How To Launch Your First Affiliate Review Site In 8 Simple Steps
One of the first roads people take when going down the online marketing path is to build a profitable affiliate review website. It’s what I did first. Building a review website is pretty straight forward, the costs are very low (if you do the work yourself) and the site can be up and running in less than a day.
Once built, an affiliate review site doesn’t really need to be touched again except for the odd review here and there, meaning it can be left alone generating you a steady passive income. However, building such sites it not as easy as everyone thinks, else everyone would be creating them and leaving their 9-5s.
This article is going to show you the step-by-step process to creating a kick-ass affiliate review site, and even provide you with 60 profitable niches to use yourself.
You might want to get a coffee and a notepad before you dig in.
Step 1: Figure out your interests
An affiliate review site will involve you doing a lot of writing unless you hire a freelancer (discussed later). Writing about topics you like will bring enjoyment to the project and keep you motivated, not only that but your reviews and content will sound more natural and honest.
You don’t always have to write about something you enjoy, but if this is your first online project it’s highly recommended.
A high percentage of new online marketers work on an idea and quit halfway through because they don’t feel motivated, lack the confidence or realize they aren’t interested in it what they are doing.
Starting a project based on a passion will help you avoid failing in this trap. Maybe you have fallen here before? I know I have.
“What can interests be? “
Anything you’re interested in!
Sorry that was me trying to be funny, let me explain further.
Whether you like juicing (blenders), alloy wheels, running, DIY, bicycles or even gerbils (yes gerbils are a niche), these can all be potential niche ideas for your next site. Don’t feel intimated if you don’t know everything about your niche, the Internet is a great place to gather research and dig a little deeper on areas you’re unfamiliar with.
If you’re struggling to find a niche, follow my 3-step fool-proof process:
1. When you’re not working, what three topics/subjects do you think about most? My answer: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), coding languages and playing around with the Android OS (I’m a geek).
2. Which of these two topics are most universal? My answer: BJJ and coding languages.
3. Do either of them offer online products you can buy at various online retailers? My answer: BJJ.
If your interests are not universal or don’t have an online marketplace for products, either start my fool-proof process again or get our free 60 lucrative niches eBook by clicking the button below.
Step 2: Selecting your niche
I’m sure you have heard the term ‘niche’ used at least a hundred times. This is a word you should truly understand because it’s where you will make your money online. A niche is quite simply a segment of a larger market.
For example: Sports clothing> sports shoes > running shoes > track running shoes > track running shoes for girls.
Each segment is a niche within a bigger niche. Niches help Internet marketers segment their audience to bite-size pieces, allowing them to better address customers’ needs and conduct tailored marketing strategies for each niche.
For the example of this article I have selected the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) niche. BJJ is a grappling style of martial arts and has become very popular in the last 5 years. I am fascinated by it and train myself. I am not any good mind you, I feel my blog posts put more people to sleep than my choke holds.
To get back on point – just because you enjoy something doesn’t mean it will be a profitable niche. To find out if it is we need to do research.
Step 3: the ugly part of building an affiliate review site (research!)
For me personally I hate doing research. I’m a hands on type of guy and would rather be building a website than doing research. But without research you will not know if your niche is in demand or even profitable.
There are three things I will always do to evaluate whether the niche I picked is going to make me $$$ or just waste my time. They are:
1. Ask Googley
When in doubt – ask
Jeeves Google. Simply head over to Google and type in key search terms around your niche and see what comes up. My affiliate website will be based around BJJ, the type of products I want to review will be the kimonos (more commonly known as a ‘gis’) students wear while training and accessories such as belts.
I first want to find out who my competitors are and whether they are making money or not.
I typed in “BJJ gi review” and this is what came up:
The three of the first five sites are actually affiliate review sites. This means that there is money to be made in this niche.
“But wait, if there are already review websites up, isn’t this a bad thing? Shouldn’t we be looking for niches that nobody has entered?”
A niche that has others profiting is a profitable niche. A niche with very little competition is usually a sign that the niche is too small to be worth anyone’s time or is just not profitable. Obviously there will be cases when this is not true, for example, when a totally new product has been developed.
The sites you want to see on the first page of Google should be small independent review sites and not Amazon, eBay or other large retail chains. You will need to spend a lot of money in link-building to outrank these authority sites. Gireviews.net only has a Page Rank of 2 and with a little bit of work I could easily rank my site on the first page.
Pro tip: If your niche is country specific, for example, the products are only shipped within Australia, make sure to search on Google.au and not Google.com.
2. Keyword research
Keyword research may seem scary and overwhelming at first but it’s super easy to do. I suggest using Google AdWords as it’s free, detailed and simple to use. Keyword research is simply finding out if enough people are searching about your niche in Google to gauge its profitability.
I mean if only a 100 people per month are actually searching for ‘BJJ gis’ what is the point? I may get around 10 people a month visiting my site… if I’m lucky.
“How do I figure out my niche’s keywords?”
Easy, think like your potential customer. What would they be typing in Google? For my niche I would expect something like:
– BJJ gi
– BJJ gi review
– BJJ belts
– Koral gi (famous gi brand)
– Atama gi (famous gi brand)
– Best bjj gi
Sign into Google AdWords (you will need a Gmail account) and select the Search for new keyword and ad group idea. Next you will be asked to Enter one or more of the following – these are the keywords you want to search for. You will need to put a comma after each term to separate them, for example: BJJ Gi, BJJ gi review, BJJ belts, Koral gi, Atama gi, best BJJ gi, etc.
In the targeting section pick the country or countries your prospects will be coming from then hit the Get ideas button. Half way down the page you will see a tab labelled Keyword ideas, click that and you will see your results.
Out of the 6 keywords I entered, 4 of them yielded average monthly searchers over 1,000. This is great.
When creating a niche you want to be targeting keywords that get at the very minimum 1,000 searches per month, anything less than that means the niche is too small.
If your keywords are yielding results over 25,000 searches or more you may want to segment your niche a little further. While these numbers look great, your site may not be so focused to solving a particular problem or the sites who rank for these keywords are high authority sites that you don’t stand a chance against.
If you go further on down the Google AdWords results page you will see further suggested keywords that you can use for your site.
How to use these keywords
My quick 30 second research have given me 4 great keywords I can implement on my affiliate review site to attract customers. I can create topics around these titles and use SEO to help bring prospects who are looking for “Koral gis” to my site.
Confused about writing SEO articles? Then read The Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
3. Show me the money
You’re creating an affiliate review website ultimately with one goal in mind: to make that money. The final step of researching should finding out whether there is money in your niche.
To throw out another example (yes I love examples), the keyword “best umbrella” yields over 4,500 searches a month, but with the average price of umbrellas being $25, your site would need to be converting insanely high to make the website a worth your time.
BJJ gis can be bought from Amazon who offer a great affiliate program. The average price of a BJJ gi tends to be around $150-$300, and Amazon offer as much as 15% returns – that’s something I consider an investment of my time. That’s as much as $30 per sale.
If you decide to use Amazon make sure you read their T&C carefully as they do have some pretty funky rules, such as $25 caps on all personal computer, tablet, laptops and notebooks affiliate commissions.
You don’t just have to use Amazon, other sites include:
- Agoda – Are great if you’re setting up a hotel review or travel site.
- Google Adsense – While they don’t affiliate products, Google will pay you each time someone clicks their ad.
- ClickBank and Commission Junction – Both are much like Amazon and used by thousands of online marketers for affiliating digital products mostly.
Although this article is focusing on building a kick-ass affiliate review site, you can also contact businesses within your niche and provide banner ad space for money or create your own digital products to sell alongside your affiliate links.
For my BJJ review site, I could write an eBook on the top 25 stretching techniques that increase flexibility and sell it along side my other products.
Step 5: Picking your site name
Your site name (otherwise known as your domain name) will be the URL of your site. You can call your niche site whatever the hell you want but I suggest sticking to these guidelines.
Guideline 1: Have one of your keywords in the domain. While it’s not such a big factor for SEO (it does still count), having a keyword instantly tells prospects what your site is about.
Guideline 2: Make your name brandable. Take the Dollar Shave Club as an example, their latest video advert went viral and they are currently the hottest brand online. They sell cheap razors to your door, nothing special, nothing luxurious.
Their name echoes this and the branding that has gone around it has been truly epic. They make you feel part of a cool community.
Guideline 3: Aim for no more than three words in your domain name. Ideally one or two words is best, but domain flippers are probably holding on to them to sell at crazy prices.
Don’t have sites names such as HarviesBestBJJGiReviews.com, it’s too long, tacky and looks like spam. People may even be afraid to click on your site or even the links embedded.
Here are some names I have come up for my site:
Where to buy a domain? Most will tell you GoDaddy, Hostgator or BlueHost (usually because they make money from affiliate links). While they are cheap and cheerful I don’t think they offer the best service. I prefer Namecheap.com, they have plenty of domain names for cheap…oh wait, it’s already in the name – nice branding.
Step 6: The Build Phase
If you build it, they will come.
There are a number of platforms on hand to create your affiliate review site, but none will be easier to use than WordPress if you’re a newbie. It’s the number #1 used site by most affiliate marketers because it’s simple, easy and converts.
Don’t use Tumblr, Blogger or even WordPress.com as you will face problems later on down the line. You don’t own any content on these sites and at any time they can remove or delete your website and there’s not a single thing you can do about it. Most of these sites state in their T&C that you’re not allowed to market or sell products too.
WordPress.org is what you need as it’s self-hosted, gives you full control over your site and lets you sell what you want. Using WordPress.org will also help you rank better in Google and make your review site look more legit.
With WordPress you can download themes and get right to work on your affiliate review site. I always think it’s worth it to spend a bit of money to buy a premium theme then to use a stock one. They work better, look better and give each visitor a better user-experience that increases the likelihood of a sale.
Want to build your site using the same WordPress theme we use on our portfolio of over 50 affiliate websites?
Click here to learn more about Ultimate Authority Pro. It’s a no-brainer for newbies starting their first affiliate review site.
If your budget is tight or you prefer to pick a free theme, while being a bit dated the Ready Review is not a bad theme to start with.
Google Analytics is a software tool everyone running a site needs to have. It measures a number of useful metrics about your site, such as who visited, which keywords were typed, how old they were, location, time spent on your site, pages most viewed and so on.
Google Analytics can help you define your target market and identify any major problems (such as bad content) on your site. The tool is an amazing piece of kit and is totally free.
There are a number of Google Analytic plugins you can use to install on your WordPress site, my favorite being this one. You will need to create a Google Analytics account before you can use the software (that’s free too).
Step 7: Writing the content
This is probably the longest part of the process. You will need to create product reviews on several items within your niche, list the pros and cons, features and how you got on with it. To get started I would suggest you write anywhere between 6-8 reviews (ideally over 1,000 words each) along with a contact and about us page.
This may be the first time you have written online content and you probably have no idea how to structure anything. To get an idea of the format style of your review articles, visit your competitors’ sites and follow a similar template to get you going. After you write one or two reviews you should be able to hit a good rhythm.
The way you spin your reviews it totally up to you, a lot of people keep the focus on being extremely positive for each product review in order to tempt the prospect into buying via their links. I don’t suggest this and here’s why – the most successful review sites are the ones which build a strong brand and have repeat business. Lying to your prospects will just damage your site’s credibility and long-term profitability.
It’s also not nice to lie – unless your girlfriend asks you if her bum looks big in her new dress.
I tend to be honest in each review and let the reader makeup their own mind. However, I do need to tell you a small dirty little secret most people use, but close your door and curtains before you read any further, I don’t want the whole world to find out.
Are they closed? Okay good… come a little bit closer.
Most review sites have never actually used the products they are reviewing. Instead, they read other reviews and re-write them, or skim the Amazon reviews section and create content from that. While I am not suggesting this is the best way to write reviews, if you don’t have any other way of getting hold of the products you’re writing about, you can always do that, and there is nothing wrong with it – you are simply aggregating review data from various places online and using it to write your own review. Simple as that.
I would state at the start or the end of each article that you’ve done in-depth research gathering reviews from a number of sites and this is what people are saying, for example.
Within each article you would embed links and pictures that readers can click to be re-directed to Amazon or whoever you’re working with to give them the option to buy.
Now, I know from experience that if you’re new, you are gonna get stuck on this step. That’s why we created the Done-For-You Authority Site Swipe Package so you can skip all the roadblocks new students face. The swipe package has everything you need, including our Ultimate Authority Pro wordpress theme, fill-in-the-blank “Perfect Product Review” worksheets, copy and paste rank booster scripts (those come in handy later on) and much more.
As BuildPath founder Ian Mason put it, “the Authority Site Swipe Package is everything I wish I had when I started.”
Step 8: Blast off
Your brand new kick-ass affiliate review site is ready to be put online and start making you a passive income. Don’t expect overnight success as it takes a few weeks for Google and Bing to index you in their search engines. You will also need to build back-links, get the word out via social media and all that jazz.
To get the word out about your site, try this:
Contact websites within your niche – If you have 6-8 pieces of solid content on your site that is truly valuable, other sites within your niche will usually be more than happy to give your site a mention. Don’t contact direct competitors as you will get ignored, but people who are related in your industry.
A perfect example with my BJJ site would be to contact MMA gyms across the US letting them know of my site that could be useful to their students who would be looking to buy gis.
Tell your friend and family – Tell everyone you know about your site, maybe they have a friend or know someone who has a keen interest in your niche. This is sometimes the fastest way to your first sale.
Get on social media – The power of social media is undeniable. Create a Twitter, Facebook and Instagram account and start posting. Use Google Analytics to define your buyer persona and create paid ads targeting certain groups to your site.
Blog and forums – I know Sherdog is one of the biggest MMA forums in the world with a lot of BJJ students. Answering forum questions and leaving a URL link in my signature to my site is one way to attract free targeted traffic.
You first need to find out where your prospects spend their time online then join them.
Blog comments and guest posts – Find relevant blogs within your niche, locate the most popular or relevant topics and leave a blog comment. Comments that add value work best as it shows people you know what you’re talking about, you can leave a URL link in most blog comments too.
Guest posting is great for two things, building back-links and driving traffic. Guests posts these days have to provide a ton of value to get accepted and some bloggers will charge you a fee.
These are tips to get you started, you will slowly want to build black-links naturally to your site, which overtime will increase your website daily hits and your profits.
Cheat section (hiring freelancers)
My 8-step plan is pretty easy to follow and anyone can do it. But if you don’t have the time, are busy on other projects or just don’t feel confident you can always hire people to do the work for you.
you will need:
A content writer – Someone to write your reviews. I suggest picking someone who has a solid understanding of your niche. For my BJJ review site I would need to hire someone who has experience in training martial arts wearing a gi, otherwise the reviews won’t sound trustworthy and will quite frankly suck.
SEO specialist – This is someone to help you find the keywords for your site to create content around. You should ask them to start by finding you 8-10 keywords around your niche, and to see if there is a good chance of your site hitting the first page of Google for these keywords.
WordPress developer – Will build your site, upload the content, plugins, and everything else.
That’s all you will need. Just remember that you get what you pay for. Don’t expect amazing reviews if you’re paying someone $1 per 100 words.
Boom! Now it’s time to kick-Ass
That’s all it takes!
Building an affiliate review site isn’t difficult if you follow all the tips I mentioned. Don’t feel disheartened if after a week or two you’re not getting huge hits, it takes time.
You’re now locked and loaded to create your own kick-ass affiliate review site, don’t forget to take a look at our 60 lucrative niches and if you have any questions, leave a comment below!