Amazon Niche Affiliate Websites – Why You Should Start With Them

Why amazon sites are where you should start

UPDATED DECEMBER 2016

It's been a while since an idea for a post really struck me, and this one snuck up on me earlier today. I was thinking about a discussion several people were having in Stuart Walker's Nichehacks Facebook Group, and I realized I needed to blog about it.

(This is much before we created the Human Proof Designs FB group.)

In fact, what I'd like to talk about in today's post is something that I've constantly found myself thinking:

The type of site you start with is just as important as the niche itself. [Tweet this]

Until now I didn't quite know how to articulate this thought, and as is always the way when you're running a blog, a business, plus dealing with customers - you forget about it until one day... 

You're sitting on a bus, the thought slaps you in the face and you think: "THAT'S what I need to tell my audience about today".

So with my face a little raw from the metaphorical slap, I'm sitting here now hoping to finally explain something that's been clear to me for a while.

Is Passion All We Really Need?

Everybody says:

Choose a niche you're passionate about.

This is all well and good, but recently a reader mentioned something in an email to me:

If your passion doesn't make you any money, it soon stops being your passion, but if a completely random niche started making me money...I'm pretty sure it would fast become my passion!

I'm sure this is something you can all relate to.

Passion is important. It's what separates the mundane, mediocre bloggers from the ones who really want to help people. If you want to be a success with the affiliate business model, then you're going to have to niche down. And maybe niche down again after that.

It's also what helps someone demonstrate their authority. Relevancy is a huge thing in the eyes of Google and it will help you get rankings easier in your niche if you have more focus.

The Affiliate Business Model

There's a Reason Why Most People Start with Amazon Review Sites

A few months ago I changed how I build my niche sites for customers, and shifted the focus to Amazon affiliate marketing sites.

Is it because Amazon products are an easy sell? Well yes a little.

Is it because Amazon sites are easy to set up and replicate? Yes again a little.

It is because there are lots of buying keywords and opportunities for traffic to product reviews? Definitely a little too.

Is it because they are passionate about those products? Well, I'm going to guess for the most part no.

I think the main reason that most people start with Amazon sites, is because they're the easiest way to get started.

And that's really all that matters.

Nobody is born a successful niche marketer. Nobody strikes it rich with their first website. Nobody can produce sensational content right off the bat. [Tweet this]

You have to learn how to do it.

You have to get a bit of traffic here, get a few sales there, increase a few conversions here and receive a few cheques there.

The most important reason for starting out with an amazon niche site, for me at least, is because it lets you make regular deposits into your confidence bank.

What's The Confidence Bank?

Internet marketing is full of ups and downs. Even when you've been doing it a few years and had lots of successes, you'll still be hit by times where your income is in a downer, your rankings don't seem to be going anywhere, and you're generally feeling demotivated.

This is where the confidence bank really comes into play.

Every little success you have adds up, and when you find those down moments hit you, they'll get you through it.

HumanProofDesigns was a grind when I first started it. It took me close to a year to get any real traction.

Luckily, because I'd had success with my niche sites previously, I knew it could be done. I KNEW the process worked. I KNEW I just had to keep at it, and I knew that I COULD DO IT.

This is perhaps the most powerful part of success online. We all know the various processes required, but how many of us can knuckle-down and get on with it for a few months without quitting?

For those who failed, most of the time it's not because the process failed, but because they didn't have the confidence in themselves or the system. [Tweet this]

If you're able to just make a little bit of money online with an Amazon site (and it's the easiest way to do it), then you'll have the confidence to step it up, grow, and really make a living online.

When the hard times come, you'll have that confidence inside you that will keep you going. You won't even realize it's there.

The Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing with Amazon Associates

Amazon associates is just the technical term for the affiliate program. Anyways I've touched upon some of these already, but let's focus more on the pros and cons.

Pros of an Amazon site:

  • Clear path to monetization
  • Amazon is an easy sell
  • Universal cookie makes it easy to get commissions
  • Review posts are quite easy to do, and easy to get traffic and rankings for
  • Plenty of buying keywords
  • It's easier to "fake" being an authority
  • Lots of information already exists on the products. You can review them without owning them.
  • Easy to scale by adding more products or creating more sites
  • Can still make a huge amount of money.

Cons of an Amazon site:

  • Amazon commissions are quite low (but can add up)
  • Only a 24 hour cookie (there are ways to get a 90-day one)
  • Sites can appear "thin" if they're just full of reviews
  • Can get repetitive
  • One big authority site might be easier to "get rich" off.
  • Takes time to rank and can be difficult to link build to with white-hat methods.
  • One small amazon site doesn't necessarily need less work than one big authority site.

Did I miss anything? Let me know below.

I'd like to focus on a few of the above points in more details now.

Can an Amazon Site Make You Rich?

A lot of Amazon sites will only ever earn you a few hundred dollars a month. The strategy for most people is to just keep building new sites, and it can work.

However, that can get confusing. What if you wanted to start out with an Amazon site, and then grow it into something bigger? Is it possible?

The best amazon affiliate sites make thousands and thousands. If the latest listings at EmpireFlippers are anything to go by, there are still plenty of Amazon sites making huge incomes monthly:

click to enlarge

This is just a small selection of turnkey websites for sale that are available to buy at EmpireFlippers. As you can see, some of these sites are only around a year old, and are making over $1,000 a month net revenue.

If you get started the right way, an Amazon site can make you a good income all by itself.

**You can view our ready-made starter sites here, or get in touch about us building you a custom site.**

What About The Bigger Problem-Solving Niches?

For a lot of people, the best niche is one where you're solving a lot of problems.

Is an Amazon site on kitchen knives really solving many problems? Probably not (doesn't make it a non-viable niche though).

Stuart Walker does some really good niche reports and one of the things he focuses on is solving problems. Check out some of his reports here to see what I mean.

Well, this is great, and those niches are great too. A lot of them can also be monetized with Amazon.

I'd say that ultimately it's probably better to make a full-time living with a problem-solving niche, than with an Amazon product review niche, but I'd also say that it's harder, infinitely so, to succeed first time with one.

The people I work with, the ones I build sites for, are in a range of levels.

Some of them are complete beginners with zero experience, and others have been around affiliate marketing for years. The one thing every one of them has in common is that they have a million and one questions.

Questions that range from:

  • How do I get traffic?
  • How do I know if people are going to buy these products?
  • Should I include negative feedback?
  • When can I reach out to other bloggers?
  • How do I add a link to an image?
  • I forgot my password..
  • Is this 5,000 backlinks fiverr gig any good?

Just a small selection there..

When you have this many questions, I think you really want your site to be as simple as possible, until things start to click for you. Don't you agree?

Want To Learn How To Build Amazon Sites?

Take my seven-video training course, and get started with affiliate marketing.

How To Build An Amazon Affiliate Website - Types Of Amazon Sites To Avoid

Whenever something gets popular, there will always be someone who comes along selling junk products to make money off the hype.

There are literally dozens of people selling Amazon autoblogs and duplicate content sites out there.

On almost a weekly basis I get a mail from somebody with an Amazon site that they'd like help with, and the first thing I do is tell them to get all the junk duplicate content off it, and get something unique up there.

There are also plenty of these sites on flippa as well, as I reviewed here.

Just because Amazon sites are great, it doesn't mean that ALL of them will be good. Avoid the junk!

Don't view an Amazon niche site as a shortcut, it still takes work to succeed.

Another point I'd like to make is that an Amazon site does still take work. You can't just throw up a few reviews and hope for the best.

You'll need to create fresh content on a fairly regular basis, you'll need to keep building your network and gaining backlinks to the site, and you'll need to keep growing.

It's a very straightforward process though.

Final Thoughts

I'm not saying an Amazon site is the one-size-fits-all answer for the affiliate business model, but it's definitely where I'd recommend you get started.

If you're completely unsure on HOW to get started, then you can either pick up one of our keyword packs, or you can have us build a site for you. There are plenty of free guides around the Internet (including this one) which will help you get started by yourself as well.

This is another plus of going with an Amazon site. Plenty of other people have already had success with it. Talk about a winning model.

  • tudogz

    As a relative newbie, how can I convince Amazon they should accept me as an affiliate?
    I applied, but was rejected. (Presumably because I have little experience and no successful website)
    It seems a bit pointless to build a site and promote a product for nothing in order to get traffic on the off chance they will accept me later.
    A bit of Catch 22 revisited.

    • Normally Amazon will approve you without you needing to have sales or traffic. If they didn’t approve you, it was because there was something wrong with your application or site, not because it wasn’t established.

  • Ashok Kumar Sonawat

    thanks for sharing nice article. I am also trying this program after see your video.

  • Dom,
    Great article. So many people think passive income means it takes no effort, which is totally wrong. All the work is done upfront and like anything else needs a love to continue to grow. You’re one of the good guys in amazon affiliate marketing niche. 🙂

  • buying amazon sites from sellers is not a good idea, they can pump up sites with powerful links so it starts making money, then they use these stats to impress you into buying the site, and your like Omg, this site is making $500/mo and it is being sold for $100, no brainier, right? and months after you have bought the site, it ends up crashing, or the amazon store has 60,000 products, and you think once those 60k products are indexed, then you are on your way to retirement, and google will tank your site by giving you some type of “thin content” penalty, and do not bother with duplicate content, google will just simply mass murder your site, along with whatever rankings you have, and i assure you that it will be a short battle, and will be over within seconds, so your last option is to pay for content, and hope to god that your writer has enough passion, and knowledge in the field, if not, then you will look like an idiot, not to mention, paying for content can get expensive, and it can get expensive fast. Google has no issues terminating an adsense affiliate for breaking the rules, even if they are making $1000 month. What does google think about your site making $50/mo? Think your site is safe from googles reach? google lost no sleep giving up that $1000/mo from the affiliate that broke their rules. Over the last couple years, google has gotten more aggressive about cleaning up the net, and at this point, it seems google owns it. Amazon sites can be great, and like any site it takes time to grow, and you should know what you are getting into.

    • Who said anything about buying scam sites though? You make a very good argument that I agree with, but I think it would be better for this article: https://www.humanproofdesigns.com/junk-websites-and-scams-a-flippa-com-review/

      Not every seller is going to do what you’ve said above, and that’s still not a reason to not start with an Amazon site. It’s unfortunately true that there will always be people who created junk and sell it as gold, which is why I recommend people buy sites from Empire Flippers et al, because they do due diligence on their sellers.

      Anyway, Amazon sites themselves are not the real issue.

      • I was not implying that you are the scammer. I speak from experience when i say i have bought some of those so called “amazon” ready sites; I have bought a few of these sites, and for a few months life was good, and it was over in a second. I brought this up because you brought up amazon, and people are too quick to jump into the amazon side without doing any real research, so when a nice offer shows itself, then people tend to jump all over it. It does not matter if it is amazon, amazon site, or some other affiliate, always do deep research before you dive in, before you start spending so much money that you never recoup anything; like you have mentioned in your article, amazon does not pay the highest fees, and i should know, i had several of them, and they made $500/mo combined, that is until google wiped them off the face of the planet. I am just saying, regardless how people handle their business, if you are going to do it, then do it right from the start, and let me just say, amazon is great for upselling, you could be marketing electronic products, then you start seeing stuff like anything on your sales report. dog clippers, whaa?! I always enjoyed seeing sales like this. someone bought tampons, hey, i am supposed to be marketing electronics…hahah. If you do things right from the start, you will be rewarded in the future for your good work.

        • Oh yeah I know you weren’t saying we were one of them, I just didn’t want people to see your comment and get put off Amazon sites. We have an article due out soon on the bigger picture and what else to consider when it comes to choosing who to affiliate with.

          • oh no, amazon is great! If you pick the right niche, then it maybe possible to monetize your site with more then just amazon, however, it is probably far earlier to sell someone on amazon products then anything else. In fact, I am setting back up, and it will be amazon, and this time, I hope to be doing stuff right so google will like me, and not boot me off to mars….

  • EP

    Will this work with affiliate programmes such as promoting art paintings? Also, does it have to Amazon or would it work with other art sellers? Also, how would someone attempt to sell art as an affiliate?

  • Sarah Moonchild

    Seriously… I can’t believe noons has asked how to get a 90 day amazon cookie? Please let me know

    • If someone adds a product to their cart, the cookie lasts for 90 days. However, the 90 day cookie is only for that product, not a universal cookie like the 24 hour one, and as soon as the product is bought, the cookie is gone.

  • Mike S

    Your post mentions the Amazon listings on EmpireFlippers. I noticed a pattern after viewing the first 10 Amazon listings on the site- Only one listing of those ten did not report using a PBN.

    Listing #40148 PBN
    Listing #40142 No PBN
    Listing #40188 PBN
    Listing #40136 PBN
    Listing #40178 PBN
    Listing #40139 PBN
    Listing #40133 PBN
    Listing #40173 PBN (used initially- currently does not?)
    Listing #40172 PBN
    Listing #40163 PBN

    Back in Sept. 2014 Spencer Haws had his PBN taken down by Google. See http://www.nichepursuits.com/alright-google-you-win-ill-never-use-private-blog-networks-again/ and also http://www.nichepursuits.com/np-46-why-you-should-not-build-a-private-blog-network/

    Spencer wasn’t the only one who’s PBN was de-indexed either. Google has begun a huge movement of de-indexing PBN’s. Obviously, PBN’s work as proven by the monthly income statements from those listings above.

    Which leads me to wonder, is it at all possible to rank an amazon niche site without a PBN?

    • Hey Mike.

      I think if you take a sample from professionals who build sites purely to flip them, you’re going to see a much larger percentage of people using PBN’s. Your average joe blogger isn’t going to use one, and it’s still very much possible to rank an Amazon site without one.

      Is it possible to rank an Amazon site without any links though? That’s a more intriguing question. Whether you use white-hat or PBN’s, I’m not sure that you can really get anywhere without links.

      Also, while Google took down Spencer’s PBN, and many PBN’s that were related to or connected to his, many, many PBN’s were untouched. Spencer and NoHatDigital were the two biggest proponents of PBN’s, even podcasting the exact way to build them. Makes sense that the big G would slap them down.

      This was a manual action penalty, not an algorithm, and I doubt Google is going to spend a lot of effort making an algorithm to target the 0.5% of users who are able to avoid manual detection.

      Long story short, they did a public shaming of PBN’s then moved on.

      • Mike S

        Thanks for the reply Dom. I’ve been on the fence about PBN’s since I read about Spencer’s problems and was trying to figure which way to jump. Your reply has been very helpful in that regard.

        The listings illustrate the power of a PBN when you can rake in $10k/month for a 1 year old site. I’ll look into testing one site with a PBN to see how it goes.

        BTW, great site you have. I found you by way of Thomas Smale’s article on FEInternational.

        • And what a great article that was! Really inventive work from Thomas.

          It’s definitely worth testing out a PBN, but bear in mind that there IS still risk involved. The risk/reward ratio is in your favor, but I don’t want you to go off and think it’s all roses 🙂

      • Thanks for that insight Dom
        I personally have mixed feeling with PBN

        Considering the cost to set it up and maintaining it, then adding to the fear that Google could find out about it, not sure if the ROI is really there unless you are someone really specialized in building PBN.

        For average joe, spending that money on extra articles targeting low competition keywords might be a better investment.

  • Great inspiring post Dom. I am currently learning affiliate marketing and about selling amazon products on few of my fitness blogs. Sad to reveal that i am still waiting to get sales from it. Reading your article is just inspiring and help me keep motivated.

  • Hey Dom! Couldn’t agree more with your comment on the Confidence Bank. You need those little successes to keep you going in the beginning.

    The other thing I’d like to add is that having started my own blog where I document everything has helped me tremendously in holding me accountable and keeping me motivated as well. I’m no longer just doing this for myself, but there is also an audience (albeit a very very small one at this stage) that enjoys following along with my journey as well. Furthermore, it’s also been a great tool to meet like-minded people who are trying to achieve similar things!

    • Yeah that’s true. When you are having a slump and you imagine having to explain yourself to your audience (however small and hypothetical they might be), it pulls you back to work and keeps you going!

      For those of you who don’t know Tom, he’s got a nice up and coming site here: http://www.9tolife.com/

  • Hi Dom,
    Interesting article. When I was starting out I had many people try to put me off amazon because of the 24-hour cookie and losing sales if customer buy from a different Amazon site to the one you are affiliated with. Up to now I am only affiliated to the US site and was rejected by EU. I have applied to CA and await their response.

    It is very difficult to get accepted by affiliate networks when you are starting out and your site does not have much traffic. This was the main reason I stuck with Amazon US. I will probably try again in the future when I have a reasonable amount of traffic to my site.

    Thank you for reassuring me that I am not on a path to nowhere.

    • I think people who say Amazon’s 24-hour cookie is a reason NOT to go with Amazon, have probably never made any money with Amazon. A lot of beginner or failed marketers tend to say this, but I’ve never seen an experienced marketer say it.

      At the end of the day, I’d rather go with an Amazon product with a 24 hour cookie, than some random product off shareasale with a 30 day cookie that never sells!

  • I’ve not tested Tung’s one properly but I did pickup a copy because I thought it looked pretty good. I usually use a mixture of themes, to be honest most good themes will be suitable.

  • Hey Dom,

    I don’t disagree. Amazon sites are a great place to start. Although I might take it one step further and say that just a simple blog is a great place to start. Especially for total beginners – just starting a blog on WordPress will open up a whole new world of possibilities. Learning how to properly post content online is an essential skill that should be learned before moving into niche sites.

    My first few niche sites were Adsense sites. Now that I’ve also found success with Amazon – I can honestly say that Amazon sites have me more excited. Adsense is a bit too volatile and unpredictable.

    • Ah great advice there Matt – Sometimes we forget how tricky WordPress is to learn at the beginning, and simply have any blog will be a great learning experience. Maybe I should teach people to have their own practice blog on wordpress.com to fiddle around with while learning their money sites.

      I’ve never got on well with Adsense. I see people like Pat Flynn making $3,000 a month with his Security Guard site, and I’ve never even managed $100 a month from Adsense! Amazon requires a little more work but generally offers more payout too.

  • Richard

    Hi Dominic
    I enjoyed the article.
    One question that I seem to be a little confused – is there a difference between building an Amazon Review Site vs building a Niche site and adding Amazon products?
    Thanks
    Richard

    • Hey Richard. An Amazon review site basically is focused around reviewing Amazon products and might have some informational articles as well. The bulk of the content will be something like “Best Kitchen Knives” or “XYZ Kitchen Knife Product Review”. A niche site with Amazon products added to it might have a lot of different ways of being monetized and might not focus on the actual amazon products or reviews themselves. An example is a lot of fitness websites that focus on fitness, and also mention a couple of amazon products.

  • Tony

    Hey Dom,

    I do have to agree that Amazon sites are the way to go in the beginning but I’ve also found that you can quickly switch gears from “just an Amazon site” to a problem solving authority site in my opinion.

    How? Well, you have to take a second and think outside of the box. Let’s take the kitchen knives niche for a spin from my perspective if we can. Keep in mind your recent interventions combined with my new ways of thinking have led me to this.

    Okay, so let’s say I own a site called Culinary Cuttings and it’s an Amazon kitchen knife site. I’m doing well and making a few hundred a month. Now, I decide to add a new page with some categories revolving around a problem with kitchen knives such as keeping them sharp.

    Now, I’m teaching people how to keep their knives sharp and I’ve entered into a new product category of knife sharpeners while maintaining my knife reviews. Next step is to create an ebook about how to keep your knives sharp in the kitchen. That’s a freebie and a giveaway as most of my traffic has always been about kitchen knives.

    Next up I start talking about the dangers of having dull knives in your kitchen and the fact that most kitchen accidents are caused by a dull knife slip resulting in some nasty cuts. I proceed to discus other types of kitchen accidents and how to prevent them over the course of time.

    Now, I’m the “knife guy” the “sharp guy” and quickly becoming the “kitchen safety guy.” Now I can help people stay safe within their kitchens while all the while maintaining my authority of being the knife review place.

    Again this is just an example, but I believe that over time you can expand Amazon sites into authority sites by simply executing an authority strategy into your content strategy so long as you keep it relevant.

    Any other thoughts on the topic?

    • Yeah that’s a really good example Tony and something everyone can work towards. I wish I could add to it, but you’ve got it spot on.

      • As a newbie I think Tony has got it just right and it’s the route I’ll be taking. One question, as I’m based in the UK, will I have to be a amazon.co.uk affilitate? If I am, then do I lose the US market?

        And cheers Dom for an inspiring website and blog, it’s been very helpful.

        • Cheers Martin, glad to be of service!

          You can apply to Amazon US as well. I’m UK-based (or at least I was when I joined Amazon) and was able to apply to them all. I typically use Amazon.com though because it’s a much bigger market.

          • But the link I use that goes to Amazon will either be to the US site or to the UK, it can’t go to both. Sorry for these basic questions!

          • Yeah good question. You’re right that you only choose either/or, but there’s no reason why being based in the UK should make you only choose UK products. If your traffic will be coming from the US, that’s who you can market to.

            It’s also true that you can use plugins like easyazon or wpzon (I can’t remember which), to redirect your traffic to the local amazon, so uk traffic goes to amazon.co.uk and us goes to amazon.com

          • I’ll do some more research on this, thanks Dom

  • Hey Dom,

    Completely agree that Amazon niche sites are a great place to start.

    The best part is the Amazon do most of the hard work for you having spent millions testing EVERYTHING!

    I have found if you just send them traffic – they will convert.

    – Lewis

    • Great point Lewis, the great thing about that, and the fact Amazon give you a commission on almost anything, regardless which link they clicked, is that even if you choose the wrong product, somebody will ultimately end up buying something!

  • Stuart Walker

    Great post Dom and I agree. Sometimes an idea just comes out of nowhere and smacks you straight in the face. Afterwards you wonder why you didn’t think of it earlier.

    Thanks for the mention in the post.

    • No worries man, keep giving me stuff to mention!