Nov 20, 2012

My Method of Choosing Products

I advertise and sell a number of products. I thought I'd write about how I choose products to advertise.

If you sell on Amazon, you can advertise something and if someone buys anything, you get the commission. So you can get commission on things that you don't directly advertise. This in turn gives you ideas of what people are actually buying.

I used to sell a lot of books, and if you write an article about Kindle books and then sell a book for 99c, you can get 4-8 cents in commission. But if you write an article about products that sell for $100, you can get $4-$8 commission and you have done the same amount of work for a larger commission.

I have been advertising products that sell for between $50 and $200, but recently I've been aiming for the $100 to $200 price range.

So, if I sell something on Amazon that I didn't advertise and it's between $100 and $200, then I write an article about it and advertise it more. If this leads to more sales, then I might eventually make a webpage with many of those type of products. If I'm going to the effort of making a website, then each individual item needs to sell for over $100.

Why do I cap it at $200? The reason is that if a product is worth more than $200 the buyer will often do more research before buying. Amazon only has a 24 hour tracker, so the buyer really needs to click directly from my site and then buy something. I don't get commission if he looks at lots of sites before deciding to buy.

I use Pinterest for market research too. I will often pin a variety of something (eg shoes or clothes) to see which one is repinned the most. Then that item becomes the most advertised on my site.

Electronics do not follow the usual patterns. If people are looking for electronics they are often looking for more specialized knowledge which I don't feel I can give them. Therefore, I really stay away from electronics because it is a more specialized market. Often the commission is capped at 4% because the profit margins are too narrow, although near Christmas is the time that many people will buy electronics, so it's still worth while writing about them from time to time.

I do write articles about electronics occasionally, and do get sales. But as far as big screen TVs and printers go, I have yet to sell my first one.

Nov 6, 2012

Thinking of Taking a Sabbatical

I worked at selling on eBay for 3 years. I think I became a really good seller. I learned the business and how to make money selling on Amazon and eBay. But at the time I got fed up doing it, eBay suddenly became a more difficult place to make money and then I heard about earning money by writing and Internet Marketing. So I decided - 3 years ago - that I would give the earning online 3 years to replace my eBay income. The bottom line is that I'm still not earning more than I was earning in those eBay years.

The Jews of the Old Testament had a principle of a Sabbath year. They would work for 6 years and then take the 7th off. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of me taking a Sabbath year. The daily grind is much of a struggle and I don't spend much time with my family. My third child will graduate next year and my youngest will be in 8th grade. Soon they may all have left home. So, in an effort to spend quality time with the family I'm thinking of stepping back from all this crazy effort to earn money online. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think I could take my daughter traveling. But then I know I'd blog about it. I guess blogging and writing never leaves you, even if you take a Sabbath year!

I know many people earn a living online. the question is, not, "Can someone earn a living online?" But "Can I earn a living online?"

So, watch this space.

Nov 5, 2012

October - The rest of the results

Google Adsense rules prevent me from telling you how much I earned, but compared with the rest of the year, October was very slightly higher than average.

Kindle book sales are pretty steady, in fact Kindle book sales are way more stable than websites. Maybe I should move more in that direction.

My overall total was the lowest it's been since October 2011. Here was I in July thinking I knew what I was doing and was about to make my goal, but now at the start of November I realize how little I know about what I'm doing. And thinking deep thoughts about my future direction.

Nov 4, 2012

October - Where have all the buyers gone?

Back in January I decided to increase my Amazon earnings so I was getting a residual income of $1000 a month by Christmas. But this is just not happening. My biggest earner got sandboxed in August and it's still recovering. So I've basically spent October fixing problems and not building new links. It's always more interesting to build a new site than fix an old one and so the motivation isn't there to fix problems.

I do have multiple streams of income, albeit small. So one site being sandboxed shouldn't affect the others. I can say though that most days I earn something from Amazon, a zero day is rare. But for October 2012 the first 9 days of the month I didn't earn anything, and the biggest problem is, I have no idea why. I haven't had that amount of consecutive zero days for over a year or two.

For a long time I wrote articles and advertised books. I sell a lot of books. However the commission on books is very small. About a year or two ago I realized that if I advertised something more expensive, then I would get a larger commission, and that is what I have been doing since. There are a number of niches I target and sales come from there. But why no one bought anything I recommended in the first 9 days of October is a puzzle. I had 264 clicks, but no sales.

And finally, on October 10th, someone bought a toilet, this one.

Thetford 92360 Porta Potti 550E Curve Portable Toilet

At least that got me $8 commission. And that's better than selling books!

Three or four months ago I would have told you that as I learned to increase my Amazon sales, I also got a number of sales from But October was a zero month, the first since February.

October 2011 my Amazon commission (when I claim I didn't know what I was doing) was $99. October 2012 it was $40.

So, let's see if I can do any better in November. I'm sure I can't do worse.