Building a price comparison site is a popular method of monetizing a website with affiliate marketing. And they can be incredibly lucrative when done right.
You may already be familiar with price comparison websites like Priceline or PriceGrabber, and competing with those sites is pointless. Their domain authority, backlinks and existing traffic are too dominant for most affiliate marketers to compete with.
But these sites are in highly competitive niches.
There aren't that many price comparison websites in smaller niches, which means there's an opportunity for you to move into untapped markets and build a profitable income stream.
But how exactly does a price comparison website work? How can you build one and monetize it with affiliate marketing and sales?
In this article, we’ll provide an in-depth look at price comparison websites and look at some examples you can draw inspiration from. We’ll also look at the exact steps to get started and be successful.
What is a Price Comparison Website?
A price comparison website is a site that aggregates pricing information for products, allowing shoppers to easily compare prices in one place.
Price comparison websites also allow online shoppers to compare and filter products based on features, reviews, pricing, and other criteria.
It’s not surprising that these types of websites are popular given that 80% of consumers do online price comparisons.
One important distinction is that price comparison websites don’t actually sell anything. They only collect data and display prices with (affiliate) links to those merchants.
Pros and Cons of Price Comparison Websites
Whether you decide to start a price comparison website is up to you, but it’s important to consider the pros and cons first.
Don’t need to spend as much time on content creation
Extremely lucrative business model when done right
Plenty of untapped markets available (e.g., shoes, beer, etc.)
Niches like travel and finance are dominated by huge brand names, so competing with them requires sizable resources
Requires more steps than a typical affiliate blog — You’ll need to sign up to different retailers and ensure prices display in real-time
- Not as easy to rank in Google unless you provide additional value, such as in-depth reviews, consumer guides, etc.
How Price Comparison Websites Deliver Value
It’s not hard to see the appeal of price comparison websites. Who wouldn’t want to get the best possible deal on a purchase?
63% of shoppers perform a quick search on Google to see if they can find a product for a better price. You can tap into this motivating factor by creating your own price comparison website.
But there’s an important caveat here — You need to offer value. Examples can include offering in-depth reviews, downloadable templates, actionable guides, and more on your site.
Listing product prices just won’t cut it and creating a comparison-shopping website like that is unlikely to attract much organic traffic.
Examples of Price Comparison Websites
Price comparison websites are extremely lucrative. But what if you’ve never created one before?
Here are some examples you can draw inspiration from when building your own comparison shopping engine.
Let’s look at a price comparison site with products:
Shopzilla compares prices from different online retailers for electronics, home appliances, clothing, jewelry, and more.
The product comparison site allows visitors to search for a product and see how much different retailers are offering it. Here’s an example of a price comparison for a Nikon mirrorless camera:
Visitors can click a link to that retailer and complete their purchase. Shopzilla earns a commission for the referral and the shopper saves some money in the process.
Price comparison sites aren’t limited to physical products.
Consumers also use such sites to compare prices for financial services:
NerdWallet is a personal finance site that offers a price comparison tool for a range of financial products like credit cards, personal loans, and more.
Here’s a table that helps visitors compare rates from different car insurance companies:
NerdWallet also provides a ton of useful information on its site like this guide on Roth IRAs:
In contrast, Shopzilla only provides pricing information for comparison shopping. It would’ve been helpful if they provided guides on mirrorless cameras and how they compare to other cameras like DSLRs.
Let’s look at one more example in a different niche:
Wine-Searcher allows shoppers to compare product prices and check the availability of wines, beers, and spirits to stores near them.
Wine-Searcher even has an exhaustive encyclopedia of different regions around the world that produce wine.
Wine lovers can use this resource to learn more about the regions where their favorite wines are produced.
Let’s look at how pricing strategies work for these types of sites.
How Pricing Strategies Work on Price Comparison Websites
Pricing strategies are about finding the right balance — Set prices too high and you risk losing customers but set them too low and you’ll go out of business.
Setting the right prices is important whether you’re selling a product or offering a service. But things are fairly straight on price comparison apps.
Consumers are savvy enough to know that they can find better deals online. 49.2% of internet users shop on Amazon because they can get the cheapest deal.
With a price comparison website, you’re displaying pricing options from different retailers and allowing visitors to find the best deals.
You can also display prices for lower-end and higher-end products to help consumers with their purchasing decisions.
Here’s an example of how this might look:
As an affiliate, you’ll make a commission whether that visitor purchases from Amazon or another retailer (as long as you add your affiliate links).
The pricing strategy you choose should reflect your target market — If you’re targeting broke students, you’ll want to showcase affordable options and exclusive deals.
But keep in mind that higher-end items mean greater commissions per sale.
Check out our guide on 24 High-Ticket Affiliate Programs + Strategies for Success for proven methods on how to embrace high-ticket affiliate marketing.
Now, let’s look at how you can make a price comparison website and turn it into an income stream.
How to Make a Price Comparison Website
There aren’t that many niche comparison sites from what I’ve seen. That’s good news as you can make your own price comparison site in an untapped niche and bring in a solid income.
Let’s look at how.
1. Pick a Niche
The first step is to find a niche.
Look for a niche that has a low barrier of entry and a decent search volume. It should also have some eCommerce activity and products that people shop online for deals.
Here are some qualities of a good niche:
Check out the following guides for more information on finding profitable niches and to see examples of successful sites:
- Nichehack's 2,500+ Profitable Niche Markets to Watch in 2021
- 2,531+ Niche Markets: Positioning, Potential & Profitability [in 2020]
- Niche Site Examples: How to Build a Profitable Niche Site + 4 Sites that are Doing it Right
2. Establish Your Data Sources
Collecting pricing and product information to feed into your site is one of the more difficult aspects of starting a price comparison website.
First, you need to source suppliers you’ll compare on your site and the fields you’ll populate (e.g., models, sizes, colors, etc.). Then you need a way to feed that data to your site.
You have a few options:
- Integrated APIs: A retailer provides a data feed directly to your site’s database via an API. You get real-time information, but you’ll likely need to hire a developer to set this up. You can also use a plugin like Datafeedr to import products from different affiliate networks to your site.
- Web scraping: This method involves using bots to crawl specific sites to pull relevant information. You can use a tool like Web Automation to scrape price data from retailers you’re promoting.
- Manually adding data: This method is the most time-intensive. You’ll likely have to hire a team to help you with the data entry.
3. Build Your Niche Price Comparison Site
Now it’s time to register a domain name and create your website.
Avoid registering exact match domains like compare-digital-cameras.com as they appear spammy and limit the kind of products you can promote.
Instead, go for something more memorable and brandable like CameraStack.com.
There are few options to build a price comparison site. One is to use WordPress and a plugin like Content Egg to pull in data from different retailers.
Another is to use Shopify and the Price Comparison by Vishal app to build a site that displays different prices.
You can also hire a developer, but this option is extremely costly. I recommend starting off with WordPress.
4. Structure Your Site
Site structure is important from both a user and SEO standpoint. An organized site helps users find the right products and improves search engine indexing.
Let’s say you’re building a price comparison site around camping. Here’s an example of how you can structure your site and map keywords to your pages:
You have your main category at the top (“Best Camping Tent”) and relevant sub-categories below (“Best Car Camping Tent”). Then you have individual product reviews where you can add a price comparison table.
A clear structure improves the overall relevance of your site and makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for.
5. Sign Up For Affiliate Programs
You want to get paid for your work, right?
If a visitor you refer makes a purchase, you can earn a commission. Here are a few popular retailers with affiliate programs you can sign up for:
- Amazon Associates
- eBay Partner Network
- Best Buy
Alternatively, there are also affiliate networks that many companies use to manage their affiliate programs. Here are a few:
- CJ Affiliate
Each network has different requirements, so be sure to carefully read through them before applying.
Let’s look at how you can drive traffic to your price comparison site.
How to Be Successful With a Price Comparison Site
You’ve built your price comparison site and your affiliate links are set up. But don’t just expect traffic to start flooding in.
Providing value is the key to succeeding with price comparison websites. Here’s how you can drive targeted traffic to your site.
1. Create a Blog
A blog allows you to share relevant and engaging content. Each post you create is an indexed page that a visitor might find when researching a product.
Start by identifying topics that your audience is searching for. Type your keyword into Google and look at the “People also ask” section.
Here’s an example for the keyword “mirrorless cameras”:
These are great topics you can write content around. You can also use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to uncover more keywords.
Optimize each blog post for your target keywords to improve their visibility in Google and include your affiliate links.
Check out the following guide “The Ultimate Guide To Blogging: How To Start A Blog That Makes Money” for more on this subject.
2. Post-In-Depth Reviews
Consumers aren’t just comparing prices online — They’re also turning to Google for product research. Help visitors make an informed decision by publishing in-depth reviews.
Here’s an example of a well-written review from The Wirecutter on Quip electric toothbrushes:
Provide as much information as you can in your product reviews. Don’t forget to include price comparison tables with your affiliate links.
Not sure how to write a review? Check out the following guide: “5 Point Checklist For Writing The Perfect Affiliate Product Review.”
3. Create Helpful Resources
Some of the most successful price comparison sites provide helpful resources. One that comes to mind is the System Builder from PC Part Picker:
Visitors can use the tool to check the compatibility of different computer parts and even compare prices from different retailers.
Building a tool means you’ll likely have to hire a developer. But think of it as a long-term investment with huge potential payouts.
Note that this isn’t the only way you can provide value. You can also create comprehensive guides, downloadable worksheets, infographics, and more.
Check out our post on How To Create The Perfect Infographic to learn how to create an amazing infographic for free.
There are tons of social media platforms but start with the major ones — Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Facebook alone boasts well over 2.7 billion active users.
It’s important to focus on providing value when using these networks. If you simply spam your profiles with affiliate links, you likely won’t get any followers.
Instead, use social media to share your blog posts and other valuable resources you’ve created.
Check out the following guide for more on this subject: “27 Ways To Drive Traffic From 9 Top Social Media Platforms.”
Price comparisons can be incredibly lucrative. Some of the big names are worth hundreds of millions of dollars in their respective industries.
Attempting to compete against them is a fruitless exercise (unless you have sizable resources). The good news is there are hundreds of untapped markets that are perfect for price comparison sites.
But you also need to focus on providing value. Create content that’s relevant to your audience and consider taking it a step further by making tools available on your site.