My amazon affiliate niche site went from $6452 to $100 & 7 things I learned

in this video I’m going to tell you
about an Amazon affiliate niche site that made six thousand four hundred and
fifty two dollars in one month and then overnight it went down to about a
hundred dollars a month and I learned seven things I’m going to tell you about
him in this video so let’s get to it my name is Doug Cunnington I’m the
founder of a niche site project I write about Amazon affiliate marketing and
talk about productivity talk about project management as well if you’re new
to the channel take a look around at some of the other videos and if you like
what you see please consider subscribing let me tell you a little bit about this
site so as I mentioned it’s an Amazon affiliate niche site and if you’re
unfamiliar with that kind of a site it’s a site that has reviews on it and it
refers people over to Amazon if the visitor makes a purchase on Amazon after
he or she goes through your affiliate link then you get a small Commission
like between one and ten percent so I had one of these sites going and it was
doing well was actually my first Amazon affiliate niche site and it started
growing pretty quick in fact let me describe the earnings for you over the
couple months I wrote them down so I’m just gonna look here I started the site
in July of 2013 and by August it made $20 September made
about a hundred and twenty dollars and then October it made five hundred
dollars November of 2013 it made roughly $2,800 and in December it made six
thousand two hundred and fifty-two dollars and I thought this is great I’m
gonna quit my job but it didn’t work out so well I think you could take this sort
of as a cautionary tale you know I had this asset this website that was doing
awesome but there was inherent risk involved and I didn’t realize it at the
time I was so new to Amazon affiliate marketing now let me rewind just a
little bit and give you a reference point because it’s sales you know I just
described the earnings went up to 6,000 dollars and then January of 2014 it
dropped down to about a hundred dollars it was because I got a google manual
penalty on the site for you know poor SEO practices now let me explain how I
ended up at that point I got started with online marketing
after I found the smart passive income podcast by Pat Flynn I didn’t know
anything about marketing before that I didn’t even know you could make money
online and in fact when I first listened to a few of the episodes I thought it
was a total scam I didn’t believe Pat Flynn when he was talking about the
money that you could make from these niche sites well I was obsessed and I
listened to like 50 or 60 episodes in about a week I had a corporate full-time
job at that point so I was in the car often and it was able to listen to a lot
of podcast while I was commuting and then while I was at the office I
actually I had quite a bit of free time so I listened to a bunch of the episodes
that smart passive income had out in fact I caught up on the full you know
back catalog and also found Spencer Hawes at the same time so he writes at
niche pursuits and Spencer has a podcast as well so I was really into this niche
site idea back then both Spencer Hawes and Pat Flynn were gray hat SEO s so
they used private blog networks or web 2.0 x’ i remember one of the first
articles that i read at smart passive income was about using link wheels and
link pyramids and look nowadays neither of those guys are doing any sort of grey
hat activity their white hat and you know they follow the rules that google
outlines but back then in 2013 they were you know doing what everyone else was
doing which was grey hat tactics now eventually those tactics stopped working
as well and you definitely you know if you use them today you’re more risk than
if you don’t use them and you have to be very methodical about how you’re doing
it now I’m not a grey hat either mainly because of this story going into January
things were great like I said the site made $6,000 and I thought this is
fantastic I feel confident telling my friends
about it which you know up until that point I was a little nervous to describe
what I was doing because I thought they would make fun of me or something by the
way if you ever get that feeling let me know in the comments I have an idea that
it’s kind of common thing where we’re embarrassed to
tell our friends what we’re working on we’re putting all this time in we don’t
know if it’s gonna work but once I made six thousand bucks in December 2013 I
thought hey I’m confident enough to share that stuff with them it’s a cool
story right well in January of 2014 I got an email from the google-like search
console team or webmaster tools as it was called back then and it said your
site’s been flagged for unnatural links and there’s a manual penalty on it they
gave you a little bit of a guide to you know remove the links and they pointed
you towards documentation and let me know that I could apply for a
reconsideration request after I cleaned up the backlinks and took some action
well I was never able to recover the site the deal is almost all of the links
that I had that were boosting the site’s rankings were basically gray hot if I
remove those links the site wouldn’t rank anyway so I removed some links the
rankings never came back and that was a sad day that was a sad month because I
thought maybe I could recover it but it was never able to here are the seven
things that I learned and I’ll go sort of into detail on each one and hopefully
you’ll learn lessons for me and you won’t have to make the same mistakes so
number one things change fast with a business model like affiliate marketing
with affiliate marketing especially this sort of Amazon affiliate niche site idea
most of the traffic comes from Google Google has organic search traffic that
they send over to a niche site that’s the primary you know 70 to 90 percent of
the traffic comes from that source for my sites and most of the people I know
so the problem on the front end is we don’t control the traffic so if Google
penalize is your site for example you have no traffic and even if you have
great content a lot of content and engaging content if you don’t have
Google sending traffic to you you’re in trouble now sure there are other models
out there but my focus is on organic search and organic SEO that said when we
look at the other side the affiliate marketing portion of it in the affiliate
program and controls that so two main areas you
don’t have control over so if one of the companies or one of the entities changes
their policy you can’t do anything about it so if Google takes away your traffic
because they don’t like the way you’re doing link building you can’t do
anything about it you can try to you know fit within their
rules but there’s really not much you can do you have to play within their
rule set same thing with Amazon Amazon has the
terms of the agreement and the operating agreement and basically if you do
anything wrong the amazon does it like they can you know get you out of the
amazon descent Asiya program so it’s volatile and things can change fast
quick example is in March of 2017 Amazon changed the commission structure none of
the affiliates could do anything about it in most cases affiliates made you
know somewhere between twenty and thirty five percent less sometimes as high as
forty eight percent less just because the Commission rate structure changed
number two is if you break the rules your risk is higher now I know even
nowadays in 2018 people use private blog networks and web 2.0 links and other
grey hat tactics and they get away with it but their risk is higher they’re
literally like breaking some rules now if you use white hat techniques like
guest posting and you know pure outreach and networking and that sort of thing
you may still have risk but it’s definitely lower than if you do you know
grey hat tactics that literally break the rules so on the Google side you
don’t want to break rules there if you want to keep your risk lower and on the
Amazon side they have their operating agreement and a whole set of rules
around that so you need to follow the rules and in both cases if you don’t you
probably can get away with it people can get away with it for a long time but at
some point you could get in trouble the risk is just higher if you break the
rules so I’ve learned don’t break the rules and you’ll be a little bit better
off number three is I’m patient I’m not interested in taking shortcuts I’m not
interested in trying to do anything that the cheapest or the fastest or the easy
way if you’re trying to take a shortcut you’re usually you know doing things
that are on the edge of like ethical sometimes it could be just riskier so if
you’re doing anything that seems like you shouldn’t be doing it
you probably should do something else so in general across the board you know if
I explore my options and I see that you know something is really easy or
something’s really cheap it usually makes me nervous that usually means it’s
not going to work or be effective so from the perspective of like using a
private blog network some people may think hey I’m gonna use a pbn because
it’s easier and it looks like it’s actually cheaper – and logic tells us if
it’s cheaper and it’s actually easier everyone would do it right everyone
would do that thing so so I learned I’d rather take it a little bit slower I’m
patient and I can take advantage of the fact that I’m a minute for the long haul
so I believe you know taking a white hat approach has more longevity sure it
might take you a little longer but your site will be more valuable in the long
run to other people that may want to buy it and then it will probably be less
risky overall number four don’t panic be calm and when I first got the email from
Google I was freaked out and a little upset right
I had this site that was making hundreds of dollars per day and it evaporated
overnight it was very scary so I didn’t like that at all but the thing is if
you’re panicked if you are making irrational decisions because you’re all
worked up it’s not gonna help anything so I’m generally pretty calm I had not
been in a business situation like that where I owned you know the resolution to
the problem and it directly hit my income you know my other full-time job
the performance wasn’t directly related to your pay which is kind of weird but
that’s just the way the corporate world works so in this case I owned it and I
did remain calm there were probably a couple days or a few hours on that first
day where I was very upset but eventually if
you can make rational decisions treat it as a business decision take your
emotions out of it you’ll be in better shape number five if something’s cheap
or easy it’s probably not going to work so back in the day like I said I
remember reading some stuff on smart passive income or on niche pursuits
where it said yeah you may be able to go to Fiverr
you may be able to buy some links and it’ll be you know five dollars or maybe
you could upgrade the gig and pay a little bit more but essentially it’s
super cheap and it’s a shortcut so kind of going back to the point I said before
if something’s cheap or easy or fast or it’s too good to be true it’s probably
not gonna work and I take that to heart now there’s so many tactics that people
try and throw out and tell you hey you know you can do a bunch of social
sharing and you can do you know web 2.0 blogs and get links to your site is it
something you could do for cheap sure is it actually gonna help anything probably
not and most of the time if people are recommending something and it you know
it doesn’t add up or they say it’s gonna be you know cheap and easy you know all
you have to do is pay a few bucks a month
they’re probably selling something they’re probably selling you some
product and whatever case study they’re sharing with you supports you buying
that product right like they’re just trying to sell you something
number six being the boss isn’t easy as I mentioned before I hadn’t been in a
situation before where my decisions directly impacted my income but this was
exactly that if you have a job you have a person designated to help you deal
with tough decisions and guide you it’s your boss or maybe it could be bosses I
know when I was working ahead like four or six bosses at any given time but
someone is guiding you through you know tough decisions but if you’re an
entrepreneur or if you work for yourself in some capacity number one you’re the
only one to blame number two you have to figure it out
you’re the only one that can make the decision and number three not only do
you have to make the decision but usually you have to make a decision with
incomplete data that happens constantly we almost never have all the information
we need and then as goes on we may find out that we made
assumptions that were just playing incorrect or wrong so it’s not easy to
be a boss and number seven you probably know already I learned that I didn’t
want to use grey hat tactics anymore the risk was just too high and I’m a
fairly risk-averse person and if I have the option to do something that’s less
risky then I’m probably gonna do that so I actually continued to use grey hat
techniques for another few months until I got penalized again that is another
story for another day but overall I learned that I didn’t like
getting that email where I had this asset that was probably worth over
$100,000 tremendous amount of money was worth so much money and it literally
went away overnight and the value went down to almost nothing sure I had some
content but that’s only content it’s it’s very cheap compared to the overall
value maybe a few hundred dollars so I learned that I didn’t want to use grey
hat stuff anymore my name is Doug Huntington I’m the founder of an
intersect project if it’s the first time on the channel have a look at some of
the other videos if you like what you see please consider subscribing my
question to you the question of the day is have you had a site penalized if so
were you able to recover it let me know in the comments below and be sure to
check out the comments some of the best ideas and answers and stuff like that or
from the community not me


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