Twenty years ago when someone was shopping for something, the only available feedback was from friends, family and sales associates. Of course now, everyone turns to Google before they try a new product or service. We search for reviews to see what others are saying. As a blogger, you can capitalize on this.
Writing reviews about affiliate products and services is – in my opinion – the best way for bloggers to make money.
Have a camping blog? Then write reviews about the best camping gear with links to your Amazon affiliate pages. Have a celebrity gossip blog? Then review the latest beauty and fashion products with links to them at Nordstrom and elsewhere. It really doesn’t matter what niche your blog is in, because there are affiliate opportunities for practically everything.
But let’s face it… tons of other bloggers are doing the exact same thing. So how can you make your reviews stand out from the crowd? How can you write reviews that actually convert into commissions? From my experience of running CreditCardForum (a popular blog about credit cards) here are three valuable tips I have to share with you.
1. Get into the nitty-gritty details
As with most things related to banking, credit cards can be extremely lucrative and as a result, you have a lot of people writing about them. But surprisingly, 90% of what you read about them is utter crap. Most sites just re-word the basic info about a given card and tell you nothing else about it.
On my site, I try to go above and beyond the status quo. While it’s true that I do talk about the basics, I also like to get into some of the in-depth detail that you won’t read about elsewhere. For example in this review of the American Express Gold Card, I explain each and every benefit. Some of the information you won’t even see on AmericanExpress.com, let alone a typical credit card site.
By providing more information than the other guys, your readers will be more confident in their decision to try a product/service.
2. Talk about the good, bad and ugly
Nothing is perfect. We all know this and in turn, you reviews should reflect the pros as well as the cons. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to talk negatively about a product you are selling, readers will appreciate your honesty and will be more trusting of your advice.
A good example of this is my recent blogpost about the American Express Delta. The title is “Delta American Express Card Has Drawbacks, But Still Worth It.” In the review I go over the advantages, followed by the three drawbacks (lack of partner airlines, annual fees, and foreign transaction fees). Yes, those drawbacks will turn off some people from applying for the credit card. But everyone else will say “those things don’t matter to me, so if that’s the worst of it then I still want to apply.”
By telling your readers about the good and bad, they’ll be less likely to wander off and search for more reviews elsewhere. Instead, they’ll feel more confident in making their decision based solely on what you’ve told them. If that decision is a “yes” then they’ll probably be clicking on your affiliate offer and that means money in the bank for you!
3. Link to the offer in the appropriate places
The honest truth is that people (myself included) can be rather lazy when browsing the web. If we get done reading a very lengthy article, will we scroll back all the way to the top? Or instead, simply type a new query into the search box? If you’re like me, you may do the latter – it’s quicker.
When you’re writing a review, keep this in mind. If it’s more than a page-fold in length, then you will want to make sure you put a link for the offer at the very bottom so the reader doesn’t have to scroll all the way back up.
For the same reason, make sure you also include it at the beginning, above the page fold. Why? Because not everyone will read the entire review. Some people will click on the offer right away after landing on the page, so make sure you have it in a prominent position above the fold.
In addition, depending on the length of the review, you may wish to include additional links in the middle of it. However keep in mind that doing so may start looking spammy and desperate if you have it plugged in there too many times. For that reason, when I write a credit card review, I typically only plug it twice (once at the top and once at the bottom). Use your judgment depending on your audience.
Image by Images of Money
Mike Dolen bootstrapped his self-funded venture, CreditCardForum, several years ago. Today, it is a thriving website featuring reviews and ratings for credit cards.