Fridays with Vicky 104
The December results are in.
Verdict: You can make money with Amazon!
When starting this Amazon niche site, I did it because I wanted to see for myself if it was possible to really make money with the Amazon associate program.
I had read about people making a decent income, but most people I came across had a rough time earning.
I thought it would be kind of a fun project to put up a site and monetize it with Amazon and see if I could make some money with it. Allow for you to follow the ups and downs and track the progress here on my itsVicky.com site.
To be honest the starting point of 4% commission didn’t really excite me.
Since the site is built on mostly outsourced content and organic rankings, the progress has been kind of slow, but… Looking at my December statistics and income numbers…
People saying that the holiday shopping is the time of the year to be an Amazon associate are not kidding. Not only did this site have the best month yet. It also helped me personally reach my overall best month yet in 9 years with my affiliate marketing business.
For me, this is a big deal considering how my year started out with a lot of issues and headaches to the extent that I almost threw in the towel.
Today I’m glad I didn’t…
I’m very excited to share the Amazon Case Study Numbers for December with you!!
If you are new to the case study, let me give you a little quick background of the site.
It’s a site focused on sub-niches in the health niche. An evergreen niche that’s lasting. I’m working with 5 sub-niches at this point, a couple of them are established and rank very well, a couple are pretty new and “work in progress”.
One of the established niches is focused on the winter months, which naturally gets a boost this time of year. That combined with the holiday season contribute to the upswing for December.
Let’s look at the numbers for December 2016.
How do I get traffic to the site?
The number 1 way I get traffic to this site is through organic listings ranking in Google and other search engines. Submitting content on a regular basis is really starting to pay off.
November 2016 (Month 21)
- Sessions 17.427
- Users 15.617
- Pageviews 24.552
- Session duration 1.18
December 2016 (Month 22)
- Sessions 22.469
- Users 20.349
- Pageviews 31.101
- Session duration 1.16
The average daily user count went from 400 in October to 520 in November, and up to 656 in December. It will be interesting to see if the user count for January will keep climbing or if this was due to the holiday season.
In the beginning of the year I submitted 2 posts weekly, now I submit 3 posts each and every week. Submitting slightly keyword optimized content on consistent basis works.
It might take some time to get the ball rolling with this method but when it does, there will be a snowball effect like we’ve seen with this site.
Since I outsource most my content, I pay for the content but when it ranks the traffic is free.
A question I get a lot is…
What kind of content rank and convert well?
Looking at rankings in Google and other search engines, well-written content with a purpose that is helpful to the reader rank well. When it comes to converting the visitors to Amazon, in-depth reviews, top 5 or top 10 posts convert really well.
Give the visitor what they are looking for. If they are looking for more information on a specific product, write a well-written objective review, they do convert well.
Since organic listings are my main traffic source, I keep an eye on the rankings and listings. Looking at SEMRush I see an exciting upswing in rankings from November to December.
That’s an increase of over 1000 positions, that’s exciting!!
Gaining 26 top 3 listings is great, I’m very happy with that.
This is a great positive trend jumping from 4.7K keywords to 5.7K, I like it.
The SEMRush tool really does give an easy overlook when it comes to rankings and listings.
When checking the rankings I always check if there is anything going on with Google, if there have been any updates that can cause changes in the rankings.
Google updates December 2016 – UI Style and Font
I don’t think the latest Google update has any impact on the rankings this is more of a facelift for them.
So what are some of the Google changes December 2016?
- They use a new font, Roboto.
- They have increased the size of the Google logo.
- More cards are added.
- The search bar is shadowed.
- Settings and tools (new feature) are now to the right under the search bar.
Case Study Income Report and Sales Result from December 2016
I had high expectations for December after breaking the $1K mark in October and the $2K mark in November. I wasn’t sure though how things would go, I don’t really do a lot of Christmas marketing. I added a couple of posts with Christmas keywords, like “best Christmas gift for…” but that was pretty much it.
What I found though was that people found my site through all the other keywords I rank for and just ordered more. December 2016 is the best month this far for this site and I’m excited to share the income numbers!
- Ordered Items: 1604
- Commission Summary: $4.435.78
- 9 Outsourced articles $54
- 4 Outsourced reviews, (these are longer in-depth articles 1000 words at least) $50
Hosting: $2 This site is on shared hosting, therefore the low cost of hosting Read about my recommended hosting here.
List building: $5 Shared cost with other sites $5 Total Expenses: $111
Total Result December: $4.324.78
Let’s compare 2015 and 2016 income numbers.
- December 2015 -$187.53
- December 2016 – $4.324.78
I like the increase!
Total Result for the Site
- Result Month 1 – 6: $–265.36
- Result Month 6 – 12: $817.13
- Result Month 13-22: $11.824.63
Total result after 22 months: $12.376.4
Monthly Results 2016
Breaking the 1K mark in October, the 2K mark in November and the 4K mark in December… Great progress.
I’m super excited if the site did +$4K this year in December, the sky is the limit when it comes to next year’s holiday season.
Creating and maintaining the site I use some helpful tools, here are a few of my favorites to use and without them, I don’t see that the site would have progressed like it has.
These are some of the tools I depend on:
- Wealthy Affiliate for training and updates (Free and Premium membership)
- BlueHost (starting from $3.95 monthly)
- Jaxxy for keyword research (Free trial)
- WpZoom Theme I use for the site (Premium theme)
- EasyAzon to fast and easy include amazon links on the site (Premium plugin)
- Aweber to collect emails (Premium tool)
- SumoMe (Free and premium for social share)
- Crowdfire for Twitter growth (Free and premium)
- Google Analytics (Free)
- SemRush (Free and Premium)
Don’t underestimate these tools, they have contributed to the great result for this month!
Going Forward, 2017 Will Be Exciting
2017 just started and I’m working on my goals and plans for this site going forward.
Having clear goals is very important, you want to know where you are going. Breaking your big goals down into manageable tasks is the way to reach them.
In January I will be working on my goals and tasks for 2017. I know that continuous content creation, social media, and YouTube will be playing a big role for this site to continue to progress.
As far as content creation I will continue to submit at least 3 posts weekly, I might even bump that up to 4 throughout the year.
I also need to come up with a solid summer sub-niche to balance out the winter niche. It’s great to see the increase during the winter months but would like to keep good numbers and stats throughout the year.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Pinterest will have to be implemented better as well.
I would love to hear your goals and dreams for your site, please share them in the comment section below.
Will this case study site maintain the great stats of December for next month? Don’t miss the update, sign up for the newsletter below…
Looking back at 2016 and the progress for this site. I’m just so happy that I didn’t give up looking at the low numbers in the beginning of the year, I had my doubts, wondered if it was worth it but ending the year with these great numbers makes me very excited about the future.
It proofs that consistency and determination pays off.
If you have a dream of making your first money online or improving the income you currently are making, look at this site at the progress and decide right here and right now to make it happen for you as well.
I know there are plenty of people making a lot more than this site and we’ll get there, but know that there’s no secrets, no hidden buttons to push…
There’s hard work, or outsourced work lol, consistency and a little stubbornness.
Did you miss the related posts in this case study series? Catch up, right here!
I would love to hear from you. Did you have similar results for December? Are you just starting out and have a question? Please share your thoughts and questions below,
Derek Marshall says
I have been keeping my eye on your case study during the past few months and being the number cruncher that I am been figuring out your EPM and Earning per visitor. I find this series highly inspiring and very motivating, especially with me being a semi-newbie and also in the medical niche (year round not seasonal).
I am quite curious to see in an update or future updates what your traffic acquisition is from Organic Search, Social Media and so on in % terms. Unfortunately, my niche is not so social media friendly. But I determined to soldier on and not use PPC (although effective) as I want to move and be hands-free as much as I can as I progress.
Currently Month 12 $200
70% Organic search
1.75 Ave pages per view
just under 2mins average time on site per session.
Monetisation mix of amazon and other affiliate networks.
I’d love to know your thought as to how I am going so far!
Thank you Derek, glad you find it inspirational!
The percentage of visitors from organic search is very high 91%. I know I need to diversify here and add more traffic streams. But like you say I want it to be hands off and outsourced content that gain organic listings has been a slow but good way to get visitors.
Congratulations to your result and income!
I peeked back at the 12 month update for this case study site and had very similar numbers.
Made $327 in commission $260 after expenses month 12.
It sounds like your site is on a similar journey as this case study site, please keep us updated!
Great progress Vicky! I’m truly excited on what’s could be the result for this year’s December? 40k commission maybe =)
On the other hand, what do you think the income for January will be? Since the holiday season is over, for sure there will be a drop in visitors and income.. Keep us updated though. It’s surely very interesting to study customer’s behavior.
Thank you! I’m excited as well for December 2017 🙂 now I have to figure out a way to keep the numbers up for the rest of the year.
There will be a drop in January, but hopefully the final result for January will still be a great one, to early to tell right now.
I am looking for a related niche that can balance out the upswing during the winter months though… we’ll see what I can come up with.
Nanouk | Digital Nomad with Kids says
Very nice results! So good to hear posting new content frequently helps increasing your revenue. I notice that your costs are very low but you outsource all the content writing, right? What’s your secret?
Thank you! Yes consistency is starting to pay off when it comes to organic rankings.
I do try to keep the costs down, no secrets though. I use Upwork to find great affordable writers.
You can read more about how I outsource here.
Hope that helps,
Oh my goodness!! How fun to read this update!! Congratulations Vicky! This is real proof of what can work if you write awesome content and follow the training at Wealthy Affiliate. 🙂 Also proof you can make a lot of money with Amazon! LOL
I have to ask, what do you think is the factor for the snowball effect of your earnings from Oct – Dec besides the Christmas season? I can see that your rankings kept going higher and higher but I don’t see the exponential hike like your earnings.
#2 question, what’s the price range of your products on this site?
You’ll certainly hit $10K/month in 2017 if you keep going like this! I’m so happy for you and this is exact what I want to do too so I’m learning much from you. Thank you for your transparency and letting others learn!
To more successes this year!
When starting out I was curious to find out for myself if you really could make some good money with Amazon using outsourced content… You can 🙂 It has taken some time but I’m very happy with the December result. Now the hard part will be trying to maintain those numbers going forward…
The snowball effect is due to the holiday season and that some of the niches (that rank well in the search engines) are geared towards the winter months. Those keywords are searched more during this period and add to the increase. It will be interesting to see what January can generate, I don’t expect December results but still think the site will do well.
The price range of the products are from $40 and up. One of the newer sub niches I target that’s also an all around year niche is more high end products, that cost $1000+. Just a few of these each month add a nice boost, I’m aiming for daily sales with this niche.
$10K/month with this site would be nice… we’ll get there!
Feel free to share your own numbers and improvements, would love to about it,
Wonderful stuff Vicky!
Great to read through all the steps and these kinds of case studies are really inspirational.
Question regarding outsourcing. I can’t find any decent writers for less than $50 for an 800-word article. Where do you find such cheap outsourcing?
I have tried cheaper writers but I spend so long editing the work I may aswell write them myself! lol!
Thank you Philip!
It does take some work to find good writers, but when you do hold on to them.
I just did a Q and A about outsourcing, you can find it here.
Hope that helps,
Patrick Ginise says
Wow, way to go and congrats! I can’t tell you how much motivation I received from your article. Being only at the three-month mark, it is hard to see the big picture and keep pushing along. It is great to hear success stories that show hard work and determination pay off. I am new to some of the tools you mention that you use. I am especially interested in the SemRush and Aweber tools. Do you think it is too early for me to start using them and would the free versions still make a difference? I am also interested in EasyAzon and have heard good things. What are your thoughts on it? Thanks in advance.
Thank you Patrick,
It’s been kind of a slow growth but December showed some decent results.
SemRush is a great free tool that you can start checking out right away. In the beginning I wouldn’t get too stuck on the stats though. Aweber I’ve been with for years, not sure if they have a free version or not.
EasyAzon has saved me so much time, I’m so happy I found that tool lol. I can highly recommend it. Feel free to check out the review where I go into more detail how it works.
Glad you liked the progress,
First off bravo that is a fantastic way to start the new year! I have been really trying my hardest to keep my costs low for my blog. I do eventually want to have writers working for me but as a beginner to an intermediate blogger, I can’t afford to put more money into my business.
There are so many great services out there for bloggers. I would love to try all of them but if I’m not bringing in more money than I am paying for tools and services, I may as well not have a blog right?
Did you ever struggle with this notion when you were trying to become a successful blogger?
Thanks for sharing your success with us Vicky.
I think we all have our doubts until we get over that bump of earning more than what we spend.
In the beginning I was just like you very frugal with my spendings. But on the other hand I could spend money on a “empty promise” product, if that makes sense, kicking myself that I “fell for it”. I stopped that pretty quickly though.
Today I know where I want to spend my money. I will happily spend money on things that will save me time and make things easier.
Outsourcing was something I did early, as soon as the money started to come in I reinvested in more content and it has paid off.
You have to believe in what you do, invest in things that YOU find helpful and save you time but don’t waste it on things you don’t need.
Hope that helps,
I’ve only just come across your case study am I’m so glad I did. Great results but more importantly a really clear explanation of how you got there. For someone like me who is just starting out I find this really motivational and informative. for me the structure you go through is really useful and something I will follow as I develop my business in 2017.
Thank you and keep up the great work!
Glad you find this case study helpful and inspirational, exactly WHY I created it.
Make sure you come back and share your progress,
This is very impressive. I have not yet made much money with Amazon, as I am facing a particular problem. I have a very international clientel and even it is rather easy to use a plugin to redirect the user to the appropriate Amazon store. However since the products are not always available at all the Amazon stores, direct linking to products becomes almost impossible. Do you have any insights to solving this?
That is an issue if the product is unique and not available. Visitors can always be directed to similar products, using a plugin like EasyAzon, but if you are talking about art for example that’s very unique then it becomes more difficult. Sorry might not be of much help here,
Interesting to note that most of your traffic was through organic searches and not social media. I always though social media would be good around the holiday season so this is good to know.
122 articles in the top 3 of Google is just awesome. Are these all top 3 in Google or a mixture of all the search engines?
Do you prefer to use SEMRush? I use Jaaxy for checking rankings but it only lists Google rankings. Does SEMRush list all search engines?
I think it’s great to see a niche site working with Amazon. I have an account with them too but I can’t seem to make any sales. Still, it’s early days. I look forward to the day when I can write a case study like this one!
I’m sure social media is excellent around the holidays, that’s just not something I’ve been working much with when it comes to this site. Social media takes a lot of time and I want this site to be hands off…
122 keywords in the top is something I will happily take :). Just took a peek and I gain a few more for January. These are for Google, not including other search engines.
If you look back at this case study you can see that it took some time to get traction and some decent sales. If you are using similar methods like content marketing aiming for organic listings, it will take some time BUT to me definitely worth it.
Hey! Nice figures! Well done.
Please i’ld like to know where you hire writers from. What service do you use?
Thank you! I hire all my writers via Upwork (former oDesk) works pretty good.
Congrats Vicky. I did 3k in December, I’m in the kitchen niche.
I would like to know if the products for which you write indepth reviews have google searches, or I should ask if a product don’t have google searches do you write a review?
Thank you and congrats to your success in December!!
Love hearing others succeed!
Not sure if I understand your question. I do reviews on relevant products. I do check my preferred keyword tool to make sure there are some kind of searches but that’s not too important because I usually include my reviews in a “Top list” or “best list” post targeting a little broader keyword.
Hope that answers your question,
Hi, I mean if for your in depth product review you look for products which have google searches, for example if you find a product then you look to see the search volume and then decide to write the review.
If it’s a new product and you don’t have search volume data do you still write the in depth review?
If it fits in with the product group that I’m reviewing then yes. I very seldom just review 1 product from a product group.
Let me give you an example.
Say that I review dog food. Then I’m not too concerned about the search volume for “Kathy’s dog food” or “Dog Food Today”. They can have 10 monthly searches. What I look at is keywords like “best dog food” “what kind of dog food should my dog eat”. Now if they have decent keyword search volume I will go ahead and do the in depth reviews.
Hope that makes sense,
I have on my website like 240 posts, I write articles also on products which even don’t have search volume. I have like 28k UV/month. Maybe I have to rethink and to write for what have google searches.
Vicky, I would like to ask about what kind of instructions you send to the writers for an article. For example if you have to write a “best dog food” article before sending do you create the subtitles and other details like products list which need to be included or just send the keyword and ask the writer to find like 5 products etc. In other words do you do the research for the content before sending it to the writer? Thanks
For my review articles I put together a template of what I want included for that product group. I don’t research the product but I do want certain topics / areas included in my reviews. This can be “benefits of the product”, “how to use the product”, “pros and cons”…
For the general articles I just send the keywords to my writer.
28K UV/month is not bad at all, and you said you made about 3K in December.
Do you promote low ticket items, that generate low commissions or do you not see the conversion that you are looking for?
What is your concern and I might be able to help out,
Congrats on a successful site.
I’d like to ask about your strategy as far as link building is concerned. Any tips on that?
To be honest I don’t spend time on lnikbuilding, I spend time on relationships, social media, engaging… with that comes the backlinks…
How’s your January result? Hope it’s growing alright =)
I’m trying to get some outsourcing done as I’m swamped with work and stuffs right now. It’s hard for me to continue with 1 post every 2 days.
I just wonder how much do you pay for your writers. You put there $50 for 4 review articles, which mean it’s $15 each. For the articles its $54 for 9 articles, so $6 each?
I just posted a job offer at upwork but it seem most of the good guys want more than $50 per article. Mind sharing how you get these cheaper writers to work for you?
Well, I just put the January income report together and … it will posted on Friday 🙂 Exciting stuff for 2017!
I can highly recommend outsourcing some of your content.
I do a Q&A post about outsourcing right here.
The quick answer is know what you want in your writer, be patient finding him or her and hold on to them when you do.
Nice progress! Is this just from one niche site? Imagine if you have 5 of them. That’d be great
Yes one niche site.
I run other sites as well, not monetized with amazon though.
The key is to get the site off the ground to a level where you can “maintain” before starting another site.