Make Money On Your Blog – As An Amazon Affiliate

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Every blogger’s dream is to either to have a large readership or to make money blogging. Until your an A-list blogger with crazy traffic and advertising deals, you’re going to have to find easy ways to generate what little income you can get.

My blog is a little over a month old and I can tell you right now what’s worked for me is being an Amazon affiliate. Last month when I just barely started my blog, I had just 1 Amazon referral. That referral was a direct word of mouth recommendation to a friend of mine who ended up buying it from my blog as a thank you for recommending it. It wasn’t surprising since I pretty much had no traffic. This month however, traffic picked up via a couple of social bookmarking sites and has already resulted in 8 Amazon referral fees. A couple more of these and my hosting for the month will be paid for. You can imagine with enough traffic to your site, you could earn a nice chunk of change.

So let me tell you a bit about the Amazon Associates program. Now I don’t have anything to do with them; I am not an Amazon employee. I get no benefits from you joining the program. I just whole heartedly think it’s a cool program and since I shop at Amazon all the time and like their online store, I figure many other people probably do too.

Basically the Amazon Associates program is an affiliate program. What this means is that if you successfully refer any business to them, you get a little kickback. You can earn up to 10% in referral fees. By joining, which is free btw, you get access to the Associates site which provides you with tons of ways to create links and widgets to Amazon products on your blog. What’s cool about this is say you recommend a product: If your visitor clicks on the link and does not buy that product, but browses Amazon and ends up buying another product, you still get a kickback. The visitor can even close the browser and start a new session. If they come back to Amazon on the same day and buys something, you also get a kickback.

Now you think wow, I can just load up my site with tons of Amazon products. That’s probably not going to work for you. Think about it, if I saw a page like that, wouldn’t it be easier for me to just go to Amazon? What I do is review the products that I’ve actually used (or at least experienced through a friend) and think they are worth recommending. Part of this is your reputation. If I recommend a crappy product, people are less likely to trust me and/or buy the products I recommend. If I recommend good quality products that I genuinely believe in, people are more likely to buy it and I’m more likely to make money. It’s that easy.

Here’s an example of a widget you can add to your site:

Here are some examples of what I did:
5 Ways to Accessorize and Customize Your New MacBook Pro
Buzzmarketing Book Review

So what are you waiting for silly blogger? Join the Amazon Associates program now.

Popularity: 2% [?]

5 Easy Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog


If you’re here reading this article, you probably already have a blog. Maybe you hardly get any traffic or perhaps you get a decent amount but could always use more. I know I’d like to increase traffic to my blog. More traffic means more eyeballs means more money. I’d like to share with you what’s worked for me based on my analytics data.

  1. Write a how-to article. People on the web are always looking for information. When you provide that information, at some point, someone will be looking for it. Perhaps not right away, but eventually you’ll start to see some traffic there. To this day, I still get traffic on this Ruby On Rails article I wrote. It wasn’t even an in depth article, but had I had this article when I was setting it up, it would have saved me personally tons of time.
  2. Social bookmarking websites. The idea of these sites are you find something interesting and you share it with other members of the site. I personally like StumbleUpon and Reddit. The key here is to tag your page really well. Try to come up with as many tags as you can that are pertinent to your subject or article. A good way to get the right tags is to see what other people are doing with similar content. Don’t be a tool and submit tags that are not relevant to your content. Not only are you wasting your audiences’ time, you are also wasting your bandwidth needlessly. If your site visitors were mislead to your site, they probably won’t stick around anyways.
  3. Twitter your new posts. Twitter is a new social phenomenon which I’ve written about before. I see many marketers, evangelists and e-preneurs shamelessly plugging their new articles on Twitter and it seems to work for these people. I’ve chosen for various reasons not to do that, but to each his own.
  4. Link from all your other online accounts. It is not uncommon for web savvy people to have accounts on many sites including some photo sharing community like Flickr, or video sharing site like Youtube and maybe a review site like Yelp. The idea here is to provide a link back to your website in your profile OR in the description of each individual content. Examples of this include one of my YouTube videos which has a link back to my site in the description and a Flickr photo of Tim Ferris and I at SXSW. This is just to give you an idea. Obviously you can get more creative with this, but you see where I’m going.
  5. Comment on other people’s blogs. Chances are if you have a blog, you are probably reading other people’s blogs. If an article was interesting and thought provoking, and you had an opinion on it, you should just leave a comment. Don’t be lame and say something like – cool article, great, or awesome. That’s useless and unproductive. If you can leave a thought provoking comment or steer the discussion in a new direction, perhaps people will wonder what this person is about and check out your site provided you leave your URL.

Popularity: 1% [?] is 1 Month Old

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So my blog is exactly one month old. I thought I’d do an analysis of my site and break down some vital statistics. I’m interested in data such as number of visitors, where they are coming from, how much time they are spending, and finally income.

Site Stats
Number of Posts 27
Number of Comments 26
Unique Visitors 632
Page Views 1341
Avg Time On Site 15m
Top Traffic Sources Visits
Google 142
StumbleUpon 70
Digg 21
Most Popular Pages Visits
Ruby On Rails Tutorial 115
Top Must Have Mac Software 98
Martial Arts Category 55
Total Revenue $3.69

Keep in mind this is the very first month. Nobody knows who I am, and I don’t have a whole lot of content. I haven’t done much in terms of promotion. I was very surprised to see that Google indexed my blog 3 days after it started.

So let’s analyze this a bit. At 27 posts, that’s almost 1 post every day. My goal was to try to post about 5 times a week corresponding to 1 per work day. I was pretty successful with that, but we’ll see how long I actually keep it up. At 26 comments, that’s an average of 1 comment per post which I think is pretty good.

As for visits and page views, I don’t have much to say about that other than I use it to calculate the cost per click. Average time on site was interesting. I think it was probably skewed by the fact that I was still doing design coding on it and had the site open for long sessions at a time.

Google bringing in the most traffic was no surprise there. Overall, I’m quite pleased with StumbleUpon as a social bookmarking platform. I did not try delicious although that’s something I will want to explore next. Digg did not bring a significant amount of traffic and I didn’t expect that it would after reading many a blog articles about how skewed it is.

Here is where it gets interesting. My most popular page was the Ruby on Rails Tutorial. It was a really simple tutorial, but apparently RoR is teh hotness because many people are searching for it. I’m not Rails experts by any stretch of the word. It was so hard for me to figure out how to even get a Hello World app that I had to write it all down. Top Mac software also made the list. What’s interesting is the 3rd most popular link was my Martial Arts category tab. I would have expected another article.

For some of you, this will be the most important part of the report. How much money did I make? A grand total of $3.69. Sources of revenue including advertising and affiliate residual income. That comes to a CPC (Cost Per Click) of almost $0.06. Considering that I put in about 30 hours into this, my hourly rate is about $0.12. Woohoo! I think manual laborers in India and China earn more than this.

The primary goal of this website wasn’t about trying to make a professional living out of blogging. I figured, if I was gonna blog, I might as well throw some ads up, and if it makes money – great. I think the only people who are making any serious money blogging are the ones who blog about how to make money blogging. So if I was serious about making money blogging, I would start a blog about making money online. To me, that’s a hard road where the chances of success are slim. Plus I don’t know much about the subject, and I probably wouldn’t be very passionate about it. And about the products and affiliates I endorse, I either actually have or use the product or it’s in my wishlist. I’m not going to push anything just to make money if I didn’t actually believe in the product or would use it myself.

My blog is worth $1,129.08.
How much is your blog worth?

Actually, my financial goals for the blog are quite modest. I’d be happy if the revenue generated pays for the hosting. At least that way, the blog doesn’t cost me any money – just my time, which I am willing to give in order to share my knowledge and passion about certain subjects. That said, I believe my goal is quite attainable. My hosting costs $20/month. At the rate I’m earning, I would need about a 5 fold increase in traffic per month which comes to about 7,200 page views a month. That’s really not all that much traffic. Keep in mind that on top of the new content I will be writing, my old posts would still be generating traffic.

I also found this fun little widget. It calculates your blog’s valuation based on the amount and source of links to your website. At the time of this report, my blog is worth $1,129.08. Of course this is paper value, and even if it was worth a lot of money, it’s not like I can sell it.

To conclude, I had no expectations about the performance of this blog, this being the first month and all. I was just happy about the one thing I could control which was that I was able to push myself to write almost daily on top of all the other crap I’m involved in.

Popularity: 1% [?]

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