21 Real Life Examples of Successful Affiliate Marketing Websites in 2019

Free Download: A Hand curated list of the best affiliate marketing tools to grow your site FAST.

After our post on writing better reviews, we got a lot of interest from readers asking us what it takes to create a great product review site.

Unfortunately for the internet, when people think of building affiliate websites, they usually think of doing something like this:

Affiliate websites example

Affiliate websites like these are all over the web.

They have no ambition and are designed just to siphon off affiliate commissions by overselling without subtleties.

Little wonder that they drop off the radar within months.

The truth is that there are tons of affiliate sites on the internet with a focus on product reviews that are awesome and still great at making money.

In fact, they give away so much value that you don’t even see their affiliate links.

At Authority Hacker, we’ve always been about building long-term businesses with a focus on delivering value in order to build a real audience and ensure the site doesn’t get penalised down the line.

21 Real Life Examples Of Successful Affiliate Marketing Websites In 2019

So for this post, we’re going to look at 21 examples of affiliate websites that “get it” when it comes to marketing 3rd party products while delivering value and try to learn from them.

I hope that looking at these affiliate marketing examples will give you some inspiration with your own sites and will show you that affiliate marketing doesn’t have to be cheesy.

1 - Nerdwallet

Nerdwallet is one of my favorite affiliate websites, and I’m sure plenty of affiliate marketers would tell you the same.

It’s been around for a long while, it does enormously well in one of the most competitive markets, and the content is genuinely useful.

Nerdwallet is essentially a review affiliate site for financial products. The cover everything from credit cards to mortgages to investing to insurance.

Have stellar contents, and exceptional user interface, and a really good marketing team.

They’ve basically been the gold standard of affiliate sites for the last several years (in my view anyway).

  • Niche: Consumer finance
  • Goal: Help people pick the best credit cards, loans, insurance, etc.
  • Key Challenge: Extremely competitive market.

Key Stats

Facebook

142,000

Twitter

55,900

Visits/Month

10.6M

DR

83

Backlinks

34,316

Alexa Rank

2,722

Length:
N/A

Backlinks:
596

Shares:
2,900

Keywords:
5,600

I love this piece of content because it’s not content as we think of it in any traditional sense.

Seasoned link builders will probably recognize the angle here: creating a hyper-useful tool that’s going to do very well in the context of a content marketing campaign.

What makes this one of their top pieces of content, however, is that it also targets a very good keyword.

Nerdwallet best credit cards of 2019

Length:
4,300

Backlinks:
388

Shares:
26,300

Keywords:
4,600

This may be one of the single most difficult (but valuable) affiliate keywords in the world, and NerdWallet consistently snags one of the top spots in the SERPs. As of right now they rank #1 for it in Google.

Huge win for them.

Best CD Rates NerdWallet

Length:
N/A

Backlinks:
454

Shares:
53

Keywords:
1,100

Another extremely competitive keyword, and, it should be noted, this content is also in tool form.

How They Make Money

Nerdwallet is also a 100% affiliate site. They do not have ads, nor do they (as far as I can tell) sell any of their own products.

Top Promotions

What we can learn from Nerdwallet

  1. Make tools. So much of Nerdwallet’s best content comes into will form, and that’s because not only is a great for user experience, but tools also tend to attract lots of links, and SEO is a major part of this site’s strategy.
  2. Update key pages. Nerdwallet makes a practice of updating their key pages. For example, their big guides, like, “Best Credit Cards 2016” will be updated annually (to “Best Credit Cards 2019”), making them relevant in giving their marketing team an opportunity to market them again.

2 - money saving expert

MoneySavingExpert.com helps ordinary people make better financial decisions. Think of it as financial education for the masses that helps people get more bang for their buck.

The site was started by Martin Lewis, a financial journalist, in 2003. Today, it ranks as one of the biggest consumer affiliate websites in the UK with over 8 million visits every month.

In a field filled with self-serving information and dubious knowledge, MoneySavingExpert (MSE) has managed to set itself apart thanks to its content quality and devotion to helping consumers.

The site was sold to Moneysupermarket.com in 2012 for £87 million.

  • Niche: Personal finance
  • Founder: Martin Lewis (@MartinSLewis)
  • Goal: To help ordinary people make better financial decisions
  • Key Challenge: To provide ethical, accurate and updated financial information in a sector marked by self-serving interests.

Key Stats

Facebook

191,000

Twitter

64,200

Visits/Month

8.8M

DR

83

Backlinks

18,900

Alexa Rank

3,530

Length:
7,800

Backlinks:
454

Shares:
14

Keywords:
3,100

A comprehensive guide to credit scores and how they impact your financial life.​

MoneySavingExpert.com 15 cheapest ways to get travel money

Length:
3,470

Backlinks:
388

Shares:
69

Keywords:
678

A list of innovative ways to make extra cash for traveling.

MoneySavingExpert com The budget planner

Length:
2,900

Backlinks:
511

Shares:
44

Keywords:
3,000

A thorough guide to making budgets and sticking to them.

How They Make Money

As MSE explains on its “How this site is financed” page, the only monetization method is affiliate links. The site does not accept advertisements or sponsored posts, nor does it offer any paid products.

Some different tactics and tools it uses to monetize include:

  • Coupons: MSE maintains a list of coupons and deals for a number of retailers, taking a cut from each sale.
  • Best of” guides: MSE has several pages listing “Best [X]” products and services, such as banks and credit cards. It takes a cut from anyone signing up with its affiliate link.
  • “Cheap X” guides: MSE helps users pick the cheapest consumer products in a category (such as phones) and takes a cut from each sale.
  • Calculators: The site offers its users a number of calculators, such as a loan calculator or a mortgage calculator. It takes a commission from any recommended financial products.

It uses a number of additional tactics to make extra affiliate marketing cash. This includes an Amazon discount finder, an association with Resolver, and including Skimlinks in its forum threads.

Top Promotions

Some products MoneySavingExpert promotes are:

What we can learn from MoneySavingExpert

  1. Invest in design: The MSE website is very well organized. All articles are also heavily formatted to be as easy to browse as possible.
  2. Invest in ethics: The consumer finance field is filled with misinformation. MSE stands out by clearly identifying all affiliate links and maintaining a strong editorial code of ethics.
  3. Hero pages: MSE maintains “hero” pages for major search terms (example). These are highly visual and give readers a quick glance at the best options. Since the pages are very user-focused, they almost always rank well.
  4. Be actionable: From blog posts to deal finders to calculators, all of MSE’s content and products are ultra actionable. Users don’t have to deal with fluff and can dive right into the info they want.

3 - The Wirecutter

The Wire Cutter is one of the internet’s favorite review affiliate websites for electronics, gadgets and consumer goods.

It was started by Brian Lam, the former editorial director of Gizmodo. Brian and team put all reviewed products through strenuous and innovative tests, so much so that the site is sometimes called “Mythbusters for gadgets”.

Since its birth in 2011, the Wire Cutter has grown into one of the top 6,000 sites online by incessantly focusing on finding the best product in each category.

Along the way, it has earned tons of praise, even getting a story in NYTimes.

  • Niche: Consumer product reviews
  • Founder: Brian Lam (@blam)
  • Goal: To help people find the best product in every consumer category
  • Key Challenge: To design innovative tests and select the best product possible, without being swayed by commercial interests.

Key Stats

Facebook

121,000

Twitter

87,400

Visits/Month

3.6M

DR

80

Backlinks

18,300

Alexa Rank

3,530

Top Content

Wirecutter Deals

Length:
11,100

Backlinks:
642

Shares:
1,100

Keywords:
49k

A regularly updated list of the best deals on electronics from across the web.

Length:
7,700

Backlinks:
393

Shares:
427

Keywords:
6,400

A review of the best Bluetooth speakers for average consumers.

Wirecutter the best Wi-fi Router

Length:
9,685

Backlinks:
573

Shares:
503

Keywords:
7,000

How They Make Money

The Wire Cutter explains its monetization model on its “How to Support Us” page.

It’s a simple model: affiliate commissions, primarily through Amazon and BestBuy. The site does not accept any advertisements or sponsored posts, or does it sell any of its own products.

Some different tactics and tools it uses to monetize include:

  • Product recommendations: “Best of” product pages for each category are the Wire Cutter’s bread and butter. Each recommendation comes with an associated Amazon link.
  • Answer Questions: The Wire Cutter answers reader questions such as “which headphones should I buy?” and takes a cut from any product sales.
  • Others: Besides Amazon and a handful of other well known retailers, the site also uses Skimlinks to make money online. There is an indication it sells some advertising as well (as shown by this link) though the details aren’t made public.
  • They were recently acquired by the New York times for US$20 million, so that counts as peak monetization from where we stand.

Top Promotions

Some of The Wire Cutter’s most heavily used affiliate promotions are:

What we can learn from The Wire Cutter

  1. Focus: Instead of creating hundreds of gadget news posts every month, the Wire Cutter does just one thing: in-depth reviews.
  2. Use the right design: The Wire Cutter doesn’t use the traditional blog structure. Instead, it uses a simple page with a list of best items in each category.
  3. Quality > Quantity: The Wire Cutter’s tests are so innovative and extensive that manufacturers sometimes ask it for advice on how to improve their products. As it promises on this page, every recommended product has been tested to be the best in its class. It also writes only 6-12 posts a month.

FREE DOWNLOAD

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4 - Dating advice

As far as internet marketing goes, the dating niche is wildly lucrative. Unfortunately, it is also filled with tons of scamsters and spammy sites designed just to send traffic to affiliate offers.

DatingAdvice.com is a breath of fresh air in this cluttered niche. It is clean, fun, and doesn’t have the sleazy side that defines so many other dating affiliate websites. With its focus on ‘expert advice’ and emphasis on answering real questions, it essentially brings dating mainstream.

  • Niche: Dating advice and dating website reviews
  • Goal: Goal: To help people improve their dating skills and find the best dating site for their needs
  • Key Challenge: To stand out in a niche overpopulated with spam and sleaze

Key Stats

Facebook

12,700

Twitter

6,800

Visits/Month

413k

DR

78

Backlinks

3,600

Alexa Rank

93,473

Top Content

DatingAdvice OurTime.com Review

Length:
879

Backlinks:
132

Traffic:
2,100

Keywords:
280

An in-depth review of OurTime.com, a dating website for seniors.

DatingAdvice The 15 Top Cities for Single Women

Length:
1,200

Backlinks:
18

Shares:
0

Keywords:
14

A review of the best cities for single women to find single guys.

DatingAdvice 11 Best Hookup Sites

Length:
1,200

Backlinks:
14

Traffic:
1,600

Keywords:
670

A review of the best dating sites focused on hookups.

How they make money

Dating Advice makes most of its money by referring people to dating websites such as Match, eHarmony, etc. You’ll notice that all its recommended sites have a wholesome, mainstream image, which fits its target demographics.

Some different tactics and tools it uses to monetize include:

  • Best-of lists: DatingAdvice.com creates ‘Best Of’ lists for the best apps, websites and products for dating, taking a cut from any sign-ups or sales.
  • Dating site reviews: DatingAdvice.com reviews some of the popular dating sites around and makes money from affiliate commissions. This is the site’s bread and butter as far as revenues go.
  • Sponsored posts: Though it doesn’t explicitly state so, DatingAdvice.com makes some money through sponsored posts such as this one.

Top Promotions

Some of DatingAdvice.com’s most heavily used affiliate promotions are:

What we can learn from DatingAdvice.com

  1. Keep it clean: DatingAdvice.com has managed to stand out by maintaining a wholesome, healthy image in a spammy, scammy niche. The colors, the design and the prominent use of real faces in all posts goes a long way towards telling readers that this site is “safe”.
  2. No banner ads: similarly to all the sites quoted earlier, the site does not have a single banner ad. The truth is, banner ads cheapen your design and trust which can hurt if you are trying to monetise with affiliates. For example, we are working on a version of Health Ambition with no ads.
  3. Social proof: The site has a “as Featured in” section with logos of mainstream publications right at the very top of the page. This not only helps establish credibility, but also affirms the mainstream nature of the website.
  4. Focus on experts: Instead of showing advice from just anyone, DatingAdvice.com focuses on experts and relationship counselors. This gives its content greater credibility and authority. On top of that they can use the expert’s social reach to gain visibility.

5 - PC Part Picker

PCPartPicker.com has always been one of my favorite affiliate sites.

One of the reasons I love it so much is that it deviates from the “traditional” affiliate website model. It’s not just another content site targeting “best x” keywords.

Instead, they’ve built something that provides such extreme value it basically markets itself.

The premise of the site is basically that it’s a tool for people who want to build their own computers (usually gaming computers).

If you’ve never done it, the difficult part about building a computer is almost always the research.

New computer parts are coming out constantly, so you have to find the latest parts that fit your budget and are also compatible with each other.

It’s a pain in the ass.

PC Part Picker solves these problems. It lets you shop for the latest pc parts based on performance and budget, and it automatically cross-references them with each other to check for compatibility.

So the core of the site is a tool. In recent years, however, they’ve expanded beyond the tool and started a really nice blog as well.

Needless to say, it’s been enormously successful.

  • Niche: Computer parts
  • Goal: Help people build computers
  • Key Challenge: Low commissions

Facebook

34,000

Twitter

47,000

Visits/Month

3.3M

DR

73

Backlinks

7,600

Alexa Rank

1,721

Top Content

Length:
N/A

Backlinks:
2,100

Shares:
5,100

Keywords:
2,800

This is the primary tool on the site — the one that helps people choose the best PC parts for their current PC build and checks for compatibility issues. Note that every part in the list has an affiliate link.

Length:
N/A

Backlinks:
432

Shares:
108

Keywords:
6,700

This is similar to the part picker, but the site experts pre-build the computer for you, which automatically generates a part list.

Length:
N/A

Backlinks:
113

Shares:
45

Keywords:
235

This is an example of a review on the site.

It’s certainly not traditional.

It’s basically just the specs and user reviews.

One cool thing they do add is price history. This is very useful in an industry where prices change constantly.

How they make money

PC Part Picker is monetized completely through affiliate links. And pretty much everything they do is monetized this way:

  • User-created PC builds. Users can custom-build their own computeres and then order parts by click on the affiliate links. Or…
  • Expert-created PC builds. Experts on the site will put together builds for you (in the form of a blog post).
  • Reviews of individual components. They also review individual PC components and use historical price data to help people make a buying decision.

Top Promotions

PCPartsPicker uses a number of different affiliate programs as part of its overall strategy, but the bulk of their income would appear to come from Amazon.

What we can learn from PC Part Picker

  1. Build a tool. This site does have a blog, and it does have content, but the engine is the PC-building tool.
  2. Focus on user experience. Everything here is geared specifically to help the users achieve a very particular goal: building a PC with no compatibility issues and within a certain budget.
  3. Help users shop around. By being a member of multiple affiliate programs, and pointing users to the best price, and recording price history, PC Part Picker goes beyond is simply recommending products on site; they help their readers have a good shopping experience off site.

6 - 50em.com

Most of the affiliate websites listed above are well-established with large teams and even larger budgets.

Some even have celebrity founders with existing audiences.

However, most IMers don’t have such resources. This is why for our 6th example, we chose to focus on 50em.com – a site with just 7 pages.

50em helps readers choose between two of the most popular automation tools on the market – Ontraport and InfusionSoft.

These tools run into hundreds of dollars each month and represent a big spend for any marketer. By creating ultra-focused, hyper-targeted content, 50em makes the selection process easier, and in the process, makes bank.

This is the kind of site any AH reader can make – with tons of effort and guidance, of course!

The site is pretty much a master-class in creating high value, high impact product reviews. There’s tons you can learn from it, so read on!

  • Niche: Automation software reviews
  • Goal: To help marketers choose between InfusionSoft and Ontraport
  • Key Challenge: To get traffic and establish credibility in a hyper-targeted niche with expensive products.

Facebook

N/A

Twitter

N/A

Visits/Month

65

DR

16

Backlinks

35

Alexa Rank

2.5M

Length:
1,400

Backlinks:
35

Shares:
6

The homepage that serves as an introduction to the two tools and pitches the idea of automation

InfusionSoft vs Ontraport the ultimate showdown

Length:
7,200

Backlinks:
3

Shares:
14

A head-to-head comparison review of the two main tools the site is about. Note the content length, low number of backlinks, yet they rank #1.

What they won't tell you about Ontraport

Length:
4,500

Backlinks:
3

Shares:
0

An “honest” review of Ontraport from the owner. He clearly uses the tool, and shares both the good and bad sides of it.

How they make money

The monetization method for 50em should be clear enough: it makes money through affiliate commissions.

Both InfusionSoft and Ontraport are expensive tools – InfusionSoft starts at $199/month while Ontraport goes for $297/month.

So even a single sale can be wildly lucrative.

50em uses four tactics to make these commissions:

  • In-depth reviews: 50em has in-depth reviews for both InfusionSoft and Ontraport. There’s thousands of words of text, as well as a video that explains each product. Tons of value for any reader.
  • Head to head comparisons: If you’re still confused after reading the reviews, you can compare the two products against each other. On the InfusionSoft vs. Ontraport page, 50em gives an in-depth breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of each product.
  • Recommendations: Besides reviews and comparisons, 50em also has a separate “self-serve” page for recommendations. Check whether you fit the given criteria, then select the product that meets your needs.
  • Ask me” tool: Finally, 50em gives readers an option to get direct answers to any of their automation queries. Since 50em is run by a marketing consultant, it’s a great way to capture some leads.

Top Promotions

50em promotes just three core products – InfusionSoft, Ontraport and Salesforce.

All these three products rely heavily on affiliates or ‘partners’ to promote themselves. You can learn more about it on the links below:

What we can learn from 50em.com

  1. Select the right niche: 50em is just about two tools – InfusionSoft and Ontraport. There is no other content cluttering the site. Thanks to its hyper-focused approach, it is able to rank very well in a narrow niche.
  2. Offer first hand experience: All of 50em’s reviews and comparison pages run into thousands of words with almost zero fluff and tons of value from people who have really used the products.
  3. Invest in copy: Enterprise product reviews don’t have to be boring. 50em’s copy is fun and easy to read. If a review begins with “dadgum it”, there’s a good chance you’ll read through it :)
  4. Make it easy to choose: Reviews, comparisons, recommendations…50em makes it easy for readers to choose the right product for their needs. It also helps that its design is simple enough to navigate for anyone.

7 - This Is Why I’m Broke

This is Why I’m Broke is an old staple of the affiliate marketing space. I like it, though, because it was among the first affiliate websites to really do the gift and novelty aggregation angle well.

And that’s what the site does better than pretty much anybody: it taps into Internet and pop-culture, finds the strange crap that appeals to people’s sense of fun, and pounces on consumer trends like some kind of digital lycanthrope.

Today, for instance, the very first entry is an alcohol vaporizer slot machine on sale for a mere $900.

And that’s what the site does better than pretty much anybody: it taps into Internet and pop-culture, fines the strange crap that appeals to people’s sense of fun, and pounces on consumer trends better than pretty much anybody.

Even as a marketer, it’s difficult for me not to click half of these affiliate links.

  • Niche: Novelty items and gifts
  • Goal: Find weird and wacky stuff to splurge on
  • Key Challenge: No clear theme (for search engines)

Key Stats

Facebook

309k

Pinterest

10,000

Visits/Month

728k

DR

71

Backlinks

4,800

Alexa Rank

13,348

Top Content

This Is Why I'm Broke Gifts for Men

Length:
N/A

Backlinks:
31

Shares:
1,400

Keywords:
6,100

What we see on This Is Why I’m Broke is that a lot of the top level content is actually the category pages.

This is probably because:

  1. They’re at the top of silos; and
  2. They’re among the only content that is clearly themed. The “gifts for men” section is one of the most popular.
This Is Why I'm Broke Gifts for Geeks

Length:
N/A

Backlinks:
47

Shares:
1,800

Keywords:
3,400

This is a section all about gifts for geeks, and features nerdy or tech-oriented items.

This is Why I’m Broke Bear Sleeping Bag

Length:
N/A

Backlinks:
4

Shares:
258

Keywords:
175

This is one of the top actual blog posts on the site, and it represents a theme across other top blog posts: something extremely weird targeting an extremely esoteric keyword.

How they make money

The site makes money almost exclusively through affiliate offers, and it shouldn’t surprise you that most of the money seems to be made through the Amazon Associates program.

It wouldn’t make much sense for them to find individual affiliate programs for all of the random items they feature on the blog.

However, they also sell plenty of stuff through Etsy, and appear to be an affiliate there.

It’s worth noting that some blog posts don’t seem to have affiliate links at all, which means they are not monetizing every single page.

Top Promotions

TIWIB has an interesting model. As far as I can tell, only posts that point to Amazon or Etsy products are monetized. Everything else is just a regular, non-affiliate link.

What we can learn from This Is Why I’m Broke

  1. The “fun factor” can be great natural marketing. I’m not sure if this site ever did any active marketing, but it does appear to attract a great many natural links and shares. This is almost certainly due to the raw fun factor.
  2. You don’t need to monetize everything. Some posts, even if they feature gifts, aren’t monetized; they’re just for fun, and provide a great user experience, which probably goes a long way to bolster the site’s reputation.

8 - Making Sense of cents

Making Sense of Cents is another finance site, but, crucially, it was created and is run by one person: Michelle Gardner.

So, unlike some of the bigger finance sites in this list, Michelle writes all the content on the blog herself, making the angle more personal advice, and coming from personal experience, than a large site with a team of experts.

And that has paid off for her big-time.

Michelle publishes her income reports on her blog, and as of the last income report, her monthly revenue was $125,000.

So, in terms of an individual blogger doing well with affiliate products, Michelle is way up there.

  • Niche: Personal & Family Finance
  • Founder: Michelle Gardner
  • Goal: Help people budget and save money
  • Key Challenge: Started as a personal blog with low resources

Key Stats

Facebook

95,000

Pinterest

123,400

Visits/Month

70k

DR

72

Backlinks

3,000

Alexa Rank

84,881

Length:
1,300

Backlinks:
13

Shares:
396

Keywords:
4,400

This is one of Michelle’s top pieces of content, and it’s probably because it vibes perfectly with her audience: frugal, family-oriented people who like saving money and getting free stuff.

4 Craigslist Rental Scams To Avoid

Length:
2,000

Backlinks:
31

Shares:
336

Keywords:
6,900

This is a good example of a piece of content that is successful because it helps people avoid lots of pain.

In my view, this works exactly the same way as helping people gain something, but has a bit more urgency and lends itself to shareability.

We No Longer Have Traditional Health Insurance – Liberty HealthShare Review

Length:
1,600

Backlinks:
16

Shares:
217

Keywords:
40

And here’s a really creative angle on writing about health insurance.

By the way, I don’t think Michelle was trying to do any creative marketing here. I think she really just wanted to share her experience, which is part of why I think this post is so successful.

How she makes money

Michelle makes most of her money through a combination of affiliate marketing and selling her own courses.

She does make some money off of display advertising, but it represents a rather small percentage of her overall revenue.

Top Promotions

What we can learn from Making Sense of Cents

  1. Taking a personal angle can help differentiate you in competitive markets. Michelle is in a hyper- competitive market (finance), but one of the ways she’s able to compete is by being personable.
  2. Have your readers’ it backs. A lot of Michelle’s top content helps her readers stay out of harm’s way or make a little bit of extra money. It’s not about reviewing products; it’s much more about actually helping people.

FREE DOWNLOAD

We have prepared a hand curated list of the most effective affiliate marketing tools you can use to create sites that grow as fast as we do. Plus, many of them have free versions ;).

9 - the points guy

Who doesn’t know about The Points Guy at this point (pun intended)?

It’s no secret that some of the biggest affiliate sites out there are in the finance and travel spaces. The Points Guy, however, is one of the few who seems to have cracked social traffic with as much success as they have cracked organic traffic.

This site is all about credit cards in travel. Specifically, it’s about how to leverage the benefits credit card companies and travel companies offer you for taking different actions, so that you can travel cheaply (or even for free).

And I really think this is one of the things that has helped The Points Guy becomes so intensely popular: the extreme focus on helping people do something very specific: getting sh*t for free.

To that end, this site is a masterful combination of solving a problem for people + recommending products from which they earn affiliate commissions.

  • Niche: Credit cards and travel
  • Goal: Travel and credit card hacking
  • Key Challenge: Extremely competitive niche

Key Stats

Facebook

1.8M

Twitter

313,000

Visits/Month

3M

DR

78

Backlinks

10,500

Alexa Rank

4,054

Length:
1,800

Backlinks:
23

Shares:
98

Keywords:
5,000

This is a great example of an article that addresses a question his readers specifically might have at the same time as it tackles a bit of controversy.

The Points Guy Getting Global Entry

Length:
2,000

Backlinks:
24

Shares:
24

Keywords:
3,600

This is a pretty standard article targeting a good keyword. Not many referring domains here–just solid writing and high site authority carrying the bulk of the load.

The Points Guy Avoid Airline Change and Cancellation Fees

Length:
1,600

Backlinks:
42

Shares:
42

Keywords:
2,400

Of the top content I reviewed on this site, I think this is probably the one that best qualifies as a solid piece of highly useful evergreen content.

The sort of thing that will get more and more popular over time, and that can be updated (and re-marketed) continuously.

How they make money

The Points Guy makes money through credit card and travel affiliate programs.

They focus mostly on credit cards that people can use to earn travel rewards.

Top Promotions

The top promotions change over time and seem to be based on which currently offers the best rewards since that’s the whole point of the site. Some examples are:

American Express
Chase
Citi

What we can learn from thepointsguys.com

  1. Solve a problem. Just because you are an affiliate site doesn’t mean you have to blindly write about products or do product reviews. Take an angle that actually helps people solve a problem, and you might enjoy both some free marketing and ever-growing popularity.
  2. Put your favorite products front and center. The Points Guy has a “Top Cards” section in the main navigation menu that simply lists the top travel credit cards. It doesn’t bring in as much traffic as some of the other content, but it does okay. It’s an easy place for people to find the most important products for those interested in this sort of thing.

10 - just a girl an her blog

Just a Girl and Her Blog

Just a Girl and Her Blog is one of my personal favorite affiliate websites–mostly because it’s so close to what so many of us like to do: sell stuff through the Amazon Associates program.

This blog is run by a gal named Abby, who writes about DIY, crafts, and organization. It’s an extremely popular blog, and, since Abby shares her income reports, we know that she makes about $40,000+ per month.

Of that revenue nearly 75% comes from affiliate marketing.

  • Niche: DIY & organizing
  • Founder: Abby Lawson
  • Goal: Helping people organize and beautify their lives
  • Key Challenge: Very general mix of content

Key Stats

Facebook

29,000

Pinterest

135,000

Instagram

35,500

Visits/Month

53K

DR

65

Backlinks

4,000

Alexa Rank

125,062

Length:
1,400

Backlinks:
9

Shares:
137

Keywords:
380

This is the kind of content that not everybody can do. More importantly, it is the kind of content that isn’t easy for her competitors to replicate.

It’s based off of an entire year of personal experience with a trending philosophy, so it is easy to see why this particular post picked up steam.

Just A Girl And Her Blog,2019 Budget Binder

Length:
1,100

Backlinks:
69

Shares:
2,300

Keywords:
700

This is a great piece of content because it provides something highly useful to Abby’s readers, but it also helps her collect and get people on her email list.

Just a Girl and Her Blog Grocery List

Length:
650

Backlinks:
38

Shares:
586

Keywords:
290

It’s the same story with this blog post -it’s something that makes a lot of logistical sense for her readers and is something that they might want to print out and take with them.

In other words, it’s highly useful, and people will probably be willing to give their email to get it.

How she makes money

Abby makes most of her money with affiliate marketing (mainly through Amazon Associates and hosting affiliate marketing with Bluehost), but she also sells her own courses.

What we can learn from Just a Girl and Her Blog?

  1. Be a guinea pig. Abby often tries things and reports her experiences, so her readers don’t have to go through the process of testing stuff themselves. And, of course, she recommends products along the way.
  2. Don’t forget about social media. If you are in a niche that would do well on social (like Abby is), dive into social platforms like Pinterest. Almost 20% of Abby’s overall traffic comes from that platform.

11 - compare accounting

All the affiliate websites we’ve listed above make their money through affiliate commissions. But that doesn’t have to be the only way you make money from product review/comparison sites.

As CompareAccounting.com shows, you can make bank by generating leads for companies (this allows you to enter markets that don’t have affiliate programs) – even with little traffic.

This is why we’ve chosen CompareAccounting.com for this list. This site helps small businesses find the best accounting software for their needs.

It is small and niche-focused site, and is something any marketer can recreate without a massive budget.

Compare Accounting shows what’s possible if you select the right niche and make a solid site.

It doesn’t have any social media presence, nor does it do heavy link building. It just provides simple, useful advice to SMBs, then puts the most engaged ones in touch with the sales teams of accounting tools.

And while it doesn’t quite have the numbers of MSE or The Wire Cutter, it has solid rankings and makes good coin from referring high priced business products.

  • Niche: Accounting software reviews
  • Goal: To help small businesses find the best accounting software for their needs
  • Key Challenge: To attract traffic and build credibility in a competitive but narrow niche

Key Stats

Facebook

N/A

Twitter

N/A

Visits/Month

48

DR

13

Backlinks

28

Alexa Rank

10,391,000

Length:
400

Backlinks:
1

Shares:
0

Keywords:
8

An overview of cloud-based accounting SaaS tools.

Length:
300

Backlinks:
1

Shares:
0

Keywords:
6

Length:
500

Backlinks:
3

Shares
0

Alternatives to Quickbooks, the most popular accounting software for SMB’s.

How they make money

Accounting software is a big purchase and involves multiple stakeholders. The price for Epicor accounting software, for example, can be as high as $500,000 for some businesses.

Affiliate links aren’t particularly useful when prices are so high. Few, if any, visitors will actually buy a tool as-is from a vendor’s site. 

This is why CompareAccounting does not even use affiliate links on any of its review pages.

However, what vendors do need is a constant supply of qualified leads, and this is where CompareAccounting makes all its money.

Besides reviews, the site offers whitepapers to all its visitors.

To download the whitepaper, you have to give up a lot of data – your name, email, role, business size and type, etc.

You can take a look at the lead gen form on CompareAccounting below:

CompareAccounting Lead Gen Form

This information is very valuable to software vendors since these leads are likely to be highly qualified.

Selling these leads to vendors is the main monetization model used by CompareAccounting.​

Top Promotions

Some of CompareAccounting.com’s most heavily used affiliate promotions are:

What we can learn from CompareAccounting.com

  1. Focus on benefits: The CompareAccounting homepage is simple, static and value-focused. When you land on the site you’ll see long copy welcoming you to the site and telling you its purpose. You’ll also see links to reviews of the top three products. Everything is designed to benefit users.
  2. Offer free content, then capture leads: The site gives away a ton of content for free, including reviews, news stories, and blog posts. If you want to learn more, you can even download whitepapers by giving up some data.
  3. Create the right content for the market: CompareAccounting.com understands that buyers in the market for accounting software want a ton of information before making a purchase decision. This is why they offer in-depth whitepapers to make the decision easier. This also serves as a great lead gen source.
  4. Social is not everything: Do all sites need a big social media presence? Apparently not. CompareAccounting knows it isn’t going to get much benefit from its target market by doing social. Instead of wasting time with Facebook or Twitter, it focuses on creating content and getting backlinks.

12 - Website Setup

What we have with WebsiteSetup.org is a great example of a tightly focused niche site in a very profitable market.

And even better is the target audience for this niche: people who want to create a website.

There are new people typing this keyword into Google every single day.

For me the site owner – Robert Mening – has created a “perfect storm” of affiliate marketing.

  1. He identified an eager market
  2. That same market has high-paying affiliate programs
  3. He even managed to get an EMD (Exact Match Domain) for his site
  4. Visitors never feel like they’re being sold to

What I love about his approach is that he doesn’t try to cover every aspect of web hosting technology – just the most common questions people have.

This has paid off for him big time – he’s ranked #1 for well over 1,000 competitive keywords that should make him quite a bit of money.

  • Niche: Web hosting
  • Founder: Robert Mening
  • Goal: Help technophobes build their first website
  • Key Challenge: Operating in a very, very competitive market

Key Stats

Facebook

12,300

Twitter

2,500

Visits/Month

494,000

DR

78

Backlinks

4,100

Alexa Rank

22,701

Length:
3,000

Backlinks:
4,100

Shares:
12,600

Keywords:
8,566

Yes, I’m actually featuring the homepage for WebsiteSetup.org, but only because it’s an exercise in how to do affiliate marketing properly.

For example, in a world where almost every other publisher displays their most recent posts, Robert is using a static homepage.

But it goes deeper than just doing something different.

Because he very subtly leads you through a conversation on why building your own website is a good idea, to the point where you’re actually making decisions on what to do next.

Like signing up for a Bluehost account, and you almost feel grateful for his advice.

All product recommendations are contextual links, and he even has a discount for you, his lovely readers.

What a nice guy, right?

And he pockets $65 for every customer that signs up for a Bluehost account.

Budding affiliate marketers can learn an awful lot from this one page of content.

WebsiteSetup.org hosting

Length:
2,400

Backlinks:
200

Shares:
428

Keywords:
4,127

This is a little bit more typical of what you expect to find in this niche – a roundup review of several different web hosts.

But again, Robert does things a little differently – he focuses his reviews on site speed (now a ranking factor), site uptime, and customer support.

WebsiteSetup.org builders

Length:
4,400

Backlinks:
348

Shares:
607

Keywords:
5,717

This is another roundup review, but this time for the 10 best website builders on the market. It features all the key players, and some you might never have heard of before.

How They Make Money

WebsiteSetup.org generates money purely through monetizing content with affiliate offers they earn a commission from.

The site doesn’t use AdSense or any other form of contextual advertising.

They promote Bluehost quite heavily, so I would imagine that program generates the bulk of this site’s income.

Here’s how he goes about promoting the various affiliate programs, but without making them feel like a promotion:

  • User-guides – the homepage of the site is a step-by-step guide to setting up your first website.
  • Roundup reviews – he provides reviews on topics like the best web hosts for speed, the best site builders, etc.
  • Technical guides – these answer visitor’s technical queries in a very clear manner, so he attracts lots of organic traffic for that. And he then recommends products to help prevent or resolve those same technical issues in the future.

Top Promotions

What We Can Learn From WebsiteSetup.org

  1. Convert early: You can convert visitors into paying customers using just your homepage and nothing else. WebsiteSetup.org is a micro niche site that’s been expanded to offer visitors real value.
  2. You can compete: Most “gurus” will tell you that certain niches just aren’t worth competing in. Yet somehow Robert took this site from zero to thousands of page one rankings in just over 2 years. Never assume. Always test.

13 – Headphones Addict

When people typically think about affiliate sites, they picture sloppy layout and banner ads crammed into every available space.

Then you have a site like

HeadphonesAddict.com that stands out from the crowd.

Why?

Because it doesn’t look or feel like a typical affiliate site, even though it obviously is one.

It achieves this by featuring news stories as well as product reviews.

It’s bread and butter income comes from “Top x” style product reviews, but they do make an effort to be that bit more impartial than most affiliate sites.

These types of sites are the next iteration in affiliate marketing i.e. they’re focusing on user experience as much as revenue.

  • Niche: Headphones
  • Goal: To provide independent and objective reviews of the best headphones on the market.
  • Key Challenge: Competing in the same space as 10Beasts and hundreds of copycat websites.

Key Stats

Facebook

146

Twitter

N/A

Visits/Month

208k

DR

45

Backlinks

461

Alexa Rank

64,690

Top Content

Length:
4,056

Backlinks:
17

Shares:
12

Keywords:
584

You won’t care if you destroy a cheap pair of headphones, but if you’re just splashed $100+ on a set then it’s going to grind your gears.

Another nice feature of this page is that it doesn’t just focus on how durable certain headphones are, but also sub categorizes them.

For example, I love audio books, and usually listen to them while I’m out walking.

But I’m always tearing my earbuds apart when taking them out of my jacket or hoodie.

So it was cool to see that their content caters for clumsy oafs like me.

HeadphonesAddict.com ipod mps players

Length:
5,100

Backlinks:
7

Shares:
50

Keywords:
2,500

Waterproof MP3 players you say?

Why yes, I am interested, even though I’m not immediately in the market for such a device, good sir.

This page stands out because it covers a topic that 99% of other sites simply never thought of.

How They Make Money

Headphones Addicts is an affiliate review site in the same vein as The Wirecutter and 10Beasts. That means all of its revenue is generated from product reviews and Amazon affiliate links.

The site doesn’t use any other form of display, banner or contextual advertising.

Top Promotions

What We Can Learn From HeadphonesAddict.com

  1. Imitation is profitable: You don’t need to come up with the “next big thing” to make money from an affiliate site. A professional design and good content goes a long way towards convincing people to trust you enough to use your affiliate links.
  2. Social media matters: They’re missing a trick here by not using Instagram, Pinterest and other image-based social networks. It’s a whole stream of traffic they’re not taking advantage of.

14 - Skyscanner

Wait…what?

Skyscanner is an affiliate site?

I had an internal debate over this, but here’s the thing: Skyscanner get paid a commission for sending visitors to the websites of major airlines.

That makes them a commission-based business, so by definition, they’re an affiliate site.

Who hasn’t heard of Skyscanner?

Only people who’ve never booked a flight online even once.

Skyscanner isn’t just a very profitable affiliate site – it’s become a trusted brand.

  • Niche: Air travel
  • Founder: Bryan Dove
  • Goal: To help travelers find cheap flights
  • Key Challenge: This site is literally going head-to-head with major international airlines

Key Stats

Facebook

10M

Twitter

170k

Visits/Month

9.1M

DR

84

Backlinks

17,100

Alexa Rank

2,849

Length:
800

Backlinks:
39

Shares:
1,600

Keywords:
2,520

Skyscanner have made something of a name for themselves as a “go to” price comparison website for last minute flights, but they use content marketing pretty effectively regardless.

This page provides tips on some alternative methods for bagging last-minute/cheap flights, as well as tips for keeping your travel costs to a minimum.

But the Skyscanner search form features front and centre in the content – everything else on that page there just to support it.

Length:
705

Backlinks:
36

Shares:
1,900

Keywords:
849

A well-written listicle will usually get a lot of social shares, which this one has because of the amazing imagery used.

And underneath every image on the page is a little button to search for flights to that country, because who doesn’t dream about visiting some of the most amazing places on Earth?

scyskanner hand baggage guide

Length:
1,100

Backlinks:
32

Shares:
7.1k

Keywords:
1,290

This is another “viral” blog post, but it keeps monetization to a minimum. Instead the Skyscanner team use this page to drag in organic traffic for well over a thousand keywords, and then redirect it to wherever they want.

How They Make Money

Skyscanner use three different monetization methods:

  • Referral income from airlines – every time somebody books a flight, Skyscanner gets paid a commission. They do that several thousand times each day.
  • AdSense – you’ll find ad blocks in the right-hand menu of their informational pages, but they’re kept away from their blog content.
  • Internal affiliate program – they run a very active international affiliate program via networks like Commission Junction, Awin and Trade Doubler.

Top Promotions

British Airways logo
Ryanair logo

What We Can Learn From Skyscanner.com

  1. Think big – air travel is a ridiculously difficult niche to establish yourself in, but Skyscanner did that. True, they’re not a mom-and-pop affiliate site run from somebody’s bedroom. But they do show what’s possible when you don’t limit yourself.
  2. Content marketing matters – it’s great to see that even an established brand like Skyscanner takes content marketing seriously. And when you look at the backend you can see why – it drives a lot of free traffic their way.

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15 – Safewise

We live in a period of history where the dream of home automation, real robotics, and artificial intelligence is now a thing.

But it’s also a time when being security conscious no longer means you’re considered to be a member of the “tinfoil hat” brigade.

After all, who doesn’t want their home to be as safe as possible?

But with so many different products and services on offer, how can you possibly know which security products best suit your needs?

One answer: SafeWise

  • Niche:  Home security
  • Goal: Provide in-depth reviews and opinion on the best home security and home automation products
  • Key Challenge: Establishing enough trust to sell high ticket items like home security systems

Key Stats

Facebook

14,000

Twitter

1,540

Visits/Month

485k

DR

75

Backlinks

6,300

Alexa Rank

63,310

Top Content

Safewise Home Security Match

The SafeWise homepage features their ‘Home Security Match’ tool above the fold.

Based on our analysis (and its prominent position) this is their “money” page.

Safewise Best home security systems

Length
3,900

Backlinks:
299

Shares:
23

Keywords:
2,600

The page itself is a soup-to-nuts review of the top 10 home security systems on the market.

In addition to a comparison table, you also get brief individual reviews of each service.

Why this content works so well is because it saves the visitor time – they can find everything they want on one page.

And if they want to dig a little deeper, SafeWise also link out to their in-depth reviews for each security system.

Length
4,353

Backlinks:
3,600

Shares:
0

Keywords:
3,600

This is a subject that touches on a real pain point for parents: child safety.

No parent wants to think of their child being in danger, but thanks to GPS trackers you can keep tabs on them at all times.

As long as you don’t do down the route of “Arkangel” in Black Mirror…that’s just creepy.

This page is really only a pre-sell for concerned parents – they already know they want a GPS tracker, so it’s just a matter of them selecting one.

Safewise CO detector buyers guide

Length
2,500

Backlinks:
145

Shares:
23

Keywords:
2,100

This is another price comparison page, but focusing on the silent killer of carbon monoxide poisoning. I’m not particularly paranoid, but I have a pair of CO2 alarms in my home. So I can see how this page would convert visitors on a better-than-average basis.

How They Make Money

I would guesstimate that the bulk of their income comes from promoting OfferVault pay-per-call programs like Vivint, for example. Vivint pay up to $560 for a qualified sale. No, that’s not a typo.

Individual products like smoke alarms, GPS trackers, etc. are linked to either Amazon or Commission Junction. So that’s extra revenue for the site.

Top Promotions

What We Can Learn From SafeWise

  1. Cover all the bases if you can: publish authoritative content, product reviews, and plenty of user guides. This provides padding for heavily monetized pages.
  2. Lead gen pays well: This is our first example of an affiliate site using pay-per-call lead gen as part of their monetization strategy.
  3. They could make more: They could really maximize their position in the market by creating an actual comparison tool, like the one featured on PCPartsPicker.com.

16 - Lucie’s List

This is a site where I get to use a cliché and a pun at the same time to describe it: it was born from passion.

Yes…I just did that.

Site founder Meg Collins had a miserable pregnancy (waiting for her daughter Lucie to arrive) that she wasn’t prepared for.

So she set out to create a site and weekly email newsletter “Crib Notes” (that’s stupidly clever) so other new moms ever had to make the same mistakes she had.

Her goal was a valuable one: to help prevent “pain”. Doing that can make you very wealthy.

Just a few short years later Meg is managing 430,000 email subscribers, and around 240,000 organic visitors per month.

  • Niche: Pregnancy
  • Founder: Meg Collins
  • Goal: Help expectant mothers avoid all the most common mistakes
  • Key Challenge: New “baby” and “pregnancy” bloggers appear every day of the week, so competition for traffic is fierce.

Key Stats

Facebook

95,000

Twitter

6,300

Visits/Month

246k

DR

47

Backlinks

1.09k

Alexa Rank

114,871

Top Content

Lucie's List registry feature

I love to see people trying different things when it comes to affiliate sites, and the ‘Registry’ feature is just that – different, and also very clever.

Instead of forcing her visitors to use a search box, or hopefully finding the page they need, all they have to do is click on ‘Registry’.

Then choose the topic you’re most interested in and voila – straight to the content/product they want.

It might seem like a trivial feature to mention here, but it simplifies the buyer journey, so would have to help improve conversions.

Lucy's List baby gates

Length
2,900

Backlinks:
9

Shares:
28

Keywords:
4,025

What are terrified new parents most concerned about?

Keeping their kids safe, and they’re willing to spend vast amounts of cash to do that.

This guide to baby gates covers all the different types of gates, the pros and cons of each, and a handy-dandy link to Amazon if they want to buy one.

Length
1,700

Backlinks:
13

Shares:
140

Keywords:
2,600

Potty training is cute.

Wait…no…potty training is confusing, messy and potentially upsetting for everyone involved.

So what better way to help new parents than by providing them with a free guide to potty training?

How They Make Money

The site is monetized on the front end with affiliate links to sites like Amazon and Giggle.

But Meg is also working the digital product angle, and more specifically self-publishing baby-related books on Amazon, Apple, Kobo etc.

Key monetization strategies that stick out are:

Baby registry basics – a simple navigation menu that allows new parents to research and shop for specific items such as car seats, carriers, diapers, etc. It’s a simple way to improve visitor UX and move visitors to the shopping cart that bit faster.

Gear guides – Lucie’s List has a “gear guide” for pretty much any baby-related products you can think of, and even includes shopping guides for proud grandparents.

Top Promotions

What We Can Learn From LuciesList.com

  1. Build a list – Meg Collins obviously had a very clear vision for her business – not to rely only on organic traffic. And with a mailing list of almost half a million people, she’ll always have a way of generating income from her content. It’s never too early to build a list.
  2. Passion projects work – Some people tell you to follow your passion with niche sites. Others tell you to find an untapped niche market and exploit…ermmm…market to it. Meg found her niche quite easily – prevent other pregnant women from being as miserable as she was

17 – Snapsort

Snapsort, at first glance, looks like one of those old MFA (Made for AdSense) sites that were so popular back around 2008.

But it’s only when you take a few seconds to look around that you realize this is a hyper-relevant, data-driven site for photography enthusiasts and novices alike.

Choosing a good camera is a nightmare if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It’s even worse if you only have a vague idea of what you’ll use the camera for.

Snapsort makes all those problems go away with a few mouse clicks.

Beneath the ugly exterior (sorry Snapsort) is a little bit of affiliate marketing genius.

  • Niche:  Photography
  • Founder: Christopher Reid, Alexander Black
  • Goal: Help you find the perfect camera
  • Key Challenge:  Not looking as slick as their competitors, even though they offer more value

Key Stats

Facebook

69,000

Twitter

5,200

Visits/Month

62k

DR

57

Backlinks

3,200

Alexa Rank

106,194

Top Content

Snapsort discover a digital camera

Front and centre on the Snapsort homepage is the “Discover a digital camera” feature.

I love this because visitors can choose the type of camera they want, select their budget, and then click ‘Go’.

No more trawling through dozens of different product reviews – just three clicks and you’re brought to a selection of cameras that meet your specifications:

Snapsort camera recommendations

You can then refine your search even further using a dizzying number of filters.

And, of course, there’s a nice big Amazon ‘Buy now’ button beside each product.

You can also choose from cameras for specific purposes thanks to the ‘Popular Recommendations’ feature on their homepage:

Snapsort camera comparison

Length
N/A

Backlinks:
2.1k

Shares:
8k

Keywords:
328

Want to compare two specific cameras before you make your final purchase decision?

Awesome – this tool makes that super-easy.

Or you can just browse through the results of popular camera comparisons, based on the intended use of the camera.

Snapsort language options

Not only does the site offer a comparison tool, and a recommendation tool, but it offers all of its content in six different languages. Six!

How much extra money can you make by promoting products in this many major languages?

Enough to make your eyes water.

How They Make Money

Snapsort generates revenue from a mixture of AdSense and Amazon affiliate links.

Their most obvious source of income is Amazon, although they must also generate enough revenue from AdSense to justify placing the ads on the site.

They also maximize the site’s income potential by offering it in multiple languages.

Top Promotions

amazon.com logo
Google-Adsense

What We Can Learn From Snapsort

  1. Comparison tools are good business: They provide your visitors with an easy way to find exactly what they’re looking for, plus you stand to get a lot of social shares without even trying.
  2. Go multilingual: You already have the content on your site, so it’s only a matter of having it translated, creating new pages, and letting Google do its thing.

18 – Dog Food Advisor

The layout of this site takes me back to the heady days of 2004 when pretty much every affiliate and e-commerce site looked like this.

But there’s a lesson here too.

Google doesn’t give a fudge about fancy design.

What they do care about is providing web searchers with the best possible answer to their question.

So, while DogFoodAdvisor.com will never, ever win any awards for design, it gets over 500,000 unique visitors per month.

Oh, and it ranks for approximately 146,000 different keywords.

I’d take that kind of market presence over fancy design any day of the week.

  • Niche: Dog food
  • Founder: Mike Sagman
  • Goal: Help dog owners choose the best food for their four-legged friend
  • Key Challenge: To provide impartial, helpful advice in a hyperbolic vertical

Key Stats

Facebook

137,000

Twitter

8,200

Visits/Month

542k

DR

76

Backlinks

4.5k

Alexa Rank

62,248

Top Content

Dog Food Advisor food recalls

Length
1,300

Backlinks:
305

Shares:
6.9k

Keywords:
1,100

Dog owners live in fear of accidentally harming their best buddy for any reason.

As a dog owner I totally get that.

Way too many dogs die each year because of tainted tinned or dry food. So knowing there’s an online resource on past and current dog food recalls is valuable to me.

And if it’s valuable to one dog owner, it’s valuable to hundreds of thousands of people just like me.

Dog Food Advisor dog allergies

Length
1,400

Backlinks:
48

Shares:
456

Keywords:
1,700

Dogs have allergies?

Yes they do, and the problem appears to be getting worse.

Skin allergies are common, but so are others, especially gut-related issues. That’s why this page gets so much attention – lots of anxious dog owners looking for safe food for their buddy.

Dog Food Advisor forum

Dog Food Advisor forum

I like the fact that Mike has built an entire community around his site.

While most marketers are trying to lure people into their Facebook/Twitter/Instawhatever accounts, this guy has quietly built up a community that’s 100% his own.

It’s very old school, and it’s also very active.

How They Make Money

Dog Food Advisor has the lowest level of ad prominence of any site reviewed so far.

In fact, Mike seems to go out of his way to avoid advertising stuff on the site.

When he does, it’s through affiliate links only and is featured as a “Buying Tip”. There are no other forms of advertising in use, including banner ads or pop-ups, unders or overs.

The site probably has a mailing list numbering in the hundreds of thousands, so that’s another potential revenue source.

Top Promotions

What We Can Learn From DogFoodAdvisor.com

  1. Serve first, profit later – that seems to be the business model in use, and it works really well. On face value the site looks old and dated, but the content is what keeps visitors (and Google) coming back.
  2. Build a community – nobody puts forums on their websites these days. Everyone thought social networks would replace all that, even though that meant giving up control of your audience. Maybe it’s time to start looking at forums again, for a number of reasons?
  3. UX isn’t everything – it’s not that Dog Food Advisor offers a poor user experience, but their audience just doesn’t seem to care what the site looks like.

19 – Fatherly.com

Fatherly.com homepage

Fatherly.com is a hybrid site.

And what I mean by that is that it fronts as a magazines-style site for millennial parents, but there’s an affiliate marketing engine running behind the scenes.

Behind all the thought-leader articles are blog posts with affiliate links, and other monetization methods.

This is good business though.

You draw in a large audience with clickbait articles such as “5 Tips for Divorced Dads on Valentine’s Day” and then funnel them towards product reviews.

  • Niche: Parenting for millennial men
  • Founder: Simon Isaacs, Michael Rothman
  • Goal: To empower men to raise great kids and lead more fulfilling lives
  • Key Challenge: Remaining “current” in a highly politicized market can be difficult

Key Stats

Facebook

3M

Twitter

18.3k

Visits/Month

704k

DR

77

Backlinks

6.7k

Alexa Rank

21,072

Length
975

Backlinks:
13

Shares:
467

Keywords:
3,200

Kids being kids, want to have the same cool stuff as their friends, especially when it comes to electronic devices like smartphones.

But this puts parents under pressure to give their kids access to a wider world they might not be ready for yet.

So, instead of a smartphone, this guide covers the five best “dumb” phones you could give to an 8-year old, for example.

This page focuses on giving parents a way to appease their kids, while also maintain their own peace of mind i.e. it’s a solution to a pressing problem.

Fatherly best boards games for kids

The 11 Best Board Games for Toddlers

Length
2,600

Backlinks:
3

Shares:
344

Keywords:
630

Boards games are a healthier choice for kids than sitting them in front of a TV, tablet or smartphone.

This page focuses on parents who want to entertain their kids in the most analog way possible.

Fatherly ideas for second birthday party

20 Original Ideas for a Second Birthday Party

What better way to say goodbye to the “terrible twos” than with a truly unique birthday party for your toddler?

This page focuses on helping parents not only celebrate their kid’s birthday in style, but to do it from the comfort of their own home i.e. save money.

Length
1,200

Backlinks:
1

Shares:
31

Keywords:
1,100

How They Make Money

Fatherly uses a combination of display advertising and affiliate links to generate revenue for the site.

The display advertising is the type you’ve come to expect from large “news” sites who find it difficult to monetize certain types of pages. So Fatherly.com uses Zergnet.com content.

The affiliate monetization comes from their product reviews and comparisons, especially under their ‘Gear’ category.

Top Promotions

amazon.com logo
ZergNet logo
Walmart
Best Buy

What We Can Learn From Fatherly.com

  1. Big content still works – some new media companies are crumbling under the pressure of a changing audience and their publishing schedule (Buzzfeed, for example). But there’s still space at the table for sites like Fatherly to carve out their own slice of the publishing pie.
  2. Know your market – they spotted an untapped parenting niche – millennial dads – and they went for it. Just further proof that there’s always a new angle you can take in almost any vertical.
  3. Have more than one traffic stream – the team behind the site have done a great job at establishing themselves in a major way on a number of social platforms. These include Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. This offers them redundancy should one traffic source dry up.

20 - Shut Up and Sit Down

Shut Up and Sit Down logo

Well here’s a really novel twist when it comes to building an affiliate site – a board game review site combined with a Twitch channel and an extremely strong YouTube audience.

It’s not that board games aren’t cool. After all, the people who play them definitely fall into the “raving fan” category of customer that generally makes multiple purchases.

What is a challenge is convincing people to play them, hence the site.

What is really obvious here is that the team behind SU&SD (their acronym, not mine) really love what they do – playing board games.

Are they absolute nerds?

Well yes…yes they are…but they have a better grasp of marketing themselves via social media than any other site in this roundup.

  • Niche: Board games
  • Founder: Paul Dean
  • Goal: Review and promote a range of modern board games
  • Key Challenge: Making analog gaming as popular as digital gaming

Key Stats

Facebook

15,000

Twitter

32.5k

Twitch

10k

Youtube

160k

Visits/Month

109k

DR

64

Backlinks

1,500

Alexa Rank

66,489

Top Content

Shut Up and Sit Down videos page

Videos page

Length
N/A

Backlinks:
24

Shares:
23

Keywords:
60

It’s difficult to quantify “top content” for SU&SD because they’re on the eclectic side of things.

Their “Videos” page is where they host their intro to the site. And it’s not another long-form blog post – it’s a funny 8-minute video on the topic of board games.

Then there are other videos on learning how to play, dozens of board game reviews, etc.

What I love about their approach is that the videos engage you straight away.

But the videos are also embedded on the page (using Vimeo), so they’re getting Google brownie points because visitors are sticking around on their site for probably 20 – 30 minutes each time.

Clever.

Shut Up and Sit Down SU&D game reviews

SU&SD game reviews

Length
N/A

Backlinks:
13

Shares:
17

Keywords:
56

Reviews of roughly 400 different board games, each one monetized with affiliate links to UK and US vendors.

The reviews are short, relying on relevant data (number of players, length of each game) rather than writing a long blog post just for the sake of it.

Shut Up and Sit Down rpg review

RPG Review: Star Trek Adventures

Length
1,486

Backlinks:
2

Shares:
317

Keywords:
170

This is the single most popular page of content on the site beside their homepage, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s for a Star Trek board game. Go figure. That big Borg Cube box does look cool though.

How They Make Money

The team behind SU&SD are obviously very astute marketers.

Not only do they rely on income from affiliate links, but they also have a PayPal donation system in place. Then you add in their Twitch and YouTube audience, and you have two additional revenue streams.

They’ve diversified their income in such a way that even if Amazon and YouTube vanished in a cloud of ninja smoke tomorrow, they’d still have Paypal donations to keep them afloat.

Top Promotions

amazon.com logo
Leisure Games logo

What We Can Learn From Shut Up & Sit Down

  1. Think outside the box: No pun intended. As much as I hate that worn-out cliché it’s right on the money here. These guys took their hobby of playing board games and turned it into a business.

    And the nature of what they do makes them unique in the world of affiliate marketing, which means they have very little real competition to worry about.

  2. Don’t overlook video marketing – SU&SD have implemented video in every way possible, including welcoming you to the site, game reviews, tutorials, and taking their gaming sessions to Twitch. 

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We have prepared a hand curated list of the most effective affiliate marketing tools you can use to create sites that grow as fast as we do. Plus, many of them have free versions ;).

21 – Who is Hosting This?

Who Is Hosting This logo

This is the second web hosting affiliate site in our roundup, but it’s a little different to the earlier example (WebsiteSetup.org).

Who Is Hosting This is built on the authority site model, and not the “micro niche” model.

In fact, the site looks and feels like it’s an actual hosting company.

What you have is essentially a hosting review site, but with lots of support content in the form of resource pages, expert guides, etc.

They even have one guide on how to become your own ISP. Which nerds are just going to lap up.

  • Niche: Web hosting
  • Founder: Richard Kershaw
  • Goal: Help website owners find their perfect hosting company
  • Key Challenge: This is a very competitive (almost cut-throat) market

Key Stats

Facebook

2,900

Twitter

2,507

Visits/Month

276k

DR

82

Backlinks

12.3k

Alexa Rank

31,474

Length
N/A

Backlinks:
12.3k

Shares:
121

Keywords:
1,600

What they do to set themselves apart from run-of-the-mill hosting review sites is offer a free tool on their homepage that allows you to check what web host any website is using.

This means you don’t need to leave the site to run a WhoIs search anywhere else, and you’re likely to bookmark the site and/or share it with friends.

How much money should a basic website cost

How much money should a basic website cost?

Length
1,400

Backlinks:
70

Shares:
121

Keywords:
2,900

Small business owners ask this question all the time, so this page is showing up for a lot of long-tail queries with strong commercial intent.

They also provide a solution in the form of their “Most popular hosts” listed in the right-hand menu.