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Success Story: Making $300 a Month Reviewing Coffee Makers

Today, I am happy to share another niche site success story with you!  A few weeks ago, I started asking for readers to send in their own accomplishments with niche sites, and I've received some great stories.

And today is no different.

Benji Walklet has been kind enough to not only tell us how he was able to quickly build up a site to $300 per month in earnings, but he also shared the exact URL of the site!  Being able to visit the domain and see how a site is laid out, is always a great way to learn.

In addition, Benji took the time to send over LOTS of screenshots; including earnings and traffic details.

I also want to briefly mention that we should only VIEW the site that Benji has shared.  Please do not be like some of the people from my Niche Site Project that send spammy links, click on ads, or otherwise manipulate his site in any fashion.  Please be respectful of the work that Benji (and others sharing their success) have put into this project.

Overall, I continue to share these niche site success stories, because its motivating!  Benji and others are making money right now (July 2013) with new niche sites that they have built.  So, are these strategies making money RIGHT NOW?  Absolutely!

So, Benji…take it from here…

Benji Walklet's Success Story

1. What is your name and current job/profession?
Benji Walklet…I guess you can say I'm an independent Search Engine Marketing consultant (PPC)

2. How did you get started building niche websites?  How long have you been building websites?
I was inspired by Pat Flynn's Niche Site Duel series a little over a year ago. I started building my first niche site in around May 2012. I've been building websites for clients and myself on and off for about 4 years.

3. Tell us about one (preferred) or multiple of your successful websites.  What is the URL and what niche are you targeting?   If you are not willing to publicly share your domain or niche, that’s just fine.
Top Rated Coffee Makers is the first keyword I went after. At the time, it had about 1600 EMS, but now I think it's only around 800-something. I hired someone to find the keyword for me because I found Market Samurai (the main tool I used) too slow and cumbersome (see Spencer's timed comparison of Market Samurai vs. Long Tail Pro here).

I snagged www.topratedcoffeemakers.com about a month or two after I started the site. The original domain was www.etopratedcoffeemakers.com. I now own the .org and .net too.

4. How much money do you make from this successful website(s) each month?
Last month (June) I made $300, which was the highest yet. This month I will probably make 200-250…making it the first month I've regressed. I think this is largely attributed to only writing one post this month. (See Benji's postscript below explaining that the earning actually for July should be very good).

Here are some screenshot's Benji shared:

Adsense Earnings as of July 16th, 2013

Adsense-Earningsblock

Amazon Earnings

Amazon-July-Earnings Amazon-June-Earnings

5. What is the reason for this website’s success?
I made it a great resource. The reviews I write are incredibly thorough and in my opinion, unbiased. My site is also pretty user friendly…with responsiveness practically across the board. Currently, I'm finishing up some responsive comparison charts (because the old ones aren't).
I also disclose that I don't have experience with a coffee maker (if I don't) I'm reviewing, and I also disclose that I earn a commission if someone buys the product I recommend through one of my links.

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6. Please briefly share your overall strategy for finding a niche, getting traffic to your site, ranking in Google, and making money from niche sites.
My strategy is probably too simple. I first find a keyword with decent traffic. For my second niche site I found a KW with 3600 EMS. Second, the keyword has to have a lot of content potential, as well as variations that I could also create content for. Third, the keyword should be a niche I'm interested in, and ideally, passionate about. I love coffee, which is part of the reason I have had success with the first site. The way I rank is by doing on-page stuff like Title and meta description…with a lot of writing. I write good stuff, and the rankings pretty much come naturally. I only did one guest post for topratedcoffeemakers.com.

7. What link-building tips can you offer?
Not many unfortunately. I think guest posting on high profile sites in your niche is a good strategy…but I really think it comes down to developing great relationships with your site's visitors and your close competitors. I think its easier to get these links once you develop relationships.

8. How has the success from this website impacted your life?
Now that I've been able to taste some passive income, I really feel that I'm headed in the right direction as far as freeing my time from money. I'm excited to continue to grow my current site as well as start new projects and work hard to make those a success. I'm also using it to build my portfolio in SEO and site development for the consulting work I'm currently doing (but don't plan to do forever).

9. Do you have any additional tips or advice for others that would like to replicate your success with their own websites?
Stop planning and procrastinating so much…get out there and start building. You can always go back and edit after, just like a writer does. If you spend too much time planning and tweaking before you ever get started, nothing will ever get done. Also, make your site something that someone would want to visit. Would you get value from it if you were interested in the niche? If not, chances are good your customer/visitor isn't either.

10. Do you have a blog or other place that people can following along with what you are doing?
Yes! Searchandperch.com. I have started my own case study (inspired by you and Pat), and already have 5 posts for people to take a look at.

Benji was also able to share some updated details since originally writing this post:

In the postscript, you can say it turns out that I didn't regress as much as I predicted in June (it was my second best month).
I've also noticed two things that have had what I think is a substantial effect on earnings:
1. Putting leaderboards in several places on each webpage on the site (particularly near images). Also, making them responsive ads has definitely helped my CTR.
2. Adding a comparison chart to my homepage has set me on record-breaking pace with Amazon this month. I have to give you pretty much all the credit here, Spencer. Actually, I used to have a comparison chart on my homepage before I followed your case study, but it wasn't responsive and the images didn't have affiliate links embedded in them (which is extremely important). I've used crazy egg and it's shown me how important images are to driving affiliate clicks (see screenshot).
Crazyegg-Heatmap
crazyegg-scrollmap
I've also removed the lead generation form from my homepage that you can see in one of the screenshots. It converted at 0.5% so I figured I would just keep it on the buying guide pages and individual review posts so to not detract from people viewing the comparison chart on the homepage.
Old Lead Generation Form that Has Been Removed
Old-Lead-Magnet
Oh, and I now have 7 posts in my own case study 😉
Google Analytics Screenshots
June-Traffic
June-Traffic-Sources

My Thoughts and Your Comments

Overall, I just want to thank Benji for sharing the success and all the great details on his successful niche site.  I always enjoy learning from others, and hearing how others are finding ways to rank in Google and build a nice income.

As always, I would love to hear any comments or questions that you have below.  I've asked Benji to stop by and respond to your comments, so feel free to ask away!


Success Stories

By Spencer Haws
July 17, 2013 | 104 Comments

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104 Comments

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Mason

Great info and tips! Maybe I missed it, but when did you start the site?

Benji

Thanks for reading, Mason. Started in May 2012.

ray

Thanks so much for sharing! How long did it take you to start seeing income/ranking for your site? I think my biggest hurdle thus far is being impatient.

Benji

Great question, Ray. First coffeemaker (and product) I sold through Amazon was in July 2012, so 2 months into the project. First Adsense earnings came in October 2012…but I’m not exactly sure when I implemented Adsense in addition to Amazon Affiliate links.

Benji

Thanks for sharing my story, Spencer! Happy to answer any questions 🙂

Walks

Really good to see that if you put the work into it you can make a passive income. I’ve suffered a similar situation with a few of my websites where I managed to get it up to close to $500 a month but have had it drop dramatically since (largely my own fault). I managed to be a top ranking for a keyword I wasn’t even expecting which drove a lot of sales.

No one said it would be easy though!

Benji

Thanks for stopping by, Walks.

It definitely isn’t easy…and there is certainly upkeep involved. I’m at my lowest ranking in about a year (7 in Google last I checked), but I’m ironically doing better than I had been in previous months.

Clearly the power of the long tail.

Still, I wouldn’t advise ever stopping the development of a site…because your rankings will probably drop in the long run. Adding at least a few new posts a month should be good for sustaining a successful site IMO.

ray

Man, I tell you, it really burns me up that you can’t be an Amazon affiliate in NC. There are other options out there, to be sure, but Amazon is sooooo nice, in that buyers trust the site and you can promote almost anything through them. Best of luck to you!

Benji

I didn’t know that…what a bummer. I know that here in California they cut it off abruptly a couple years ago before eventually reinstating it.

This is why it’s so important to have multiple monetization strategies in case you get cut off completely one day.

Even with Adsense and Amazon I feel totally insecure.

Good luck to you too!

Rick

They temporarily shut down Amazon Associates in Hawaii once. Amazon closed my account because the legislature had passed a bill to charge them sales tax. When the governor vetoed the bill, Amazon didn’t even send out a courtesy email. I mean they could have just used the mailing list from a month earlier to say “never mind”!

Instead, all those accounts remain permanently closed. I had to open a new one but I’m grateful to be a part of the program again.

Ryan Kaufman

hey ray,

did you try Skimlinks dot com?

do a Google search, they’ve been online for awhile, and they approve you as an Amazon affiliate without having an account with Amazon Associate Program…

You just create your Skimlinks account, add some code, get them to approve you, and you’ll still be able to promote Amazon items and get paid (even a bit higher commission than their average)

I’m testing them next week myself, and will come up with results soon…

Best!

Dan @ Live Work Travel USA

I’m with you, Ray. I have to be creative in NC as well. Would love to earn through Amazon and was able to up until recently, when Viglinks gave in to Amazon’s request, too. 🙁
While it definitely sucks to lose Amazon and the trust it comes with, there are a lot of other sites out there that people trust and buy from.

sagbee c

It was such a Wonderful work on coffee niche. Can say… you deserve to be go UP as compare with other spammy “rich content” website.

Love you for more success!! Benji

Benji

Thanks, Sagbee! Took a lot of extra effort…but if you keep the user in mind (even ahead of yourself), good things will definitely follow with some patience.

Chris Jensen

Congratulation on your success and thank you for sharing it. What a great idea!
This is also a great example of combining more sources of income on one site!!
I will follow you blog for updates !
Keep up the good work

Chris

Benji

Thanks, Chris!

Doug @ DigitalOcean Review

Thank you very much for sharing your story, Benji! So you didn’t do any link building at all?

Benji

Thanks for reading!

In the beginning I followed Pat Flynn’s second-tier link building strategy but ultimately ditched it because it was

a) Too much work

b) A dated strategy that many commenters were saying was no longer effective in 2012 (Pat wrote the post in 2010)

c) Felt kinda black hat to me

Aside from that I tried guest posting. Got 1 article published on a high authority coffee site, but had too many site owners flaking on me to guest post after that. So I just focused on creating my own content.

I eventually got to #3 in Google and was there for a very long time.

I may try some new link building strategies in the future, but for now the focus will just be on continuing to add great content and improve user experience over time.

Phil

Hey Benji,

thanks for sharing. I wonder which plugin you use for responsive comparison charts, I still search for one. Beside that congrats to your success.

Phil

Benji

Thanks for reading, Phil!

It’s called Go Responsive Comparison Charts. I have an affiliate link here: http://www.searchandperch.com/go-pricing-comparison-charts

Spencer, feel free to remove the affiliate link if I’m being tacky…not trying to violate any of your site’s policies or step on anybody’s toes here!

Iain

How important do you feel having a responsive to comparison chart is?

I have used them in the past and they are fantastic. I haven’t tried responsive ones though. I guess it really comes down to how much traffic comes via mobile.

Awesome job benji

Benji

Hey Iain,

I don’t know how important it is right now, but I do know that it is only going to be more and more important (responsiveness that is).

I created responsive comparison charts because the old charts I were using ruined the responsiveness of my site. I could have either chosen to have my site not be responsive at all and have comparison charts, or make my site responsive but have no comparison charts.

Actually, there was a third option too: have comparison charts and a responsive site, but have the responsiveness broken on any page that had a comparison chart lol. This is actually what I was doing until the plugin I mentioned was developed, hence solving the problem.

Adsense ads were also giving my responsive site fits given their fixed widths…so I’m very lucky that a plugin was created for responsive Adsense too. Now there are hardly any hiccups with how my site looks on mobile devices 🙂

Well worth it in my opinion. Plus, I think users will be happy.

Mike

I agree with Benji because mobile is only going to get bigger and bigger. Over 30% of my keyword is searched through a mobile device and a growing number of people are moving away from desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets when browsing the internet.

Bas

Very nice earnings with your website. I started 2 months ago a dutch website.

I also target products and I try to make some earnings through affiliate marketing. I see you also make a lot with adsense so it might be a good idea to also use that on my site?

I thought I had read somewhere it’s best to focus on 1 model to make money, what do you thing about that?

You said: “I also disclose that I don’t have experience with a coffee maker (if I don’t) I’m reviewing”. How do you make these reviews? Do you make them based on other peoples opinions or how?
I want to add also reviews to my site but I don’t want to make things up you know?

Hope you can point me in the right direction. I have so far 3 affiliate sales (2 today :D) so I feel a bit of rush I can make something nice from this.

I target a keyword getting 1300 exact searches a month. It’s in dutch so the related keywords don’t get that many searches to bad. I have not 20-30 visitors a day, hope to get some more soon 🙂

Benji

Great questions, Bas.

You sound like you’re off to a good start.

Re: writing reviews without experience…this was one of the big ethical things I was grappling with when I started the site. Basically what I did since it wasn’t feasible for me to buy a bunch of coffeemakers is go to Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com and other sites with reviews of the coffeemaker in question, and collate all the pros and cons into one summarized review.

I made sure to point out the negatives and the positives, while summarizing as many important points as I could. I figured disclosing if I didn’t own a coffeemaker would be a good work around to establish trust.

Also, I’ve ultimately bought some of the coffeemakers and products I’ve promoted (especially the best sellers) to review myself…thus providing even more credibility. I consider it a reinvestment in my site when I buy a product that I’ve reviewed already, or plan to review.

I would NEVER advise that you make things up. This is dishonest and will leave a bad taste in your users’ mouths.

Re: multiple monetization…I’m not sure to be honest. I tend to agree with not having more than 1 goal per page, but I block out Adsense ads from Amazon.com and some other sites that sell the products I’m trying to push through Amazon. This is to prevent people from buying a product that I’ve reviewed through an Adsense ad instead of an Amazon affiliate link.

I’d say to just test it out and see. Again, I don’t like relying on just one monetization strategy if I can avoid it, because you never know when an affiliate/advertising program will completely cut you off.

Bas

Wow, you can really block specific sites in Adsense you don’t want to promote?
I never knew that. That’s a bit the thing I was worrying about.

I use a lot of comparison charts where people can easily compare different products, so on those pages I don’t show Adsense at the moment.

Yeah, I know you can’t rely on one, but if Amazon cut you out, it’s an easy fix to add adsense blocks to the site and change things up, but true it’s better to have multiple sources of income.

Alright, I get the idea from reviewing. I think it’s a nice and honest one. Good luck with your site.

I don’t like coffee, sorry 😀

Bas

Oh and btw one quick question…

Do you use any wordpress plugin for placing the ad blocks?

Benji

I use Easy Responsive Adsense because my site is responsive. Not a necessary plugin for responsive Adsense ads…but it definitely makes it easier.

I’ve written about it here:

http://www.searchandperch.com/responsive-website-with-responsive-ads/

Paul

Thank you Benji for sharing your experience with niche sites! Sounds like a definite endorsement for spending most of your time in the keyword research phase of any project.

Benji

Thanks for reading, Paul.

Indeed, keyword research is definitely one of the biggest components (if not the biggest) as Spencer will tell you.

Taking it a step further, if the keyword has a lot of potential for secondary keywords…it’s great to go after. My primary keyword doesn’t even drive the majority of my traffic (not surprising given my #7 ranking, haha).

Goran Gligorin

Really motivating story Benji!

I’m just starting my own project and have a few questions.

1) How do you do competition research?

2) Do you write all your own content?

3) If yes, how long does it take you to write up a review (research and the actual writing)? Did you get faster with time?

4) You said you don’t really have experience with some of the products you review. What’s your research method for these kinds of products?

5) How much money (not counting hosting and domain) did you spend on this site so far?

Hmm, I had 2 questions before I started typing them down. I guess you got me very excited about niche sites 🙂

Benji

Hi Goran,

Thanks for the great questions.

1) For this particular niche site I actually hired a keyword researcher on odesk (happy to refer people to him if you message me). He looked at a ton of different things to determine how easy it would be to rank.

For my current project, I look at the things Spencer and Pat have outlined extensively. Backlinking Pages, Title/Description strength of top 10, juice page links, and the content of the existing top 10 sites. If I see a lot of low quality sites in the top 10 content wise, I generally feel pretty confident, especially if it is obvious they are niche sites themselves.

I could definitely do a better job in analyzing the competition…but I’m still learning.

2) I’d say I wrote 90-95% of the content for this site. I worked with some great writers though, and plan to outsource a lot of the future content creation by reinvesting the money I make from the site into paying them.

For my latest project, I’m outsourcing most of the content.

3) I’d say anywhere from 2-6 hours. I got faster with time for sure, but I also realized I was probably adding too much info to the reviews (given what crazyegg was telling me). So I’ve tried to be more concise with more recent reviews.

4) Mostly Amazon. I scour the reviews. I use the search feature within the review section of a particular product to find answers to common questions.

For example: if I want to quickly find out if a coffeemaker has the “brew pause” feature, I type “brew pause” into the search box for the product’s review…and it shows me all the reviews that use the “brew pause” keyword. Then, I find the answer to the question of whether it has it or not.

I plan to make a video showing how I use this strategy. I think it saves a lot of time.

5) I would have to spend some time calculating this exact number…but I’d say under $500. I spent about $200 creating the eBook that I use as a lead magnet on the site. Probably not the best investment given the 0.5% opt-in rate, but it was a learning experience.

I plan to do a much better job accounting for costs and revenue in my current project.

Glad you’re excited to build out a site; it’s a great learning experience, whether a success or not.

Bas

Yeah 0,5 is kinda low and it seems like a nice big ebook! Maybe too big for a free lead magnet. Not sure if I want to read so many pages when I am looking for a coffee maker.

So did you do anything special with the list you build?

Benji

I created an autoresponder series of about 10-15 emails. They are all coffee making tips. I owe Pat a lot of credit for my email marketing strategy: just trying to provide value.

I haven’t decided what else I’m going to do with it yet, because the list size is under 100.

Taposh Ghosh

Hey Benji, Really feeling great to see the success of your site because i am that person who performed the keyword research for you 🙂

This is Taposh Ghosh here from oDesk Marketplace – https://www.odesk.com/users/~0176e4d37fa2d91b10

Benji

Yay Taposh! Glad you stopped by 🙂

Taposh is the keyword researcher I hired for this project, and I highly recommend him. I obviously owe a lot of my success to him, as he found this great niche for me.

md yasin

wow taposh boss awesome ………. and i already personally like you 🙂

Frosty

Good work Taposh!

Btw, have you thought of writing your experiences via a blog? I’m sure you’d have some followers.

Ryan

Taposh and Benji,

I am interested in how the process of outsourcing keyword research works in a case like this.

Benji wrote that Taposh “looked at a ton of different things to determine how easy it would be to rank.”

So, did Benji give a list of keywords to Taposh to research, and report on? Or is it more like asking him to find a keyword that meets certain criteria?

Thanks,
Ryan

Benji

The latter. I gave him topics I was interested in and he took care of the rest.

You can also provide him with other criteria of course, like minimum exact monthly searches, KC, etc.

Chris B

Yo Benji,

Very well done on your success 🙂 AWESOME job 🙂

Quite funny actually, as “best coffee maker” was one of the keywords I came across a 3 months ago and actually came across your website then.
I remember your site from the colour and logo of your site… Very Good 🙂

I was tempted to get into the niche, but just wasn’t passionate enough about it, plus the competition was quite high I thought and your site looked like it was doing a great job, so hence I moved on from this niche and rightly so 😉

I’ve noticed there is one Lifehacker guy that seems to be very high in the SERPS for this keyword and for a lot of different niches and keywords as well.

There are so many niche markets out there (thousands upon thousands actually!!!), that it simply amazes me when people say they can’t find any keywords to build a website on. Either that or they just don’t like uncertainty of whether it will succeed or not.

Anyway that’s all from me and keep up the awesome work 😀

Cheers

Chris B 😀

Benji

Thanks Chris!

Yeah, being passionate about the topic is really important in my opinion.

I started another niche site around the time I started TRCM.com and I couldn’t get it going because the topic was so boring to me.

I recommend to anyone who is struggling with finding a niche to sincerely ask yourself if you are passionate about the topic. Don’t only focus on the numbers and income potential.

Hieu Nguyen

@Benji

Thank for sharing your success with us. Your website is awesome. I’m trying to create one 😀

Hieu Nguyen

Oh man, It’s so funny that i’ve just found keyword “best coffee maker” and intend to target this one for my 1st niche site. Can you tell me something about analyzing the top competitors?

Thank you

Hieu Nguyen 😀

Benji

I guess we’ll be competitors/colleagues then :-p

Tung Tran

Great info 😀

I remembered that I’ve found your site a few months ago while doing keyword research.

Great job mate 🙂

Tung

Benji

Thanks Tung!

JoeSoCal

Benji

Can you share with us your experience battling it out with the big name retailers like Amazon? Were they in the Top 10 search rankings before you built your site? Why do you think you have been able to rank with so few juice page links according to LTP?

Is it because most of them don’t have the exact four word keyword in their url and title?

Based on what Spencer and others have said I am very hesitant to try to rank a word with those big retailers showing. But, you are doing it and that is awesome.

Benji

Hey Joe,

I actually don’t think of Amazon as a competitor. My main competitor has been Consumer Reports.

Frankly, I think their content is low quality for this niche…but obviously their brand carries a lot of clout. They also have the backlinks.

I could have come up with a big link building strategy…but really all I ever focused on was putting out a bunch of good reviews. Eventually the rankings came into place.

Sure, some good quality backlinks probably would have expedited the process, but I don’t think it’s 100% necessary for generating some income.

If you are looking to crack the top 5, and most of the top 10 don’t have many juice page links and/or backlinking pages, you are probably in good shape with a simple backlinking strategy.

Garrick Dee

JoeSoCal,

I believe Spencer had a post about the exceptions whether to target a keyword that has ecommerce sites ranking high – If I remembered correctly, one of the criteria mentioned in his post is at least 7 or 8 sites listed out of the top 10 are ecommerce sites like amazon, best buy, walmart, etc. then don’t go for it.

Correct me if am wrong Spencer.

Also if the KC is around 30-35 and only one or two out of the top 10 are amazon you can go for it.

On whether or not you can outrank Amazon, that depends – there are no guarantees in SEO but you want to put yourself in the best position possible = very good content, relevant links, developing relationships within your niche, nothing spammy.

Spencer Haws

Yes, you are pretty much correct. Here is my post that goes into more details about eCommerce sites: https://www.nichepursuits.com/when-seo-rules-dont-apply-ecommerce-sites-and-other-anomalies/

Amir

Can someone link to Spencer’s post about finding eCommerce sites ranking high for your keyword?
I come across it every time and don’t know if to go for it or not.
For example,I don’t know if this keyword (retractable baby gate) is worth going for as it has allot of eCommerce site on it

Garrick Dee

Spencer just posted the link 🙂

Adam - Tropical Nomad

Nice job… Taking the time to write all the meta and being passionate about your niche really helps I would think.. Best of luck with your site

Kevin Choi

Wow! Great job Benji.
I have a few question in my head as I am building my first niche site too.

1. What is your approximate conversion rate for those who click you affiliate link?
2. When do you start earning? Base on unique visitor per day. I think this is a better information instead of months because a site can gain only 10 visitors per day after 3 months.
3. I saw you have put many youtube video on your website. Are you just grab from youtube or make it yourself?
4. How do you think Clickbank or other info-product? It seems that physical products are always easier to have sales.

Thanks for your sharing! My site is finally crack into top 10 for a 2400 search keywords (average KC47…It suddenly boost up from KC28 after last few weeks Google update 🙁 )! I have worked hard for 2 months already. I still have no sales because I still have almost no organic search visitor, only 1 or 2 per day. I hope to crack into top 5 and start seeing sales.

Benji

1. 10-15%…but Amazon conversion rates are a little bit different (read: inflated)

2. 2 months into the project.

3. Some are videos I made myself, others I grabbed to supplement the reviews.

4. I think Amazon products are easier to sale because of the trust factor. I don’t think it matters as much if it’s a physical product or not.

Keep at it…you’ll get there!

Jeff Coleman

Nice site! Great logo….did you design that yourself or outsource?

Benji

Thanks! Outsourced on Elance.

You can get a great one for much less on Fiverr though.

janet

Nice work Benji! Congrats on your success! I do have a question about your YouTube channel, which of course is a really great and important element to overall marketing –
Did you purchase everything you review and unbox? Or did you return anything? Just wondering how expensive that could get to be if you buy say 10 coffee makers or any appliance for that matter. Are these personal purchases or were you doing this specifically for the site?

Thanks again and appreciate your transparency through all this!
Best,
janet

Benji

Excellent questions, Janet.

I did purchase everything (got a few as gifts I believe) that I reviewed and unboxed. Didn’t return anything.

Considering the fact that I drink a lot of coffee, everything that I own I use on a regular basis. So it had the double benefit of owning a great coffee making tool, and sharing my experience with it on the site.

So to answer your question…I mostly bought these things for my own enjoyment, but also to review for my site, although the latter wasn’t the primary reason.

Mike

Congrats on your site, Benji.

Couple of quick questions for you:

1) How did you make that pretty appealing comparison chart on the home page?

2) Similarly in your sidebar, you have a nice layout with a small photo of the coffee makers and the yellow star ratings. How do you achieve this?

3) About how many visitors do you get per month?

4) And lastly, did you do any special keyword research in terms of the article reviews? Or did you sort of just look at the best selling coffee makers on Amazon, and then write reviews for them?

5) Sorry, one additional followup–about how many words are each of your reviews?

Thanks again!
Mike

Benji

Thanks Mike!

1) Go Pricing: http://www.searchandperch.com/go-pricing-comparison-charts (affiliate link…again Spencer, hope this is ok).

2) That was done with a premium plugin called MyReviewPlugin which is now completely deceased. Nobody knows what happened to the developers…they just completely abandoned the product one day. Plugin is still working for me fortunately.

3) Little more than 3,000

4) This would have been smart, but I just looked at the coffee makers with the best and most reviews on Amazon. I almost never reviewed a coffee maker that had under 4 stars average and fewer than 30 reviews. There were a few times where I was gonna review a coffee maker, then ultimately stopped because I was reading lots of people reporting scary things like fire hazards. Products with high risk shouldn’t be promoted, especially if you don’t have experience with them (IMO).

5) I’d say 750-1200 words.

sagbee c

wow, comments having alots of questions and Quite good information about link building strategy!!!

Benji, if you put down into articles above, would love to read it again!!

Benji

Good idea, Sagbee.

I always regretted not having documented this niche project. So maybe I can do one after the fact (once I’m done with my latest project).

Lots of great questions here that would be awesome to put together into something easy to read.

Rushin

Hey congrats buddy! it inspires me a lot…

poussette 3 roues

So it had the double benefit of owning a great coffee making tool,

Matthew

Benji—

Thank you for posting! Your story is inspiring. You *can* make money online by writing about things you love—you just have to do your research first and provide excellent content. It’s doubly inspiring to hear that you’re ranking and not doing anything spammy or black hat. That’s awesome.

I’m a coffee guy, and I probably have a few purchases coming up. If and when I do, I’ll be visiting your site first!

Matt

Benji

Appreciate the kind words and support, Matt!

Glad you found this inspiring and hope it leads to some great things for you and other readers (those with good intentions).

Cheers!

Internet Marketing Products

Choose the right keyword we will not spend more time to make linkbuilding.
I think you choose great keyword for this project. 🙂

Naomi

Hi Benji,

first of all, congrats! Your story is really inspiring and motivate me alot.

A quick question, do you mind to share what is your click thru rate for amazon and adsense ?

Thanks. Hope to hear more from you.

Benji

Thanks Naomi!

Amazon doesn’t provide CTR…but I have a nice conversion rate as you can see in the screenshot above.

CTR for Adsense hovers around 2-3%.

Smart Children

Nothing special we can gain from this interview. Everything he said were general. I prefer to watch your progress for your 2nd niche site.

Edgar

I love this success stories it inspires me to keep moving forward with my niche site.

thanks Spenser, BTW I bought the EZ Amzon plugin thru your affiliate link..

and now using it for my site.

Thanks

Dan @ Live Work Travel USA

Benji, thank you so much for sharing your experience and Spencer, thanks for featuring all these great niche site creators. The commenting section is always very helpful!

Question for Benji:
Do you ever use part of the manufacturer’s content (from their website) in your reviews?
I think especially if you’re introducing the product or hitting on the biggest selling points, it might be easy to copy the manufacturer’s verbiage.
Not sure though, if this would end up in a Google penalty for duplicate content.
Any thoughts?

Benji

If I can’t find an answer through the Amazon page/reviews for a particular question I have about the product, then I will head to the manufacturer’s site and see if I can find the answer there.

I have also contacted the manufacturer/brand in some cases when I couldn’t find an answer.

I never would use a duplicate of anyone’s content. Best to outline the features/benefits in your own words if possible.

Bryan

Benji,

Great to hear that your site is doing so well. I had a look and i am really impressed.

Would you be willing to share you linking strategy after you gave up Neil’s.

Bryan

Benji

Hi Bryan,

Thanks!

Guest posting and blog commenting on other authority sites in the niche was really my only link building “strategy”.

I realize this is disappointing for many people, including “Mr. General” above, but I was able to rank decently without any of that stuff, so I truly believe that in most cases it’s best to focus on your own content first.

Dave

Thanks for sharing Spencer and Benji. Loved the article, very motivating. I also look forward to pouring over the comments. Looks like tons of great content there too.

Thanks guys

Benji

Glad you found it motivating, Dave. Thanks for reading and good luck with your own projects.

Thriftypreneur

Nice share, Benji. Really cool of you to be so open with the NichePursuits community.

When starting my latest niche site, I almost went into your exact niche, lol.

Also like the effort you put into making your site look like a brand, even though you’re sporting an EMD. I’m a big proponent of branding for niche sites as I think that is definitely the way to go going forward.

Thanks for sharing your success.

Benji

Thanks! That’s funny…what stopped you from choosing it?

Yeah, when I started EMDs were important. Although I’m using an PMD for my latest project, I actually gave the site a branded name and bought a branded domain to forward to the PMD.

Hopefully it works out all right.

martin

Hey Benji,
maaaan I love your website, looks beautiful!

How have you created the overview category buttons at your start page? Is that a WP plugin or widget?

Benji

Thanks Martin.

The buttons were created through a fiverr gig. I think I got 5 icons for 5 bucks.

Darran Mansfield

Hi Benji,

Congrats on the success of your site so far 🙂

First I’d like to thank you for your reviews format an the way you tell you reader there a combined overview of all the reviewer reviews, I wanted to do this but didn’t have a clue how to say it and get it out there, but you’ve really helped me with this for my own upcoming site 🙂

I do have one question for you, regarding your affiliate links. I noticed on your site there very clean looking…I’m assuming pretty link plugin?

I looked into doing this for mine site as they look so much better and more professional, but couldn’t find a definitive answer about amazon allowing it? In theory it’s cloaking right and I thought they didn’t like/allow that, I just want to be sure as I’d hate to get told off or banned from amazon?

Any insight you could give me would be great, thanks!

Ps. Keep the success stories coming Spencer, there brilliant I’m loving em’!

Benji

Thanks Darran.

Really good question re: pretty link pro, which I am using.

I’ve been looking for a definitive answer on this for awhile and can’t find one.

This article was the closest answer I could find:
http://marketingwithsara.com/amazon/warning-to-all-affiliate-marketers

and it seems to be all right, as long as you put the disclaimer on every page and aren’t cookie stuffing.

I could go back and change all my pretty links to be safe, but that would take me hours upon hours to do, and I’m not sure if I want to spend that time on something I don’t have a definite answer on yet.

So in the end, just make sure you have the Amazon disclaimer in the footer of your site…then I think you can use Pretty Links safely for now.

Matt

Be careful with cloaking. Amazon could ban you in an instant as it’s against TOS. I’ve seen people get banned for this.
Not worth the risk IMO.

Darran Mansfield

Thanks for the reply Benji 🙂

Matt, thanks for the info, I’m still building my site so I think ill play it safe and use the raw affiliate links.

Cheers guys!

Benji

I recommend both of you take a look at the link I posted. It actually states pretty clearly that cloaking with Amazon Associates is ok as long as it is explicitly clear that you are sending users to Amazon (through disclaimer in footer, etc.)

You never know though…they could change their policies tomorrow. So if you have a fresh site, I’d recommend not taking the risk as Matt said.

I’m pretty sure my site should be fine though…for now.

umer hafeez

You nail it man, well after reading blog and comments I am satisfied with my time to the article..

Jean Sebastien

Hi Benji!

Congrats buddy! That is really inspiring and I would love to feature your story in an upcoming podcast. I’ll start recording new sessions in September.

I’ll get in touch!

PS: Your comments on my blog are always welcome. They provide great value!

Jean Sebastien
Daily Shot Of Coffee

Benji

Thanks, Jean Sebastian!

Would love to write some more for your site too if you are ever interested. Just let me know.

Talk soon 🙂

ordinateur tout en un

When starting my latest niche site, I almost went into your exact niche, lol.

Vladimir Bestic

Hey Benji,

It’s really great to read other people success stories. I like your site a lot 🙂

Do you have any tips for improving Adsense CTR?

I have a niche website getting around 230 daily visitors + I am really satisfied with my CPC, only strugling with CTR.

P.S: If you or anyone else want to discuss and share experience and knowledge about niche sites feel free to add me on Facebook 🙂 (link on my name)

Thanks!

Benji

I would take a look at your reports and see what pages and ad units are driving the most revenue and highest CTRs. Try and understand why, and replicate it on your other pages and posts.

You can also use ad filtering (to filter out irrelevant advertisers) and Adsense Section Targeting (to improve ad relevance).

Also, leaderboards and large rectangles seem to work the best for me…but I think this varies from site to site…so test, and optimize.

Oh, and responsive ads on a responsive site can’t hurt!

Nena

Hi Benji,
thanks for sharing your story, it´s really inspiring!

How much time per week did you work on your website in the beginning and how much time per week do you spend updating it now?

I assume that coffee makers are quite similar to each other. Most of them probably have lots of pros/cons and functions in common, right? How do you create different and diversified reviews that don´t get boring to the reader even though the products are quite similar to each other?

I would really appreciate your answer!
Thanks!
Nena

Benji

Hey Nena,

A lot of time. I can’t give you an exact number…but I worked hard on it. Sure, you can probably get a site up with less effort and earn much more money, but I don’t have any regrets.

Nowadays I spend less than 5 hours a month on it.

Coffee makers are actually becoming more and more varied. There are at least 6 different (and common) ways to brew coffee, which means lots of variety.

Usually, a site visitor will already have something in mind based off of what they’ve previously owned, or value (speed, ease of use, cost). I try and make it easy for them to browse so they don’t have to go through review after review and getting bored to tears. Also, many people arrive at the site after searching for a particular coffee maker review.

So while there are definitely similarities among coffee makers, there is plenty of variety.

Nena

Thanks for your answer!
I´m creating my first niche site right now and I´ll defenately have in mind to make it easy for the visitors to browse so they quickly find exactly what they are looking for! Thanks!

miguel

Hey! Great casestudy. I also see that you and I follow some of the same mentors (niche pursuits, Pat Flynn, …) 🙂

One question i have – you mention you spent 200$ on creating your ebook. Can you add a bit more color to that?
– Does that include research, or only editing/design?
– Can you share who did the work?
– You mentioned that you also outsorced some of the writing, and you are outsourcing more and more writing on your nw projects – can you share who you use and yoiu you find them?

thanks a million!

jordan

Great site and love the advice!! I will try some of this out on my ow site, currently monetized with adsense but only ever got 8 clicks. Hopefully the leader boards help out.

Claas

Great idea and casestudy.

Jason

Great post and site Benji! Quick question, what plugin are you using for your table? Looks different from Tablepress.

And Spencer thanks for sharing this!

Ryan Mattson

Hello Benji,
i read your experience with your work in SEO and How you had great success…I have casino casino website in danish, so can you tell me, local listening still good idea to promote your website in Denmark region..Please Help!!

kenti

I have to say your site is really well designed. I like the style and color. I want to know how much do you spend for the design? Thank you.

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