Successful marketers around the world have used small niche websites to not only get started making money from the internet but also to amass large amounts of wealth. One downside to affiliate based income, though, is that it’s actually harder to scale than other types of business models.
Getting your feet wet with affiliate websites is still one of the best ways to break into making money from the internet.
Now that Amazon has opened the doors to their Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) program, it’s never been easier to convert from making money with smaller affiliate based niche sites, into running full blown eCommerce operations worth millions of dollars.
Bonus: Download a FREE PDF version of this article so you can read it later on any device at any time.
This guide is going to show you how to get started building websites based
The first part of the process comes down to choosing the right niche.
Get this part right, and you’ll not only have an easier time scaling the sites into profitable FBA properties down the line, but you’ll also see quick wins that help build your confidence and keep you focused on becoming successful.
The most crucial aspect of building a successful digital business is choosing the right niche. One of the biggest pieces of advice
The main reason is because you’re going to have a deeper understanding of what the customers in the niche are looking for. What drives them to make purchases, what keeps them coming back for more, and most importantly, how you can profit from the niche with the least amount of effort.
But where do you start? How do you go about picking a niche that means something to you, and can still give you the potential for high earnings down the road?
Here're a few ideas to help get you started.
The key is to choose a niche market that you have an interest in, as well as one that’s already showing signs of people profiting from. It makes no sense to spend all of your time trying to build a profitable business around a topic that doesn’t have any money in it, or one that you’re just not interested in.
To get started, grab a pen and a notebook, and start jotting down ideas. Spend 30 minutes, or so, going over every topic that comes to mind. If you need help with ideas, jump onto news websites, Facebook, Twitter, find magazines, or visit your local bookstore.
The goal is to brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Once you’ve got a healthy list of potential niche markets, it’s time to start digging into them to determine how profitable they may be, and how stiff the competition is that you’re going to be working against in the near future.
In order to finally pull the trigger and start building your first niche affiliate website, you’re going to need to dig into the topics you’ve chosen.
You’re looking to uncover keywords that are going to give you quick wins, but also have
You also need to ensure that the level of competition you’re going to be up against is something that a beginner can take on.
To do this, you’ll need to build a keyword list, and utilize a few time-proven techniques to discover your competition’s strengths, and weaknesses, so you have an angle to take, and can effectively plan your attack strategy. Thankfully, there are quite a few different tools to help you verify the level of competition and determine how profitable your chosen topics, or niches, are going to be.
First, you need to understand that there are two main types of keywords: head and longtail.
Head keywords are generally shorter phrases, containing one, two, or sometimes even three words, that are going to be harder to rank for and receive traffic from.
Longtail keywords, on the other hand, are going to be much easier to rank for, but probably aren’t going to provide you with as much search volume as the shorter, harder to rank for “head” keywords.
But, the longtail keywords will be your true money-makers, and you should really take your time and do the research thoroughly in order to set yourself up for success from the get-go.
You can use a few different tools to help you come up with keyword ideas, and determine how stiff the competition is.
To get started, you’re going to need to take the list of topics you’ve created in the previous step, and begin brainstorming keywords that you think people would be typing into the search engines, looking for products or more information.
Long Tail Pro has been a long time staple in just about every successful niche website builder’s arsenal, and for good reasons -- it’s constantly being developed, by a guy who made his name through building niche websites, Mr. Spencer Haws.
LongTail Pro has quite a few different features that
Pro Tip: The best use for LongTail Pro (LTP) is to quickly analyze the search results for the level of competition you’re going to be up against. LTP includes a score, known as the Keyword Competitiveness, that lets you quickly identify whether a keyword is difficult, or not.
As a general rule, any keyword with a KC score lower than 30 is considered low competition, while a KC of 40 or higher is considered difficult to approach.
SEMRush is an amazing tool, but one that, if you’re not careful, can quickly lead you
Pro Tip: SEMRush is best used when you’ve identified your competition, and want to dig in deeper, to see exactly what they’re doing, where they’re ranking, and what they’re spending advertising money on.
Learning your competition’s weaknesses is crucial to being able to attack the keywords from an angle that will let you wedge yourself in, effectively “coming out of nowhere”.
When it comes to gathering keywords and data, who better to get it from than straight out of the horse’s mouth. The horse, in this case, being Google themselves. While other keyword tools are great for mining keyword data and search results, nobody does it better than Google can.
You can input your seed keywords gathered earlier, and come back with a list of 800 potential ideas that Google deems relevant, and then re-enter the new keywords back into the tool to generate even larger lists of potential search queries you can target on your site.
Pro Tip: The Adwords Keyword Planner gives you the ability to quickly build keyword lists, and search out semantically related keywords that you should be including inside of your blog posts and pages.
Google delivers up the data that they see as relevant to the keywords you’ve chosen, giving you a quick way to develop the LSI, or latent semantic indexing, on your content -- and helping you outrank your competition.
Google isn’t the only source of keyword data, and if you rely solely on the Adwords Keyword Planner for your seed keywords, you’re greatly hindering your potential for success. Since a majority of marketers rely solely on the data from the Adwords Keyword Planner, you can put yourself one step ahead of the pack by figuring out what keywords are being used on other platforms.
KeywordTool.io lets you dig into Google’s AutoSuggest, as well as YouTube, Bing, Amazon, and even the App Store, giving you a clear picture for the types of keywords you need to be adding into your lists.
Pro Tip: While search volumes on the keywords generated by KeywordTool.io may be smaller (or not reported, at all) it is a good idea to use these keywords inside of your list, or even as blog posts and pages of their own.
Because the tool is based
One of the most important aspects of developing a successful niche website, whether for the Amazon Affiliates program, or Fulfillment By Amazon, is being able to connect with your readers on a social level.
Creating content that has a high probability of “going viral”, though, is a lot harder than it sounds -- with no real rhyme, or reason, to what makes a post actually take off on social media.
Thankfully, BuzzSumo gives you insights into what people are already sharing across the various social
Pro Tip: Use BuzzSumo to determine what types of content the readers and customers in your niche are most passionate about. To make things easy on yourself, you can take the content that’s already gone “viral” in your niche, and approach it from another angle.
Either rewrite the post, and add
MerchantWords is an upcoming keyword tool with on very specific focus: product based keywords.
Every type of site from niche affiliate websites, to full eCommerce stores, dropshipping sites, and FBA sites can use MerchantWords to gain an understanding of which products are going to perform the best in their chosen market.
Pro Tip: Since you’re building the site with the end goal of converting it into an eCommerce (FBA) platform, you’re highly advised to use MerchantWords to determine what products customers in your niche are most likely searching for.
Including these products on your site will make it easy for you to convert from the Associates program into FBA, once you’ve tracked down a supplier.
Use these 6 tools, and you’ll have more keywords than you know what to do with. Once you have the keywords into a list, what do you do with them, though? You organize them, that’s what.
After taking your list of seed keywords and generating a larger list of potential keywords you can target with your site, it’s time to get them organized. Organizing your keywords is actually one of the best ways to generate ideas for the types of content you should be creating -- the types of content that both your readers (customers) and search engines are looking to see.
This organization process is called “siloing” or “theming” your website and is crucial to not only helping you rank higher in the search results, but also making sure that you’re covering the aspects of your niche that will help convert readers into paying customers.
We’ll get more into that later, but for now, you’re going to need to figure out which keywords belong together, and start putting them into small lists that you can target with blog posts and pages on your site.
Coming up with ideas for content is one area where a large portion of marketers start struggling. Even building the best keyword lists may not get the creative juices flowing like they should. When this happens, there are a couple strategies you can use to help generate some ideas for content.
By entering in a few of your keywords, you can quickly figure out what questions people are having related to your niche, and then tailor your content specifically to answering those questions.
Another great resource for finding content ideas is through the use of forums and message boards related to your niche. These sites are chock full of users discussing the most important topics related to your niche market, with some of the best posts being “stickied” at the top of the different forums.
Your competitors have, more than likely, already laid out the groundwork for what makes a successful website in the niche you’re targeting.
By spending some time figuring out who the biggest players are, and then running their websites through research tools, such as SEMRush and BuzzSumo, you can get a pretty clear picture of how you should be structuring your own content.
When all else fails, and you can’t crack your bad case of writer’s block -- or you just don’t feel like writing -- you can always outsource the process. With the sheer number of writers available on the internet these days, outsourcing your content creation is actually quite affordable.
The main reason so many beginners (and seasoned veterans) build niche sites is because they’re simple. Simple to create, simple to outsource, and simple to manage when you start getting more than a few sites in your portfolio.
That’s why the best advice given to all marketers, when it comes to building niche websites, is to follow the K.I.S.S. principal, and “keep it simple, silly”. This means keeping your theme minimalistic, and the amount of plugins that you’re using down to a minimum.
Not only does this help keep your website clutter free, but it also decreases your page load speed -- and fast loading sites are crucial to seeing success, and maintaining it over the long term.
To keep your WordPress sites loading quickly, and ranking well, there are only 3 main plugins that you need to utilize: Yoast SEO, WP Super Cache, and WP Optimize.
While it’s highly recommended that you optimize your niche websites manually, a lot of marketers prefer to use a plugin to handle the job for them. For these times, the only plugin we can recommend to you is Yoast SEO.
It’s been a long time staple for many niche marketers, and will continue to be for years to come. It’s continually developed, making sure that you should not have issues with the plugin failing, or causing errors with your site loading down the road.
We use it mostly for automatically filling out Meta Title and Description fields, XML sitemap option and Open Graph/Twitter Metadata.
WordPress is an outstanding platform for niche marketers because of it’s ease of use. However, it’s also required to connect with a database, which means that as your site grows in size, the time it takes to completely load when a visitor lands on it can quickly add up. Slow loading sites not only irritate your visitors, but they can also hinder your ability to rank highly in the search results.
WP Super Cache solves this problem by creating a “cached” version of your page, or one that has been stored to quickly load up without requesting information from the database. In other words, the pages on your site are stored to quickly load when visitors come to your site.
One of the biggest causes of WordPress slowdowns (outside of requesting information from a large database) is the use of images, scripts, such as Java, and elements that are loaded from websites on other servers.
WP Optimize helps clear up the majority of these issues by reducing the size of the images being loaded on your pages, moving the scripts and other coding (especially code loaded from external sites) down to the bottom of your pages, so that it loads after the content is already being displayed, and reducing the size of scripts and CSS files that are hosted on your own server.
Now that we’ve covered the bare essential WordPress plugins, it’s time to start looking at your theme. One of the only themes we recommend is by
Designed for marketers, by marketers, Thrive Themes is among the best not only in terms of functionality, but also in page load speed. The amount of options available with Thrive Themes makes them almost a no-brainer to use.
They’re built to load quickly, while also giving you the functionality that most people find lacking in other themes -- making up for by installing a ton of different plugins. There are a wide variety of styles and flavors available, making it easy for you to find the perfect theme, regardless of the niche you’re targeting.
One of the biggest issues marketers and niche website builders face is making their content look good. With the Thrive Content Builder, though, creating amazing looking content is a click (or a few clicks) away.
This is one of the first true drag and drop page builders that gives you complete control over the theme, without all of the errors that most drag and drop page builders seem to generate.
If you’ve been around internet marketing for any length of time, you’ve heard the phrase “the money is in the list”. They’re talking about your email list, and there’s never been a more true statement.
Building your email list is crucial to keeping your earnings on an even keel, especially if you’re relying solely on Google for your traffic.
Thrive Leads integrates perfectly with Thrive Themes, and Thrive Content Builder, so you don’t have to waste dozens of hours trying to piece together the perfect theme and plugins, only to find out that one of them broke something else on your site.
On top of working flawlessly, Thrive Leads lets you run a wide variety of tests to ensure that you’re only serving up your best-performing sales copy, generating the most subscribers in the shortest amount of time.
As previously mentioned, it is recommended that you actually optimize your niche site, pages, and posts manually, to prevent loading too many plugins onto your WordPress installation. Remember, the more plugins you use, the slower the site is going to load.
To optimize your posts manually, there are a few areas that you want to ensure your keywords are located. Keep in mind, though, that long-gone are the days of worrying about keyword density, and how many times you can stuff a keyword into various areas of your site.
These days you can actually be penalized for using practices that were once deemed OK by mainstream SEOs. To prevent receiving a penalty for over-optimizing your posts and pages, you want to not only include your main keyword but also keywords that the search engines deem as relevant to the content you’re creating.
As a general rule, if you are creating content with your readers in mind before you take into account the search engine algorithms, and where you’re going to be ranking, you should do fairly well in the search results. These days, it’s all about providing the answers and types of content that your visitors are looking for, rather than giving the search engine spiders the data in the places where you think they can be tricked into ranking your pages higher than your competition.
Creating a content theme, structure, or “silo” for your website is not only a good way to help organize the content so your visitors can easily navigate through it, but it’s also a great way to let Google and other search engines know that you’re the most relevant site for the search queries you’re targeting.
During the keyword research phase, you should have already gathered and organized your keywords into various groups.
Categories: This is going to be the primary backbone for siloing your blog posts. If you have head keywords that you notice tend to get updated more often than they remain static (based on the pages already ranking) it’s a good idea to use those keywords in your category titles and descriptions.
As you add new posts to the site, the category page will get updated, giving the search engines the “freshness” that they are looking for.
Posts: When you have keywords that are related to each other, but not close enough to be included on the same post, you can silo the content by creating posts based on the keywords, and then using internal links to connect the pages together.
Doing this will create smaller, subsections of content that will hold your topical relevancy in place, helping to increase your search rankings for all of the posts included.
Pages: For keywords that don’t require being updated as often, and content that is on the longer side, or considered a “hub” for the rest of your content that doesn’t make it’s way into a blog post or your categories, it’s a good idea to use pages.
You can still utilize internal links to help flow topical relevancy through the site -- or limit where it flows to -- and include the page links inside of your navigation menus. Using this strategy is a great way to have your “SiteLinks” show up in the search results, when you’re ranked #1.
Backlinking is one of the biggest areas where a lot of niche site builders tend to miss the mark. They spend hours, upon hours creating the perfect site with amazing content, only to fall flat when it comes to building backlinks to it.
Promoting the site, or building backlinks, is one of the single strongest factors in determining where you rank in the search results -- especially if you’ve gotten the keyword research, siloing, and on page optimization correct. It can be the difference between you ranking on page 5, versus ranking at the top of page 1.
The 5 strategies listed below are among the most highly effective uses of your time when it comes to promoting your content and building highly targeted backlinks that will actually make an impact on your rankings.
This is one of the single most effective uses of your time when it comes to finding high-quality backlinks for your niche websites.
Unfortunately, with the work required in terms of creating content on your site that’s actually worth linking to, and then finding website owners who are willing to accept a guest post and link to your content, a lot of marketers tend to avoid guest posting like the plague.
That’s great news for you. Since the majority of marketers refuse to do legitimate guest posting and outreach, it means that if you spend even a small amount of time on the strategy, you’ll be putting yourself light years ahead of your competition.
Unless you enjoy building backlinks, you’re going to need a way to automate them. In years past, that entailed relying on software to build the links for you. However, using automated software solutions to build backlinks will typically land you in hot water with the search engines, these days.
To get around that, you need a
If you’re not a designer, you can find one on sites like Fiverr and Upwork that will happily create infographics for you. Then all you have to do is let other sites in your niche know about the work, and give them an easy way to link to it.
Web 2.0 sites, or sites that allow user generated content, have gotten a bad rap over the last few years. With a large portion of them receiving their own set of penalties during the Google crackdown in 2011 and 2012, a high number of marketers have abandoned the strategy all together.
That’s where you have an opportunity to step in and get a few free links pointing to your site that will grow in age.
You don’t want to just hop on the web 2.0 platforms and start spamming your content, though. There’s a much better strategy to take that will lead to authoritative links that grow in strength over time.
First, you’re going to want to create multiple posts on these platforms.
Then, you’ll need to interlink them together, flowing the link juice back and forth.
Finally, spend some time gathering link juice from other areas of the platform, such as your author profile and commenting on other user’s content, all while including links back to your own posts.
If you use the strategy properly, you’ll build up authority on the platform.
When you think about a skyscraper, what comes to mind? When I think about it, I picture a massive building that’s been placed on a solid foundation, that keeps growing taller, and taller.
Brian Dean coined the “Skyscraper Technique” because it
The Skyscraper technique works by taking content that you already know has been shared across the web, and linked to by multiple sources, and then improves upon it so that you have the best version possible on your own website.
So how does it work?
First, you’ve got to uncover content that’s already been shared, and linked to. During the competition research phase of building your niche site, you should have noted at least a few different competitors that have great content that’s helping them rank better.
This content is your starting point.
Once you’ve determined that the piece of content is linkworthy, you then begin improving upon it -- adding new floors to the top of it, creating your own, bigger skyscraper.
After improving on the foundation, and building your own new floors, you need to get it in front of the people who have previously linked to it, as well as a new, fresh set of sites related to your niche that you also believe would link out to it.
Remember, it’s not just about creating great content and expecting people to link to you. You need to create the content, and then get it in front of the right people so that you not only receive the same links as the original piece, but that you also generate a new set of links to help push it even higher in the search results than the original version.
Rather than try to steal his thunder, check out this post on How Brian Dean Increased Search Traffic By 110% In Just 14 Days
Sometimes, getting the links that control your search rankings isn’t as easy as using the 3 strategies mentioned above.
When that happens, your best efforts are spent building out a network of sites that you control, that you can insert links on anytime you need more authority.
Building your own private blog network can be tedious, but it is well worth the time and money invested to create a proper network.
Be advised, though. This is a strategy that requires your full attention to ensure that the blogs you’re putting into your network are high quality, and can stand on their own two feet.
If a Google reviewer lands on your site and starts picking through your network, you want to make sure that it’s indistinguishable for other sites on the web -- in other words, that it looks completely natural.
The best way to get an idea of how to build a natural private blog network is to look through existing authority blogs in your niche and start duplicating the type of results you see in their backlink profiles. Authority bloggers have the best type of backlink profile because it’s built using legitimate,
Once you’ve found success with your niche affiliate websites, you’re going to want to continue building out your portfolio so that you can increase your earnings. That’s one of the major benefits of running a digital business -- it’s easy to scale your efforts and exponentially increase your revenue and profits.
One of the easiest ways to bring more traffic into your niche website is by adding more content. Makes sense, right? The more pages you have targeting keywords, the more chances you have at ranking in the search results.
Another great way to increase the amount of traffic coming into your site -- and increase the number of sales you make every day -- is by looking at where your existing pages are already ranking.
By taking the time to figure out what rankings you currently have, and coming up with a plan to boost each of them one, by one, you’ll see quick gains in your search traffic.
While not nearly as effective as creating new content or pushing your existing rankings even higher, you can always build out new websites -- either targeting other keywords, or smaller niche markets inside of the niche you’ve already chosen, or new markets all-together.
The best way to exponentially scale your earnings is by increasing your profit margins. The Amazon Associates program will have you
Finding products that you know are going to sell well is a lot easier when you’ve put in the time up-front creating a great affiliate site that’s already making sales.
However, this is still an area where a lot of marketers get hung up, and it’s easy to see why -- there are, literally, millions of products that you can sell, with possibly hundreds of different products in the niche that you’ve chosen.
To figure out how to locate and source products that are worth using to convert your Associates niche website into an FBA store, take a look at this post.
Having a successful affiliate website is great, but at the end of the day, it’s still an affiliate website. If you’ve ever noticed successful eCommerce stores, you’ve figured out that they’re nothing like affiliate websites -- and for good reasons.
eCommerce websites are built around a brand, rather than pushing products from multiple other brands product lineups.
While you could go back and revamp your entire affiliate website to focus on the new branding of your FBA business, it’s just not going to be worth the time and effort involved, and could end up costing you the precious search traffic that you’ve worked so hard for.
Instead of potentially messing with the traffic and metrics you’ve built up on your niche affiliate website, it’s actually recommended that you start another site based on the brand you’ve built around your FBA products.
Using an Amazon FBA branded site will not only help you tap into other sources of traffic, and keep them on your own site -- rather than paying Amazon for clicks that could lead to other brand’s products -- you can keep those visitors all to yourself.
Setting up a branded FBA site is actually easier than building your affiliate site, because a majority of the work is already done.
You’ve already completed the keyword and competition research, have an idea of how hard it’s going to be to rank, and have a website that can pass the link juice over to your new brand.
Building a branded site with gives you a few different benefits.
First, and most obviously, you’re going to increase your brand recognition, helping you make more sales without extra effort.
Second, you’re going to have another website that you can send traffic to, helping you completely dominate the first page of the search results.
Finally, and probably most important, you’re going to be able to track down affiliates in your niche, offer up products to them for review, and work with them to send traffic to both your FBA site, as well as your product listings on Amazon.
Building successful niche websites based around products on Amazon isn’t anything new.
However, the aspect most marketers fail to realize is that their profit margins could be substantially higher if they were to convert those Affiliate based sites into full blown Fulfillment By Amazon sites.
Sourcing and selling physical products through Amazon’s FBA program has made a lot of people incredibly wealthy over the last few years, and makes a lot more sense than to continue promoting the Associates program where your commissions are, at best, only 8.5%.
Take what you’ve learned in this guide, and put it to good use. You’ll be well on your way to building a successful FBA business before you realize it.
Andrew is an entrepreneur, digital marketer, wine enthusiast, hustler (in a good way) & the guy behind BrandBuilders.io. His business helps both FBA sellers and Amazon Affiliate marketers build out their brands and manage their portfolio of sites.