Ben tells us about his Amazon Affiliate Site that recently hit the multi-hundred dollar mark. Sienna, Ben’s daughter, says hello and is present through the interview so it’s authentic and real.
Ben is another Five Figure Niche Site student, and he’s been able to hit $400+ hundred dollars per month.
Now, his site is a little more seasonal, so there have been some ups and downs and that sort of thing, but he has sort of proven the model and learned a lot along the way.
We were joined by Ben’s daughter as well, so you’ll see her pop her head in every now and then. Basically, we get down and talk about how Ben was able to pull this off, and learn a little more about his link building strategy, or lack thereof.
We also talk about the Keyword Golden Ratio and how it played a role in his success as well.
Ben and I talk about:
- His WHY for starting a niche site and she actually makes an appearance in the video.
- Getting off the hamster wheel of a 9-5.
- The downside of a seasonal niche.
- The power of the Keyword Golden Ratio.
- The link building strategy & its role.
- Mistakes that Ben made & what you can learn.
Here is the transcript of the interview
Doug: We have another success story interview for an Amazon Affiliate Site. In this one, I’m talking to Ben, who’s from New Zealand. Ben is another Five Figure Niche Site student, and he’s been able to hit $400+ hundred dollars per month. Now, his site is a little more seasonal, so there have been some ups and downs and that sort of thing, but he had sort of proven the model and learned a lot along the way.
We were joined by Ben’s daughter as well, so you’ll see her pop her head in now and then. We get down and talk about how Ben was able to pull this off and learn a little more about his link building strategy, or lack thereof.
We also talk about the Keyword Golden Ratio and how it played a role in his success as well. Let’s head over to the interview now.
Hey, Doug Cunnington here from Niche Site Project, and I’m with my friend Ben here. Ben, welcome. Thanks for joining me today.
Ben: No problem. Thanks for having me.
Doug: Now, the reason why I invited you here is you’re a student of Five Figure Niche Site, which is awesome. Thanks for enrolling in the course, but you’re also a success story, so can you share some of your success?
Ben: Yeah, I can. Hello Sienna.
Doug: Who is that? That’s alright, you can say hello.
Ben: That’s my little girl, Sienna.
Ben: She’s the reason that I’m getting into all this actually. I want to spend more time with her, so I’m trying to get there.
Doug: Hey Sienna. What’s up? So cool.
Doug: Now, we have some earnings and some traffic to share, so can you just lay it on us before we back into the story.
Ben: Sure. Earnings are one thing which is probably a wee bit of a mistake when I started. It’s kind of a seasonal thing. So earnings are kind of like this, but I can give you the earnings. I’ll start with this month. So far I’ve earned 220, which is great, yet this month 214, last month 283, May was 469, April 179, March 167, February 81, and January 260.
Doug: That’s cool. Sounds like some up and down but basically you’re hitting some multi-hundred dollar levels and you know it can work, which is one of the biggest things, right?
Ben: Yeah, yeah, it’s a bit of an emotional roller coaster with the seasonal thing, but-
Ben: … yeah, but it seems to be working and-
Ben: … it’s good.
Doug: Alright. Cool. And how old’s the site right now?
Ben: I would say it’s probably about a year. I had a site before that and just kind of dabbled and I wasn’t serious, and sold that and started this one, and again kind of dabbled and then sort of since I found your course it started to take off.
Doug: Awesome. Cool. Well, congratulations. I know hitting those sort of milestones, pretty exciting and it sounds like you’re learning a lot along the way.
Doug: It’s not bad to have something seasonal by the way, for everyone. It’s not bad, it’s just the expectations are uncertain sometimes. Well, tell us a little bit about yourself. I detect an accent, so are you from Texas? Is that it?
Ben: No, believe it or not, I’m from New Zealand, and I work in marketing and graphic design for a real estate company over here. I’ve got this little person to take care of and I sort of got into this. I don’t want to be on the hamster wheel for the rest of my life, so yeah, got into this as a way to try and get off.
Doug: Cool. And do you remember when you first heard about Niche Sites or Affiliate Marketing or anything like that?
Ben: Yeah, it was … I don’t know where I found, but I found something about review sites with Erica Stone. I sort of got one of her courses and made up a review, and I think I was pretty lucky that it actually sort of ended up making a tiny bit of money. I thought, oh okay, this is pretty cool. And just since then I’ve sort of been on and off, but learning so much ever since.
Doug: Alright. And how long ago did you launch your very first site?
Ben: Probably two and a half to three years ago.
Doug: You had a couple of tries and as you learned more and more …
Ben: Not very serious and I didn’t know what I was doing. That’s what it comes down to really.
Doug: And by the way, do you have any mistakes that you made that you want to share, that may be so other people won’t make them?
Ben: Probably quite a lot. I guess at the start, I mean just the Keyword Golden Ratios, it’s pretty much most of the traffic comes from that.
Ben: Sorry. Having found out about that has just helped immensely. I think If I had my time again, I probably wouldn’t do seasonal-
Ben: … just because you have the up times, but you also have the low times. I guess perhaps it evens out, but it’s an emotional roller coaster. I’d probably prefer it if it were a bit more stable.
Doug: And it’s a little tough to balance it out, because sometimes you may have a site where you could add other products that sort of balance it, but sometimes … I don’t know what your site is, but if it’s like we just had the 4th July here and if it’s fireworks or something, there’s only going to be a couple of times of the year where it’s relevant.
Very good. Now, do you … Aside from the Keyword Golden Ratio, is there anything else that you think was really essential for the success?
Ben: Keyword research I think is quite a big one, which obviously comes down to the Keyword Golden Ratio. To be honest, the course is fantastic but most of what I’ve done, it’s just Keyword Golden Ratio. Probably I guess that’s one thing I need to talk to you, is I’ve been listening to your videos about the 200 articles you had and most of them were in views. I don’t think I’ve actually done any reviews with the Keyword Golden Ratio yet. I’ve seen a couple of other stats and maybe my conversions are not as good as they could be, but.
Doug: Well, actually that may be … I can give you some advice right now as part of the question here. The fact that you don’t have many … you were saying you don’t have many buyers keywords with the Keyword Golden Ratio, is that right?
Ben: I have a lot of compare and versus and those sorts of topics a lot of those ones bringing in a lot of traffic. When I say a lot, a lot from either.
Doug: I think the verses are … you could consider those products: A versus Product B. Those are usually pretty good for Keyword Golden Ratio terms as far as a buyer’s keyword, so those are pretty good. If you can find more of the sort of a format of the best product type for a specific use or a specific user, those usually work out pretty well. Now, the fact that you aimed for mostly informational topics and keywords, that’s pretty … that’s a good thing. Those are usually less competitive and you’re making some sales. Now, the reason your conversion rate is probably a little lower is that you are … you’re making sales through informational articles. But if you add more affiliate review content, you should be able to boost that conversion rate and get traffic that is more eager to buy.
Now, don’t go overboard or anything. You want to keep it about 50/50 so that you have a nice balance, but going for the informational topics is a good move, so to do that first and then you add more affiliate content, I mean you should be able to grow quite a bit. Especially your site’s a year old, you’re out of the sandbox, you’re getting traffic, it all works out at the end.
Ben: I think it’s starting to and with a bit of money I can start outsourcing things, and that’s what I’ve been doing which is really helping that growth for me.
Doug: Cool, cool. How’s it going Sienna? Are you having fun? Alright. Now, what’s the weather like there?
Ben: It’s winter at the moment, but today, just happens to be a sunny day. I think they said it’s like the most dismal month that we’ve had on record, so that’s been fun.
Doug: Wow. It is summer here. It is very warm. I think it’s one of the hottest days here in Bozeman. We don’t have air conditioning in this house because it’s not warm that often, so I’m sweating. So if I look shiny, I literally am just sitting here sweating. I had to close the door so the fans and stuff don’t make too much noise. I’m literally sweating here.
Alright, so you mentioned one or two mistakes before, but I think we realize there were a couple of others that we can learn from, so tell us about one of the other mistakes that you realize it’s solvable, and it really helped when you took care of it.
Ben: Well, definitely site speed. I noticed when I put a bit of focus on that, my ratings went up quite a lot and a lot of them too. There’s probably still a lot to learn. I know my site, it’s reasonably quick. I like to click it, but your page has got six seconds to load, it’s-
Doug: Far too long.
Ben: … quite an experience. It’s not going to rank.
Doug: Right. I just watched a video with Neil Patel and he mentioned having a site loading under 4.6 seconds. That’s the average, so if you’re faster than the average, then you’re in decent shape. If you can improve … What are some of your tips on improving the site speed that you ran across?
Ben: Kind of less is more. I had plugins for tables and then the thing that really bugs me is that M is on API, that’s quite slow. There was one post I had … comparison post, it was quite long and it had 15 to 20 products and it was horrible. 10 or 15 seconds just about.
Doug: Got you. And one of my … I had issues with site speed myself, and the two main things, the images were too big so I had huge images which … It’s easy to make images smaller but it’s kind of a pain to mess with, so if you have small images, and then the other is just upgrading your hosting package, so you’re on not a shared hosting … Once you start getting traffic like you’re getting, it’s time to upgrade. You can afford it, and stuff like that and the response time is just way faster. Good tip there.
You’re starting to make a little money. You understand that it works. Now, how has this impacted your life? When you think about now that you can make some money, and it’s enough for … It’s up and down but you can maybe make a car payment or go on vacation or something, so how has it changed your life?
Ben: I mean it’s given me focus, because I know, oh okay, if I can make $500 then there’s no reason I can’t make $1000 and I can’t make $2000 by following the process, so it’s given me a focus and I guess it’s a bit of a double-edged sword, but one thing with the US dollar is it’s worth a whole lot more here, which is great. I don’t have to … Huge numbers and US dollars to get good numbers in New Zealand dollars, so that’s pretty cool. But on the flip side, it costs a bit more to pay freelancers.
Doug: Right, right, right. Interesting. And what is the exchange rate? I have no clue.
Ben: I think it’s about two New Zealand dollars, about two third to the US dollar, so I get one and a third for every US dollar, so that’s pretty cool.
Doug: Yeah, that is pretty good. Awesome. Do you have any tips or advice for people that maybe they’re just getting started, or maybe they just launched their site?
Ben: One thing I’ve also found is keyword research, it’s hard in the respect that a lot of the software, it’s just not accurate. They’ll say I’ve got a keyword that says one hundred searches a month when it’s bringing in a thousand in two weeks impression. It’s a bit tough with keyword research but just … I mean, it just follows the Keyword Golden Ratio, follows the processes and it’s worked for me so it’ll work for other people.
Doug: So you’re a student of Five Finger Niche Site, and obviously you took another course and you had other stuff that you knew and researched beforehand. So before you took Five Figure Niche Site, were there some things that you struggled with that you figured out while taking the course, and working with me?
Ben: Getting traffic really. I’d go out, find the keyword and I’d use keyword finder, or Moz or whatever it was, and it looks good so I’d run an article and nothing. And then done the course. The good thing about the course is it’s the processes, so you can just kind of follow up that, and that’s what I was looking for.
Doug: Link building. What have you done as far as link building?
Ben: To be honest, my link building’s been fairly minimal. I think I got links from the Hoth and it was … And I had someone doing a little bit of outreach for me. I’ve done a little bit of blog commenting, but it’s one thing I haven’t done, but one thing that I realize I need to focus on a bit more so I’m pretty much in August, all the traffic that I’m getting, I haven’t built links to personally.
Doug: Got you. And you hired someone for outreach. Can you tell us about that, just a little bit. Are they outreach experts, and how did it work for you?
Ben: I made a post on outwork. I didn’t really get the response I wanted. I did find someone who was reasonable, and she would send … she would do the outreach. She would send me links, and is this site good, so I’d check all the metrics and try my best to see that it wasn’t a PBN or … I was getting organic traffic and what not. Looked over it as best I could. I mean it was expensive. That’s what it was, and it’s hard to say whether that really worked on that particular … I was sort of focusing on one post. It rated in the top ten. I don’t know how much it helped, but definitely overall for the main authority and whatnot, mine’s probably quite low for …
Doug: Got it.
Ben: … lower than I want it to be, anyway.
Doug: Got you. And do you happen to remember about how much it cost to get one link?
Ben: Yeah. I mean compared to the [inaudible 00:16:02] it was great, because the [inaudible 00:16:02] was one expense into rubbish. I think they ended up putting a blog directory as … But anyway, it was probably about a hundred to 120 US dollars for the main authority, 40, 50. So there’s … it wasn’t too bad. $50 to pay the freelancer, and often a $40 or $50 submission fee.
Doug: Got it. Okay. And you got it sounds like just a couple of links or something from that person?
Ben: Yeah. I mean it didn’t seem too bad, but it would be a bit hard to sort of scale and I just need to put a bit more focus on it to be honest.
Doug: Sure. Sure. And by the way, I was going to say I’ve found that I’ve had really good luck with people that are not outreach folks, and they’re just an admin or an assistant and then I’d give them the process, and train them. It takes longer but they don’t have any preconceived notions about how to do outreach, or SEO. They’re just following the steps that I give them, and it makes it-
Ben: Out of curiosity … Sorry. Out of curiosity, do you hire a native speaking person to do that sort of stuff?
Doug: Typically what happened in my situation was, I had writers working on content and then they finished up with the content. It was hey, you guys want to do something interesting? Something a little different, and I’ll pay you by the hour instead and I’ll have to train you. And they said sure. They literally just writers. So they were my US based writers. I think one was in the Virginia area, one was in Arizona or … sorry, New Mexico, out of Santa Fe, and they were just writers who could communicate well, write emails and follow directions. That’s what you need.
Ben: Yeah, okay.
Doug: You were telling me about this search term that only gets 110 searches as reported through a keyword tool, but you get a lot more traffic. Can you tell us a little bit about that situation, and what you expected, and what actually happened.
Ben: Sure. For me personally, the keyword difficulty and monthly searches is a wee bit of a lottery. The search term is … yeah, I think 110 on … what is it Keywords Anywhere, even in Keyword Finder. But it’s bringing me 15 hundred clicks a week, and admittedly it does have a whole lot of keywords that are ranked for, and webmasters I’ve checked, and it’s not even close. I showed Doug I think a post, which is 800 words, and I just saw it as a Keyword Golden Ratio, and I was, oh I’ll put something up. It’s one brings in a whole lot of traffic, but the keyword difficulties, it says it’s quite tough to rank for, but I’m number one for it.
Doug: Interesting. Very cool. And it goes against everything that we would think, right. It’s a lower search volume term, the key word difficulty score is relatively high. You have kind of short content and it’s bringing in a ton of traffic. Is that your highest traffic page?
Ben: It’s one of them, yeah. The one we were talking about previously is the highest but that’s up there.
Doug: Cool. And this is one of the reasons why it’s like you just kind of have to go for the Keyword Golden Ratio. If you just publish two posts, it may not work out for you, but if you publish 20 or more, some interesting things are going to happen, and you’re not going to win everything. You should just sort of focus on the ones that are doing well, and make those even better.
Before we go, I know you were going to look up traffic and just kind of give people an idea of what your traffic was like. And we’ll get screen shots and stuff, but can you just kind of tell us about the traffic to go along with your revenue.
Ben: Sure. Well, at the moment which is kind of peak time for me, the last I don’t know, a week or so I’ve probably been getting between six and eight hundred people a day. So it’s good for me.
Doug: That’s some good traffic.
Ben: And that’s been earning me between two and five hundred dollars a month. It’s a little bit inconsistent during the week, the weekends perform a whole lot better.
Doug: Cool. That’s awesome, and you mentioned before this month you’ve already made two hundred plus dollars, right. For reference, it is the sixth of the month, so very early in the month and it looks like this could be a record month for you, right?
Ben: Yeah, if things continue like that it will be. It’s a lot of the month to go, so it’s pretty exciting.
Doug: Excellent. Excellent. Very cool. Well, I was talking to Ben and we realized that he doesn’t really have anywhere where you could follow him but he is in the Facebook group for Five Finger Niche Site, so if you happen to be in that group or if you are a future or upcoming student you may be able to see some of his posts and stuff like that in the Facebook group. It is closed off, just in general.
But Ben, thanks a lot. I really appreciate you and Sienna taking some time today. Any parting words to people who are eager to get started?
Ben: Just learn as much as you can, yeah. Keyword Golden Ratio is the only shot. I know I keep going on about it but it’s just that’s what worked for me.
Ben: And learn, just learn. That’s what I’ve been doing and it’s been great.
Doug: Alright. Thanks Ben. Really appreciate it and maybe in a few months we’ll get an update from you, see how things are going. Thanks.
Ben: That would be great. Thanks for having me.
Doug: Thanks a lot Ben. Really appreciate you taking the time to chat with me and the Niche Site Project audience. If you have any questions for Ben, please feel free to leave a comment and hopefully, he’ll come back and give us an update in a couple of months. Thanks a lot.