Those of you who are involved in the internet marketing niche may have heard of Chris Guthrie. Chris is widely known for his experience with the Amazon affiliate program. He’s made a huge amount of money with Amazon over the last few years and has a successful book on the subject too.
In addition to running a fantastic blog, Chris has moved into software products over the last few years. He also has a popular podcast on making money online.
Chris kindly agreed to answer some questions for you all today. I hope you enjoy the interview
For the benefit of those who don’t know you, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in affiliate marketing?
I’ve been making money with websites and various other monetization methods full time since late 2009 and did really well with Amazon’s affiliate program starting in early 2009 (that was one of my more successful methods early on).
One of your first websites was a video game forum. How did you make the transition from the video gaming niche to internet marketing?
I shifted away from forums when I wasn’t making enough money from them. That’s when I tried out Amazon affiliate program in early 2009. When I lost my job in late 2009 I was making more than my full time income from Amazon, Adsense and other programs so I started a blog that I wrote in my spare time: Make Money On The Internet.
Did your success online happen quickly or was it a gradual thing?
No it took me a long time to really get on the right path. I first started with video game forums as a hobby in college but with the hope to make money from them but that was back in 2005 and I continued making websites on the side while working a full time job first at Microsoft and later as a sales rep for a couple years. Ultimately what helped me break through was shifting towards thinking about the type of traffic that would be most valueable and that’s when I shifted towards building websites around buyer keywords. For example I sold one of these sites in a six figure deal in 2010.
You’re well known within the internet marketing niche for your blog MakeMoneyOnTheInternet.com. How important has your blog been to your ongoing success?
I think it’s helped with being able to have an audience that I can market the software I’ve had built. But if I didn’t have the blog I’d probably have just spent more time doing rather than teaching, and frankly that’s why I wrote half as many blog posts in 2012 as I did in 2011. I wanted to spend more time doing stuff rather than talking about doing it. Mini rant: That’s the big problem with marketing blogs. They spend so much of their time and effort on blogging they don’t really ever have time to actually do stuff. Anyway…
Can you tell us more about your success with Amazon and your popular book ‘How to Make Money as an Amazon Associate‘?
With Amazon I’ve made a nice chunk of change with it (both from the actual affiliate commissions and selling some successful sites). So I wanted to write down everything I’d learned and put it into a book for sale. I offered it for free for the first few days as a thank you to past customers and blog readers and it was downloaded about 3,000 times. But ultimately the internet marketing niche is really small when compared to more main stream markets so if you really want to make money with Kindle books I suggest going after those main stream markets (here’s a link to the income results from my book sales).
I’m a big fan of your Podcast. Can we expect more episodes this year?
Yah I want to do more podcast episodes but it always comes back to deciding whether or not to be teaching or doing. Frankly I get bored with one and then focus on the other and most of last year I was focused on doing. I’ve never wanted my blog to be a huge chunk of my income so I don’t spend as much time on it or my podcast. So most of what I share on my blog is just based on my experiences. I will do more episodes though as I have more successes or mistakes that I think are valuable enough to share.
Your latest project is the WordPress plugin Simple Azon. What does the plugin do and why did you want to develop the plugin?
It’s an Amazon affiliate plugin that focuses on the two main ways to make money with Amazon through in content text and image based affiliate links. I’ve never sold a piece of software for less than $10 so for the first few weeks we offered it at this price although we’ve since increased the price. Ultimately all of the software I’ve sold is based on pain points I’ve found in my own business and trying to solve those pain points through the creation of software that will help me that I know other people have as well. Just like what I did with Pinterest. I found a huge spike in traffic from Pinterest on one of the websites in my portfolio that gave me a big spike in Adsense income for that day so I created software to help encourage more pins.
You’ve spoke about how you wish you had left the video game niche sooner as it isn’t profitable enough. Do you think you’ll ever think you’ll ever create a video game related website again? Could you make a video game website profitable or are the rewards not worth the time and money you would have to invest in it?
Answer HereI don’t think I’ll go back into the niche again. Just like the year I spent at Microsoft as a game tester I realized that just because I like games doesn’t mean I need to work on them because sometimes working in an industry that you love might actually bring you further from that passion. For example I had to commute roughly 50 minutes each way to get to that job and I made really bad money so I had less time and less money. Less time to play games when I got home and less money to spend on life. When I took a sales job I made about 3x as much money and lived closer to the job so when I’d get home from work there I’d have more time to play games I wanted to (instead of the one I was working on) and more money to pay for things. This is a great article from Seth Godin entitled ‘Doing what you love (but maybe you can’t get paid for it)‘ thats somewhat talks about what I said (although he said a bit differently).
What has been your biggest success and your biggest failure?
Biggest success would have to be a toss up between my Amazon websites and my software business. I’ve made a lot of money from both and although I’ve focused on software a bit more in 2012 I just like the ability to be able to work on what I’m excited about and to be able to make money from either option. I’ve had so many failures that I should actually record a podcast on just that actually ha ha.
You’ve been working online for nearly 8 years now. What piece of advice would you give to anyone who is just starting working online?
Picking a niche to operate in is important, but even more important is how you position yourself in that marketplace. Being another “me too” entry is pointless. You need to differentiate yourself from your competition in some way. Perhaps that’s the way you write your content differently than others or the way your product can solve problems others are having. Too many people look for the easy way out which is why their attempts to succeed generally fall flat.