It’s Monday morning… You’re at work. It’s not too bad, but you can’t wait to race home.
Not because you hate your job and not because you don’t like your coworkers (in fact, you love them!) But all for one reason – your Amazon affiliate site has started to bring in some real ‘cash-money’!
You’ve spent many hours tinkering away at your site, reading the latest underground SEO blogs, and finally, you’ve climbed onto the first page for your most important keywords.
You’ve climbed out of the Google sandbox very well my friend.
This isn’t your first site. In fact, it’s your third attempt.
The first was not impressive, the second was alright, this third one is by far the best.
We see this pattern all the time and it’s not too surprising. I want to share a few tips with you today so you don’t have to go through 3 site iterations before you get to success.
At Human Proof Designs, we’ve worked with hundreds of affiliates at several stages. Some are complete novices, while others are full-time affiliate empires builders. Although, I’d say most are right in between and are supplementing their regular day job income with Amazon affiliate earnings on the side.
After so many interactions, we’ve come to notice a lot of similarities between those that are able to take their sites from $100 to $2,000 per month… and those who keep bouncing around from one shiny object to the other.
Which brings us to today’s topic and one you’ve likely struggled with before… Niche Selection!
It’s the foundation which your site will be built upon and there’s a lot of things to consider. We’d like to boil everything down for you and give you a framework to follow.
Unlike traditional startup business models, where you “do things that don’t scale” at the beginning. We actually think that’s a bad idea when it comes to building affiliate sites. You definitely want to do things that can scale right away.
It’s all about systems. But before you get there, you want to make sure your topic will allow you to reach that sort of scale.
Don’t invest another dollar into another WordPress theme before you consider these 5 aspects of niche selection.
1) Find A Topic That’s Easily Outsourced
I know you may think you’re a writer and perhaps you’re fabulous at drafting emails, but in my experience of hiring writers, not everyone is so easily qualified.
Even if you’re a subject matter expert, do you have the time to write all the content yourself? How fast could you research, draft, edit, and optimize it?
I’m personally a VERY slow writer… But I’m a speedy editor!
Before jumping into your next niche, consider a topic with an endless supply of writing talent and the topic isn’t overly complex.
These niches are the best to consider because you can easily build a team around them and the quality of writing is usually “good enough” to help you rank well.
Remember, you can always level up your writers and find better talent in the future. In the beginning, it’s all about short and quick bursts of actions to get your site up and running vs. spending a month on 1 authority article.
2) Choose a Niche Your Willing To Build For 2 Years Straight
At the end of the day, no matter what topic you choose it should be something you’re interested in for the long haul.
It doesn’t take 2 years to build an affiliate site to profitability but it should be something you’re willing to commit some serious time into. Be aware that although “passive income” is glorified in the affiliate marketing world, it’s really not true. You’re still putting in work ahead of time and if you want to maintain your Google positions then you need to protect yourself with more content, internal linking, and outreach campaigns.
Take some time and think about different topics that could hold your interest. Then I’d say go 1 step deeper and focus somewhere in there.
So instead of health, focus on Keto. Instead of pets, focus on Lizards. You get the idea.
With a long-term vision in mind and the ability to outsource, what’s next to consider?
3) How Many Low Competition Keywords Are There?
This is where we get slightly technical. Many of the keyword research tools provide a score for “keyword difficulty”. Usually, this is a number ranging from 0-100. With that in mind, once you’ve got a number range to look for in your specific keyword tool, start digging into some juicy search phrases.
At the very beginning and most likely for the rest of your site building career, strive for low competition keywords over search volume. It’s better to find as many different keywords with low competition (aka low difficulty scores) as possible. Regardless of the volume.
As a side note, you can view a study we ran with a few popular keyword tools where we released a bunch of articles on our various sites to see how well the keyword difficulty scores would hold up.
Now back to low competition keywords…
Try to stick to volumes of 50+. The higher search volume you go, the more difficult it should be to reach the top position.
It’s easier to reach consistent income and your website can cast a wider reach when you target low competition keywords (even with low volume.) This lowers your investment risk at first and gives you easy milestones to achieve at first.
Also, keep this in mind:
One keyword is associated with one estimation of search volume.
However, a single article can rank for multiple keywords… And sometimes an article that ranks number 1 for a keyword doesn’t always receive the most traffic overall. Here’s what I mean…
4) Find Affiliate Programs Beyond Amazon
I know the title of this article talks about finding a niche in the Amazon associates program but in order to look beyond the horizon, we should make sure there are other sites selling products in the niche.
There’s plenty of ways Amazon can ban you so it’s best to safeguard yourself and make sure there are other e-commerce sites you can form an affiliate relationship with.
Most niches have several e-commerce sites in the space and if you choose a niche that’s a little easier to outsource then it definitely shouldn’t be a problem to find.
Amazon has a very short cookie length (aka provided time for you to make the sale) and their commissions are quite small percentage-wise. But, we have to remember how popular they are and it’s a volume game over there. After all, they do control 43% of all North American e-commerce purchases.
Hint: To research other e-commerce stores, just search for popular products in your niche. For example, “camping tents” or “dog beds”.
5) Tackle a Niche With Plenty of Products
The great thing about Amazon is that it’s the ‘everything store’. Not only will you get commissions for the stuff you promote and write reviews on, but you’ll also get income on everything else in the basket.
For example, you might be writing a review of men’s straight razors but someone ends up buying a $300 toolbox at the same time to reduce shipping costs. Well, guess what? You get a percentage of the entire sale.
But, we can’t be too optimistic and rely on someone purchasing multiple items from other niches. We have to think about our own niches product depth.
How many products are there that you can promote? Luckily, Amazon has everything laid out in their category pages.
It might sound over the top, but the best thing we’ve found for assessing a niche’s product depth is to simply write down all the products.
Amazingly enough, you’ll start to see how this sort of research is going to lay out a proper sitemap for the future. So the work you put in now is actually going to help you later on.
The more products you have, the more content you’ll be able to create.
This doesn’t just stop at the “straight razor 1000 review”, but also consider the following:
“The Straight razor 1000 vs The Gillette Mach 3”
“Best straight razor”
Or “Best straight razors under $100”, $200, $50 and so on.
As you can see, product depth is very important and you’ll have to get a little creative when it comes to finding unique buyer terms.
Hopefully, this has given you enough confidence to strive forward with your next Amazon affiliate niche.
No longer will you second guess your thoughts because after you’ve got this framework to follow and the research to back it up. This really is a data-driven way to niche research.
If you’re still thirsty for more tips, all this information and more can be found in our new course ‘The Human Proof Method’ where we go over niche selection, keyword research, building out content, outsourcing and so much more. We’ve really taken all that we know from our dozens of portfolio sites and give you the low-down on what’s really happening in affiliate marketing.
Thanks again to Geniuslink for hosting us here and we hope to see you inside of the course and down below in the comments.
Kelvin Mah is the head of Content & Growth at Human Proof Designs (HPD.) It’s only natural that a company built on publishing continues to grow through their favorite channel of content marketing. In short, HPD runs several portfolio sites and shares everything they know about building powerhouse brands online.