When you hear of people making money with affiliate websites, your vision of what your own site would look like can be pretty muddy. It's not exactly clear how the whole affiliate marketing thing works, let alone how you're going to actually make money doing it.
The first thing a lot folks search for is examples of affiliate websites. Unfortunately, 80% of lists out there feature this one dumb website called This is Why I'm Broke.
Personally, I think This Is Why I'm Broke is not a good example of an affiliate website! Also, I think it's a bummer that none of these guys took the time to branch out and show some more realistic examples of what a potential affiliate website could look like.
Let me be clear. I have no issue with this particular website. In fact, they probably make a ton of money. Their #1 searched term for traffic is their own brand name, so it's a recognizable brand, and they've done a great job doing what they do.
However, my criticism is of the niche site authority figures who list This is Why I'm Broke as an example to follow for people just getting started online.
Why This Is Why I'm Broke Is A Bad Example
Low Quality Content
One of the core tenants of having a successful website is creating quality content. You'll hear it over and over again from the niche-guru guys. What's the best SEO tactic to earn money online? Create quality content. It's hammered over and over again.
Well, here's an example of the content produced by This Is Why I'm Broke:
What is that – 50 words or fewer? I really don't think that's a good example to set for affiliate marketers.
This is not just a single cherry picked example though. Their entire website is like this.
There's a sentence or two of content per page, for each item. In fact, when you click the images or text on the home page, you don't even go to the product description page, or any kind of review. You are taken directly to the sellers website, meaning the vast majority of links on thisiswhyimbroke.com are external links.
Not only is the content short, but it doesn't say much other than a few sentences of quirky commentary.
Tons Of Dead Links
When I browsed around to do research for this article, I checked out some stuff they were offering. I mean, the stuff featured is pretty weird!
What I found out is that a lot of the items they talk about are no longer available, and their links are dead. That might mean a single page could contain 10-20 dead links (due to related posts also being dead links). This is clearly an SEO oversight because outbound dead link information is listed in SEMRush.
Congrats to them if they're not experiencing any traffic issues or SEO problems in spite of this oversight. However, it's still a bad example to follow!
Zero Engagement On Social Media
Thiswhyimbroke.com gets boatloads of organic traffic. They don't need social media. However, with Instagram and Pinterest being so incredible for image-related content (especially Pinterest, since it can drive traffic to your site), I was surprised to see how little engagement they get.
Ten thousand of followers and not a single like or retweet? Those sound like fake followers to me!
Posted over a month ago, and only one comment? Also, did you know that they have 20,000 followers on IG? 88 likes is pretty bad!
Again – I'm not saying that I could do any better. I'm just saying this is NOT the example to follow as a “good affiliate website”.
Easy To Copy The Idea
What makes ThisIsWhyImBroke.com special? It was a unique idea when it first came out. I remember browsing the website back in the day too — deeply desiring my own personal submarine for $20,000,000. These days however, the concept is kind of worn out.
Considering the content on the site is really not that unique or interesting, you just need a list of viral products, then outsource the content blurbs to the Philippines or India, and done. Now you have a viral product affiliate website.
Better Examples of Affiliate Websites
There are thousands of affiliate websites out there. This is kind of the problem with showing examples – there's just too many and it's hard to know where to start. Most example affiliate website lists go for the big, famous examples. I want to show lesser-known websites so you can get an idea of what real people are building, and what's possible for you to make money online.
Food Site: themealkitreview.com
What's so amazing about this website is that it's simple and focused, but has infinite potential to expand. The site owner has chosen to focus on reviewing meal kits. Later on, she could expand to other types of reviews like wine clubs or snack boxes. Similarly, you could do a snack box review website or wine club review website!
My favorite thing about this website is the menu organization, and the way she “silo-ed” the content. For example, she's got
- Top Meal Kits
- Meal Kit Reviews
Under Top Meal Kits, it features things like Vegan Meal Kits, Keto Meal Kits, and Gluten Free Meal Kits. Under Meal Kit Reviews, she links directly to reviews of Blue Apron, Green Chef, and so on. It's all very well organized, and the search engines love this website because of it.
This is a great example of how to plan out your affiliate website structure before you build it.
Fitness Site: garagegympower.com
Garage Gym Power is kind of a mix of niche-focused website, and general Crossfit blog. They've got a LOT of content, so this may be a team of people instead of an individual. Even so, I think you could create something similar if you just focused on building a gym in your garage instead of adding on Crossfit, women's fitness, and general health tips.
This type of site would have excellent potential to create your own infoproduct showing people how to build a gym in your garage. How's that for multiple streams of income?!
What I really liked about this affiliate site is the comprehensive guides and clickable TOC. For example their guide on buying elevation training masks is several thousand words long, but they have a great TOC with clickable jump links to navigate the post, including basic product questions. FAQ, and individual reviews of specific products.
Video Game Site: ultimategamingchair.com
About 5 years ago I started a website called coolchairs.com. I was using it to do some YouTube tutorials on how to build an affiliate site. After about six months of half-assed working on it, I got bored. I just didn't have any inspiration for what to say about chairs.
Well, one man's trash is another man's treasure, and look what we have here! A site dedicated to gaming chairs. In fact, there's more than one website out there on this topic.
What I really liked about this affiliate website is that they have original photos featured in their blog. Surprisingly, original photos are pretty rare in the world of affiliate marketing, since everyone is trying to start their websites on a shoestring budget. Everyone just uses stock photos or vendor promotional material.
The design of the blog is pretty basic, and it's proof that you don't need to be a professional web designer to make money in affiliate marketing.
Mommy Blog: smartmomideas.com
Mommy blogs are a perfect example of how a niche is never “saturated”. There's always a way to reinvent the wheel with a unique perspective, or brand yourself using your personality. There are a million mommy blogs out there, and there will be more launching next year. (The people who stick around longest are the ones who see the best results!)
What I really like about this website is the “list” style posts, and with a broad concept like motherhood, you really have infinite ideas to do. For example, this post is about the Top 5 Nursing Covers. You could expand that to a Top 25 if you wanted to, or go more focused and do a Top 5 Nursing Scarves.
As you can see, starting a successful affiliate website doesn't require that you creating anything unique or special. It doesn't require you to have special WordPress themes or tools. A very basic blog-style website that writes about pretty obvious topics, and features some helpful affiliate links in the content can do just fine.
Personally, I think emulating This Is Why I'm Broke would be a mistake for a new affiliate marketer. That particular website is doing a very specific thing that worked out for them. Personally, I think most people would do better starting a blog-style website that's content-based.
Of course, if you are attached to the idea of doing a “weird product” website like them, I still think it could succeed! My advice would be to focus on rocking social media, especially Instagram or Pinterest to get relevant traffic and sales to your site. Instagram ads would be a particularly powerful way to gain followers to your brand and make affiliate sales.
What style website are you gonna make?