Marty tells us about his Amazon Affiliate Site that recently hit the 0 mark in the summer of 2018.
That was a GREAT milestone for Marty because it was his initial goal when he enrolled in the course, Five Figure Niche Site.
“I believe the Five Figure Niche Site course is a great blueprint and it works and it’s legit and there’s no smoke and mirrors, it’s not tricks, it’s just good old-fashioned guidelines and here’s what you do and here’s how things work and this will help you.” — Marty
Marty and I talk about:
- The age of the site, earnings, and traffic stats.
- The role of hard work and motivation.
- The power of the Keyword Golden Ratio.
- Why low search volume keywords are still great.
- Quality content and why it’s so important.
- The link building strategy and its role.
- Mistakes that Marty made & what you can learn.
Here is the Transcript of the Interview
Doug: This is another success story interview, and this one I’m talking to Marty. So Marty has been around in a lot of the live streams and if you have paid attention to the chat you’ve probably seen Marty over there encouraging beginners to get started. This is a really cool story because Marty is a student of Five Figure Niche Site, and he also coincidentally lives very close to where I used to work and live down in Georgia.
Doug: Anyway, Marty has hit his initial goal from when he started the course which is $500 a month, so it just hit that goal and he’s continuing to grow and revise his goals. We are chatting today we’re going to hear about some of the mistakes that he made, some of the issues with motivation and how to deal with that, and generally how he’s been able to hit 0 a month with his Amazon affiliate site. Without further ado, let’s get to the interview right now.
Doug: Hey what’s up? I’m Doug Cunnington, I’m sitting with my friend Marty. How are you doing today?
Marty: Really good Doug and I’m really flattered be here, really appreciate it.
Doug: Awesome. Thank you. It’s a pleasure to speak with you. You are a student from Five Figure Niche Site, so I’m happy to bring you out and like show you off. So let’s get to the results like real quick right here. Can you share your recent earnings in traffic over the past couple months or so?
Marty: Right, so when I checked this morning in Amazon I looked to my list given for 30 days for the last month 30 days, was just about like I think is $530 in fees. I still got more coming because it’s not all paid yet, but the traffic is it’s getting closer. Just under 7,000 visitors a month now. So it’s by 16,000 or something right now.
Doug: Cool, and how old is the site?
Marty: It’s right at a year. As of June that made a year since I started a course.
Doug: Awesome. Well congratulations, I know to work on any project for a full year is like, it’s a pretty long time. So it’s an accomplishment all by itself and I know in the last, really in the last 30 days it has sort of been a milestone for you.
Can you tell us a little bit about that like what it means to you?
Marty: Oh, yeah, you know and actually I even had the original post-it note where I wrote down my gold that you suggested. My goal was pretty moderate, pretty modest I think I make $500 a month and I’d even expect for us to be talking about me having achieved that goal right now. I thought it would take even more time but just this last week I happened to log into my Amazon affiliate fees account and lo and behold I couldn’t leave it there it was, it actually exceeded 0. It is just kind of hard to describe.
Marty: It’s like when you make it from your first sale but multiply that times 10, and I had to almost actually just stop for a minute because I didn’t expect it but it felt so warm inside and it really just wow. It’s hard to describe to be honest with you, it’s just like a wonderful surprise, it makes you just feel good for all the hard work you’ve put in and so forth.
Who is Marty?
Doug: Excellent. Well, and you have put in a lot of hard work. We’ll get into a lot of the details of the site, well that too many of the details about your process of going through it. Before we get there though what’s your background? What do you do for your day job, education all that kind of stuff?
Marty: Actually, by day, my day job I’m an electrical engineer and I live and work here in Georgia, United States. Actually, we’ve spoken before about I work where you used to work a long time ago, we’re in the same area excuse me. My background is similar to that before I got out of Auburn University, I was doing electronics and other things like that.
Periodically, while working at jobs before, just in general I had seen the other guys online who were living a good life and they’re able to travel and making money online just blew me away, because I always had this strange feeling inside that the everyday routine there should be more to life possible than that and I can remember some very specific moments in which it just bothered me that I would had to do the same routine the rest of my life. That’s why I was interested in this topic affiliate marketing and how I found you.
First Exposure to Niche Sites and Affiliate Marketing
Doug: Do you remember when you first heard about like niche sites or affiliate marketing or anything like that?
Marty: I don’t remember the very first time, I do remember having been on those sites because I bought a pair of headphones one time, and I think that was when my first introductions and over the time more websites I was on it became obvious that they were, I saw the disclaimer about being an affiliate site Amazon site. Then when I read more about it that’s how I found you and I understood more about what it actually was. Hopefully that explains a little bit more.
Doug: Yeah, so it seems like a couple few years or something like that.
Marty: Yeah, exactly.
Doug: Okay, and do you build like other sites in the past just in general or …?
Marty: Yes, I did actually. Before I knew about you knew what a legitimate course was, I built a website related to men’s health supplement and it started off in the wrong foot and there’s no way I was going to succeed. That was very discouraging but I actually learned quite a bit from that, so it flopped and it didn’t last long.
Doug: You feel me not too long ago, you got the Five Figure Niche Site course like a year ago, has there been any or have there been other influences? Who are some other people that you follow and got value from?
Marty: Oh definitely, there’s a guy who goes by the name of Kyle Trouble, he’s not in Amazon affiliate marketing but he’s a really smart guy who’s actually given me some helpful information about how I write my content and my links and just some general staff. As well as, I learned quite a bit from some of the SEO articles and videos and webinars from companies like SEMrush and Ahrefs, Stewart Walker niche hacks, Human Proof Designs especially them there, it has some great info and I know you know them as well.
- Humanproof Designs — http://humanproofdesigns.com/
- Kyle Trouble — https://thisistrouble.com/
- Niche Hacks — http://nichehacks.com/
- Ahrefs — http://ahrefs.com/
- SEM Rush — http://semrush.com/
Marty: People like that tend to give you share a lot of real actionable information that helps beginners, that’s been a big influence on me too.
Doug: Cool, and we’ll link up all the stuff in the description. I think that’s key, you can sort of tell like after you see enough information you could tell the people that are practicing and like they’re practitioners of whatever craft they’re talking about, versus people that are just regurgitating. It’s very easy to get into the habit of like regurgitating content from other sources, and if you’re doing internet marketing you’re just getting started.
Doug: Sometimes you do have to like reference other case studies but it becomes really clear when people just don’t know what they’re talking about.
Marty: That’s true.
Doug: Yes, very cool. As far as like finding a niche, so it sounds like you’ve had a variety of sources. Do you have anything like recommendations for maybe beginners who haven’t picked the niche or maybe they’re not sure if the niche that they’re thinking of is a good profitable one.
Marty: Yeah, I definitely do. I have several thoughts on that because that’s so critical especially giving how many, how much competition there is out there these days. I would say, don’t always look at just the first things that pop into your head because probably everybody else has too. So you can try to think sideways like you stick sit up thinking about toast or thinking about similar kind of specialty item that’s similar, but then maybe there’s an opportunity with something else related to your first idea.
Marty: Over time I’ve learned that because of how much time and money you’re gonna invest, it does not necessary a lot of money but the amount of time and effort, those are resources too. People would do well to buy, just an hour of time from you for example to get a second opinion before they really go all in. It’s hard to put a price on somebody else’s experience and their perspective of how they say, “Hey, this is not a good idea or you know what I have a good feeling.”
Marty: All the things line up right you should do this, because that can save people in an enormous amount of grief and possibly even trying to climb a mountain they shouldn’t climb.
Doug: Right, and that’s a really good point. Someone I’m coaching right now they hired me for a one off just hour to analyze and audit their site. Unfortunately, they’ve been spending time and money on here over the last six months and if they just would have met with me first they would have saved thousands of dollars. It’s expensive to hire me for an hour but it’s cheaper than if you work on something-
Doug: … for six months. It’s really, really key to I guess understand it maybe it’s an investment to hear that you’ve made a bad decision before you invest like so much more time and then you have the sunk cost fallacy where if you’re in you’re like, “Well, I better just keep going,” and then you maybe just it’s never going to work out.
Marty: Exactly. Very good point.
What Mistakes Did You Make?
Doug: Well that said, are there any mistakes that you made along the way in your journey that maybe we can learn from your mistakes so we don’t make them?
Marty: Yeah, I’m sure there’s a whole list but I’ll try to cut it down to the biggest ones. I am guilty when I started I was like a lot of people I got discouraged and there were periods of time where I let the site sit and didn’t keep putting in effort in building content and links. I was also at the same time, I was guilty of the what people call a shiny object syndrome where the next little thing that you might read about, “Hey I think I’ll try this,” and I dip my toes and other things and that ended up actually hurting my progress for just a few months that maybe roughly two months or so, and that’s a terrible feeling.
Marty: I would say, don’t do any of that, stay focused, keep working on it even when you’re discouraged just take a day if you’re in a bad mood and they come back the next day and get back on track and stay focused. When I started off my content was weak and that was a really bad idea. I wasn’t really putting my heart into it, and so my contact wasn’t long enough also wasn’t as good of a quality as I really could have done.
Marty: What that meant was, when I got my act together later I had to go back and redo a bunch of it. If I had done it right a better job the first time there would have been mistakes, but it would have started off stronger. When I started, I was kind of led to believe that I had to buy an Amazon specific theme and while that it let it was go make a big difference and while they’re nice and they have some pros, but it turned out that just starting with a simple platform that looked good and helped present my continent in a good way and gave a good impression to people I would have been better off of that than having to go back again later and fix everything up revamp everything again.
Doug: Got you. I understand, especially the theme is a little tough and actually I’m going back and revising that portion of the course, Marty partially from feedback from you but just in general as I’m moving learning more about more themes. I’m not a theme person myself, and I think that’s part of like, why I maybe made a recommendation or two for a couple specific themes. Because people really you know like some of the functionality, but at the same time it’s like if you could just get something that looks good enough and you could put your time in content, focusing on the content.
High Quality Content
Doug: Just quickly summarize, you mentioned high quality content upfront and then additionally probably the biggest thing is like you’re going to have some down days, your motivation is going to waver, you’re going to think … Unfortunately you’re going to think why are these other people doing better. I should be able to do things right, but you can only compare yourself to like you a week ago versus like anyone else.
Marty: Absolutely agree, I’ve heard that said before and it’s true or guilty sometimes of being her own worst critics. We just have to be able to wake up in the morning saying that we gave our best effort. Whatever is not right, we’ll figure it out later, we’ll learn, we’ll fix it, we’ll get better. One thing I’ve learned that it seems to be critical in general about trying to make money online even though I realize on a relative beginner is it my mindset has changed a lot.
Marty: What I didn’t understand was we live in a world where we tend to think we’re sort of, we almost grew up here in the United States thinking well if it didn’t work first I guess it’s just not going to work and I shouldn’t be doing that. The truth is, these things aren’t going to be easy, you’re gonna do make mistakes. The way it’s being successful means saying, “Okay, if this isn’t working and I did something wrong, well then I’ll try something else, because other people obviously can do it,” and that that’s true. You can too. You just have to accept that, you just have to keep going basically. You have to, everybody’s going to have those moments, I’ve even just two months ago for some weird reason one afternoon I was just thinking of madness still fill up.
Marty: I don’t feel so great about this one. You keep this feeling, strange feeling like, wow, I couldn’t stop it to be a whole lot easier about, then I said no. That’s the old way of thinking, that’s a failure mindset and that’s not what I want. I have my dream to my goals and I have a hunger for it. As Tony Robbins says, “Hunger is what drives people to succeed and go beyond their original expectations and achieve great things.”
Marty: I knew what I wanted and I said, “Do I want it badly enough?” Yes or no. That’s simple, yes. Just keep going, keep learning. That’s one reason I joined your course was because I heard great things about you, you have legitimate information which unfortunately can be hard to find these days. There’s so much noise out there and I forget who said it but someone said that you need two things to succeed, you need a good blueprint, and you need to take action consistently.
Marty: I believe the Five Figure Niche Site course is a great blueprint and it works and it’s legit and there’s no smoke and mirrors, it’s not tricks, it’s just good. Good old-fashioned. Good old-fashioned guidelines and here’s what you do and here’s how things work and this will help you.
Doug: Nice, appreciate you’re saying that. Let’s get into some more technical stuff, people really enjoy that. We’ll hit a few areas keyword research and just reviewing keywords, do you have any specific tips to give or any insights that you learned over the past year or so?
Marty: I’ve changed the tools I use but that’s not necessarily always a critical thing. The biggest thing is, I have several small ideas so for example if I’m out and about I might be either in a restaurant or store and I might see an object that’s somewhat related to my niche and I write it down, and I’ll keep it the back of my mind and later I’ll put it in my keyword tool and start seeing what pops out.
Marty: Also, I’ve gotten more and more thorough about re-evaluating keywords. So I get a huge list the biggest I can within reason within that the guidelines that you teach people. Then, I sort through those and if those don’t always work out so usually I’ll find something related to those and that will spur off a whole another list of keywords.
Marty: I’d try to keep focused and not worrying so much about, “Hey, is this a high number of average searches per month,” even if it’s a very small number I’ve learned that a lot of those are still good especially if they’re low competition, because later on some of my post that were based on these tiny numbers they rank for other key words as well and they did well. Don’t think that something’s too small, low hanging fruit as we say. It still has value.
Doug: Cool. What tools do you use if you want to mention?
Marty: Yes, progressed through several over time but now I’m using mainly Ahrefs but I do still use SEMrush occasionally and I may also go back to using both of them at same time. I really enjoy.
Doug: Do you feel like one of them has a more accurate keyword search volume or do you just not really care about the search volume so much?
Marty: I know that they’re both supposed to be pretty good according to industry people who actually test them in articles I read. I supposed the Ahrefs is slightly better but nobody really knows it 100% right? I feel pretty confident about either one of those two tools.
Doug: Sure. I used to think SEMrush was a little bit further off but when I started looking at more of the documentation for any of the tools they’ll usually tell you like the number of months that they average out. Depending on like whether it’s like 12 months or 30 months or whether it’s a growing trend or declining trend like it could look a little bit different. Like you said, the search volume doesn’t matter as much as like identifying like a need there. If it’s a low search volume it could still be just fine.
Marty: One quick note about keywords, I’ve always got to be careful to be sort of rushing in and putting a lot of time into good content about a specific keyword. I need to check the competition and say you know, “You need to pass a test. You need to be what you show people how to do a new course of course.” That’s very important because when you’re starting off and you’re beginner, wow it’s very discouraging if you never rank well for something. If you fail to check, that’s part of it you’ve got to look at the big picture.
Doug: Correct, for sure. Now, moving onto content, you said that you realize your content wasn’t like as good as you can do. Do you have any tips on content or like improving or anything like that?
Marty: Yeah, absolutely I do, because I’ve gotten a lot of comments about mine and I’m really happy so happy to say that people both readers and people who I know that know my site they like it. At this point I’ll say, my first mistake was when I felt like I couldn’t write long enough content in the beginning, I went about it the wrong way. What I figured out was instead of just saying this is the best product in some details.
Marty: I also now I’ll add value by putting in more about how that kind of product works, pros and cons of it, a lot of helpful information because not everybody knows this stuff when I find your site and your post. It is legitimate, and not putting in some fluff, putting in something that it actually contributes and then I go on to, did the pros and cons of my buyer keyword product information or what have you.
Marty: There are some really good free resources, what I like to do now was I’ve learned that in some cases infographics can help contribute to really good content as well and you can do a lot of that for free in Canva and they look really sharp. I use Google Drawings which is free for some of my diagrams when it’s technical information to help give a really good clear diagrams that help people to understand something or do something themselves, or to see how something works. [inaudible 00:18:14] like I’ve seen it done on other sites. It’s terrible and things like that.
Marty: There’s tools out there also to check your grammar, things like that. My Yoast SEO plugin it highlights some of the readability scoring, that’s another thing that helps also, it helps keep me in line and I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten better at writing content because if I check my work I’ll find mistakes and I’ll learn from that and it keeps improving, it’s a process.
Doug: Nice. Very good. Then you mentioned infographics in there, so do you create an infographic for like every piece of content? Or how do you decide?
Marty: Not every piece, I try to do it where I feel like it’s going to benefit it for example, of course I have buyer keyword post and info post as well. Info post a lot of times I do use those, if it’s something where I can add some facts, explain how some quick tips and think it’s a way of summarizing it, presenting it and it looks very professional. If it’s a product where it’s a buyer post who might want to know more about it and see some quick facts, I’ll use one there if I think it’s relevant and helpful.
Doug: As far as the link building have you done much link building for your site? Can you take us through your process and stuff?
Marty: Yeah, I have done, I did quite a bit of commenting what I would do was following the steps in the course, I would make my big master spreadsheet and I would go through all the little websites that we were able to generate and I go through each one to where I could. I would leave a comment, I used to get up in the morning early before work and do let’s say 10 or 12 every day and go through that, that built up a lot.
Marty: Then also I’ve done a few real gas post but most I have bought some but you have to be very careful with that kind of stuff. I did only that to try to make the best use of my time because I was also trying to make more content because I write it myself. It’s hard to juggle two things sometimes me because I have full time job. I did do about some, I did some the natural way and then the blog commenting.
Doug: About how many links would you say you have as far as the do follow guest post not the blog comments?
Marty: The do follow I think are 15, I think it’s 15 to 20 grade probably on it.
Doug: Okay, so pretty much like prescribed as in the course. So cool. Very good.
Marty: Right, exactly.
Doug: All right, and do you have any other like overall tips for people that are like, “Hey, I want to do what Marty’s done here just in a general sense to follow in your footsteps.”
Marty: Yeah, I really do. I think one of the first things and I would tell people is, you need to look at it from a perspective that it’s not going to happen in just a few weeks, it’s a progressive thing and it starts off very slowly and you really need to start off the right way. Put in the real effort and you have to be consistent. Every week you need to be doing something and you need to understand that you just need to keep working on it and stay strong and get to the first point restart getting traffic.
Marty: Then once you do and you get that first cell it’s very rewarding and it’ll build upon itself over time. You keep seeing it rise, just understand you need to be patient.
Doug: Very good. I think the further you go along the more you realize you don’t know anything even though you’re accumulating knowledge. I bet right now Marty you’re like, “Oh man, I know so much more like a real experience than last year.” Now you’re thinking, “Well there’s so much more I don’t know that I didn’t even know was there.”
Marty: Absolutely, and that to add to my previous comment you’ve got to be proactive and go learn stuff. You can’t just sit up, sit in the chair and expecting information volunteer lab. If you really want to get better and keep improving, you really need to go out there and use the resources that are free and they’re out there sitting there. Yeah, what you just said is very true, the more you learn the more you learn you don’t know and that there’s more even more to learn.
Marty: You’ll grow as a person and you’ll even look back and say, “Wow I used to do things differently and I feel so much more confident now and I can go back and improve my mistakes and get even more efficient and do things keep heading towards even bigger milestones.”
Doug: Just another thing to add in there with the learning is like I’ve been doing this for about five years, so kind of a long time but also not that long, I’m constantly trying to learn. Marty I haven’t mentioned it to you but like when I’m in, let’s say our Facebook group right, I’m like looking for information like everyone in the course is like someone I could learn from because you all have different experiences and different sources where you’re getting information. I mean I’m constantly trying to learn still because I know that I don’t know everything and as soon as I think that I don’t need to learn anything that’s when I’m in trouble. So it’s very interesting. Just once you get some level of knowledge you’re like, “I need to learn a lot more.”
Doug: So very interesting so the success of the site it sounds like it’s on an upward trajectory, what’s the impact on your life? Anything like specific and concrete?
Marty: I was already motivated, very driven to succeed. My dream is to be free one day and work for myself. That’s my ultimate dream, freedom, but when this happened and it hit up that goal that milestone it’s like something is saying this is not just possible but you’re definitely going to do it as long as you just keep going. It’s like an affirmation and reward at the same time. It’s a person that you feel like it’s kind of hard describe but it’s a person feels like you’ve got more wind behind you, it’s going to be a little bit easier now.
Marty: I’ve even been told after you get to this point it’s going to be easier, you just keep going.
Doug: Yeah, and your motivation is probably like rising in like-
Marty: Yeah, definitely.
Doug: … as you progress you’re like, I can do it and like you have the proof now right. You thought you could do it but now you have like the real results.
Marty: Exactly. I feel even more motivated to keep going in and learning and improving and fixing everything I can and just keep working, keep doing what’s working, stay focused and keep doing what’s working.
Doug: Awesome. So Marty thanks a lot, really appreciate you spending some time with us and the niche site project community today.
Marty: Thank you so much, Doug. It’s been a wonderful experience and we’re happy to be here.
Doug: Awesome. Well, you all in the audience can potentially catch Marty on some live streams in the chat. He kind of lays low so we’re going to protect his social media feed and stuff like that. You could just say hi to Marty when you see him on the live streams. Thanks, Marty.
Marty: All right, great. Thanks everybody. Thanks, Doug.
Doug: Thanks a lot, Marty, really appreciate you taking the time to talk to the niche site project audience. Be sure to leave a comment if you have any questions for Marty I know he’ll be taking a look at them, and if you want an update in a few months or something like that let us know that too. Maybe I’ll be able to convince Marty if there’s enough people to come back on and do another interview. Thanks a lot.