Alright, I'll admit it, an 1,800% increase in affiliate income does sound like the stuff of total fantasy.
In fact, it almost even looks like the click bait put out there by fake marketing gurus to get you to buy into their deadline-pressured, expensive programs.
But Dom Wells isn't a faked-out marketing guru.
He's one of our beloved NicheHacks community members who started out as a total newbie a few years ago, and stumbled onto Amazon affiliate success with one particular site by some lucky trial and error...
...and he was kind enough to recount that trail and error process to us for the rest of the NicheHacks community to learn from.
The site we're talking about is LuxuryShaves.com, a niche Dom thought he'd try out after realizing that the products (check out the 50 red hot products you can make money from Amazon with) and accessories were fairly expensive, and that had lower competition than other shaving niches. (like electric razors)
For a long, sad time, Luxury Shaves was only making around $50 per month in Amazon income, but now Dom's raking in around $1,000 per month, and even expects it to spike up to $2,000 per month during the upcoming holiday season.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1244 expensive Amazon products click here or the image below)
What You’ll Learn:
- The metrics & signs Dom looked at to know he was onto a great niche site idea
- How Dom initially grew his site (& what he wishes he'd done differently)
- Dom’s traffic numbers & how they translated to Amazon sales (and what they mean for you)
- Exactly how Dom grew his rankings and how you can too
- The one upgrade Dom used to drastically increase his sales overnight that can work for anyone
- Dom’s advice to anyone else who wants to scale their Amazon income
Latching on To the Right Clues... But Almost Giving Up Anyway
Rather than doing hours upon hours of research to determine if the luxury shaving niche would be worth his while, Dom only looked at two things to decide if he should give it a go:
- Keyword data
- Page one results
First, he saw that there was less keyword competition for the keywords associated with this old-school style of shaving as compared to electric shavers, which was promising for a beginner wanting to break into a niche.
Second, when he did searches for those keywords, he saw that there were a lot of forums on the page one results.
“Usually when you see forums on page one,” he says, “it’s a good sign that you can rank an affiliate site there.”
So, he went at it.
He set up his site and worked away writing two to three posts per week and sharing them on social media.
“I thought all I had to do was keep posting and that would be that,” he said in our interview. “I was kind of discouraged by the fact that I didn’t have great rankings.”
But he quickly realized that content alone wasn't going to make all of his niche site dreams come true.
For the first two to three months of the site's life, the sales were rare and sporadic.
One month might see three sales, while the next month didn't have any.
And even though Dom was up to 1,000 unique visits per month, the traffic wasn't converting the way he knew it should... so after six months of the site, he kind of abandoned it and stopped writing new material because he didn't see it getting any traction.
He’d more or less given up on working hard on the site when one day in November 2013 he checked his Amazon account and saw that he was doing $10 a day in revenues from sales from his new site. (Way more significant than the three sales per month from before.)
He didn’t really know where it was coming from, but he did know it was time to get back on board with this site to maximize its earning potential.
"Whoever said that you need to keep adding fresh content to your site was missing one of the key points about how Google ranks content," he said in his post about how he increased his site traffic. "Yes, freshness is important, and even more so are links."
Getting Those Links & Growing Rankings for More Traffic
"I was taught (perhaps wrongly) to ignore outreach techniques, to not bother with link building, and to just focus on adding more and more content," says Dom.
It's a common thing most niche site beginners do, truth be told.
So ironically, to grow his rankings, he actually stopped posting completely. In 2014, he only put up four new posts, and one of those was solely there as an experiment in gaining more links.
Instead, he focused solely on link building and saw his traffic explode by more than 500%. (From 1,000 to 5,500 visits per month.)
He’s got a super in-depth report on exactly how he did it, but to some it up:
- Writing guest posts on PBNs
- Paying for services from The Hoth
- Writing a Skyscraper post for networking
1. Guest Posting on PBNs
PBNs = private blog networks
Basically, the only difference in using a PBN and reaching out in a more organic manner for guest posting is that with a PBN, you pay a fee so you get guaranteed acceptance... and some PBN services will even produce the content for you. You also know that the back link you're paying for will be hosted on a reputable site, sending good signals to Google.
Dom used this to create only three links back to Luxury Shaves, but those three links got the work done. In fact, one of his pages bounced up from page four to going back and forth between page one and two of search results... after only three weeks.
Side note: Using PBNs is a somewhat questionable approach to link-building SEO, so you've got to be careful with it and understand the risks. For example, after Google clamped down on PBNs, two of Dom's three links got de-indexed, but Dom was lucky enough that Luxury Shaves got by without a penalty.
2. The Hoth
If you're newer to niche site building, let me take a minute to explain what The Hoth does:
Basically, in exchange for a fee, it creates Web 2.0 properties based around your niche site that points links back to your main site. It boosts the credibility of those Web 2.0 sites (and therefore your main site) by subsequently pointing loads (think hundreds) of smaller links to those Web 2.0 sites... from things like bookmarking sites or article directories.
The reason the Web 2.0 sites exist, rather than just directing those hundreds of links directly to your main site, is to keep any fishy-looking SEO activity from being directly attached to your main site, to avoid penalty and still reap the benefits.
Of course, this is something you could engineer on your own if you don't have the cash to hand over to have someone do it for you. It's simple and straightforward enough... it just takes time.
For Dom's link-building experiments, he didn't want to spend all that time, so he purchased services directly from The Hoth. The link building was dripped out over a month's time so everything appeared natural, but that also means it takes time to see results.
3. Writing a Skyscraper Post
If you're unfamiliar with Brian Dean's Skyscraper Technique, take a moment to familiarize yourself with it. You'll be glad you did.
Basically, the idea is to create a piece of content on a subject that's better and more epic than anything that's currently out there already.
Then you go through a few networking methods to get people to share it organically... on social media or in the form of backlinks from their own websites.
For Dom's purposes, he created a post called Shaving Tips For Men - Learn How It Should Be Done, and filled it out with six sections and filled those out with 25+ sub-sections. Some serious information on shaving.
Stepping away from it, he admits that his outreach strategies weren't very good and that he could have done a better job with the Skyscraper post itself, but it still earned him three high-quality backlinks, which boosted him in search engine rankings.
These experiments took a lot of work and a lot of time.
After one month of going at it, he still didn’t notice any significant results.
But two to three months in, he saw that 500% increase in traffic start to take hold… and now he even ranks number one in Google for “best straight razor” and “safety razor vs straight razor.”
And for the most part, his site is on page one for all of his target keywords, though there are a few stubborn ones who are sticking around on page two.
He’s kept at it over time, and he’s grown that 5,500 visits per month to over 10,000.
First Comes Traffic… Then Comes Conversions: How Dom Increased Income-Based Conversions Overnight
The traffic numbers were a dream come true, but to Dom’s dismay, his Amazon income didn’t reflect those growing traffic numbers the way they should have.
He read a guest blog post by his friend Josh Escua on setting up Amazon affiliate websites in WordPress, hypothesized what he needed to do to his own site layout to increase his sales, and asked Jon to take a look at his ideas and give more suggestions.
With Josh’s feedback, he logged into LuxuryShave.com’s Google Analytics for his 10 posts that had the most traffic.
The work to add one of these boxes only took an hour of his time, and he literally saw an instant, overnight success with is results. No major changes, nothing fancy added.
Right away, even by just upgrading those 10 most popular posts, he boosted his income from approximately $50 a month to $300 to $400 per month just in the beginning of 2015.
On some posts, Dom even added two of these call to action boxes made with Thrive.
For example, in a post called The 10 Best Straight/Cut Throat Razors, Dom originally had a comparison chart of all 10 razors.
The problem was, it presented a lot of information to wade through, and the overwhelm actually caused readers not to click on any of the ten presented. (If you're not sure what to promote, try these 50 red hot Amazon products)
The chart is still there, but Dom's added two additional call-outs to point out both the number one pick of a straight razor near the beginning, and a more exciting comparison of the top three near the bottom.
Adding these types of attractive calls to action where they make sense was the trick behind turning all of Dom's traffic into money-making Amazon purchases.
In fact, these boxes worked so well, it took him a week to realize that it wasn't just a fluke and that he'd somehow stumbled across a stroke of luck.
"The first thing I noticed after a few days though was that I was making sales daily," says Dom. "In the past, this site might make 4 sales one day, then 0 for the next few. For March, it was making 10 to 20 sales most days, and 2 to 3 was the lowest."
Why Dom Loves Selling for Amazon So Much
While Dom does have AdSense on his site, it hardly makes him any money (maybe $5 per month), so he says he doesn’t really pay attention to it.
But, according to Dom, Amazon is great because once someone clicks through to check out a product, Amazon immediately suggests similar products that might suit their interests better, or products other people have purchased in conjunction with the one you’re advertising.
“If you get the click and send the person to Amazon, then Amazon will do the rest,” says Dom. They’ve spent billions on conversion optimization… so even though Dom mostly advertises razors, they only make up about 30% of the products he actually sells.
“This is great if you’re in a niche where there are a lot of different products to choose from. Recommend one that you think is good, but don’t be surprised if people buy something else instead. Just enjoy the commission.”
Advice to Others Growing Amazon Affiliate Sites
Dom started LuxuryShaves.com as a beginner in niche marketing, but looking at his trail, error, and growth with the site he's experienced over the last two years, these are the things he'd do differently. (And the things he'd advise to other new niche marketers.):
1. Start connecting with other bloggers in your industry asap. Dom says he wished he'd started connecting with other blogs in the shaving industry much sooner... as early as to to three months in, as soon as his site looked reasonable. (Because those connections and links are really that valuable.)
2. Write more ego-bait content aimed at getting social shares.
3. Start guest posting as soon as possible.
4. Find a balance of creating new content and optimizing that content and page layout correctly to get more conversions.
5. Add posts based on the long-tail keywords you want to rank for and high-dollar products you can review. (Amazon tells you which products are selling the best, so target those with individual reviews.)
6. Don't forget about building backlinks. Dom said that his Hoth experiment worked really well, and he's actually considering purchasing another round of services from them.
7. Stay on top of outreach. Dom says he didn't realize how important it was when he was starting out, but now can't get enough of it.
8. Find your balance of all of these things, then rinse and repeat.
Fortunately, the process he used to grow and monetize LuxuryShaves.com isn’t exclusive to the shaving niche, and can be replicated no matter what industry you're working in.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1244 expensive Amazon products click here or the image below)
Want a Conversion-Ready Site Like Dom Has?
Possibly the best part of being a niche site owner is that it's an online property that requires little necessary monetary investment (beyond url fees and hosting), and you can hack away at it to make as much money as you want.
Everything outlined in this case study (even the work done by The Hoth... and even creating and managing a PBN) can be 100% and completely done on your own, but it is nice to know that there's services and people out there ready to jump in and do the work for us when we don't have the time, patience, or expertise to do it ourself.
In addition to running LuxuryShaves.com, Dom is the owner of HumanProofDesigns.com, which is a website offering ready-made niche sites to get you the conversions he had to go through so much trial and error to perfect.
You can pay him to create or optimize your site for you, or just read the blog, where he talks about case studies and successful experiments with Amazon affiliate sites.
Get your own, done for you, niche site here: http://nichehacks.com/profitable-niche-sites
What do you think of Dom's success with LuxuryShaves.com? What have been some of your biggest wins in optimizing your niche sites for traffic & Amazon affiliate income?