Updated Sept 29, 2016
How to Build a Profitable
Amazon Associate Niche Site
This is the roadmap that you have been looking for...
Get ready because you found it…If you want to learn more about Amazon Affiliate Sites, you are in the right place.
This resource is for people that are new to Niche Site Project - and even for
Yep, it's really free.
This is the Definitive Guide to Create Successful Amazon Niche Sites
It’s a roadmap of sorts that will help you navigate your way to a Niche Site. (See some examples of Amazon Affiliate sites here to get in the mood...)
There is a ridiculous amount of information out there about niche sites. A lot of it is really old and out of date. This page is up to date and I take the time to make changes as time goes on and things change. (I actually got started by following Pat Flynn’s Niche Site Duel - the first one - a full 3 years after it started! Whoops!)
Table of Contents (Quick Navigation)
It’s different from other guides because I use Project Management Best Practices to continuously improve the process. (I'm a certified Project Management Professional - recognized by PMI.)
This page is here to help you locate the resources you need to master this niche site stuff.
And by “stuff” I mean...
The Niche Site Process:
This is the same process that Pat Flynn & Spencer Haws use to build out their niche sites, like Security Guard Training HQ and The Best Survival Knife Guide. It works for Adsense, Amazon, or other affiliate based niche sites.
It’s the same process that countless other niche site owners have used, too.
The process works for a niche site on two-way radios or puppy collars or blenders and anything in between.
It even works to start an authority site - since a niche site should be the testing grounds for an authority site.
The process works because it follows a precise set of phases that you execute in a specific order.
I removed ineffective steps. If there is no ROI on a task, then we don’t do it.
This is what they leave out on other blogs.
Read this page carefully. Read it multiple times and commit it to memory.
Want to kickstart your Niche Site?
Get 15,000 keywords for free.
These are profitable keywords - exactly the same kind of keywords - that others use to make thousands per month.
Learn the Steps of the Niche Site Process for Amazon Affiliate Websites
The following flowchart outlines the Niche Site Process, or NSP for short.
Print out the PDF and study it. Post it next to your desk. If you plan on building out a niche website then you’ll be referencing the NSP often.
When you learn new concepts and tactics, like keyword research & outsourcing, you’ll need to remind yourself where you are in the NSP. Otherwise, you could be wasting money and, more importantly, wasting your time.
A word of caution: There isn't much value in understanding how to do keyword (KW) research and competition analysis alone.
There is enormous value (and profit) in understanding how to use these niche selection strategies within the overall Niche Site Process.
That applies to anything in the NSP - You must understand where a step fits within the process, not just how to do it.
To keep the topic focused, we’re mainly considering niche site monetized using the Amazon Associate, the affiliate program for Amazon.
Here is the flowchart of the Niche Site Process…
Here are the steps:
- Select a Niche or Market
- Build Out the Framework
- Develop a Content Management Plan
- Execute a Link Building Campaign
- Execute an Outreach & Promotion Campaign
- Execute an Email Marketing Campaign (if desired)
- Continue Growing the Niche Site or Transition to an Authority Site (if desired)
Some of the steps may be totally new to you. Don’t worry!
Let’s review each one of the steps right here on the this page. Then, I will point out resources that are available to learn more. You’re going to be an expert compared to 99% of the people out there.
Some of the resources are freely available on the Niche Site Project blog. Other resources are for sale in training courses.
That’s right...I sell some stuff. And, there are affiliate links on this page, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
Dig into this Niche Site Process page.
Review it carefully and pay close attention…
I will reveal the exact system that I use to create profitable Amazon Affiliate websites.
Let’s start at the beginning…
Step 1 - Selecting Your Niche
This is the most important phase of the process. Every single part of the process is dependent on choosing a niche that targets a group of willing buyers.
You can't make the process work if you don't have a commercially viable niche or market.
I like to say, “You need to intercept a customer on the way to make a purchase on Amazon.”
The people visiting your website will be buying something no matter what - so you just need to help them make that buying decision.
You must determine three things to confidently create a niche site monetized with Amazon.
- Are products in the niche available on Amazon?
- Is the niche big enough?
- Is the competition level acceptable?
The first one is easy. You can simply head over to Amazon and search for some products in the niche or market.
Within a few moments, you'll know exactly what products are out there, plus you can quickly see some related items on the product pages. In less than an hour, you should be able to generate a list of dozens of products on Amazon.
The second one is more involved. To determine if the niche is big enough, you need to use some keyword research tools like the Google Keyword Planner or Long Tail Pro.
- 500 - 10,000 Exact Match Local Searches (your market may vary but I target the US) for the main KW
- Other niche sites in the top 25 in the Google search results
- Active blogs
- Active Facebook Pages
- Active Forums
- Active Email Newsletters Active associations, professional or amatuer
These are all general guidelines, and there are many niches that are exceptions. You don’t need to find each of the points above but the more you find the better.
So, if the target keyword doesn't have a search volume over 500, it might still be a viable niche.
Consider a high priced item like a chest freezer - you don't need to sell as many to earn significant commissions. In addition, you can find dozens of Secondary KWs that can really add up and may be easy to rank in Google.
Third is the gauging the competition level, and this one is challenging. Each niche and set of KWs is treated a little differently with Google.
Some markets are so profitable that they are fiercely competitive - like website hosting or the real estate industry.
Consider the first page of the Google Search Results for your primary KW. That’s right, just the top 10 results.
Within the top 10 results, look for:
- KWs in the Title of the page
- KWs in the URL of the page
- 3 or more results with less than 40 backlinks
- 3 or more results with a MOZ Page Authority (PA) less than 30
- 1 or more niche sites
- 1 or more forum posts
- 1 or more Q & A Sites (like Yahoo! Answers)
Again, these are very good guidelines but I have seen great niches that didn’t meet the criteria exactly. I’ve also seen niches that looked fantastic as far as the competition but turned out to be hard to monetize.
Spend a lot of time on this phase because everything depends on finding a viable niche.
Niche Selection Resources
Since selecting your niche and market is so important for Amazon Affiliate Sites so I created different resources including:
From the blog:
From the Five Figure Niche Site Course:
The Niche Site Process starts with the right niche and keywords.
Your actual niche website begins with the right framework: a domain name, hosting, and a theme.
Step 2 - Build Out the Framework
Luckily, this portion is less of an art and more of a science. That is to say, I can treat this section rather mechanically - I can finish this step and build out the infrastructure in less that 60 minutes.
Yeah, I know some people will disagree with me. These are essential steps but nothing is set in stone after you build out the framework.
The steps to set up the infrastructure are to:
- Select a Domain Name
- Set up a Hosting Account
- Select a WordPress Theme
The days are long gone where you need to find an exact match domain name. An exact match domain is where the domain is the exact KW phrase that you are targeting.
I don't recommend using exact match domains anymore.
As recent as the fall of 2013, it was still good to pick a partial match domain name. A partial match domain has 1 or more words from the KW phrase in the domain name.
If you can find an available partial match, be sure to check that it was not used previously since it could have a bad history that you don't want to be associated with. It’s best to pick a domain name that is brandable and clever.
Choose something that is easy to spell and not confusing to say aloud. Like, don’t use a number because you have to explain if it’s the digit or the word spelled out...and don't use hyphens…
And, so on…
When you get more traffic, then you can upgrade your hosting plan so your niche site will load more quickly.
Please don't agonize over selecting a WordPress Theme. You can change it later if you need to. I recommend using the default WordPress 2014 theme.
WordPress 2014 is free, fast, and it looks pretty good out of the box.
You'll have other things to worry about that are WAY more important than the theme.
So, save yourself the hassle of battling with the minutiae of customizing a theme.
Or, get a premium theme from Thrive Themes.
From the blog:
From the Five Figure Niche Site Course:
Once you have the domain, hosting, and the theme squared away, you can move on to content.
It seems simple - because it is - but don't let that fool you. You should spend a little time planning things before jumping in.
Step 3 - Content Management Plan for Amazon Affiliate Sites
Remember our goal of intercepting a customer on the way to Amazon? Keep that in mind throughout this section…
Here are the steps:
- Create a list of topics
- Write the content or outsource it
- Publish the content
List of Topics
How do you figure out what to write about? And, what if you don't know much about the topic?
It isn't difficult once we break it down. If you don't know much about the topic, well…
...You're going to need to spend 2 - 3 hours researching your niche on Wikipedia and other reputable websites or publications. (If you spend that small amount of time studying up on a topic, you'll be an expert compared to 90% of the population.)
80% of your content needs to target our goal of intercepting a would-be buyer on the way to Amazon.
What does that mean?
In two words: Product Reviews.
This portion of your content reassures the visitor that the he or she should buy the particular product. (That’s assuming it’s a quality product based on the Amazon reviews - we don't want to market products that are low quality.)
If you don't own the product and don't have a way to actually physically hold it, then here is what to do:
- Read the product description on Amazon and the manufacturers website.
- Read some reviews on Amazon - Five of the 5 star reviews, Five of the 3 star reviews, and five of the 1 star reviews.
- Search for forum posts or review websites that have reviews for the specific product.
Using that strategy, you'll have the information for the technical specifications and all the product details, real owners giving their feedback, and what other reviewers thought about the product.
The other 20% of the content should be general topics about the niche. It’s super easy these days to find popular ideas.
Go to Google and search for existing blogs or websites in the niche. Find the 2-3 most popular websites.
Then head over to buzzsumo.com and quicksprout.com. Enter the website and you’ll see a section with the most popular posts as determined by how much the posts were shared.
That’s more than enough to get you started on the non-review content.
Creating the Content
You can write the content yourself and that’s what I recommend to start out with. It’s cheaper.
Sure, it takes more time but if you don't have a budget to spend, writing content is the perfect way to hustle and save some money.
In addition, you'll learn more about the niche and community around the topic. That’s totally worth the effort early on.
You can also outsource the content to contractors. Companies like Text Broker and iWriter are completely oriented around content creation so they are a tad more expensive.
The benefit is that getting content from Text Broker and iWriter is hands off once you place your order. The other main option for outsourcing is oDesk/Elance. The prices are cheaper in most cases.
The downside is that you have to spend more time managing the writer, including creating a job post, sorting through candidates, and hiring. It isn't hard to hire someone on oDesk but it takes you through the full HR lifecycle - hiring to firing.
Publish the Content
Publishing the content is a straightforward process. You need to get the content in WordPress so it can be posted.
The 80% of the content that is some kind of product review should have Amazon Affiliate links. I like to immediately (or as soon as possible) publish about 10 product review pages, plus one big piece of pillar content.
After that, keep publishing new content over some regular interval, like once a week, every two weeks, or monthly.
The interval isn't very important but be consistent and stick to the schedule. Now that you have some content, you need backlinks to that content so your visitors and search engines can find it.
Content Management Resources
From the blog:
From the Five Figure Niche Site Course:
Want to kickstart your Niche Site?
Step 4 - Link Building Plan for Niche Sites
If you understand and execute this step, you’ll be far ahead of most of your competitors.
There is a lot of noise out there about link building. There are internet-age snake oil salesman that will promise you the world with #1 rankings in 24 hours, then close up shop once they make the sale.
The approach I outline doesn’t have any shortcuts. Guess what – it takes time and you are going to have to put in the work.
(Yes, you can outsource link building, but it’s really important to understand the process first hand. You can’t effectively outsource a task if you don’t fully understand the process.)
A basic link building campaign includes:
- Blog Commenting
- Web 2.0 Free Blogs
After I publish 2 articles, it’s time to start blog commenting. These are genuine, real comments on real blogs, related to the topic and niche. The target blogs are highly relevant and that’s important!
These are not the spammy, automated backlinks that are pushing Ray Bans or Uggs. You know what I’m talking about…
Blog comments are normally no-follow and that is fine. It’s quite normal for a website to have a healthy percentage of no-follow backlinks.
Make 5 – 10 comments every day for a month. Not all of the comments will be approved so you need to make a lot of comments.
This is really important about the comments to get the highest number of approved comments:
- Do not put a URL in the actual comment text since it is far less likely to be approved.
- Put a name in the “Name” field, not your keyword phrase.
- Put your URL in the “Website” field.
Your link should have the anchor text of the name you enter with a target URL of the website you enter.
Web 2.0 Blogs
This step consists of creating a free blog, publishing niche relevant content, and adding links to your niche site. The blogs are free platforms like wordpress.com, blogger.com, or blog.com – and there are countless others.
Note: Building websites like this violates the Google Webmaster Guidelines but is in no way illegal. It does mean that Google frowns upon the approach. If you took the Web 2.0 blog seriously, you could actually make it a valuable resource to the niche. Large media companies do the same thing by creating smaller websites and funneling traffic back to the main site.
At a minimum, you should:
- Create a blog on the three platforms I listed above.
- Publish 3 to 6 originally written posts on each one that are related to the niche of your site.
- Add 1 or 2 links to your website from about half of the posts on the Web 2.0 blogs.
- Include 2 to 3 links to other websites in the niche that are non-competitive in each of the posts on the Web 2.0 blogs. (For example, Wikipedia, About.com, CNN, NY Times, or other big media outlets.)
When it’s time to take your link building to the next level, here are some more advanced strategies.
An advanced approach includes:
- Tiered Link Building to the Web 2.0 Blogs.
- Private Blog Network links
- Wikipedia backlinks
I don’t know how to use automated link building tools, and I would NEVER recommend them for linking to your money site. But I do like to build a lot of links to the Web 2.0 properties.
The Web 2.0 blogs provide a layer of insulation from the automated backlinks. I outsource this part to fiverr. Most contractors at fiverr can deliver the backlinks in about a week or less.
Private Blog Networks (PBNs)
A private blog network (PBN) is a collection of expired domains that you use for link building to your niche site.
An expired domain is a domain that was owned in the past and had content – the website was cared for. But for some reason the original owner decided not to continue caring for the website.
A PBN is extremely powerful because you control the content and you control the links within the domain. This means that you can create or alter the content so it relates specifically to your niche.
In addition, an expired domain is likely to pass along a good amount of link juice to any website with a link from it. Link juice can be thought of as ranking power (moz.com reference) – so an expired domain can pass more ranking power than a brand new domain.
Setting up a PBN is not simple. I wouldn’t recommend that you try to build a PBN if you are just getting started. It’s too overwhelming.
However, once you’re established then a PBN can be a HUGE asset and game changer.
If you Google just about any general term or phrase, it’s safe to assume that you will see a Wikipedia page in the top 10 results. Wikipedia is highly trusted and highly esteemed by Google.
Wikipedia backlinks are super valuable, hard to get, and can actually drive significant traffic.
Imagine having your niche site listed as a reference for a highly trafficked Wikipedia entry. That’s passing some link juice!
Wikipedia backlinks are no-follow but no one will argue that these backlinks are not valuable.
The process is simple:
- Create valuable, epic level content for your niche site.
- Make sure that the content has solid, true information that can be used as reference material in Wikipedia.
- Keep the content free of affiliate links or any kind of commercial content.
- Create a Wikipedia account.
- Make some edits over 1 to 2 weeks by helping out on the “backlog” – Wikipedia Backlog list. You can see they need lots of help!
- Edit your target article in Wikipedia that’s related to your niche.
- Add a reference to your article that is on your niche site.
Link Building Resources
From the blog:
From the Five Figure Niche Site Course:
Recommended for Advanced PBN Training:
- The Ultimate PBN Course (It's FREE too.)
Step 5 - Outreach, Promotion, and Guest Posting for Amazon Affiliate Sites
When you publish new content, you should let your followers on social media know about it. You can drive early traffic to your website this way. If you effectively network with the influencers in your niche they can share it - if it’s worthy.
Outreach and promotion steps can include:
- Guest Posting
Even if you have a small following, you can still tweet your followers to let them know about your new content. In the early days of your niche site, Twitter is a pretty fast way to get traffic.
If you don't have a Twitter profile for your niche site yet, you should create one. Right out of the gates, you need to make sure this is set up right. (Thanks to Amy Schmittauer from Savvy Sexy Social for the tips.)
- Choose a Twitter account name that is niche relevant. Try to make it memorable and not confusing.
- Be sure you have an avatar, or profile picture for your account. Accounts that don't have pictures looks like spammers.
- Completely fill out your profile. You can add a link back to your niche site so definitely take advantage of that.
Here are a couple quick tips on getting started on Twitter if you don't have a big following yet:
- Find your fans (or potential fans) by searching for the influencers in your niche. Start following whoever is following the influencers.
- Interact with the influencers by sharing their content and interacting with them.
- Interact with your new followers.
- Share and retweet helpful tips, resources, how-to guides, and quotes, and so on...
- If a person follows you, then follow them back.
- Post 5 - 6 times a day since the Twitter feed moves fast. Use a tool like, Buffer to make this easier to manage.
The same ideas apply to Facebook as Twitter. It’s a good way to get the word out about your site and become active in the niche’s community.
If you don't have a Facebook profile for your niche site yet, you should create one. Here are the prerequisites:
- Create your page. You can probably choose the “Company, Organization, or Institution” page type. It’s not super important at this time - choose whatever is the most relevant.
- Add the details about your niche site to the Facebook page.
- Add a profile image & a Timeline Cover image. Again, these images go a long way to make sure that the page does not look spammy.
Here are a couple quick tips on getting started on Facebook if you don’t have many “likes” yet:
- Notify your network about your new page. Tell you mom and dad, all your cousins, aunts, uncles, and your neighbors. Just get the word out!
- Ask them to like the page.
- Share content from the influencers in your niche.
- Interact with the influencers by commenting on their posts.
- Post quotes with custom graphics - these are hugely popular. Add some of your own quotes in the mix for good measure.
- This helps to establish you and your niche site as authoritative.
Guest Posting is more advanced for sure. Most likely, you will need to have cut your teeth on either Twitter or Facebook networking so that you’ll have some options for guest posting.
Not all of your content will be worthy of this kind of outreach. Keep that in mind.
Let’s say you have created some killer content for your niche site that is NOT a product review. Instead it’s the Definitive Guide to <some-really-awesome-topic-in-your-niche>. It’s literally the best information on the topic, too.
You want links to your Definitive Guide. The steps aren't too hard to understand but the execution requires focus. Here’s what to do:
- Pick 5 - 10 influencers to research. (You can pick more influencers if you want. You’re like a lion hunting for dinner - your success rate will be low but you have to go on the hunt.) They should be people that you have already networked with on Twitter, Facebook, or directly emailed them by replying to one of their email broadcasts.
- Go to quicksprout.com & enter the influencer’s domain name.
- Find the most popular content based on the number of social shares.
- Develop a theme for a guest post that covers one of the top 5 most popular posts on the influencer’s site. Add a twist to that topic by adding your personal expertise. You get extra credit if you can reference your Definitive Guide directly - that’s the overall goal.
- Contact the person directly using the previous method of contact (in the first step). Pitch the idea of the guest post.
- Don't be discouraged by a “No.” Many people are very protective of guest posting on their sites. Go on to the next person.
- Repeat as needed.
Outreach & Promotion Resources
From the blog:
Step 6 - Email Marketing
Many people build their whole businesses around email marketing. It is hugely successful when it is done the right way.
A friend just told me about why he’s working on email list building right now. He developed a successful niche website. In 2014 the site had over 100,000 unique visitors. He was NOT capturing email addresses.
A conservative estimate of email opt-ins would be about 2% - so that’s 2,000. Imagine if you could email about 2,000 people that were interested in a specific niche to let them know about a cool product from Amazon. Pretty cool, eh?
I didn't get into building an email list for a while. I knew it could be powerful but honestly, I wasn't ready yet. We can only focus on a certain number of new things at one time, and it’s usually fewer than we think too. Anyway, it took a little while to get started.
Here are the steps:
- Create a lead magnet
- Set Up Aweber (or another email provider)
- Write an Autoresponder Series to build trust and authority
- Install Sumo Me Application
- Send Out Broadcast Emails Regularly
There is a lot of information related to building an email list. We could write entire books and develop entire course on each of the steps. We will keep it high level here.
Create a lead magnet
This should be directly related to the niche or topic. Don’t give away a free iPad if your niche site is about 2-Way Radios. The lead magnet should attract people interested in the topic so a better option would be “The Top Five 2-Way Radio Resources (the best one is free).”
The lead magnet should be short, to the point, and provide value to the would-be subscriber in less than 5 minutes.
Set Up Aweber (or another email provider)
Aweber is a common platform and you can get a trial month for $1. Mail Chimp is another popular option that is free up to a certain number of subscribers. However, the free Mail Chimp account lacks the autoresponder feature. (We’ll get to that in a minute.)
There are other more advanced email providers, like Infusionsoft, that have WAY more functionality. It’s too much for most people and it’s very expensive, too.
Stick to Aweber and you’re going to be fine. Aweber integrates well with nearly any app, platform, etc... that you may use.
Write an Autoresponder Series to build trust and authority
An Autoresponder Series is a set of emails that is sent to your subscribers automatically. Once you set it up, the emails are sent out to the subscriber automatically and you can specify when they are sent.
For example, if a new person signs up, they will receive the 1st email in the series. Then you can configure the 2nd email to arrive 2 days later in the morning, the 3rd email to be sent 4 days later in the evening, and so on...
Write 3 to 5 emails for the autoresponder.
- The 1st email should introduce the new subscriber to your brand/niche site. Be sure to explain what they should expect in the emails and how often they will receive emails.
- The rest of the emails should provide some value related to the niche.
- You can provide the content directly within the email or link to a specific page on your niche site. I like to do a combination of the two.
Install SumoMe Application
This is a free suite of tools that help you build your email list. They develop new tools all the time.
I personally use the List Builder, Scroll Bar, Share, and Smart Bar. They boosted my opt-in rate significantly.
Again, it’s free so there is no reason NOT to use the SumoMe Tools.
Send Out Broadcast Emails Regularly
You should send out a broadcast email on a regular basis. You can decide the interval but I suggest keeping it to either:
- Once a day
- Once a week
- Once every two weeks
- Once a month
It’s probably best to pick once a week or every two weeks. It’s interesting to note that daily emails can be a little annoying, but if they are done correctly, then you will make more sales.
It’s true that more people will unsubscribe if you send more frequent emails. However, you actually don’t want to have people on your email list that are not engaged. If someone is actually making a decision to unsubscribe then at least they've taken some action.
The broadcast emails can serve a couple purposes like:
- Driving traffic to your newest posts
- Publicizing a sale price for a product
- Continue to add value related to the niche.
Email Marketing Resources
From the blog:
Step 7 - Continue Growing or Transition to an Authority Site
There is no hard and fast rule for the transition. It might happen over time, slowly without much intention.
However, if you truly want to grow your niche site quickly you need to realign your goals and process. Your actions will change if you are moving to an authority site.
Just like “Niche Site” is an ambiguous term, “Authority Site” isn't a term that people all interpret the same way. Let’s just define something specific:
An authority site has a loyal reader base that likes the site due to the high quality content and the great user experience.
Let’s list out a couple possibilities:
- An affiliate site
- A dropshipping site
- A combination of an affiliate and dropshipping site.
It is time to transition once the niche site is earning consistently with a steady stream of traffic. The revenue needs to be at a level where not only the costs are covered (you have to be covering your costs!) but where you can reinvest the revenue into the business.
The reinvestment will be in the form of more high quality content, actual products and inventory, or a stronger marketing campaign. Any combination of the three is acceptable - and they’re all required after a certain point.
If you've developed a Twitter, Facebook, or other social following, then you may already be moving to an authority site. Now, you can realign your efforts to drive your site safely to the authority site territory.
The Niche Site Process is about about building an unstoppable Niche Site by helping visitors make a buying decision.
This is the exact process that I use for every niche site that I start.
I know why you are frustrated. You're frustrated because you didn't have a system.
You knew about all the pieces of this puzzle…
...keyword research, competition analysis, creating content, building links, and even private blog networks.
You don't know WHEN to start link building. You don't know HOW the keyword research works together with the content management plan. You don't know the RIGHT ORDER to complete the Niche Site Process.
Every one of the skills and tactics are useless without a system.
I've held nothing back.
The whole process is here for you.
Application of the process to your existing niche site will grow your revenue.
Applying the process over and over again will make you unstoppable.
LIKE WHAT YOU'VE READ?
If so, please join over 2,500 people who receive exclusive weekly online business and niche site tips, and get a FREE tip to help Double Your Productivity!
Plus you will get 51 Profitable Keywords.
Click on the green button below!
BONUS: The Perfect Amazon Affiliate Review
The graphic below shows you just how to write the perfect Amazon Product review your your niche website.