Ready to learn how to create your own profitable affiliate product review site?
(FYI: This WebStation Review 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.
Whatever model you choose I will share with you below how you can build your own review site and profit from it.
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 work for affiliate marketing.
- 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.
One is not better than the other they are simply different business models.
The major authority review sites are more time consuming, require higher levels of content, need to be updated regularly and on the pulse so they can break the latest news and review new products.
Where as the smaller single product review site tends to have a handful of pages, don't need to be updated so often, and is more of a set and forget model.
But when you do update it, you'll need to aim to write the perfect review as shown by James Johnson here.
HOT TIP: If you decide to go for a mini review site be sure you don't make it so focused it can't be expanded later if it's successful.
However the benefits of a major site over a mini is that they have a wider scope, appeal to a broader audience, can bring in lots of traffic from Google and other sources and build a brand and relationship with their users something the mini sites will struggle to do.
In this superb guest post Dave Schneider of SelfMadeBusinessMan.com talks about how to “think big” with niche sites for anyone who's debating whether to go small or go bigger.
There's even some fantastic advice about how to turn a niche site into a bigger and more profitable project should it be a success.
"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 round technology, laptops, cameras, tablets, smart phones 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.
HOT TIP: 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 toestablish yourself as a player in the niche as tends to be over crowded.
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.
HOT TIP: Sense Drill Review
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
Don't underestimate this – this will be a lot of hard work and time and NOT cheap as you'll need a team of quality writers.
It's NOT an easy type of site to set up and there's lots of competition and money being spent.
However 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.
HOT TIP: 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
- 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 themefrom 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.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 101 expensive affiliate niches click here or the image below)
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 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.
This is one of the main types of affiliate sites most 'bedroom affiliate' create because of the simplicity of them.
HOT TIP: 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 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.
- You don't have tobuild an email list or a social media following as you're aiming to get one time sales.
- Once a site is up, ranking, and making money it doesn't take as much time to maintain them as other websites.
Example of a mini review site...
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.
- Unpredictable as there's no guarantee Google will rank your site or keep it ranked though this is less of an issue if you have good keyword research and SEO skills.
HOT TIP: 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.
But ultimately the goal with these sites isn't to build a long term relationship with your visitor.
Just to build enough trust to get them to value your recommendation and make the click to allow Amazon or the other retailer to do the rest.
If you can get your visitor to the retailer the rest is up to them and retailers ike Amazon and incredible at converting visitors into customer.
"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:
- 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]
- org– by niche site creator Tung Tang at CloudLiving.com [Sold for $10,000]
- 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]
- com– this site sold for over $60,000 on Flippa.com after generating over $8,000 p/m in affiliate commissions.
If you want more inspiration on mini niche site building here's a great inspirational story about how niche newbie 'Hieu Nguyens' from Vietnam sold a 9 month old Amazon website for $17,000
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.
HOT TIP: 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 hostingso that your site doesn't go down at critical moments – I use WPEngine.
- A domain name from NameCheapthat 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
- 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 Networksand other advanced link building strategies
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 101 expensive affiliate niches click here or the image below)
Summary of the Affiliate Review Site Model
That's an overview of the affiliate review sites model.
Whatever one you choose is up to you. Both have pro's and con's.
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.
Hayden at NoHatSEO recently joined Spencer Haws on a podcast where he talked about how in the past he exclusively built mini review sites but over time has changed his strategy.
He still builds the mini sites but only to see how they perform and any which bring in traffic and profits are expanded into authority sites – this makes a lot of sense.
You can listen to the podcast here.
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 a ultra-niche site that focuses just around one product review.
Small sites also don't have much repeat traffic as once the visitor comes the aim is to get them off the site by clicking the affiliate link and there's not much incentive to build an email list as it lowers conversions.
So if SEO isn't your strong point and you don't have the funds to outsource and buy links then you might want to avoid the mini style sites.
However both site types are profitable as you can see from the examples above however the bigger authority sites obviously win in terms of profits.
The reason for that though is they are treated like media publishing business and run by teams of staff and employ writers, designers and other experts unlike the mini niche sites that are run by “bedroom marketers” often on limited budgets.
So which you choose is up to you and your budget but remember if you do go for the mini affiliate review sites model then make sure you don't limit yourself and can expand later if it takes off.