If you think affiliate marketing is all about:
- Pumping out article after article as fast as possible
- Doing anything to get #1 on search results (even black-hat techniques)
- Stuffing your websites with as many affiliate links as you can to get more sales
Then no wonder you aren’t making big money!
In 2022, those techniques just aren’t as effective anymore.
Instead, affiliate marketing is all about:
How do I know?
Because every single successful affiliate marketing site has these three characteristics.
And today, we’re going to have a look at a few examples of affiliate marketing websites that actually make money.
With these, you can learn from their examples and apply their ideas to your website as well.
What Successful Affiliate Marketing Websites Have in Common
Before we jump in, let me clarify something:
Plenty of content, ranking on search engines, and putting affiliate links are all essential.
These are the bread and butter of the affiliate marketing business.
However, if you focus on these things only – without caring about quality, authenticity, and trustworthiness – people won’t find you or buy from your partners.
That’s why every successful affiliate marketer takes it a step further.
All the top affiliate marketing websites emphasize the quality of their content.
Not a single article is rushed. It’s all well researched, well written, and provides a lot of value to their readers.
Try to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. If you wanted to find, say, the best HD webcam, you wouldn’t want a poorly written article, would you?
No, you’d want one that tells you everything you need to know and guides you to find your best choice.
Focus on helping your audience, not getting hundreds of articles out.
I follow the CTPM process when it comes to content creation.
Authenticity is tricky. On the one hand, if you are promoting products that you are well familiar with, it’s easy to provide genuine reviews.
However, a lot of affiliate marketers are in niches that they have nothing to do with personally. How do you stay authentic?
Well, the best way to do this is to read customer reviews. If you can’t get a hold of the product or service yourself, you should at least get the honest opinion of people who have bought the product.
Whatever you do, avoid just splurting out what your partner is advertising. Show your readers the ugly side of them as well if you have to.
Finally, the best affiliate marketing websites are all trustworthy.
With their constant high-quality content and authentic reviews, people begin to trust these websites.
Building trust takes time. But you can strengthen it quickly by:
- Giving super honest reviews
- Not partnering with bad products or services
- Using a personal tone of voice
If you constantly deliver your audience with the answers they’re seeking, they will trust you and see you as the authority in your niche.
Bonus: Unique Angles
Aside from those three cornerstone principles, finding a unique angle to help your audience can also help you stand out.
What do I mean?
Check out this video I created on 5 ways to stand out:
Instead of just writing content like everyone else in your niche is doing, why not come up with a unique angle?
Examples of Successful Affiliate Marketing Websites
Focus on those three things are you will grow your affiliate marketing website.
Want to see how others have done it?
Let’s have a look at 8 of the best affiliate marketing websites.
|Why it Works:
|Tech, appliances, gear, etc.
|Brutally honest product reviews
|Purchased by NYT for $30 million in 2016
Go to any “top affiliate marketing websites” list, and you’ll find Wirecutter there.
They have one of the biggest success stories in the whole industry – getting purchased by the New York Times for an astounding $30 million!
Yet surprisingly, their beginnings were just like yours, just like mine.
Brian Lam, a tech writer, founded the website in 2011 to help people choose the best gadgets in the market.
Back then, black-hat tricks still ruled the affiliate marketing scene. But Brian went for something different.
Instead of getting lured by the idea of quick cash, he poured his efforts into making high-quality and brutally honest reviews. He wouldn’t even tell his writers which products he was affiliated with to prevent bias!
At first glance, Wirecutter might look like just another affiliate blog. However, Wirecutter’s articles are incredibly high-quality, authentic, and trustworthy.
Because of this, Wirecutter quickly became an authority for tech consumer goods. Anyone that needed something like wireless headphones would go straight to Wirecutter for advice.
All this caught the eye of the New York Times, and the rest is history.
Today, Wirecutter is still as active as ever.
They have a team that strenuously tests the latest gadgets and continue to push out extra-helpful articles and buying guides.
Just take a look at how honest they are with their top-pick headphones:
Wirecutter is also continually updating everything they’ve written. With fresh and up-to-date content, Wirecutter is going to be a force in the affiliate marketing world for a long, long time.
|Why it Works:
|Personal and family finance/lifestyle
|Highly personal approach (one writer only!)
|Makes up to $1.5 million a year
Making Sense of Cents is the epitome of a personal blog that makes money.
Unlike Wirecutter, which has a team of professionals working around the clock, Making Sense of Cents is a one-woman-show. It is Michelle Gardner’s personal blog!
How did she make so much money?
The same three principles:
If you were going to make a big decision with your money, you’d seek advice from someone you can trust – someone who has gone through what you’re going through.
And that’s exactly what Michelle Gardner delivers.
Her website is extremely personal. She writes all the content herself, and it is sprinkled with her stories that she experienced, like this article:
Also, notice how she put an affiliate links disclaimer. Surprisingly, letting your audience know you have affiliate links causes them to trust your advice even more.
Michelle also doesn’t write articles to sell her partner’s products – she writes to help her audience.
Her affiliate links are simply weaved into her advice. It’s a very indirect way of selling, but it works. Look at how she puts in the link here:
No hard-selling here! No product reviews either!
Just helpful advice and recommendations.
|Why it Works:
|Has a powerful tool to help PC builders
|Worth over $90 million
Not all affiliate marketing sites make money through their blogs.
For complex niches like building computers, a PC building tool is far more effective.
If you’ve tried building a PC before, you surely know that compatibility is a HUGE problem.
With so many parts from different manufacturers, it’s challenging to find a set-up where everything works together (that’s within your budget!).
To help their audience with this, PC Part Picker created a System Building tool.
It’s extremely simple. All you have to do is put in the components you’d like, and the tool will tell you if they’re compatible or not.
Once you’ve played around with the tool and built your dream system that’s 100% compatible, all you have to do is buy all the parts! Of course, all the parts will have their own Amazon affiliate links.
This tool alone pulls in millions of dollars in affiliate sales for PC Part Picker.
So if you’re in a complex niche, try to think of a tool to make people’s lives so much easier – then recommend your Amazon products.
PC Part Picker also publishes blogs, where experts share their PC builds. It does bring in additional affiliate sales, but nothing compared to their tool.
|Why it Works:
|Expert financial advice + coupon deals
|Sold for $134 million
Unlike Making Sense of Cents, Money Saving Expert doesn’t use a personal approach.
Instead, they go for authority. They provide financial advice from the experts.
Money Saving Expert helps their readers save money in just about everything – from loans and bills to shopping deals.
What’s more, they are meticulous in providing their audience with the latest and greatest deals and coupons.
A lot of people are on the lookout for deals. By consistently providing people with new discount codes, MSE established itself as the place to go when you need a discount.
And, of course, they get their affiliate commission whenever people use these codes. So it’s a win-win for everyone.
They also have comprehensive calculators available on their site.
Calculating things like loans or mortgages can get very complicated. With fool-proof calculators for these, Money Saving Expert receives a lot of traffic on their website – it’s terrific SEO.
And when people use these calculators, MSE is quick to suggest the best buys related to mortgages or loans.
Last but not least, all the content in Money Saving Expert is exceptionally high-quality.
You might think that if you write top-notch articles only, it’ll take too much time. You’ll never have enough content on your site.
Well, MSE proves that wrong.
They have dozens upon dozens of ultra-actionable, zero-fluff content on their site. And their readers always come away satisfied.
|Why it Works:
|Novelty items and gifts
|Fun and trendy
|Earns $20,000+ a month
When we speak of high-quality content, we don’t always mean serious.
And in the novelty and gifts niche, there’s little room for dryness.
That’s why This Is Why I’m Broke, also known as the intern’s mall, uses a distinct writing style that sets them apart from other affiliate sites.
Their fun tone goes perfectly with the products they’re selling – which ranges from orb stovetop coffee makers to jumbo witchcraft kits.
The TIWIB team is continuously on the lookout for unique items on Amazon, Etsy, and other retail sites.
They do the hard researching, while all their audience has to do is go to their site to find the best or the wackiest gift items.
Whoever the recipient, whenever the occasion, and whatever the item, TIWIB has you covered.
Visitors can easily browse the best gift items for men, women, kids, SOs, or even their boss. You can also sort gifts for occasions like Christmas, Valentine’s day, or White Elephant parties.
And the crazy thing?
Not all the products they put on their site are their affiliate partners.
They’re trying to help their audience find the best gifts, even if it means they won’t get anything in return right away.
The SEO work of TIWIB is also excellent. They publish the most extensive listicles you can find, sometimes reaching 100 items per list!
Their ability to constantly help people who need to find the best gifts earns TIWIB over $20,000 a month – all in affiliate commissions!
|Why it Works:
|Home security products
|Quality, authenticity, trustworthiness
|Almost 1,000,000 visitors a month
So far, all the websites we’ve looked at had something special about them.
Wirecutter does extensive product testing, Making Sense of Cents is 100% personal advice, PC Part Picker has a powerful tool, MSE has a stash of coupons, and TIWIB is in a fascinating niche.
However, Safewise doesn’t have anything particularly special.
They’re what you can call a “standard” affiliate marketing site. One that you or I could throw together.
Yet unlike the average affiliate marketing website, they’re pulling in almost a million visitors a month. We couldn’t get data on their profits, but with that many visitors, we can imagine how much it is!
How do they do it?
They produce outstanding content.
Safewise is an extremely niche website. Everything on there is about home security and home security only.
In a niche that can spell the difference between safety and danger, a high level of trust is needed with their audience. And Safewise builds that through their ultra high-quality website.
As for authenticity, you can see it in their slogan: “We do the research, so you don’t have to.”
Safewise doesn’t pretend they’ve tried and tested all the products in the market. Look at how straightforward and honest they are about this:
They admit that reading what others have to say helped them pick out their top lists. It might seem counterintuitive at first, but boy does this honesty win the trust of people.
|Why it Works:
|Credit cards and travel
|Provides the best advice on credit card benefits and travel companies
|Earns up to $120,000 a month
Quality, authenticity, and trustworthiness.
In the credit cards and travel points niche, these three things are vital for success.
A lot of people are afraid of credit card companies.
They know that done right, using a credit card can give them a lot of benefits. But they’ve heard too many horror stories before of how greedy credit card companies can get.
The Points Guy capitalizes on this fear and provides in-depth advice on how to get the most out of credit cards and travel companies.
Even though The Points Guy is affiliated with credit card companies, their super-honest reviews of these credit cards cause people to get them anyway.
And that’s all that makes The Points Guy stand out.
They’re a classic affiliate marketing site that just does its job incredibly well. So well that they can earn up to $120,000 a month!
|Why it Works:
|Authentic by the plant enthusiasts for the plant enthusiasts website
|Worth around $75,000
Last but not least, Epic Gardening.
Epic Gardening is a prime example that there are thousands upon thousands of niches you can go for.
At first thought, something “mundane” like gardening might not sound like a profitable niche. But you’ll be surprised how many amateur gardeners are hungry for good advice.
Whenever you’re handling a niche like this, the main ingredient to success is authenticity.
Gardeners want advice from gardeners. Hobbyists want advice from other hobbyists.
That’s why Epic Gardening makes it a point to highlight their entire team. They all have “learn more about me” cards like these:
Aside from that, Epic Gardening has everything an amateur gardener would want to know.
All the content is well-written, engaging, and highly educational.
And as with every site we’ve looked at, they never hard-sell their partner’s products.
Instead, they give their honest opinions and recommendations.
Ready to Become a Successful Affiliate Marketer?
So there it is!
Eight of the very best affiliate marketing websites today.
If you study these websites closely, you’ll begin to see similarities, and you can pick up what it takes to make it in the affiliate marketing business.
You’ll find that it’s so much more than pumping out articles and putting random affiliate links all over your website.
Every successful affiliate marketing website puts its audience first.
And when you put your audience above all, they will follow you, take your advice, and buy your partner’s products!
But all those are just principles.
If you want to know the actual step-by-step of building an affiliate marketing website, check out my own affiliate partner, Wealthy Affiliate.
As an Affiliate Marketer myself, I can say that Wealthy Affiliate has been a big help in my journey.
Not only did it get me up and running back in 2011, but the lively community there keeps me going with fresh advice.
Yes, their coursework could do with some updates. But overall, it’s a great place for affiliate marketers of all levels to learn and grow.
So go check them out!