What was the last product product or service you bought? Would you recommend it to your friends and family? Why?
If you can answer those questions you can make money writing reviews about your favorite products and services. And it’s a good option if you’re a beginner because reviews are some of the most popular content on the web.
Plus, it’s a simple business strategy that can help you build a solid reputation no matter what market you write for. Not to mention, you know your work is really helping people.
What Makes Reviews So Great?
AdWeek says that more than 80% of shoppers read a review before making a purchase. That’s a lot of people. And it’s an opportunity for writers to tap into the hundreds of billions of dollars spent online each year.
Almost $400 billion was spent online in 2015, and online spending tends to grow by about 15% to 20% each year. And since new products are created and sold on the web every day, who knows what it’ll be by the end of this year.
For starters, you need a website if you don’t have one already. If you need a domain name, you can get one from NameCheap for as little $3. GoDaddy is sometimes even cheaper than that, but it will cost you much more in the long run.
Once you have that, use WordPress to build your website. Do not use other website builders. Always use WordPress unless you’re a skilled programmer.
If you need help with any of the website stuff, just leave a comment and I’ll help you get it all set up.
If you’re a new writer, then you might still be stuck in the choosing a topic phase. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. But it’s important for you to move out of that phase as quickly as possible.
The more you think about it, the harder your decision becomes.
You can analyze this question to death, finding reasons to not write this or not write about that for every idea you come up with.
Here’s a simple solution:
You’ve heard the advice “follow your passion” right? Well, that’s almost right but not quite.
What you want to do is find something that intrigues you, something you will always want to know more about. Doesn’t matter if you’re already a master on the topic or a total newbie. As long as you can remain ever-curious about it, that’s your niche.
Now all you have to do is find products within that niche.
Avoid “Get Paid Paid to Review” Websites
There are lots of websites and networks that promise to pay you for reviewing their customer’s products.
As long as you are allowed to write an honest review, it’s worth checking out. However, that’s usually not the case.
Most of these places want salesy reviews that tout their products as the greatest thing since ice cream. It’s deceptive and it cheats people out of money. On top of all that, they pay writers very little for their work.
Getting paid to write review and making money from a review you’ve already written is very different.
Finding Products to Review
You don’t want to write reviews on things no one cares about, right? So it’s best to start with things you’ve bought. If you spent your money on it, chances are plenty of other people would be interested in it too.
Go through your last few online purchases and see what you come up with.
Another great way to find products to review is to use a little something I like to call the “ABC technique”.
The ABC Technique
This is a popular method among bloggers because it helps them come up with loads of ideas to write about. It uses Google’s data to show you the most popular searches based on what you type into the search box.
It’s a great way to find lots of popular topics to write about quickly.
Here’s How it Works:
Go to Google and punch in a search term related to your niche. So if you’re a pet writer, you can start with something as broad as the word “pets”.
Once you type that in, hit the spacebar and type in a single letter. I like to start with “A” and work my way through the alphabet. You will notice that Google provides a few results based on what you typed.
If you don’t see any results you like, delete the letter and type in the next one.
Repeat this process with each letter until you find the perfect product to review. Do this a few times and you’re bound to find loads of ideas.
However, “pets” is a bit too broad. Not that you can’t write on broad topics, but refining your search leads to more (and better) ideas.
It’s best to refine your search using the information Google is already giving you.
Google is Telling You What’s Popular in Your Market
One of the results I got back a couple times in my search was the term “Petsmart”. Google is telling me, based on what I’ve typed into the search bar, that a lot of people are searching for that term.
I can take that result and repeat the ABC technique.
It didn’t take long for me to find a great idea for a product review:
You can refine this search even further. Just enter “petsmart dog crates” (plus a space) and you get ideas for different types of dog crates you can review.
It’s good to get as specific as possible with the products you review. Most times, shoppers want reviews on specific products because they want to find the product that best fits their needs.
You never want to go too broad.
“Ok, But How Do I MAKE MONEY Writing Reviews”
Alright, let’s get to the good part: making the moneyz…
Once you write a review there’s a few ways you can monetize it.
- Ads (not good)
- Sponsorships (okay)
- Affiliate Sales (best)
The Problem with Ads
You have probably noticed that a lot of writers use ads to monetize their websites. It’s been a popular option for a long time. However, it’s far from the best option.
To earn any real money (as in, more than a few pennies) from ads, your website needs to attract at least several thousand visitors a day. But if you’re attracting that many readers, why would you want to place an ad that leads them away from your website?
It doesn’t make any sense unless you’re part of a huge corporation with lots of web properties.
Sponsorships aren’t a bad way to monetize. The problem is, a sponsorship isn’t always easy to get. You have to find them, negotiate and meet all their requirements.
Another problem with this method is that readers don’t like it much. If you have a sponsorship you are required to display something letting readers know. And let’s be honest, we don’t trust a “sponsored post” as much as we do a good ole’ recommendation.
So your best bet is to monetize with affiliate sales.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways for creatives to make money on the web. It’s simple, fast and free. All you have to do is join affiliate programs related to the products you review and link back to those products with your unique affiliate link.
To show you what I mean, let’s continue using the PetSmart example from earlier.
Let’s say that you decided to go ahead and start reviewing some of the dog crates sold at PetSmart. The first thing you need to do is sign up for the PetSmart affiliate program.
Just go to Petsmart.com and scroll to the bottom of the page. You will see a link that says “Affiliate program”. Click that and you will be taken to a page with more information about their program.
Near the top of that page you will see a link to fill out the affiliate application.
Like many other retailers, PetSmart uses LinkShare to manage their affiliate program. So you actually have to sign up and become an affiliate for LinkShare to access PetSmart’s affiliate program.
LinkShare is an affiliate network, which basically means it’s a larger, third-party affiliate program that manages affiliates for lots of companies.
Some companies, like Amazon, have an in-house affiliate program. Others, like PetSmart, do not. It’s neither bad or good. It’s just a matter of how the company prefers to manage things.
The good thing about affiliate networks like LinkShare is that you can access all the other companies and products they manage when you sign up.
And Linkshare isn’t the only affiliate network, there are plenty more.
Here’s a few of the most popular ones:
Okay, where were we? Oh yeah…
Once you sign up and receive login credentials, you can login and and access your affiliate link.
An affiliate link is nothing more than a regular link with a tracking ID attached to it to make sure the right affiliate gets credit for the sale.
For example, I’m an affiliate for NameCheap (namecheap.com).
If I wanted to recommend them, as I often do, then I would use my affiliate link (namecheap.com/?aff=35340) and earn a percentage each time someone clicks that link and makes a purchase.
Not all affiliate links look like that though. Some are much longer, like the ones Amazon gives affiliates, and some are “masked” using a tool like Pretty Link, so they don’t look as ugly or long (epicintrovert.com/go/namecheap).
“So an Affiliate is a Salesperson?”
Although it is similar to sales in some ways, being an affiliate is very different.
For starters, a salesperson collects a commission which is added to the base price. An affiliate, however, doesn’t collect a commission. They earn a percentage of the sale.
That means a person clicking an affiliate link will not pay more for a product just because an affiliate recommended it. The price remains the same whether the buyer clicks an affiliate link or not.
Another difference between an affiliate and a salesperson is that affiliates don’t do any “selling”.
As an affiliate you simply create content and use your unique link to recommended products. Just like I did with NameCheap earlier.
Writing a Review
It’s a good idea to understand how people read online before you think about how you’re going to write your reviews. Often, folks are in a hurry and they want to find the information they need quickly.
You can cater to this need by creating a template.
A template provides an outline you can follow, which makes the process much smoother. It also makes things easier on your readers.
Without a template you’re stuck trying to think of the best way to present the information to your readers, every time. If you write lots of reviews your readers will appreciate a standard, easy to read format. It allows them to quickly go to the section that most interests them, and it allows them easily compare products.
If you have a website dedicated to reviewing products in your niche, a template is a must. But just because you have a template doesn’t mean your writing becomes stiff or robotic.
In fact, the restrictions free you up and help give you more thinking power to put into your writing, instead of the format. Plus, you could have a different template for the different types of products you review. One template for dog toys, another for dog crates.
Writing reviews is a great way to get your creative business up and running quickly.