As the economy and internet conventions and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules change all around us, there is still one strong, enduring way to make an income off the net and that is by creating a review blog.
Review blogging is also one of the easiest methods – if you know what to do, how to do it – and why you’re doing it that way.
The key to this incredibly low-cost way to start a lucrative online business lies in simplifying each step to its ultimate degree. One of the simplest ways to do this lies in focusing exclusively on ClickBank products
You’re probably familiar with ClickBank. With over 714,000 visits per month, it’s one of the largest affiliate marketplaces. Everything is right there, in one place. No hunting around, Googling products and wondering about the reputation and deliverability of the site owner and the safety of your commission checks. Clickbank pays out commissions regularly, twice a month, like clockwork.
But, of course, you do have to know a few small but important details….
ClickBank Review Blogging Overview
Let’s take a clear look at the good, bad and ugly. We’ll go through a quick overview, then zero in on each point you need to know in more depth. But first, let’s zero in on why you shouldn’t become a ClickBank review blogger.
The Bad – It’s competitive! With thousands of products and even more affiliate marketers cruising the ClickBank marketplace like hungry raccoons, day in, day out, you’ve got a lot of competition.
The Good – I’d guesstimate about 82% of your competition are newbies. If you read this report and find out exactly what to do, you’ll jump up towards the head of the crowd – and it is an easy way to create a solid business out of shoestring finances.
A little later, we’ll uncover the secrets to choosing products with high returns – even within over-saturated niches.
What are you, when you make your money from ClickBank review blogging? You’re an affiliate marketer. Plain and simple.
You’re going to create sites reviewing products, memberships or services, and you’re going to present them to your list and to the public, through the search engines.
People interested in your subject will find and read your reviews. Some of them will decide to click through, and purchase the product being reviewed. When that sale is made, you make a commission. Simple as that.
But the one thing you want to concentrate on as quickly as possible is becoming an authority reviewer. We’re going to position you for that, too.
The Set Up Mechanics
You can review the products you want to promote in the pages of static websites, and in blogs. We’re going to concentrate on using a blog format. It’s easier than static site reviews by far, because it takes only minutes to add a new post – and you don’t have to use HTML or CSS.
Most people prefer WordPress as their content management system (CMS) for blog setup and maintenance – but a word of caution: Don’t host your blog on a “free” site – and particularly not at WordPress.com! Not only will you find you can’t install any tracking metrics on WordPress.com, but their rules ban blogging for the purposes of cash generation.
Blogger.com will allow limited commercial use, but you really don’t want to invest time and energy in your Blogger blog, building up a following only to discover that it has disappeared off the face of the earth, one morning! (That’s the risk you take, with free hosting where you are not ultimately in control of your site.)
Besides, if you want to be known as a fine dining establishment, for example, you wouldn’t dream of serving your gourmet meal on cheap paper plates, with paper napkins and condiments in plastic bottles, would you? Yet when you choose to use free hosting for your main review site or sites, that’s basically what you’re allowing yourself to do.
And there’s a final, far more important reason: You want your domain name to be either a strong, targeted keyword or something relating to your brand (especially if you already have a “name” and a list).
Once you’ve chosen your niche and primary keyword and registered your domain, point your name servers (if the registrar is different from your web hosting company) to your server. If you don’t know your name server addresses, ask your web host company tech support to tell you or check your “Welcome letter” from your original hosting information. The name servers will look like this:
Go to your cPanel, and set up a new WordPress blog through Fantastico. If you don’t know how to do this, there are a multitude of books and courses easily available, providing step-by-step video or illustrated tutorials on how to do this – you’re sure to find one that “clicks” with your preferred learning method.
Another easy alternative is to buy hosting with SiteGround. Their support staff will actually set up review blogs for you (but not customized – already pre-loaded) – or blank blogs, if you prefer. And if you get the Grow Big you can host unlimited blogs in their own separate domains.
How Many Blogs?
Some people set up multiple blogs, often using pen names. Others have a select few blogs (or only one blog) they focus on. But the good news is… you don’t have to set up dozens of blogs.
One solid way to work towards success: Create a generic review site that allows you to review multiple products in related areas of your main niche.
For example, if your niche involves garden water fountains and decorative pools, you could register a domain based on the keyword “garden water fountains” – gardenwaterfountains.com. On that blog, you could review everything from books on water iris, low-energy pond pumps, algae-clearing chemical solutions, natural water plant management videos, “How To” manuals on creating a pond, unique garden sculpture lines and just about everything to do with garden water fountains and decorative pools.
However, if you came across a wonderful Clickbank video series on keeping chickens, you wouldn’t squeeze a review and Clickbank link right into your water garden site – you’d be better to invest the time in creating a whole new blog around chickens, livestock or self-sufficient farming.
You might also want to use a pen name, so that people searching for information on unclogging pond pumps don’t find your name linked to dozens of chicken posts, first.
If you’re really uncomfortable with the idea of pen names, you don’t have to create a whole secret identity, either – just a variation of your own name will work well. Like so…
• Stephen P. Marketer
• Steve Marketer
• S. P. Marketer
• Stevie P.
• S. Paul Marketer
• Stephen Paul
(NB: Also a good principle to follow when article marketing!)
How to Choose Subjects with High Returns
Once you start investigating, you’ll quickly discover there are stand-out popular ClickBank products you can review. But rather than being like 90% of all review bloggers and focusing on which products make the most money, let’s stop right here, and turn our attention to you for a few moments.
The mix between you and the product is the most crucial element: If you pick an area you absolutely don’t understand, or are bored to tears by, chances are, you won’t convince anyone else to get excited about it. Review blogging is absolutely about one-on-one believability, and the best way to be believable is to actually believe.
Okay, so that wasn’t the prettiest sentence but it does state a fundamental fact.
No, you don’t have to be an expert on a particular subject: You just have to be interested in it, or intrigued by it. Chances are, if you’re intrigued by it, and report your explorations, your readers are far more likely to be intrigued too.
And if you’re downright passionate about it, you’ll speak to passionate niche fanatics in a way that no one else could ever fathom or understand.
And “fanatics” are the ones who spend 90% of the money in that market.
Picking the Winners
And of course, there’s more to it than even this extra layer. You need fixed “check points” you run against every product you plan to review, in order to pick the winners. Next time you’re planning to purchase a product – or have been given one by another marketer to try out – ask yourself these key questions:
1. “Is the ticket price high enough to make it worth my while?”
2. “Is the commission high enough to make it worth my while?”
3. “Did the product merchant provide affiliate resources and contact info?
4. “Are there any external links on the Sales Page?”
5. “Is it right for my list? Or is there a strong market searching for it?”
6. “What’s the ClickBank gravity rate – and how old is the product?”
Let’s go over these points in more detail.
1. Ticket Price: most marketers agree a product has to clear $17 to be worth your while to promote. (Take note: “Super affiliates” looking to promote products prefer the highest priced items.)
2. Commission Rate: A commission rate over 40% is worth considering; 60% and over makes it extremely worth a second, in-depth look.
3. Able to contact the Merchant: a merchant who knows what he or she is doing will have contact information in place within their ClickBank info, where you can quickly reach them. When you ask the product merchant what resources he has to help you promote your product, he should be able to offer you banner and button ads, text link ads, graphics, FAQ sheets, information and many more resources.
If a merchant doesn’t have these, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t promote the product: But it will make your job harder – and it can also indicate they’re not experienced (a fact that can work for you, under certain circumstances we’ll explore shortly.)
4. No External Links on the Sales Page: Finding a sales page that has a huge flashing sign in the middle – “Affiliates Sign Up HERE!” – should be an instant disqualifier (as should lots of other external links on the sales page). Customers will most likely reach the sales page, and there’s a big risk they’ll decide to become affiliates themselves, forsaking your affiliate hoplink… which means you won’t get credited for the sale!
5. Is It Targeted to your List or Niche: If your list (or a particular niche market) is searching for your product, then it’s worth promoting. Check your keyphrases in Google AdWords and make sure there are at least 20 strong keywords that turn up in your search results. (A niche can still be profitable if there are less than 20 keywords – providing there are a high enough number of “related” Google Adwords keywords.)
6. Gravity Rate: “Gravity” is just one of the terms on the ClickBank marketplace listing for your product. It refers to the number of affiliates promoting the product. It’s not a strong indicator of a product’s value unless you compare it against the time the product has been in circulation: Products that are just launched will often have an artificially high gravity rate that levels off, once it’s been on the market a few weeks. In fact, if a product’s gravity rate is even over 30, it may be worth promoting. Weigh up all the other factors, before making up your mind.
What about Pay Per Click?
The world of Pay Per Click ads can often tip you off to lucrative niches. You need to look for where the most money is spent.
Some traditionally strong areas are:
• Forex trading
• Anti-Aging skin care
Be careful: some of these areas are falling out of favor with Google and article directories such as Ezinearticles, which means you may not be able to promote them in arenas you’re used to. For example, Ezinearticles blog has been discussing removing “dating” from valid Ezinearticles categories, lumping it into the same category as the by-now infamous “Acai berry” and Viagra. (The jury was still out on the “dating” issue, at time of writing.)
If your chosen product has lots of PPC ads and authority sites monopolizing Google’s first-page positions for that keyword, you’ll know competition is fierce and the marketplace most likely saturated. Perhaps a more narrow, related area of that niche would have lower competition?
To show you exactly what I mean, here’s a Google AdWords example:
Notice the AdWords competition – indicated by the amount of green color in the bars – is extremely high for the above keywords – as are the number of searches. If you tried to either bid or blog post using any of these keywords, you’d be (no pun intended) the tiniest drop in the ocean. Your post wouldn’t stand a chance – and the cost of a PPC ad for such a popular term would be extremely high, if you were the one paying for it.
However, if you scan down the list (to way, way lower than the first few keyword examples I’ve shown here) you come to this:
Wow! Note that “water fountains solar powered” has low (but not “no”) AdWords competition – and 1,600 “Exact” global monthly searches!
Now, it would be pretty awkward and artificial to build a blog post around the keyword “water fountains solar powered” – it’s not a natural phrase, and as a ClickBank review blogger, I’d recommend sacrificing a great keyword for a more natural phrase, when writing a post – but you can see if there’s a product that fits this keyword in ClickBank… and if that product is already being promoted by one of those PPC ads in the little green bar. If it is, you may have yourself a real winner!