If you’re interested in experimenting with making money online, a review site is a great way to get a taste of this experience for yourself. While a review site probably won’t make you rich overnight, if you stick with it, you can build it into something quite significant. For many people, this type of site is not only an enjoyable hobby, but something that provides additional income every single month. And for a small percentage of individuals, their review site becomes so successful that it ends up replacing their full-time job.
What is a Review Site?
Before we dive into the steps involved in creating and promoting this type of site, it’s worth clarifying what the term actually means. A review site is a website or blog that reviews products or services. The way most review sites are monetized is with affiliate links. Although an affiliate link looks like a normal hyperlink, the big difference is if a visitor clicks one and eventually buys from the business they’re directed to, the owner of the review site will receive a commission from the purchase.
Why are businesses willing to pay review site owners a commission? The main reason is it’s a great source of marketing and promotion for them. While most larger businesses have their own marketing departments, that doesn’t mean they can reach every single audience that may be interested in what they sell. By working with review sites, they can tap into new audiences that may have been previously unreachable.
If you hadn’t previously heard of review sites or affiliate marketing, you’re far from being alone. Plenty of people are just now being exposed to these concepts. However, both concepts have been around for over a decade. And during that time, quite a bit has changed within the industry. Although quality review sites provide a lot of value to visitors, there have been individuals and companies who have attempted to game affiliate marketing opportunities by creating fake or misleading sites. As a result, the FTC now requires any review site to have text on their site that discloses their affiliate relationship with the companies they review.
Getting a Review Site Up and Running
Now that you know exactly what a review site is, it’s time to discuss what you need to know to start your own. When it comes to what separates a successful review site from one that fails, passion is the most common factor. While plenty of people start a review site around a topic because they know it’s a lucrative one, they get burned out trying to consistently produce content around a topic they don’t really like.
Since a big part of making a review site a success is producing lots of great content like in-depth written reviews, awesome pictures and engaging videos, you’re going to enjoy this process much more if your site is based around a topic you enjoy. If you have an interest but are concerned that it’s too narrow to be successful, keep in mind that the Internet is a big place. As a result, it’s almost guaranteed that there are plenty of other people who are interested in the same segment of products or services as you.
Choose a Domain and Set Up Your Site
Plenty of review sites have been built on domain names with two to four word keyword phrases. While there’s nothing wrong with having a product word in your domain name, since you want to build something that’s going to last, be sure you choose a brandable domain name instead of one that’s simply intended as an attempt to shortcut Google’s ranking algorithm.
From there, you can get a hosting account and then set up your actual site. If you’re wondering what platform to use, WordPress is always a great bet. Not only is it a solid CMS, but it’s easy to extend its core functionality by using great free plugins like Build Your Widget. BYW makes it simple to manage and monetize your site with one or more affiliate programs.
You will need some webspace to ‘host’ your website. You will want email addresses that tie in with the web address. You will want a domain name or ‘web address’ for your website.
Allow between $30 and $200 per month for that depending on your website traffic. You can get it more cheaply – you may have see this service offered at silly prices – a cheap price means a cheap service. Paying a good price means a good & reliable service. You can choose one of the plans from reliable hosting company like socialfoxhosting, amazon or rackspace.
Start Producing and Promoting
Once you have the core of your site, it’s time to start adding content to it. Keep in mind that the better your content, the easier it’s going to be to promote your site. And in terms of promotion, the best thing you can do is experiment with everything from social media to guest blogging. Then when you find a strategy that works well, you can focus your efforts on driving as much targeted traffic as possible through that medium.
Jay Bats designed and created Build Your Widget throughout 2012 and 2013. http://buildyourwidget.com/ lets you build really cool widgets for use in ecommerce and affiliate marketing on your website.