My WordPress + Amazon Associates System is Starting To Work!

Over the last few months, I’ve been working on building a template system to quickly build wordpress sites that integrate directly with Amazon Associates to make it easy to build niche blogs that showcase products for sale on Amazon.

I have about 6 of these sites up and running at this point.  Only one is making money, but its making enough to easily pay for hosting fees and costs associated with all of the others.  My thought is that as the domains age and I continue to tweak the templates, I can improve organic ranking for key search terms and drive enough traffic to these pages to bring in some good income when multiplied by 10 or 100 copies of the site.

The one site that is doing great brought in $18 in October 2009, $25 in November 2009 and $35 in December 09.  This month is shaping up to bring in $30hich seems reasonable given its post-Christmas and I think folks are naturally being a big more frugal after spending for the holidays.  You may think $30/month isn’t worth the effort, and that may be true.  The point of the system is to make it simple to set up and run tens or hundreds of these sites.  Thirty dollars per month per site is great if that is 1% of your website portfolio and it runs without maintenance.

If you’re interested in trying out the templating system, let me know by leaving a comment with your email (I won’t publish your email addresses).  I don’t have it totally packaged up at this point, but I can walk you through it easily enough. You don’t need to be a techie, but you will have to edit a few files to get things working.  Once its set up, its a breeze to add new content via wordpress pages and posts, each integrating with your amazon associates account to pull in relevant products offered at a discount in your niche.

Rejected By Shutterstock

In a quest for ever more passive income streams, I submitted a batch of 10 of my favorite photos for inclusion on ShutterStock.com.  Unfortunately, I got a rejection message this morning from them saying I didn’t make the cut.  New submitters must submit exactly 10 photos, 7 of which must be improved for inclusion.  It looks like 4 of mine were approved, 6 were rejected. 

I have to wait 30 days to resubmit.  If I’m focused, I’m pretty sure I can get my act together and gather some more great photos by then.

ShutterStock’s commission structure is pretty cool.  Buyers subscribe to ShutterStock for a monthly fee.  For that fee, they get to download a ‘budget’ of pictures each day.  For $250 for example, you can download 25 pictures/day for a maximum of 750 pictures/month.  As the photographer, you get $0.25/download.  That doesn’t sound like much, but the subscription model encourages people to download a lot more pictures than they would if they had to pay a hefty cost per photo.

It sounds like successful photographers with a decent number of pictures on ShutterStock make at least a few hundred a month in commissions pretty regularly.  I don’t expect to make that much (submitting new photos frequently is encouraged but, obviously, quite time consuming), but if I could bring in $50-$100/month pretty passively, I would consider that a wild success.

Wish me luck, the 30 day countdown starts…now!

Predicting future AdSense revenue with Excel

This is the first of what I hope are a few posts to help people take control of their blog or website earnings to generate some interesting statistics about where their blog revenue may be in the future, metrics about where their earnings currently are, and information on how to track true success metrics on your blog to drive future revenue.

This is a somewhat technical tutorial so please leave a comment if you have questions or if I’ve made a mistake!  (I’ll suppress your comment if you want me to, its just the simplest way to make sure I get it and respond to it!). 

How to predict future Google AdSense revenues on your blog using Microsoft Excel’s FORECAST function:

  1. Generate an advanced Adsense report using “Aggregate” as the report type and “All Time” as the date range
  2. Once the report is generated, click the in the upper right of the generated report that says “CSV”
  3. Open the CSV file in Excel
  4. Save the file as an xls file
  5. Insert a column in front of the first “date” column
  6. In cell A1, enter 0
  7. In cell A2 (first row with data), enter “=A1+1” and press enter (that should give you a 1
  8. Highlight cell A2 and choose “Edit” -> “Copy”
  9. Highlight all the cells in the “A” column after A2 and go to “Edit”->”Paste” to paste in the formula
  10. You should now have a column of incremented numbers up to the last value in your “A” column
  11. Find an empty cell to the right of your data where you’d like to paste the Excel forecast data
  12. Lets assume your “All Time” data includes 365 days worth of data (a full year)
  13. To figure out how much money you’ll likely be making a year from now, enter the following in the empty cell: “=FORECAST(730, G2:G366, A2:A366)” where “730” is 2 years out (365 days/year * 2), “G2:G366” is the data range that includes your earnings for each day of the year and “A2:A366” is the data range that includes the day number. 

What this exercise does is basically tell excel to take the first 365 days of earnings you have in column G and forecast what that number will be on day 730. 

You can vary the formula to predict earnings next month, 3 months from now or even several years from now if you’d like by changing the value from “700” in the formula to x number of days past the end of your data set.  To see the earnings for a month from now, if you have 365 days of data in the report, choose “395” as the first value in the forecast function (30 days past the end of your data set, 365).

Keep in mind the projections are basically average estimates.  I hope you’ve found this helpful and, again, please leave a comment if you have feedback or have questions on the process!