Created by The Blogger with 53,870 visits so far...hey!

45

How to Make a Niche Review Site that Earns You $1000/Month

Hi all! I am starting an HD video series on amazing review sites, which should be fun, and you can now view it here. Hope to post more on this soon for you! …Greg

Update: Reader Nick pointed out that the FTC requires a disclaimer these days that you have an affiliate relationship with the companies you are reviewing. Make sure to create one!

What’s a review site?

Why do bloggers love them?

It’s a blog or website where you write about your favorite products, like coffee machines, Mac laptops, or even cat toys. Wikipedia has a slightly better definition.

One of my best blogs is in fact a review site. If you’ve ever thought of writing about your favorite stuff, now might be the ideal time to start.

You’ll learn right here how to setup a profitable review site. Everyone’s trying to make money online these days, and this is just one way to do it.

It’s all about writing profitable articles that earn through affiliate links.

NEED YOUR HELP: If you do start a review website, please comment and let me know. Hearing about your successes and mistakes would really help everyone in the Dear Blogger community, and remember, every comment link is a useful back-link too.

Looking back: Review sites 10 years ago

I won’t deny, this whole business was easier to begin 10 years ago.

The basic process is still the same. Create a website that provides expert reviews a user needs before buying a product. Position that site in between buyer and seller, and send buyers off to the seller’s site via affiliate links. When the user/buyer clicks through and purchases, you earn a small (or large) commission.

But like most things, it’s gotten a bit harder over the years.

Why review sites were better 10 years ago:
1) Google was kinder to the small website with limited content.
2) Less review sites existed in general.
3) Larger sites were less dominant. Lets say you want to start a used car review site. Nowadays, you’ll have to fight with carfax.com, cars.com, autos.msn.com, and other big sites to get traffic.

That all said, the doors are still wide open. Based on sheer probability and math there will always be openings in every niche to enter. They may be tiny, so it’s your job to pick an open niche.

And please do not review used cars :)

Alright, let’s begin! First, take a look at your deepest passions.

Step 1: Begin by looking at your passions

You’ll be writing A LOT on just one subject with this new review site of yours, so you had better enjoy it.

Example: If you only know a little bit about Coffee Machines, you won’t get very far with a Coffee Machine review site.

You’ve gotta trust your own knowledge in the subject. Or, at least have an infinite curiosity to learn more about the subject. You need not know everything, but have a strong foundation on the subject.

When picking your topic, use this quick exercise:

a. When you’re not working or at school, what are 3 topics you always think about?
b. Write them down.
c. Now ask yourself this: Which of your topics are universal? Which do others think about too?
d. Eliminate one item that is not universal.
e. Now a final question…Which topics are profitable? Are there purchases surrounding it? Most importantly, are these purchases being made online?
f. Pick the topic that is both universal and generates online sales.

Your passions are awesome and define you, but that doesn’t mean they’re all great for the central topic of a review blog.

In my case, I love skateboarding. I love skate-films, magazines, all the tricks, and can name all the hottest pros. But skateboarding just isn’t a lucrative industry. It hasn’t been for years.

I also love laptops. I’m a crazy-huge mac fan. This would be a much better industry to target for a review site…

Step 2: Find your niche

You probably were already thinking about this “niche” thing. All a niche is, is a small pocket on the web with others who do what you do. Niches are helpful because they slice up a huge online world into smaller, bite-size chunks.

They also have defined readers, views, and product interests. That’s why marketers love them. And let’s be honest, if you’re setting up a review site you too will become a marketer. It’s important to really know your niche.

To find a good niche, start with a simple Google search on the topic you chose in Step 1. Then, examine who’s ranking in the Google top 10. Are they blogs? Major websites? Does it look like there’s an opening, or not enough content coverage?

Let’s see what we’d find in Google Search for “laptop reviews”:

niche search result

Ranking in at #1 and #2 are major companies. The probably have huge staffs that write hundreds of articles a day. That’s NOT you or I. But now look at #3. That’s a review site for sure.

“Notebookreview.com” is a review blog dedicated to reviewing all things laptop. Check it out. I just found it now through this Google search. It looks legit right? It even beats out the well known pcword.com!!

Go do a few preliminary Google searches within your niche, and let me know what you find.

Step 3: Research your market

blog niche research

This part isn’t as fun as the rest but it’ll make for a more successful review blog.

Eventually you’ll have to know things like forums people frequent, whether advertising is worth your time, and how to build the right kind of back links, but for now lets focus on keywords.

There are paid tools out there like Market Samurai. If you’d rather use a free tool (who wouldn’t), Adwords Keyword Tool is insanely helpful. I introduced my email club to this free gem in one of initial follow ups.

This thing is lovely for finding the search volume and competitiveness around a certain phrase.

How to use Adwords Keyword Tool:

  • Enter a 2-4 word phrase
  • Skip Website and Category
  • Fill in the captcha
  • View the direct hit (that’s the first phrase in blue under Keyword) your initial search may be the best phrase, though often it is not.
  • Sort by Global Monthly Searches
  • Sort by Competition
  • Find the best combination of low competition and high gms

The valuable keyword phrases you find will be good to include in post tiles, permalinks, in your articles, an in the tags. Write a few of them down and let me know if you can’t tell if a phrase is good or not.

We’ll talk next about keywords and domains.

Step 4: Pick a domain

Unlike research, this part is fun.

You can brand a domain creatively. You can be generic. You can even spend a huge amount and get a premium domain. Here’s some info before you go open your wallet though.

Top 4 most common types of domains for review sites:

a. Keyword rich domains
b. Brandable, stylish domains
c. Short single word domains (all taken or seriously expensive!)
d. 2-letter or 3-letter combinations (all are taken now)

You can pick any available domain you want! Make it wild, make it different. Please, don’t make it something super literal like “bestusedcarreviewblog.com”.

While this type of domain may get you exact match keyword points, it will be hard to brand and may be frowned upon for the spammy feel it has to it.

If you have a few moments, listen to Google’s Matt Cutts explain the difference between keyword-rich domains and brandable domains:

So clearly, more than just your domain will affect how your review site ranks in Google. Pick a domain you’ll be comfortable with long-term.

And, if you can include a couple keywords in that domain, that never hurts. Personally, I prefer option b) because it’s the most memorable. When a domain really stands out it’s easier to brand, and good branding will keep people coming back in the same way good SEO will.

The easiest route will be to get your domain from GoDaddy, then reset the nameservers so they point towards HostGator, the hosting option most bloggers prefer.

Step 5: Decide where the $$$ will come from

Your money has to come from somewhere. You’ll be acting as a middle man between the buyer and the seller and providing that necessary expert advice.

Good thing is, there are many networks set up just for product reviewers:

Top 5 product review networks to join:

1) Amazon Associates: What the big boys use
2) ClickBank: Claims to have earned over $2 billion for their clients
3) Commission Junction: Has hundreds of products per category, and pays in lots of different currencies.
4) Google Affiliates: Pays promptly into your Adsense account.
5) Rakuten Linkshare: They represent products from Walmart, Barnes and Nobles, and AT&T to name a few.

To be very clear, if you’re starting a review blog you want to sign up to these networks as a publisher. If accepted, you’ll place links and banner ads on your new site. Then, you’ll earn when someone clicks through them and either signs-up or makes a purchase on the other end.

And also, affiliate programs aren’t the only way to earn from review blogs. They are just the most proven, long-term paying method. Check out Text-Link-Ads for quick website monetization.

Lets see how exactly we can make our first $1000 a month from a review site. It’s all about conversion rates.

Okay, say you choose to review laptops.
In month 1, you get 200 visitors, only 5 of which actually click a link. Pretty bad huh? That’s CV 2.5% But it’s month 1 and that’s okay.
Of those 5 people that click, 1 of them buys a laptop for $899.99. Via your link, you earn a commission of 25%. That commission in your pocket comes out to $225.
You work hard the next month and boost traffic to 400 visitors.
By these same stats, you’ll earn $500 that month.

With that $500 you can now to 1 of 2 things (or both!). You can work to double traffic, or to double conversion rates. You’ll get more traffic by attaining more back-links, social media mentions, and better Google search rank. You’ll get more conversions by improving on-page design.

To really maximize on page design you may want to see my secrets to blog growth.

Which ever method you chose, by month three you should be well on your way to your first $1000 blogging month! Great huh? Obviously numbers may vary, you may earn less if you’re reviewing coffee machines instead of laptops, and conversion rates may be less than, or more than, 2.5%. The choice is really up to you.

Step 6: Build the site or blog

It may help to know who out there is doing well, so lets check out a few notable review sites before we begin building.

Three highly profitable review blogs:

1) This site reviews blog-hosting
2) This site reviews Kindles
3) This site reviews photography equipment
4) This site reviews financial advice

They are all doing great in their own way, probably making thousands of dollars each month through affiliate commissions.

They are also all definitely on self-hosted WordPress.

Self-hosted WordPress is far and wide the preferred method for building a respected review site, blog, or entire community even. It’s the proven option, and you may just have to trust me on this.

If you’d like to begin shop on Blogger, Tumblr, or WordPress.com, you should know you may face problems within a few weeks of start up. These platforms are wonderful places to begin a blog, but not necessarily a blog with long-term earning aspirations. Why? Because free-blogging platforms restrict content you can post, appear less professional to the average user, and generally rank worse in Search.

To begin on a self hosted blog, check out my quick 10 step guide to WordPress blog setup.

…So, you’ve got the blog setup, and you have that ugly default WordPress theme on it. You should next consider getting a premium theme from Theme-Junkie. These guys offer cheap great looking themes like the next guy does, but they have one feature that stands out: a world class easy to use forum.

I got into the Theme-Junkie forum every morning as I answer your blogging questions, and post a few questions of my own. By lunchtime I’ll usually have a direct answer from a Theme-Junkie admin.

I strongly recommend Theme-Junkie over a lot of competitors and will have a full guide to them on the blog soon!

Step 7: Write three articles to start

I’m not going to tell you how to do this, but make sure to get at least three articles on laptops, coffee machines, used cars, Kindles, or whatever you chose up on your site before you begin marketing.

How you write will be up to you, but there are plenty of guides on content creation around this blog too :)

I may suggest joining the email club for more information on writing awesome content.

Step 8: Launch your review blog

Finally launching can be quite fun. You’ve picked your niche, gotten the right keywords, gotten an awesomely unique domain, and have built up a stunning WordPress blog. Then you launch, and…

You only get a few visits.

It’s okay, this is natural. Here’s what you can do to boost your initial traffic and pageviews:

  • Find other bloggers in your niche who will mention you
  • Use your immediate network at school or at work
  • Get on social media immediately! Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ are mandatory
  • Start commenting. Great comments offer send you traffic and earn you new friends
  • Offer favors to other bloggers. Review their sites, for free of course.
  • Guest post, guest post, guest post!

I sincerely hope you do have immediate success, but it may take a couple months to get those affiliate links clicking and working in your favor.

For more tips on blog growth (and some nifty tips for making those links of yours more clickable), check out this post of mine on Daily Blog Tips.

Conclusion

As I just mentioned, after a few months your review blog should be firing on all cylinders. Be patient though! Those first couple months will be tough, yet rewarding when the commissions start coming in.

If I can offer on last piece of advice it’s to be creative. Be unique. Be different in how you represent your product(s).

The uniqueness, combined with expert knowledge, is what will keep lasting traffic returning to you and hopefully purchasing from you as well!

Good luck, now what questions do you have?



Good news to the community! We've helped you successfully setup so many WordPress blogs that we can now offer an improved discount. Read more about the new Dear Blogger hosting plan discounts and learn how to setup WordPress. Love, peace, and blogging to all in 2014.



Filed in: blog for money Tags: , , , , , , | disclaimer | | Twitter
45 comments, add some wisdom...


  1. Greg, I am currently in the process of making my own website on wordpress and would love to keep you updated on the process. I am a junior in college that coaches for travel volleyball. The columbus Ohio market is full of parents and teams and coaches that I would love to put reviews for game site locations, teams, coaches and clubs that the girls play for. almost like rate my professor but for volleyball parents. I know the target market is very specific but they are very passionate and i think that this could be huge. i would love to keep you in the loop on this and hear your thoughts in the future. this article has helped a lot.
    -Abbey

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Hi Abigail,

      And I’d love to help. That’s a niche I haven’t heard of yet, which is a good thing. Have you started a newsletter? You could have a new thing there, maybe for more than volleyball. And do you have a logo yet? I was just on pixlr.com making free logos – pretty useful.

      Keep me in the loop,
      Greg

  2. Phin Cobbina says:

    Hey Greg, excellent article! I am a MBA student and I es looking to get into making a small review site. I’m pretty sure I have my niche down put I’m undecided one whether I so have it in a blog format when I post daily on a topic or have it more like a ratings site where member do all the reviewing (like yelp). I also wanted to know the difference between being an affiliate and getting a % of sales from sites or just getting paid from CPM’s I don’t except to be making $1000 a month I would be very happy just getting like $100-$200 for awhile. If you could give me and tips that would be great thanks!!

    P.D.C.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Glad you enjoyed it Phin!

      Let’s say you’re an affiliate and get $10 commission per sale. Our of 1000 visitors, you might convert 2% and earn $200.

      With CPM ads, those 1000 visits may only get you $5. CPM is in my opinion less profitable and more demanding of you.

      CPM ads can also be distracting.

      Apologies for the late reply – stay tuned for a video I’m making.

  3. Swayam Gupta says:

    Thanks sir for sharing this Article with us.. Just started working in a niche site and i hope that these tricks as you mention here will be beneficial for me.. Thanks a lot again :)

  4. Chris says:

    Hi Greg. Thank you for giving wonderfull information. I love technology and I’m starting up a technology and gadget news and reviews site. Any special tips & tricks and some usefull sites I can check out, just to get a better feel for how I should go about it? I was in an accident recently and I’m unable to continue in my field of work. Hoping that blogging would be a source of income

  5. Chris says:

    Hi Greg,

    I have been thinking of doing a review site lately. It mainly revolves around tech, games, etc. Are you aware of any simple ways to get products to review, aside from buying them of course. I know a lot of review sites get pre-launch models to review so they can have it up prior to- or on the day of launch. Any insight on how to “throw your hat in” so-to-speak with manufacturers?

  6. alexander says:

    hi Greg, i’m looking into starting a blog reviewing migration companies as a niche (there isn’t anything similar in my country). I just don’t know if I should start with a blog or a website. with a blog i’d have to write fresh content everyday and then also not sure how i’d monetise the blog since migration companies don’t typically have affiliate programs (and if they do they don’t have easy to use affiliate links to include in text like clickbank affiliate products). However, starting with a website seems more complex (need for more tabs etc). I also think its good to position myself as an industry expert first (through a blog). what do you suggest? how should I keep my audience engaged with a blog on migration and how do I make money from it? what immigration/migration related products/services can I promote on my blog as an affiliate? do you think my idea has potential to begin with?

  7. nk says:

    what if we don’t have a disclaimer, for a site outside us.

  8. Drew Tracy says:

    Thanks a lot for posting this. My review site is off and running and I am focusing on only high quality reviews with my own high quality photos. Let me know what you think!

  9. Jordan says:

    You are right, years ago Google was so much nicer! I wish they still were as nice. But things have changes, the markets have got crowded. I am working a lot with software niches. Social media marketing is helping too. What are your thoughts about driving traffic via facebook?

    Thanks, bookmarked this as it’s extremely good information.

    Jordan.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Hey Jordan!

      Glad you bookmarked the site and found it helpful!

      Facebook is obviously near the top of marketing power. You have to launch with a bang, as you have one chance to get people.

      - Get a big Facebook hub to mention you
      - Get guest writers for more Facebook profiles to share from
      - Make sure to write actionable posts

      Have you tried organic SEO and Twitter traffic too?

      Let me know how marketing is going!

      Blogger

  10. Maggie says:

    Hi Greg,

    Thank you so much for this article. I started blogging about Gluten Free food reviews and also local restaurants in Boulder and how Gluten-Free friendly they are. I haven’t started making any income yet, I am first just trying to build it and get more “likes” on Facebook and more views to the site. It does seem to be building though. I was wondering if you had any insights for my site, and if there is a specific network I should start with? Anything helps, and thanks a lot again for writing this article!

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Hi Maggie,

      Sorry it has taken me so long, but I browsed your site a bit and have some suggestions. Sorry if I’m being harsh…

      Design: you need a new theme. something that highlights pictures of the foods right away, and the location. I was in Boulder three years ago, it’s beautiful! Where are the pics?

      Review content: ratings stars is good, but find a way to show more of a personal touch. Maybe your own symbol?

      Networks: definitely join Amazon affiliates. Good for the long-haul. If you’re passionate, I’d recruit members of your community to write about restaurants. This is how that could work

      - Gather team of 5, plus 1 photographer
      - Do dinner parties at 5 restaurants
      - Each time 1 person is blogging
      - Showcase photos oh site
      - Each person shares via social media
      - Growth…
      - More gigs…(hopefully!)
      - Branding throughout (see: http://www.dearblogger.org/what-is-a-brand)
      - Soon, you find you’re getting invites!

      Try that out!

      And um, I’ll take some recommendations on foods :)

      Cheers,
      Greg

  11. chris says:

    Wow, awesome entry. I actually just wanted to inquire about the content, I already got the WP plug in and the host site.. I’m literally stuck at the most arbitrary part of the site which is content.. I’m more or less stuck on do I enter it straight laced just matter of factually or like a blog a little more informal, little jokes here and there.. Thanx for the feedback.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for the comment.

      First off, you have to be different, and the blog has to have character.

      Can’t tell you how many marginal review sites just pitch generic information – in 2013 won’t work anymore unless you’ve got a monopoly on your niche.

      Start by PROVING why you’re credible, then just flow from there. Be yourself.

      Good luck,

      Blogger

  12. ahendon says:

    Hi! I am mom of two babies under two so I have done a ton of research and have lots of first hand experience w baby/toddler/children’s products. As we look to continue expanding our family I have a continuing interest and need for these products. I also have an ever growing circle of people asking what I have used, liked etc… Can I start my blog simply reviewing the products I am loving and using and hooking up to amazon to make it profitable? Is it that simple maybe not to make money but to start? I have literally been asked for a list of recommended items for newborns. Can I start there?

    • Greg Narayan says:

      um, yes! and hey ahendon, welcome to the blog.
      you’re right in the strike zone with your concept and building a review site.
      i think you’d benefit from checking out Simple Mom’s blog:
      http://simplemom.net/
      the best thing about Amazon Affiliates, is they do so much work one their end to make products buyable. you just have to get people there. if you’re an expert in your field, i’d also consider writing an eBook of best products you’ve reviewed and selling that. remember, small gains!
      best,
      Greg

  13. Abhishek says:

    hey Greg , thanks for this wonderful article , but i’ve a question .

    how to contact company directly for their recent news and updates. You know company emails to media sites informing about their product. So how to request them to add my email into their press mailing list.

    i hope you got what i meant to say, its hard to explain.

    thanks

    • Greg Narayan says:

      hey Abhishek,
      great to see ya here, hope you’re enjoying yourself. i actually wrote a post on email networking a while back:
      http://www.dearblogger.org/write-an-email-for-networking
      if it doesn’t solve the problem, let me know. good luck man…
      Greg

      • Abhishek says:

        Thanks Greg,
        i went through your post. Can you send me a sample email…so that i can understand it perfect. Another Question is where do i send emails. for instance i want recent news from Apple than where should i email them like info@apple.com .

        i have a tech review site SolidTechReview.com , please go through it and advice me how to communicate with huge companies so that they can provide me with updates.

        if possible can you drop a mail

        Thanks man for your support

  14. Nadya says:

    Hi Greg and thank you for posting this it’s a major help.
    I wanna ask a few things if its okay with you

    1. Can I sell the stuff if I’m affiliate with Amazon which is the official seller for the brand?

    2. Can I pick a domain name that contains the brand name I’m going to be reviewing? Because I’m thinking of doing a review site about a particular earphone brand that I truly love.

    Thank you so much once again!

    • Greg Narayan says:

      1. Yes, but Amazon is a great seller so affiliate marketing usually works best.

      2. Yes, love that domain name idea. Just find something people are searching for using the keyword tool from Adwords (it’s free)

  15. Braynard says:

    Hello.
    Do you think that the fitness topic is too competitive to make a profitable review site?
    Braynard

  16. Connor says:

    Thank you for the good info. I really like your blog! I just made an electronic cigarette blog and have been updating my other blogs as well! Thanks again!

  17. Nick says:

    Great post! One suggestion: Regulations. FTC requires a disclaimer these days that you have an affiliate relationship with the companies you are reviewing.

    Well-written post otherwise.

  18. James Balazs says:

    Realistically, how much traffic would you expect from a decent review site reviewing just about anything tech, to get in the first 2 months of launch? Would the average amount of ad referral money generally outweigh the costs of keeping the website up ($14.95 or £9.52 per month with hostgator) in the first few months? Or does it have to be a full on investment where you have to wait for a year to get any decent number of pageviews? I want to get into review blogging, but I’m really unsure as to the odds that it will work out, instead of me just wasting about £120 for a years hosting then realising it was a stupid idea in the first place… So what are the success rates? Realistically? Thanks.
    Please reply soon!
    James Balazs

    • Greg Narayan says:

      realistically James? pretty low

      it takes time to:
      rank for keywords, build backlinks, etc
      create social proof
      develop your content

      if you work hard at this and are a natural networker i’d put you at minimum 6 months before profit.

      but once you’re going the hosting fees will be nothing :)

      to start a blog check out this Dear Blogger guide

  19. Gossipo says:

    hi greg… its really a great post about products.. But can we earn money with the reviews of movies or any media?

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Hey Gossipo. Do you know IMDb? They earn through ads, subscription fees, and promotional photo uploads. Amazon affiliates could work too. I don’t know for sure, but I think if you’re clever you can earn this way :) Hope to see ya back.

  20. Thanks for dropping this GEM of advise man very timely and appreciated.

    Now its time to do the work.

    Too bad too few of us will get to this step.

    • Greg Narayan says:

      Hey Freedom,
      Let me know if you have q’s as you do the work. And definitely start small without worry how far you’ll get. The presence of huge sites can really intimidate us from starting our own operations but in my opinion that’s nonsense.
      Thanks for commenting,
      Greg

  21. Jawad says:

    This is a great educational blog.

  22. Fahad says:

    Hi Greg,
    Great Article, I wondered how Review sites were able to earn $$ .. :o
    I love your Step by Step guide and I’m gonna start planning to build and launch my first review site. I’ll let you know then.
    Thank you!

  23. Ehsan Ullah says:

    Great guide on making a review site and making money from it. I have tried to make a review site many time, but I failed every time just because the topic which I had selected were profitable one, but I wasn’t passionate about it so I lost interest. One of my review blog is http://www.birthday-gifts-ideas.net

    BTW Greg, Do you have a review blog yet? If so, would you mine to share it with me?

Ask a question today

Submit Comment

Copyright Dear Blogger