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
There are many more types of affiliate websites that will be discussed here. Creative design can give way to nearly infinite approaches in affiliate marketing. For our discussion, however, we will consider the pros and cons of the following affiliate website models:
|Coupon Based||Product Based||Content Based||Service Based|
It’s worth pausing to acknowledge that all affiliate websites are likely to have coupon offers, product offers, and also content. The distinction is made with regard to the magnitude of focus given to each. For example, coupon comparison sites that offer only feeds of the latest discount codes might have some sort of blog as well but shouldn’t be considered content-focused. With that in mind, we’ll take a closer look at these three types of affiliate websites.
Coupon codes were one of the biggest hits on the early internet with eCommerce still had that glowing sense of novelty. Today, these sites have much more competition but still have a strong presence in the search engine results pages (SERPs). When someone buys a product online, but first Google’s a search phrase like ‘Godaddy coupon codes’ there is a slew of websites that compete for those results. Godaddy, just like many other merchants, maintains an active affiliate program through the Commission Junction (CJ) affiliate network. Each affiliate is given a unique CJXXXXX affiliate code, and any buyers using that code earn the advertiser a commission.
One of the major advantages of coupon-based affiliate offers is that you can earn commissions that don’t even require a website visit
Most coupon websites get put under heavy scrutiny by merchants these days after the promotion of inaccurate pricing became a trend. Many websites would offer percentage discounts that were way above actual discounts in order to get favor in the search engines. For example, one site might advertise a 75% Godaddy discount to get more favor than competitors regardless of truth in advertising. By and large, merchants have cracked down on these types of sites though they still have a strong presence in the SERPs for some keywords. One of the major advantages of coupon-based affiliate offers is that you can earn commissions that don’t even require a website visit. Readers can write it down, share it with coworkers, and used it many times agnostic to their use of your website.
Product-Based Affiliate Sites
Product based websites often resemble eCommerce sites with the only separating factor being products link to external products rather than those you might sell physically. This offers affiliates a unique way to provide a curated selection of niche products with a higher sense of organization compared to many larger retailers. For example, large companies such as Amazon rely largely on third-party merchants to properly categorize their products.
This system works by-and-large, but certainly leaves a little to be desired. For example, many products often get tagged in less popular categorized to help them earn velocity badges such as the Top Seller badge. The spinner fidget craze of early 2017 was the best example of this in recent history, with top-seller badges being given to fidget spinners for categories as unrelated as ashtrays. Product based affiliate sites are often a great way to feel-out a niche from an eCommerce perspective with minimal commitment.
Having a product-based affiliate site can help offer an audience a well-curated shopping experience
Having a product-based affiliate site can help offer an audience a well-curated shopping experience that might be in demand in certain niches. Certain products like furniture, interior décor, and other products are often well-received in formats that allow for easy comparison and quick viewing of many options. For example, an affiliate website that presented only the top 100 most well-designed throw rugs available on Amazon in an easily viewable format would offer value. One of the downsides to these types of affiliate website models is they necessitate the rewriting of all product descriptions to be viable in search results. Driving traffic to these sites through non-search channels such as social or CPC can still offer a justifiable upside for high enough price margins. Plugins such as the WooZone Amazon Product importer can easily populate a WordPress website with affiliate products, though Amazon has been known to ban accounts for not providing any original content in addition. That means if you are just importing Amazon products you’d better be working on a valuable blog as well.
Content-Based Affiliate Sites
Content-based sites are often the best approach for affiliate websites that are looking to establish a strong presence in the SERPs. These sites are focused around niche-related keywords, audience interests, and often the highest converting types of affiliate sites. It’s important to pause here a moment to recognize that many large, multi-million dollar websites have content that includes affiliate offers. While these sites could technically be considered content-focused affiliate sites they aren’t what we’re talking about here.
Content focused affiliate sites are the most common sites that have a very-developed perspective within a certain niche. For example, gluten-free bread making was a very popular niche within the broader cooking niche, before it became over-saturated. Articles that are sharing information related to audience interests that mention products in the form of affiliate links are known to be tremendously successful. For example, a recipe for gluten-free cookies might have product links to a Kitchen Aid mixer, gluten-free flour, and some really kitsch cooker cutters.
Any informative content would help support [the main content] by adding relevancy and internal links
The content-based affiliate website model has one of the strongest focuses on providing valuable information of all affiliate website models. If one isn’t careful though, it is easy to write a lot of valuable content that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of demand. Doing quality keyword research beforehand can help ensure that you put adequate focus into a subject matter that will drive your bottom line enough to justify the creation of other content. After all, if an affiliate website isn’t making money it’s just a website. One of the most-tried models for content focused affiliate websites is to find a niche, decent search volume niche that has a decent variety of products available.
Step one would be to write a very well-researched article or review about a very commercial aspect of that niche, followed by a second step involving the creation of complementary content to support that article. An example would be a single article on the best kitchen mixers, which could be linked to by nearly any article on cooking. The commercial focus of the site would be to support the article on best kitchen mixers, and any informative content would help support that cause by adding relevancy and internal links.
Service-Based Affiliate Websites
This is a bit of a curve-ball for many people to wrap their heads around and these types are seen much less commonly. A typical service-based affiliate website might help compare products, aggregate discounts, even provide insights into personal concerns like health and wellness. One of the best examples of the service-based affiliate website is PC Parts Picker.
This is a tremendously-popular website that allows one to select computer components for custom PC builds. It checks for compatibility issues between parts and helps to identify the most affordable part sources. For each PC part, there may be user pictures, user reviews, and detailed information related to how that part may be used or misused. The affiliate aspect of this website comes into play where the price comparisons are displayed. For each product, 5 unique price offers might be displayed from sources such as NewEgg and Amazon. Each of these prices leads to an affiliate offer which earns the website a commission.
These websites blur the lines between affiliate websites and websites that use affiliate offers to monetize in place of traditional advertising
The service-based affiliate website is really prevalent among enterprise-grade apps and service products. It’s often hidden deep beneath layers of valuable functionality or information and isn’t always immediately recognized as an affiliate website. Many of these websites blur the lines between affiliate websites and websites that use affiliate offers to monetize in place of traditional advertising.
As a general rule of thumb, conversations about service based affiliate websites or apps is done within the perspective of product-based properties. That’s to say; service based affiliate websites and apps help people find products rather than embedding product offers into informational services. They both exist of course, but the latter is often more considered a media service more so than an affiliate product website.
Many More Types of Affiliate Sites
The types of affiliate websites discussed here are by no means meant to be a complete discussion of all the possibilities. For those building their first affiliate websites, having a limited scope of focus can help maintain productivity and initial impact. Before you try and create a new innovative approach to affiliate marketing don’t be afraid to gain a strong familiarity with existing effective methods. Keeping things simple initially can allow you to get a cash flow started which will work to support your larger more creative projects in the future!