How To Create Profitable Affiliate Product Review Sites
Ready to learn how to create your own profitable affiliate product review site?
(FYI: This is the first chapter in the mega-guide "5 Ways To Create A Profitable Affiliate Site With Over 50 SuccessfulExamples".)
In this chapter we'll look at how you make your own affiliate review sites and make money from writing reviews of products.
Both have their merits and I will evaluate them both for you in-depth below...
Different Types of Affiliate Review Sites
There are 2 different types of review sites that are commom.
- Major authority sites reviewing a vast array of different products usually in a specific yet fairly broad category like 'technology' for example.
- Mini product review sites that focus around 1 VERY specific product or product type, i.e. 'best safety razor' and often link to Amazon products.
I have a problem with niche sites. My problem is that niche sites lend themselves to what I call 'small thinking'.
It’s a heck of a lot easier to grow a business than start an entirely new one.
If you’re not comfortable with holding onto your site long term, you don’t have to, you can still sell it, but potentially for even more.
Stop underselling yourself and start thinking big" - Dave Schneider, SelfMadeBusinessMan.com
Let's look at each of these site types in greater detail....
Major Authority Review Site
These authority sites are available all over the net covering an array of different categories.
The most well-known ones tend to focus on technology, laptops, cameras, tablets, smartphones, etc.
They review in-depth often over multiple pages the technology that's being featured including specs, comparison, readers reviews, and more.
With these sites, the aim is to create high-quality content that readers really trust, build a brand, develop trust and a relationship with your audience, keep your visitors on-site longer, and get repeat visits.
Not to simply draw in traffic and force a click over to the retailer.
Authority sites MUST deliver extreme value to the visitor and be seen as the go-to site in the niche. Poor content is not acceptable.
Pro's Of Authority Review Sites
- Build a long term brand that's memorable and known across the net.
- People trust your recommendations and become a follower so will visit time and time again.
- Can be expanded indefinitely to cover new categories and products.
- Repeat visitors who visit time and time again.
- Traffic not limited to search engines but from referrals from other sites, forums, blogs, social media and so on.
Con's Of Authority Review Sites
- A lot of work and constant updating needed to keep up with latest news and trends.
- Need a lot of knowledge and experience to write to the level of expertise needed.
- Not a set and forget model and involves a lot of time.
- Difficult to establish yourself as a player in the niche as tends to be over crowded.
(RELATED: Want to learn how to make income with affiliate marketing? Then check out NicheHacks Academy)
How These Sites Deliver Value
Authority review sites go above and beyond what the end retailer offers by giving in-depth reviews, comparisons, and analysis.
They also break trending news, offer competitions and editorial features and allow often customers to interact and review products.
They aren't designed just to force people to click through to the end retailer so they make an affiliate commission and most of their content isn't even monetized.
Content is high quality and usually written by a team of staff rather than one person.
The aim of these types of sites is to deliver real value to the end user so they continue to visit the site time after time.
It's a long term approach.
Find passionate freelance writers in your niche and outsource the writing to them for high quality content + to tap into their audience.
Example of Sites Following The Authority Review Model:
Here's the homepage of Cnet.com...
How You Can Create Your Own Authority Affiliate Review Site
These sites are VERY lucrative when successful.
First off you're going to have to find your niche.
Don't pick something vague like “technology” or something obvious like “laptops”.
A quick search for “technology reviews” or “best laptop” will show you there's a lot of competition and a ton of big names in the market.
Niche down and find something more focused and with less sites competition but without being too obscure.
You can find your perfect niche by using our 7 steps to finding your profitable niche.
The more specific you can be the better but don't go as specific as a 'mini niche review site' that only reviews 1 – 5 products.
You want your affiliate review site to be in a niche where there's a lot of product releases and news so you can continue to add new content.
Pick niches with endless product launches and high value products to promote so you never run out of products to feature.
What You'll Need To Get Started:
- Get some dedicated hosting (not cheap shared) – I use WP-Engine.
- Come up with a memorable and brandable domain not an 'exact match' – I use NameCheap.
- You'll need to build your email list to update your fans of new content and market to them – I use Aweber and they have a $1 trial.
- Download this product review theme from ThemeForest.
- Hire content writers who specialize in your niche, find them through niche forums, blogs, Gumtree and on sites like Elance.
- HIGH QUALITY content based around all the latest products in your niche – focusing on keywords like “best X”, “X review”, “best X for 2014” etc.
- A list of people in your niche to network with to generate traffic.
(RELATED: Discover the 7+ different affiliate marketing business blueprints in NicheHacks Academy)
Mini Product Review Site
Mini affiliate review sites are small very focused sites that exist only to promote one product or product type, i.e. “best safety razor” or “best double stroller” for example.
They typically won't be any more than 10 to 20 pages and consist of a product review, a comparison table, and a few other pieces of supporting content that links back to the main page.
Traffic primarily comes through ranking in search engines thanks to SEO and good keyword research.
These sites are one of the simplest to create though they are very limited in terms of growth, traffic, and income.
You might also find it difficult to rank in Google with a site like this as they don't offer enough value to the search user in their eyes (and I would agree).
Amazon is also becoming much stricter about small product review sites and is less likely to approve them for their affiliate program or ban them later for a minor infraction.
Avoid 'exact match domains' (ones that match your keyword). There's no SEO benefit & they limit your site in terms of growth.
Pros Of Mini Product Review Sites
- You don't have to spend a lot of time on content creation.
- The site doesn't need to be updated as often as a blog or other site.
- You aim to capture customers in “buying mode” through your keywords so there's less need to build up long term trust and a relationship.
Con's of Mini Product Review Sites
- Limited in scope – if the site takes off it's hard to expand due to the fact it's based around 1 product.
- Traffic often only available from search engines and not other sources so if Google doesn't rank you or rankings drop you're out of business.
- One time sales only as once the customer buys they're gone forever and have no need to come back to your site ever again, this is a difficult way to build a business.
- Unpredictable as there's no guarantee Google will rank your site or keep it ranked.
Even though your aim is to generate maximum commissions be sure to provide maximum value to your end user too.
How Mini Product Review Sites Deliver Value
Sites like these actually deliver a lot less value than the major reviews site and the other site types you're going to find out about later in the guide.
Content is usually biased in order to sell a product and it will be rare for the site owner or writer to have actually used the product.
Though if you honestly pick the highest rated and best reviewed products over the ones that pay the highest commissions and do your best to compare them fairly then there's some level of value for the end user.
If you're willing to go above and beyond and actually buy and use the products you'll be giving an increased customer experience and make more sales - something Dave Nicosia was willing to do for his sites.
"I spent almost $200 buying three of the top products in my niche. First I’m going to take tons of pictures and do a thorough real review of all 3 products.
Then after that I’m going to run a sweepstakes and give all three items away.
To promote my giveaway I’m going to reach out to a few hundred related blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts to let them know about it, and that it might be great for their audience.
My goal here is to get a bunch of natural backlinks and create a lot of buzz around my site and brand."
- Dave Nicosia of DaveNicosia.com
Real Life Examples Of Profitable Mini Affiliate Sites:
- aPennyShaved.com – one of the more famous mini niche sites by Spencer Haws of NichePursuits.com and his student Perrin reviewing the best safety razors [Earned $2,000+ p/m]
- Bestadjustabledumbbells.org – by niche site creator Tung Tang at CloudLiving.com [Sold for $10,000]
- DoubleStrollersGuide.com – Part of a niche site duel between Tung and Josh to see who could create the most profitable site. Josh won. [Earning: $1,200+ per month]
- Pickmyshaver.com – this site sold for over $60,000 on Flippa.com after generating over $8,000 p/m in affiliate commissions.
How You Can Create Your Own Mini Review Site
Whilst these sites are certainly easier to start and maintain than a bigger authority review site they aren't hands off, quick, or easy money.
Most niche marketers are reporting anywhere up to 6 months before seeing steady rankings and earnings from them currently.
Search out a very specific type of product (Amazon is a good place to start and they sell everything) that you want to create a site around.
You'll also have to find high volume buyer keywords with low SEO competition that you are sure you can rank for – LongTailPro is the niche marketers tool of choice.
Then begin to build out your site with good quality content reviewing and comparing the product.
It may take up to 6 months for your site to rank so be patient and don't be too aggressive with your link building due to lack of progress.
What You'll Need To Get Started
- Get some reliable hosting so that your site doesn't go down at critical moments – I use WPEngine.
- A domain name from NameCheap that suits the product you're promoting but avoid using trademarks and pick something that isn't too limiting and that sounds like a brand.
- A simple theme like this niche site theme
- Content to include your main keywords though make sure it's written for your visitors and not just for search engines – written by yourself or outsourced to Elance.
- Good on-page SEO and high-quality backlinks.
- If you can't gain links naturally from other websites in your niche you'll need to look into Private Blog Networks and other advanced link building strategies
Summary of the Affiliate Review Site Model
That's an overview of the affiliate review sites model.
Both have pros and cons's as you can see.
Larger sites tend to have more room for expansion and growth than the smaller sites but that's not to say smaller sites can't be expanded if built correctly.
So if going mini-site originally try and avoid a domain which limits you too much, i.e. aPennyShaved.com is better than bestsafetyrazor.com as the later is very specific.
aPennyShaved.com is also a brilliantly clever name and totally brandable so can easily be turned into a shaving authority site.
Come up with cool names like this.
Smaller sites tend to also be limited in where you can get traffic from and draw it solely from the search engines as it's hard to market such an ultra-niche site that focuses just around one product review.
Small sites also don't have much repeat traffic as there's no reason for a visitor to return time and time again. All solid business models are built on repeat sales so this makes it a tricky model.
Overall if you insist on building a 100% affiliate site around product reviews I would recommend you choose to go for a larger style, authority site, and create a brand over simply throwing together a generic site that reviews a handful of products.
Remember this post is part of a mega-guide"5 Ways To Create A Profitable Affiliate Site With Over 50 Successful Examples".