Learn How Harry Went 7 Months With No Profit From His Niche Site To $300p/m And Growing Fast

Filed in Success Stories by on August 12, 2015

As a internet marketer, I think you'll agree with me when I say...

Making money online is really hard.

Especially when you don't see any success in the beginning.

There's simply so much to learn and it can be overwhelming when you have so many ideas running through your mind.

It's even worse when you're told "get a real job" and no one believes in what you're trying to achieve.

Fortunately though we have Harry here, a fellow tribe member,  who has seen some success in his affiliate marketing ventures.

In this, one of the many success stories we have here on NicheHacks, we're going to learn how Harry started to see his first couple bucks a few months ago and is now aiming to achieve $300 bucks per month.

He has been partly inspired by some of the posts on NicheHacks and is now going to share his journey and what he had to do to get where he is today...

Read on but don't just analyze, take action.

 

Introduction To Your Success Story 

Hello, my name is Harry. I work as an marketing manager for an elephant sanctuary.

I’m a internet marketer by night though.

I've tried all kinds of websites but I had no idea what it was about until I really got into it.

I currently own a bunch of websites though I'm mostly focused on niche-based sites rather than blogs.

 

How long have you been marketing online, how did you get started with online marketing and how far have you come since then?

I have been messing around on the internet for a good few years now.

I even remember trying to learn HTML with my friend at school about 6 years ago because we wanted to make a website about crazy stuff we and our friends did.

Suffice to say we did not get very far!

I first got into WordPress about 4 years ago, but all of this was never really to make money, but rather just to have a blog and learn about the internet a bit more.

The first time I thought about making money was from all kinds of spammy sounding things like creating a ton of inner pages of a website and stuff them with keywords and Google ads.

The guy who sold me the eBook promised me that I would be able to make a fortune and of course, I believed him.

I think you can see though that this made the grand total of $0. In fact it made me -$10 because of the book I bought!

I then got into all kinds of weird gambling style get rich quick schemes, trying to game a system that is also gaming you, but they also have the benefit of expertise and many clever people working against you so again, no money.

Since then, I have learnt a whole load of things, mainly that there is no such thing as passive income, ranking a site takes time and money (no get rich quick) and that you have to work all the time to get results.

I would also class learning and reading new things as working because it counts towards the end result of making some money.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1244 expensive Amazon products click here or the image below)

 

You mention in the NicheHacks Mastermind group that over the last few months you've started to do quite well with affiliate marketing on Amazon after months of no success. Can you talk us through what you are doing and the sort of results you've had recently?

So I first posted in the NicheHacks Facebook group a couple of months ago that I had made my first $7!

I had just logged on to the Amazon Associates control panel and found that someone had purchased a product that I recommended. Needless to say, I was pretty overjoyed.

After months of nothing to suddenly be shown that my opinion is worth something and the work put in is worth something!

I started a website in a very specific section of the health niche which has some good products in the $100 -$300 range, a good range I led to believe.

I checked online the types of things that people are looking for in forums and message boards etc, and then went about doing some keyword research.

I did not have Long Tail Pro then, but I found a great keyword with a certain twist on it that I don’t want to give away, but it seems that you can rank many things by using KW + specific phrase.

It does give volume, but it gives searchers who are in a buying mood and ready to buy a product they like the sound of.

Since posting my first earnings, I have been increasing my affiliate earnings by about $100 per month.

I have 2 main money pages that are both number 1 and number 3 on Google and several other purely informational posts.

I also pointed some links and social signals towards my money ages to help them to stay where they are.

I am on target to make around $300 this month, which may not sound like much, but it is a great boot to the ego and proves to me that money can be made!

 

You also mentioned you went 7 months with no profit from your niche site and considered giving up, other people will be in a similar situation and also considering giving up....what do you advise them?

For this, there is nothing to say really apart from just keep going.

Now there is a caveat to this, you have to know when to cut your losses and move on.

I have done this on too many occasions to count and some of them may have made some money, but on the whole I am glad to have dropped them.

If you have done your research, written good content, (I am no expert but my content is certainly not the best so don’t worry too much, just don’t lie and show the pros and the cons of products so people can make their own decision), and engaged in some outreach; you will rank.

It may take some time, it took me about 7 months, but something will happen.

It is also different for everyone, it might take one person 1 month to make money, it might take others 1 year; there is no way to know, that I know of any way!

There is one thing that I have noticed too many people obsessing about and that is perfection.

You will not get a perfect website…ever, so don’t go crazy trying to get the right gradient of this and the right layout of that, just get on and do it.

I have seen so many people asking about what the best affiliate theme is and what plugins will make them more money etc.

If you are at this stage and in that frame of mind then I promise you one thing, you will never make money.

Start something, get some content up and then think about the specifics.

 

Often friends and family don't "get" this whole online marketing thing. How do yours feel about it and how did they react when you first told them your plans?

Well to be honest I am in a weird situation.

I live in a country called Laos and I have a full time job that I absolutely love (I am the marketing manager for an elephant sanctuary and resort so I get to work with elephants and some really great people!), and my parents are the other side of the world in the not so sunny UK.

I spoke with my dad about it because I need him to cash my Amazon cheques (no direct bank transfers for foreign banks) and he seemed quite excited about it.

I told my mum but she just tells me to keep a proper job because I need a visa and don’t want to be kicked out of the country!

My wife is Laotian and she is supportive of most things, but the internet apart from Facebook, has never been a big thing here and so I don’t think she cares all that much. In fact I can see her eyes glaze over when I talk about it!!!

 

What was your first ever website or niche?

I can’t remember my first website, but I have websites about things that interest me, mostly.

From politics to philosophy, to photography and me trying to document myself learning French & the scripting language Python.

Most of these I have let disappear as I have become more focused on niche websites rather than pure content blogs.

In terms of niche sites, I have had lots of random ones such as about water filters (still working on), to skin care (way too much competition and even though I gave it a good old try, I decided to let it go as I just could not rank and people could see that I was not an expert on it).

 

If you had to give 1 piece of advice to someone new to the online marketing world what would it be?

Learn, learn, learn, research, research, research then act, act, act!

Also don’t just write something like:

“This car seat cover is the best, now click this link to buy it”

Number 1, you won’t rank your site with that and number 2 which is most important; why should anyone trust you if you can’t even be bothered to say why it is the best.

 

When choosing a niche follow passion or money?

Hmmm, this is a tricky question. I would probably have to say a bit of both.

If I read this answer to this question when I was starting; I would have thought, great another vague non answer.

The point is though that if you are starting out, chances are very high that you do not want to spend much money if any at all.

So if you have to write all the content yourself, it is probably a good idea that you have some connection to the subject.

My money site is about a very dry and kind of scientific subject which will put many people off it.

However I am quite interesting in dry and scientific things, so I kind of enjoyed researching the products and information myself and then writing in my own style.

 

One of the most common questions I'm asked by my audience is "How do I get started?" What would you advise them?

There are some great eBooks right here on niche hacks that are not expensive and incredibly useful.

If you are not willing to invest even $10 to your new IM venture, then you will not make any money, especially these days with the search engines becoming very strict and making it difficult to rank organically.

Find a broad niche that you are interested in. I will give you an example of something I would do:

  • What do I enjoy, the answer is health and fitness, (be very careful with health related things though and only choose if you have extensive experience or are qualified, this is just an example).
  • Health and fitness is way too broad, so time to niche down.
  • I enjoy weight lifting, but that is still too broad.
  • How about weight lifting for people who have dietary requirements and cannot eat the things most people eat to bulk up.
  • So that is fairly niche, so I would then go and do a bit of cursory research about vegan / vegetarian, diabetic, lactose intolerant, gluten free, low fat kinds of weightlifting and see what has the most potential.
  • Go to something like Keyword.io and type in a seed keyword like “weightlifting” and then click search. This will bring up a massive list of Google auto complete suggestions i.e. the things people are actually searching for, which you can use to dig down even further.
  • Get something like Long Tail Pro and input some of your suggestions and see what keywords are popular and have low competition.
  • Find a brand able domain (stay away from EMD’s like the plague), find a nice looking theme (you may have to buy one but not all the time) and write some content around your keywords.
  • Once you are comfortable with your content, get outreaching (is that a word?) and get some lovely links back to your website to rank. I will not go into crazy specifics because you can find a whole load of articles right here on Niche Hacks yourself.

Sound like a lot of work? Well it is. And that is that.

If you don’t want to put in the work, you will not make any money.

 

If you lost everything (money, contacts, traffic, websites etc) and had to start over from scratch knowing what you know now with a $100 budget what would your plan be?

I would use all the free tools I know such as keyword.io, research a subject, and if I only had $100 I would probably start an authority site rather than simple niche site by buying a domain and hosting and good looking theme.

Why would I say this?

Well you actually have to spend quite a lot of money for these smaller niche sites if want fairly quick success (by quick I mean at least 6 months)!

An authority site seems more fun and interesting and gives you a lot more potential further down the road.

You can use all kinds of methods to promote it like making simple informational slideshows on PowerPoint and converting them into MP4 then upload to YouTube and SlideShare.

If you know your stuff then people will naturally gravitate towards you.

In fact, I may start this myself!

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1244 expensive Amazon products click here or the image below)

 

What would be your best tips for finding a profitable niche, creating the site and content, getting traffic and getting sales?

Start with something you vaguely understand and then drill down deep.

Start off by writing your own content so that you can begin to understand how you structure things and make your content interesting.

Buying content will come later on down the line when you want to do many things but have no time.

I read somewhere that if you sign up to many different newsletters related to your niche, you will get a steady stream of fresh ideas related to your website everyday which you can use for new ideas or create a fresh take.

Think outside the box as well.

Don’t just write about the 10 best supplements for vegan weightlifters, but you could instead write about the 5 things that vegan weightlifters should stay away because they secretly contain meat, or something like that!

Traffic for me is all about search engine results, but this should not be your only source and only as part of a mixture.

I am terrible at collecting emails but as everyone including Stuart says; the money is in the list!

This is something that I really need to work on myself and something that I will learn and research in my own time.

Outreach is great to be honest. If you can get a few good links back to your site from another authority it will have 2 effects, your serp rankings will improve and you will also get traffic directly from the post the link is in, it’s a win win!

In order to get sales, you have got to include big, obvious, (but not insultingly so) calls to action.

I have not tested it, but I think that if you are sending someone to Amazon, one of your CTA’s should include the fact that they are going to Amazon, such as: “check out the reviews on Amazon” or something like that.

Just treat your reader as a real human being and not like an idiot and they will appreciate it by buying something through your affiliate link.

 

Is there any particular post on NicheHacks or piece of advice you used (from the blog / Stuart / FB group) that's helped with your success or inspired you?

I found this one inspired me, and there's another one about Affiliate Marketing but I don't remember what it was called: The 11 Most Common Excuses Of Failing Bloggers (And How You Can Start Succeeding)

Basically, I like to look for the kinds of posts that tell me what will make me not succeed i.e. things I shouldn’t be doing.

I find these better than the things you should be doing because they can sometimes be a bit vague.

However, if a post is telling you that you should not use links bought from Fiverr, then there is little ambiguity on that!

One thing that has also inspired me somewhat, is seeing how NicheHacks has improved.

When I first started reading this website, it was already pretty established, but I can still see a steady improvement over time and to stand back and see something like this take shape, it is really great and boosts me to think bigger than merely simple niche sites.

 

What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?

So I am working on a niche site about outdoor recreation right now, but as always, it is very much a sub niche and not too obvious, but the main keyword has 6600 local monthly searches with little to medium competition.

I hope to make around $300- $500 per month with this one, but it will take time and patience to do so.

I do not expect I will see any kind of return on investment within at least 6 months if not longer.

With regards to the future, I want to cash a few Amazon cheques so that I can have some money to reinvest, and then I will seriously consider making an authority site, probably in the outdoor and travel niches (of course I will niche down more than that but I am undecided right now).

I will also really need to learn a hell of a lot more about capturing emails so that I can sustain a proper business and not just jump from one thing to the next.

I will keep making niche website though, because I actually find them quite fun to make.

I love researching things and I know so much more now about really random and specific things than I ever would if not for making niche websites!

I will also just keep learning as much as possible.

Internet marketing is not a static subject and what was true last week, may have changed this week!

 

Key Takeaways

Stuart here again. The key takeaways from this post are:

  • Get started. Once you start, don't stop and learn from the mistakes you make.
  • Work passion with profit. You will do more work and in your own style if you have some passion in the niche.
  • Sign up to newsletters in your niche. This will be a good source for ideas and inspiration for topics to write about.
  • Don't be predictable in your content. Instead of creating a top 10 supplement post, create something like top 10 supplements to avoid.
  • Keep learning new things. Act on the things that you learn, don't just analyze or you might become paralyzed without taking action.
  • If Harry can go from zero, to 7 bucks, to nearly 300 bucks a month, then you can too.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1244 expensive Amazon products click here or the image below)

 

Wrapping Things Up

Harry has proved to us that if you are persistent, you can go from making zero to 7 bucks to a couple hundred with a bit of belief and confidence.

(You can see Harry's blog here)

Even if you don't see any success for the first few months, keep going.

If there's competition then there's demand and if there's demand, there's no reason why you can't have a piece of the pie.

If Harry can do it, then why can't you?

Hold yourself accountable and let us know by commenting below what you'll do to grow your website.

It might look something like this...

"I'm going to focus on my blog by creating content that my readers will want to read. I'll drive massive traffic by guest posting and within 6 months, I WILL make money".

Go ahead and comment below...

Nader Qudimat
Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulk smashes it into his bodybuilding blog, FitFrek.

He is Stuart's right hand man as a VA, and is dedicated to make a empire online and he's doing so while studying for his MBA.
Nader Qudimat on FacebookNader Qudimat on GoogleNader Qudimat on InstagramNader Qudimat on PinterestNader Qudimat on Twitter

Comments (12)

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  1. Congratulations on breaking it Harry,
    I'm happy that you were able yo scale through after all those years of hit and fail.

    It shows once again that hard work and persistence pays a great deal.

    Just like you, I've also spent money on so many things that looked too good on the outside but at the end of the day, it became one of those things. I really love the way you put it......

    " trying to game a system that is also gaming you" That is so true and I guess that most of us has also being on that road before even Stuart.

    Finally Harry, kudos once again, looking forward to reading more of your success stories.

    BTW: You should have told us the name of the KW tool you're using.... LOL 🙂

  2. Harry says:

    Hi guys,

    Big thanks to Stuart for publishing this and thanks to everyone who commented, I really appreciate it 🙂

    I use 2 keyword tools: Long Tail Pro and KeyWord.io for researching.

    I will usually use keyword.io which is free to find out what people are searching for based on a seed word and if it looks tasty enough I will enter it into Long Tail Pro to see some deeper info about it.

    Hop that helps a bit,

    Harry

  3. Day dre says:

    In one of the last questions, a distinction was made between a "niche site" and an "authority site" however, I thought that authority and ecommerce site were both just types of niche sites?

    What does distinction is Harry trying to make? I am so confused, ahhhhh!

    • NicheHacks says:

      Every site has a niche because a niche is essentially just a specific topic, something every site needs.

      However generally most people use the term "niche site" to mean a small affiliate style site, usually that reviews products for Amazon or similar.

      Authority site would generally mean a big, well respected website, with tons of information on the wider niche.

      Ecommerce is a site that sells physical products, like Amazon.

      Though all sites have a niche so "niche site" is generally a silly and confusing term IMO.

      • Harry says:

        Yes I agree with Stuart, the term niche site is a bit misleading.

        In this article, I meant niche site to mean a small site based around a small set of products and an authority site to mean a website that is sustainable and a proper business with a community, not unlike Niche Hacks.

        The reason why I decided to go into a small "niche site" style websites to begin with is for 2 reasons:

        Firstly, I am in no hurry to get rich quick as I am in good position right now and I just want to experiment to see what works and doesn't work and learn as much as possible about everything to do with internet marketing.

        Secondly, my plan is to create an authority site (still based around some kind of niche), but to use the money I earn from my small sites and reinvest it to get really good head start.

        It s up to anyone how they want to proceed, but for me I decided that this route was the best one to take.

        For anyone just starting out, I would say that it actually takes more money than you may think to make a small niche website, not just buying a domain and hosting, but there are many other things that you really need to invest in, most notably Long Tail Pro which is super useful but of course, costs money.

        In fact, it is probably cheaper and more rewarding to start a full authority site based around a passion you have (I am sorry but internet marketing is not a passion, making money and helping others to make money IS a passion).

        There are so many great articles on this website alone that are completely free and most of them basically hold your hand through the entire process.

        The best time to start is now and you just have to get on with it. If you are really struggling to start and just don't know where to begin, I would probably suggest that you think of subject you want to enter, (anything and can be very broad like "Aloe Vera"), then just go and buy a domain name straight away, buy some hosting, set up WordPress, (there is a great article here that I am sure Stuart can point you towards), and then just write anything. If you get better later on and you hate your original content, you can just delete it!

        Seriously, the only thing that is worse than failing is never failing.

  4. David Throop says:

    Harry, Nader and Stuart
    First of all, thanks for sharing all the information, stories and resources that you all do. It's incredibly valuable and motivating.

    The point of research and action are the biggest take-aways here. As a writer, I'll spend all day researching as a means to avoid actually writing - unfortunately this is true of most writers - and we all need to remind ourselves to ACT!

    It's been said knowledge is experiential.

    I've been on the fence about delving into Internet Marketing, but I'm getting close to acting. I plan on building a couple niche sites between here (mid-August) and the end of September using the tools and resources discussed here. Not sure what just yet, but I will act before the end of August!

    Thanks again - always great stuff!

    • NicheHacks says:

      The question to ask yourself is...why would you NOT delve in?

      Don't you want your own business, online (and somewhat passive) income streams, to be your own boss, to set your own schedule, to live life how you choose?

  5. Richard says:

    Nice one Harry, I really enjoyed reading that. You certainly have the passion for it & with that in mind I think you will see many many more Amazon cheques through your door. Keep it up 🙂