Building My First Website - The Bricks & Mortor

It's been a few days since I posted and I am finding motivation can be difficult when (for now) there is basically an audience of one!  Plus, I work full time, so I don't get home until about 6:15, where dinner is immediately served, than I clean up, spend time with our daughter and put her to bed.  It is usually 8:30 at that point and by then all I really want to do is veg out with my wife!  But we must soldier on....

So, like I said in my first post, this blog will follow my progress as I build a niche site.  I am choosing to monetize the site via the Amazon affiliate program, despite the fact that their commission rate can be low.  Their referral rate starts at 4% but can go up to 8.5% depending on your volume of sales.  But with Amazon, they do the selling for you because it so trusted.  For me, being new to this, takes a huge psycological burden off my back.  My job will be to get people to click on my affiliate links and then let Amazon do the rest.  Also, when people go to Amazon there is a chance they will buy more than one thing, and if they get there via your link, you get a commission on everything purchased (does Amazon sell cars?).  And, I am pretty sure your cookie (your affiliate scent) lasts for 24 hours, so what I think that means is, your link lasts that long and you will get credit for any purchases made in those 24 hours.

Since I don't know what I am doing, I went to the Warrior Forum for some guidance (a great place to get real answers to your internet marketing questions from people who eat and breathe internet marketing).  I purchased a course called the Physical Affiliate by Jan Roos, which is a step-by-step guide on how to find products, build sites, and get rankings, taught by a guy who makes his living off of Amazon niche sites.  Most of my limited knowledge about internet marketing comes from that course so I will leave it to his program to answer your detailed questions (that is not an affiliate link, by the way).

What Should I Sell Anyway?

Is there a great way to go about this; some secret method that guarantees thousands of dollars a month in passive income?  Probably not (but if you do have one stop reading this blog and start selling your method!).  What I did was just spend a couple hours looking through the various categories and finding products that I find interesting.  A few pointers to narrow your focus
  • choose items that are at least $100.  It takes just as much effort to sell a $10 item as it does a $100 one, so it makes sense to maximize your efforts with the bigger payout.
  • choose items that have lots of 4 and 5 star reviews.  Remember, we want Amazon to do the selling for us; our job is get somebody to Amazon.  Lots of 4 and 5 star reviews will do just that.  Look for products that have at least 10 positive reviews (Jan says to look for that many reviews, but that bit of advice can be found anywhere, so I am not giving away any secrets there).
  • choose a product category that has lots of $100+ 4 and 5 star reviewed items to choose from.  To gain trust and increase your chance of making a sale, you will probably need more than one product to feature on your site.
When I found a few different product categories and the products to go with them I used keyword research to single out what I will build my niche site around.  
Remember: this is a niche site that will rank for a main keyword (product category) that is why keyword research is used to help choose what is the best category/keyword to choose from.
There are plenty of tools available to choose keywords.  In the Physical Affiliate course, we are taught how to use Market Samurai (paid) and Google Keyword Tool (free).  Market Samurai is a great tool, that does a lot of things that can be done using free methods, but does it quickly and efficiently, making it worth the purchase.  I do not own Market Samurai.  I promised my wife I would not make any more IM related purchases until I start bringing home the online bacon.  But I did use its free trial version to help me choose my product category keyword.  The Physical Affiliate course goes into in-depth detail and how to use Market Samurai effectively, the course is worth the price paid just for this lesson.

Market Samurai will give you lists of options on your keyword.  So if your product category/keyword is wall mirrors (I just made that up), it will give you all the different variations of search terms related to wall mirrors.  It will also show you how many daily and monthly searches each keyword gets and assigns an "SEO value" to each keyword.  There is a module in the software that will analyze the competition, (it checks for # of backlinks, on-page optimization, backlink anchor text density, and lots more)  and with this arsenal of information, I chose my product category/keyword.

I thought long and hard about whether to reveal my niche and, for the time being at least, have decided against it.  I am too new and fragile to give away my niche and run the risk of it being used against me in some way.  Once I reach my goal of #1 on Google (or conversely, if I just don't get there after months of trying) I will reconsider.  I hope you understand.

Now, keyword research can be done using free tools as well, but I will save that for another post.

Website Building Time

After settling on my keyword, it was time to purchase a domain.  Ideally, I wanted an exact-match to my keyword domain, i.e. (or .org, .net).  But I couldn't find it.  So I did the next  best thing and added a word before my keyword and my domain became  What I noticed when doing my keyword research was that "best product category" was also a searched for keyword, so while I will not try and rank for that outright, I should be able to rank for that set of keywords as well.  I purchased my domain through Go Daddy because it's the only place I know of to do so.  It has a very clunky interface and, for the future, would like to use a different resource.

After settling on my domain name, I needed a place to "park" my website on the internet.  For that, you need hosting I am using Host Gator (that is an affiliate link, by the way, so if you click on that, and purchase a hosting plan, I earn a commission.  Let me thank you now in advance).  I have nothing but good things to say about Host Gator.  I chose the "Baby Plan"; for $8/month I can host an unlimited amount of domains.  This is an investment because I do want to build a large portfolio of niche websites, and I can do so without having to worrying about web hosting, it is all taken care of.

I had problems "pushing" my domain onto my web-hosting servers, but Host Gator's  live technical support walked me through the entire process.  This is why I would recommend them, their technical support is perfect for newbies.

Once my domain was properly parked, I used their 1 button function to load Wordpress, and once that happened my site was live.

The Physical Affiliate Report recommends a great review style theme that Jan uses on his money-making websites, so I purchased that theme for mine.  This was a minor investment as well because it can be used for all my sites.  It is a very professional theme and the idea is that it makes the site look more professional, therefore increasing the chances of someone to stay on my site and eventually click on my affiliate link.  I customized the site with a custom header that I had designed by Logo Nerds.  It cost me $10 and is much more professional than anything I could have put together using my very limited Photoshop skills.  Again, well worth the investment.

So now I have a live site that needs content.  Stay Tuned...


Boykie said...

Nice one. I haven't yet started, but I'm planning on reviewing books and selling them via amazon. I'll be staying tuned to see how you do!

Lonnie said...

Thanks Boykie! And good luck with your amazon book review site. The commission on a book sale is going to be lower since books are usually a low ticket item, but it can be an easier sell because people will usually part with a few dollars much easier than they would with a hundred dollars. And if you have enough traffic, than it could be a nice money-maker for you. Keep me updated on your progress as well.

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