Author Topic: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?  (Read 2545 times)

alwayssummer

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Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« on: November 21, 2017, 11:46:39 PM »
Hello mustachians. I've been thinking lately about setting up a website for some product recommendations that are not currently out there (AFAICT). I don't need the down and dirty how-tos of getting a website up and running. What I would like from you are your guidelines for evaluating this as a business opportunity. I've found lots of info on this forum for blog type sites, but I think this is largely a different business model.

How much revenue can I generate if my readers click-through and buy the products on Amazon? Mostly inexpensive products ($2-$10), but there will be a fair number of them that my readers will hopefully collect.
How long does it take to build readership?

I might build the website as a hobby (since I wish it existed), but it would be way cooler if it would generate me significant income.

Your opinions are much appreciated.
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Dicey

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2017, 12:11:23 AM »
I tend to avoid sites that feature things to buy. I can't help it. Guess that proves I'm a true mustachian.
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Frankies Girl

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2017, 04:42:53 AM »
Yup. I also don't bother with sites that are covered with affiliate links. Most people don't.

What is the point? You have something unique to say? Entertaining writer? What are YOU giving to attract an audience that would even care about making sure to use your affiliate links in the first place?

If you don't have any idea how to build up a reader base, then trying to monetize it from the start is a VERY poor idea.

The key to affiliate links is to use rarely, only once you are a popular blogger, and state it clearly when you do so. I read several blogs that use affiliate links, and they make sure to mention that a link is giving them a kickback and they don't do it all the time, or even every month.

A "review" site that is based off of posting affiliate links? HAHaHA... no. Unless you review products for a living and have a strong reputation for a specific product line or have a famous name, no one cares about your isolated opinion on something, especially when you post links that give you kickbacks for the product and that's ALL the "quality" content you're intending to provide. You aren't special, and your opinion isn't going to matter at all. This likely will cost you money/time more than you'd ever make.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 06:48:42 AM by Frankies Girl »
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alwayssummer

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2017, 01:22:42 PM »
What if we just imagine that I had found an area where hardly anyone writes reviews and the product recommendations would likely become the top results of the right google search given the utter lack of competition. Further, everyone who reviews products provides a link to Amazon. It hardly seems spammy to me.

I guess I was looking for something like this: http://amaprofits.com/

Though my general non-understanding of the various levers indicates I certainly have more research to do.

I guess the real question is this: how often will people do searches that might lead to my recommendations. If I'm the only person who has ever searched these terms then I'm not going to make much money, am I?
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Dicey

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2017, 02:14:27 PM »
What if we just imagine that I had found an area where hardly anyone writes reviews and the product recommendations would likely become the top results of the right google search given the utter lack of competition. Further, everyone who reviews products provides a link to Amazon. It hardly seems spammy to me.

I guess I was looking for something like this: http://amaprofits.com/

Though my general non-understanding of the various levers indicates I certainly have more research to do.

I guess the real question is this: how often will people do searches that might lead to my recommendations. If I'm the only person who has ever searched these terms then I'm not going to make much money, am I?
What is your time worth? Are you writing merely to enlighten, or do hope to make a ton of money doing this? What time in your life are you willing to give up for this speculation?
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Fitzy1

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2017, 02:45:19 PM »
I guess the real question is this: how often will people do searches that might lead to my recommendations. If I'm the only person who has ever searched these terms then I'm not going to make much money, am I?

I found this neat tool. Might help provide insight as to how many people search for a given..anything:
 
https://trends.google.com/trends/

alwayssummer

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2017, 12:57:03 AM »
What is your time worth? Are you writing merely to enlighten, or do hope to make a ton of money doing this? What time in your life are you willing to give up for this speculation?

It's research that I'm doing anyway. The time investment is in writing up the research in a way that will be useful to others. Anyhow, the point here is that I'm trying to determine what my website could potentially be worth. I already know how much my time is worth. The point of the original question was to get help estimating what kind of cash flows a webstite might generate if it is successful.

I found this neat tool. Might help provide insight as to how many people search for a given..anything:
 
https://trends.google.com/trends/

I found the google site too. I only see trends telling me whether to search is becoming more or less popular. I couldn't figure out how to get it to give me numbers of people searching, which I would need for my estimates.
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webguy

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2017, 01:13:30 PM »
How much revenue can I generate if my readers click-through and buy the products on Amazon? Mostly inexpensive products ($2-$10), but there will be a fair number of them that my readers will hopefully collect.

This is something I would definitely find out the answer to before going too far.  I'd heard that amazon referral commissions were around 4-6%, but I know it changes based on category.  I'd sign up as an amazon affiliate and test to confirm.

Other posters seem to be quite pessimistic on the idea. In my opinion, even if the idea fails you can learn a lot of valuable lessons that you can apply to your next venture.  Is this your first venture?  If so, I would go for it, as the lessons learnt will be worth the time and effort put in if you're interested in being in this area longer term. It's rare that the first idea is a hit, but it can happen.  I'd approach it as an experiment and learning experience and see where it takes you.  It shouldn't take too long to throw up a WordPress site, write 10-20 product reviews, and monitor organic search traffic to see if it's worth pursuing further.

Johnez

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2017, 02:56:33 PM »
I disagree with everyone here (except web guy). It seems people are hung up on what THEY would read or do. It seems people don't understand what YOU are trying to do-make money.  People will read affiliate loaded sites. Maybe not the most sophisticated people, but your site will be read.  You just need to figure out an audience and figure out a way to reach them.  Anyone doubt the model-go listen or read the news pieces on fake news. Money is being made everywhere by guys shovelling garbage all over the net to people who want to read it. Not that you're going to shovel garbage here, but if they can make money on their model, surely you can to if you provide something people WANT to read about.

Accidental Fire

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2017, 03:43:13 PM »
Give it a try dude.  For those who say people won't read affiliate sites, I say ask the average American what an affiliate site is and they won't have a clue.  Most people don't even know such things exist, they just live fat and happy and click around on the web.  Then they buy stuff sometimes.  They don't know anything about cookies or special links with kickbacks.  Folks on this forum are smart and web-savvy, but they're in a bubble and assume the rest of the world is like them.  It's not, and that's why people make money from affiliate links.  They can and do work.

Drole

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2017, 05:00:40 PM »
check out the niche pursuits website and Facebook group.

Syonyk

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2017, 10:24:16 PM »
I currently make beer money on my blog (about $30/mo), and a non-trivial chunk of my content is deep analysis/reviews of esoteric products (an awful lot of cheap Chinese electronic gizmos, some of which are awesome, some of which are pure crap), and I'm usually above the fold for searches on these products.  They're just really, really niche.

I mostly do my links to eBay (mostly because I buy the bulk of my stuff off eBay - Amazon is great for onesie twosies shipped from the US, but I don't care if stuff takes a month to get to me, and I'm usually buying 5 or 10 of an item at once, or just things I can't get on Amazon).

It's hardly worth my time in terms of direct advertising/affiliate income, but the blog has opened up a lot of neat opportunities I wouldn't otherwise have (such as being able to call myself a paid author - Make Magazine paid me for an article a few months ago).  And it has greatly improved my writing skills and the ability to bang out a lot of content.

If you're confident that you'll be topping search results, go for it.  I host my stuff on Blogger (a Google blogging platform) because it's free, it integrates with AdSense easily, and they can scale trivially to match load.  My normal traffic is 500-700 hits/day, and if I write a post that goes bonkers (say, 900k hits in the first day), I don't have to worry a bit about handling the traffic.  That's nice, and since my hosting fees are zero, it's not like I'm having to pay for servers.  The downside is a lot less flexibility in terms of layout, but I just don't care that much.

I don't think you're likely to make big bucks doing it.  But if you set up a free blog somewhere, give it a shot and see what happens.

Now, that said, I hate "spreadsheet comparison" review sites.  They usually consist of, "All these things are awesome, but this one has bigger numbers, and here are links to buy everything."  They're a waste of time.  If you're going to offer recommendations, actually use and compare the products, and be willing to say, "This is an utter piece of crap that you should never buy."  Try to be entertaining in how you call something rubbish.
My random project blog - ebikes, DIY, fans, and more: http://syonyk.blogspot.com

alwayssummer

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2017, 11:25:44 PM »
Thanks for all the great advice here. Indeed, I have indeed writing my little website. I had to take a break from that venture becuase my rental property is between tenants and delta cash flow between tenant/no tenant is substantial, so priorities, right? As soon as I get a new set of people installed there I'll get back to writing more posts for my website.
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LNE2032

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2017, 02:23:07 PM »
Former affiliate-only writer here (now I have a blog that's monetized through several channels, affiliate is about 15% of the income, with Amazon a large portion of that 15%. The blog makes full-time income, by some people's standards)...but there were years that I made multiple five-figures with Amazon affiliate. My best month on Amazon was December 2012 when I made $17K. But that was 5 years ago. :)

Several years ago it was much MUCH easier to get traffic on affiliate sites. Today, not so much. Most people use Amazon as a search engine now, so it's hard to compete in the SEO space...unless you are writing content that solves a problem.  People will search for answers to their problems, but they no longer really go to Google to search for actual products, so it really depends on how you frame your content.

It's really going to depend on the types of products you are speaking about. Social channels like Pinterest can help, depending on the niche.

Amazon recently re-jiggered their commission payouts. You used to be able to sell X amount of items and get X%. Then when you sold more items, your percentage went up. Now it's based on the category. One popular toy write I know used to make 8.5% on her toys...but that category is currently capped at 2% (I believe)...on Amazon's whim, her income was more than quartered. Tough when you put your eggs in one basket...

One other thought - certain states are not eligible for the Amazon program, so check on that.

SC93

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2017, 08:34:15 PM »
I just never could let Ebay or Amazon be my boss and make the rules. No boss and my rules is why I wanted to have my own businesses. That's why I use other sites that only I control. And, if social media and sales sites go away all together, I have that plan under control too.

profnot

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Re: Product recommendation website as a side-hustle?
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2018, 04:01:26 PM »
check out the niche pursuits website and Facebook group.

That's a terrific website!  Thanks, Drole!