First entry

TL;DR: Trying to make money via the Amazon Affiliate model.

  • Picked consumer tech reviews in Spanish as a niche.
  • Built the site on WordPress.
  • Published 3 posts on drones, smartwatches, and e-readers.
  • Built 5 links to the drones post via guest blogging.

This will probably be the longest log entry of all. I started a side project about two months ago, so this first post will explain what my side project is (in broad strokes) and what I’ve done to date (as best as I can recall.)

If you want to know why I’m doing this – no, not the side project, but why I’m documenting all of this – I’ll write about it a little later.

What is the side project?

About three months ago, I started listening to The Tropical MBA Podcast and came across an episode on how some entrepreneurs have managed to build “generational wealth” (that is, wealth that would usually take a lifetime to build) by leveraging the Amazon Affiliates program.

So I decided to create a blog for the sole purpose of monetizing it via the Amazon Affiliates model.

It wasn’t really what was discussed during the interview (private blog networks, flipping websites, etc) what made me want to do it. I thought it was just a cool way to learn more about SEO.

Here’s how the model works:

  1. Find a niche product category with a decent volume of organic monthly searches (like “sweaters for dogs” or “mustache combs“)
  2. Write a review of the best products in that category (that are sold through Amazon)
  3. Use affiliate links to link to the reviewed products on Amazon
  4. Optimize the review for “the best [category name]” and get paid for product sales generated via your site

There’s really no big overarching purpose behind this project. I’m doing this to see if I’m able to create value (income) from scratch.

I won’t link to my affiliate site to avoid contaminating the traffic data with referrals from this blog.

What’s my progress to date?

Not as much as I would like, tbh.

Picking a topic

I started by doing some research to determine if there were product categories that would not be mind-numbingly boring to work on and that would be financially attractive.

Consumer technology was the first thing I thought about: I like gadgets (it could be fun to create a blog about them), tons of other people also do (there is search volume), and they are typically expensive (the commissions from the sales can add up to a reasonable amount.)

Unsurprisingly, I was not the first to notice this obvious opportunity.

Huge authoritative websites like CNET, PCMag, and BestProducts already dominated the results.

Not good.

Although large sites are not invincible, it would take longer than I’d like to outrank them.

However, there wasn’t as much competition in for the same categories and queries in Spanish (my native language.) The search volumes were not as attractive, but good enough.

So that’s what I’ll go after.

Building the site

Pretty straightforward.

Built with WordPress.

I used the Get Leads theme. Although I messed up in picking a theme based on looks and not SEO-friendliness. I had to spend some time making changes to the templates to fix some dumb issues like duplicate h1 tags on blog post pages.

Creating the content

In order to rank for these queries, I need more than filler content. I should publish high-quality, honest, and comprehensive reviews that could truly help people make a purchase decision.

I have a full-time job, so it would take me too long to do all the research and writing myself. I hired a couple of freelancers to help me get these done.

I gave the freelancers very detailed instructions on how to write the reviews but did not mention the need to perform any kind of SEO on the articles – I’d rather they focus on creating good content.

To date, I have 3 articles posted on my site targeting the following categories:

  • Drones
  • Smartwatches
  • Ereaders

I’ve found it super annoying and time-consuming to upload the posts to WordPress. Wordable didn’t work as well as I had hoped for, so I’ll have to figure something out.

Validating the hypothesis

I wanted to see if people would buy on Amazon after searching for the keywords I’m targeting and reading my content, so I spent some money on paid search to validate my hypothesis. After a few days, I drove traffic to Amazon and generated a sale.

This gave me validation, but I turned off ads because the cost of acquisition was considerably higher than the revenue generated.

Not a big deal. As I said, this is an SEO play.

Building links

I started with the obvious ones. I linked to my new site from my existing websites using keyword-rich anchor text. Not much juice to be expected there though: I don’t really update any of those sites and I use the same hosting service for all of them. But it’s worth it to do it anyway.

I’ve also guest posted on 5 different sites:

  • Four of them linking to my drones post with keyword-rich anchor text in sites with the following domain ratings (from ahrefs): 48, 48, 46, and 45.
  • One post linking to my affiliate site’s homepage with branded anchor text in a site with a domain rating of 40.