135: Brainstorming a New Affiliate Site from Scratch

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I’ve had an idea for a new affiliate site kicking around in my head for a while now, so I thought I’d do a live walk-through of my thought-process and analysis of whether this is an opportunity I should pursue or not.

The idea?

A comparison and review site for meal delivery services like Blue Apron, Plated, Hello Fresh, Gobble, and others.

I think there’s a big opportunity in reviewing products and services that aren’t reviewed on Amazon, and this one is a market I’m interested in because … well, food.

In this special solo Friday edition of The Side Hustle Show I break down my research and thoughts on this niche to arrive at a go or no-go decision. I also attempted the content marketing trifecta of recording a live Periscope broadcast, a screen capture video for YouTube, and a podcast episode.

Unfortunately the audio on the screen recording failed, but I attempted to sync it up to the Audacity recording in the video below. And a big thanks to everyone who joined on the live Periscope broadcast!

(You’ll hear some mouse clicking in the background of the recording — that’s me navigating to different tabs during the screen-capture video.)

YouTube video

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In this episode I cover:

  • Why thinking of something as an “affiliate site” is the wrong attitude.
  • My first-stage research of the potential affiliate partners.
  • The tools and metrics I use in my initial evaluation.
  • A SWOT analysis of this business. (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.)
  • What my next steps would be.


Your Turn

What say you? Think you could use this framework to evaluate potential niche or authority site ideas?

Do you think I’m giving up too easily on the meal delivery niche? Could this turn into a profitable site?

new affiliate site analysis

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

7 thoughts on “135: Brainstorming a New Affiliate Site from Scratch”

    • In this case I’d probably set up a few twitter searches for people tweeting about these companies, good or bad. Then hit those people up for reviews. If they’re already posting on social media about it, another avenue of exposure may also be compelling.

  1. This is an interesting idea and definitely something that seems unique. I admit that I haven’t yet listened to the recording, but my first thought here is – how would you monetize this?

    • Just finished listening and wanted to add that YouTube might be a good way to make some $$$ off this idea. I know some of the subscription box reviewers do unboxing videos and such to promote their sites/reviews.

      Good luck to whoever runs with this idea!

  2. I know there’s already one review site for this type of food out there. I’m almost 100% positive it does NOT have an affiliate program.

  3. I’m in a similar situation… I have a few niches where product research is mainly done in various niche forums and in FB groups. I have no doubt that a product review-style catalog site would be pretty useful for these buyers. And I can apply it to several sub-niches.

    Where I keep getting stuck is determining how broad or narrow the catalog should be, as there are a massive amount of products that can be included in the catalog. If it’s too broad it could become difficult to manage and would take a long time to build. If it’s too narrow it could have trouble getting enough traffic to attract advertisers.

    And as for the monetizing, Amazon is pretty much the only game in town for affiliate “buy it” buttons on the product page, and they only cover about 25% of the products I’d be listing. I would have to go after direct advertisers with no referral programs for those “buy it” buttons. And that means I would either have to use a flat monthly rate model, which only works well if you have solid traffic numbers, or a PPC model for those “buy it” links, which means I’d have to invest in a custom WP plugin since I can’t find any that include click capping for Woocommerce external/affiliate product page links. I would also use Adsense and other advertising solutions for revenue, but what makes the catalog really work is giving users a path to buy the product.

    Anyone have a strong product comparison directory-style website with multiple “buy it” buttons/links on the product pages? What plugins did you use? What advice might you have when building a site like this in WP?


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