It never ceases to amaze me how putting myself out there and simply interacting with others can lead to incredible things online. In this case, you’re about to read a phenomenal blog post, about the Keyword Golden Ratio, that came about as a direct result of me simply leaving a comment on another blog. Last […]
Long Tail Pro – once hailed as the undisputed best keyword research tool – has certainly seen it’s ups and downs over the years. Long Tail Pro was originally created by Spencer Haws, from NichePursuits.com, back in 2011. He paid to have the software developed in order to relieve his own frustration with the amount […]
Republican lawmakers and President Donald Trump claimed to have passed the biggest tax reform bill in over 30 years. President Trump signed it into law just before Christmas, 2017. Reporters, writers, experts, so-called journalists and ordinary folks like you and me have been analyzing the details and trying to figure out exactly how it will […]
Is it possible to get rich without a college education? Can an average truck driver become a multi-millionaire? Absolutely!! Everybody knows there are exceptional ways to get rich; lottery winners, professional athletes, celebrities and other high-paid professions. Some people actually get rich by “getting lucky,” and they are certainly the exceptions. But most people who get rich do so by using their smarts and by working hard. Most people who get rich are people who persevered and remained diligent by sticking to a plan.
The unfortunate reality for most people who are rich is something that is blatantly obvious – they are old!! Almost everybody who aspires to be rich (myself included) wishes to get there at the youngest age possible. We want to enjoy our riches while we still have some youth left in us. After all – who wants to be the richest guy (or gal) in the nursing home? I can tell you this much… being the richest will be far better than being the poorest.
So, where am I going with this? Yes – I’m a full-time truck driver for my day job. And I absolutely love it. I work for one of the best companies on the planet and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But at the same time – I know I can’t achieve the level of wealth that I desire, anytime soon, by working a day job as a truck driver. Will it make me rich someday? Yes! Of course. But I want to achieve wealth and true financial freedom long before I am 65 years old – which is why I’ve been working so hard to create passive income online for the past several years.
Honestly though – this post isn’t going to be about me. I admit, I AM an “uneducated” truck driver and I WILL be a multi-millionaire someday. But I also work with a bunch of other “uneducated” truck drivers – and you might be surprised to learn that many of us really aren’t as dumb as we look!
Also – this whole idea of working online to try to achieve wealth while young is great. I love it almost as much (or maybe more) than trucking. People who stumble upon my blog often find it really hard to believe that quitting my day job is NOT even a goal of mine. Although, my mindset in that matter is starting to shift – especially after reading MJ DeMarco’s latest book, Unscripted.
Bottom line for me: I’m trying my damn hardest to get rich fast so I can enjoy wealth before I’m really old – but I’m staying on track with my backup plan to get rich slow and build up enough retirement savings so that I can live comfortably without worry after I am too old to drive a truck.
Bottom line for most people: Work a job that you don’t hate for about 40 years, save 10 to 15% of your income and invest in the stock market so that you can be “rich” in your golden years.
So… much of this blog talks about the things I am doing to create passive income online in an attempt to build wealth – but, my day job is still my top priority… which brings me to what this post is really about (only took me 550 words to get here!)… Creating multi-millionaire (uneducated) truck drivers!
Meet Aaron – Young Man Just Starting Out in Trucking
Aaron is a 25-year-old rookie truck driver at my place of employment. His dad is a veteran trucker who has been with the company for many years – and he hooked Aaron up with a job as a part-time forklift (hi-lo) driver at the company. Aaron has spent the past few years loading and unloading trucks – and then he applied for and was accepted into the ‘dock to driver’ training program. As of the time I am writing this – Aaron has completed his training, obtained his CDL (Commercial Drivers License) and is now one of the next in line to become a full-time driver when the next opening becomes available!
Aaron is well aware that he is currently employed by one of the best companies in the world to work for – and that he is on track for a really rewarding and well-paying career (for somebody without a college education). No joke – as far as local trucking jobs go, he happened to land a job at a company that pays far better wages than most trucking companies in our area (West Michigan).
Since I’ll be sharing some specific numbers below anyway… I’ll just tell you – starting wages for truckers like Aaron in our company average right around $50k/year for the first year. It takes 3 years for a trucker to reach top pay at our company (which is typical industry-wide for these types of local trucking jobs) – and at that point, Aaron will be earning closer to $65k/year.
How Does $50k/year Get You to Multi-Millionaire Status?
What I’m about to explain is something that is known as the slow way to get rich – which is totally fine for most people. But, how can you possibly become a multi-millionaire on an average salary like that – especially given that you’ll need to spend most of your salary just to get by? It doesn’t seem to make sense. In fact – it’s not even close! Let’s look at some simple math. Assume that you saved 10% of that salary (and we’ll leave out inflation for this example) – that’s only $5k/year. Multiply that by 40 years (average career length) and you only come up with $200,000.
$5k/year X 40 years = $200,000
Last time I checked, 5 zeros does NOT equate to millionaire status. We need to find one more zero. Perhaps we could add a zero to the end of the salary number. But I don’t know of ANY truck driving jobs that start out at $500k/year.
Or maybe we could add a zero to the contribution amount – how about we save 100% instead of just 10%. Well – I don’t think the government will like that plan. They always get their cut first – so, saving 100% of our income is not an option.
What’s left? I know! We could work for 400 years instead of just 40. That’s it! $5k/year X 400 years = $2,000,000! 6 zeros. Problem solved. The End.
Taking Advantage of The Compound Interest Scam
Okay – simple math will never get us to millionaire status in this situation. And we didn’t even begin to figure in inflation! So we’re going to need to use a math trick to prove how an average trucker can become a multi-millionaire. But believe me – it’s not really a trick and it’s not really a scam. It’s just the way this type of math works out and it’s available to anybody and everybody.
It’s called “Compound Interest” (sometimes referred to as Compounding Interest) or the power of compound interest. The term is really just a description of what is happening to the numbers that represent the money that you invest for retirement. If you invest money properly and leave it alone for a long period of time – you’ll experience the effect of compound interest.
The key here is that you need to invest the money properly! If your money isn’t invested in something that yields predictable returns of at least 8 to 12 percent (average) – then compound interest can’t and won’t work for you. Don’t worry too much about this part though… Pretty much ALL 401k (or similar) plans offer these types of investments and they’re not hard to get signed up for.
So Why Do I Call It a Scam?
I can’t take credit for calling compound interest a scam. My eyes were opened to the scammy characteristics of compound interest when I read MJ DeMarco’s Unscripted book. But – it’s really only a scam if you’re in the ‘get rich fast’ crowd, like me. If getting rich slow is your plan – compound interest is absolutely your best friend!
The frustrating part about the compound interest “scam” is that you don’t really notice the numbers working in your favor until you’ve built up a really large sum – which usually takes a really long time. But, the time factor in this frustration equation is where the true power of compound interest flexes its muscle and shows you how well it really works.
How and Why Does Compound Interest Work?
In a nutshell – more time equals more opportunity for exponential growth. The longer your money sits (in investments) – the more it will grow. As this growth continues, the amount it grows by continues to increase exponentially. Make sense?
For example: If you start out with 1,000 and it grows by 10% – that’s $100 to make the total $1,100. 10% of the new total is $110, making the total for the next year $1,210. 10% of that total is $121… and the number just keeps increasing! You wouldn’t believe what it looks like after 40 years!
The best way to truly show you how this works and how powerful it really is would be to show you an example using real numbers and real math. For this hypothetical – I’m going to borrow the Ben & Arthur example that I read in one of Dave Ramsey’s books years ago. I don’t remember if there was a fictitious story to go along with it or not… so I’ll make up my own.
Ben & Arthur Get a Day Job
Let’s say Ben & Arthur are twin brothers – meaning they are the exact same age. After several years of dabbling with career choices and college and whatnot – they both end up landing full-time jobs at age 25 – working for the exact same company and earning the exact same wages. At age 25 they are earning a respectable $50/k per year with expected raises of 2% annually.
Ben decides to start saving in his 401k on day one. He contributes 10%. His company kicks in another 3% as a match (50% of the first 6% that he contributes), which is typical for many large companies that offer a match.
Arthur decides to NOT contribute to his 401k at all when they first start out.
Note: The following calculations assume average investment return rates of 10%
10 Years Later… Ben & Arthur are hanging out on the weekend. I think they’re probably shooting pool in Arthur’s basement or something. Anyway… they get to talking about how work is going. After 10 years and annual 2% raises, they’re both earning just under $61k now! When Ben mentions how much he has saved in his 401k – Arthur has a major “oh shit!” moment! After 10 years of saving only 10% (plus the company match), Ben has a sweet balance in his 401k of $$117,283.19!
They’re both 35 years old now and Arthur hasn’t saved a dime for retirement yet. He doesn’t let this wake-up call pass him by and he gets set up to start contributing to his 401k first thing the following Monday. Unfortunately, Ben has some unexpected family matters that lead to financial difficulties and he is forced to STOP contributing to his 401k that same week. (Weird story, huh?)
Ben saves 10% from age 25 to age 35 and has over $117k saved at age 35. He stops contributing at age 35.
Arthur saves nothing from age 25 to age 35 but starts contributing 10% at age 35.
30 Years Later… Ben & Arthur meet for coffee at McDonald’s one morning (because Ben has always been inspired by the story of Ray Kroc and how he founded McDonalds). Miraculously, Ben & Arthur both stayed in the exact same job at the exact same company for their entire 40 year careers. After 40 years of annual 2% raises, they’re now both earning a nice salary of a little over $110k. They’re each contemplating retirement and they decided to compare numbers…
Ben never recovered from his financial hardship and was never able to re-start his contributions to his 401k. So, he contributed absolutely nothing from age 35 to age 65 – but he did leave his $117k (that he accumulated by age 35) in good aggressive growth-stock mutual funds within the company 401k. He rarely monitored his investments – so, he was pleased when he opened up his 401k statement and learned that it had grown to a whopping $2.046 million!! Yeah, you read that correctly. To be exact – Ben’s investment grew to $2,046,521.
Arthur diligently saved exactly 10% (plus company match) for the rest of his career, starting at age 35. After 30 years of contributing, compared to only 10 by his brother, you would assume that Arthur surely ends up with a much bigger nest egg. But how much more, exactly? Let me check my 401k calculator… Weird! Is this right?! Arthur ends up with $1,626,285.
All other variables being exactly the same…
Ben saves 10% for the first 10 years only and ends up with $2,046,521
Arthur saves 10% for the last 30 years only and ends up with $1,626,285
Bottom Line: Start saving as early as possible and save as much as you possibly can!
The Proof Is In the 401k Calculator!
The Ben & Arthur example is hard to believe if you’ve never been introduced to this concept of compound(ing) interest before. It’s true though. And no – I’m not just making up numbers! These are actual numbers calculated using a 401k (investment) calculator. Don’t believe me… search Google for any 401k calculator and punch in the numbers yourself! The problem here being that ALL online calculators are so much different from each other and they each allow you to change limited or different variables.
I have my own handy-dandy 401k Calculator – which is really just a spreadsheet that has some fancy formulas built into it. Despite some of the fancier calculators that can be found online – I’ve been using this simple spreadsheet version for many years. I update my own variables in it at least once per year to make sure that I am still on track. The cool thing about my spreadsheet calculator… I can change any or all variables and watch the numbers update in real time!
Want Access to My 401k Calculator for FREE?
My calculator is really easy to use. You just open up the spreadsheet (in Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel) then change the variables in the shaded cells. Here are the variables you can change to calculate your retirement savings…
Present (annual) Salary
Predicted (annual) Raise Percentage
Present Amount Invested
Current Contribution Percentage
Company Match Percentage
Expected (annual) Return Rate (average)
Expected Retire Age
The calculator then displays your expected salary amount at your retirement age and allows you to input a few more variables…
Annual Withdrawal Amount
Rate of Return after retirement (some people change investments to more conservative at retire)
The calculator then displays your retirement savings, minus increasing annual withdrawals (based on inflation) to show you how your savings will last throughout your retirement years.
Hint: The goal is to be able to withdrawal an amount that will allow you a comfortable lifestyle and have your savings keep increasing year by year!
Back to Truck Driver Aaron – Future Multi-Millionaire
Aaron happens to be a white male without a college degree (just like me!). Did you know that there are statistics that show your chances of becoming a millionaire according to race, age and education levels… Pretty interesting stuff. According to the stats – Aaron’s chances of becoming a millionaire are pretty low based on education level. But the fact the he is white gives him a little bit of a leg up compared to his hispanic and black counterparts.
And in case you’re wondering… Aaron is a REAL person and I will be sending him this post as soon as I hit publish. I barely even know Aaron personally. He’s just an acquaintance at work. But given the opportunity that has been handed to him (starting a great career in a great company), I want him to understand the power of compound interest while he is still young. And not just Aaron. I’m really writing this post for the benefit of ALL young people who are just starting out in their careers!
Okay. Let’s look at Aaron’s numbers, specifically. If you paid close attention to the Ben & Arthur example above… I’m sure you’re wondering how much Ben would have saved if he kept contributing 10% for his entire career. It just so happens, that I’ll be using the exact same variables and numbers to calculate Aaron’s estimated retirement savings. Aaron’s beginner salary will be pretty close to $50k per year – so these numbers will give us a pretty good idea. Take a look at the following screenshot from my 401k calculator…
$3.672 million isn’t bad for an uneducated truck driver – right?!
But for Aaron – this is a very conservative low estimate to shoot for. If Aaron invests diligently and consistently throughout his entire career, and invests the money properly, he’ll likely have a far greater sum saved for retirement! The following variables play into Aaron’s scenario…
The above example assumes a starting salary of $50k and only 2% annual raises
By year 3 in his trucking career, Aaron will be at top pay in our company and his salary will be closer to $65k
I would urge Aaron to contribute even more than 10% starting out – maybe closer to 15%
Aaron is accustomed to living on far lesser wages
Set aside 15% from the very beginning and never change that contribution amount
Live on what’s left and NEVER even think about decreasing contribution amounts
Using these more specific variables for Aaron’s situation – let’s take another look at the 401k calculator to see how much money Aaron could end up with…
How does almost $6 million sound for retirement for an uneducated truck driver?!
Notice I changed the starting age to 28, the present salary to $65k and a present investment amount of $31,869. These are figures that should be pretty close for Aaron after his first 3 years as a full-time trucker. I increased the overall contribution amount to 15% – and there is still the 50% company match (on the first 6% contributed).
Almost $6 million dollars at 65 years old! But that’s not even the best part. Look at how the retirement sum continues to grow even after retirement – despite Aaron withdrawing an amount each year that is close to equivalent to what his salary would be. By age 77, Aaron is taking out $200k to maintain his lifestyle and his savings has grown to over $15 million! Compound interest baby!!
Remember how I mentioned earlier that the frustrating part about compound interest is that you barely notice it working in your favor until you’ve built up a large sum. Well – you can clearly see how powerful it is and how well it works once you DO have a large amount saved up.
Don’t like my assumptions? Want to see what the figures look like with different assumptions?
Click the button below and enter your email address – I’ll send you the calculator right now!
This post is long enough aready – so I’ll try to keep this section as short and simple as possible. But since thecompound interest formula relies so heavily on the money actually being invested properly – I felt it wouldn’t be proper to publish this post without some basic investing advice.
Most average investors have a good portion of their retirement savings within a company-sponsored 401k plan (or something similar). So I’ll base my advice using that assumption.
Signing up for a 401k (or other savings plan) is pretty straight-forward...
Recently, I’ve been playing around with different SEO Tools in order to maximize my efforts and help me obtain, monitor and maintain my rankings. One of the benefits of owning a ‘passive income’ blog like this – that talks a lot about SEO – is that companies typically reach out to me and want me to try their programs and potentially promote what they have to offer. I’ve been experimenting with SEO PowerSuite lately and I’m really impressed! Check out this short review/overview that I wrote about this awesome suit of tools…
SEO PowerSuite toolkit consists of 4 tools with their own separate functions that can be downloaded as one 4-pack:
Rank Tracker – keyword research + analysis and monitoring of global and local rankings.
WebSite Auditor – on-page SEO, technical site audit, and content optimization.
SEO SpyGlass – backlinks and link quality assessment.
LinkAssistant – link management and link building opportunities.
I’m going to show you a short overview of each tool…
Rank Tracker is the tool that will let you track your rankings (or of your competitors) in the most customized way – either globally or locally in any search engine with any regularity. Everything is unlimited, including websites, search engines, locations, and keywords to track.
With Rank Tracker you can see where your website currently ranks for the most important keywords. What’s more, the tool is also equipped with 20 keyword research tools that can be efficiently used for keyword ideas. Keywords will be automatically grouped by topic, so you can target and prioritize entire keyword groups.
Download and run Rank Tracker;
Enter your website’s URL;
Enter your keywords;
Choose search engines;
… and in a few moments the program will give your website’s current rankings for particular keywords in the selected search engines.
Apart from the search volume, competition, and Keyword Efficiency, Rank Tracker will calculate Keyword Difficulty for every term — a complex metric based on the data of your top 10 competitors’ analysis. It will show how tough every keyword is to rank for.
WebSite auditor will crawl your site like search engine bots to find and audit internal and external resources. After a thorough analysis it will diagnose every issue that can affect search engine indexation, rankings, and user experience:
Broken links and images;
Poor mobile usability;
Internal linking problems;
Speed problems, etc.
Download WebSite Auditor and create a project for your site;
Go to Site Structure for a site audit
… and the software will show you a list of pages per particular error and suggest step-by-step instructions and tips of how to fix them. This way WebSite Auditor ensures you will avoid errors on your site that are usually punished by search engines.
Go to Content Analysis for a page audit
… and the tool will also analyze your top competitors’ websites so that you could optimize your content based on their successful strategies. It is possible to proceed with the optimization right in the app, the process is user-friendly and accompanied with step-by-step SEO advice.
SEO SpyGlass finds all links to your (and any) domain. The links are checked upon your request in real time. To make the list of backlinks comprehensive, the tool pulls links directly from integrated Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
The tool is gold in the conditions of Google’s Penguin penalizing activities. You can easily identify spammy and harmful links and neutralize them using the built-in disavow file generator.
It is also possible to get the stats on all links to any site.
Download SEO SpyGlass and create a project for your site;
Enter your website’s URL and let the software collect your backlinks.
After that you can dig deeper and go to:
Backlinks for details on every link;
Linking Domains for an in-depth analysis of each referring domain;
Anchors and Pages for stats on anchor text and linked-to URLs.
… and do the same procedure for your competitor’s backlinks, compare with your own stats, check link intersection, and apply the most successful strategies for quality link building for your website.
Link Assistant is the tool that gives you hundreds of opportunities for link building with the help of 10 prospecting mechanisms (guest posting, directories, reviews, etc.)
Download LinkAssistant and create a project for your site;
Select prospect search method;
Enter your keywords or key phrases and select a search engine;
Wait a moment for a list of link prospects.
As soon as you have a list of prospects, you can check the value of potential links against such quality factors as Page/Domain Authority, Domain age, Alexa, social media metrics, etc. This procedure will help you to avoid potentially harmful links.
The tool gathers all contact emails automatically, so once you have a final list of prospects, it is possible to get in touch with them right from the app. You can use email templates or create your own and track sent emails and replies. With LinkAssistant it is easy to handle big amounts of data: arrange link partners into categories, assign various statuses to them, and sort them, so that each of your partners is always at hand.
Each app of SEO PowerSuite has a reporting tool with a drag-n-drop editor. All reports are customizable, white-label, and designed for all devices. It is easy to share reports with customers by uploading them to the cloud or receiving a shareable link. It is possible to automate your reporting. You can set up a scheduled task, and the tool will build reports on autopilot and deliver them to customers according to your schedule.
If you have any questions or misunderstandings regarding the use of SEO PowerSuite tools or any other SEO aspects, you can go to the Learning Hub where you can find:
SEO Tips and Tricks;
SEO tools compared, etc.
You can download the whole pack of SEO PowerSuite for free – it comes with limited features but you get it for unlimited evaluation. It is possible then to order the software in two editions: Professional (for website owners and webmasters) and Enterprise (for professional SEOs and SEO companies).
Compare to Other Popular SEO Tools
Comparison Table Image – courtesy of link-assistant.com – see full interactive table and read their full comparison post here.
Just like any new program or tool – there will be a learning curve and things that you’ll have to get accustomed to as you begin to explore everything that these tools have to offer. Overall, it’s hard to beat SEO PowerSuite when you compare everything it can do, for the price, to some of the competing tools out there. It can’t hurt to download the software for FREE just to try it out. If you like it, proceed to purchase in order to remove limits. If you don’t like it – well, you didn’t lose a thing!
I’ve been side hustling on the internet for over 6 years now – trying to find my way to internet riches that I see so many others achieve. It hasn’t been easy, especially considering that my internet endeavors aren’t exactly at the top of my priority list (family and full-time day job come first). I’ve been ‘grinding it out,’ all these years and I’ve managed to build up a somewhat respectable monthly income. But I still feel like a failure because I haven’t hit the big time yet.
When my monthly net internet income exceeds my day job income on a consistent basis – that’s when I’ll know that I’ve made it. When I’m making more money through my passive income internet endeavors than I do as a (well-paid) truck driver – I’ll know I’ve hit the big time.
And now I have a brand new inspiration – McDonald’s. Specifically, the story of Ray Kroc and how he founded McDonald’s franchises and kick-started the fast food industry in America. Ray Kroc’s vision and his persistence to succeed are something to admire. Here’s how it all began…
While scrolling through Netflix movies one night, searching for something to watch with my entire family – I happened across a title called, “The Founder,” starring Michael Keaton. I learned that the movie was based on the true story of Ray Kroc and how he founded McDonald’s. I was intrigued and nobody else in my family objected – so we watched it. The movie was really well done and we enjoyed it very much. Here is the official trailer for the movie…
The Founder Official Trailer #1 (2016) - Michael Keaton Movie HD - YouTube
But something rubbed me the wrong way about the movie. In true Hollywood fashion, it told the story quite well – but it was apparent to me that they didn’t tell the complete story.
My immediate sentiment at the conclusion of the movie was that I was supposed to be pissed off at Ray Kroc and subsequently I should be pissed off at the entire McDonald’s Corporation as a result. As a skeptic of Hollywood liberalism – I could see through their tactics right away. I knew that their portrayal, based on the ‘true story,’ was slanted in a deceptive fashion that was designed to make viewers feel angry at Ray Kroc and McDonald’s.
Most people would be content to just watch the movie and then go on with their lives. Maybe they would visit McDonald’s less frequently after watching this movie because of how the McDonald’s Corporation was portrayed. No doubt – this was one of the goals of the producer’s who seem to have an ax to grind with big corporations. These hollywood liberals are all the same – but I wasn’t buying it. And I’m not most people. I was determined to learn more and get to the bottom of this.
I’m still an avid podcast listener. That’s what I do to educate myself and stay informed. I listen to podcasts and audio books while driving around in my rig at the day job.
My mind was reeling the day after watching this movie and I had to learn more. I did some quick internet searches and found the book that the movie was based on – “Grinding It Out” by Ray Kroc (himself) with Robert Anderson. But I couldn’t wait to read the book. I had to learn more right away.
So I searched for any podcast that might have some information. I came across a podcast called, “Founders” and they had recently published an episode on this exact topic! The host of the podcast, David Senra, had read the book and watched the movie and he published his own review in podcast format. Here is a link to the podcast, Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s.
The podcast host, David, agreed that the movie was pretty good. But he exclaimed that the book was WAY better and his podcast episode included several readings of actual excerpts from the book. I knew I had to read the book as well.
Grinding It Out
Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s is an autobiographical book told in the first person by Ray Kroc, himself. It tells the complete story – through the eyes of the McDonald’s founder himself. It starts out by detailing Ray’s first 30 years in business as a salesman for products that mostly served the restaurant industry. Throughout these first 30 years, Ray Kroc was truly ‘grinding it out’ – trying to make his way, until he came across the actual McDonald’s brothers in San Bernardino, California. After that, the rest is history!
Ray Kroc was 52 years old when he found the McDonald’s brothers in 1954. He opened his first franchise in Des Plaines, IL in 1955. The franchise business exploded after that with unprecedented growth, under Ray’s leadership. McDonald’s opened it’s 5,000th location in 1978 (one year after this book was published). Today, McDonald’s has approximately 36,900 locations worldwide!
How do you create a restaurant business and become an overnight success at the age of 52? As Ray Kroc said, “I was an overnight success alright, but 30 years is a long, long night.”
I agree that the book was WAY better than the movie – although I definitely suggest both – as the movie tells it’s version of the story (visually) in a way that can’t be matched in written words. Just remember though – if you only watch the movie, you’re only getting half of the story.
Inspiration for Me and You
I love to continually educate myself and keep myself motivated by listening to podcasts and reading books (or listening to audio books) about other successful people. Ray Kroc’s story is at the top of my favorite’s list right now. I have a newfound love and interest for McDonald’s as a result of educating myself on this story.
Remember how I stated that it was probably one of the goals of the producers for “The Founder,” to make people pissed off at McDonald’s and turn them away? Well – educating myself on the true story has done just the opposite for me. Now, I intend to visit McDonald’s even more frequently than I did before!
How Does This Relate to My Internet Marketing Efforts?
Well, I can’t say that the notion of owning my own McDonald’s franchise didn’t cross my mind. Truthfully though… that is out of the question for me. I have no desire to own or operate any restaurant. But I do love my entrepreneurial efforts that I’m creating online! So, how can I use Ray Kroc’s McDonald’s story to benefit my online endeavors?
Ray Kroc’s story of persistence on his entrepreneurial journey has been a huge motivating factor for me! I’ve known all along, for the past 6 plus years, that my persistence has been key to my moderate success online. Reading about Ray Kroc’s persistence and vision seems to have lit a new fire underneath me. It’s helped me realize that I’m as green as I’ll ever be (read the book if you don’t get that statement) and I’m hungrier than ever for success!
I can’t let myself get comfortable or complacent with my moderate levels of success. I need to keep grinding it out – just like Ray did. The guy never stopped working until the day that he died (in 1984). He loved what he did – so he just kept doing it. In essence, he never really retired – although he could have afforded to, financially, long before his death. He just kept grinding it out.
That is my plan as well. Early retirement is NOT in my plans. I don’t think I ever want to retire. I want to keep doing what I love – and I love driving a truck and I love internet marketing. I plan to keep grinding it out for as long as I can – and I know that it’s eventually going to lead to wild success.
I’m really glad that I happened across this story of Ray Kroc and how he founded McDonald’s. Ray’s persistence and his drive and determination are evidenced in his book that was written and published 40 years ago – and again in the movie that came out in 2016. I can only hope and dream to somewhat emulate his success with my own persistence and drive.
Ray Kroc’s first McDonald’s Restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois is restored to its original form and reopens on May 21, 1985 as the McDonald’s #1 Restaurant Museum.
If you’ve been immersed in the world of niche websites (like me) or if you’re looking to get started – one thing that is constant is that we are always looking for new niche ideas or keywords to write articles around. This post does 2 awesome things! One – it teaches you some very specific techniques for finding niche ideas. Two – it introduces you to a (new) keyword research tool that is really awesome for beginners. Also, experienced keyword researchers will like some of the aspects of this tool as well.
I asked Nick (from Ferzy.com) to write this article – as he is an expert on how his keyword research tool works and how to properly use it. I was pleasantly surprised at the added value he provided in this post as far as teaching us exactly how to use Ferzy to find niche ideas for Amazon Affiliate websites. The rest of this post is written by Nick (except for the last section in italics, written by me).
This summer we are taking our extended family on a trip around the fiords and glaciers of Norway!
This is going to be a long, roundabout way of getting to the point I am trying to make, but there is no better way of getting from here to there – so bare with me!
So, in preparation for this summer’s trip I started looking for a set of walkie talkies, since we are going to be renting 2 cars. Low and behold, though, except for the regular commercial websites, Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, there was very little information to be had.
My point here is that I am sure we can all relate. We have all tried to buy this and that on the internet, wanted a product comparison and could not find anything of use. That should tell anyone looking to build an Amazon affiliate website that there are plenty of niches left to exploit. (Granted, Google’s algorithms have changed a lot and are now prioritizing the big websites, but when those come up empty they still have to give way to high quality niche sites)
Of course the challenge is to find those niches and a new online tool, Ferzy, can make that job so much easier.
How to Get New Niche Website Ideas
Before we launch into exploring the potential of new and different websites, we need to come up with new ideas. Unfortunately many of us just look around at the problems we are currently facing, like my need for walkie talkies, and if those ideas do not pan out, we are stuck.
That is why I like to constantly explore the Amazon Best Sellers page. I am still going to look for niches that are of interest to me, because the more you are personally involved in a market the more personal experience and passion you are going to put into that website! At the same time though, it is very likely that I will find products that may not have been on my radar for a long time.
As of the moment of this writing, this is what the Amazon Best Sellers page shows and you can click on the picture to go to Amazon right now and bookmark the page.
However, before we jump right into that let me warn you that Amazon has different affiliate rates for the different categories of products, so we need to keep that in mind while searching for products.
Finding the Potentially Successful Niches
While you are looking through the list of Amazon’s best sellers it is important to remember that you are not looking for products but for niches. So while the top product in the Toys and Games category is the AMILIFE EDC Fidget Spinner, I will actually look into the possibility of creating an article around fidget spinners.
Even more important is the fact that you need to add qualifiers to your categories to have any chance of finding an easy niche. So I will not be analyzing fidget spinner, but instead I will take a look at keywords like “best fidget spinner”, “top fidget spinner” or “fidget spinner reviews”.
I am also going to be looking at products that are of a marginal interest to me and that have the potential of staying on the market for a long time. So, besides the fact that I was never even tempted by the fidget spinner craze, I would not pursue this line of products because they are almost certain to be just a craze, and be forgotten by fall.
Finally, because this niche shopping can be very tiring and also time consuming, I like to go all out and select at least 15 niches, because I am certain to abandon at least half during the analysis process.
My 6 Steps for a Complete SEO Potential Analysis
Since I do not like the fidget spinner niche for all of the reasons I have already mentioned, let’s go back to my initial interest, which were walkie talkies. To give myself a fighting chance I will actually analyze the potential of the “best walkie talkie” keyword.
I will go to Ferzy.com and enter the keyword in their search box. And this is what I get back.
There is a lot of information here but do not worry about squinting in to see the details. Looking at some of the details on this page are actually my next steps so I will give you detailed print screens of each significant part of the page as I look at it.
Check out the SEO difficulty chart.
Note that Ferzy gives you a score under the pie chart of 33 points out of a maximum 100. It also tells you that this is a moderately difficult keyword. Personally, I prefer to make up my own opinion as to how difficult a keyword really is base on the rest of the information, but this is the first place I glance.
I will also look at the bar graph on the right to see how old my competition websites are. These are the top 10 results Google turns out when you search for “best walkie talkie”. In this case you can see that several lines are fairly long, meaning these are old websites with a strong reputation. However, I can see fairly short lines on the 3rd and 4th spots, which tells me almost immediately that new guys have made it through so I have a good chance of repeating and beating their performance.
I happen to know the type of articles Lifewire and Top 10 Reviews put out, because I meet them often in my searches but I encourage you to take a look because they have fairly different strategies. LifeWire creates simple top 10 product reviews, so in terms of content they are pretty standard and easy to beat.
Top Ten Reviews, on the other hand, comes out with a lot of general info that a reader might need to know, so I view them as a strong competitor in terms of content. Luckily though, they represent just a single spot and I would not mind sharing the front page profits with them. Better still, the other next 2 websites are obvious WordPress websites with simple top 10 lists so I can go ahead and go deeper with my analysis.
To the right of the website list you have some very significant details about each one of them.
First off you have PA and DA, meaning Page Authority and Domain Authority, (these are scores from 0 to 100). DA tells you how strong a website’s authority is, and it will empart some of that mojo to the particular page that references my product. However, a low PA might mean that the specific page that turns up here is not that difficult to beat. For example look at the first line, which is the LifeWire website. The DA is an almost unbeatable 75, which is why it is colored in red, however the PA is just 36, much more manageable, but we must not forget the DA.
Next I will look at the number of links pointing to each page. Due to the fact that Google is now analyzing the sources of those links, and values higher links from authoritative domains, those number do not tell you as much as they once did. Still it is another factor to take into consideration.
Finally I will look at the estimated visits page because that can give you a very rough estimate of how many products you might be able to sell with an excellent article. My rule of thumb is that for every 10 visits, 1 will actually buy, but I have had really well built review articles that would have an even higher conversion rate.
Once I am confident that I have found a niche that has some amount of potential, I like to check and see if I can’t find a better keyword pertaining to that niche. So I take a look on the left side of my Ferzy page where I get the same suggestions that the Google Keyword Tool would have given me, except that here I get a lot more details.
The first reason why I prefer to stay in Ferzy for this part of the research phase is because it allows me to see the exact number of searches for each keyword. Google now groups its number of searches in batches of over 100 monthly searches, over 1000, and so on, and that is very impractical for our purposes.
Next what I like to do is actually click on other potential keywords to see how they rank. I don’t have to manually search for them because once I click on a keyword Ferzy displays all the info automatically. And I can always go back to my initial search by clicking the search button, or I can keep going down the rabbit hole, trying to find new ideas.
With an SEO difficulty score of just 30 out of 100, “walkie talkie reviews” might look like a more promising keyword, but a quick glance of the current top 10 ranking websites tells me that there are already a lot of people going after this word with specifically built websites.
The process of looking for that better keyword may not turn up a better alternative, but it does help me take an even more important step in building an excellent article and a more complex website.
It allows me to explore all the potential inquires Google has received on a given keyword.
Knowing that, I can start grouping my keywords. So I will start creating 2 lists. One is for the original keyword article, and a second one for potential new articles. You may note that apparently some people spell walkie talkie with an “Y”, so my article will alternate between these 2 forms of spelling. Going down the list you will note that there are a lot of searches for “long range walkie talkies”, “cheap walkie talkies”, and “water proof walkie talkie”. This way I already have the categories I need to follow in order for my readers to get all of the information that they may need on the subject. Furthermore, Google will note that I am touching on all of these different subjects, and, even though I may not rank very highly on each individual category, I will rank higher on my original keyword because of the level of detail I am obviously putting into my article.
You may also note that people seem to be searching for “Motorola walkie talkie” and “Cobra walkie talkie”. As you can probably imagine writing individual articles for these 2 keywords will go a long way towards showing to visitors to our new website that we really do know what we are talking about and we have taken into consideration all the major players on the market.
Finally, I would just like to remind you that, while both of these brand specific keywords are almost impossible to rank for, if I put a “best” in front of either one of them, will make them so much more approachable, while still leaving a lot of meat on the bone for my own website to grow and turn a profit.
Still, I personally am not particularly happy with the SEO potential of this keyword, so let’s look further for other interesting niches.
Standard disclaimer: these are all interesting niches to me, you may want to look at your own pool of interests and just follow the steps I have already detailed.
Just looking around the room I have just remembered that I need an alarm clock. Not necessarily to wake me up, but to have something telling me what time it is at a glance when I wake up during the night. So, loading up Ferzy again, we get:
First thing you notice is that the SEO difficulty score is 47 out of 100 and the average domain age going for this keyword is 17 years. That does not boast well for us, but we need to take a closer look at the domains involved before making any decisions. The Domain Authority of all top 10 websites is extremely strong, the top 4 domains also have strong Page Authorities, and the 5th ranking domain is Business Insider. So, although you might have a chance of cracking the first page, it would be extremely difficult and not worth it to even attempt the top 3 score.
Let’s move on!
One thing that would make waking up more easily is if you could go to bed after having had a relaxing neck massage. So another item that I would be very interested in researching would be a neck massager. As usual, we are going to look in Amazon to see what price range these come in, and then modify the keyword to give ourselves a better chance of hitting the right niche. So I will be asking Ferzy to do its magic on “best neck massager”.
And this is where I’ve really hit pay dirt:
First off, Ferzy tells us it is an easy keyword with a ranking of 20 out of 100. Further more though, we have 2 year old and 3 year old websites on the top 4 spots, with Amazon being cracking on the number 5 spot. The domain authority of those 4 top websites is not that high, and they have obviously sent a lot of links directly to their own neck massager pages. But the websites themselves are not focused on neck massagers so I am fairly confident in my ability to overtake them. So I am going to set “best neck massager” as one of my potential keywords for today, but I am going to keep looking.
When my own brainstorming process hits a wall I head to the Amazon best seller page, and this is where I found, at the time of writing this article, that the Brother DS-620 scanner is a best seller. This particular model is a receipt scanner, and sells for quite a nice price. So let’s take a look at what we can learn about it from Ferzy.
As you can already tell, this is a no go as far as I am concerned. Ferzy might consider it a medium difficulty with 38 points out of 100, but that simply means too much work. Plus the Domain Authority column is nearly entirely read, so we have a bunch of very strong, competitive websites. Making things worse is the fact that I can actually recognize some of those websites, and these are names that anyone will recongnize: lifehacker, pcmag, bestbuy and neat. But this is really why you need to start with such a wide range of potentials.
As I keep porousing the Amazon best seller list I can see several boxing shoes available. Am I a boxer or interested in the sport? No! But sometimes you can take a look at a product, and decide that it might be worth becoming an expert in that niche. Of course, I need to see how easy it would be to access that niche, but that I can do easily with Ferzy. And as soon as I see the search results I know that I have found the right keyword. I am actually going to go into a little bit more details with it because it is such a fantastic opportunity:
I get an SEO difficulty score of 17 out of 100, but I can see that there are several very old websites in the running. This confirms something that we already know, which is that there has been a market for boxing shoes for many years. And yet, I see that several very new websites have cracked the top 10, confirming that I might be able to do it too. If then I take a closer look at the competition:
So, the number one spot may be a little bit more difficult to conquer because we have a very old website, that specializes in all things about boxing, with a fairly good Domain Authority. Still, I like my chances of getting that spot because the boxing shoes article seems to be buried deep in the website, and it has a much smaller Page Authority.
Better still, the next 2 spots are taken by websites dedicated to different forms of fighting, Muay Thai and MMA, so they are only tangentially connected to boxing shoes. The 4th spot is actually taken by a supplements website.
Finally, if I take a look at the suggestions box, just from the few suggestions I can get in a single print screen, I can see that people are interested in several big categories like Adidas, Nike and Lonsdale boxing shoes. I can build my main article around that, and I can dedicate a special article to kids boxing shoes, which is another suggestion in that same list.
So if I take into consideration all of these factors, the low difficulty score, the fact that new websites, particularly websites that are not directly focused on boxing shoes have made it in the top 10, and also the fact that I have such a rich source of article and website development ideas, I can safely say that “best boxing shoes” is going to be my best choice for today.
And this is where I am going to finish my article too. As we have analyzed the potential competition for so many keywords I hope you did notice just how many niche sites are still in the game, still ranking high in Google. Furthermore, we have found several excellent keywords that would allow you to build your own website.
Finally, I have introduced you to Ferzy, the one stop tool that can help you instantly analyze the potential of any niche or the keywords attached to it. I really hope that you will give it a try as it has helped me a lot and I know it can do a lot for you too.
Thanks Nick, for the awesome and detailed guide on how to use Ferzy to perform detailed niche analysis and keyword research! Two things I love about Ferzy that I don’t see in other keyword research tools that I’ve used. No three!
There is a FREE plan available (not just a trial) for those who are unwilling or unable to pay for a good keyword research tool.
PA and DA metrics are included. Many other keyword research tools stopped using these metrics and I prefer to use them, by far.
Clicking on keyword suggestions opens up a new search automatically. Most other keyword tools, you have to manually start a new campaign.
For these 3 reasons alone – I have no problem suggesting and promoting Ferzy as a go-to keyword research tool for my loyal readers and subscribers.
Welcome to my latest update for the 2017 Mortgage Crushing Challenge! In this update, I’ll be covering everything that happened throughout May and June pertaining to this particular niche website. I am greatly encouraged by the progress that the site has made – especially the June income numbers! I wasn’t able to personally work on the site during these 2 months as much as I would have liked. Moving into our new home throughout June put a bit of a damper on that. But my team continued to produce and publish content and I continued some paid traffic testing and the site broke the $1,000 income threshold for the month of June! Not bad for a site that didn’t even exist at the beginning of this year.
What is the Mortgage Crushing Challenge? It is a goal that I set for myself at the beginning of this year and the following statement explains it perfectly…
I am going to create one (brand new) passive income producing website that will cover my mortgage by December 2017!
Previous Posts for The Mortgage Crushing Challenge
As mentioned in the intro to this post – my family and I have finally moved into our brand new home! We’re very excited and happy to be living in the house we designed and had built. We actually had quite a lot of fun throughout the entire construction process – and it was fun and exciting for our kids as well.
Living in my in-laws basement for 10 months wasn’t so much fun. That’s how long it took from the time we had to be out of our old house until the time that our new house was complete. But honestly, it wasn’t that bad living in their basement. My in-laws are great and they were easy to get along with. Our living arrangements were just a bit cramped and we are ecstatic to finally be living in our new home, which is about twice as big as our old home was.
Turns out – the mortgage is about twice as big (as our old mortgage was) too – which is partly why I decided to take on this Mortgage Crushing Challenge for 2017. Although the bank approved us for the mortgage based solely off my day job income – the truth is, I know I couldn’t afford this house with only my paychecks from my trucking job. My side hustle internet income is absolutely the key factor that enabled us to build this awesome new home – and this challenge couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
Now that we are actually living IN our new home – the motivational factor is that much greater. Our new full mortgage payments of (around) $2,100 per month will begin in December (we’re still on an interest-only construction loan until then), which means that I only have a few months left to get this site earning at least that amount.
As you can imagine, my offline distractions during this time period are my main excuse for not doing as much with the site as I would have liked. But as it turns out, this led to a pleasantly encouraging discovery that paid traffic for my niche might be an overall long-term strategy that is actually viable. That’s right – I may have uncovered the holy grail of internet marketing – a profitable paid traffic strategy and campaign!
Most of my main content was already published and in place before May – but I knew I wanted to keep adding content in order to make the site larger and more authoritative. I also wanted to keep publishing content on a regular basis to keep the site fresh. My writer is writing (usually) three new articles per week, but I am having my VA schedule the posts to publish only once per week so that we have several weeks worth of posts scheduled to be published well into the future.
If my main content is complete – what kind of new content am I publishing?
I’ve had my team working on publishing 3 different types of content…
More product reviews – I think I mentioned in the past that my site is featuring only the 10 best (top rated and best selling) of the particular products that it promotes. But hundreds and hundreds of people search Google specifically for some of the inferior brands/products – so I figured I better give the people what they want! I had review posts written for some of the other products – but not quite as detailed as my main product reviews. Then I included comparison tables for my main products at the end of these new review posts with a subheading that says something like, Compare to These Top Rated… or Compare to These Best Selling…
One skyscraper article for link building – While researching my competitors (using SEMRush), I noticed that one site got some really good links pointing to one of their posts with a title – something like, 50 Reasons to get…, and then it had blurbs and links to 50 ‘official’ studies around the topic. I thought, hmmmm… I can do that, but even better! So I had my writer produce a post with a title – something like (cause I’m not going to give it away exactly), 99 Benefits of [product name] that Might Surprise You… That post rang in at over 10,000 words and it took my VA 3 weeks to format the post and add custom images to every single study that we mentioned and linked to!
More informational content – After publishing much of the main content based on basic keyword research using Long Tail Pro – I decided to go after some of the keywords that my main competitors are already ranking for. After all – one of the reasons I chose this niche is because several other niche sites were already ranking in Google for the top keywords in this niche. I might as well go after more of the exact same keywords that they are already ranking for!
Finding the Keywords My Competition is Already Ranking For
SEMRush is such an awesome tool for doing this type of research. I’ve only had a paid account with them for a few months now – and it’s not cheap. So, I’m making sure I utilize the tool the way it was meant to be utilized in order to get maximum traffic to my website and to maximize earnings.
I used the ‘Organic – Positions’ checker within SEMRush to look up the keywords that my top competitor is already ranking for. Here is a screenshot of the results showing that my main competitor is ranking for 5,361 keywords. It then goes on to list out every single keyword they are ranking for (100 at a time) and it also gives you the option to sort by columns and/or export the results so that you can insert them into a spreadsheet to work with.
The cool thing about SEMRush is that they let you try the tool for FREE (you’ll only see limited results) – go ahead and CLICK HERE to try the SEMRush Organic Positions checker – you can see what your own site is already ranking for or you can use it to spy on your top competitors! Or simply enter a domain, keyword or URL in the widget below…
I found some great keywords and new topics to target using this tool! I even took it one step further and uploaded the entire list of keywords into Long Tail Pro just to be able to check the KC Scores for all of the keywords. I was delighted to find some REALLY low competition keywords.
One other thing I did in May – I restarted some of my Google Adwords campaigns. While waiting for SEO to kick in, I figured why not mess around with paid traffic a little more and send some highly targeted traffic to some of my review posts. I set my limit within Adwords to only $5 per day.
I also used a really nifty tool called Promo (by Slide.ly) to easily create a short video ad to use with Facebook ads solely to re-target people who have already visited my site. More on my paid traffic strategies (and income as a result) below…
Most of the planning that I was responsible for took place in May and much of June I was kind of in cruise mode. My team continued to work on the website and I continued to work on moving all of our stuff into our new home.
As you’ll see in the Paid Traffic Report below – I began to see some success with my paid traffic campaigns in May – so I increased spending in June and I was blown away at the results! I actually broke the $1,000/month barrier for the first time ever with my Amazon Associates account! In fact, my total earnings from Amazon for the month cashed in at $1,288 – with over $1k of that coming from this brand new niche website that I just started this year for the Mortgage Crushing Challenge!
As of the end of June, most of the traffic coming to the site was paid traffic – and I seem to be on to something. I was actually earning more than I was spending in ads. A profitable paid traffic campaign! This is awesome. It’s like feeding a dog quarters and watching it poop dollars. Who wouldn’t do this all day every day?
Paid Traffic and Income Results
May 2017 – Ad Spend and Amazon Income
Google Adwords – $92.28 spent to get 167 link clicks
Facebook Ads – $6.25 spent to get 3 link clicks
Total Traffic – 314 Visitors (Users)
170 visitors from paid traffic campaigns
144 visitors from organic search, direct traffic and social sharing
Amazon Associates – $312.34 in earnings from 7 shipped items
June 2017 – Ad Spend and Amazon Income
Google Adwords – $358.73 spent to get 339 link clicks
Facebook Ads – $128.04 spent to get 99 link clicks
Total Traffic – 633 Visitors (Users)
438 visitors from paid traffic campaigns
195 visitors from organic search, direct traffic and social sharing
Amazon Associates – $1060.65 in earnings from 14 shipped items
Profitable Paid Traffic Campaigns
Mastering paid traffic truly is the holy grail of internet marketing. I can’t say that I’ve mastered it yet – but I’ve accomplished two straight months of positive ROI. Despite this exciting fact, I still consider myself a beginner and I’m in the learning phase. It’s just one strategy that I’m using to get traffic to this site – along with my SEO efforts.
Paid traffic is all about testing and adjusting. Then testing and adjusting. And once you think you have it figured out – you need to keep testing and adjusting. It’s entirely different than plain old SEO. With SEO, you try to rank for as many keywords as possible and get as much traffic as possible then hope that it converts. With paid traffic – you target VERY specific audiences and send them to targeted pages on your site based on who they are and what they are searching for.
Here’s the nutshell version of the strategies that have and have not worked for me with this site…
Google Adwords Advertising
When I first tried paid traffic campaigns using Google Adwords, when the site was still really young (back in March and April) – I was targeting very general keywords, like best [product name] and [product name] reviews. You know – two of the main types of keywords that we SEO’s tend to target for review sites like these. I was getting a TON of traffic for fairly cheap while targeting those keywords – but it wasn’t converting into buyers.
Towards the beginning and middle of May – I adjusted my campaign settings and restarted them and subsequently ran them for the entire month of June. Instead of targeting general terms, I targeted very specific terms related to the products that I have reviews written for and I sent the traffic directly to the review page on the site. I targeted keywords like, [product brand] [product name] [product model #] [product color], etc.
For example… let’s say my niche was pressure washers (it isn’t – this is just an example). Instead of targeting keywords like: best pressure washer or pressure washer reviews – I targeted keywords like: Simpson PowerShot 3200 PSI 2.8 GPM Honda GX200 Powered Gas Pressure Washer or Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 PSI 1.76 GPM Electric Pressure Cleaner. I also used Long Tail Pro to analyze these very specific keywords and find similar related keywords that people are searching for. Essentially, I have separate campaigns setup in my Adwords account to run ads to several of the very specific product models that I have reviews written for.
I’m not over-complicating my Facebook advertising campaigns at all. I’m not very experienced at using proper strategies and I really don’t have time to research and figure it all out. I have been learning a lot though by listening to Rick Mulready’s “The Art of Paid Traffic” podcast. Great podcast with tons of great information.
I have just two simple ads that are constantly running on Facebook. I started off spending only $5 per day and I am currently running at $10 per day. One of my ads is a short video ad that I easily created with this really cool tool from Slide.ly called Promo. I wish I could show you the video… but that would totally give away my niche and that wouldn’t be wise for me at this point. That ad leads to a strategic page on the site that explains, ‘Why [product name] Is Worth It.’ The other ad I’m currently running on Facebook is just a basic image ad that leads to my main ‘buyers guide’ post.
Who am I targeting with my Facebook ads? I am currently ONLY showing the ads to people who have previously visited the niche site. In other words, these are what we call ‘warm’ leads (or potential buyers) – meaning we know they already have interest in the products I am promoting because they’ve already landed on my site somehow. Probably either through organic search or from clicking on one of my Google Adwords ads (which are set to display only in search results). So… these people have already searched for information on my products and now I am hitting them with enticing ads right in their Facebook feed!
How am I targeting these specific people? It’s called the Facebook Pixel and it is a very powerful thing. Every Facebook advertising account has it’s own unique Facebook pixel code. You just place the code on the back end of your site then Facebook is able to track every single visitor that comes to your site and you can then set your Audience within Facebook advertising based on very specific actions that those visitors take! For example – I can show ads ONLY to people who visited a specific page on the blog. It sounds complicated – but it’s actually really easy to figure out within the Facebook advertising platform.
Note: I place my Facebook pixel on ALL of my sites from the very beginning – whether I plan on advertising or not. You just never know when you might want to start running some ads and the pixel has to be in place to be able to track the visitors and their actions.
The Strategy: Attract leads to my niche site through paid traffic with Google Adwords then hit those warm leads with enticing ads directly in their Facebook feed!
One metric that is commonly measured for website revenue is how much a site earns per 1,000 page views – referred to as RPM.
This is really easy to calculate. Simply divide your total revenue by the total number of page views (for the specific time period) then multiply that by 1,000.
RPM = revenue/page views x 1,000
RPM for my new niche site listed out month-by-month, since the site started earning:
March 2017… $126.83/1,929 x 1,000 = $65.75
April 2017… -$10.24/400 x 1,000 = -$25.60
May 2017… $312.34/788 x 1,000 = $396.37
June 2017… $1,060.65/1347 x 1,000 = $787.42
Holy crap!!! RPM of $787 is absolutely huge!! I thought I was doing well with my original paid traffic tests that resulted in a $65 RPM (back in March) – but now these numbers are just blowing my mind. I can hardly believe it.
Note: This is just the Revenue per 1,000 page views. Not the profit. If I subtract out my advertising costs, these numbers wouldn’t be so large. But this particular metric isn’t measuring profit – it just measures revenue per 1,000 visitors. As you can clearly see – my new (more specific) ad targeting strategy seems to be working quite well! When I started sending targeted traffic to specific pages on my site – the RPM went through the roof!
I Still Hate Link Building
I completely understand the importance of link building for SEO, yet I failed to accomplish nearly as much as I should have during the entire months of May and June as far as getting any new links. There were only two things I DID do towards link building in May and June:
I ordered a 5-site Done-For-You PBN package from Lightning Rank. Although I don’t trust buying links from other peoples “private” blog networks (Lightning Rank offers that too) – the Done-For-You PBN’s that Lightning Rank offers are different. These sites..
If you have an existing Amazon Affiliate site – then right after you read this post you’ll be able implement these techniques and increase Amazon affiliate income on your site(s).
If you don’t have an Amazon Affiliate site yet – don’t worry. These ideas will get you pumped to create your own site soon.
There are two main ways that you can increase the income for a niche or authority site that promotes Amazon products:
Increase the traffic.
This post covers 10 specific things you will be able to implement to increase traffic and conversions for your niche website. Let’s get started!
This is actually a guest post written by Doug Cunnington from NicheSiteProject.com. Doug has been a long time reader of the blog and I consider him a friend. If you haven’t noticed, I don’t allow just any guest post to be published on this blog. It MUST be high quality and from a trusted source. This post definitely meets both of those criteria.
When is the best time to start a niche site? Do you have any examples?
The best time to start a niche site was three years ago. The second best time is today. So if you haven’t started yet, you may want to get started as soon as possible. Here are some example sites for inspiration over on my blog.
Why Should You Listen To Me?
I’ve been working in affiliate and internet marketing for a few years. I built some niche sites, sold some sites, and helped others do the same.
I’ve had my ups and downs — and you can learn a lot from my mistakes.
I recently sold a “little” niche site for nearly a quarter million dollars. It feels funny to say that because I feel the same, and I’m just a simple guy, like Matt.
I mean look at my truck…It’s over a decade old, no power locks, and no power windows. It’s quite a contrast to other marketers that show off their Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s, and maybe a private jet.
The point is I’m a regular person that’s been immersed in the niche site world and I know a thing or two about boosting the income for niche sites.
Let’s look at increasing traffic and improving conversions, then give specific examples of each.
I’ll show you examples of some of the best affiliate sites in the world and explain how you can learn exactly how they do what they do.
Part 1: Increasing Traffic
If you have twice as many people visiting your site, you should be able to double your revenue.
I used each of the five strategies to help bring increase the traffic for one of my niche sites.
Check out the traffic from October 2016 to June of 2017.
[Way #1] – Target Long Tail Keywords
I thought that long tail keywords are keyword phrases with more words in them when I first learned about niche sites.
That’s wrong, and a lot of people still explain it that way. It’s actually a term that refers to the graph of keyword distribution if you plot it out.
Basically, it means there are a huge number of searches that are super specific and they have low competition, too. It’s from a book called, The Long Tail, byChris Andersen.
Many people try to use the Keyword Competitiveness (KC) metric in Long Tail Pro, and Matt and I have even debated its accuracy. I don’t think the KC is very good, and the worst part is that a lot of beginners treat it as gospel.
At best the KC number can give you a general idea of the competition, but the issue is that it’s based on generalized metrics from other tools like Moz, Majestic, or Ahrefs.
How can you find long tail keywords?
The Keyword Golden Ratio (KGR) is the way you can find low competition keywords that people are actually searching for. This video explains it well and shows an example:
The KGR is:
KGR = (# of allintitle results)/(Local Monthly Searches)
*where the Local Monthly Searches are less than 250.
You want to find keywords where the KGR is less than 0.25.
If you publish new content targeting those keywords, that content will rank in the top 50 or so within a day or so.
And here’s the kicker:
It happens WITHOUT backlinks.
It sounds impossible, but it really works and many of my readers on Niche Site Project have shared their results with me.
Publish more content and target keywords that will actually get traffic fast.
Review existing content to see if you can optimize it around a KGR Keyword.
Target affiliate based, product reviews so you can publish articles that will convert visitors to buyers.
[Way #2] – Add More Content
Now, you’re armed with a way to find keywords that people are looking for and that you can rank in Google fast. You don’t even need backlinks!
So now you need to publish more of this content. In many cases, you’ll double your traffic if you double your content. It’s simple and so powerful.
I used the Keyword Golden Ratio to add about 200 posts to my niche site over several months. The secret was to use a system and templates — both of which reduce the number of decisions you have to make — and hire a few freelance writers and a content manager to help out.
Yes, hiring freelancers can be expensive. I spent about $4,000 in the 200 posts case study, but the site was earning money and the investment paid off within about 2 months. Check out the earnings increase over time:
Here is what my team looked like:
You can build the same kind of team, just start small. I started with one writer and added more as I honed my system. If you try to hire too many people too fast, you’ll likely get frustrated.
So patience is key. Grow slow.
Set a goal to publish more content that works with your budget or time if you’re writing it yourself.
Use the Keyword Golden Ratio to find terms that you can rank for faster and without backlinks.
Hire freelancers to help you scale, but hire slowly so you can grow your team effectively.
[Way #3] – Improve Existing Content
One of the first things we did on Project Go White Hat was to improve the post that got the most traffic.
It was ranking #1 in Google already and had anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 visitors per day. The single product review post was making $10,000 per month. One post.
But when I read the review, it was just bad.
Uninformed about the product line.
I used the RPM technique — The Research Paper Method.
You treat the content like a research paper from college. You dig into references, you look at the best material out there, and then write your own interpretation of it.
All content can be improved and Amazon Affiliate sites usually have a lot of content that you can make better.
Here is the step-by-step for RPM:
Search Google for the main topic of your content. Normally, that’s the keyword phrase you’re targeting for the review or post.
Spend 1 – 2 hours reading about the topic. Check out Wikipedia, read the manufacturer’s website, read the top blogs on the topic.
Log the resources to reference later.
Create a half to 1-page outline. It should be pretty short so don’t try to write the content in the outline.
Refer to your references to get an idea about how to organize the information. The manufacturer’s documentation is normally the best resource.
The goal is to have an outline that’s good enough so a freelance writer can write the content.
Ideally, hire a writer and I use Upwork. If you provide the writer with the outline and references, they’ll be able to save a lot of time and they’ll appreciate the extra details.
If you write the content yourself, then you can use the outline to write the content. Since you outlined what you want in the content, it’s much faster to put your thoughts into sentences.
Regardless of who writes the content, be sure to edit.
Find your top 3 to 5 posts, then review them to see if they can be improved. Hint: They can!
Use the RPM technique to make the content better using a system.
Hire a writer if you can afford it and give them the outline to use.
[Way #4] – Improve Your Rankings
Improving your Google search rankings will always increase your traffic. Getting better rankings is a challenge, but the number one way to help is to get more backlinks.
Google sees backlinks as votes for your website so the more you have, the better.
If you’re thinking, “Doug, why blog commenting? Those are NOFOLLOW links so it’s a waste of time.”
Here is why you need blog comments:
They will help you network in the niche.
You’ll make a friend in the niche and that’s essential for step 2: Guest Posting.
If you have a friend, they are way more likely to allow you to guest post on their site. So once you land the guest post, be sure to add a link to the post that you’re trying to rank.
PRO TIP: Tell the blogger that your guest post will be a great place for them to put in their own affiliate link! Most bloggers are bad at monetizing their sites so if you give them a potential money making piece of content, they’ll appreciate it and probably leave your link in.
Ask for guest posts with people that you’ve networked with.
Be sure to link to the post that you’re trying to rank.
[Way #5] – Improve Your Internal Links
Ever notice how Neil Patel has internal links in every single post on NeilPatel.com and Quickspout? It’s amazing if you go have a look.
The classic example of interlinking is Wikipedia. So the best websites in the world have lots of interlinking.
Your Amazon Affiliate site should have internal links, too. I try to have two to five links to other posts on my site for every single post, and each post should have at least two links pointing to it.
You’re effectively passing link juice through your site and encouraging people to stay on your site longer.
Log all the URLs for your site by using your site map.
Move the list of URLs to a spreadsheet so you can keep track of the inbound and outbound links.
Update each post to have two to five links to other posts on your site.
Part 2 – Increasing Conversions
If you already have lots of visitors on your site, then upping the conversion rate will be the fastest way to increase your revenue.
[Way #6] – Honest, Authentic Reviews
Ever read reviews that say every product is perfect and fail to point out any negatives? I don’t trust those reviews, and most people are skeptical of overly positive reviews.
And cameras are complicated with lots of features. Tables are critical to help you compare the various models.
Use tables to present technical specs.
Use tables to compare models.
Check the manufacturer’s site and the Amazon product details page for ideas about what to put in your tables.
Note: be sure to comply with and abide by the Amazon Associates Terms of Service agreement. Example: you cannot publish prices on your tables (or anywhere else) unless doing so via the Amazon API so that prices are updated in real time.
Tip from Matt: Try the Ultimate Azon Theme with built-in functionality for easily creating awesome comparison tables.
Text affiliate links tend to convert better than image links on my sites so I use them often. Some people do like to have image links and that’s totally fine — feel free to test.
I like to mention that the link will go to Amazon, which The Wirecutter doesn’t do. The visitors appreciate when they know what will happen when they click on a link. I like it when the expectations match the outcome.
Add a few text affiliate links in your product reviews.
Experiment with noting that the link will go to the product page on Amazon.
[Way #10] – Use Various Call-To-Actions
I like text affiliate links, of course, but it’s wise to give your visitors a few ways to get to Amazon.
Buttons and images work really well. In fact, let’s check out the same post from The Wirecutter about Bluetooth speakers.
Every niche is different, and even sites in the same niche can have different results so the big take away is to use various link types.
Test different link types.
Don’t assume one CTA is better than another.
You can use a plugin if you theme doesn’t have buttons built in, but you can also just generate one from scratch. I like to keep my site FAST so I don’t use many plugins.
Tip from Matt: I use the MaxButtons plugin to easily create and place awesome buttons throughout most of my sites. They are 100% customizable with hover-effects, shadowing, etc (like the Ultimate Azon Theme button above and below).
I showed you 10 ways that you can increase Amazon affiliate income by either increasing traffic or improving your conversions.
Some of them you can implement TODAY, and some will take you weeks or months to complete.
So leave a comment below and tell me:
What will you implement first?
And if you have a tip or trick to share.
Five Figure Niche Site
Did you know that I offer my very own training course on how to build profitable Amazon Affiliate niche websites? Enrollment is only open a few times per year and on a very limited basis due to the personal time that I spend with every student. If you’re interested in learning exactly how to build a profitable site like this, check out my training program – Five Figure Niche Site. Click the button below to learn more and get on the wait list for next time I open the doors to the course. Thanks! ~ Doug
It all started in the Niche Site Project 3.0 Facebook group owned by Spencer Haws. I was browsing through one day, as I often do, and came across a post from a guy who was looking to sell his website. I usually ignore those posts because they’re usually people trying to offload their crappy niche websites. But this one was different.
This guy already had his site listed on Flippa and just posted a link to the Flippa listing, within the group, along with a brief description. I checked out the site and I was intrigued! Long story short… I ended up purchasing the site and I completely rebuilt it from the ground up. Keep reading for the longer version of the story…
The short version is that I purchased NicheWolf.com and turned it into my own service-based website with some really valuable information and products for sale. I put a LOT of time and effort into the entire deal… But then the entire story took a turn that I wasn’t planning on or expecting. Read to the end to see what happened…
How and Why I Purchased Niche Wolf
Here is the long version of the story where I’ll show you every last detail about how and why I purchased Niche Wolf. After that, I’ll explain more about Niche Wolf – what it is now and plans for the site going forward.
Niche Wolf Before I Purchased It
When I first looked at Niche Wolf in October of 2016 – the site was setup as a ‘niche idea generator tool’. Basically – you would click on a link at the top of the page to ‘generate’ niche ideas. The tool would then spit out 10 random niche ideas and display them in table format. If you wanted 10 more ideas – you would click the link again and it would add 10 more niche ideas to the table. You were allowed to see up to 25 niche ideas per day for free – or you could pay $25 to be allowed to see up to 250 niche ideas per day.
The cool thing was – the tool wasn’t spitting out just crappy random ideas that may or may not be good for building niche sites around. Most of the ideas that were ‘generated’ were really good ideas. Many of them were even buyer keywords – like best [product name]. I’ve never seen a tool like this before and I thought it would be something I could do really well with if I promoted to my audience here on Dumb Passive Income.
Purchasing Niche Wolf
The way I performed the transaction with the seller was really quite simple. He had it up for sale on Flippa. I had never purchased an existing site from Flippa before (or from anywhere else for that matter). I contacted the seller through Facebook first and then we started a conversation via email. As it turns out – you can simply delete Flippa listings and the seller agreed to sell the site to me privately instead of selling through Flippa.
We agreed on a price of $2,000 – which I thought was a good deal, especially considering that he was getting higher offers on Flippa! So, why did he sell to me instead? Because Niche Wolf was kind of his baby and a domain that he owned for a long time and he trusted me and my plans for the site and he wanted to see it succeed.
We agreed that I would pay $1,000 up front – then pay the remaining $1,000 after the entire transfer was completed. After the first $1,000 transfer, the entire process took less than a week and I sent him the remaining $1,000.
The guy I purchased Niche Wolf from gave me contact information for the developer that he used to create the custom Niche Wolf plugin that generated the niche ideas. I emailed the developer and he agreed to work with me to change the plugin and make it do what I wanted. My first order of business was to make the plugin work correctly after moving the site to my good WPEngine host. Something wasn’t working quite right after I moved the site – and it had to do with the way the database was being accessed through the back end on the previous host. It cost me around $250 to the developer to get it working again. No big deal. Now I had the site completely in my possession and working how it did before I purchased it.
My Original Plans for Niche Wolf
I loved the idea of the ‘niche idea generator tool,’ and I planned on keeping that in place – but with some minor changes and added functionality. The site came with a custom-built WordPress plugin that ‘generated’ all of the niche ideas. What really happened behind the scenes is that ALL of the niche ideas were manually entered into a database on the back end of the site and the plugin randomly spit out (displayed) the ideas when users/readers clicked the link to ‘generate’ ideas. At the time that I purchased Niche Wolf – there were over 1,800 niche ideas uploaded to the database.
While I planned on keeping the ‘niche idea generator tool’ all along – I had much bigger plans for the site. You see, back in late 2013 and early 2014 – I started a Keyword Research Service right here on my Dumb Passive Income blog. If you’ve been a long-time reader, I’m sure you remember it. It was wildly popular and I was selling the keyword packages that I was creating like hotcakes!
I planned to include keyword research as a service as part of Niche Wolf somehow. Originally, I was thinking that it would just be a separate section of Niche Wolf and also included as some sort of up-sell for people who used the ‘niche idea generator tool’.
I knew that I could do okay selling niche ideas in the original format that they were being sold on Niche Wolf. But I also knew, based on my past experience, that I could make a killing selling keyword research packages. And now I had access to a list of nearly 2,000 unique niche ideas!
Rebuilding Niche Wolf from the Ground Up
As I often do, I ended up making things much more complicated than I needed to. Here are a few of the things that I dove into…
I started researching membership plugins to use for the paid users of the ‘niche idea generator tool’
I didn’t like the free membership plugin that the current owner was using and wanted more functionality
I researched and found a different affiliate plugin to use
Again, I didn’t like the free one the previous owner was using
I opened a new account at Drip to manage emails for current and future users/affiliates
Drip is such a sweet email automation and funnel marketing tool – perfect for what I had in mind
Continued communication with the developer for the custom plugin about plans for improving the plugin
I had several hundred more dollars in expenses to look forward to in order to make it do what I wanted
I quickly realized the mistake that I was making by over-complicating the whole thing – so I came up with a plan to simplify. I knew that selling the custom keyword research packages was going to be the BIG money-maker for the site. So I decided to focus on that and scrap the whole idea of the ‘niche idea generator tool’. That’s right! Niche Wolf as it was known when I purchased it would no longer exist.
Instead – I took the entire list of niche ideas and ran every single one of them through Long Tail Pro and put ALL of that data into a massive spreadsheet. I decided to give away 100 of those ideas for free to any users who opted-in to the email list – so I set that up as a lead magnet. Anybody who wanted the entire list (whittled down to just over 1,500 ideas now) would have to pay a price point similar to what users were paying for Niche Wolf (paid access) when I purchased it. I experimented with a few different price points before settling on $27 for the entire list.
But again – selling this list of niche ideas was NOT the primary way I intended to make money with Niche Wolf. It was just another way to get people on the email list so I could market the custom keyword research packages for sale to them.
Keyword Research Packages for Sale
After getting the site structure completely finished and all of the back end email automation stuff complete – all I had to do was start creating keyword research packages and getting them up for sale on the site. Sounds simple enough, right? My plan all along was to outsource this process. But first, I had to do it myself several times. I needed to refine and perfect the process before handing it off to a VA (or team of VA’s). Using my massive list of niche ideas and my new keyword research process – I was coming up with some AWESOME keyword research packages! Want to see the exact keyword research process that I was using?
I ended up creating a whole bunch of really good keyword research packages myself. I wanted to get several in place before I started marketing them to the email list so that buyers would have choices. I was also procrastinating on hiring and training any VA’s to do the work for me because I wanted to wait until the site was producing enough income first to pay for those VA’s.
I had one small problem. The packages weren’t selling. The email list was steadily growing and a few people purchased the list of niche ideas for $27 – but nobody was buying the awesome keyword research packages that I created. This wasn’t making sense to me because the packages I previously created to sell on Dumb Passive Income (years ago) sold SO well!
My #1 Mistake with The Keyword Research Packages
The most obvious and blatant differentiating factor in these keyword research packages and the ones I had sold in the past was that I had these set up to sell over and over again. Meaning that the exact same package could be purchased by multiple buyers. In the past, the packages I sold were a one-and-done deal. Once a package was sold – I never sold it again and never even created another package around that same niche.
My thought process was that I wanted to create a nice ‘passive income’ stream from the revenue generated from Niche Wolf. If I could get different buyers to keep buying the same packages over and over again – what a sweet passive income producing website I would have! I haphazardly tried to justify this to potential buyers – but I apparently I wasn’t convincing enough.
There was also another problem with this strategy. Keyword data changes over time. Search volume and competition metrics change daily and can change drastically over the course of several months. I knew this would be a problem before I started – but I had plans to create a process for a VA to update each of the packages every couple of months or so. Again – the hiring and training of new VA’s to run Niche Wolf was planned for after the site started to create enough income to pay for them. But the site wasn’t creating enough income. You can see how this was a problem…
Fixing Niche Wolf and Providing a More Valuable Service
In the end – I needed to make a decision. I was completely overwhelmed. If you’ve been following me for long – you know that all of my internet marketing ventures are very much part-time for me. It’s just something that I do on the side. Trying to run Niche Wolf and keep up with my Dumb Passive Income blog as well as maintain all of my niche sites (and one client site) – it just became too much. I couldn’t handle it all.
I decided that I needed to sell Niche Wolf and just let the entire thing go. I had a few good prospects in mind to reach out to about selling. I was thrilled when the first person I contacted was not only interested, but he was also excited about adding Niche Wolf to his list of services that he already offers.
I sold Niche Wolf to Jon Haver from AuthorityWebsiteIncome.com and Jon has spent the last couple of months refining the keyword research process and making it far better than I even could have imagined! He has built an actual team and he has processes in place to create some of the best keyword research packages (plus a whole lot more) that I have ever seen! Jon is easily the most trusted person I could have hoped to sell Niche Wolf to and he has an excellent reputation in the world of SEO. I am ecstatic at the way the whole deal worked out.
Jon and his team use advanced SEO tools that are really expensive. We’re talking tools like Market Muse that are far out of the price range for an average Joe who just wants to build one or two sites.
And the number one change that Jon made that makes his packages WAY more valuable than mine were… Each of his packages is sold ONLY once! If you buy a package from Niche Wolf today – nobody will ever be able to buy that exact same package again.
I highly encourage you to take a look at what Jon has turned Niche Wolf into and what is now offered on the site.
The packages that are currently being sold on Niche Wolf are far different than the ones I originally envisioned and created. And I’m not exactly owner of the domain anymore. But you’ll still see my face on the site as I’ve worked out a deal with Jon to stay on as sort of an adviser and idea man and also to help promote however I can.
Nutshell Version of This Story
I bought a website that I thought was going to be a game-changer for me as far as creating ridiculous amounts of internet income. I got way in over my head and over-complicated everything about it. I made a bad decision or two and failed to properly market the service/site and didn’t make very much income with it. I sold the site to somebody who I knew had the ability (and team in place) to pull off what I couldn’t quite pull off myself. Now I simply promote what I originally started as an affiliate/partner and life goes on in a much simpler fashion for me.
Hope you enjoyed my story! I know I’ve written about more than my fair share of failures. I’m happy to report that this particular venture didn’t end up a complete failure – despite the fact that I was never able to make it work how I wanted when I owned it 100%.