Fridays with Vicky 147
In my little corner of the world, October started out warm and sunny but ended kind of cold and rainy. The cooler temperature seemed to work well for the case study site, with increased earnings at the end of the month, coincidence? Maybe. I’m glad to see that the site is continuing to grow, increase in traffic and sales.
This case study site has been a very interesting journey.
When I first started the site it was because I wanted to see if it was possible to make money with a site promoting Amazon products. I also wanted the site to be in an organic niche, I chose health. Maybe the most important aspect for me was that the site is…
Hands off – For me, that means that I don’t have to spend too much time on the site.
To save time I do two main things…
1. Outsource – I outsource most my content writing and that saves me a lot of time. Right now I submit 3 – 4 articles weekly and I have three writers helping me out with content.
2. Use EasyAzon – this is a premium WP plugin that saves time and makes sure I maximize my earnings by getting paid from US, UK, CA and other places around the world. With the push of a button, I can have links to Amazon products inserted within seconds. A true time saver. Read more about EasyAzon here.
Why Do I Share the Numbers and Stats of this Site?
A lot of people enjoy this case study but some have asked why I share the numbers and a lot of the details. There are a few reasons why I chose to share:
1. This is real numbers so that you as a reader can follow along and see the ups and downs of a niche site. If you’ve been reading these case studies for a while you know that there has certainly been great months and some that are not so great.
2. It’s a great way for me to keep track of the numbers and stats of this site for myself. This case study holds me accountable.
This case study site is one of a few sites that I run. Being my own boss, having control of my own time is priceless to me and my family. Actually, right now, when I’m writing this I have my 8-year-old daughter lying next to me. She is home from school with a cold. Luckily, we don’t have to stress too much about the situation, I’m right here when she needs me.
Freedom looks different for all of us, to us it’s been having flexibility, being able to travel and having control of our own time, that’s been important. If you are just starting out and want to set up your own site, you can get started here.
Let’s take a closer look at the case study site and the numbers for October 2017.
Traffic October 2017
- Sessions 20,501
- Users 18,663
- Page views 25,344
- Session duration 48 sec
- Sessions 25,250
- Users 23,098
- Page views 31,586
- Session duration 50 sec
I’m glad to see that we have a bump in traffic. Since the site does have some main sub-niches that are winter month related, it’s pleasing to see that they are pulling in some more traffic in October.
Looking at the top 10 posts and pages that get most traffic, we have an avg. time on page of 3.18. This means that the reader is getting what they are looking for. They are staying and reading the content.
The majority of the traffic comes from organic traffic from the search engines, Google, Yahoo, and Bing. I like keeping an eye on what keywords pull in the traffic, and what posts and pages receive most visitors. For this site, “list” posts work really well. These are the top 5 posts receiving the most traffic.
- Top 5
- 5 Best
- 5 Ways to
- Top 10
- Top 5
There is only one post in the top 10 that’s not list related and that’s a review, taking the 10th spot.
Some of the traffic in October was due to hosting a giveaway that I did together with the independent affiliate program I’m working with. It was a fun experience and I got 1,596 signups, so that was pretty good, for my first giveaway.
You can read more about the giveaway and how to set one up in the post – how to run a successful giveaway.
When depending on organic listings and rankings I like keeping an eye on the ups and downs the site has when it comes to rankings. I use SemRush a great tool to see the statistics.
Using SemRush we can tell that the site gained some keyword rankings in October, I like that.
We lost some and we gained some keyword rankings, it’s all part of online presence.
Hopefully, the positive trend will stay throughout the winter months.
Case Study Income Report and Sales Result October 2017
Before we get into the earnings I wanted to mention the Amazon commission change and how it is affecting the site.
Earlier this year Amazon changed their commission structure from increased percentage earnings depending on how many items sold, to a set percentage depending on category. In the past the more items you “sold” the higher commission you would earn. Today it depends on what category you promote, different categories pay out different commissions.
Now when we are starting to get some more sales volume due to the colder months, I can definitely tell that the changed Amazon commission is putting a dent in the earnings…
The revenue of sold items this October was similar to last year, in fact, the site did $300 more, totaling an Amazon revenue of $20K + BUT the commission I earned was $500 less than last year, sadly the new commission structure from Amazon is NOT working in my favor.
I’m glad I added the new independent program. It’s showing some decent numbers and I’m excited to see what it can lead to in November and December.
October 2017 Earned Commission
- Amazon – 625 sales $1,081.72
- Affiliate program 1 – 12 sales $885.22
- Total Ordered Items: 637
- Total Commission: $1,966.94
To make a “fair” comparison I like to see earnings per 1000 visitors to the site. That gives us a good number based on traffic to the site and how much that traffic generates in earnings. A good number that we can compare, from month to month but also to other sites and projects.
- Dec $217.98 / 1000 visitors
- Jan $139.96 / 1000 visitors
- Feb $128.6 / 1000 visitors
- March $93.68 / 1000 visitors
- April $92.04 / 1000 visitors
- May $157.23 / 1000 visitors
- June $81.75 / 1000 visitors
- July $93.77 / 1000 visitors
- August $65.05 / 1000 visitors
- September $78.07 / 1000 visitors
- October $85.15 / 1000 visitors
If we compare that $85 to last year’s number of $123 it’s a lot lower. This is something I definitely have to look into, is the quality of traffic not as good? The lowered Amazon commission does play a role but on the other hand, the commission from my other affiliate program is better…
One thing that could have impacted that number is that I was doing the giveaway that did attract some visitors that did not convert into earnings.
- 9 Outsourced articles ($7 each) $63
- 4 Outsourced reviews, (these are longer in-depth articles 1000 words at least, $12.5 each) $50
This site is on shared hosting, there for the low cost.
This is the hosting I suggest if you are new.
BlueHost Review – Top Notch Domain and Hosting Under the Same Roof
Aweber list building shared cost with other sites $5
I started to play around with some ads in Bing. Since the independent affiliate program offers high ticket items and the commission is pretty good, I thought I would give it a try.
I have to come up with a better way to track things though. If you have a good way to track conversions and sales when using PPC please let me know. The program does not offer any tracking IDs.
I took a new post that was not yet ranked in the search engines and put up some ads for it.
- Bing ads spent $62.98.
- I believe I made 3 sales and $155.65 on those ads.
This is a pretty good result but I need to find a more accurate way to track things. Now when the post is ranked in the search engines I can’t be sure that the sales are coming from the paid ads…
This is definitely an avenue I’m interested in going down and will be doing more research around tracking systems.
Total Expenses: $182.98
Total Result October: $1,783.96
If we compare that to last years numbers we have a slight increase.
- October 2016 – $1,411.70
- October 2017 – $1,783.96
Total Result for the Site
- Result Month 1 – 6: $–265.36
- Result Month 6 – 12: $817.13
- Result Year 2: $15,767.08
- Result Year 3, 8M in: $11,201.59
Total earnings for 2017 this far $15,745.39. Not the 100K we were hoping for but still not bad for a pretty hands-off site.
A lot goes into a site and I’m forever grateful for these helpful tools…
- 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)
These tools are awesome, saves me time and help me maximize earnings.
Follow the Journey of this Case Study Site, November and December Should be Good Months – Sign Up for the Newsletter…
Do you want to start your own blog or website? Check out my beginners guide to get started.
If you missed some of the old case study posts, feel free to catch up right here!
To a fabulous November!
I just got sooo much from this post it’s amazing. So much so that I signed up for your newsletter and bookmarked your page! LOL. Thank you for the tip on the amazon plugin. And honestly your case for was really an inspiration for me! Explaining what goes into each site was very helpful as well! I probably don’t have to say it but keep up the great work!
I’m glad you enjoyed the post and signed up for the newsletter!
It’s been a great journey with this site and I’m excited to see what it can do the next couple of months.
The plugin has been a great help for sure, a time saver!
Come back anytime 🙂
Thank you I will 🙂
Nate Kidd says
Your income report is very inspiring. To see the process you continue to make month after month gives me hope of being able to do the same.
I especially thank you for sharing the tools you are using to assist you in saving time as you build your business.
Glad you found the case study inspiring. It has been a fun journey with this site and I’m looking forward to the holiday season, hopefully, it can bring in some good money for the site.
As online marketers we want to do things more effective… tools can be a great help!
Thank you for this detailed analysis of your affiliate blog income, costs, and comparison to prior years. As I’m just starting out in affiliate marketing, and only starting to turn a profit, it’s helpful to see where others are in their journey a little later in. In some ways it’s a good thing I never got to experience the “glory days” of the old Amazon fee structure!
Lol maybe that is a good thing that you didn’t experience the “glory days” of the Amazon commission.
Well, that is one thing for sure in this industry, things are constantly changing. There are alternatives out there though, so don’t ignore the other affiliate program alternatives.
Thanks for stopping by,
October was also a difficult for may website, I did more then last year but too less compared with the traffic I have now.(even August was a great month).
The conversion rate was under 7% and the products ordered 30% down towards September.
40k UV/60k views/2200 usd/kitchen niche
I can’t find the post about how to run a successful giveaway.
You have some good traffic, congratulations!
Just realize that the giveaway post will not be up until next week, I’ll add in the link then. Sorry about that.
Great site! I will be back to see how November and December shape up. I am new to this online money making thing and trying to gather all the info I can. These stats are a bit of a insight into what direction I should be aiming as there are so many different way to make money online. This was very helpful Thank you.
Glad you found it helpful Jason! Yes, there are for sure many directions to go with online marketing. Sometimes you have to try a few different avenues before you find what really works for you.
This is a very helpful post, which I was very into, so I’ve bookmarked it 🙂
I just started our blog, but I’m struggling to increase the web traffic.
Any advice that you can share with a newbie? For e.g. When did you start outsourcing?
Glad you liked the post Marco,
There are many different routes to take when it comes to getting traffic to your site.
I like the slow and steady, providing great seo friendly content that ranks well in the search engines. Over time the traffic will grow.
Take a look at this post, for more tips and advice on traffic: 16 Ways to Increase Traffic
I’ve been following your Amazon case study for quite some time (thanks for the e-mail updates I receive from you), and I decided to create a new Amazon-affiliate niche website too.
Right before I created this website, I’ve been told that it is best to focus on “best of lists”, which you confirmed in this article too. Here is my question – you said that your top 5 posts receive most traffic – what is the amount of words that of those articles?
Also you said that you are in health niche, but how competitive is your niche in general? I am getting into electronics, so it’s just in my hopes that the best of lists work out well.
And finally, you outsource your content, but I am not yet at this stage yet so I do the work myself. What amount of posts would you recommend me to write per week? Also, I don’t plan on having an “About Me” page, is that OK for that kind of website?
By the way, despite the Amazon commission changes, your stats still look great! Most people online dream of making that kind of money online (including myself haha).
Thank you in advance,
Great questions thank you.
For the top lists that I outsource now, I usually go with 2,000+ words.
Here’s a more in-depth article, How long should your blog post be?
When it comes to competition and competitive niches it’s important to drill down and find a sub-niche that’s not too competitive. So if you go into the tech niche, find sub-niches to dive into, drill down and find the low hanging fruit. So say that you have a site about microphones, then I would do keyword research around that… maybe “Top 5 microphones for gamers” would be a good one. I would write a 2K+ article and then point to in-depth reviews about each microphone. Hope that makes sense.
As far as how many weekly posts for you to write I would say as many as you can commit to on a regular basis… Personally, I like staying ahead of the game. With most my sites I’m ahead 2-3 months, content that is created in November for the case study site is submitted and goes live in January/ February. If you like that set up I would write as much quality content as you can and maybe just have one post go live weekly until you have enough content to stay ahead of the game. When you are at that point, start submitting two posts weekly… Work yourself up…
I would probably still do an “about the site” page or “about us” where you share how the site came about.
Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions,
One thing that I haven’t seen so far in these case study’s is the click through rate from your organic traffic to Amazon (Usually people post screenshots of there Amazon Associate Dashboard for the month). What has been your average CTR pre and post commission structure change?
A few different reasons to why I don’t post the actual screenshots from Amazon… according to their rules there are certain numbers you are not supposed to display. Anyway, I assumed you meant conversions on Amazon clicks vs. sales, last year was around 12%, this year so far around 11%, could be a possible bump in that number with the holiday season around the corner.
Thanks for the quick reply! I currently have an affiliate site I’m building and trying to gauge if my current CTR is good (9% at the moment). I’m shooting for it to get better so I can better utilize the traffic and possible clicks I already have before building out the site more.
9% sounds pretty good, targeted traffic for sure.
There is no mention of backlinks from other websites to your amazon website for search ranking improvement.
Do you just focus on quality content and on-page seo and not on building backlinks?
Yes, that’s correct, the backlinks will come naturally. I know that’s a controversial topic and many will say that backlinks are crucial. I have chosen to focus on other areas, which might take longer to get traction but I also know that the site is “all natural” backlinks and all 🙂
Hi Vicky. We can set up a “goal” in google analytics to track all outbound clicks to a specific affiliate site. That way, you can track the traffic coming from bing to the affiliate site in analytics.
By the way, just wondering if you’re doing the ads for your independent program or amazon? I tried ppc once for my amzn affiliate site but it turns out the low returns from commissions cannot even break even with the ppc cost.
Another thing, do you encounter any error with easyazon? Mine seems to stop functioning and I can’t even search for any product. Already raised a support ticket with them but still no reply after 1 1/2 day.
Yes, but I have no way to see if that traffic is turning into a sale… the sale could be from traffic generated organically…
I was doing it for the independent site, with higher commissions. I was thinking the same thing the commission at Amazon is to low, but the independent program it is worth it… Just want a reliable way to track the sales…
Hmmm, It might be a browser issue, do you have ad block on your browser? That might stop it from loading. I use both Safari and Chrome, certain things just work better in certain browsers. See if that works, if not let me know and I’ll see if I can push from my end to help you get an answer.
Looks like I need to follow you by finding an independent program =)
Easyazon support just replied saying it’s because of some changes in Amazon policy regarding the API and I need to do something within Amazon Web Service site. Do you encounter anything like this before?
🙂 it did pretty well in November.
I have not had that issue before. Hmmm do you need to change any of the links you have added or is this for submitting new links back to Amazon?
I just used EasyAzon and it seemed to work like it should for me… That’s strange though if it’s an Amazon policy thing… Where are you located?
I did the API key thing again and it works fine. I believe there is a problem with the plugin.
When I click easyazon button in wordpress, the search box appears. But when i put some product or ASIN no to search, easyazon returns “0” and a blank white box. Then, the plugin does not work at all.
I’ve checked and made sure the plugin is updated. Can you please help to push from your end?
Sadly, Easyazon support is less than satisfactory and they always replied 2 days after a complain was made. Not to mention closing the support ticket even before I acknowledge the problem was solved….
Sorry to hear you are still having issues Isaac, I will send them a message hopefully they will get back with you. They used to be very good at that…
Belinda from EasyAzon got back with me Isaac with the following message…
We’re in touch with Isaac and on the verge of resolving his issue.
Will keep you posted once the issue is resolved.
Is the issue fixed?