Last week I published an interview with Glen Thomson about his life with several affiliate sites, and this week I'm posting another interview. This time, Harry Bloom of harryvsinternet.com has stepped up to do an interview.
This interview was actually written several months back, so Harry may well be earning more than this now, but I've included it as an example of the different stages people might be at in their affiliate careers. Glen's was a great example of someone who is earning money full-time online, and Harry is a great example of someone who has started, and is looking to scale up. I'm sure you can get some value out of both interviews, and the ones I publish in the future.
Let's hear from Harry!
1.) How Long Have You Been Working With Amazon Sites?
So I have been working with Amazon sites specifically for about 1 year now I would say.
I have been messing about with websites for a good few years and are pretty au fait with the basics of building sites using WordPress, as well using FTP for the many times I have edited some code on a plugin or something and got the subsequent white screen of sheer panic.
It is funny how the color white can turn one's trousers brown so quickly!
Anyway as I said, it has really only been about a year that I have really tried to get serious with Amazon and making money online for that matter.
2.) How Much Do You Make Per Month On Average?
It seems to fluctuate a fair amount, but on average I am making between $500 & $600 per month from 1 website that has some very long tail keywords in the top 3 serp results.
However there was 1 month where I made over $1,000, but this was the result of a purchase on a pretty much abandoned website. In fact, I made $400 commission from someone buying a $6,999 massage chair from a water filter website! Got to love Amazon sometimes!
HPD's note: There are tons of ways to make money with Amazon, not only affiliate. You can learn more here.
3.) Can You Give A Breakdown Of How Long That Took? (Example: after 3 months you made $100, after 6 months $500 etc)
In fact, I have only had my first Amazon check sent out and I can tell you exactly what it looks like:
So you can see exactly how fast it happened. Now I am getting a pretty consistent $500-$600 average
4.) How Many Sites Do You Work On?
Ha, good question!
Well I have only added 1 extra article to my main money making site in around 2 months and I actually want to work on it a bit more. I may find some more long tail KW and see if I can make some extra money.
I am also concentrating properly on 1 other Amazon site focused on a type of bicycle. This 1 I got lazy and bought of a fairly well known website maker (not yourself but I wish I had now), and I have had to do some pretty extensive cleaning up and rejigging.
I bought it too hastily and just to be clear, the person who made it delivered everything exactly as described, but it my fault for not really looking at it properly.
For example, I had to change its focus KW to something a bit longer tail and with a bit more buyer intent.
It is about 3 and a half months in and already on the first 2 pages of Google right now with the focus KW sitting at 9th place which is quite promising, but it took some serious work and a fair amount of money!
One thing that worries me a bit about this site though, is that a small amount of people are clicking through to Amazon but without making a purchase. However this could be because the products are in the $200 – $300 range and most of my KW are not in the first 10 results.
I don’t know, time will tell I guess, I will write some more articles for it but I don’t think I will spend much more money on it until I see some real good serp movement.
But back to your question, I probably have about 10 websites, (not all actively working on), including Amazon, AdSense (brand new), a local website I made for my wifes real estate business in Luang Prabang, Laos. The rest were made to make money, but I just got carried away with them and now I just use them primarily as sites to conduct experiments on such as finding out what links works best, how fast different crawlers can search them and all kinds of different black & white hat sorts of things.
There is one website that I am experimenting with that has to do with foreign SEO. If anyone follows Alex Becker at Source-Wave, he seems to always talk about these crazy things and one of them was that.
So I decided to give it a go and see what happens!
I have spent maybe about $50/$60 and will probably go up to $100 before I stop, I think it is worth a punt to see what happens.
It has only been live for about 3 weeks and already one of the keywords is just about to break into the top 100. This may not sound like anything special, but all I have done is put up some optimized content and nothing else.
5.) How Many Hours Do You Spend A Week Now, And How Many Initially?
Hmmm, not really sure how to answer this one.
You see, my main job is rather weird and super flexible so at times I have nothing to do, and others I will be running about like a madman.
So I usually work on my sites during my work time and occasionally afterwards. It is the kind of workplace where as long as you get your work done, then everyone is happy.
I also have a wife and 1 year old baby so private, personal time is generally at a minimum!
If I had to put a number on it, I would probably say, 25 hours a week and I would certainly say that I spend more time now I can see the money coming in, than when nothing was happening!
6.) What's The Hardest Part Of Making A Profitable Amazon Site? What's The Hardest For Beginners?
The hardest part for me originally was getting over the whole, “everything needs to be perfect so I don’t waste my time and money” kind of attitude.
There is so much great information out there that it can sometimes get overwhelming, however there is nothing that can get you to start other than just actually starting.
Nowadays, you have just got to understand that you have to spend a certain amount of money if you want to make money on the internet. I wasn’t around in the apparently good old days of spam and rank, but whatever it was like then; it is not like that now. You have to get over the initial barrier of spending money.
It doesn’t have to be a crazy amount, but people reading this who are just starting should probably get at least $200 saved up and ready to spend on valuable things like certain tools.
The hardest part now for me would probably be having to wait out the mythical Google sandbox and not know whether you have a success or a flop on your hands.
But there is nothing you can do about apart from buy pay per click ads to gauge if people will spend their real life money after visiting your site.
7.) What Do You Look For In Your Keywords?
Long tail, low monthly search volume, buyer intent and Google’s own LSI words
The long tail KW are flat out the only thing people should be thinking about as no one who is looking for a certain product, say shower heads, will type into Google, “shower heads”.
OK maybe they will, but the results for that search should be left to the big boys and we should keep well clear from them. I also look for what real people will be looking for.
For example, I will think to myself, what would I type into Google when looking for a new shower head? Well chances are quite high that I will have already looked around a hardware store first or done some kind of research, so I will check Amazon for the highest rated and best selling keywords.
There is also another method I will use to see what people look for in a shower head, when you click on a product on Amazon, it will show you how many questions people have asked about that particular product, if it is over 10, I think people are very interested in that item and will include it in my KW, (or maybe another posts KW).
Low monthly search volume
I will target KW with anything from 10 – 800 local monthly searches, the lower the better I think.
However this is not a hard and fast rule, if there is a great looking KW with low competition but thousands of searches, I will also think about using that as well.
Basically, I start with the lowest search volume and work my way up from there.
There is a great podcast from the Niche Pursuits guys that talks about this. They say that even though a low search volume KW may seem unworthy, the amount of variations is massive and that is what I have found with my own Amazon site that is making me some money.
I think this should be obvious really, you want people to come to your Amazon site and buy something.
If your KW is, “retro fridges” then even if you could rank that term, you will get a whole load of people visiting your site that are basically useless to you. there may be some crazies who love the history of fridges, or people looking for either super expensive or super cheap refrigerators so you don’t really know what your target market is.
It doesn't have to complicated, I usually just throw in variations of the words, “Best”, “review/s” or “comparison”,or something like that.
In fact, I just did a very quick check with Long Tail Pro and found this one:
“best retro refrigerator for under $500”, check the Google LSI and you get 2 other great KW you can use in other posts that are: “retro refrigerator brands” & “retro refrigerator with ice maker”
KW competition 25 out of 100 and although it say 0 monthly searches, I bet there are people looking for this, however you would still need to do a lot more research before betting your hat on it.
8.) When It Comes To Link Building, What Are Your Tried And Tested Methods?
Again, I am fairly new to this so I can only go on what I have learnt myself over the course of a year.
I built my own PBN around the health niche for my bicycle website, but it so expensive and time consuming that I have just resorted to buying other people's PBN links from a market like Source Market or Lightning Rank (Dom's choice). In fact I saw you have your own service there and I will try it out myself and see 😉
I also use The Hoth, of which you have a great review on HPD that is super useful.
I will use either the small one or the large package $60 or $250, (depending on the niche and competitiveness) mainly to just get some KW diversity. I don’t even know if it helps in the serps as I have not tested it, but I don’t really care either way because I will use PBN and other powerful links to target my KW with their anchor text.
The Hoth just means that I will be less likely to get Google slapped, (I hope)!
9.) What Order And Ratio (roughly) Do You Build These Links?
With my Bike site, I used the large Hoth package first after about 3 weeks, then just slowly built more powerful links from there.
I am too lazy or stupid or handsome to be able to think about ratios. I reckon that it looks more natural just doing it in a haphazard way anyway. I am in no particular rush to rank, so I will maybe add 1 link a day, 3, 2, whatever really. I am not sure if I this is a good way, but basically, just don’t add like 20 high metric links in 1 day to a new site, or 20,000 GSA comment links if your site is only 1 week old. A bit of personal research and good old fashioned common sense is needed here.
10.) After Your Site Ranks, What Next?
Decide whether to move on to a new project or stay with it a while.
To be honest, after seeing the price some websites go for on Empire Flippers, I am more likely to build it up as much as I can.
The main thing is that the site has to be useful to people. If you are ranking and making money, then it is kind of satisfying that people find you good enough for them to read your content. That is what makes me think that I will probably keep working on the site for a few years.
It depends how lazy and/ or greedy I am feeling.
11.) How Many Articles Are Needed?
I don’t know.
It is difficult to write a whole load of content around some niches, but others can be very easy.
My money making site it easy to keep writing great content for because there are a lot of different types of things that can be related to it.
My bike one is a bit more difficult because it fairly specific, but I have found that it lends itself very nicely to infographics which I have made one already for myself.
I think that maybe people should stay away from super specific niches if they will find it difficult to create new content for. It may look tempting now, but 6 months down the line and you have 4 posts and reduced eagerness, you will soon regret wasting our time. Spend more time in research.
Unless you hit on a golden subject that just ranks easily with a few posts, (if so then you are are either lucky or a liar), then people should really aim to provide actual value to people visiting your site.
Also, the more good content you have, the more you might rank and therefore increase chances of more people buying from Amazon! This is what I aim to do with my money site.
12.) Name 3-5 Tools You Couldn't Live Without
Mainly LTP, but Easy Azon just makes life so much easier to add affiliate links from Amazon that I really love it.
I have recently started to use SerpBook and I love it because it lets me see a nice overview of where my KW are ranking, if at all.
However I have become a bit obsessed with it and need to back off it a bit less I become a real SEO bore!
13.) Can A Beginner Succeed With Their First Site?
Yes, but most likely no.
I genuinely have had so many failures that I actually can’t remember!
I think if someone is beginning and making their own website, they should go into it understanding that it not succeed. Use it as a tester and see what works, what doesn’t and what gets you banned from the serps.
Don’t spend too much money on the first site and look for free or cheap tools of things like email list making and so on.
14.) Can You Give A Bonus Tip For Beginners?
Get started, keep going until you fail and then start again.
Sounds a bit rubbish to say that after everything I have gone on about here, but I think this is the only option. As long as you can live a normal life without obsessing too much about getting rich from the internet, then I think you should keep having a go.
Also that you cannot get rich quick and it will take a long time and more work than actually is comfortable. You have to be interested in Internet Marketing as well as you website subject. One without the other is useless.
I am Harry and I live in Laos working at an elephant sanctuary and resort in a town called Luang Prabang. It is not easy trying to make some money from the internet here but, hey why not.
I have recently decided to chronicle my various website projects at www.harryvsinternet.com where I will post case studies and results, and also just tell people what I have learnt so far.
I am no expert, in fact far from it, but I am making a small but useful amount of money online and want to let others know what I have learnt so far.