Today we are sharing a case study from a webmaster who was able to build and grow his affiliate website to the point where it makes him over $200 000/ month. In this case study, we are analyzing how he was able to start the site and the monetization strategies he applies.
Note: The webmaster has chosen not to disclose his personal and website’s names so as to prevent competition. Nevertheless, we are sharing each strategy he took that made him reach the $200 000/ month revenue.
Background of the Site
The webmaster started this site in 2016 basically to get an online presence for his offline business. He wrote about 15 articles, which were entirely how-to’s about a certain hobby related to his business, and just let it sit. Unfortunately, the business ended up failing, but he remained with the site.
At this time, he had noticed decent traffic coming to the site, that's when he decided to monetize it with AdSense ads and Amazon associates. The traffic continued to grow month by month, charging steadily upwards in a linear fashion as he added more articles to the site.
He pumped out lots of content in his niche, built a YouTube channel, and started monetizing the traffic heavily with Amazon links. By 2020, the site became an authority in the niche, and it started coming off as a brand. He saw an opportunity to launch a product adjacent to the niche on Amazon and Shopify, and that’s when things escalated.
Currently in 2021
Currently, the site has generated well over $5 000 000 since its launch in 2016. In April 2021, it made over $204 514 from all the monetization platforms linked with it.
Back in 2017, the products in his niche were in high demand but had barely any quality competition. There were big brands that could have dominated if they wanted to, but the opportunity seemed too small for most big players to be interested.
This allowed him to get an early foothold in the category. On Amazon, this means reviews, ranking, and of course sales. After the success of the first product, the webmaster continued to launch new products in a similar category and continued to build authority in the space. He now has 16 SKU’s, all with varying levels of success. The first product he launched still accounts for over 40% of the sales.
Challenges with Amazon FBA
Amazon FBA used to be a great place to start for any product-focused venture, but to be honest, it has changed so much in the last 4 years. The competition is now absolutely insane.
There are hundreds of copycats, and a new one launching every single day, no exaggeration. If he was to start again right now, it wouldn’t be the same because, at the moment, you need to spend $100 000s on PPC advertising at a loss for a while to gain a proper rank. Even if you do have organic rank on Amazon now, most of the top placements are paid for.
The webmaster currently spends $30 000/ month on PPC, and that cost is only going to continue climbing. This is the reason why he decided to build his brand off Amazon in 2019 and opted to build his own site on Shopify.
Choosing to sell on his own site was way harder to set up, but it was the only way to make the business sustainable over the long term. The benefits were that he was able to escape the risk of an Amazon rug pull, and he was able to freely communicate with your customers, which increases the lifetime value of every customer you get.
With Shopify, he has been able to build out an awesome customer experience every step of the way. Because of this, his customers tend to buy more than once, spend more per purchase, and refer their friends and family.
Shopify was way harder to build for him. He built the first version of the site himself but to take it to the next level, he hired developers, content writers, and a branding agency. He also needed to pay for all the extra apps and services in the Shopify ecosystem for:
His Shopify revenue is expected to exceed his Amazon revenue in the next few months. However, he can’t leave Amazon entirely because some customers just won’t shop anywhere else, which is fine.
This was originally where the business started and right now it’s more passive to the extent that he doesn’t think about it anymore. It still brings in sales from the articles he wrote 4 years ago. One thing the webmaster still does is to use affiliate links to his products on Amazon.
In January 2021, he created his own affiliate program whereby he pays affiliates to promote our product on his site. He uses Shareasale for the affiliate program, and it works pretty great as now he gets new customers and affiliates earn revenue on every sale.
He pays 10-25% commission to the affiliates, which is better than the 1-3% percent that Amazon pays.
The YouTube revenue is small, but the platform itself has been very important for the growth of the business. So many people find out about the brand through YouTube and end up becoming customers.
The Way Forward
The webmaster has plans to expand his sales channels to retail aside from Amazon and Shopify. Retail can be awesome at scale, but can also be super expensive and risky. Right now, his products are in about 12 different retail stores, but it’s a very small part of his business, less than 1%.
Currently, he has a team of three, but he plans to expand in the future. Building a team and systems is critical to get the company to $300 000/month and beyond. He has had a few months over $300 000 when Amazon was going crazy around March and April of 2020, but kind of hitting a ceiling now. His main plan now is to get the business to $1 000 000/month, and he believes that it can get there without any doubt. At that point, the webmaster foresees himself hiring a CEO and building a bigger team so that he focuses on relationship building, and other fun stuff.
Building niche sites like this takes time but it’s worth it. This case study proves that it's the resilience and consistency of the webmaster that got him from 0 in 2016 to over $200 000/month in 2021.
To him, it's been all about finding a good niche and sticking with it while ensuring that he consistently creates content, drives traffic, and expands his channels of monetization.
By following this rule, he has been able to build a reliable piece of digital real estate that he now aims to scale to over $1 000 000/ month in revenue.