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Ebates Review – I wish I started this 2 years ago

Ebates Review Blog Post Image

Three weeks ago, I received a message from my buddy Cameron over at SquirrelBox suggesting to do an Ebates Review. I initially scoffed because I DON’T NEED ANOTHER APP!

You, like me, have seen “Ebates” pop up on your social media and thought the same thing. So let me explain what Ebates is.

SPOILER: It’s awesome, and not just another app.

Ebates Review – What is it?

Ebates is an online company who partners with over 2,000+ stores (many popular stores you regularly shop at). Whenever you go to one of your favorite stores, like Amazon, from the Ebates platform and make a purchase. Amazon assumes you would have only visited their site because of Ebates and gives Ebates a 4% commission. Then Ebates passes on those savings to you, and gives you 3% cash back for your purchase.

Ebates is essentially an affiliate company that pays you to visit their site first before you start shopping.

My Experience Making Cashback with Ebates

I’m running the Bolder Boulder in 5 weeks and I need new shoes. I’ve used the same running shoes (type & size) the last 7 years, so I’m going to buy them online.

Here’s my process.

I go to Ebates.com and search for ASICS since I’m going to buy a new pair of ASICS from their online store. Sure enough, the ASICS store pops up and Ebates tells me right away that their partnership provides me 1.5% cash back on purchases. Cool!

Ebates Review - Asics Page

 

In addition, Ebates also has all of ASICS best deals right now. Also Cool!

Ebates Asics Page Deals

 

It doesn’t matter which deal you select, these are all just notifications. Any of them you select “Shop Now” will just send you over to the actual ASICS Homepage. You’ll see a loading screen like this.

Ebates Review - Sending Page

This entire process takes 30 seconds, now you’ll be on the ASICS page and anything you buy, you will make 1.5% cash back. Plus if you have the Ebates Chrome Extension like me, you’ll be reminded in the top right, how much you’ll save.

So as I look at my costly shoes, I’ll be reminded to of my 1.5% cash back on my $109 running shoe. So I’ll make $1.64 through Ebates on this purchase. I’ll make more since it’s my first purchase through Ebates and I used Cameron’s affiliate code (we’ll get to that in a second).

Asics Shoe Purchase

 

Remember, I use my 2% cash back credit card for everything, so I’ll gain an additional 2% off the purchase + plus the 1.5% from Ebates. Wahoo!

When does Ebates pay me?

Every time you make a purchase (like a new pair of ASICS), Ebates will hold onto your cashback rewards. The companies, like Amazon, ASICS, Walmart, pay Ebates and Ebates pays you, quarterly. So 4 times a year, you’ll receive a check from Ebates. This can also be PayPal or you can donate it to a charity or organization.

Here is their quarterly payout schedule:

Ebates Payout Schedule

If your account is less than $5.01, Ebates will roll that balance into next quarter’s payout. It just a lot of processing fees for them, so they do $5.01 minimum payouts. I can’t blame them for that.

 

If you’re thinking that my $1.64 is too small for a payout, I’m actually at $11.64 because I used a friend’s affiliate code and earned $10 extra dollars. Use my affiliate code for your $10 extra dollars.

PLUS any cashback you recieve from Ebates isn’t taxed because the IRS considers “cashback” as a “discount” to your purchase like coupons. That’s why when you sign up for Ebates, all you need is a email, password and address for them to send your “big fat check” (their phrasing), not tax forms for you to fill now.

How do YOU sign up for Ebates?

It’s easy, go to Ebates here and enter a quick email and password. No more info than that. It takes less than 30 seconds and you can start looking around their marketplace and checking out all their partnerships. You’ll only have to add your address once you’re ready to cash out.

Use my Affiliate Code!!!

If I’ve educated you enough about Ebates to at least check it out. PLEASE use my affiliate code. This way YOU will earn an extra $10 at payout and it gives us at Wallet Squirrel an extra $5 through their affiliate program, so we can pay for things like internet and electricity.

I would never recommend something unless I REALLY like it and I’m a fan of after this Ebates review. In fact, wish I started using it 2 years ago when I first started to really get into Online Shopping.

I would have $68 if I started using Ebates 2 years ago.

I wish I did this Ebates Review 2 years ago when I first started Online Shopping. I know I’m a late bloomer. My parents told me that hackers would steal ALL my info and identity, so I was terrified. Since then I’ve learned how security works, feel more secure against Nigerian Princes and now LOVE online shopping!

In the last 2 years, on Amazon alone, I have spent $1,145.64 according to my purchasing history. So since Ebates has 3% cashback on Amazon.com. I could have made $34.36 from Ebates in the last 2 years!

Plus I spent nearly that much through Non-Amazon purchases. So if we apply the same 3% (it’s about average for Ebates), I easily could have made $68.73 in the last 2 years using Ebates.

I missed out on all this cash that I could have used to invest. Why didn’t I? Because I didn’t know how awesome saving money was, nor what Ebates was.

Conclusion

In the last week, I have realized what exactly Ebates is and their tons of partnership stores. This site is quite large and trustworthy at this point! Now with their Ebates Chrome Extension, I’m told how much cashback I can make at my favorite stores without even visiting the Ebates website.

I just wish I started this Ebates Review sooner and started making more cashback to start investing with.

To all my investor friends. It’s definitely worth a shot to earn some extra cash to start investing with.

Do you use Ebates?

What I Learned from Commenting on 30 Blogs in a week

I regularly comment on other blogs. I wanted to share why I do this, why others should do this and what I learned after commenting on 30 blogs in a week.

I’ll admit, I originally wanted to comment on 100 blogs in a week, but not only was that impossible with a full work schedule, I don’t know that many good blogs. Suggestions?

So Why Do I Comment On Other Blogs?

When I first started blogging. I searched specifically for personal finance blogs because that’s the niche I’m in. I wanted to learn what they were doing, what made their blogs “special” and better than mine?

I later expanded to travel and lifestyle blogs.

Blogs usually are the personal journeys, a combination of lessons learned and personal achievements that transcend their niches of “Finance”, “Fashion”, “lifestyle”, etc. When I find a story that resonates with me, I usually comment a similar struggle or congratulate them on their win. As a blogger, I know these words of encouragement help as much as an extra 1,000 page views.

Andrew-Commenting-On-Blogs

When Do I Comment On Other Blogs?

Personally, I like to start after the end of each month. Many of the blogs I follow release Monthly Income Reports (here’s my March Income Report). These usually summarize their highlights on the month as well as their income from investments. It’s really cool to see their investments grow!

Wallet Squirrel is no exception. Our Income Reports continue to be our most popular post for commenting. I think most finance bloggers would agree with this.

The only exception is when bloggers publish a new post, there seems to always be a mad rush to be the first one to comment. I see this on popular blogs like Mr. Money Mustache. Some people set alerts for new blog posts because when they’re the first to comment, they’re higher up on the page for more backlink views. We’ll get to that in a sec.

What Blogs Do I Comment On?

I have a list of about 80 blogs (let me know if you want to be added in the comments below) that I keep in an excel sheet. It’s nice because all the blog names hyperlinked, so 1-click sends me to straight to their site. I also include their Twitter handle because it’s appreciated to send a tweet after every comment, if it’s a good article.

Personally, I track each time I comment on each blog so I’m not leaving duplicate comments or ruining relationships with other bloggers because I haven’t been to their site in 4 months. I try to visit my top 30 blogs every month.

You’ll notice I also added Moz’s “Domain Authority” and SimilarWeb’s “6 Month Visitor Count” but this is more for me to track how these sites are growing and compare to Wallet Squirrel. You’ll see I don’t only comment on popular sites, I focus on the ones I enjoy!

WS Blog Comment Excel List

My Excel List for Blogs I Follow

What Makes A Good Comment?

Honestly, I don’t know what makes a good comment. Usually they’re supportive, grammatically legible and entertaining. If you disagree with something, be respectful. There have been a couple times I learned from a mistake through comments pointing it out. I’m incredibly thankful someone took the time to point it out.

My favorite is when Adam wrote his Ask for Raise article “A lawyer could state that if they when a particular number of cases.” our friend Trist pointed this out “did you mean win?” (not in the comments). After 10 minutes of laughing, we appreciated the comment.

giphy

In my personal experience, bloggers love comments regardless of grammar. It’s a great way to show support without giving them money.

Where Did I Leave Comments Last Week?

This list is made up of some of my favorite blogs and a few blogs I’ve been wanting to check out for awhile. I’m glad I did. I hope my comments helped, they were genuine thoughtful comments totaling over 2,558 words or an average of 85 words per blog in a week.

Here are the 30 blogs I commented on this last week. All very awesome.

What I Learned After Commenting On 30 Blogs In A Week?

  1. It’s important to look over an entire blog. I saw on one blog that they were featured on Rockstar Finance through their sidebar. I ended up reaching out to Rockstar Finance and they added me to their membership directory! Plus I’m currently working with them to feature a Wallet Squirrel Article. I didn’t even know about Rockstar Finance before finding it on a new blog I now follow.
  2. Don’t comment only to create backlinks/traffic to your site, it not effective. I used to think this was a great way to create tons of traffic back to my website. It’s not. After commenting through the week on 30 blogs, I only received 30 new visitors from those backlinks. Commenting is great if you’re genuine, but if you’re only trying to create backlinks and traffic back to your site, there are better ways to do it.
  3. Always subscribe to be notified of follow-up comments by email. Bloggers like myself leave REALLY good responses to good questions. We sometimes write paragraphs in a response to a good comment because we’re appreciative you read our article and left a good comment. Don’t miss out on a great follow up comment by not subscribing to follow up comments.
  4. Read the whole article! Bloggers (and me) hate it when people leave comments that ask questions clearly answered in the article. It just shows you didn’t read the article and you’re only there to create backlinks.

Am I leaving any blogs out, any I should add?

Student Loan Debt is a Crisis – Just Look at the Stats

The following is a guest post by Erica Butler, a freelance writer from Nevada working to pay off her student loan debt.

Welcome to 2017. It is a year full of change from a new presidency down to the debt that students have taken on, thanks to student loans. You have probably heard many of the current statistics about how Americans owe something like $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. This debt is owed by a rough estimate of about 44 million borrowers. When the most recent graduates from 2015 have a whopping $28,000 or more in student loan debt. This number is concerning because it is actually up an entire six percent since last year.

But, what does this actually mean for you? When you take a look at the big picture, it can be difficult to make the numbers feel personal, so we are going to break it down a bit more for you to ensure you can better understand what the student loan debt situation looks like and what it can mean for you.

Okay, let’s go ahead and take a look below.

Overall Statistics for Student Loan Debt

We talk about the total student loan debt, which is at $1.4 trillion spread across a total of 44 million borrowers. Out of those 44 million borrowers, 70 percent of them are current college students.

There is a total default rate of about 11.3 percent and a delinquency rate of 5.41 percent. Each borrower carries a rough estimate of $27,857 in debt. Some borrowers will owe much more and some will owe much less. Remember, the estimate student loan debt per borrower from 2015 is $28,000.

Overall Statistics for Federal Student Loan Debt

These statistics below are for federal student loan debt ONLY. Remember, there is a difference between federal and private student loans. Federal loans are the most common types of loans that students receive since private student loans are harder to obtain.

The total amount of outstanding federal student loan debt is equal to $1.29 trillion with direct loans equaling about $949 billion of that. There are over 40 million borrowers who have federal student loan debt. The total number of borrowers with federal direct loans is 31 million.

Interesting and Shocking Student Loan Debt Statistics

Below, you will find some additional student loan debt statistics that are both interesting and shocking. We believe that these stats are good to know because they help to put the entire situation into perspective.

  • There are more Americans that hold student loan debt than there is in population in over 200 countries
  • Over 60 percent of borrowers have had to wait to purchase a vehicle due to their debt
  • Student loan debt is the second highest form of debt. It is second to mortgage debt
  • 90 percent of private student loans are co-signed
  • Over 40 percent of borrowers wait to have a family because of their debt
  • Over 70 percent of borrowers have put off saving for retirement due to their debt
  • 30 percent of borrowers have waited to get married because of student loan debt
  • 71 percent of borrowers have delayed the purchase of a home because of student loan debt
  • Student loan debt increases by about $2,667 per second
  • 37 percent of borrowers currently are paying down their debt

Students Who Incur the Most Debt

Unfortunately, student loan debt hurts certain types of students more than it does other types of students. While it may not seem fair, it is just the way things work out and it means that you need to be that much more cautious as you start to borrow student loans.

The first type of student that suffers the most is the graduate student. This is because the cost of graduate student loans is more than that of an undergraduate loan. In addition, depending on the type of graduate degree you choose, you may incur much more debt. For example, a law degree can require you to borrow up to $150,000 or more. A medical degree can cost up to $160,000 or more.

The second type of student that suffers is the student that heads off to a for-profit school. This is because the cost of classes is much higher because the school wants to make a profit. The debt here is often heftier and students cannot always keep up with the amount.

The last type of student that suffers the most is the student who drops out of college and does not complete a degree. Uncompleted degrees account for about 59 percent of student loan borrowers.

Get Your Financial Future into Perspective

The student loan debt statistics that have been provided above are shocking and they may even scare you a bit. There is a serious student loan debt problem and it does not seem to be getting better at all. If you want to secure your financial future, you need to make sure that you are careful when it comes to how much you borrow and you should always learn the most you can about your student loans before you sign the contract.

Cost Benefit Analysis Example – Pay Off My Car or Invest?

Here is an example of a Cost Benefit Analysis I did regarding what I should do with my upcoming tax refund. I pay a ridiculous amount in student loans and to the government annually. So I can usually expect a sizable chunk back. Now I face the question of using my tax refund to either pay off my car or use it to invest.

Why Student Loans vs Car Loan?

I have $64,450 in Student Loans (5% interest) and a $10,132 Car Loan (2% interest). So you think I’d be paying WAY more on my student loans per month. Actually since it’s spread out over twenty years, I actually only play $487.06 in student loans a month. My car loan is $340 per month because it’s over five years (I’m on my third year now).

So if I pay off my car loan, that will free up an extra $340 a month I can use to invest, but is it worth it? To figure out if I should pay off my car or invest my tax refund, I’m doing a cost-benefit analysis!

Cost Benefit Analysis Definition

A cost benefit analysis is a financial model to compare two or more different “what if decisions” usually centered around how much it would cost. This is just like the pro/con list you’re used to making, but you’re analyzing the detailed cost factors of both decisions.

 

Cost Benefit Analysis Infographic

Cost Benefit Analysis Example Infographic

How to do a Cost Benefit Analysis? See my example

Question: I want to compare if I should use my tax refund combined with 3/4 of my stock portfolio to pay off my car loan or should I invest my tax refund. Which would be a wiser investment?

Math: So I pulled all the info on my car loan and stock portfolio below. Using the Pay Off Date of my car loan as the end date, I can calculate two options. In both options I would continue to invest $120 per month in my stock portfolio.

  • Tax Refund
  • Tax Refund = $3,200

    Extra Money = $500

  • Car Loan
  • Amount Left – $10,132

    Monthly Payment – $340

    Pay Off Date – October 2nd, 2019

    Interest Rate – 2.89%

  • Stock Portfolio
  • Stock Portfolio – $8,548

    Historical Stock Market Interest – 7%

 

Option 1 – Pay Off Car – If I pay off my car loan, that that would free up my car payment of $340 per month. So if I pay off my car loan in April, 2017 that would free up 29 payments of $340, adding to a total of $460 per month into my stock portfolio with my regular $120 monthly contributions ($340 + $120).

If I invested that $460 monthly, with compound interest onto the remaining $2,116 in my portfolio (tax refund + stock portfolio – car loan) , it’d equal $16,500 by October, 2019.

I even went so far as factoring in my new insurance rate because it would be lower with me owning the car. I actually called my Esurance agent and asked what my new insurance rate would be if I fully owned my car vs having a car loan. You should do this, it’s super helpful! The new insurance rate would be $336 per six months vs the current $588 per six months. So this would save around $500 a year.

I’d also recommend talking to your bank holding your car loan and asking them if there are any penalties for paying off your car early? Remember they make money off the interest and if you pay early, they are missing out on a few extra bucks. Luckily the credit union where my car loan was under had no penalties for paying off early. Again, it’s super helpful to find out all these little factors before you make a decision, these all factor into the cost benefit analysis.

Option 2 – Invest My Tax Refund – If I continued to invest instead of paying off my car loan. I’d dump that $3,400 tax refund (plus $500 extra) into my investment portfolio for a total of $11,748. Then add $120 per month for 29 months till October, 2019. With compounding interest, I’d have $17,489 by October, 2019. That’s about $1,000 more than if I paid off my car.

Plus it could be even more since I used 7% stock market interest and last year it was more like 13%, but I wanted to use historic returns because past performance doesn’t mean future performance. 😉

There’s more to it

So if I continue to invest in my portfolio instead of paying off my car loan, I’ll have a little over $989 more by October 2nd, 2019. but that’s only the numbers.

There is a certain amount of freedom to having an additional $340 a month. If I have an unexpected expense, that’s $340 extra I have to cover it if needed. I’m not going to lie, it would be nice to have that extra cash each month. It’d solve a lot of nightmares in the middle of the night of not having enough money.

On the other hand, if I don’t have the extra money each month, I can’t waste it. See it’s a dilemma! At least I NOW know how much I’d have with both options because I did the Cost Benefit Analysis!

Cost Benefit Analysis Template

Here is the excel sheet I used to calculate my cost benefit analysis. It’s pretty simple, but you can see the formula I used for “Future Value” to calculate the final amounts. It was really cool tinkering with the different values to see how the two options compared. Try it for yourself by downloading the excel sheet I used.

My Excel Template

I inputted in all the variables which you see above. Then broke down the new principal of my stock portfolio in each of the options. In Option 1 (Pay Off Car) it was $2,216 and Option 2 (Invest) the principal was $11,748. Then added the new monthly payments of both Options. Lastly I used the formula “Future Value” to break down both Options after 30 months.

Future Value Formula

The formula “Future Value” in excel was new to me, so let me break it down.

Cost Benefit Analysis Template

Cost Benefit Analysis Template

=FV (rate, nper, pmt, pv, type)
*note that the future value formula is in years, I had to adjust since I was using monthly deposits

Rate – The Interest Period (mine was 7%)
Nper – The total number of payment periods (months divided by 12 for number of years)
Pmt – The payment made each period (my monthly contributions times 12 for a year)
PV – The present value (my starting portfolio amount)
Type – When payments are due. 0=end of period, 1=1 beginning of period (most people I saw use 0)

How can you Apply this to your life?

When I first had the dilemma what to do with my tax return, my friend suggested a cost benefit analysis to analyze both options. While this was a good idea for my tax return, it’s a valuable tool for weighing pros and cons of any financial decision.

You can use this for compare cars when you’re buying new vs used, figuring out car loan costs. Or you figure out if you can buy a new house vs continuing renting. It’s a really a great tool to use!

What am I going to do?

Well that’s a good freaking question. What am I going to do? I need to do something because I have received my tax return and have $3,200 sitting in my savings account only earning 1% interest.

You’ve heard both options with the pros and cons of each. I have a logical decision which is to invest the cash right away in my stock portfolio to make more money or a financially freeing decision which would free up an extra $340 in month income. You’ll have to find what I’m going do in an upcoming post!

What would you do?

The Ultimate SEO Strategy for 2017

 

The Ultimate SEO Strategy for 2017

It is time to formalize Wallet Squirrel’s SEO Strategy for 2017. This strategy will help get the website to rank higher within Google and Bing. Over the next 12 months we will give you updates on how the process is going, where we rank, and where we still need improvement.

Andrew has done a nice job over the last couple of years by laying down a solid foundation for Wallet Squirrel and its SEO strategy. The most important thing he did is he built the website using a highly responsive Enfold WordPress theme. Google gives Wallet Squirrel a score of 99 out of 100 in their Website Mobility Testing Application. This is great news because if he did not do this, we would be redesigning the website to meet this criteria.

 

Google's Mobile Friendly Tester

Google’s Mobile Friendly Tester helps our SEO Strategy for 2017 by ensuring our site is mobile friendly

Another nice thing Andrew has done is create some great backlinks. About 70 percent of the links he has created are dofollow links as well. This seems like a healthy balance between the two.  A lot of the research I have found shows that you want a balance between Do Follow and nofollow links. In case you do not know what those two types of links are, I will explain.

  • Dofollow links allow juice to travel from their site to your site giving Wallet Squirrel more power/authority. Nofollow links do not allow that juice to flow from site to site. Simply put, dofollow links allow humans and the search engine to travel to Wallet Squirrel through the link but nofollow links only allow humans to do so.
  • Nofollow links do not allow that juice to flow from site to site. Simply put, dofollow links allow humans and the search engine to travel to Wallet Squirrel through the link but nofollow links only allow humans to do so.

SEO Strategy Starting Point

Before we begin to dig into what our new SEO strategy for 2017 is I must disclose some information. Since neither Andrew nor I are SEO experts we have done a lot of research to come up with a plan. We chose the tips on this page because they were consistently talked about throughout our research. Also, Google and most other major search engines have never formally disclosed what makes a website rank higher. They have hinted at things but they like to keep this information a secrete just like the Coronal’s Famous Crispy Chicken Recipe. So everything below are educated guesses as to what makes for a great SEO Strategy.

Focus on topics for Wallet Squirrel’s audience

We need to find what our audience is really looking for. The main question we need to ask ourselves is, “What do you, the audience, want to read?” If we take Wallet Squirrel down a path of topics that people do not care about then we will not receive any interest. This simple question seems like common sense but it can be an easily overlooked part of SEO.

The process is fairly easy with a little bit of practice and increase of knowledge as to where to search. During this phase of our SEO Strategy we will look for five to seven broad topics to look at. These topics will not be our keywords, those come in the next step. They will be for defining the broad ideas we write about.

Defining  Topics

To be able to define these topics we need to do a lot of research as to what current trends are. Our main goal during this research period is to find the readers pain points. What do they need to know about? For example, credit cards. Now a days pretty much everybody has one. These little pieces of plastic control the lives of many people. Within this topic there are dozens of articles that could be written about. Some include how to choose a credit card, how to properly manage payments, how to payoff that debt, tricks to earn more awards, and so on.

Flipboard Application used in our SEO Strategy for 2017

Flipboard Application helps us with our SEO Strategy for 2017 by finding trending topics

As I mentioned before, finding these pain points can be tricky. We will need to search around the web for trending topics as to what is being talked about. This can be on the news, demographic profiling tools, social media, or any other creative place you can find. I personally like searching through social media with hashtags because it is the most current. Another source I have been using is the application Flipboard. This news application allows you to customize content based on topics. It then pulls in trending articles. Looking through those articles I was able to find some patterns to help identify some broad topics.

Find Keywords Within those Topics

Now that we have found the topics that the audience is looking to read about, it is time to find keywords to create content around. This is where Google’s Keyword Planner comes into play. Here is how I gathered keywords for each topic.

To-Do:

  1. Firstly, I opened up a new blank Excel document and named it “Topic Keywords”.
  2. I created new tabs for each topic and named them accordingly.
  3. Next I went over to Google’s Keyword Planner and signed in.
  4. I opened the “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category” section and typed in one of the topics to search for such as “Credit Card”.
  5. After hitting search, Keyword Planner takes you to the next page to show you all of the keywords that would fit under that “Credit Card” topic.
  6. Next, I selected the “Download” button and selected “Excel CSV” for my export.
  7. In the new Excel CSV that I downloaded, I select everything in “Keyword” and “Avg. Monthly Searches” columns.
  8. I copied and pasted those columns into my “Topic Keyword” Excel file under the “Credit Card” tab.
  9. Now that I have retrieved all of the “Credit Card” topic’s keywords, it is time to grab to the rest of the keywords for the remaining keywords. To do this, I repeated steps four through eight.
  10. After all of the topic tabs are filled out, the real fun can happen (sarcasm). It is time to clean up our new keywords list. This is done by deleting out irrelevant or poor keyword choices. Also, we will lay out a priority list by marking higher priority keywords with a certain color and lower ones with another color.
Credit Card Keyword Planner used in our SEO Strategy for 2017

Credit Card Keyword Planner used in our SEO Strategy for 2017

Loose Guidelines

Phew, now we are done with finding keywords! We do not have to follow these keyword lists to the dot. There will be other topics that we will want to be write about. This list is a nice guidance to keep us focused on those broad topics but it is there to help with content ideas. It is time to move on to the next step in our SEO Strategy for 2017, creating lots and lots of content.

Create Lots of Excellent Content

Google’s Algorithms are said to rank good solid content higher than poor content. What does this mean? You should create content that is written to the highest standards. It should be highly readable and informative for the reader. The content should also have a lot of substance. The days of writing short 300 word articles are over. Any article should be 1,000 words or greater. So grab a cup of coffee, find a comfy seat, and start writing!

Our articles should be based on a keyword that is searched for monthly. It does not need to be a ground breaking keyword with 100,000 searches per month. Anything with 100 searches a month is a great place to start.

We also need to make sure to do internal linking. Creating deep links from the home page and throughout the website allows for the Google Bots to crawl throughout the website easier. This helps provide more page authority and domain authority to more fresh content.

Build strong Headlines and Titles

During my research I found that building strong headlines and titles for each article does help it rank better. For last week’s post, Way #73 – How to Earn More Money in 2017 – The Achievement App, I used an application I found off of Money Lab. The Headliner Analyzer Tool by CoSchedule analyzes the phrasing and word structure of the soon to be headline or title.  It gives it a simple score between 1 and 100. The higher the score the better.

When reading, it sounds like a score around 75 is pretty darn awesome so I shoot to get something around there. I consider something below 60 as pretty low but what do I know. The application also gives you a breakdown of word types used within the headline. I try to get a healthy balance between all four of those types. This tool will be used when we go through to update older yet high performing posts (see last step below).

Define Our Competitors

Many of you reading this post are friends to Wallet Squirrel so do not be hurt by this headline. Defining our competitors is not us putting every financial blog in our cross hairs rather it is about something else.

When we write a brand new blog post, we choose a keyword for that post. For example, this keyword could be puppies. Who doesn’t love puppies, right? After publishing this new article about puppies over on the blogroll we will go see who the article’s competitors are. Within Google’s search bar, or any other search engine preferred, I type in the articles keyword, puppies. Every website that pulls here are our competitors for the blog post on puppies. Next, we will look into how we can copy the backlinks they are getting as well.

Puppies search in Google to find competition.

Puppies search in Google to find competition.

Spying on Our Competitors

After defining the competitors, we need to spy on our competitors to see what they are doing. Chances are they have a lot of referring links coming in from people who wrote about their article. Here might be an opportunity to see if those people will want to link to our article as well, especially if it has better content. Here is what we need to do.

  1. After defining our competitors we need to go to Backlink Watch and enter in the exact URL of your competitors page. This is the exact URL that competes with your keyword.
  2. Backlink Watch will bring up a list of referring sites pointing to the competitors page.
  3. Click on each link and contact the site owner/author about the new blog post we just posted that focuses around the keyword.
Backlink Watch used in our SEO Strategy for 2017

Backlink Watch helps us find who is linking to our competition.

Backlinks

During my research I keep reading that backlinks are not as important as they use to be for ranking. I personally do not think you should take backlinks lightly for several reasons. Firstly, as we compete against several other blogs out there, these backlinks might just be enough to take Wallet Squirrel above and beyond. Secondly, Wallet Squirrel has been around for a couple of years now so it is not exactly young in the internet world. It is very immature with its reach though. These backlinks can help with exposure to the site as we try to broaden our reach around the internet.

We will make sure to post to credible websites that provide backlinks to each new article. These can vary from other blogs, social platforms such as StumbleUpon, social media, and others. There will not be a set list of sites to post on for each post. This is because each article will be about something different and the previous backlink sites might not fit properly.

In the past, on a previous website, we have paid for backlinks. My research has consistently told me that this might be a waste of money now. We will try not do this and see where it takes us in 2017. What do you think of purchasing backlinks?

SEO Strategy Extra Points!

After completing all of the above steps we still need to use the little remaining time we have on these remaining SEO Strategies for 2017. These are more advanced SEO Strategies that will take a lot more time (not sure where that is going to come from). It will be interesting to see how we can fit these techniques within the overall strategy.

Infographics

Infographics are becoming more and more popular. Luckily we have an immensely talented guy on our team to make gorgeous infographics, Andrew. If you have not seen his What Happens To Debt When You Die – Infographic, you need to head over there next. Plus, the other dude on the team, Adam, wrote his Master’s thesis on Data Visualization. So we should have no excuse to make amazing infographics for Wallet Squirrel’s audience. They have a great potential to bring in a lot of traffic to Wallet Squirrel.

We want to make sure our infographics can be found. Submitting to infographic directories will help gain more exposure for each one. Though this will be time consuming, it should be worth it in the long run. The article by Modern Marketing Partners provides twenty sites that we can submit too.

On top of this we want to make it easier to share the infographics from Wallet Squirrel. Making information easy to share for our readers will increase the likelihood of it being spread across to broader audiences. We have not figured out this method yet but once we do, I am sure we will keep you posted. Ideas?

Guest Posting

We will continue to jump on any guest post opportunity that comes our way. Some people are nervous about doing guest posts because you are creating other content for your “Competition”. Then your “competition” gets all of the viewership and affiliate links. I will be challenging us, Team Squirrel, to not think this way. Other financial blogs are not our “competition” but rather friends and colleagues who are also reaching for financial freedom.

I personally think guest posts can work be very effective! They help spread our voice across the internet to other audiences. Essentially, I see it as putting in a little work for some easy advertisement to the blog. We will want to be somewhat picky as to who we guest post for. It will be important to make sure that the other blogging website has a similar vision and morals. It would not be good to guest post for a website that could bring negative feedback to ours.

Story Time

Trey Ratcliff, who is the photographer that inspired me to get into photography. About five to seven years ago he was doing something most other photographers were not doing on the internet. He was uploading high resolution photographs without a watermark to a downloadable site, SmugMug. He would put his content under the Creative Commons Non-Commercial license. Everyone was saying he was crazy to do this. People kept saying “bad” people could take his work and use it illegally. He thought so what, at least my photography is getting out there and viewed. Trey is now one of the world’s most popular photographers. He even has work in the Smithsonian! I believe he made it to where he is today because he let the leash loose on his photographs allowing his viewership to expand even more rapidly.

SSL Certification

Google helps promote websites with the newish SSL certificate. I have read in several locations, including Moz, that this certificate is really important now. You can tell if a website has the SSL certificate when its URL starts with https://. Wallet Squirrel does not have this certificate…yet. Adding the SSL certificate should be a fairly easy item to check off our SEO strategy for 2017 list.

The SSL Certificate is highly ranked by Google and should be apart of anyone's SEO Strategy.

The SSL Certificate should be apart of anyone’s SEO Strategy.

Slow Website Speeds

Research tells us that Google will ding websites with slow loading speeds. When running tests on the Wallet Squirrel, the site fails miserably. I will work on trying to figure out what is causing this slow down. Firstly, I will check with our web hosting provider iPage about what might be going on. They have amazing customer service so I am sure we can get to the bottom of the issue.

There are several other ideas that could be slowing the site down. The first item I will explorer is checking to see if the images are too large. Secondly there is a possibility that there is too much JavaScript and CSS code. This code could be imbedded into the WordPress theme that we use. I really hope iPage is able to help us because I do not want to go digging through code.

Let me know in the comment section if you have any other ideas?

Index the pages

We need to make sure that our pages are being indexed on Google and Bing. This can be done on Google Webmaster Tools as well as Bing’s Webmaster.  This is a very easy process of making sure Google or Bing Fetches the website or blog post.

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Another tool recommended by Neil Patel Is the Ping-o-Matic. The application will allow us to ping high authority search SEO service directories. According to Neil, this allows Google’s bots to crawl the website a lot quicker and easier.

Use Authoritative Social Platforms

There are several  social platforms include websites such as DocstocSlideshareBloggerQuora.

Our goal will be to create a document on each site that can push more visitors to Wallet Squirrel. This is obviously easier said than done but is not out of the question. First we will want to pick one of the social platforms to create a new document such as Slideshare. We will want to pick a trending topics that relate to Wallet Squirrel. We can use GrowHackers.com or Google Trends to help us search for those trending topics.

After finding an awesome topic to create a slideshow about it will be best to do research on how to make it spectacular. Luckily, we can look at the what other slide shows are doing themselves. Looking at what those authors did we can figure out what works and what does not work to create something jaw dropping. Creating well written content within the slide share will help engage the reader but more importantly we will want to add images. Adding a visual dynamic will create a more well-rounded presentation to keep our audience roped in.

Return to Old Blog Posts

We do not want older but popular articles to go stale. Google does not like stale content and will lower its ranking within search results. So every three to six months we need to examine older articles to refresh them a bit. First it is best to find what the best performing articles from that time frame are. One example for Wallet Squirrel would be Andrew’s Review of the Robinhood App.

  1. First we went to Google Analytics
  2. Under the Behaviors Tab I found what the top posts were three to six months ago.
  3. After finding the top three or so posts are we can go ahead and update them.
Updating old but high performing posts every three to six months is an extra point item to our SEO Strategy for 2017

Updating old but high performing posts every three to six months is an extra point item to our SEO Strategy for 2017

There are several ideas as to what to update. One thought is to update the headline or title of the article. This would be another great opportunity for us to use the Headline Analyzer talked about earlier. Also, as time progresses we usually learn more about that particular subject. We can update the article to include this new information.

Measuring Progress

So I have decided on a few metrics that we will use to measure the progress of our new SEO Strategy for 2017. All numbers are current as of March 16, 2017. We will update them as the year progresses.

  • Alexa Ranking – 3,609,825
  • Sites Linking Into Wallet Squirrel (by Alexa) – 30
  • Moz Domain Authority – 18
  • Avg. Weekly Views – 329
The goal to our SEO Strategy for 2017 is to climb the ranks with Alexa

The goal to our SEO Strategy for 2017 is to climb the ranks with Alexa

SEO Strategy Resources

To put this SEO Strategy together, I looked all around the internet for consistent recommendations from credible sources. I must give credit to the sites that gave me each idea first. I wish I could name all of the sites that confirmed these ideas but that would be too long of a list!

Cheers!

Adam

50 Amazon Affiliate Website Examples Making Money in a Niche

I’ve always had a hard time finding a good list of Amazon Affiliate Website Examples, so here is my personal list of inspiration that I’ve built up over the years. I’ve been itching to create a new website lately, but before I start I thought I would review my list of successful Amazon Affiliate Websites currently making money for some lessons learned.

What is an Amazon Affiliate Website?

An Amazon Affiliate Website is any website that earns money by linking products from their website to the Amazon store. This can be a blog that references a product with a link back to Amazon, so customers can purchase that item referenced. Or on a larger scale, a whole market place website that references numerous Amazon Products.

The idea is that you are referring customers to Amazon.com where you gain a commission if a user buys from the Amazon store. This is usually 5%-10% per purchase. Amazon tracks this by a special code from the URL link on your website or WordPress plugin.

22 Successful Amazon Affiliate Website Examples

ThisIsWhyImBroke-Amazon Affiliate Website Example

ThisIsWhyImBroke – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

ThisIsWhyImBroke.com
This is one of my favorite Amazon Affiliate Websites because it’s so freaking cool! These guys gather up the coolest gadgets, gifts, tech and oddities from Amazon and around the web. The gag gifts and fun gadgets are items that people love to buy. This site uncovers the cool, often hidden, things of the internet and all you have to do is click on one of the Amazon Affiliate links to buy it from the Amazon store. ThisIsWhyIAmBroke works with more than just Amazon, but it’s one of their biggest revenue sources.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 2.40M Visitors
Average Post Length: 10 – 160 Words
How much do they make: Around $20,000+ per month from Amazon (source)

 

ConsumerSearch-Amazon Affiliate Website Example

ConsumerSearch – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

ConsumerSearch.com
This website started in 2000 as a review website which helped consumers by reviewing different products and offering the consumer the chance to purchase the product. These have become a very popular way for bloggers to create amazon affiliate websites. It’s a great way to feature products and a good review can be very motivating for someone to purchase.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 1.10M Visitors
Average Post Length: 1,000 Words
How much do they make: This site was bought for $33 Million from About,com in 2007 (source)

 

TheWirecutter-Amazon Affiliate Website Example

TheWirecutter – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

TheWirecutter.com
This is a great example of a top notch review site. They start at the homepage notifying that they make affiliate commissions, but provide top end reviews from independent reviewers. This is great to be honest up front. In addition to being transparent, they also take the content is king strategy. I randomly clicked on their “Top Home Projector” post where they reviewed (and linked) to several high end home theater projectors. Keep in mind that these high priced items produce high commissions. That may explain why they spent the time to write a 5,000 word post on it. This site seems to do everything right in being a prime example of an Amazon Affiliate Website. This site now has over 60 staff members working for it.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 8.10M Visitors
Average Post Length: 3,000-5,000 Words
How much do they make: In 2015, this site combined with The Wirecutter made $150 Million in ecommerce sales. So you can get an idea of their commission revenue. (source)

 

TheSweetHome -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

TheSweetHome – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

TheSweetHome.com
This is the sister site to the affiliate marketing site TheWirecutter. Another amazon affiliate website that list gadgets and gear that the website reviews. They come out and say it on their homepage, they earn money by affiliate commissions. Apparently this sites receives over 1.8M visitors, which is pretty impressive considering this site only started in 2013. I guess the moral of the story is, it’s not too late to start a review website. It also helps to have incredibly long reviews. In fact, their one soda stream review had over 13,000 words. This is a great example that content is king.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 2.50M Visitors
Average Post Length: 4,000 – 5,000 Words
How much do they make: In 2015, this site combined with The Wirecutter made $150 Million in ecommerce sales. So you can get an idea of their commission revenue. (source)

 

GearPatrol -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

GearPatrol – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

GearPatrol.com
This is an interesting style review website that reads more like a magazine than a review site. This definitely helps give it some more credit than throwing a up a bunch of products and hoping people read them. It’s interesting that it takes a different approach, rather than writing long content, it focuses on a clean layout and video reviews to show people the product they’re testing, racking in 2.3 million monthly viewers. This is incredibly valuable for people willing to buy, but want to see the product in a video demo before purchasing. Now compare this site to what the site looked like in 2008 (here).

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 3.30M Visitors
Average Post Length: 100-500 Words
How much do they make: I don’t know how much they make

 

DogFoodAdvisor -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

DogFoodAdvisor – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

DogFoodAdvisor.com
This is a testament that design isn’t everything. Look at their homepage. There is one, very cute puppy, but nothing else. I’m not sure how this site is successful, but from looking over their latest articles, they are receiving regular viewers and comments. Something is working. Then again, people do love their dogs.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 1.30M Visitors
Average Post Length: 1,000-1,500 Words
How much do they make: I don’t know how much they make

 

BabyGearLab -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

BabyGearLab – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

BabyGearLab.com
So combine a review site and something people everyone loves, like babies. Imagine all the confusion new parents have when they bring a new baby into the world. What do they do, what do they need, what is the best? BabyGearLab solves that by reviewing baby stuff and helping parents understand it and buy it. This site has been around since 2011 helping parents through the impossible decisions of what is best for your baby.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 234.10K Visitors
Average Post Length: 6,000-10,000 Words
How much do they make: I don’t know how much they make

 

BestCovery -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

BestCovery – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

BestCovery.com
Review sites continue to be an impressive way to make affiliate commission. This review site doesn’t even niche down, their tag line is “Discover the Best of Everything”. From my initial review, they continue the streak of long content to rank high in Google. In doing this, they list multiple items really pushing their 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on picks. All conveniently with their own price tags linking to Amazon. With only 152 thousand monthly visitors, it’s not as much as other sites, but they continue to push out new content and gain new Facebook users. Anyone with a blog knows, it’s hard to get Facebook users, so they’re doing something right.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 152.10K Visitors
Average Post Length: 4,000-6,000 Words
How much do they make: I do know how much they make.

 

BestReviews -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

BestReviews – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

BestReviews.com
This is one the cleanest designs I’ve seen of an Amazon Affiliate Website. It has a very professional look for a review website, but they don’t overcrowd you with product reviews right off. This site really sets itself apart with their actual videos and reviews inside of their test center. You know these testers are actually testing the product rather than copying a review from another site or making things up. It’s so legit that I will likely be back to this site for future reviews for my purchases. It really gains your trust with the photos and videos even though you know they are making money through the affiliate commissions. Plus they buy all the products themselves and never accept any products from the manufacturer to maintain objectivity, but when you bring in 3.1 million visitors per month, you can buy a few items to review.

It’s so legit that I will likely be back to this site for future reviews for my purchases. It really gains your trust with the photos and videos even though you know they are making money through the affiliate commissions. Plus they buy all the products themselves and never accept any products from the manufacturer to maintain objectivity, but when you bring in 3.1 million visitors per month, you can buy a few items to review.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 3.80M Visitors
Average Post Length: Around 1,000 Words + Videos
How much do they make: I do know how much they make.

 

KidsTabletswithWiFi -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

KidsTabletswithWiFi – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

KidsTabletsWithWiFi.com
This is an Amazon Affilaite Website that has really niched down into specifically, as the name implies, kids tablets with Wifi. These are high priced items that produce high commissions in a huge market, children. What is the best tablet for kids? Do you give them an ipad? What if it breaks? Is there a cheaper option? These are all questions that this site helps with. It runs like a blog, but with a relatively simple design. It’s hard to tell if they have produced much new content because they don’t include dates with their blog posts. However this site is just one blog, with three additional pages for “Best Tablets for Kids”, “Kids Tablet Reviews” and “Kids Tablet Comparisons” all of which are likely keyword researched names. It’s likely the niched down keyword research to bring in the traffic, because the content while good, is relatively short with 300-500 words per post.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 1.80K Visitors
Average Post Length: 400 – 600 Words
How much do they make: I do know how much they make.

 

LongBoardReviews -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

LongBoardReviews – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

LongboardReviews.net
Another example of an Amazon Affiliate Website that niched down to long boards. These are like skateboards but longer and meant to cruise, going longer distances than skateboards. It’s a relatively simple website that loads the user with tons of products from the homepage but highlights the lack of comments per review (usually 0 – 2 comments). The typical length of an article is 300-500 words so they are relying on their specific niche for traffic. Not bad for a “.net” domain as they are less common than their popular counterparts “.com”. It’s not the best example, but I’m going for a range.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 2.70K Visitors
Average Post Length: 400 – 600 Words
How much do they make: The website sold in 2016 on Flippa for $5,275. Usually a website sells for a year’s worth of revenue. So we can expect this site to make around $500 per month (source)

 

FootballSnackHelmets -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

FootballSnackHelmets – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

FootballSnackHelmets.com
This is one of the most niche markets I’ve ever seen. It’s gems like these that make me confident the right keyword research in the smallest of niches can lead to a successful Amazon Affiliate Website. I’m not saying this specific site is successful though. They have only 2 blog post with minimal content for each “Football Snack Helmet”. It seems like someone had great intentions to set up an affiliate site with a clean design but forgot about it after 2 blog posts, ending in June 2016. This is one of the easiest examples that you could set up in a weekend.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 2.20K Visitors
Average Post Length: 100 – 300 Words
How much do they make: I do know how much they make, but we anticipate it’s seasonal and reliant on the US customer base.

 

OutdoorGearLab -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

OutdoorGearLab – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

OutdoorGearLab.com
This site is owned by the same owners as BabyGearLab.com so you’ll notice some similarities. It’s a really clean site that looks more like REI’s website than a review site. They generate tons of organic traffic for each review category like ski gloves combines all of their test products (amazon links), test experiences, reviews and opinions so that the review pages reach around 6,000 words. This is a great way to do a review page in my opinion to combine the word length of each review into one huge, helpful page. Plus keep in mind that people love outdoor gear. It’s insanely fun to go outdoors but you never know if you have right equipment. To figure out what’s right, these outdoor review sites help immensely!

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 1.60K Visitors
Average Post Length: 5,000 – 7,000 Words
How much do they make: I do know how much they make.

 

TopTenReviews-Amazon Affiliate Website Example

TopTenReviews – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

TopTenReviews.com
This is an older site (2003) with some heavy domain authority. That explains the crazy amount of content this site contains. It’s helpful though when you have 350+ employees. This isn’t a small enterprise, and they still utilize the Amazon Affiliate network to monetize their site. They use long and wordy articles to review products, maximizing the SEO of each page. The biggest difference from this site and others, is the amount of digital content these guys review. Their digital content ranges from Antivirus Software to Credit Card processing. This isn’t a typical Amazon product, but digital content can earn affiliate commissions through other sources than Amazon. Amazon is a great resource to monetize your site, but it’s definitely not the only way.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 12.80M Visitors
Average Post Length: 3,000 – 5,000 Words
How much do they make: I do know how much they make.

 

TomsHardware -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

TomsHardware – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

TomsHardware.com
Do you remember 1997? That’s when this website was created. You could maybe tell from the website homepage that looks more like About.com than a review website, then again they have over 1.5 million pages indexed. Don’t make the same mistake I did, this isn’t a door and sink hardware company, this is computer hardware for hardcore nerds who build their own computers. I’m sure this site is at the forefront of every build-it-myself computer geek out there (I’m one ). The site is now owned by Purch, the same people who own TopTenReviews. These guys have really got a good handle on successful Amazon Affiliate Websites.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 47.50M Visitors
Average Post Length: 500 – 1,000 Words
How much do they make: I do know how much they make.

 

CarSeatAnswers-Amazon Affiliate Website Example

CarSeatAnswers – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

CarSeatAnswers.com
It’s really simple and plain websites like this that make me happy! If something this plain can bring in so many visitors, than someone creative and design oriented like me can do better, right? CarSeatAnswers focuses on keywords like “Car Seat Answers” and “Car Seat Guide” and “Which Seat is Safest for a Baby’s Car Seat” then writes 700-1,000 word articles with no photos except for the Amazon Products sold throughout the article. This is one of the simplest example, but it still brings in visitors even with a small amount of domain authority. It gives you hope though, that you can easily create a successful website, right?

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 3.40K Visitors
Average Post Length: 300 – 500 Words
How much do they make: I do know how much they make.

 

KichenFaucetDivas -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

KichenFaucetDivas – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

KitchenFaucetDivas.com
This was one of the first Amazon Affiliate Website Examples I ever came across. I thought it was incredibly simple, before I saw some other websites that were even worse. A lot of it is what you would expect. A wordy homepage with a couple of pages in the menu bar that all resemble more keyword targeting than actual helpful navigation. I keep wondering if they actually reviewed all those different kitchen sinks, because that would be a lot of work installing and disassembling numerous sinks to see how they work. Likely not, their “About Us” page just says a “Mother of two” which tells me as the reader, if you’re not putting your name on this, your reviews are probably just as generic. Usually if an “About” page doesn’t list a name or company, I assume that the website is just as generic.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 30.20K Visitors
Average Post Length: 300 – 500 Words
How much do they make: I do know how much they make.

 

LiveLongerRunning -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

LiveLongerRunning – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

LiveLongerRunning.com
I read this title and expected an awesome community of runners sharing their glory stories of braving the snow and rain to log in miles. Instead I’m directed to a boring treadmill site. This site is about 5 pages and a couple of additional pages for reviews for treadmills. The reviews are the only pages with any kind of lengthy content and those are still only around 800 words. The main redeeming quality about this site, is they are focusing on high price items so even a single sale of a treadmill is a nice commission. This is another example of a website you could make in a weekend. It’s motivating though because you know you can do better, right?

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 11.10K Visitors
Average Post Length: 500 – 1,000 Words
How much do they make: I do know how much they make.

 

PickMyShaver -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

PickMyShaver – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

 

PickMyShaver.com
This is a review site that focuses on high end shaving equipment to have a nice mix of lower end and higher end shavers for a nice variety. It’s a simple/clean website design with lots of photos to help people understand the variety. Each review is decently long, but nothing to rave about. What is impressive is each review has a good amount of comments that are answered by the website owner. That tells me that the owner is monitoring this site and probably adding new content. A site like this wouldn’t be too hard to maintain. I’m thinking, maybe they add a new blog post once a month.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 41.90K Visitors
Average Post Length: 800 – 1,000 Words
How much do they make: I do know how much they make.

 

100DaysOfRealFood -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

100DaysOfRealFood – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

100DaysOfRealFood.com
This is a great example of an Amazon Affiliate Website that’s not a review site! It’s actually more like a food blog that recommends certain products through their blog and resource pages. With 1.6 Million Facebook Likes, Lisa Leak (owner) has become an authority on “real food” and uses this platform to sell other things like her own cook book. This example is more for a traditional blogger who wants to start monetizing their website rather than creating a review site.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 407.60K Visitors
Average Post Length: 500 – 1,000 Words
How much do they make: She doesn’t list how much she makes on her blog.

 

InflatableHotTubGuide -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

InflatableHotTubGuide – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

InflatableHotTubGuide.com
So this is a niche I guess. This is an interesting example of a site built around a high price item that I could see people willing to buy online rather than a store. This doesn’t leave a lot of room to expand into other hot tub areas, but if your focus is “inflatable hot tubs” then go for it. I can’t imagine they update it too often, the last time seems to be August 2015, but what’s new in the world of inflatable hot tubs?

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 967 Visitors
Average Post Length: 500 – 1,000 Words
How much do they make: I do know how much they make.

 

WomensSuperheroCostumes -Amazon Affiliate Website Example

WomensSuperheroCostumes – Amazon Affiliate Website Example

 

WomensSuperheroCostumes.com
This site is a different style of Amazon Affiliate website because while it does niche down specifically in superhero costumes, it targets women who are the main buyer of online clothing. It’s different because it doesn’t review the costumes, it pulls different costumes beyond Amazon and categorizes them by Superhero. So a search for Wonder Woman Costume would pull costumes from multiple websites beyond Amazon to give the user an idea of all the different Wonder Woman Costumes on the web, not just Amazon’s selection. This is a great example of reaching beyond the Amazon store.

Monthly Visitors (SimilarWeb) : 563 Visitors
Average Post Length: 300 – 600 Words
How much do they make: They make around $600 a year, but it’s seasonal.

29 Other Amazon Affiliate Website Examples

These additional websites, while different, follow a similar pattern of the previously mentioned. It’s a great list to reference what others are doing in the niche website world with Amazon Affiliates.

  1. SmartMonkeyFitness.com – Reviews (Fitness)
  2. DrillsAndDrivers.com – Reviews (Tools)
  3. ChooseWheels.com – Reviews (Transportation)
  4. Lucieslist.com – Reviews/Blog (New Moms)
  5. GrowABeardNow.com – Reviews (Shaving)
  6. Bpillow.com – Reviews (Pillows)
  7. TheBestEspressoMachines.org – Reviews (Coffee)
  8. AGreatShower.com – Reviews (Shower Heads) – Probably copying KitchenFaucetDivas above
  9. ShaverList.com – Reviews (Shaving)
  10. TopDronesForSale.org – Reviews (Drones)
  11. SewingMachineJudge.com – Reviews (Sewing Machines)
  12. TheRoundingSound.com – Reviews (Everything that makes Sound)
  13. KnifeInformer.com – Reviews (All Knifes)
  14. KitchenKnifeGuru.com – Reviews (Kitchen Knifes)
  15. eScooterBox.com – Reviews (Electric Scooters)
  16. MicrophoneGeek.com – Reviews (Microphones)
  17. VacuumJudge.com – Reviews (Vacuums)
  18. Oomphed.com – Reviews (Hair Dryers)
  19. Top5LawnMowers.com – Reviews (Lawn Mowers)
  20. ShredderSelect.com – Reviews (Paper Shredders
  21. BestElectricHoverBoard.com – Reviews (Hover Boards)
  22. MassageChairLand.com – Reviews (Massage Chairs)
  23. CoolCampingGear.com – New Product Site (Camping Gear)
  24. DigitalTrends.com – Reviews (Digital Products)
  25. BestRecliner.net – Reviews (Chairs)
  26. AquariumAdviser.com – Reviews (Fish Stuff)
  27. CanineJournal.com – Reviews (Dog Stuff)
  28. ThoroughlyReviewed.com – Reviews (Everything)
  29. PodcastInsights.com – Reviews (Podcast Equipment)

Thank you

Thanks to some helpful Reddit users, One Man’s Brand and Niche Site Project for some of the inspiration to make this list of 50 happen!

What I learned from 50 different Amazon Affiliate Website Examples

This list is pretty freaking significant with so many lessons learned. I hit on many of these in individual reviews but here are the highlights.

  1. Keyword Research is Key – is the single most important thing you can do. If your keyword is too broad, it’ll get lost in the sea of other websites and if it’s too narrow, no one is going to visit your site.
  2. Review Sites Are Popular – There are a couple exceptions, but most of these successful Amazon Affiliate Websites are just review sites that give people an idea of what the item is like before they buy. There is definitely something to it.
  3. Content is King – The more successful websites had content that was around 1,000 words per post. Google identifies this as better content and it’ll help your search rankings. It can’t just be gibberish though, it helps if you break up the content into 6-8 different sections so it’s easy for the user to navigate while still being lengthy. I used to think 300 words was good and 500 was above and beyond. I’ll likely spend even more time on articles and aim for around 1,000 words per article like my most popular article “Robinhood App Review” at 1,500 words.
  4. Mix High & Low Price Items, but Lean Towards High Price – if you’re doing all this work to push people towards a certain product, make sure that product is worth it. It doesn’t make much sense to review a $5 item with 1,000 words. You should lean towards those higher price items that will give you higher commissions. Remember, you get a percentage of the sale, not a flat fee.
  5. Get People To The Amazon Store – Many of these websites that had more sales, sent more people to the Amazon store. It’s a numbers game, the more people you send the Amazon market place, the more that will buy.

Conclusion

Just imagine how much you could invest in a stock portfolio if you owned or two of these niche sites. The thing is, it’s completely do-able. I have the skills (most people do) to create something like this. I am so freaking pumped to start my next niche website! I’m using these lessons learned to start my keyword research now. I’ll follow up on my progress in the upcoming blog posts. I really hope this helps you as much as it did me. It’s really inspirational to see how others are making additional income online with niche websites!

Am I missing any good Amazon Affiliate Website Examples I can add to this list?

How to Earn More Money – Donating Plasma

Introduction

Hello Everyone! Before I get to today’s main way to earn more money, donating plasma, I wanted to introduce myself. As a lot of you already know from Andrew’s introduction of me from his post last week, I am Adam. If you didn’t see his introduction, go check it out now. It is a really good read! Don’t worry, I won’t go anywhere, I’ll still be here when you get back.

You back? Great! I hope you enjoyed that article as much as I did.

Anyways, back to what is important, me! As I’ve already mentioned, I am Adam, the newest and greatest (shhh don’t tell Andrew) contributor to Wallet Squirrel. I am very excited to work alongside my best buddy Andrew making great content for you while learning in the process.

My goals here are to learn more about becoming financially free and to become that. My wife and I have a lot of debt (car, student loans, and house) that we want to break free from. I want to include you in on this journey to paying off our debt!

A little about me. I am married and we have a four month old. We also have two dogs, a lab-retriever and a husky. Living in Denver, Colorado allows our little family to do what we love the most, spend time in the mountains. We love to hike, climb 14ers (Mountains above 14,000 feet in elevation), and to camp. One of my favorite hobbies is photography so you will be seeing several posts from me about it and how you can make money with your camera. Be excited!

Earn More Money With Photography

A little self promotion of one of my photographs

 

I guess I’ll stop rambling and get to what you are really here for. Way #72 to earn more money by donating plasma.

Earn More Money – Donating Plasma

A lot of people cringe at the thought of having a 12 gauge needle moving towards their arm. I don’t blame them, it can be a very nerve racking process. Especially when a trainee would come to stick you but most weeks the experience was great. I am here to walk you through the donation process to help ease those nerves.

Back in college donating plasma was my main income for a few years. Twice a week one of my roommates and I would go to Biolife Plasma in Ames, Iowa to donate plasma. Typically we would earn between $50 to $70 a week for our plasma and time.

So let’s walk through what my typical visit was like. Keep in mind, I have experience with only one facility and your local donation center might vary.

When I initially started I had to take a physical to make sure I was fit enough to donate. This is not a traditional physical that you get at the doctor, so do not worry about that. It takes about an hour to complete between all of the paper work, the million and one questions they ask you, as well as the general physical health checkup they perform. The physical needs to be repeated every year, which was my least favorite part of the experience. Not because it was hard or anything like that, it was just really annoying.

Now that the initial physical is complete and I was approved the rest of the visits were easy. I would walk through the front door and sign in at the front desk. This included answering a bunch of questions on a computer. Some examples are. Have you visited certain countries within a particular time frame? Were you sick recently? Did you donated blood recently? Then I would go sit in the waiting room for a little bit. A nurse would call my name to check my temperature, blood pressure, and verify so other items. If I had too high of temperature or blood pressure I could not donate for the day. If I passed, the nurse would take me back to the donating beds.

Once back there and settled in, a technician would come to stick my arm so the donation process could start. This is the part most people cringe about, don’t worry about it. These technician do go through a thorough training process. Out of the three years I donated, only a few sticks did not go too well.

Earn More Money - Donating Plasma

Technically this photo is of someone donating blood but looks very similar to the plasma donation process.

After getting hooked up I was able to relax during the donation process for the next thirty to forty-five minutes. This is when I would read/study or watch a movie. I really enjoyed this part of the donation process as you were literally forced to relax. When done and unhooked, I went to check out, sign up for my next donation time, and get paid! The whole visit took about an hour and a half.

Payment wise, Ames was a smaller market so we only got $50 to $70 a week for the donations. We were limited to two donations a week each time. They would pay $30 for the first time and $40 for the second visit. Some bigger cities paid a lot better. It was rumored that people in Kansas City were getting $130 a week!

Conclusion

For anyone with a few extra hours in the week and looking for more money I highly recommend checking your local plasma donation center. This is a fairly easy way to gain some extra income. It is mostly a painless process that allows you to get other work done during the process. If I missed anything about the process or you have a story about your own experience, give a comment below.

Now that you know a little more about way #72 to earn more money, donating plasma. Head over to our comprehensive list to check out other ways you could earn more money in 2017! We will continue to try out and review these ways throughout the year for you. If we are missing something on the list and you want to see us review it shoot us an email or tweet (@WalletSquirrel)!

Cheers!

Adam

Holy Crap! Interest Checking Accounts are a Thing

Until two years ago I didn’t know there were such a thing as an Interest Checking Account. I had a standard Wells Fargo checking account for 12 years making me zero money. Literally zip, so imagine my surprise when I discovered there are checking accounts out there that pay you interest like a savings account.

What is an Interest Checking Account?

It’s essentially a regular checking account You can write checks, use debit cards or withdraw from ATMs but while your money is in the account, you’re earning interest like a savings account.

Interest Checking Account

Regular Checking Account vs. Interest Checking Account

How much can you earn in an Interest Checking Account?

It isn’t much, but better than zero. I have an account with Ally Bank and my Interest Checking Account makes 0.10% interest. To give you an idea. I keep around $4,000 in my checking account at all times. $2,000 is

To give you an idea. I keep around $4,000 in my checking account at all times. $2,000 is for my emergency fund and $2,000 for my monthly expenses. So that’s $4,000 sitting in my account making about 0.38 cents per month. See my Income Reports to see how it changes per month.

It’s not much, but over the last year, my Interest Checking Account made $3.66. That’s what I entered on my taxes last week.

My Personal History

Now $3.66 is more than I made on my Wells Fargo Checking Account, EVER! Keep in mind, I don’t mean to hate on Wells Fargo, but they simply never told me an Interest Checking Account was a thing.

They were like the cool kids in every high school (likely named Chazz). You wanted to hang out with them, even though you knew you they were dicks and there were better friends out there.

At Wells Fargo, if my checking account ever made interest, they kept it. Even my Wells Fargo Saving Account at 0.01% was earning less than my current Interest Checking Account. If I kept my $4,000 in Wells Fargo Savings Account for a year, I’d be left with $0.40 at the end of the year. THAT’S THEIR SAVINGS ACCOUNT!

Do a lot of Checking Accounts earn you interest?

Actually, most checking accounts I’ve encountered do not earn you interest. This is why I was so surprised when I discovered there are a few that do.

Many of my friends have a balance similar to mine with $4,000 in their account and some of my friends have up to $60,000 sitting in their checking account because they don’t know what to do with it. If you have that much, you should move it over to a savings account at least and hire a financial manager. I get the fear of the stock market, but there is no reason to keep that much in a checking account, especially not making you interest.

Conclusion

I’ve been wanting to do this post for a while now. It’s cool to share with people, who like me, didn’t know about Interest Checking Accounts. They exist! It’s not a lot of money, but it all adds up!

PS. I’m in no way sponsored by Ally Bank here. This is just my personal experience so far and if they start to F*!k up, you’ll hear about it

I hope I taught at least one person something new!

Here’s what happened when I spent $100 on Lottery Tickets

Last week I sold my guitar on Craigslist for $100. If you follow this blog then you know I would normally invest that $100 in my stock portfolio but I had a unique opportunity to disprove a popular way of making money, Lottery Tickets.

Personally I’m not a fan of Lottery Tickets or the lesser form, Scratch-It Tickets. I go by the understandable philosophy the HOUSE ALWAYS WIN. However I can’t just say Lottery Tickets are dumb, I have to prove it.

So I bought $100 of Lottery Tickets

It’s one of the funniest feelings in the world to walk into a Gas Station (Liquor Store/Gas Station for me) and lay down a crisp $100 bill to say I want $100 worth of Lottery Tickets. I assume his opinion of me was that of a Lottery Addict getting his next fix, but I maintained my grin of a 5 year old buying a box of Cracker Jacks hopping to get the secret decoder ring!

He asked me “what kind?”

Crap there are more than one? Well apparently yes. There were Mega Millions, Powerball, and Scratch-Its. There were so many Scratch Scratch-Its

To diversified my Lottery Ticket buying, I bought them all.

I ended up getting a wide assortment of Lottery Options. I bought $99 worth of Scratch It Tickets and one Mega Millions Ticket. I figured if I was going to win the Mega Millions, one ticket would just be as good as 100 if I factored odds. I had the hypothesis I’d win more with Scratch Its than the smaller odds of a Lottery Ticket.

I bought (2) $20 Scratch Its, (2) $10 Scratch Its, (4) $5 Scratch Its, (5) $3 Scratch Its and (2) $2 Scratch its along with a (1) $1 Mega Millions Lottery Ticket.

Buying-Lottery-Tickets

Here’s what $100 worth of Lottery Tickets look like.

Leaving the Gas Station, I felt like a kid exiting a toy store with a stash of loot. I knew the odds were against me, but damn it I COULD ACTUALLY WIN SOMETHING HERE.

I should say that the lottery is a game of luck. There is absolutely NO skill with these games. There are people that say you can tilt the odds in your favor with different strategies. I’m sorry, I don’t believe you. The lottery is like burning your money. It’s fun to do, but you’re left with nothing in the end.

Lottery Tickets are Hella Confusing

Here’s the thing, I remember the last time I did a Scratch-It Ticket at 10 years old, all I had to do was scratch a ticket and it told me whether I won or not. Now-a-days, there are Bingo and Crossword Scratch-Its that take forever and are very confusing to see whether you won or not. Even then you’re not entirely sure. After two hours of scratching tickets, I discovered I won $128. That’s freaking incredible. Yet when I turned in the tickets, I ended up actually winning $158 because one ticket had a secret 2x bonus. WTF. These should be simple. I’ll take the extra $30 but we should really be upfront and simple about these things.

I could have easily just bought the ticket and had the gas station clerk just scan the ticket to see if I won. There really is no reason to scratch them yourself I discovered. The games are entertaining if you’re bored, but in reality, they have no purpose. Once the ticket is bought, you can scan it and you’ll know exactly whether you won or not.

So I ended up winning $158

I was frankly shocked and didn’t expect to win anything. I was planning on sharing this experience to say Lottery Tickets will always loose. I’m happy I won $158, but could have just easily lost everything.

Here are the break down of the Lottery Tickets:

Lottery-Tickets-Cash-Winnings

Lottery Ticket Winning Amounts

  • Ticket Amount
  • $20 Scratch It Ticket
  • $20 Scratch It Ticket
  • $10 Scratch It Ticket
  • $10 Scratch It Ticket
  • $5 Scratch It Ticket
  • $5 Scratch It Ticket
  • $5 Scratch It Ticket
  • $5 Scratch It Ticket
  • $3 Scratch It Ticket
  • $3 Scratch It Ticket
  • $3 Scratch It Ticket
  • $3 Scratch It Ticket
  • $3 Scratch It Ticket
  • $2 Scratch It Ticket
  • $ Scratch It Ticket
  • How Much I Won
  • Won $50
  • Won $25
  • Lost
  • Lost
  • Won $5
  • Lost
  • Lost
  • Lost
  • Won $60
  • Won $3
  • Lost
  • Lost
  • Lost
  • Won $10
  • Lost
  • Winnings Compared to Ticket Price
  • 250%
  • 125%
  • 0%
  • 0%
  • 100%
  • 0%
  • 0%
  • 0%
  • 2000%
  • 100%
  • 0%
  • 0%
  • 0%
  • 500%
  • 0%

It appears what you win is directly proportional to the amount you spend on the ticket. That is kind of scary, you want to win big, you have to gamble big. I won most of my money on the two $20 tickets. The only exception was the $3 ticket that won 2000% of it’s ticket price at $60.

What Happens if You Invest that $158

Since Wallet Squirrel is all about earning extra money and investing it, let’s see what would happen over 20 years if you invested that $158 in dividend stocks. Let’s assume 7% Market Average with a 3% dividend.

  • 1 Year
  • $174.03
  • 5 Year
  • $251.62
  • 10 Year
  • $386.38
  • 20 Year
  • $849.02

Conclusion

I do see what those other Finance Bloggers are talking about when they say Scratch-Its and Lottery Tickets ARE A WAY to earn money. Yes, but it’s one of those stories you only hear from hearsay of your neighbor’s, friend’s, aunt who won that $10,000. It’s not something you can bank on happening to you.

YAY, I won but now what should I spend $158 on?

What Happens to Debt When You Die?

Three weeks ago, over a cold glass of some Colorado craft beer. A buddy asked me “What happens to debt when you die”. Now this wasn’t a morbid question, I’ve simply just become the personal finance guy in my little group of friends, and he wanted to know what happens. Awkwardly though, my response was, I have no freaking idea. You’ll be dead, why do care?

However this nagged at me and I’ve spent the last three weeks researching and creating a sick infographic to help him out. Reviewing articles by Nerd Wallet, US News Money and many more. I have a pretty good idea how this process of distributing wealth and collecting debt works, called “Probate”.

what-happens-to-debt-when-you-die-infographic

What’s in my Estate?

Your estate is essentially your net worth. This is made up of your home value, bank accounts, car, boat, RV and all your smaller assets as well such as paintings, flat screen tvs, etc. Essentially everything you have to your name, including your name. (source)

Your estate is everything you have, to pay off your debts first then distribute to your heirs as dictated in your Will. However some people don’t have enough money to pay off all their debt first, so I’m going to focus on what happens to your debt when you die that you can’t pay off.

Credit Card Debt – What If I Can’t Pay This When I Die?

Millions of Americans have credit card debt, so I was curious about this first. If you’re the only name on the card, the debt stops with you. So if you don’t have enough assets (money) to pay off your credit card debt. Then the Credit Card company simply has to take the loss and move on and your heirs aren’t responsible for paying it off. (source)

They can though, go after a “co-signer” on your credit card. So always be careful of co-signing anything. However if you’re just authorized to use the credit card, you’re not liable to pay off the debt because you’re not the actual owner of the credit card and don’t carry the financial liability.

Student Loan Debt – What If I Can’t Pay This When I Die?

If your estate can’t cover your student loan debt, then that’s where the buck stops. Unless you had a co-signer on the account, no one else including your heirs, are responsible for that debt.

It was interesting to hear though that according to Nerd Wallet, collection agencies may still legally contact your family members to “discuss” student loan debt, but they can’t mislead your heirs into thinking that they’re responsible for your student loan debt (source). Not sure why they would do this, unless they were trying to guilt your poor grandma into paying off your student loans for moral reasons. Those bastards. Be sure to send them a letter asking them to stop and request a read receipt.

Car Loan Debt – What If I Can’t Pay This When I Die?

This was interesting. If your estate can’t pay off your car loan debt then they can repossess your car. This makes since, it’s a tangible asset that can be taken back if not fully paid off. However whoever inherits the vehicle can just continue making payments on their inherited Ford Fiesta and the bank is unlikely to take any action as long as they continue to receive money. Remember it’s all just business. (source)

Home Loan Debt – What If I Can’t Pay This When I Die?

This is really the least of my concerns since I rent a studio loft downtown, but for some friends who recently bought a house, let’s chat. Due to the 1982 federal law, the surviving spouse may continue to make payments to the mortgage without having an issues (source). They can simply continue to make payments similar to how the recently deceased did or sell and keep the difference in monetary value.

Things get a little murky with mortgages with a “home equity line of credit”. These are usually payed off during the probate process but may involve selling the house if the your assets don’t cover the debt. If you’re worried about this, I highly recommend you consult a local attorney.

Is anything safe from debt collectors?

In my research, I’ve found a few things that appear to be safe from debt collectors. These are IRAs, 401(k)s, brokerage accounts, life insurance and pension plans that don’t go to probate, so they won’t be considered a part of your estate to pay off debt collectors. So your heirs may be left with something. (source)

Sometimes people get life insurance to help their loved ones (often co-signers) with the debt they leave behind. Since life insurance is exempt from some estates, it can be used by your heirs and loved ones with the burden of any debt you accumulated together.

Conclusion

In short, your debt belongs only to you, it is not passed on to your family when you pass. (source). As long as you didn’t have any co-signers for your Student Loans/Credit Card Loans and your estate can’t pay them, those debts die with you. Home Loans and Car Loans are tangible assets that can be taken back if not paid off or have someone take over the payments in order to keep them.

If this research taught me anything, it’s to be very aware of what I co-sign. Debt dies with the deceased, unless there’s a co-signer.