I earn income writing reviews, not just pocket-money.
When I talk about making money writing product reviews, you may think of the people on Amazon or other online marketplaces like Yelp that are paid a few cents per review or given store credit for their contribution to the site. While this can be a fun way to earn a bit of extra money or buy some gear at a discount, it's not something I want to spend my time doing. In fact, getting paid to write those style reviews is against the terms of service, and can get your account banned.
There are better ways to earn money online. True, they do take a little training to set up properly, and the results/rewards are not instant. However, in the long term, if done right, writing product reviews can actually be a full time job.
I say “job” only meaning that you don't have to go to a 9-5 job any more and can work from home. How many hours you actually work while at home is up to you, and depends on how big of a business you want to build.
I've been earning money income five years now, full time for about 8 years now, so yes, this can be a reliable source of income. Let's jump in to how the process works. By the end of this post you'll have a much better idea of how writing product reviews online can actually earn you good money, and I'll show you the steps you need to take to get started with your first online business.
Step 1: Pick a Topic For Your Business
You need to find a topic for your website. This is also called picking a niche. We do not want to create a general review site. You want to keep it very specific, to show that you are an expert in one area. This is how we create trust and authority with our business.
If some guy reviews tennis shoes, then goes on in his next post about motorcycle parts, there's no connection. He's just a guy talking online. Maybe you'll make some sales, but you're more of a blogger than a businessman. It's also hard for search engines to know what your website is about, so you may not rank very well.
But if you focus on one specific topic, the game changes.
Now you are an expert in your field. Suddenly, your opinion counts as fact. Your product reviews carry some weight. As long as you are doing your research and backing up your opinions with good reason, people will trust what you say and purchase items based on your recommendations.
Not an expert? That's OK. You can learn how to be one.
When you start your online business, you'll probably write some very basic articles on general areas related to topic of your website. But as you grow your site, the topics will become more and more specific. You will, of course, need to do proper research and learn about what you're writing about! Knowledge doesn't appear from nowhere.
But as you are forced to dig deeper into your chosen niche, you'll learn more about the topic than anyone else. It's actually quite easy to break into the Top 10% of writers for any topic online. You don't have to be the Top 1% to make money online (though they probably make the most!). You just have to be somewhat knowledgable, friendly, and helpful.
The coolest thing about writing reviews about stuff you like is that whatever you buy is a business expense. For example, if you write about drones, you can buy drones for your business! The same is true if you write about golfing. This helps you save money at tax time, plus you get to own cool stuff. If you make $100 GROSS profit but spend $40 on drones, you only pay taxes on the $60 NET profit you made. That's income minus expenses to run your business.
I know a guy that writes about hotels in Florida. He rates and reviews them, and makes commissions when people book through his links. Guess what?! His vacations to Florida are part of his expenses LOL.
Step 2: Set up a WordPress Website
You need a website. A website is like your online real estate. It's the place you do business. It's very important that you own this website so you can make decisions about what content to post and which products to recommend.
WordPress is one of the most popular website builders out there. There's a ton of support for it, lots of cool features to customize the look & functions of your site, and well, I find it easy to work with. There are many features which are specifically designed to help you make money.
For the complete newbie: A domain name will cost you $15 per year and hosting will cost about $80-$100 per year.
Please don't attempt to earn income from a free websites or blogging platforms like Webs, Jimdo, Yola, Blogger, or Hubpages. Most of them do not allow advertising, or have limitations placed on the free accounts, which would require you to upgrade (pay) later on.
Plus, the way the website is created means it's going to be very difficult, if not impossible to move your website anywhere else if you are not satisfied with their service in the future. The same is not true of WordPress, which can be hosted almost anywhere, and moved back and forth between hosting companies without issue.
You can learn how to set up your own WordPress website here. But keep reading before you go to that page so you can get an overview of how the review-writing and money-making process works. Just keep in mind that a website is a requirement, and it's going to be the home base for your business.
This is exciting! You're doing to be a entrepreneur and a business owner!
Step 3: Find Some Stuff To Review
Now that you know what your website is going to be about, it's time to find some products you want to review. There are a few different ways to review products online. You can focus on one style, or do all of the in order to grow your online presence and brand.
Personal Experience VS Researched Knowledge
Do you have to purchase and personally try everything you review? No! This comes as a surprise to many people, but actually, you don't need to own the products you review.
Wait…how's that possible?
Consider this: Who's review would you rather read? An expert in the field that did many hours of research based on specs and personal reviews from other customers…or a complete n00b that is trying out this item for the first time?
Both have advantages and disadvantages, but the experts opinion is probably more balanced.
You can gain a lot of knowledge by reading Amazon reviews, forums, and watching videos on YouTube. You can take that knowledge and condense it into a helpful article on your website! It doesn't matter that you didn't purchase the item yourself.
Of course, if you have personal experience with a product, you can take your own pictures + video with a smartphone camera and share your personal experiences.
I have a whole post about writing reviews of products you don't own you can check out after you get your website up. I cover a few different methods of writing, and how it can benefit the reader as well as make your job as product reviewer easier!
Don't forget, once your business starts generating money, you can start buying and testing items, then write it off as a business expense for your taxes.
Step 4: Start Writing More Diverse Content
Writing blog posts for your website will be the #1 driver of traffic to your site. That is how people discover you and what you are promoting.
No, you don't have to go viral or make a Buzzfeed style news website!
You just have to write information that people want to read. Remember? That's why we chose a specific topic rather than general product reviews.
If you write about men's dress shoes, the general public will think it's super boring! However, a guy searching for his first pair of chukka boots will think your article on “How to Buy Your First Pair of Leather Chukka Boots” is super interesting and helpful.
If you have a website about natural births, almost no dudes will visit your site. But women with important questions about different ways to have babies naturally will absolutely love you for providing them a list of pros and cons of water births.
So although we will be writing product reviews to make money online, that's not our only job. Not all of our reviews will rank well or get traffic by themselves. So we need to funnel traffic to our review pages by writing more diverse content.
The Product Review Traffic Funnel Explained!
Let's imagine example website. I like going to the gym, and constantly break my headphones. Sometimes I sweat too much and short them out. Sometimes I wash them. Sometimes they fall and break. It's annoying. So maybe I want to start a website about the best headphones for running.
First, I write a review of a pair I tried, or that I think will be very good for runners.
I write about 1000 words about how they work, what other customers are saying, and how they compare with other brands + styles.
Then I wait for the money…. just kidding! Now it's time to get to work.
Now I need to brainstorm about 5-10 other articles related to headphones for running. Here are some ideas for article topics to post on my website:
- tips to stop ear buds from falling out while running
- top 3 bluetooth headphones for running
- cutest ear buds for women that love running (2016)
- best styles of running headphones that stay in place
- can playing music too loud while running damage your ears?
- …and so on
In each of these articles, you can find an opportunity to link back to you review page. Now you have “funnel” where people land on page 1 (info page), then are direct to page 2 (your review page). This is the very basic and essential part of how we make money from our product reviews. ==> Here are more examples of sales funnels for your product review website.
IMPORTANT: The Money Making Part!
If you understand everything we've talked about so far, the money making part is actually pretty simple! All you need is a special link from the company that sells the product you chose to promote.
Keep in mind, not all companies have this option! You can't just go to Louis Vuitton and expect to make money promoting their bags.
Before the process of writing product reviews and informational articles, you need to do a bit of research to find affiliate programs. Amazon's affiliate program is one of the most famous because they have such a diverse set of products that you can review and promote online. However, there are thousands of others available, in all different kinds of industries.
Unfortunately, there's no way to get credit for a sale if a company doesn't have an affiliate program! So as an online business owner and product reviewer, you need to find a balance of which products you want to recommend. Some awesome products will not have a way for you to earn money, even if you recommend. Some mediocre products will contact you and ask you to do promos for them. You can still make money through display ads though.
There are also other options out there like paid product spots, and other forms of paid advertising, but that gets kind of advanced, and isn't worth getting into right now.
The easiest method of making money from product reviews is simply joining these affiliate programs, and reviewing products honestly on your website. You help people find good products for their needs, and get paid to do it. Many people are earning six figures a year doing this type of work, so as I mentioned earlier, we're not talking about pocket change!
How To Get Started With Your First Website
That's basically how I make money writing product reviews. I'm sure you have lots of questions, like how to start your first website, or even which topic would be best for you!
You can definitely get all your questions answered, plus start your first website in the next few minutes. The best place to learn how to do all this stuff is an online business training center called Wealthy Affiliate. The specialize in teaching people how to create a website, write product reviews, rank their pages, and drive traffic to those reviews to make money online.
Actually, that's where I received my training when I got started. I made a website about computer software! In less than two years I was able to quit my job and work full time from home. It's pretty awesome, and you can definitely achieve the same thing.
But it starts with a website! Right now they are allowing new members to join for free and even start their first product review website completely for free. In the first 10 lessons you'll pick a topic, build your website, and start writing articles.
Plus, you'll get to meet other members, ask questions, and even chat live to online marketing experts that can help if you get stuck on the training.
If you're not quite ready to get started, let me know your questions in the comments below and I'll get back to you ASAP!
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