How I Made $2300-a-Month with an Amazon Niche Site in Less Than a Year

I want to do a new case study on a new niche site I’ve been working on for about a year (16 months now as of September).  This new (and hitherto unannounced) website has been wildly successful, and I figure it’s about time to share the results as a passive income case study.

I’ve hinted at this site over the past several income reports, but this is the first time I’m officially writing about it.

There’s a bit of a misconception that it takes years and years to make a full time income online.

This is not necessary the case.

While it can take years to build up a high-traffic authority site, it’s possible to be making a full time income with a single niche-style website in less than a year, as I’m going to show you in this case study.

Even better, it’s possible to build a money-making niche site with NO link building or social promotion!

Yes, that’s right. Unlike my previous case study where I built an authority site with no link building but rather, built social authority instead through Facebook (which lead to links and, eventually, search authority), in this new case study site,  I built NO links, did NO link outreach, built NO social authority (I didn’t create a Facebook page), added no new content, or did any of the traditional blogg-y stuff to the site.

And unlike my other case study, where I took an expired domain and built an authority site on it in a little over a year, this site was built on a BRAND new domain, about the same time I launched my expired domain authority case study. So both sites were created about the same time.

And no, I did not pay for traffic, use Adwords, Facebook advertising, or any paid form of traffic. The new case study site only organic search traffic from Google.

What Counts as a ‘Niche Site’

I want to be clear here: I’m not talking about necessary building up an authority site, but rather a highly targeted niche site that focuses on a very narrow topic (a niche or sub niche). But perhaps the difference is minor as these ‘niche sites’ still have tons of content (100+ posts), though perhaps the content is very narrow rather than broad.

You can break the ‘Niche’ site into three levels. I define niches based on 4 levels or ‘tiers’ of authority, based on how focused the website is about a topic.

The General Authority

Technically, all of my sites are ‘niche sites’ in that each site focuses on a specific topic. A true ‘authority’ site would be something like or the in which every single topic is broadly covered.

I call this a Tier 1 Authority Site or a ‘General Authority’.

For a one man operation, those broad authority sites are not practical to build. You need a team of writers and preferably, huge amounts of content, and contacts in the industry to build one of those sites now. The advantage is that you can pull in hundreds of thousands (or millions) of visitors every day with this site, because they, by having so many links and so much content about different topics, tend to rank very high for niche terms, even without links to those pages.

The Niche Authority

However, you can build out a niche site that covers one topic. However, there are variations on how ‘broad’ that niche is.

For example, you can create a ‘hiking’ website that targets everything hiking, from trail guides, to product reviews, to travel guides around the world. THIS would be an authority niche site. I call this a Tier 2 Authority Site or a ‘Niche Authority Site’.

Some examples:

  • Travel Niche:
  • Gaming Niche:
  • Photography Niche:
  • Digital Products / Computer:

These Niche Authority Sites are, perhaps, the most lucrative because you can, once you get broad search ranking authority, rank for every term under the sun related to that niche. These sites get 10’s of thousands (maybe even hundreds of thousands) of visitors a day.

By virtual of the huge travel levels, you can make a lot of money. If you are lucky enough to have a site about a topic with high end products on Amazon, you can make a shit ton of money. These sites can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year…or in some cases, a month!

However, it takes years to build up a site to this level. Perhaps many of your favorite ‘websites’ that you go to for information fall under this category. Pick any niche and you’ll find a couple sites that occupy this status.

The Sub Niche Authority

We can drill down even more. The next level is a Tier 3 Authority Site or a ‘Sub Niche Authority Site’

For the average internet marketer / blogger, this is probably the best ‘bang for buck’ in time spent to make a site that makes you money. Sometimes, the division between a Sub Niche Authority and a Niche Authority is pretty thin, and you can have Sub Niche Authority style sites, over time and with good development, move into the Niche Authority.

To use the same example, we could break down the ‘Hiking’ niche to a specific sub niche within the hiking niche. Say ‘Nepal Hiking’.

You can still build out an authority style site that covers everything about hiking in Nepal. You likely won’t rank for hiking terms that don’t relate directly to Nepal, but you can cover everything related to Nepal and hiking. It’s possible to make very focused, very comprehensive niche sites in this category. And it’s possible to make a site that earns a lot of money, IF YOU pick this level to build out an authority site. The advantages are that it is much quicker to build out a site at this level and you can rank much faster. The cons are that you won’t likely get the broader search authority that a more general site would have. At this level, I’ve found building amazon-focused sites seem to be the best payoff here.

This case study site would be classed as a sub niche authority.

The Keyword Phrase / Mini Site

You can really focus in on a narrow topic (especially one full of amazon products you can promote) and given time, tons of content, huge posts, and a few quality links, you can start ranking for lots of terms in about a year.

A an even more focused level would be to zoom down even more. Something like ‘Sleeping Bags for Hiking in Nepal’. I call these ‘Mini Sites’ or ‘Keyword Phrase Websites’. This is an ultra focused, min-style site that usually target a single product or a specific long tail keyword phrase. Way back in 2011, I used to create these style sites (hundreds of them). However, I no longer create sites this focused. It’s not worth the time or money.

One strategy people still do is to create many mini style sites about different products and over the wide net of sites, make good money.  However, this type of site is highly vulnerable to the vagaries of search engine algorithms. It’s very likely that your low authority site will eventually be pushed out of the search engines by the niche sub authority and niche authority sites.


About the My Site

Now likely I’ll be getting some questions about the site. So here’s some background information.

  • Registered the new domain around March  2015 (a brand new domain — it was not a pre-owned or expiring domain).


  • The site, as of September 2016, gets a daily average of about 920 visitors a day now — mostly from Google search. The traffic ranges from about 1200 unique visitors on the weekends to 800 on the low days (end of weekdays).
  • I have about 150 posts / pages of content on the site right now
  • 4 Days after registering the domain, I put up about 100 articles.
  • I’ve added an additional 40 articles the past 4 months
  • All content is outsourced, though I’ve edited some of the core articles to improve them
  • Most of the new content (40 or so articles) is hero content — deep articles that are often 3000 to 6000 words. Some of the older content are about 500-1000 words, but I’ve tried to make the key content on the site at least 2000 words or more.
  • There’s a lot of variation of post topics and content — some product related, some best lists, some reviews, and a lot of general ‘how to’ type articles that are related to the niche, but are not commercial. In fact only about 40 of the 150 posts have any amazon affiliate links on them)

In fact, though I registered this site around March 15th and posted about 100 article to the site March 20th, I did no work on the site for another 4 months till about July or August 2015.

So for the purpose of this ‘case study’ I’m starting my count from August 2015, at which point I was getting about 40 visitors a day. Keep in mind the site was created in March 2015  and content was posted around that same month, so technically we can ‘add’ on another 4 months to the count, though nothing happened traffic wise during this period.

How I Made $2300 per Month After 11 Months

The site took in $2300 USD during the month of June 2016.

My case study site was, back in August 2015 & September 2015, getting trickle traffic from Google Search of less than 5 to 10  visitors a day. The site started to get decent traffic around April 2016, where it started to bring in about 300 visitors a day. By June 2016, it was taking in 700 visitors a day and by August 2016, close to 1000 visitors a day.




So back to the question: Is this possible to make nearly a full time income in less than a year?

Yes. Here’s the proof:


Earnings for June ( & Amazon Affiliates)




So the total revenue taken in from Amazon,, Ezoic, Adense in June:

  • Amazon Affiliates: 1745.42
  • 507.87
  • Adsense: $33
  • Ezoic: $13.83

        = $2300.12 USD

Not bad for a site that’s I registered a little over 1 year ago and a site that was getting about 5 people a day only 10 months ago and made under $100 bucks just 5 months ago.

“Wait. Ben, you are bullshitting me. That was a ‘one-off’ lucky month.’

Actually, no.

Once you start earning month with a site, earnings usually keep improving every few months, provided you continue to add targeted new content to the site.

Let’s look at how this site did last month (August 2016), two months after the earnings report I gave above.

Earnings for August (Amazon Affiliates &


media amazon_aug


In total, the site made $2931 USD for the month of august between Amazon Affiliates and

So even BETTER earnings — up $600 USD from the month of June and now pretty much a $3000 USD a month site. I consider $3000 at the point where you have a full time income. It’s not a very large income $36,000, but it’s in line with what you might get paid for a staring full time job in many occupations. It’s certainly more than you would make working full time at a minimum wage job.

Even better, if you become an expat, you can live somewhere like Thailand and have an amazing life for $3000. In fact, you can move to somewhere like Thailand and have a pretty decent life on only $1000 a month. So taking in $2000 a month is certainly enough for you to live in Thailand or many South East Asian countries and have a much more fulfilling life than you would back in North American or Canada, in terms of what sort of place you can rent, the type of food you can buy, and your buying power.

The Traffic Stats

So what about the traffic stats?

Here’s a look at the total traffic since April 2015″



You’ll note that the typical sandbox effect was present. I had a brand new domain with 100 posts but it took a full 12 months before the site started to get some decent traffic (200 or so visitors a day). It took about 15 months before the traffic really started to take off (roughly close to 800 visitors a day). Now one and a half years later, the site is really starting to pick up traffic.

This is part of the ‘sandbox’ effect where new sites are ‘penalized’ by google for a good six month to one year. I’ve found that it generally takes a good 10 months to 12 months before you start to see real jumps in search engine traffic.

Compared to my Expired Domain Case Study Site

Here’s the traffic stats for my expired domain case study site that was started roughly around the same time as this new case study site. I want to juxtapose both site traffic stats so you can compare them.

The difference is that this site (call it SITE B) was built on an expired domain, so it did see some initial boost in search engine traffic and rankings.

Both sites I did NOT build any links to until about a year later for each.

expired_domain_ expired_domain_site


What’s the takeaway here?

No matter what you do, the first 6 months are going to be rough. You won’t see a lot of traffic from Google search, no matter what you do. It’s possible to drive traffic from Facebook using a social strategy, but this won’t pay off with search engine ranks for about a year.

However, ONCE your site is aged (about 10 months to a year), the site will start to pick up more and more traffic from Google in large spikes, provided you have a lot of content and you’ve choosen a niche you can accumulate some natural ranking (i.e. it’s not super competitive).

Now, my expired domain authority site pulls in more traffic, given both site are about equally the same age. That site brings in about 1300 to 2000 visitors a day, with about 40 percent of that traffic coming from facebook and pinterest referrals and the rest from Google Search. The new case site study gets about 95% of it’s traffic from Google Search — so they both have similar search traffic. However, the expired domain site is in a much, much more competitive niche.

How the My Case Study Amone Niche Site Made Money SO Fast

Now the point of this study is not to do a traffic case study on the site, but I wanted to give a good break down of just how it’s possible to make money, not in years, but in months without actually having to build any links or do any marketing, or without building any social authority.

Now, full disclaimer: you’ll have better results if you do build links, build social authority, and all that, but it’s possible to make money without doing any of these.

Edit October: Please read my Ultimate Guide How to Dramatically Increase Your Amazon Affiliate Earnings post for ALL the things I’ve learned and used to help improve my Amazon income to over 8000 USD a month (as of October 2016)

How You Can Make $1000 to $3000 USD a month a year(ish) or less.

Yes it’s possible. I’ve done it, as proved by my case study site that I took from a $0 site back around April 2015 to a $2250 per month made in June 2015 — about 13 months after starting the site.

So now that you know it’s ‘possible’ to make money in about a year (or less) with a niche site, how do you go about doing it.

Keyword research.

To make money quickly, you need:

a) a niche with very high commercial intent (the searchers are desperately looking for a solution to something specific and are ready to spend)

b) low to medium competition (so you can rank for some longtail keyword phrases without having to market or build links)

c) focused search engine traffic that’s around 

c) quality content that helps convince the searcher to click on a link / buy something

e) an effective monetization strategy suitable for that niche 

IF you don’t have all of these points above, it will be challenging to make money. It’s possible, given the right niche that’s low competition with a higher search volume to get a decent amount of traffic. But if the searchers are not looking for a solution to a problem and unwilling to buy something, you won’t make any money.

You also need to tailor your monetization method to the niche. Some monetization strategies are far more effective than others. For example, one of my sites is doing 60-90 USD a day via amazon affiliates. This same site does $2-6 dollars a day with Adsense.

Another site might do more money with vs Adsense or maybe make far more promoting an affiliate offer.

The bottom line is that you will need to test out various strategies to see which is the most effective — and in some cases, which combinations of monetization makes the most money.

Now, it sounds pretty difficult here finding ‘the perfect niche’ and truth be told, it’s actually not very easy right away. You can create a niche site and ‘luck out’ with say Amazon affiliates, but what you can do is that IF you have some previous knowledge that a niche has done well for you in the past, you can replicate that same niche with a brand new site. This allows you to shortcut a lot of the trail and error because you know the ‘money term’ to rank for that will make the most money, you know the monetization strategy that’s most effective for that niche; it’s just a matter of producing the content!

How YOU Can Make $2000+ a Month with a Niche Site in Less Than a Year

1. Use Amazon Affiliates

Generally, I recommend you look at targeting a niche that’s suitable for the Amazon affiliates. This means it’s a niche about a category or specific type of product or a hobby/sport/activity where people must buy a product to participate.

Why? Because a) people buy from amazon like crazy. You simply GET people to click on an Amazon affiliate link and Amazon does most of the work FOR you, converting that person into a sale. Even if people don’t buy the product through your link, there is a significant chance they might by SOMETHING. Your amazon cookie also stays in their browser for 24 hours, so if they buy anything at all, you get credit.

My own stats say that only 30% of the sales commissions I get come from the DIRECT links from my sites. That means 70% of the sales are people buying other stuff on Amazon that are NOT through my links.!

I find it much easier to make money quickly with Amazon Affiliates than Adsense or or any other product. The exception might be selling your own digital product or doing Amazon FBA, but I can tell you for SURE that you can make good money in about 1 year using Amazon affiliates. If you use Adsense or, you typically need to build up traffic in competitive niches to the point where you can make some decent money. This usually takes a couple years at least.

2. Look at products that are between $80-$130

With Amazon, there’s a huge variance of products ranging between $10 to thousands of dollars.

I’ve had sites that have targeted both ranges and the range that I’ve found gives the best return (amount of items people buy and the money you get per affiliate sale) is between the $70-$130 range.

There are two reasons.

  1. people are more likely to buy something that’s not too expensive (at the $70-$130, people don’t hesitate to buy something they want)
  2. the commission per sale is good enough that it adds up significantly even if you only sell a handful of items per day

You’ll find that when you first start building up Amazon sites,  you are most likely (at least at first) to hover in the 6.5% to 7% affiliate commission range, at least initially until you build a high traffic site or you have multiple sites that generate lots of amazon sales. If you have a small niche site or a couple niche sites and you are getting 1000 to 2000 visitors a day between all your sites, you’ll probably be sitting between the 6.50% and 7% sales commission range.




If you target a niche that contains a lot of low value items (say books for instance) where the average sale will be $5-12 dollars, you are only going to be making around 7% per sale (assuming you sell at least 111 items a month, which is about 4 items a day). This will bring in .70c to $1.20 a sale.

If you sell say 300 items a month with your site (10 items a day), you will be making roughly between $7 to $15 per day — or between $300 to $500 per month. While this is a pretty decent passive income that can add up, if you have 3 or 4 of these sites, it’s a lot of work for a little return.

But if you target a niche where the average sale is $70 to $130, you are making between $4.90 to $9.10 per sale at the 7 percent rate. If you sell 300 items a month, that’s between $1470 to $2730 per month!

Alternatively, you can go after high ticket items (stuff that’s hundreds to thousands of dollars) where you get hundreds of dollars in commission per sale. If you sell an item that’s $2000 on amazon and you take home $160 per sale, well you only need to sell 10 or 20 of those items a month to make a good income from ONE site.

3. Target High Value Products that Give a Better Fixed Comission Rate

If you make money based on percentages of a sale, it follows that you should target as high a price item as you possible can to maximize your earnings per sale, right?

Not always.

The reason is that for higher value items, it’s often more difficult to convert searchers — they either won’t buy that item, or they will browse around various blogs doing research about that item for quite a while before actually buying.


Think about it for a second: most people will spend a lot of time on various sites doing research before taking the plunge to buy something expensive. So let’s say a $1000 phone or $2000 computer for example. Chances are that if you write a review about said item, the search is going to, right after your review, go to another website reviewing these products and click on another amazon link, which will overwrite your own affiliate cookie in their browser; if they buy that item, you likely won’t get credit for it.

Another reason is that the more expensive items are sometimes on a lower ‘fixed’ commission rate. That $2000 computer won’t bring you $120 to $170 in commission. No amazon sets comissions for electronic sales at either 4% or at most, $25 dollars — whatever value is the lower. That means you’ll make 25 bucks.

While making 25 dollars per sale is nothing to sneer at, realize that it’s not EASY to generate these types of sales. Every month, I only have a few such sales (computers, TV’s, phones), though I don’t necessary target these categories.

However, it is possible to target high end items that are NOT capped at 25$ if you find the right items.

Look at this chart:



It’s possible to target certain high-value item categories that will give you a fixed commission rate that are NOT capped at $25 dollars per sale. That means you can target items that sell for hundreds..or thousands…of dollars and either get a fixed rate (2-8 percent as per the chart above) or which have no fixed commission rate and are paid under what your monthly commission rate is. That means that you might, say target some expensive camera equipment that sells for $4000 and you get 4% of that — nearly $200.

So there’s a lot of possibilities here, but you’ll need to FIND those item categories and create a niche site that targets it.

5. Have Amazing Content

If you are going to make niche sites, you need to have good content. While you may be able to make some money with shitty content that is packed full of amazon links, you’ll dramatically increase your conversion rate of amazon sales per clicks if your content is well written and comprehensive about the topic. People are more likely to buy something if they trust you and trust your recommendation.

Having stellar, awesome content goes a long way to improving this.

6. Stock Your New Site with Lots of content (50 to 150 posts)

One thing that I’ve noticed has been very effective, once the website ages, is to stock your website with lots of content. I don’t mean write 5 to 10 posts and leave your site at that. I mean putting 50 to 150 quality (and long) posts on your site. This helps your site rank for different long tails and it appears, to google, that the site is a quality site.

I’ve done this several times now on brand new sites and it’s been working like a charm. I can’t give you an exact figure on ‘how much’ content you should put on a new site. But my rule of thumb is between 40 to 100 posts. The more the better.

You might not see any real traffic for the first 2 to 6 months from Google, regardless of how much content you put on your site (the google Sandbox effect), but once your site starts to age a bit, the traffic will come rolling in. This is especially important if you don’t focus on link building. You’ll need a lot of content — long, deep content — to help you rank for terms.

Tip: if you can’t bring yourself to write this much content for a new site, then OUTSOURCE the content by hiring a couple writers. I feel this is a crucial step and I’m positive I would not have anywhere near the results I’ve been getting with new sites if I didn’t have lots of content on the new sites.

7. Tailor Your Content to Promote Amazon

How you promote an amazon product in your content. This means you’ll want to write reviews, best lists and more posts that specifically target amazon-friendly searches. Just because you have a site that has a lot of amazon products you can promote does NOT mean you are going to make any money! You need to rank for the terms / keyword phrases where people are looking for information about something they want. If you don’t have this type of content on your site, you won’t make any money at all, even if you get traffic!

This is absolutely critical!

Some ideas:

  • Best Lists recommending the best products in your niche
  • Review Posts
  • General Information Guides where you can recommend products that will help accomplish the topic goal

Also note the following:

  • Recommend GOOD products that have lots of amazon reviews and good ratings by customers
  • Make sure your content is updated and the products you recommend are the current models. Putting affiliate links on outdated best lists, for example, or recommending products that are not the current model will hurt conversions

8. Optimize Call to Action Affiliate Links

You also need to make sure your affiliate links are optimized for maximum conversions.

This means you should put your your call to action affiliate links highly visible, easily clickable areas. You should have multiple links in your post to the product.

The whole goal is to tastefully make it easy for the reader to click on the amazon link.

Here are a few things I’ve found that can increase the clicks + conversion you get given the same traffic:

  • placing a amazon affiliate call to action link near the introduction / top of the post
  • place an amazon call to action link at the bottom of the post
  • place an amazon call to action link in the middle of the post (tastefully)
  • Use comparison tables of different products with images + features + price
  • Include high quality images of the products
  • Include Amazon Native Ads at bottom and inside the content (if you have long content)
  • Use different colored links and / or graphic call to action buttons (such as ‘Check Price on Amazon’ or Buy on Amazon’)
  • include manual ‘casual’ links in your content (such as ‘you might want to check AFFILIATE LINK which is a very good product that will..”
  • SPLIT test different call to action link text / button colors to find the best converting (you might just be surprised how much a color or text phrase changes the conversions)

Here’s a mini case study to prove my point.

Back in April, I spent a couple days changing the links around to current products while completely updating my call to action buttons.

From April 16th I made significant changes to one of my ranking pages that was making me most of the money the site was generating. I completely revamped the content AND the call to action links I had.

I did the following April 16th:


  • I included the use of an image with a call to action link under that image
  • I separated each recommendation with a line and made sure there was plenty of space between the image + call to action link and the description below so it was easy to see the product + link beside the text about that product.
  • I included Amazon Native Ads inside the body text
  • I added to the site
  • I revised the post text and changed the post title

Here’s a look at how the Amazon performed from April 1st to May 4th:

Amazon Earnings for April 2016



As you can see, RIGHT after I optimized the site content and call to action links, there was a significant increase in clicks to amazon, orders and thus earnings. I also show the traffic stats for the same period. You’ll note that the traffic also slightly improved — likely due to the fact I updated the content and started adding some links to the site from some of my existing sites.

Here’s a detailed look at the click stats BEFORE I optimized the call to action links & content for amazon:

Amazon Earnings from April 1 to April 16 (16 days)



Now, after I made the changes April 16, you’ll see a dramatic improvement in the link clicks. On average, the clicks went up 4x to 5x what they were BEFORE I optimized. If I was seeing 30-40 clicks a day before, now I was seeing 100 to 150 clicks. The number of ordered items went up by nearly 3x and the EARNINGS went from $79 to $629!!

Amazon Earnings from April 17 to May 4 (18 days)



Why such a dramatic improvement in earnings. Given that I saw 3x more orders but the earnings went up by 8x, it has to do with people buying targeted items. Before, I had outdated links that were pointing to products that were 3-4 years old. I revised my recommendations to CURRENT product models and updated the links, images and the corresponding text about each product. These seemed to have focused buyer intent from more general purchases to those specific products or highly related products that were around the same price.

This seems to have brought in more earnings per sale compared to the previous period!

The Final Word

So I hope you can, through this case study, see it is possible to create a new site and make good money with it in a year to a year and a half. Keep in mind that my results were MUCH slower because I did not do any aggressive link building, nor build any social momentum. I simply did keyword research, created the content, and posted the content…then abandoned the site for nearly a year!

I let the site naturally gain ranking from the 100 or so posts the site had. I then, after the site started to see around 300-400 visitors a day, started to work on the site, creating lots of NEW content and finally, adding links in from existing websites I have. This helped increase the search engine rankings and improved traffic very quickly (within weeks I saw increases in traffic and within months the traffic nearly doubled).

If you want to make money quickly, you’ll need a very targeted approach. You’ll need to look at an amazon friendly niche and you’ll need to target a niche where products that sell will give you between 5-15 dollars per sale. It also needs to be a niche where there is a lot of demand for those products. You’ll also need to be in a niche where you can rank a site without having to spend years battling it out with authority websites.

In my case study, I really didn’t work very hard at promotion (in fact, I didn’t do any…). But if you were to bust your ass promoting your site, networking with other blogs, building links, building a social presence, you could certainly gain a lot more traffic more quickly than I and see much more money.

The first 6 to 8 months, you won’t see too much movement in the search engines. But you can see faster traffic gains if you manage to get some very good links to your site (which can be a challenge). It’s possible to make as much money as I am with this site in HALF or 3/4 of the time it took me if you promote the site and build links.

I’ll be doing a BRAND new case study on a new Amazon niche site I’m in the process of starting. However, unlike the site profiled in this post’ case study, I will attempt to a) build links right away b) build social authority right away and c) consistently post new content every week to the site. I want to see HOW fast I can start making money with this new project.

I’m also choosing a rather competitive niche, so it’s a good challenge for me.

Hope you guys found this case study useful. Stay tuned for MORE new case studies and projects coming up this month!

Comments 10

  1. Vincent September 10, 2016
    • BenK September 11, 2016
  2. Phil September 11, 2016
    • BenK September 11, 2016
      • Phil September 20, 2016
  3. P N October 1, 2016
    • BenK October 1, 2016
      • PN October 2, 2016
  4. Nickia January 8, 2018
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