Choosing a topic for your website can be pretty intimidating, especially if you have never started a business before. “What if I choose wrong?” is probably your overwhelming feeling, right?
Well, keep two things in mind.
- ANY topic can make money. If people want to read it, at the very least you can make money from [display ads] (you know, those ads you see everywhere online). So don’t stress right now about finding the perfect product to promote. It’s more important to find an idea you’re excited to write about.
- Your first website doesn’t have to be perfect, or even successful. This is your first time building an affiliate website (or your first time building it correctly!). Does anybody do anything perfect the first time? Nope. You have to learn, make mistakes, and grow.
In my opinion, one of the keys to being successful in this industry is the ability to jump in even when you think you might fail. In fact, you can plan on it!
Though I make $20,000+ per month in affiliate commissions these days, my first few affiliate websites were a flop.
I used cheap tools. I picked dumb topics. I wrote hot garbage. It was a mess.
But I powered through it, and improved incrementally along the way. Within a year I was making decent money.
In the grand scheme of things, dedicating a single year of your life to learn a craft isn’t that much time. Think about it like learning an instrument. If you wanted to learn to play the sax, would give up if you couldn’t play like John Coltrane on the first try? Nope. You’d put in the hours.
The same goes for affiliate marketing. Except instead of strumming some guitar strings, you’re strumming a keyboard. It’ll take some time to get your bearings. So jump in!
All that being said, there are some basic rules you can follow to help you pick a decent topic for your website. While any topic can make money, there I’ve got some guidelines to help nudge you in the right direction.
Basic Rules For Affiliate Website Topics
Products VS People Who Buy Them
The way I see it, there are to ways to break down the topic of a successful affiliate website. Some focus on products, some focus on people.
Potential website idea: Twin Stroller Reviews
In this website, you’d just focus on reviewing and comparing strollers for twins. You could buy the domain twinstrollerreviews.com, and review every brand and style out there.
The focus is on the products, and helping consumers get the best product, based on their criteria. For example, some moms might be looking for the best budget version, while other moms might need an off-road version for hiking local trails.
This alone could be a very successful website.
Alternative website idea: Weight Loss For Moms With Twins
In this case, you’d be focusing on the people who need a stroller for twins. Your target audience is moms who want to lose weight, but are too busy with twins.
Because going for a daily walk is a great way to lose weight, these women are going to need a high quality stroller, right? Then you recommend the best product, or a “top 3” range of products.
Broad Concepts VS Niche Focus
Whether to go broad or narrow is a concept that trips up a lot of people.
- Broad Idea: Travel Blog
- Niche Idea: Traveling With Kids Under 5
- Broad Idea: Recipe Blog
- Niche Idea: Gluten Free Low Calorie Recipes
Which style is better? Broad ideas have larger appeal, therefore more traffic, and more earning potential.
Niche ideas rank faster, and have a higher ROI from your efforts. Plus, they are easier to manage.
If you really are gonna go hard core and dedicate the next few years of your life to this, it’s OK to go broad. Just don’t cry to me two years in when you still can’t outrank Forbes or Buzzfeed for your keywords!
For beginners, I highly recommend going with a small niche site. Go big next time around!
So if you want to start a smartphone website, or a video game website, try to imagine what the main enjoyment of those topics comes from.
Video Game Website Niche Breakdown
- retro console repair
- gaming easter eggs
- racing game reviews
- fighting game reviews
- game app development
- best games for parents & kids
- learning apps for kids
- gaming news for parents
- Steam game reviews
- how to make your first indie game
Fitness Website Niche Breakdown
- building muscle for men over 40
- weight loss for new moms
- trail running
- CrossFit for couples
- 30 minute workouts for busy men
- get a bigger butt naturally
- how to build a home gym
- fitness for small apartment owners
See how crazy specific these topics can be?
It makes sense though. Someone living in a small apartment in a big city who wants to lose some weight has a different mindset from a hobby runner in a rural community who wants to know how to recover from a twisted ankle faster.
The more relevant the topic is to the reader, the more likely you are to resonate with them, which gets the click and the sale.
Plus, the competition is much less than with broader topics. While CNet will write and rank articles like “Nintendo Switch Review”, they won’t spend their time paying an employee to write about how to repair an original NES system.
Think of it like a long-haul truck versus a dirt bike. A big truck can carry more gear (more money), but it also costs more money to run, and it can only go down certain roads.
A dirt bike carries less gear, but you can go faster, it’s cheaper to run, and you can go down any small road you want to.
Passion Or Profit – Why Not Both?
Do you want to know what the most profitable product is in affiliate marketing?
It’s the one you can actually sell!
Anything you buy online costs money. If you make $5 selling financial service consulting or make $5 selling fertilizer for avocado trees, it’s still five bucks.
So why would you painstakingly grind out a hundred articles about setting up a 401(k) for your retirement, when you could casually write about how much you love growing avocados?
True, some topics do lend themselves to higher priced items. In the “make money online” industry, some products sell for $25,000 or more, meaning you can make ten thousand dollars in commissions for a single sale.
So why on Earth would you link to a hula hoop on Amazon for $10 in your Outdoor Activities For Kids website?
Reminder: This Is Your First Website
Your first website doesn’t have to be a home run. You don’t have to be gurus status in six months, rolling in dough while you sleep.
Learn how all this stuff works, then decide what your “big win” is going to be. You can always start a new site, or shift the direction of your current site at a later date.
You Gotta Think Outside The Box
You’ll be surprised at how many opportunities there are to promote high ticket items in any niche. You just have to find them.
For example, writing a hula hoop review is a waste of time.
However, on your Outdoor Activities For Kids, you could link to some backyard play sets (you know, the ones with the slides, swings, & ladders). Prices go up to $3,000 dollars, and they are sold on Walmart.com as well as HomeDepot.com, both of which have affiliate programs.
Plus, this is a great product to promote online because they typically won’t carry the product in store, so customers have to order it online anyway.
So don’t get locked into thinking that your first website ideas was bad because you can’t think of what to make money with right now. More Ideas will come as you build out your website and learn how affiliate marketing works.
Choosing A Good Domain Name
Even I get stuck on the domain name thing, and I have a decade of experience in affiliate marketing. This is more of “do what I say, not what I do” kind of advice 😉
A domain name will not make or break a website, and you can always change it later.
Still, you want to get a good one, right? Here’s how.
Two Main Domain Styles
There are basically two options to go with when picking a domain name. You can create a “brand”, or you can use “keywords”.
A brand is just a cool name. A website about Boston Terriers could be called BostonBuzz.com.
Branding is fun because you can be creative, get a nice logo done, and very often you can get short, catchy domain names. They are easier to remember, and give you more space for your blog post titles in search results.
Keywords are good too though. A website about how to build a sauna could be called buildabackyardsauna.com.
This style of domain tends to rank better for related phrases since it’s so obvious what the website is about. Plus, readers are immediately aware of your focus topic!
However, stuffing keywords into a domain name tends to lead to cumbersome URLs, and spammy sounding website names. Are you really going to trust bestweeknightrecipesforsingledads.com?
You can also do a combination of both branding and keywords for a happy medium.
For example you could make that super long domain name above something like this:
Whichever you choose, don’t get hung up on the domain name. If you don’t like it later, you can always change it.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s no fun redirecting your entire site to a new domain. That definitely takes some work (or money to pay someone). It is possible though, so you are not married for life to this specific domain.
Picking a topic for your first affiliate website can be intimidating, but you can change everything later, or even start over, so don’t let this first step trip you up too much.
I know you really want to make everything work 100% right the first time, but it rarely works out that way anyway, so why waste your time fretting about it?
Every successful website owner I know has a couple of stinkers is his portfolio, so join the club!