Interview With Amazon Affiliate Will From Golf Insider $3000PM

Interview With Amazon Affiliate
Will From Golf Insider UK

Interview With Amazon Affiliate Will From Golf Insider

In this interview we talk to Will from Golf Insider UK, he's had some serious issues with negative SEO attacks but his website is back ranking and banking!

Welcome to our humble little blog. Firstly can you tell us a bit about your self?

Will Shaw
33, live in England
Previous life as a golf pro and coach. I’m currently attempting to finish a PhD, alongside lecturing at university and working in elite sport. I love playing sport, cooking and travelling.

Tell us about your website and don't worry theres no shame in a little self-promotion here!

I first set up Golf Insider UK in January 2018. As a golf pro, I was saddened by how poor the advice was for golfers searching online, Golf Insider UK is my attempt to rectify this. The site is continually evolving, but the overall aim is to build the world’s best resource for golfers wanting to get better.

What made you decide to start an Amazon affiliate website?

I had just set up Golf Insider UK as a fun project and was listening to podcasts talking about building affiliate and authority sites. My first attempt at an affiliate article on the site was a geeky golf coaches guide on buying golf training aids, I was quite surprised when readers began leaving comments thanking me and it started to generate affiliate income.

Is this your first Amazon affiliate website or are you fairly experienced at this?

First attempt – I’ve screwed up lots and am still learning every month. However, I love problem solving and building stuff. The Authority Hacker Podcast and a lot of Matt Diggity’s content has been really useful in learning the how-to for building affiliate content. I feel a key advantage I had is that I really know the niche and products; as I have 13 years’ experience as a golf pro and coach.

In this your full-time income or do you have a 9-5 too?

I've spent the past 18 months building Golf Insider UK at evenings and weekends. But it has now grown enough that I’m dedicating 3 days a week to it, with another 2 finishing my PhD and dabbling in a little lecturing.

Do you have any other online ventures currently running?

No other online ventures. I love teaching at university and working with elite athletes. The combination of working in elite sport, then writing online really keeps my skills sharp and one tends to compliment the other.

What do you feel is the best quality of your website?

The quality of the content. My USP is bringing my knowledge as a golf pro and sport scientist to this space. I think I’ve also got quite good at on-page SEO, but I would say I’m still an absolute novice at technical SEO and link building.

Where does most of your traffic come from?

85% organic traffic, predominantly from the US. Also, my informational content on golf performance gets shared frequently on golfing forums. Now and again this leads to a really nice spike in traffic and some backlinks. I’m currently working on diversifying my traffic sources now I have a little more time to dedicate to the site.

Any little SEO tips you think Amazon affiliates would benefit from?

Solid key word research and article planning are the difference between making a few pennies and some actual affiliate income. Once that is in place it is about refining the one thousand 1%’s – clear and useful headers, optimising key word density, covering related topics within the article etc. The affiliate space is getting more competitive and professional every year. I do feel becoming a true expert or trusted sources within your niche is going to matter more in the coming years.

If you do have a decent social following how did you grow it?

To date, I haven’t focused on growing a social follow, I have around 5,000 followers in total across platforms. When I set up Golf Insider UK I decided to focus on one traffic source and to really execute well; for me this was SEO. I’m currently tinkering on Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube. My aim is to select one and see how much I can grow that channel in the next 6-12 months. Each social platform is very different. My advice for anyone trying to grow a following is to really consider – why is this individual on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook… is it a distraction? Are they searching for answers? Do they want to be entertained? Once you have the why you can begin to look at how you fulfil that need with your content.

In terms of SEO are you a white hat or a black hat?

A novice white hat – the weakest part of my site currently is the off-page SEO and link building. To date, I haven’t prioritised it but that is changing now I have more time. Over the summer the site got hit hard with some negative SEO. Within a 2-week period 80 spammy sites from Indian and 10 – 20 PBNs, on expired domains, all linked to Golf Insider UK. My rankings and traffic crashed, after a lot of disavowing I’m beginning to recover, but for this reason I feel it is important to know about both white hat and black hat SEO.

Have you ever had a Google penalty? If so what for and did you manage to fix it?

Luckily no – the story above is the closest scare I’ve had. How do you plan to grow your website going forward? My aim is to build Golf Insider UK into a world-wide brand. I have more written content to create for affiliate key words and informational content around golf performance, the latter I monetise with ads. From there, the aim is to expand into video content on Youtube and build more tools and resources to help golfers get better. I really like having a mix of revenue from affiliate income, ads and selling products. I’m not planning to outsource content production, as I enjoy producing it. However, as the site grows, I am looking to work with designers and videographers to provide a better user experience.

Do you outsource any tasks? If so which ones?

Not currently, based on previous start-up experiences I really wanted to bootstrap this project and keep it as lean as I could. This has worked well, but I do now feel I need to invest a little more and look to outsource some tasks.

Have you ever been banned from the Amazon affiliate program, if so what for?

No - luckily. When I started making some larger sums with Amazon Associates I did jump into their terms and conditions to double check I was doing everything correctly. It is worth a read, not using their API to pull images is a common affiliate rookie error and possible reason for getting banned. Do you feel its important to be passionate about your chosen niche or do you think great content can be created either way? Yes and no – if you are already passionate about the niche it will be far easier to research, learn and create great content. However, the areas people are passionate about are often niches that are really competitive. There are still so many under- fulfilled niches out there that are dull and boring on the surface – I feel becoming successful within a niche can probably increase your passion for it. What do you wish you'd know now because (before) you started your website? More on how to properly structure a site. It is very difficult to consider what a website will look like in 12 months time when you’ve never built a website before. Planning content in advance and thinking about content hubs would have been useful. I also wish I had started link building and outreach sooner. However, I feel I’ve done pretty well on 10 – 15 hours a week I’ve had to build the site.

Our readers love stats. Would you be willing to share any?

Well… this is a sore subject. Before a hit of negative SEO and then a Google update I was up to 5-6,000 reads a day and reaching 100,000 golfers a month. That has now dropped to 50% to 2-3,000 reads a day. At the time of writing this I’m about to hit 1,000,000 reads in 2019 which seemed like a crazy goal at the start of 2019. The average time on page for 2019 is 4 minutes 25 seconds, I like to use this as a rough guide for how engaging the content is, longer times aren’t always better, but this metric, along with bounce rate are useful for targeting pages that need some work.

Feel free to decline this question because its a little sensitive but would you be willing to share your rough earnings the site is making you per month?

The site generates 4-figures of income a month (vague I know). I think I have a plan that could push it to 5-figures a month over the coming 18-24 months (if I’m lucky). The current break down in revenue is 40% affiliate income, 40% ad income with Mediavine (they are amazing) and 20% products – I sell a Golf Performance Diary on Amazon.

Do you have an exit strategy?

I'm keen to grow the site over the next few years. In the future, I would be keen to build a second content site focusing on healthy ageing and rehabilitation. This is the area of my PhD and I would love to see if I can add value to the space. However, I know this is a competitive space, so I’m sticking to golf for now.

And finally is there anything else you feel like your fellow Amazon affiliates would benefit from knowing?

A few resources I wish I had when I was starting: Authority Hacker Podcast – they put out some great content. I think I binge-listened to 20 – 30 of their earlier shows when I started Golf Insider UK and found them really helpful:

Matt Diggity – His site has some great guides for affiliates, and his monthly SEO round up is well worth signing up for if you have an established site:

If you feel like this post would help other Amazon affiliates we'd love a share!

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