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What Makes An Affiliate Site Profitable? How portable and evergreen is your particular niche?

By Thomas Smale Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


There's more to building an affiliate site that's profitable than just putting together a quick product review and throwing the whole thing up online. In fact, today, a quick product review simply won't cut it.

Related: Affiliate Marketing Is Broken But Ecommerce Companies Can Adapt

Instead, an affiliate site should be viewed as a business like any other: You need to build a strong brand and online presence, complete with a professionally designed website, eye-catching logo and tagline, social media profiles and more.

Overall, legitimacy is key to earning trust from your visitors, so being seen as a professional in your industry should be a priority for affiliate marketers that value longevity. What makes an affiliate site profitable? Here are the factors that will make a significant difference.

1. Content that converts

Thin, low-quality content won't do you any favors. You need to create unique, valuable resources for your readers and cater to user intent. In other words, you have think about how to provide visitors with the information they're looking for.

If you're writing product reviews, talk about both the upsides and downsides of the product, not just why you think your visitors should buy it. This will help build trust. The information you offer should be well-researched and accurate.

Furthermore, the content should help potential buyers make a profitable decision. If your blog post, podcast or video is just an introduction to the product, then the content should move customers further down the sales funnel so you can convert them down the line with emails, whitepapers and so on.

A lot of beginner Internet marketers tend to rush into affiliate marketing for the commissions and the money that can be earned, but those who take the time to set up worthwhile content will easily outperform those who visualize only dollar signs. If you don't have the time to do it yourself, you can always hire a content writer.

2. Good SEO

Good SEO goes hand in hand with quality content, but there are some additional considerations here.

Traffic sources, for one. Affiliate sites are often dependent on organic search traffic, which means that if your traffic isn't coming from a variety of different sources, you risk losing a significant portion of your readership, should your site be penalized by search engines and algorithm updates.

Furthermore, affiliate sites tend to be a part of private blog networks, also known as PBNs. This can pose certain risks with search rankings. Internet marketers have gotten a lot smarter about how they set up their blog networks, but that doesn't mean there is no risk of search engines finding you out.

Ideally, you should create a strong backlink profile through legitimate, authority links. This way, you will be less susceptible to the constantly changing landscape of search rankings and algorithms.

Good SEO can encourage long-term success for your affiliate site and also help with your exit strategy, should you choose to sell your site down the line.

Related: Pinterest Kills Off Affiliate Links Program, Leaves 'Power Pinners' in the Lurch

3. Differentiation

What makes your site different from the legions of others in the same niche selling the same product? If you can't answer this question, then creating a strong and profitable website could be an uphill battle.

There are many ways to differentiate your business, but one easy change that's particularly visible is professional website design. If you're building your site on a generic template like everyone else, structuring your navigation, layout and content in much the same way others are, then you aren't creating much of an opportunity to stand out.

Ask yourself how you can provide your customers with a better experience. Can you answer questions more efficiently than your competitors? Can you offer more benefits than others? Can you make ordering more convenient? Can you provide the most valuable content available?

Over the long haul, cutting through the noise will require that you offer a different kind of experience for your customers. As a result, they will see you as more legitimate. This will also make your business more valuable if you choose to sell it.

4. A profitable, evergreen niche

Some niches come and go. They may be profitable for a while, but as soon as the product becomes outdated or obsolete, and people lose interest in the niche, earnings begin to decline.

Interest in evergreen products goes through a natural cycle of fluctuation, but over the long haul, they can help you to earn a steady and healthy amount of income. In addition, as long as there is room for expansion within the niche, you can always begin to add other products to boost revenues.

Some examples of evergreen niches include health and fitness, hobbies that people are passionate about, wealth and love or romance.

It's safe to say that there is a fair amount of competition in these arenas, but it isn't hard to find top-selling products, using a site like ClickBank. Remember that your supply of products might reach a saturation point, so make sure to do your research.

5. Diversified income

If you can add income streams to your site, you will ultimately make more money.

That sounds simple enough, but there are some inherent challenges with expanding. For example, your focus might be diluted, and if you add a product only to find you can't support the original product with the same level of customer service you did before, you will lose income.

But, in general, you should always be looking at how you can grow your opportunities. You can take advantage of multiple affiliate programs. You can also sell advertising on your website, especially if you get lots of traffic.

It's important to look at the possibility of growth opportunities from the outset. Otherwise, you may not be able to scale your business beyond a certain level of revenue.

Final thoughts

If you're looking to get into affiliate marketing, but you aren't sure what niche to get into, you could always buy an affiliate website. This will allow you to enter a niche that is already profitable without having to do all of the research.

There are many factors that make an affiliate site profitable, but some of the most important covered here include quality content, good SEO, differentiation, a profitable niche and diversified income sources.

Related: How Affiliate Marketing Can Work for Entrepreneurs

Take note of these considerations to build a strong online presence that supports your financial goals.

Thomas Smale

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Co-founder of FE International

Thomas Smale co-founded FE International in 2010, growing the business with zero funds from scratch to a seven-figure-a-year business. Specializing in advising and brokering the sale of established websites and online businesses, FE International has completed over 300 transactions. Smale has been interviewed on podcasts, blogs and also spoken at a number of industry events on online businesses, exit strategy and selling businesses.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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