Are you looking for some successful affiliate businesses to model your own after?
The best way to success is often through imitating the experts. Today, we’re going to look at some affiliate marketing website examples so you can see what success looks like and imitate it in your own business.
Reverse Engineering Affiliate Marketing Website Examples
I want to help you win.
We aren’t going to look at enormous sites that you and I have slim chances of competing with. We’re going to take a peek at sites and niches that aren’t too competitive. We’ll break down the key metrics for each website (Domain Rating and traffic) and talk about the challenges and opportunities of the niche.
I selected the niches from this list of 1,452 niche ideas.
Let’s get started.
Domain Rating: 54
Estimated search traffic: 270k visits per month
MySlumberYard.com is slaying it with mattress reviews and (and a killer domain name).
This site is pretty much a straight affiliate play: there aren’t any ads and I’m not seeing any of their own products.
A standard Amazon Associates site they are not; Slumber Yard has done an awesome job of diversifying affiliate programs. A quick look at one of their pages shows several different programs running…
The page continues with several other affiliate offers. Total, I counted 49 different affiliates.
On one page.
That’s diversification. That’s commitment to your niche and to providing the best value for your audience.
That’s what it takes to win long term (but if you’re just starting out, a single affiliate program is fine. A lot of people use Amazon).
Let’s talk about the things that Slumber Yard does right. After, we’ll look at challenges in the niche going forward.
MySlumberYard does a great job at diversification. I’m not just talking about affiliate programs; they also have an email list and Youtube channel. There’s no way to tell how big the email list is, but their Youtube channel has over 30,000 subscribers right now.
Video is only getting more popular, so Youtube is a smart move on their part.
Slumber Yard also excels in usability. They have a quiz that leads you to the perfect mattress for you. Almost all of their reviews have coupons or discounts and the affiliate links follow you down the page.
And then perhaps most important of all: Slumber Yard feels unbiased. It feels like a site you can trust.
They create this atmosphere with awesome usability, detailed reviews, video guides, by testing out each mattress for themselves, and by securing discount codes or gifts for their recommendations. Slumber Yard makes it obvious who is writing their articles and even talks about these writers’ favorite sleeping positions.
There are a few challenges that users in this niche might face.
For one, it might be all too easy to get pigeon-holed into one thing. It happens sometime with high-paying affiliate programs: site owners get so focused on creating new content and boosting affiliate earnings that other aspects of the site begin to flag.
We see this with Slumber Yard. They write amazing reviews. They have some great video review content. There are almost no informational posts on the site. The ones I could find were under 1,000 words long.
There’s no inherent problem with a lack of info content; but longer term, you run the risk that an info-heavy site will build more links and outrank you. You also run into another problem…
It’s more difficult to grow an email list with affiliate content.
It can be done, no doubt about it. But it’s not as easy. Conversions aren’t quite the same as they are for info content where it’s obvious that you’re giving away info for free, no compensation. And you might have a challenge writing info content to begin with:
Write all day long about mattresses, but once you begin to talk about sleep, Google might want to see some credentials by your author’s name.
Last challenge of all: sleep and mattresses are hot topics. Everyone sleeps, everyone uses a mattress. Anyone going into this niche will have to find some serious long tail keywords to locate anything without much competition. You might find yourself competing with sites like TheWireCutter or established sleep sites.
But it can be done.
The mattress/sleep niche has some things going for it.
For one, the affiliate commissions are awesome. If you can rank for a keyword, odds are good that you’re going to be bringing in some serious dollars.
Next, the potential for new keywords is ripe. Everyone needs a mattress and there are tons of new products coming out all the time. Keeping an eye on Google Trends or finding a new keyword in a keyword research tool could key you in on some great opportunities.
This is also a great niche for diversification. It won’t be challenging to find multiple affiliate programs. It seems like it wouldn’t be difficult to find coupon codes for those affiliate offers either; it could be a good idea to build an email list and send frequent deals to your audience.
Overall, this is a niche with a huge earning potential if you can get over the initial hump of ranking in a semi-competitive environment.
Domain Rating: 9
Estimated search traffic: 24,700 per month
TheSafeHealthyHome (SHH) is in a niche that I took a look at doing myself not too long ago. The home niche is a neat one because there are always new products popping up. We’ll discuss that more in a minute.
SHH does a good job of identifying with its target audience. The About page will tell you all about Marge, a mother, grandmother, and someone who wants to have a safe, healthy home.
The site has a homey kind of feel. It feels like somewhere you can visit. There aren’t annoying ads, no popups at time of writing, and there’s not even much of a sidebar. Most pages you go to have some sort of story about Marge or her personal life.
The part-blog, low-frustration site works super well.
It’s easy to tell that Marge puts a lot of life into this site. It’s not a straight affiliate play and doesn’t feel like a greasy money grab (looking at you, sites with multiple ads on page).
I’d be willing to bet that Marge has built up a pretty decent audience through her awesome information and attention to detail.
One post received a comment from a reader asking about plastic water bottles and Marge’s recommendations. Here’s how this interaction went down:
Where most site owners would have said “Yeah, check Amazon!” or inserted a link at best, Marge gave a detailed answer. She even found a product that could be helpful for her reader (though the link is dead nowadays).
And if you go through Marge’s site, you see tons of examples where she goes out of her way to provide a great experience for her readers. That pays off in the long run and builds true fans.
The home niche has a unique strength that we’ll discuss below. But it also has a common weakness: it’s super popular.
You’ll be competing against some monster websites if you aren’t careful with your keywords. I searched a few keywords and found results from TheWireCutter, BusinessInsider, TheSpruce, GearPatrol, and more.
Even if you are careful, there’s a good chance that other savvy business owners will by trying to target lower-competition keywords too.
Home is a niche that everyone has to experience in their own lives. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a “sexier” niche.
No one is ashamed to admit that they have a home website.
A website on cat litter? Well, not many people are going to be ‘fessing up about that at a dinner party.
Home has a lot more competitors for you to deal with. You’ll need to be careful about targeting keywords that are too high-competition and my guess is that these grow by the day.
But there are plenty of keywords that aren’t high competition…
There are tons of products you can have in your home… and there are always some awesome products being added. TheSafeHealthyHome has done a great job of selecting newer, less popular products to review and feature.
My advice is to use a keyword research tool and find Newly Discovered Keywords. Or you can hop on over to Google Trends and figure out what’s new.
Angling where you’re catching newer products will keep you out of TheWireCutter’s sights and will help you rank for keywords that others might not be discovering yet. That’s how I would rank in this competitive niche.
Another boon is that home products tend to have a pretty high commission rate. Amazon Associates are looking at 8% on the high end and then 4.5% if they go to kitchen related products. Most home stuff will fall in the range of 5%-8%.
The home niche also has some great opportunities for building email lists. Just a few ideas for lead magnets off the top of my head:
- 7 day “modernize your home” challenge
- 21 decorating ideas for your living room
- Complete color guide to repainting your home
And so on.
The home niche might not have much room for info products, but there are an ocean of opportunities for affiliate commissions and selling your own products.
Tackle this niche with care. Be selective about your keywords and avoid where the competition is going. There might be some awesome opportunities in new products and in building a lasting audience.
Domain Rating: 16
Estimated search traffic: 17,600 per month
Fishing Pax works to be a complete guide to all things fishing. They do a lot of product reviews, but they have some info posts as well. The standard recommendation for beginner sites comes from Authority Hacker: start 80% affiliate, 20% info. Then move to 50% of each.
Fishing Pax is still in the 80% affiliate, 20% info stage. That’s not a bad thing; in fact, it’s a pretty good sign that this site was easy to find. The more low-authority sites you can find, the better chance you have of competing as a newbie in the space.
Fishing Pax does a good job of being a comprehensive resource for fishers. A lot of their product reviews include videos to show the products in action.
I like the site layout here. Their front page puts 3 info articles front and center – a straight value proposition. Below that they have more of their recent posts (pretty much just buying guides) and then a list of more buying guides.
I like placing the info articles up front for link building purposes. No one wants to link to a semi-scammy affiliate site. No one minds linking to helpful resources.
It’s a good idea to put info content up front.
Fishing Pax has Amazon ads on their sidebars. That might work well for their audience and they may earn more with Amazon ads than they earn with something like Google Adsense. I would also test putting posts in the same category on the sidebars and seeing if bounce rates or other relevant metrics improve.
FishingPax’s first win is that they chose a great niche. At time of writing, fishing has a ton of keywords that are low competition and ready for the taking.
FishingPax has also pulled a win in the sheer amount of content they produce. None of their posts are just knockout amazing (most are less than 2,000 words).
But they have a lot of posts. A quick Site:name search showed that Google has indexed 173 pages…
I didn’t go through all of them, but the vast majority are affiliate posts. If we say that 75% are affiliate posts (a conservative estimate) and that each one is just 2,000 words…
That’s 260,000 words of affiliate content.
And that’s the conversative estimate!
This site teaches us that your content doesn’t have to be the absolute best in the world. You can just produce more than the other guy.
It’s the “see what sticks” strategy.
And it seems to be working.
The fishing niche has room for physical products, info products, and lucrative ads.
But you’re going to be making 75% of your income during 25% of the year.
This niche is seasonal.
It’s not as seasonal as something like lawnmowers. People can and do fish year round in several parts of the world. Your seasonality will come from your casual fishers: only lunatics to be on the water when it’s so cold that your nipples can cut glass.
A home for entrepreneurs turned investors
A hodgepodge of investing, startup, and online business discussions
- high-value email newsletters
- tips on sites for sale
- a podcast
- networking opportunities
- with more planned for the future
Seasonality isn’t bad per se; just something that you need to be aware of when getting in to the niche.
And now we get into the reasons why this niche excites me.
I can sum it up in two words: low competition.
As someone who comes from the backwoods of Georgia, I have a special insight into the minds of fishers (as well as hunters, corn bread, and the southern drawl).
No beating around the bush with it: most people who are interested in fishing would rather talk tackles than TSL. And most internet marketers would sooner join the eBay affiliate program (gasp) than spend much time slicing and dicing their new catch.
That means lower competition for all; both fishers and the internet marketers who want to sell to them.
There just aren’t a lot of good fishing sites out there. The niche is ripe for the taking.
Another low competition aspect I like should be a familiar one: there is always some kind of new fishing gear. It’s not as prevalent as with the home niche, but it’s safe to say that you won’t run out of products to promote.
This is a niche that a savvy marketer could conquer hook, line, and sinker.
Domain Rating: 26
Estimated search traffic: 13,100 per month
Coffee On Point is an affiliate site that seems to be budding into the authority site realm. Most of their content seems to be reviews or buying guides, but they have some info content that they’ve been putting out.
I think the first change I would make to this site is to put the info content front and center on the home page. It looks a bit more authoritative and there’s some anecdotal evidence that it helps with link building.
One thing I have to say about this site: their content rocks.
I opened up a few of their posts and while they weren’t beautiful, they were big. Some of their buying guides were well over 5,000 words long.
Coffee isn’t an easy niche, so those long posts must be working.
Despite ranking for some high value keywords, Coffee On Point’s site isn’t too stylish. The posts are clunky, blocky, and almost ugly. They don’t have email opt ins, they don’t run ads, there’s no About page, and their buttons look like something from the 90s:
But what is this site doing right?
Like home, coffee is a sexier niche. Lots of people love it, lots of people search it, and lots of people have businesses about it.
Coffee On Point cuts through the competition by the sheer power of their awesome articles.
They aren’t pretty. Sometimes they make Craigslist look like it just came off the runway wearing Louis Vuitton.
But they are good.
Tons of these review and buying guide articles are breezing past 5,000 words.
So is it 5k words of fluff?
No, I don’t think so. Their articles go in to a lot of depth on what products are best and often list 10 instead of the more traditional 5 products.
After that, Coffee On Point has a great buying guide: they explain how to choose the best products, how to use them, and answer frequently asked questions.
Most interesting of all, Coffee On Point lists their products backwards. Whereas most of us start with the best, Coffee On Point starts with the worst. Their list goes like:
My theory is that this increases time on page and gets more people reading their content. Those are good signs to the Google overlords.
The coffee niche is pretty common. Most sites going here will have a tough time gaining traction unless they’re smart about their keywords.
And in many popular niches, you’re often going to be competing for keywords and phrases that a lot of other businesses are gunning for.
Besides keywords, you might run into a problem with your future business. Coffee is a narrow enough niche that if you aren’t careful, you might end up pigeon-holed in content that’s just about coffee products. No info content, no email list, no real future as anything other than an affiliate.
Coffee is a unique niche because its fan base is so loyal. Just ask yourself: how many people do you know who just drink coffee sometimes? Like, one cup a week.
On my end, that would be a big fat zero.
Everyone I know either drinks it almost every day or none at all.
And those who do drink it every day are hard core about it.
I think that one of the biggest opportunities for coffee nichers is that you can build an absolute rabid fan base. People who love your content, are inspired by the flavors or products you recommend, and are almost always willing to buy more.
I’d start some kind of “coffee flavor of the month club”. Share your recommendations, get people excited for your emails, and profit.
Repeat buyers open up a lot of opportunities.
Coffee is also pretty good about coming out with new products. Take advantage of new keywords using a keyword research tool or Google Trends like we mentioned above.
Domain Rating: 36
Estimated search traffic: 113,700 per month
Is that a good looking front page? Yes or yes?
Smoked BBQ Source looks like it started as an affiliate site and is now making the transition into a full online business. They’re publishing a lot of info content and buying guides.
And it seems like they’re doing well publishing in all sorts of niches. They aren’t just publishing about barbecue; they’ve moved on to chili…
Aaaaaaaand kosher salt…
The chili and pepper ones are kind of relevant to barbecue…
But if barbecue is the sun and veganism is the Andromeda galaxy, kosher salt is somewhere out past Pluto…
Cold, and dark, and not at all close to the sun.
My guess is that the owners of Smoked BBQ Source are starting to feel limited by their domain name. They published a lot of content, but there’s only so much we can write about smoked barbecue.
This is the “pigeon holing” I mentioned before. When you outgrow your niche, your only options are to publish less relevant content or start a new site.
The content on the site is amazing: it’s comprehensive without being fluffy. The sidebar is helpful without being spammy.
So let’s chat about what they do well.
Smoked BBQ Source is kicking tail at content. They’re publishing a lot; they have almost 300 pages indexed by Google.
And their content is great. It’s big, it’s comprehensive, and it answers any possible questions a reader might have.
Maybe that’s why they are getting hundreds of thousands of free visitors every month from search engines.
They also try to make sure that a reader can get all of their barbecue information on this one site.
Smoked BBQ Source doesn’t just recommend products and write info posts. They give recipes, they have video demonstrations.
And they’re building an email list of loyal fans who love some smoked bbq.
Barbecue is a great niche. It has plenty of physical products, room for video, possible info courses…
But I think it could be easy to be limited.
There are only so many things you can say about barbecue. And when you’ve gone through all the recipes, all the products, all the how-to’s…
You start writing about kosher salt?
This won’t affect anyone who doesn’t grow their site big, but barbecue could be a limiting niche for larger fish.
You’re also going to run into seasonality. That shouldn’t stop you, but you should be aware that not all your months will be as golden as others.
Barbecue has a lot of things going for it and it’s a niche that I considered for myself in days past.
You have lots of physical products that you can promote or sell yourself. That’s always a good sign for affiliate marketers.
I also like that barbecue has plenty of visual opportunity. You can produce video or put some mouth-watering pics in your content. Both of those keep visitors longer and videos help diversify your traffic.
Barbecue might not be a bad niche for info products: courses/lessons, books, etc.
And I don’t think you’ll have any problem finding lead magnets. Recipes might convert super well here.
The niche has a limited number of keywords, but I’m thinking that limit is pretty high. It’s an overall awesome niche.
Thanks for reading our post with some affiliate marketing website examples! If you want some more inspiration, check out this success story.
And if you’re looking to either get started in affiliate marketing or take your business to the next level, we at BrandBuilders want to help. We can look at where your business is at and help you take the right steps to stop losing and start succeeding… for free!
Let us know in the comments: what is your favorite affiliate website?