Making Extra Money Part 3: Product Selection

When you’re setting up a niche site, you need to monetize it.  You need to have a way to make money, or it’s a waste of time.

There are two main ways to do that:  AdSense or product promotion.   To set up an AdSense site, you write a bunch of articles, post them on a website with some Google ads, and wait for the money to roll in.

I don’t do that.

I don’t own a single AdSense site and have never set one up.  This article is not about setting up an Adsense site.

My niches site are all product-promotion sites.  I pick a product–generally an e-book or video course–and set up a site dedicated to it.

Naturally, picking a good product is an important part of the equation.

The most important part of product selection is that the product has an affiliate program. Without that, there’s no money to be made.     There are a lot of places to find affiliate programs.     Here are a few:

  • Amazon.   If you don’t live in one of the states that Amazon has dropped in retaliation for passing laws that attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court’s ruling on collecting sales tax, you can sign up as an associate and collect a commission on every referral you send that turns into a purchase.   That means you have a lot of product to choose from.   Unfortunately, your commission is small, so you need to promote fairly expensive products to get a decent return.   On the other hand, people trust Amazon, so that’s one less hurdle to making a sale.
  • Commission Junction.   These are the people managing affiliate programs for a large number of credit cards and banks.  If you’ve opened an account with INGDirect through one of my links, I got a commission for the referral. (Thank you!)   They have a lot of other products, too.
  • e-Junkie.  This one is a popular distribution system for bloggers.   It’s likely that, if you’ve bought an ebook from a blogger, e-Junkie handled the fulfillment process.   A lot of the products available there have an affiliate program, but that is up to the owner of the product.
  • ClickBank.  My favorite.   This is one of the largest affiliate networks specializing in electronic products, whether that’s membership sites, ebooks, or video courses.   Commissions are good, often 50-75%.   They also offer a 60 day guarantee of every product sold through their site, which helps soothe the wary customer.  This is the site I’ll be using for this series.

The first thing you need to do is sign up for whichever program you intend to use.

If you’re not going with Clickbank, feel free to skip ahead to the section on keyword research.

Once you are signed up and logged in, click on the “Marketplace” link at the top of the screen.


From here, it’s just a matter of finding a good product to sell.   Here are the niches we’re going to be looking for:

  • Back pain
  • Bankruptcy
  • Conflict resolution at work
  • Detox diets
  • Fat kids
  • Foreclosure avoidance
  • Job hunting
  • Weddings
  • Writing sales copy

I’m going to look for one or two good products in each niche.  When that’s done we’ll narrow it down by consumer demand.

For now, go to advanced search.


Enter your keyword, pick the category and set the advanced search stats.     Gravity is the number of affiliates who have made sales in the last month.  I don’t like super-high numbers, but I also want to make sure that the item is sellable.  Over 10 and under 50 or so seems to be a good balance.

The average sale just ensures that I’ll make a decent amount of money when someone buys the product.   I usually aim for $25 or more in commissions per sale.  Also, further down, check the affiliate tools box.    That means the seller will have some resources for you to use.

This combination will give us 36 products to check out for back pain, unfortunately, none of the results are for back pain products.    After unchecking the affiliate tools and setting the gravity to greater than 1,  I’ve got 211 results.    Sorting by keyword relevance, I see three products, two of which look like something I’d be interested in promoting.   One has a 45% commission, the other is 55%.  The X-Pain Method has an initial commission of $34 and claims a 5% refund rate.   Back Pain, Sciatica, and Bulging Disc Relief pays $16, which will make it a potentially easier sale.  I’ll add both to the list for further research.

I’m not going to detail the search for the rest of the niches.  That would be repetitive.  You can see my selections here:

Now we’re going to go through a few steps for each of these products.

The Sales Page

We need to make sure the sales page doesn’t suck.    If the site doesn’t work, is hard to read or navigate, has a hard-to-find order button, or just doesn’t look professional, it’s getting cut.

  • Raw Foods is eliminated.  The sales video is horrible and the order link is at the bottom of several screens worth of nothing.  It’s a crap site.
  • The 7 day foreclosure-avoidance product is out.  Site’s down today.  I want reliability.
  • Management Training By The Book is out.  I don’t like typos on the sales page, especially in the page title.

The Email List

If it has an email subscription form, we’ll need to subscribe, then double-check to make sure our affiliate information isn’t getting dropped in the emails.   If it is, the seller is effectively stealing commissions.  In the interest of time and laziness, I’m going to eliminate anyone pushing for an email subscription.  It’s harder–and time-consuming–to monitor that.  On of my niche site had a seller completely drop their product.  Instead, they pushed for email subscriptions so they could promote other products as an affiliate.  Absolutely unethical.

  • Wedding speeches is eliminated for  throwing a mandatory email entry into the order process.  There’s no guarantee they are up to anything shady, but I’m taking the simple route.

Checkout and Credit

Finally, we’re going to visit the checkout page.  You need to do this from every links in the newsletter and the links on the sales page, just to make sure you’ll get your money.

The way to tell who’s being credited is to look at the bottom of the order page, under the payment information.   It should say [affiliate = xxx] where xxxis your ClickBank ID.   Anything else, and the product gets cut from the list.

When you are checking these, don’t click on every possible link at once.  That confuses the cookies. Do one at a time.  I tried to do it in one batch for this post and lost half of the cookies.  If it weren’t for the fact that I already own one of the products and bought it through my own link and got credited, I would have been talking undeserved trash about thieving companies.

Other Factors

Sometimes, when you’re examining a product, it just doesn’t feel right.  When that happens, drop it.  There are millions of other products you can promote.   In this case, I’m dropping the anger management program because, in my experience, angry people don’t think they are the problem.  Here’s a life tip:  If everyone else is a jerk, the problem probably isn’t everyone else.

  • Another important factor is the sales page itself.  If it doesn’t make you want to buy the product, why would anyone else?
  • Amazing Cover Letters is eliminated because it’s too easy to overlook the buy link.  If I have to hunt for it, it’s losing customers.
  • Amazing Wedding Planning is getting eliminated because I don’t like the sales page.  The buy link is easy to overlook, and it doesn’t compel me to buy.

Now we’re down to 10 products in 6 niches.    At this point, we’re comfortable with the sales pages and we know that they are crediting commissions.   As it stands right now, all of the products are worth promoting.

We’ll make the final determination after doing some heavy keyword research in the next installment.   That’s where we’ll find out how hard it is to compete.

Any questions?

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    1. This is full of resources. Like to more about mainly off line extra income routes, like setting up day care organizing classes about your master skills etc

    2. Wow. Great step by step guide. I want to get more into developing niche sites around a particular product so I will definitely need this.

    3. I book marked this page. I love how great your content and instructions are!

    4. I have never really gotten into the affiliate marketing thing, but have to admit it is fascinating. Those who know how to do it right seem to make out well with it.

    5. Holy moly! It’s sad, but I don’t usually get to learn much from reading blogs lately…this was full of stuff I didn’t know! I am just now starting to grow my own affiliate sales and I really appreciate the help!

    6. Really interesting stuff! I’m going to check Clickbank out now – haven’t really looked into affiliate income yet, but it might be time. Just tried Commission Junction though, and couldn’t see a clear path to signing up?

    7. You’ve got a lot of good information in here. All of my niche site thus far have been Adsense based. I am very tempted to make my next effort center around a particular product. My biggest thing is to find something that I can really stand behind and promote. The last thing I want to do is promote something I can’t believe in.


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