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, 23 March 2012

Keyword optimisation vs ranking keywords

This is a very important 3 part series that I am writing about creating quality sites for 2012 and beyond. For those who are familiar with my methods, please don't use them anymore as the advice is outdated. If you really want to make money online, pay attention to this and the upcoming 2 posts.

To summarise the series, the first (which is this article) will talk about why you should give up the notion of ranking for keywords and focus on just keyword optimisation. The second article will then teach you how to pick new niches that can use this keyword optimisation method even more effectively. The last article will pull everything together and give you tips to how to make a site that has value after picking the right niches. 

Ok, on with the show.

I spent lots of time on this blog talking about doing keyword research including how to check keyword competitionhow to find low competition keywords as well as using software to find long tail keywords. However, I realise there is one critical thing that I didn't talk about. What do you do with the keywords you found?

I realise that I am a bit more successfully at generating traffic because I do one thing very differently with regards to keywords. I don't chase their rankings anymore. What I do is to conduct the keyword research and then place them in my content. That is called keyword optimisation. I am trying to optimise my content to gather as much traffic from as many different keywords as possible. I don't have a goal of trying to reach position #1 for any keyword.

This explains why I am so relaxed about backlinks. People asked me how to rank for keywords if they don't build backlinks. I used to find this question odd until I realise that when they talked about rankings, they are talking about specific keywords. For me, rankings means having some keywords ranking on the first page without me knowing in advance what these keywords will be.

You might find this strange but my approach is actually more resource efficient. Why?

You don't know which link passes value

If you are chasing keyword rankings with backlinks, you are facing a very tough challenge of not knowing which links will pass value. Do you know that Google discounts a lot of our backlinks? If you are not familiar with what kinds of links do google discount, read this article


The only way to correctly test whether a link passes value is this: use a unique expression such as "aaron is in hanoi recently" as the anchor text of the link and point it to a page which doesn't have this expression. If that page ranks, (and it should if the link can pass value since this is a unique and non competitive keyword), then the link is a value passing link.

Unfortunately, there are no tools currently that can do this automatically for you. As a result, you simply have no idea of what links can help your keyword to rank. One solution is by volume as among the large number of links created, a couple will surely pass value. Another is to use guest posting on high authority sites as these tend to have a higher chance of passing value as well.

Hence, if you are building backlinks to rank particular keywords, you are wasting a lot of resources on getting the right kind of value passing links because you don't what works.

All known keywords are competitive

More and more folks know what is SEO. This means a more competitive landscape than what we have seen. If you chased keywords, you are like everybody else. Worst thing is many folks have more resources than you and they can easily outgun you if you are a beginner.

So, rather than engaging in pointless competition, cast a wide net using your keyword research and your content. Throw it out there and let google tell you what is competitive and what is not. If you do your keyword optimisation, I guarantee that there will always be terms that you can rank for without backlinks. If you then used your search logs to look for future content  and keyword ideas, this becomes a never ending cycle of being able to increase your search traffic in the most effective way.

Does this really work?

Yes it does. The screenshot below shows the traffic for aaronchua.com for the past 6 months. Oct 2011 is when I decided to pick up blogging again.

About 5k unique visitors using 1788 keywords!

 Click to enlarge

I didn't build any backlinks but search traffic has grown. This is through the method I outline above. The numbers will have been higher if I blogged more and put in more effort to finding the easy to rank keywords. It doesn't help that the make money online niche is also super competitive.

So, if I can achieve that with such lazy efforts and in a competitive niche, you should do better if you are hardworking and pick a new niche with no competition.

Minimizing the risk of making money online

 This approach of not chasing keywords also make your site more real. Building links is always against what Google wants. The recent deindexing of build my rank and the Panda alogirthm all points to the risk of trying to game the system with links. Focusing on writing useful content with keyword optimised words carries less risk.

Also, by spreading your search traffic across thousands of keywords, you tend to be less prone to any changes in the search engines, relative to someone who is drawing traffic from only a handful of terms.

Maxising your resource allocation for SEO

As a SEO practitioner, you should try to maxmise your resource including time and money. Don't listen blindly to people who said links are everything. These guys are narrow minded and they purely chase keyword rankings. Remember that SEO is about keywords, content and backlinks.You can still build a successful site with lots of search traffic if you practice good keywords research and optimising them on a piece of quality content.

Writing content is much more resource efficient. After all, I have just increased this site's traffic with this article that I have spent 30 minutes writing. How much time do you think I would need is all I do is to go out get and backlink for the keyword 'how to make money online"?

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Banned from adsense Now what

This is kinda of creepy.  I used Wesley as an example in my last post on how to make 100 with adsense is easy but maintaining it is hard to tell you guys that the current niche model is flawed. Well, he just said in his latest post that he got banned from adsense.


Wow, do I have the ability to predict the future?
Not really. Just some real experience and the wisdom to know that history always repeats itself.

You see. Wesley is a typical person who will be successful online. He is hardworking and he is intelligent. He is the one who will get starry eyed when he first heard of making money online. He will also see some initial success and make some good money for himself.  Unfortunately, he will also see trouble when the rewards are just coming because his foundations are all wrong due to what was preached in the online money making world.

It is not his fault that he got into all sorts of trouble such as being penalised by Panda or getting his adsense account banned. In fact, I argued that this is to be expected. I have seen this cycle of success followed by troubles many many times, including on myself!

We suffered through this because our foundations are wrong.

We chase keywords instead of real markets
We chase backlinks instead of real visibility to our customers
We chase clicks instead of real engagement
We chase money instead of value

There was a lot of comments advising Wesley on how to get a new adsense account. That is not the problem.

The problem is our business model. The sooner we fight our way to a real model, the better it is for us. If you are starting in your niche site journey today, remember not to take shortcuts.

There is nothing wrong with building niche sites per say as long as you don't forget the fundamental of providing value in the marketplace. Niche content is nothing more than spotting an area where there is an opprtunity to make the information more accessible or available to the people searching for it.

Use the gift of SEO wisely. Don't use it on the wrong foundations. If you do things right, you don't have to worry about getting banned from adsense or any of the other nonsense in the online money making world.

More to come about this if you interested to know how to really make money online.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Making 100 dollars with adsense is easy Maintaining it is hard

I might sound cocky saying this but making USD100 dollars with adsense is very easy once you know how. In fact, even making 500 dollars or 1000 dollars is not a challenge once you know the make money process behind it. The challenge is in maintaining it.

The story of a typical money making journey

A beginner who is starting his or her journey to make money online will face challenges in knowing what keywords to target, how to get backlinks etc. If they continues to push forward, they will eventually find a couple of niches that they can rank and make money.

This is when things start to fall apart. 

You see, once the money starts to come in, people get excited and see the possibilities of making lots of money online. If 1 site can make me USD100, 10 sites will make me USD1000! (An alternative version is if 10 pages can make me USD100, 100 pages will make me USD1000). Such thought patterns are happening in almost all the blogs that talk about making money, including this one : (

In the excuse of scaling, quality and thoughtfulness are offen forgotten, resulting in websites that have no other reasons to exist except to make money for the owner. Such sites will suffer later on when the algorithm changes.

The latest in such a casualty is Wesly from chasing pace.  His story is not uncommon. Quick success followed by a drop due to changes in site rankings. This story is repeated so often that you know it is not a concidence. We, internet marketers, chase keywords instead of real businesses and that will bound to bite us back if we don't change.

For Wesley's case, even for his niche authority site project, I see very little thought being built into the sites. Yes, the content is real but there is nothing special or different about it. The part that  disturbs me the most is how his entire foundation is based on keyword reseach, instead of finding a gap in the market where it is serving.

Compared Wesly to how Patricia Handschiegel, a figure in the media/telcom/startup world, goes aboout creating her site .  Check out her post on why she started her publishing project:


This is the statement that got me: "There aren’t a lot of mainstream media companies using this format at the moment, but it’s something that I’ve believed digital media would ultimately look like for some time."

Notice the subtle difference in why sites are started? One is chasing keywords while the other is innovating and trying to find a reason to exist. 

What is a quality site

To me, it is simply a reason to exist. It is not about how long your content or even if the content comes from personal experience. Many internet marketers believe that an affiliate site with personal reviews can be considered as quality. I don't agree. If you want personal reviews, there are so many of them in amazon. Why make yours so special?

To me, a quality site pays attention to filling a gap in the market. It is a sumation of not only content, but how it is presented, in what frequency, under what tone and in which kind of medium. These considerations are what real media companies think about. Yet, being website publishers, we totally ignore all this. Our criteria is simply keyword search volume, competitiveness of the keywords, potential money you can make.

This game is a house of cards. It will not stand the test of time. If you care about your site, find a reason for it to exist. Sometimes, content is enough because there is not enough of it on the web. Most of the time, you will need more.

Am I building quality sites?

I say all this not because I am a saint. I build keywords sites as well and find that they often run into problems. If you are here for the short run and just want to make as much money as you can, this model is ok. If you want to build a quality site, learn what is the unique selling propositon of the site first.

It is not easy and I don't have all the answers but let's start this journey, shall we?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

How much money can you make online - Income report 3

You might think that this is going to be my absolute worst income reports given that my amazon account was banned. Well, turns out that things might not be as bad as you thought. Continue to read on to get all the juicy details! LOL

You can keep your amazon earnings even if you are banned

It turns out that I might be able to keep the amazon earnings that I have earned before the ban. Initially, I thought all my amazon earnings will be gone, based on my experience with adsense. However, after looking at the payment table, it seems like I might still be getting a cheque for my dec earnings. Here is the screenshot that I saw:
I haven't received the cheque but the above gives me hope that I will be. This means that all my previous income reports are still valid. Thank god!

I am also going to include a new income item called private advertisers. It is cutting out Google and going straight to the advertisers who might have an interest to advertise on your site. It is quite commonly practiced for big sites but I thought I can have a go at this income stream as well.

Below are the numbers

Adsense Income Report: USD699

A sharp fall from the the USD948 in Jan. This is mainly due to 2 reasons. First, one of the adsense accounts were banned which means a reduction of USD100. Second, there were less days in Feb so the earnings were affected as well.

The good thing is that I have switched this site that has the banned adsense to media.net, which is a new CPC based advertising network similar to adsense. The surprising thing is that their ads are surpassing adsense for this site and I expect it to earn much more.  I will not include media.net earnings in this report but I might do so for the next one. Depends on how comfortable I am with disclosing another earning source.

Amazon Income Report: USD324

I am going to include what I have earned from amazon in feb given that there is a chance I will still be paid. The amount is not large but it makes for a nice meal.

I have not given up on amazon yet. I have already created another account and am using it on 2 new sites. For the amazon niche sites with my old code, I am using skim links. So far, it is already tracking my revenue in March so I will probably use that.

Private Ads Income Report: USD800

This is going to be tricky to prove because all the advertisers pay me directly through paypal. Taking this part from all my paypal transactions will be a pain so I am not going to do it. Either you trust me on this or you don't.

This USD800 came from 3 advertisers. You can compare this to adsense and you know how getting private advertisers can be lucrative. To get these advertisers, you will need which niches have them in abundance. Finance for example is one. Furniture can be another.

To be attractive to private advertisers, your blog needs to have a certain level of PR and traffic. It also has to be look real and not like a spammy site. I am not an expert on this yet but I am learning the ropes. So far, it has been quite productive for me : ).

Total Income: USD1823

Again, not really near my target of 5k but this is a full time income now, especially when you convert it to Singapore dollars, which is around SGD2296.  It is a low income but I know folks who made less than that here in Singapore.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Why you should create personal finance blogs to make money

For those living in Singapore, you realise the industry here always move slower than the US, especially when it comes to Internet Marketing. SEO, for example, is still not widely practiced here. This creates an opportunity for those who want to make money online in Singapore.

Currently, the personal finance blogs are doing pretty well in the US. Most of them made money by selling their page rank to financial companies. The amount per link is actually pretty high, going from 200 to 400 per link if you have a site with high PR. This is not unexpected given that the finance industry is rich and can afford to buy links and push their rankings up.

Now, this is going to happen sooner or later in Singapore. SEO will be more well known and finance institutions will start to hire SEO companies to rank them for lucrative keywords such as mortgage loans, credit cards etc. Being that most SEO companies in Singapore such as Purple Click knows really nuts about SEO, they will go for a link buying spree. When that happens, if you happen to have a few high PR finance blogs for Singapore......

Is selling page rank risky

Of course, selling page rank is a risk. In 2007-08, a bunch of blogs lost their PR overnight because google slaps them all to kingdom come. However, while selling PR is a no no in Googles eyes, the PF blogs are making a killing. I think this can work if you keep your mouth shut about how your blog is making money. Unfortunately, these PF blogs are boasting about how much they are earning with this type of private ads. It might be a matter of time before Google slaps them all to PR0 which will cause their income to disappear overnight.

Finance keywords have high CPC

Even if the above doesn't happen, we all know that adsense clicks for finance terms are super high. Looking at the personal finance blogging landscape in Singapore, I would say the competition is pretty weak. If you start one now and attack the long tails, the chances of you getting traffic will be pretty high, especially if you apply those super duper keyword strategies that I have mentioned on my blog. If you have a good quality personal finance blog, I bet the search traffic will stick around and you will start to become an authority.

A new personal finance blog for Singapore?

This is not a theory. I am so confident that this will happen that I am going to create a PF blog myself for the Singapore market. My focus will likely be extreme retirement i.e. how to retire at an earlier age. I love this topic and I lived my live according to this principle. Writing good quality topics should be easy for me.

What do you think? It is worth to start a PF blog for the Singapore market?