How to make money on review websites

How to make money on review websites

While looking for more ways to earn on the web, pay attention to review websites – a kind of blogging that could be rather lucrative. In 2017, Spiegel Research Center published statistics that nearly 95% of customers read reviews before choosing a product. Content Marketing Institute and SmartBrief claim that peer recommendations, professional research and product reviews are the most high-powered type of content influencing the purchaser’s decisions. In this article, you’ll find out how to make money with reviews on your own website.

How do review websites make money on services or products reviews?

Before moving towards creating and promoting a review site, let’s understand the framework for making money. There are four basic methods in this type of blogging:

  • Affiliate programs

Choose the goods or services you would recommend to your audience and promote them on your website. If you manage to gain the user’s trust and make them click on the affiliate link to buy this product, you will get revenue.

  • Advertisements

This technique implies displaying sponsored and third-party banner ads. You can also display audio advertising, which is not widespread enough to be annoying, but to attracts visitors and arouses interest.

  • Subscriptions

Create extra service packages with different plans that could be useful for business and would enhance their business performance. Present their product as its best, and drive more customers to their sales channels. You can also provide business with ad-hoc analytical data on visitor activity.

  • Transactions

You can monetize a review website and get revenue in case a user purchases or books directly from your website. In this case, you must care about creation and distribution.

How should you choose a niche to review?

There are plenty of review sites involving various areas of life, traveling, business, health care, software, jobs, consumer products, etc. Mind some factors when choosing a niche:

  • Competition. Search Google to see your potential competitors, role models or a “gap” to fill in with your USP, but don’t stop on huge companies if you don’t have employees and solid seed capital. You should find low-authority resources, reveal their drawbacks and omissions and create a review website of your own – more competitive and conversional.
  • Possible traffic. Make calculations and define the average number of visitors you can get in this niche. Take into consideration all the traffic sources – paid, organic and social. For example, if you live in a small municipality and create a local review site, traffic in the multi-millions shouldn’t be expected.
  • Profit. If you want to create a review site for goods or services, search the most widespread platforms to find out products in greatest demand.
  • Choose the niche related to your interests and knowledge. However, if you are keen on home theater, for example, that doesn’t mean you should deal only with them. Such a narrow-minded approach leads to a lack of content and a reduction in target audience. So, you can be an expert in a certain product or service, but you should understand the related categories in a niche.

One of the win-win spheres is a commodity market, because people always need goods for their comfort, health and entertainment. So, one can easily get paid to write reviews on Amazon. This niche offers great opportunities in terms of content – you can create comparison charts, write comparative articles, overviews, tops, create pros/cons tables, deal with price ranges, novelties and so on.

The number of types of content to review is crucial. Assume that you have rich traveling experiences. Countries, hotels, transport, facilities, landmarks, law, traditions, etc – every category has a plethora of subcategories. If you write about transport, you can affect airplanes, trains, taxis and transfers. Dealing with the hotels, their service level, location and prices are also under your review. The options are almost endless in traveling, which is why this niche is very prospective.

Travelpayouts affiliate network provides the flexible and rich opportunities to earn in the travel niche. It’s easy to start – join the Travelpayouts affiliate network if you aren’t with us yet and learn more from our useful guides:

  1. How to find the best affiliate niche website ideas
  2. How to choose a new niche to earn money in the travel market
  3. Creating and monetizing a travel website
  4. 13 affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid on start
  5. How to create a White Label website
  6. How to share travel content effectively and for free
  7. Best PPC networks for 2019 where to buy mobile traffic

How to build a review website

How can I create a review website that will be able to bring in money? Note that you need functionality to let the visitors leave their reviews.Do not forget to link your website with review giants such as Amazon, Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Yellowpages, etc. Use API (application programming interface) to take the reviews generated on those sites and add them to your own resource.

Try web scraping for picking your pre-existing reviews up from others and further parsing them to your website. You can select and scrape each reviewer’s name, get the star rating for each and the review text.

Short step-by-step guide

  1. Do some backend work by choosing a hosting provider and a domain name.
  2. Install WordPress and choose your theme. Use Pro versions for further effective development.
  3. Download super-fast, well-coded and mobile friendly WP-Review Pro Plugin to get rich snippet support and integration with WooCommerce, Yelp, Facebook and Google Places.
  4. Write a new post.
  5. Incorporate reviews (stars, percentages, points) via WP-Review Pro or other plugins.
    WP-Review Pro Plugin
  6. Publish the post.

Best review plugins for WordPress

When you create feedback as a blog post, you need search engines to support product review format. That’s why you should write the reviews with rich snippets format. High-quality reviews plugins make review websites more SEO friendly and let them look attractive and well-structured on your website. Here are the top plugins for WordPress:

Site Reviews

This plugin permits users to grade a product with one or more of five possible stars. Moreover, it collects the best reviews and displays them first. The plugin always stands up to your interests, demanding approval before a new review is published. It can customize review form and place it anywhere on your website with the aid of short code.

PROS CONS
Simple setting page. Requires only PHP v5.6 or higher.
Easy to integrate into the customized theme.
Fast and good support.

WP Customer Reviews

After this plugin installation, you’ll be able both to create a page for placing goods/services reviews and to write reviews. It is available in seven languages. You can make plenty of adjustments for either the entire site or a post. The plugin has short codes to place the feedback in any section of the page (the reviews appears below the content by default).

PROS CONS
Easy to use. Lacks responsiveness.
Fits consulting sites. No dropdown field option in review form.
Needs minor configuring.

Customer Reviews for WooCommerce

It is free to download and is a customizable plugin with numerous integrations. It can monetize the review site for both small and huge companies. Its product editor works without any issue allowing the categorization of products and adding attributes on the page. The dashboard gives access to shipping settings, goods inventory and details, and pending orders. This plugin provides tutorial videos for beginners. It is mobile-friendly and can identify the buyer’s address to make tax calculations and to simplify shipping.

PROS CONS
The best way to start growing reviews. Requires using their own review site.
Perfect for e-commerce reviews. Limited customer support.
Easy to configure.
Lot of customization with premium.

WP Product Review Lite

The free plugin supports rich snippets and permits to add targeted links when creating a post without leaving the page that provides the affiliate account security. While writing a review, you can choose color, position and typography. WP Product Review Lite is the best variant for those that focus on ratings. It comes up with the opportunity to add a “buy now” button to the post.

PROS CONS
Fast support. It would be great to list top-rated products by tag and/or custom taxonomy.
Very easy to configure.
You can do ratings in various ways and turn different functionality on and off.
Has the option to review more than one product on the same page.

WP Review

The plugin lets us use stars and percentages, as well as a points rating. Besides, it provides support for translation, Google rich snippets and it is compatible with WPMU. The unlimited number of colors are at your disposal. It also allows placing the review anywhere in the post and adding the fields of your own.

PROS CONS
Doesn’t affect site speed. Most of the coolest features are in the Pro version.
A customizable and lightweight way to write reviews. The photo upload functionality is desirable.
Can be used with both paid and free themes.

Features of review websites that can make money

After you’ve already identified the niche and chose the appropriate plugin to make the reviews attractive, let’s jump into the review site’s usability that can provide its high conversion and your future profit, as a result.

  • Search

Search is the basic element of the UX design that provides the accurate classification of goods and services delivering the better search experience for users. It helps find relevant to inquiries results fast and easy. The content can be searched by criteria such as the items’ ratings, specs, similar categories, often-viewed staff or services. The most widespread software searching mechanism is Elasticsearch.

Search

  • Evaluate

The users should have the possibility to evaluate the product in a certain way. The most popular submissions are from-one-to-five stars, scores, short posts in pros/cons formats or filling in special forms with questions related to a product’s features. For example, on most of travel review sites, visitors can evaluate hotels in terms of location, room services, a set of extra services, cleanness, interiors, etc.

Evaluate

  • Profiles

The reviewers should be verified to make their feedbacks credible for the audience. That’s why you can ask them to register or leave their email, link to their social media profile. In this case, you’ll be able to comment on reviews in order to interact with the reviewers for appreciating their activity, answering the questions or responding to the objections. The profile’s functionality may include the opportunity of adding images and adjusting their preferences and personal settings.

Profiles

  • Personal dashboards

The dashboards allow the monitoring of all your online ratings and get performance insights for the locations to enhance the customer’s experience. You’ll get regular reports to incorporate any improvements. The users, from their part, can keep an eye on their progress on the site. For instance, TripAdvisor’s registered users can see all their previous routes on the map.

Personal dashboards

  • Monetization

Having a niche review site doesn’t mean “just talk,” but it means turning the reviewers into customers offering a certain set of services and goods that are relevant to your niche. If you blog the review travel site, sales of furniture could hardly be expected. However, when looking through someone’s positive experience of traveling by planes of a certain airline, there is a good chance the user would like to buy a flight with them. Why not to let him/her do it on your website?

Monetization

  • Gamification

Gamification enhances engagement and loyalty. It has originated in non-game apps and has brought game mechanics into digital tools. Plenty of hotel loyalty programs are based on gamification. For example, they offer extra bonuses, club points or tokens for confirmed reservations or other activities and they propose further steps that can bring more rewards. Airlines used to create leaderboards of frequent fliers. The customers can be rewarded for their positive reviews, a number of shares and a plethora of other initiatives. Gigya’s stats claims that gamification increases engagement by 30%.

Gamification

  • Automation of review requests

You have to collect as many reviews as possible, but you could hardly do it manually replying to every user personally. That’s why you should acquire special software to automate the process of sending messages with the invitation to write a review, surveys, extra propositions, etc. Such practice allows you to avoid missing customers. For example, a service called Typeform creates nice and conversional forms, surveys, quizzes, polls and shopping carts.

Automation of review requests

  • Blog

Despite the amount of content that customer reviews provide, you should attract more traffic via valid expert articles that should be interesting and useful at the same time. Do not forget to add images, video and audio for greater engagement.

Blog

  • CRM mainstreaming

This is the sustainable management of your daily affairs permitting you to atomize the routine and to develop a review site without issues and delays. The integration with CRM enhances business efficiency via auto management of sales, subscriptions, marketing, operations and finances.

  • Spam and scam revealing

While you grow, you should be ready for “black” techniques being challenged by the competitors. It deals with fake feedback and spam that can be removed via various types of verification and blacklists of bot-generated reviews and contacts. The third-party and scan services are rather helpful to reveal frauds. For example, Sift protects you from ill-intentioned content before it gets posted.

The best websites that make money writing travel reviews

Yelp

Plenty of travelers share their experience on the Yelp site, but the platforms offer much more – events, reminders and special offers from businesses. It performs as a social network, allowing you making friends or follow members of the community. Besides, you can import the reviews directly from your Facebook profile.

TripAdvisor

This website is the “monster” in its niche. Being popular among travelers around the globe, who provide it with its 25% of total hotel reviews from the top 10 (TripAdvisor, Expedia, Google, Facebook, Booking.com, Yelp, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Foursquare and Orbitz). It has financial benefits from claiming hotels on the popular website and interacting with customers.

Expedia

This money-making review website is a great “holding” that introduces Hotels.com, Orbitz, Travelocity and other services. The site is remarkable for its reward  of earning airline frequent-flier points and credit card rewards points, Marketplace to save money, and many other bonuses for Expedia Rewards members.

Booking.com

The platform was developed first for business travel, but now it states that 1.5M rooms are booked through the site daily. It contains reviews about hotels, apartments, small bed and breakfasts and vacation homes. The travel reservations include flights, trains, buses, rental cars, airport taxis and restaurants. The site displays the diverse flight options focused on price, time and carrier. Their trend window in the upper-left corner hints you the optimal moment of booking, based on their forecasts as for the time of possible fare prices increasing.

How to write a service or product review to make money on it

There are two crucial aspects in writing a review – one of them deals with the content and the other one concerns the design. Let’s talk about the substance and reveal the basic principles first:

  • Outline the features or specs to look at.
  • Define the essence of pros and cons (try not to use such primitive definitions as “good” or “bad.”)
  • Write a short introduction to grab the reader’s attention.
  • Mention each of the issues you’re going to evaluate using examples.
  • Give judgment and ratings.
  • End with tips and a recommendation; introduce alternatives.
  • Now, it’s time to frame the review for credibility and high conversions.
  • Enhance the feedback through photos, images, video or audio.
  • Follow the specific format: Ratings, scores, etc.
  • Make a set of useful materials – top lists of the best/newest/latest/the most useful/the most popular/the high-end, etc. hotels/sights/routes/airlines, and so on.

Never introduce stiff criticism in the review or extraneous vocabulary, but make them concise and clear. Here is a good example:

How to write a service or product review to make money on it

How to promote websites to make money writing traveling reviews

  • Social media marketing to attract more followers and introduce them to new products and services that you’re reviewed on the site.
  • SEO is helpful for getting high rankings and more targeted traffic.
  • A/B testing for increasing conversion.
  • PPC to keep the site at the top of search engines and attract the most targeted customers quickly.
  • YouTube channel with a link to your site in the description to promote video reviews.
  • Content marketing to create and publish content on various forums like FlyerTalk, Fodor’s Travel Talk, Nomadic Matt, etc.
  • Email marketing to stay in touch with visitors and customers with newsletters including special offers, news, thanks, etc.

No need to buy links, because if your content is valid, the search engines will already increase your ranks. However, you should take into consideration the niche you’ve chosen. The less competition, the more chances there are for your site to get ahead.

How to work with affiliate networks

As we’ve already mentioned, before choosing the affiliate network, you should focus on a certain topic. For example, you can earn money writing reviews for Amazon after you’ve entered that site and monitored its niches in order to choose yours. You can combine different affiliate networks. For example, if you chose travel niche, you can use Travelpayouts and Amazon at the same time, by offering, for example, travel bags from Amazon and flight tickets from Travelpayouts.

However, you’d succeed faster when choosing items above $100. Affiliate marketing implies you’ll get commissions for the goods/services people purchased via your review site. Those commissions are usually not impressive and that’s why getting it from low-cost items is the work of Sisyphus.

After you’ve picked a niche, research some affiliate networks to choose the one that meets your needs. The network’s reputation, quality, and potential profit should be analyzed. After you’ve taken the final decision, join the affiliate network and get your own unique affiliate link  to be identified as the partner who referred the sale and to get money for it.

With Travelpayouts, you can make money in the travel niche. We provide the wide range of tools, not just the links. Here’s how you can use our tools on the website. Here is an example of affiliate tool implementation:

How to work with affiliate networks

How much can you earn?

Accurate figures could hardly be supplied because of the diversity of the affiliate programs, as well as their terms and conditions. However, the traffic quantity and quality are the determinants for your future income. The real samples would clarify things better:

Category Cashback
Flight tickets 1,2–1,7%
Accomodation 3–6%
Car rentals 4–10%
Bike rentals 4%
Transfers 4–7%
Bus tickets 3–6%
Train tickets 3–6%
Excursions 3–12%
Seaside cruises and yacht rentals 3,5%
Compensation for delayed or canceled flights 5 euro

Sometimes you can be rewarded by points or internal money to buy products on the same network. For example Airbnb Referral Program rewards you with credit for your future travels.

Why should I create a review website in 2019?

Amazon, Aliexpress, Booking.com, TripAdviser and other giants made online bookings and shopping extremely popular. However, the customers still want to be assured of the product’s quality when applying to the review sites. That’s why such sites are stable revenue streams.

You can easily create a review website from scratch without expensive tools. When your site starts growing and getting more high-quality traffic, you can contact the companies for review copies of the latest products. Many of them can agree with providing you with free branding. Review sites are less competitive than traditional travel blogs and are able to attract a lot of traffic from social media.