Don't take lunch or dinner and save yourself  $6 per day. At the end of one month, you will save $200. Use that to invest in a way that I have mentioned above. When the site is making money, you can start to eat more : ).

So, there you have it. You either need to put in hard work or money to create income online. No work, no money!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Adsense niche ideas for you to steal!

In my recent exploration of the finance niche, I came cross the some interesting ideas for niches that I have never thought of. Rather than just giving you the site url, I will also try to generalise these ideas so that you know how to come out with these adsense niche ideas.

Most of the time, what we know by niche ideas are things such as 'oval coffee table' or 'student loan for mums' or 'cheap ipad case' etc. How to make these niche ideas into useful sites is a challenge. With these niche ideas that I am about to show you, they can allow you to create really useful sites, which hopefully can help us to avoid the much dreaded and hated Panda updates.

(By the way, panda 3.2 just ran on 18 Jan, 2012 but my sites were not affected so I didn't noticed)

First adsense niche idea: http://www.pennytest.com/

This is a one page site answering a single question. The key here is not to say that there is little search volume for this niche but to realise that you can build a site with one expert tip that you might have already known. You might have one nice CSS trick, or one wordpress hack or one knitting tip or one gardening advice. This can be the basis of your one page site. If you build such a site, there will be nothing spammy about the site because the tip will be something that is useful and relevant.

Second adsense niche idea: http://freetickettojapan.com/

This niche idea is about turning your goals into a niche site. The author of this site wanted to hunt for a free air ticket to Japan and so she blogged about her attempts at doing so. I think this is a great idea! Why not think about all the goals that you want to achieve such as buying a second house, getting a sports cars, live in a beach home etc and create a niche blog about it. I am sure the content will be interesting and you should be able to promote it more easily as well.

Third adsense niche idea: http://whatisdividend.com/

I like this niche idea because it shows how you can enter a competitive market such as finance if you use a classic market segmentation strategy to identify poor served markets. In this case, the author have segment the market by investment instruments and then by types of audience. This site is not about investing. It is not about dividend investing. It is about dividend investing for beginners.

Once you have segment such a market out, it is easier to create useful content like what the site has done. It is a niche site but is a site that I find useful when I was searching info about dividend investing.

Most of the time, we don't think of niches in this way. We just use a keyword tool to come out with the idea for the site. However, you should combine the keyword approach and the market segment approach to craft a unique selling proposition for your niche site. It will make it easier for you to create the content and to structure your onsite navigation.

If you think such a post is useful, I can turn it into a regular feature here on aaronchua.com.

Thanks for reading my rants on how to make money online!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

50 amazon sites challenge progress report #6 Why I am not making money with Amazon

Here comes the 6th progress report on my 50 amazon niche sites challenge. If you want to see the breakdown in the number, please visit this Amazon earnings page. I will only post the summary here.

Number of amazon sites created: 2 more new sites have been created since update #5. This makes a total of 20 amazon sites created so far. I will stop making new sites in Feb and focus on getting some of the current sites to rank better and hopefully to start making more money.

How much money was made in Amazon
Nov 2011: Revenue =  USD29, Cost = USD227
Dec 2011: Revenue = USD149, Cost = USD412
Jan 2012 : Revenue = USD86, Cost = USD40

Net Profit: -USD416

This month netted only USD86. The drop was expected given that the buying season is over. January has almost been a slow month and let's see if Feb will be better.

Highlights in January

  • 3 sites started making money. Good sign : ) 
  • Site 3 (the wine site) got a good bump in its ranking. It was already ranking #1 for a three word term and now, the 2 term keyword has appeared on page 1, #8. This had lead to a nice increase in daily traffic.
  • Site 4 continues to have consistent income despite not bringing the highest traffic. I will be focusing more on this site and bringing my SEO strategy to play. If you have noticed, each of this site was built with minimal resources and effort. When I see a promising site like this, it will be time to bring out my big guns. This means full onsite seo, deeper keyword research and leveraging on my network of high PR sites to boast this baby up. I do have a arsenal of SEO weapons at my disposal. Believe me when I say that when I can rank in the ultra competitive cosmetic surgery niche, I have built up quite a bit of seo resources. 
  •  I came up with a good content strategy for several of these niche sites. I do hope these mini site can last and that only happen if your site has interesting and relevant content. I will created a separate post on how to build quality niche sites after Panda so watch out for it if you are interested in this topic.

The stuff that is making me sad :( in Janaury

The dreaded Google Dance is happening to some of my sites. Either the fresh content bonus has disappeared or I did something that did not impress the algorithm. Anyway, the end result was that some sites have disappeared from the SERPs. In particular, sites 5, 7 and 11 have lost the ranking for their main keywords : (

Other than that, I had a happy Jan : )

One particular happy event was that aaronchua.com dropped below the 200k mark in alexa. I know, I know. This means nothing but I still feel a sense of false achievement : ).

Why I am not making money from Amazon

Back to serious stuff. I am going through my stats to see why some of my sites are not making money despite getting the traffic. I hope that listing these reasons out can let you know why sometimes traffic does not equal sales.
  • The source of traffic is not from US. Sometimes, your site will get ranked in .ca or .uk even though you might target these countries. In such cases, your conversion will be low because non US folks are not buying as much as stuff online as the Americans. 
  • You need more traffic. There is a saying in the making money online world that if traffic comes too easily, you are not likely to make money from it. This stems from the fact that the market in search is quite efficient. People will drift to the keywords that make money, thus making them harder to compete in. Conversely, this means that keywords which do get traffic easily are those that might not convert very well. This does not mean zero sales but you do need a much larger volume of traffic than other sites to see conversions. I think my site 10 (the bedding site) suffers from this problem. 
  • Not targeting buying terms. I have been stressing that you need to rank for buying keywords but I seems to be making this mistake for my amazon niche sites. Rather than trying to rank for keywords such  as item X for sale or cheap item X or item X under 100 dollars, I have been ranking these sites for their main keywords which might be too general. So, for the next batch of new domains, I will be buying domains that have stronger buying intentions.  

Niche site revealed

After thinking though this, I decided finally to reveal my sites for 2 reasons.
  • I find that when I read the blogs from other make money folks, I enjoyed those that revealed the niche. It just sounds more exciting and cool to be able to look at the real site and relate that to what the author is talking about. 
  • It makes it easier for me to demo my money making techniques if there are sites that I can show you. 
So, for this progressive, the niche I am revealing is site #13. The niche is mini cupcake maker. I chose this niche because it fulfills my criteria of having very little competitiors. (See the post on my unqiue take on how to check keyword competitiveness). The price is not very ideal though as these mini cupcake makers cost than USD50. In the coming weeks, I will be updating this site to show you how I can make this site earn some passive income for me!