Affiliate websites are incredibly popular ways to make money online. When planning out your affiliate website there are several different approaches to consider. Weighing the benefits and downsides of each different type of affiliate website can help decide which approach may offer the highest return for you.
Basic Types of Affiliate Websites
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online. It can be done with or without a website, such as in social media marketing, but having a strong web presence can be very favorable. In this article, I’ll describe some of the most successful types of affiliate website business models I’ve seen. There’s plenty of other types and variations but these are the ones that rake in the big bucks.
Coupon codes were one of the biggest hits in the early days of eCommerce. Behemoths like RetailMeNot and eBates are still thriving but all the riff-raff have been pushed down in the SERPs following updates like Penguin.
Coupon websites work by posting affiliate-codes that are good for discounts from certain merchants. For example, an eCommerce website may honor a 15OFF coupon code entered during checkout by discounting an entire order by 15%.
These coupons could be $15 bucks off, a second product free, 2 months of free service—the nature of the coupon doesn’t matter. What matters is that merchants issue affiliate-specific coupon codes that ensure websites like these get paid when buyers enter their coupons. You get 15% off your Target.com order and RetailMeNot gets 8% of the total sale in commission. Everyone wins.
Speaking of RetailMeNot—that coupon-based affiliate website sold for a whopping $630 million in 2017.
Product-Based Affiliate Sites
These types of affiliate websites are often indistinguishable from eCommerce websites until you go to make a purchase. Other times, these websites take on the form of reviews, unboxings, or simply blogging about products. What makes each type of product website similar is that it has a strong focus on products.
Plugins such as the WooZone Amazon Product importer can easily populate a WordPress website with affiliate products. These products will sync prices but still allow website owners to provide custom descriptions and images. Providing a curated selection of products can provide enough value to attract website visitors away from larger merchants like Amazon, eBay, or Wal-Mart.
Content-Based Affiliate Sites
This type of affiliate website is by far the most abundant. This includes blogs, vlogs, news, reviews—anything where the majority of the website isn’t necessary product-focused. Technically speaking, any blog with a single affiliate link can be considered a “content-based” affiliate site.
Some examples of content-based websites include the following:
- A food blog: Contains recipes, personal stories, and maybe a handful of product reviews.
- A Tech Blog: Contains tutorials, galleries of user PC builds, and maybe the latest industry news.
- A Health Website: Contains nutrition tools, long-form articles, and links to trusted retailers.
Each of these websites has a vastly different content, distributes that content differently, and resonates with very different audiences. They could all still monetize by including affiliate links when talking about products and/or services or linking to merchant websites.
Service-Based Affiliate Websites
This type of website offers a novel service through which affiliate offers play a natural role. A coupon website could fall into this category by being considered a “coupon aggregator” service. The shared trait of all service-based affiliate sites is that they provide value beyond what is available from retailers alone.
PCPartPicker.com is an excellent example of this type of affiliate website. Their service lets users create shopping lists for parts while building a custom PC. The parts on this list show compatibility issues, allowing users to feel confident their PC will work once built.
The parts on the list all display pricing from several retailers, with the lowest price first. When users click the links to buy products PCPartPicker earns commissions. Again, everyone wins.
Many More Types of Affiliate Sites
The affiliate websites listed in this article are the most popular types I’ve seen. They appear time and time again and for good reason—they work! If you are just starting out with affiliate marketing, or maybe trying to find a more successful approach, I’d recommend trying on of the approaches listed here.
A website’s content is essential to its success. If visitors don’t find enough value they won’t stay long enough to click any affiliate links. The types of affiliate models listed here will help improve chances of success but won’t overcome major deficits in quality content. I always try to create content and then add affiliate offers afterwards. That helps keep the focus on providing value, which is all the