21 Affiliate Sites That Do Things Right in 2019 (And How You Can Emulate Them) How to become super Affiliate in 2020

After our post on writing better reviews, we got a lot of interest from readers asking us what it takes to create a great product review site.

Unfortunately for the internet, when people think of building affiliate websites, they usually think of doing something like this:

Affiliate websites example

Affiliate websites like these are all over the web.

They have no ambition and are designed just to siphon off affiliate commissions by overselling without subtleties.

Little wonder that they drop off the radar within months.

The truth is that there are tons of affiliate sites on the internet with a focus on product reviews that are awesome and still great at making money.

In fact, they give away so much value that you don’t even see their affiliate links.

At Authority Hacker, we’ve always been about building long-term businesses with a focus on delivering value in order to build a real audience and ensure the site doesn’t get penalised down the line.

So for this post, we’re going to look at 21 examples of affiliate websites that “get it” when it comes to marketing 3rd party products while delivering value and try to learn from them.

I hope that looking at these affiliate marketing examples will give you some inspiration with your own sites and will show you that affiliate marketing doesn’t have to be cheesy.

nerdwallet

Nerdwallet is one of my favorite affiliate websites, and I’m sure plenty of affiliate marketers would tell you the same.

It’s been around for a long while, it does enormously well in one of the most competitive markets, and the content is genuinely useful.

Nerdwallet is essentially a review affiliate site for financial products. The cover everything from credit cards to mortgages to investing to insurance.

Have stellar contents, and exceptional user interface, and a really good marketing team.

They’ve basically been the gold standard of affiliate sites for the last several years (in my view anyway).

  • Niche: Consumer finance
  • Goal: Help people pick the best credit cards, loans, insurance, etc.
  • Key Challenge: Extremely competitive market.

Key Stats

Facebook

142,000

Twitter

55,900

Visits/Month

Backlinks

34,316

Alexa Rank

Top Content

How Much House Can I Afford?

Length:
N/A

Backlinks:
596

Shares:
2,900

Keywords:
5,600

I love this piece of content because it’s not content as we think of it in any traditional sense.

Seasoned link builders will probably recognize the angle here: creating a hyper-useful tool that’s going to do very well in the context of a content marketing campaign.

What makes this one of their top pieces of content, however, is that it also targets a very good keyword.

Nerdwallet best credit cards of 2019

Best Credit Cards of 2019: Reviews, Rewards and Offers

Length:
4,300

Backlinks:
388

Shares:
26,300

Keywords:
4,600

This may be one of the single most difficult (but valuable) affiliate keywords in the world, and NerdWallet consistently snags one of the top spots in the SERPs. As of right now they rank #1 for it in Google.

Huge win for them.

Best CD Rates NerdWallet

Best CD Rates | Compare CD Rates

Length:
N/A

Backlinks:
454

Shares:
53

Keywords:
1,100

Another extremely competitive keyword, and, it should be noted, this content is also in tool form.

How They Make Money

Nerdwallet is also a 100% affiliate site. They do not have ads, nor do they (as far as I can tell) sell any of their own products.

Top Promotions

What we can learn from Nerdwallet

  1. Make tools. So much of Nerdwallet’s best content comes into will form, and that’s because not only is a great for user experience, but tools also tend to attract lots of links, and SEO is a major part of this site’s strategy.
  2. Update key pages. Nerdwallet makes a practice of updating their key pages. For example, their big guides, like, “Best Credit Cards 2016” will be updated annually (to “Best Credit Cards 2019”), making them relevant in giving their marketing team an opportunity to market them again.

MoneySavingExpert.com

MoneySavingExpert.com helps ordinary people make better financial decisions. Think of it as financial education for the masses that helps people get more bang for their buck.

The site was started by Martin Lewis, a financial journalist, in 2003. Today, it ranks as one of the biggest consumer affiliate websites in the UK with over 8 million visits every month.

In a field filled with self-serving information and dubious knowledge, MoneySavingExpert (MSE) has managed to set itself apart thanks to its content quality and devotion to helping consumers.

The site was sold to Moneysupermarket.com in 2012 for £87 million.

  • Niche: Personal finance
  • Founder: Martin Lewis (@MartinSLewis)
  • Goal: To help ordinary people make better financial decisions
  • Key Challenge: To provide ethical, accurate and updated financial information in a sector marked by self-serving interests.

Key Stats

Facebook

191,000

Twitter

64,200

Visits/Month

Backlinks

18,900

Alexa Rank

Top Content

MoneySavingExperts.com Credit Scores

Credit Scores: Bust myths and improve your score

Length:
7,800

Backlinks:
454

Shares:
14

Keywords:
3,100

A comprehensive guide to credit scores and how they impact your financial life.

MoneySavingExpert.com 15 cheapest ways to get travel money

19 cheapest ways to get travel money

Length:
3,470

Backlinks:
388

Shares:
69

Keywords:
678

A list of innovative ways to make extra cash for traveling.

MoneySavingExpert com The budget planner

The budget planner

Length:
2,900

Backlinks:
511

Shares:
44

Keywords:
3,000

A thorough guide to making budgets and sticking to them.

How They Make Money

As MSE explains on its “How this site is financed” page, the only monetization method is affiliate links. The site does not accept advertisements or sponsored posts, nor does it offer any paid products.

Some different tactics and tools it uses to monetize include:

  • Coupons: MSE maintains a list of coupons and deals for a number of retailers, taking a cut from each sale.
  • Best of” guides: MSE has several pages listing “Best [X]” products and services, such as banks and credit cards. It takes a cut from anyone signing up with its affiliate link.
  • “Cheap X” guides: MSE helps users pick the cheapest consumer products in a category (such as phones) and takes a cut from each sale.
  • Calculators: The site offers its users a number of calculators, such as a loan calculator or a mortgage calculator. It takes a commission from any recommended financial products.

It uses a number of additional tactics to make extra affiliate marketing cash. This includes an Amazon discount finder, an association with Resolver, and including Skimlinks in its forum threads.

Top Promotions

Some products MoneySavingExpert promotes are:

What we can learn from MoneySavingExpert

  1. Invest in design: The MSE website is very well organized. All articles are also heavily formatted to be as easy to browse as possible.
  2. Invest in ethics: The consumer finance field is filled with misinformation. MSE stands out by clearly identifying all affiliate links and maintaining a strong editorial code of ethics.
  3. Hero pages: MSE maintains “hero” pages for major search terms (example). These are highly visual and give readers a quick glance at the best options. Since the pages are very user-focused, they almost always rank well.
  4. Be actionable: From blog posts to deal finders to calculators, all of MSE’s content and products are ultra actionable. Users don’t have to deal with fluff and can dive right into the info they want.

the wirecutter - one of the biggest affiliate websites

The Wire Cutter is one of the internet’s favorite review affiliate websites for electronics, gadgets and consumer goods.

It was started by Brian Lam, the former editorial director of Gizmodo. Brian and team put all reviewed products through strenuous and innovative tests, so much so that the site is sometimes called “Mythbusters for gadgets”.

Since its birth in 2011, the Wire Cutter has grown into one of the top 6,000 sites online by incessantly focusing on finding the best product in each category.

Along the way, it has earned tons of praise, even getting a story in NYTimes.

  • Niche: Consumer product reviews
  • Founder: Brian Lam (@blam)
  • Goal: To help people find the best product in every consumer category
  • Key Challenge: To design innovative tests and select the best product possible, without being swayed by commercial interests.

Key Stats

Facebook

121,000

Twitter

87,400

Visits/Month

Backlinks

18,300

Alexa Rank

Top Content

Wirecutter Deals

Wirecutter Deals

Length:
11,100

Backlinks:
642

Shares:
1,100

Keywords:
49k

A regularly updated list of the best deals on electronics from across the web.

Wirecutter The best Bluetooth speakers

The Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Length:
7,700

Backlinks:
393

Shares:
427

Keywords:
6,400

A review of the best Bluetooth speakers for average consumers.

Wirecutter the best Wi-fi Router

The Best Wi-Fi Router (for Most People)

Length:
9,685

Backlinks:
573

Shares:
503

Keywords:
7,000

How They Make Money

The Wire Cutter explains its monetization model on its “How to Support Us” page.

It’s a simple model: affiliate commissions, primarily through Amazon and BestBuy. The site does not accept any advertisements or sponsored posts, or does it sell any of its own products.

Some different tactics and tools it uses to monetize include:

  • Product recommendations: “Best of” product pages for each category are the Wire Cutter’s bread and butter. Each recommendation comes with an associated Amazon link.
  • Answer Questions: The Wire Cutter answers reader questions such as “which headphones should I buy?” and takes a cut from any product sales.
  • Others: Besides Amazon and a handful of other well known retailers, the site also uses Skimlinks to make money online. There is an indication it sells some advertising as well (as shown by this link) though the details aren’t made public.
  • They were recently acquired by the New York times for US$20 million, so that counts as peak monetization from where we stand.

Top Promotions

Some of The Wire Cutter’s most heavily used affiliate promotions are:

What we can learn from The Wire Cutter

  1. Focus: Instead of creating hundreds of gadget news posts every month, the Wire Cutter does just one thing: in-depth reviews.
  2. Use the right design: The Wire Cutter doesn’t use the traditional blog structure. Instead, it uses a simple page with a list of best items in each category.
  3. Quality > Quantity: The Wire Cutter’s tests are so innovative and extensive that manufacturers sometimes ask it for advice on how to improve their products. As it promises on this page, every recommended product has been tested to be the best in its class. It also writes only 6-12 posts a month.

DatingAdvice - affiliate websites

As far as internet marketing goes, the dating niche is wildly lucrative. Unfortunately, it is also filled with tons of scamsters and spammy sites designed just to send traffic to affiliate offers.

DatingAdvice.com is a breath of fresh air in this cluttered niche. It is clean, fun, and doesn’t have the sleazy side that defines so many other dating affiliate websites. With its focus on ‘expert advice’ and emphasis on answering real questions, it essentially brings dating mainstream.

  • Niche: Dating advice and dating website reviews
  • Goal: Goal: To help people improve their dating skills and find the best dating site for their needs
  • Key Challenge: To stand out in a niche overpopulated with spam and sleaze

Key Stats

Facebook

12,700

Twitter

Visits/Month

Backlinks

Alexa Rank

93,473

Top Content

DatingAdvice OurTime.com Review

OurTime.com Review

Length:
879

Backlinks:
132

Traffic:
2,100

Keywords:
280

An in-depth review of OurTime.com, a dating website for seniors.

DatingAdvice The 15 Top Cities for Single Women

The 15 Top Cities for Single Women

Length:
1,200

Backlinks:
18

Shares:
0

Keywords:
14

A review of the best cities for single women to find single guys.

DatingAdvice 11 Best Hookup Sites

11 Best Hookup Sites (That Are 100% Free)

Length:
1,200

Backlinks:
14

Traffic:
1,600

Keywords:
670

A review of the best dating sites focused on hookups.

How they make money

Dating Advice makes most of its money by referring people to dating websites such as Match, eHarmony, etc. You’ll notice that all its recommended sites have a wholesome, mainstream image, which fits its target demographics.

Some different tactics and tools it uses to monetize include:

Source

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