The affiliate marketing industry is expected to reach $6.8 billion this year with no signs of slowing down.
It's proven to be one of the most profitable sides hustles there is, with many "side hustlers" quickly moving to full-time.
To get started creating your own affiliate marketing website, we've assembled this five-part, comprehensive guide.
We're going to break down, step-by-step, five different affiliate website types to showcase strategies proven to work.
We'll show you exactly how each type approaches affiliate marketing differently, demonstrations of strategies in action, and the information you need to set one up.
You’ll learn which affiliate site makes the most sense for your personal goals and discover the step-by-step processes to bring your affiliate business to life.
Using this Guide to Build Your Affiliate Site
Ready to get started? First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page.
If you’ve found your way to this guide, we’re going to trust that you have a basic understanding of affiliate marketing. You likely know what it is and how it’s used by brands and affiliates.
That foundational knowledge is what will set this guide apart from anything you’ve read on the topic. We aren’t going to waste time talking about high-level affiliate marketing philosophies and approaches.
Instead, we’re cutting the fluff and getting down to the specific steps you need to take to start making a meaningful affiliate income today.
Each of the chapters within this guide will provide actionable steps for you to execute in order to bring your affiliate site to life and grow your affiliate revenue stream.
We want you to be successful. The only way we know how to make that a reality is to break everything down into bite-sized, actionable instructions that you can follow.
Let’s dive into the different types of affiliate marketing sites you can create. Under each section is a link to a chapter that explains the steps needed to bring that type of site to life.
Affiliate Review Sites
One of the most common affiliate marketing strategies is launching an affiliate review site.
Affiliate review sites feature product reviews that are primarily published by the site owner and his or her team of content writers.
These product reviews highlight the product's core features, functionality, and failings. They outline the pros and cons of the products and give the reader a final recommendation of whether or not they should make the purchase.
They also include an affiliate link which, when clicked, earns the affiliate review site's owner a tidy commission.
Sometimes these sites will aggregate customer reviews to provide a comprehensive database of product feedback, experiences, and recommendations.
Affiliate review sites are effective because…
Modern consumers are increasingly reliant on third-party recommendations from people who A) Are unbiased and B) Have actually used the product they're recommending.
In fact, more than 81% of buyers conduct research before they purchase.
So, since they’re already searching for these reviews, you need to make sure you deliver.
Affiliate review sites can focus on a wide assortment of related products or exclusively on a niche market and the products within that category.
For example, Wirecutter is an affiliate review site that focuses on daily deals and reviews for a wide variety of products, including electronics, home and garden, kitchen and dining, appliances and more.
Wirecutter is estimated to bring in more than $10-20 million per year in revenue from affiliate marketing and advertisements.
The key for Wirecutter (and you) is the consistent production of quality, relevant review content that attracts potential buyers.
By optimizing your site for search, you can reach a wide or niche audience searching for your reviewed products…
While reviews may be the top-searched content for prospective buyers, blogs aren't far behind. With approximately 60% of people reading a blog post before they purchased a featured product, affiliate blogs are a lucrative option for your next affiliate investment.
Affiliate blog sites are effective because…
A good affiliate blog has the potential to showcase a wide range of products, providing more opportunities for affiliate links across many different industries.
For instance, blog owners can become an affiliate partner with Amazon and include affiliate links for nearly any product they mention (and Amazon’s affiliate program offers affiliate rates for up to 10% of the purchase).
How do affiliate blogs differ from review websites?
Affiliate blogs differ because the focus of the blog can be on you or a specific lifestyle (rather than the products themselves).
This can make the site more personal and intriguing, while still providing valuable information.
For example, Tom’s Guide is a blog that provides insight into phone, TV and security product reviews.
He doesn’t just stop with reviews, though. He writes news articles and other posts that his audience is interested in.
Within the various posts about topics on the site, you can find affiliate links to businesses and products that Tom has partnered with.
Want to have your own site like Tom’s? Get ready to put in the work.
The most successful bloggers generate revenue through affiliate marketing start by launching a blog about a lifestyle, industry, or topic they are excited about.
The blogger will dig deep into the topic, mentioning related topics along the way, and start to grow a follower base of like-minded subscribers. They're active on social media and are often as many influencers as they are affiliate marketers.
When you start to grow your following, you can build your blog into a profitable affiliate site.
Niche Price Comparison Sites
Niche price comparison sites focus on a specific industry and the creation of content that compares two products. Each article has a long-tail focus keyword often following the format: “Product A vs. Product B.”
For example, eCommerce Platforms wrote an article entitled, “BigCommerce vs. Shopify (Aug 2020): The Ultimate Comparison.”
This targeted the keyword phrase “BigCommerce vs. Shopify'' which many eCommerce customers are interested in (and has a monthly search volume of 4,500).
Affiliate comparison sites are effective because…
Customers that are confused about which products to buy genuinely value the information they are receiving.
In most cases, the purchase doesn’t just come down to the price. Customers want the right product that fits their needs.
A recent study found that 73% of customers will ignore the cheaper product and buy a more expensive product if it was recommended by someone they trust.
But how will interested customers find your site?
As long as your site is optimized for search engines, you can build a substantial subscriber base that eager companies will want to reach.
Quick SEO tip:
Targeted niche markets are easier to rank within, as the topics they focus on are aligned around specific focus keywords that might be less competitive.
There’s a lot of traffic generated for comparison searches, too. In fact, Google keyword searches with “best” in them have grown 125% on mobile in the past year.
By looking for the “best” products or services, shows that customers are seeking comparison and ranked content for specific topics.
More than 68% of consumers consult coupon websites before making a purchase. And Chrome plugin Honey (which automatically searches for coupons when you shop online) has more than 10,000,000 users.
Affiliate coupon sites are effective because…
They are easy to maintain and (due to less content creation than other affiliate site types) have a lower barrier-to-entry for affiliates.
And they enable you to provide consumers with the opportunity to save money while you make it.
They work by aggregating affiliate links for a wide variety of popular, discounted products. They include product and company pages with updated coupon codes that users can add to their cart during the checkout process of various sites.
As online shopping continues to skyrocket, the act of seeking and applying digital coupons has quickly become the norm, with more than 75% of consumers using paperless coupons when purchasing.
With that much interest from consumers, coupon sites are actively being sought out by consumers from all over the world.
They’re easy to set up and simple to maintain.
How do they work?
Each product page on your site will contain a coupon code and an affiliate link that the potential buyer can click in order to head to the website and make the purchase.
When they click the link, they’ll enter the brand’s site and complete the transaction. Then, you’ll earn an affiliate commission off that sale since you led the customer to their site.
RetailMeNot is a popular coupon site that makes money off of affiliate marketing, advertising, and various other tactics.
By positioning your site as the go-to place for discounts, you’ll build a loyal following that will convert after clicking the affiliate links, you host.
Unusual Product Sites
More than 37% of consumers said they have discovered a brand, product, or service on a search engine that they ended up purchasing.
When you don’t know what you’re shopping for, sometimes it’s just fun to browse.
And that's where unusual product sites come in.
An unusual product site is an engaging way to capture users’ attention while driving affiliate marketing revenue. These types of sites aggregate and review a random assortment of miscellaneous products that might interest anyone.
For example, Wallet Burn highlights wacky and crazy products that everyone will love. For instance, here's an example of a listing for a device that plugs your iPhone directly into the wall to charge:
With plenty of interesting, unusual products showcased on your homepage, consumers will be intrigued and explore your site looking for birthday gift ideas or random treats for themselves.
Just because your site isn’t targeted to a specific niche doesn’t mean it won’t be successful.
Consumers often make impulse purchases, and unusual product sites favor that type of shopping behavior.
Unusual product sites are effective because of…
Over 88% of Americans say they've made an impulse purchase, with an average spend of $81.75 per session. And it's these impulse purchases which will be the ones that earn you affiliate revenue.
Another reason unusual product sites are lucrative is that the content is so easily shareable.
Innovative and unique products that intrigue people will often get shared on various social media sites, expanding your exposure and luring in new potential buyers.
This affiliate website type will grow your affiliate revenue simply by focusing on delivering great, unusual content that your readers crave.