Niche Website Update 14 – Creating an Amazon Niche Site and $439 in Passive Income!

Niche WebsiteFor a while I’ve been talking about it.

And soon talk will become a reality!

I’m starting off 2014 with the creation of my latest niche website; which we’ll dub NS4.

This one is going to be slightly different than the rest.  How?  Instead of relying on Google Adsense for revenue, we’ll use Amazon to monetize it!

There will be plenty to discuss on this.  So let’s jump right into it.


New Amazon Niche Site Q&A:

Because of how much thought and strategy is going to go into the development of this website, I thought it would be best to explain my thought process in the form of a Q&A.  Hopefully I answer one of the questions you had about it:


What will the new site be about?

That’s another really cool part about this project!  This will be my first website that is NOT going to be related to personal finance.

So what will the topic of the new site be?

Playing music!

That’s right.  I love playing music.  The guitar is what I mainly play, but I also enjoy the bass, drums, and even a little singing.  In fact if you’d like to hear a few of the songs I’ve written and recorded, you can sample a few of my mp3’s at the end of this post here.

So why did I decide that my next niche website project should revolve around music instead of personal finance?

To put it simply:

I wanted to be enthusiastic about this project.

I think sometimes niche sites get a nasty reputation for being these cold, calculated cyborg-like creations who’s only mission in life is to make more money.

While I wouldn’t say I’ve necessarily done that with any of my previous projects, I do feel like in some instances I could have selected a topic that I was more excited about.  This was especially true in NS3, and I think the huge disappoint in results for that website shows it.

Even though these projects are supposed to make money, they’re also supposed to be fun.  When the site or content becomes too monotonous or boring, that’s when you start to lose your steam for the project.

It is my belief that if you really want something to be successful, you have to be passionate about it.  So therefore, I intentionally picked a topic that I know I’ll enjoy writing and promoting.


How will the site be monetized?

As I’ve already mentioned, the other big difference between this latest creation and my previous niche websites is that it will use Amazon for revenue rather Google Adsense.

Long before NS4 was even a twinkle in my eye, I said to myself “I WILL build a website that uses Amazon for monetization”.  Having 3 sites so far that are completely dependent on Google and Adsense income is not what I would consider to be a very diversified income source.

The progress of the public niche site follow-along series on Niche Pursuits in 2013 was especially encouraging.  Both Spencer and Perrin made a killing using Amazon in what seems like only a matter months after they were up and running.  To not use Amazon in the same way would feel like I was just leaving money on the table.

Believe it or not, that was also another motivator to choose a topic having to do with music.

Why?  Because musical products sell very well on Amazon.

That’s right – When designing how this project would go, I purposely wanted to choose something that would convert well and high.  The two are related.  There’s no point in selling a product for $1 unless I expect to get one million visitors per month.  Likewise, the higher the price of the product I sell, the lower the volume in traffic I need to attract.  But if I do get some decent traffic, then the larger my chances of earning a decent commission.

Let’s go through an earnings projection example:

  • The average price of the product I’m looking to promote is $300
  • Let’s assume I get 3,000 visitors per month (or 100 per day)
  • Let’s also assume that 1% of those visitors actually click on one of the products I’m promoting and buy something
  • Amazon starts out paying a 4% commission.  As you sell more products the payout increases.   But for this basic example, let’s just use 4%.

So putting that altogether, each month I could anticipate an earning potential of:

$300 x 3,000 x 0.01 x 0.04 = $360/month

That’s not too bad!  Especially when you consider that those were pretty modest assumptions.


What will my expenses for this project be?

This is the beautiful part of this project.  I anticipate my expenses to be very, very low.  Under $50 in fact.  Here are the details:

  • The domain name and privacy cost around $26.
  • Logo – I spent $5 on Fiverr to get a professional logo.
  • Hosting – No additional cost since I can share hosting on my iPage account.
  • Website Theme – Again, no additional cost.  I can use my Genesis theme as many times as I want.
  • Keywords –I use Long Tail Pro Platinum to research keywords for all my websites, so no additional cost here.
  • Content – Unlike my previous projects, I plan to write the content by myself for at least the first 10-20 articles or so.  I consider myself to very knowledgeable on the material and I’m actually a little happy to write about something other than money for a change!  This may change if the site gets more popular or brings in some income that I can invest back into the project.
  • Link building – I use two VA’s for social media and comments, but I use them over a spread of all my websites.  So the incremental cost to allocate some of their effort to this one will be pretty minimal.  I may add an additional hour or two with the sole focus of building links to this site.  But that extra cost should be pretty slim (less than $5 per week)

Why am I taking things so slow?

I’m still feeling the burn of failure with NS3.  We spent $266 on that project, and now there are pretty low chances that it will ever produce a return.

So for this round, I think it will be wise to take a slightly more cautious approach.  NS1 and NS2 were churning a profit long before I sunk any additional expense into either project.  For this one I will plan to return back to that model and do the same.  Once NS4 makes its first $100, we’ll see about outsourcing more articles, etc.


What if this website is a flop too?

No worries.  That’s why I’m taking a more cautious approach before I go sinking a lot of money into it before it’s up and running.


Where will I find links?  

Good question!

I know plenty of personal finance bloggers, but no “music” bloggers.  So my outreach program won’t really work here.

However, in general I feel that as long as I’m targeting a low competition keyword and using the basic white-hat techniques of internal linking, SEO, blog comments, and social media links, things should be all good.  If I need to take it up a notch, I may consider doing some guest posts or outreach.


What kind of keyword volume will I be looking for?

The main keyword I’ve selected has a search volume of about 1,600 per month.  While that’s not really that high, the competition for it was really low – and that was more critical for me.  I’ve learned that most of your traffic comes from your sub-pages anyways, so I’m fine to use lower search volume phrases.

My supporting keywords will be anything above 100 with a keyword competition (KC) score of 35 or less.


Will the website name be an exact match domain?

Nope.  This time I’ve purposely selected a website name that is more “brandable”.  That means it will be memorable and catchy as opposed to the older tactic of [my keyword] + HQ or something generic like that.

Brandable domains to more in line with the latest Google algorithms.  A lot of hardcore SEO enthusiasts are warning that websites with your exact keyword inside of the name make you easy targets for Google penalties.


Will the writing be any different?

I’ve got to say that writing a promotional piece for a product is quite a bit of a different animal than what I’m used to.

In the past I used to write credit card or banking reviews on My Money Design.  But then I got away from it because they were super lame (even though it was probably just my writing that was lame).  I became comfortable writing more “informational” or “story” type posts – and that’s really all I’ve stuck to since then.

Now I have to get uncomfortable again and get good at making my reviews really affective.


Is the site up and ready yet?

Unfortunately, no.

I have the domain.  I have a few pages of content.  I even have a logo.  But I still need to put it all together.

I’ll be honest – it’s been a slow moving process.  January was a bear at work, and the long commutes everyday to/from work with the Polar Vortex effects have really eaten into the amount of time I have available to devote to this project.

But slow as it is, the project will move forward!   Before next update, the site will be up and running.


Niche Website Income Report – January 2014:

Niche Website

So for my existing niche sites, revenue was a little lower this month than usual.

Unfortunately there were no private advertising deals or anything like that.  Just straight Adsense.  I do expect that to change in February as I have a few conversations going with multiple contacts right now.

To make matters worse, the recent Google updates sort of flustered my traffic patterns.  I didn’t really seem to see the same levels of traffic as I was seeing in December.  However, I’m just glad they didn’t disappear completely.

Now you can see why I’m urging myself to diversify the income sources for these websites!


What’s new with my existing niche sites?

To be honest, not a lot.

  • NS1 continues to post one new article per week.  That is scheduled to end by late February.
  • NS2 is idle.
  • NS3 is idle and pretty much dead – it’s Google rankings unfortunately fell off into the +500’s

My VA continues to build a small amount of social media links to these sites.

One new thing I am trying:

To help build the authority of these sites as well as My Money Design, I am aggressively writing and submitting guest posts to my fellow bloggers.

Now for anyone who wants to point out the latest discouragement from Matt Cutts regarding guest blogging, let’s clear something up: Guest posting is not dead!  In fact, it’s still alive and well if you do it the right way – the way it was intended.

Matt Cutt’s comments were targeting low quality, payment for link guest posts.  My campaign is not that at all.

My posts that I will be giving away to my blogging friends will be high quality, SEO structured content that I would easily use on my own site.  I think this is a very fair trade.

So far it is too early to tell if the effort has produced any actual benefit.  But I have nothing but confidence that it will be beneficial for everyone involved.


Readers – What are your new money-making projects for 2014?


Previous Niche Site Chapters:

  1. Starting the Next of My Extra Income Ideas – Building a Niche Website
  2. Niche Website Project Part 2 – The Unveiling
  3. Building My Money Earning Sites – Niche Website Update Part 3
  4. Building My Money Earning Sites – Niche Website Update Part 4
  5. Building My Money Earning Sites – Niche Website Update Part 5
  6. Building My Money Earning Sites – Niche Website Update Part 6
  7. Niche Website Update 7 – Site Number 2 Launched!
  8. Niche Website Update 8 – NS2 on the First Page Search Results Already!
  9. Niche Website Update 9 – Criticisms of My Second Niche Site
  10. Niche Website Update 10 – NS3 is a Failure (So Far) and I’m Glad
  11. Niche Website Update 11 – Doubling the Size of NS1 and NS2
  12. Niche Website Update 12 – Getting Click-Bombed and Over $600 of Passive Income!
  13. Niche Website Update 13 – NS3 May Be Lost But We Still Made $933 in Passive Income!

Image courtesy of


    • says

      That’s not a bad way to start a new site, although you do still have to be careful. Sometimes you’ll buy a site and it will be nothing more than +100 poorly written articles. Other times you’ll get one that is a true diamond in the rough. For less than $100, I’d say give it a spin of the wheel!

    • says

      Perhaps not. Much like your site, My Money Design used to cover a wide range of topics and themes. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it didn’t covert well into income. It wasn’t until I started NS1 (a website about retirement savings) where the traffic was specifically looking for this information and the ads were very targeted towards this audience. Hence why the Adsense does so much better on that site than my others.

  1. says

    I love the idea of niche sites, and it really seems like you’re doing some good planning here. However, very few niche sites succeed. Why? Because passion creates results. As you know, content is king, being passionate through your content leads to links, return traffic and more. Putting up a niche site about something you don’t know about usually doesn’t work very well. But, you said you’re knowledgeable, now the question is, are you passionate about the music and how will you turn that passion into exceptional content leading to dollars? From reading this though, I think you’re on the right track.
    JRod @ recently posted..Stock Markets Are Down, What We Should Learn From ItMy Profile

    • says

      Time will tell! I’ve got the drive to build this niche website, but we’ll see if the search engines bless me with enough traffic to make it a success.

  2. says

    That sounds really fun. I actually went to Amazon to sign up to be an affiliate and found out that Colorado does not allow that, so it was a bummer for sure. If I was smarter and more motivated, I would start a macular degeneration web site, but I have no idea if that could be profitable. I did start a new online job as a content editor for a health website, which I guess is my new side hustle for 2014.
    Kim recently posted..Don’t Be Happy With Average When It Comes To RetirementMy Profile

    • says

      [macular degeneration] scored a KC of 61 in Long Tail Pro. Translation: Don’t even waste your time trying to build a website! Besides, the content editor for a health website sounds pretty cool. How did you get setup with that?

      • says

        I’m actually more of a person who says what goes to the editor, although, maybe I’ll work my way up someday. The company I write for asked me if I was interested. You have to have at least a master’s degree in the required field to qualify, so I think there probably aren’t that many of us willing to do it. The work from home concept is not that big in the health care provider industry, but I love it, so more for me!
        Kim recently posted..myRA, What Is It And Can It Work?My Profile

  3. says

    Solid month! $439 is nothing to sneeze at, that is for sure! I read and really enjoyed Spencer and Perrin’s case study, so I am excited to see how this project goes for you. Currently my niche site efforts are targeted for adsense income, but as you say, that makes me a bit uneasy too. I am looking forward to hearing about NS4!
    Jon @ Our Fine Adventure recently posted..January 2014 Financial UpdateMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks Jon. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes for me too. Believe me: Even though I’m changing gears with this project going after Amazon, I’m still not going to stop until I’m raking in at least +$1,000 per month.

  4. says

    I love that you are trying something new even though the last one didn’t go so well. I think sometimes you have to throw something to the wall to see if it sticks. I definitely think that the more you are interested in the subject, the more fun it becomes. I’ve yet to take full advantage of affiliates, so I’m impressed with people who can do well with that. Good luck!

    • says

      That’s definitely the way to go about it. You can plan and strategize all you want about making extra money. But until you get your hands dirty and see if you know what you’re really doing, you’ll never know.

    • says

      I get the same feeling when I read about other people’s online business ventures. It’s really encouraging to see it working for someone else, and it gives me hope that I can accomplish the same thing as well.

  5. says

    What I find interesting is that your Page Authority and Domain Authority stats went down on all of your sites – even the one you were adding content to. I wonder if that had anything to do with the recent Google update(s)? These so-called updates didn’t affect any of my sites negatively at all. In fact, I had my best Adsense month ever in January.

    Can’t wait to hear more about your Amazon site. Mine is mostly done now and already started to rank for some keywords in Google – nowhere near the first page yet though. All I’ve got left to do is some specific product review posts and create one of those nifty charts.

    I enjoy reading your monthly progress reports on this topic and can’t wait to see next months. Good luck with everything!
    Matthew Allen recently posted..Building a Niche Site on a Bad Domain – And How I Fixed ItMy Profile

    • says

      Funny, isn’t it? Those stats have been fluctuating for a few months now. While I’d expect them to go up as more content gets added, I’m sure things happening in the background like my back-links and anchor text are probably affecting the overall profile. On the subject of the Google update, the only thing I noticed was a decrease in Adsense income. But that’s okay because February seems to be picking right back up.

      That’s great to hear about your new site Matt. Hopefully this is the year we both rake it in from Amazon! I’ll be anxious to read anything you have to share about your experiences thus far on your blog.

    • says

      Thanks Josh. I’m seeing about 300 to 600 visitors per day to NS1 and NS2. Not too bad for all 100% organic search engine traffic! NS3 is unfortunately pretty sad.

  6. says

    Very interesting!! I’ve actually been thinking about building a couple niche sites myself using Amazon. I don’t make a ton from Amazon now, but I feel like the more links and more info out there the higher that income would rise. You might have just inspired me to stop thinking about it and just do it!
    Fig @ Figuring Money Out recently posted..Online Income Update January 2013My Profile

    • says

      Thanks EL. I have considered revealing the name NS4 since it is not an Amazon site and the risk is relatively low for it. However I would like to make sure the site gets off the ground and ranking first before I reveal anything at all.

  7. says

    I love making Niche sites and I am glad to see you trying something a little outside of your comfort zone with Amazon.

    I think Spencer’s site has a great template for success, however I think the way they went about site 2 (a penny shaved) was probably better than number 1 as like you, they went for the brandable approach, which seems to be what Google likes these days.
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..To Buy or Not to Buy (Presents) That is the QuestionMy Profile

    • says

      It’s funny how fast certain website building techniques get outdated. A lot of the techniques that worked in the first niche site Spencer did would not even fly now, and that was only a year ago. A Penny Shaved was a great follow-along and the tips were very actionable.

  8. Kay @ Green Money Stream says

    I’m looking forward to following your progress with the new NS. It’s something I would love to try, but I have to wait until the time is right. Just too much going on right now.

  9. says

    This should be an interesting one to follow! I have a few Amazon affiliate links dotted around my blogs but the revenue I see from them is quite unpredictable. It’s probably because (a) I don’t really focus on Amazon and (b) I promote higher ticket items.

    So I might not see any sales for weeks and then suddenly land a $500+ sale in a single day.

    It’s definitely something I’d like to focus more on though – especially after the latest case study over at :-)


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