First you should know why companies offer commissions, some times above 100%, to their affiliates. Think of it this way: if you promote a product, say, a toy boat, chances are that person who bought it after reading about it on your site wouldn’t have bought it unless you talked about it. As in, the sale would never have occurred without you. If the company compensates you a high percentage, even giving you money instead of making money, the person could become a repeat customer. The person could tell his/her friends about the product. In the long run (and usually even in the short run), this means the company ends up turning a profit.
Next, you need to know about affiliate programs and networks. Without them, you can promote products but you won’t be getting paid to do so. Joining several of these programs will allow you to “shop around” and find the best for your site or niche. I have four favorites: CJ.com, ShareASale.com, Amazon Associates, and Clickbank. CJ and ShareASale are very similar. They have tons of companies on their network (thousands!) so that way you don’t have to sign up on a numerous different websites – everything is centralized on them and payouts occur regularly. Amazon Associates is going to be more for particular products. You can promote anything on Amazon and receive a percentage commission for the sale. Best of all, if the person buys more than just the product you’re promoting, you get paid the commission for the entire cart’s value. Clickbank, unlike Amazon, is for digital products such as e-Books and video series’. There are thousands of products on this website as well, and you can tell which ones generally sell best by looking at their gravity. In short, gravity is how frequent sales occur (the higher gravity, the more sales). However, remember, if a product has more affiliates, its gravity is going to increase so a lot of the time it’s not the best measure to determine “which is the best” (but it can help guide you).
So, you’re wondering, how do I make money with product review sites?!
I’ll start off by saying its not a piece of cake. You’re going to have to work hard on your sites, perfect them, optimize them for search engines, and drive traffic to your site – the type of traffic that will convert in to customers. This is called organic traffic. If you send a million bots through a Fiverr gig to your site, this won’t help at all. It’s not about the quantity but rather the quality. A small handful of people through Google (potential buyers of products) would be much more beneficial than a million bots to increase your view count.
You’re going to want to create niche-specific sites. If you have a site and promote odd, random, and unrelated products and services, people coming to the site are going to be confused. Instead, say you’re promoting, again, toy boats. Maybe you’ll end up reviewing 10 of them through Amazon. Say you’re reviewing the best internet marketing e-Books. In this case, you might go through Clickbank. Even web hosting, a very profitable niche and one of my favorite, you could either go to CJ (my preference) or ShareASale, or even mix-and-match the two.
You’ve got the site (use WordPress – it’s easy, intuitive, and I promise you won’t regret it – also, I talk about some of the best themes to use in this blog post), signed up for affiliate programs, and content – you need content. You need lots of reviews (or at least a couple to start), and make sure they’re easily readable. Correct punctuation. Make it flow. At the bottom, make sure there’s a “call to action” (for example, a button that says “buy now” or “visit website”). Having effective “call to actions” will absolutely increase your CTR (click-through rate).
Making money with product review sites and having targeted, organic traffic goes hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other (they’re like peanut butter and jelly). But you might wonder, how am I going to get this traffic?
The most important and best way for long-term traffic is SEO (search engine optimization). This involves on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO, in short, is optimizing your home page for your main keywords (i.e. toy boat reviews), and inner-pages (or posts) with specific keywords (i.e. mr. john’s toy boy review). Off-page SEO, contrarily, means you need links coming to your site. You want high-quality sites to link to yours, and include anchor text if possible. Anchor text is when the link is a specific word or phrase that’s directing to your site. For example, see two paragraphs above where “this” is a link to another post of mine? The word “this” is anchor text. You, as a toy boat reviewer, would want your anchor text to maybe say “toy boat reviews”. You can also go with the PPC (pay-per-click) route through networks such as Google AdWords and Microsoft AdCenter. Be sure to track your ROI (return on investment) – as in, make sure you’re making more than you’re spending!
Also, consider getting people to opt-in to your email list (if you have one – and if you don’t – consider getting one!) so even people that don’t buy right away may return at some point, or read your email, and do so then. In your autoresponder, (i.e. AWeber, iContact, Constant Contact, etc.) when you know of a good sale happening, you could send out an email to the people that have opted-in and send them over to the site, telling them about the sale, and don’t forget to include your affiliate link. Or, to keep them in-the-know, you could tell them about a new release, why it’s something to consider buying, and again – include that affiliate link or you won’t be getting paid!
To wrap this post up, I want to include one more tip: people like people! If the product reviews on your site are boring and robot-sounding, people aren’t going to like them. Include a personal story, pros and cons (why it’s a good and/or bad product), what other people are saying, and other random facts that people may not have thought of. Maybe alternatives, as an example. Sound “review-y”; don’t just go on and on about the specifics of the product (such as the price, what comes with it, etc.) Sure it’s always top-notch information. This will sky-rocket your commissions.
As a last note, if you see yourself in need of product review articles, look no further than the article packs I sell. Quality is my middle name (well, not literally, but that’d be cool if it was!), and I can guarantee that you will absolutely love the articles you receive from me.
– Ross Cohen, Owner of HighConvertingPLR.com