Affiliate Site Analysis: Wirecutter
What the world's most valuable affiliate site is doing right (and wrong)
Today I’m going to analyze a best-of list on Wirecutter. If you aren’t aware, The New York Times bought Wirecutter for $30 million, making it one of the most valuable affiliate sites in the world.
They are a broad authority site that basically reviews every type of product you can buy. Most importantly, they are a conversion machine.
If you want to make money from affiliate marketing then you have to learn from the best. In this article, I evaluate a best washers and dryers roundup post. I explain what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. I would recommend referring back to this article when planning out the content on your own site.
Wirecutter Best-Of List Analysis
Title and featured image
The first thing we see when we click on the best-of roundup article is the headline followed by a large featured photo.
The way the headline is formatted is great. They hit the main keyword - Best Washing Machines - at the beginning of the title and added some supplementary text in parentheses afterwards. This is very similar to how I write my post titles.
When we scroll down, we come across the intro, which is directly underneath the featured image. Everything about this intro is perfect. First of all, the text is bold. I highly recommend that you do this, both for Google and for the readers. The bold text helps let Google know exactly what the article is about, and it also grabs readers attention.
The content in the intro does a good job of laying out pain points (washing hundreds of dollars worth of fabric). It does a great job of making it seem like the writer actually put the effort into testing tons of different washing machines to pick out the best. Obviously, since we’re affiliate marketers we know that they definitely did not do that. But the reader will feel like they did and that’s all that counts.
They clearly state the best product right there in the intro. This is critical, since many people are lazy and just want to buy “the best” without reading or thinking about anything. They made the affiliate link red, which helps it stand out and makes it more likely that readers will click on it.
The “coming soon” widget on the right-hand side is a nice touch. It reinforces the feeling that the writer is actually testing the product and it also helps the reader feel like they are reading a current, up-to-date article. Most people don’t want to base their purchasing decisions on old articles. If you make it obvious that you update your content on a regular basis, this will help increase reader trust.
They immediately promote the “top pick” right after the intro paragraph. I personally don’t do this. I write a numbered list directly underneath the intro paragraph with text-based affiliate links to all of the products, along with a brief description of what each product is recommended for before launching into the in-depth reviews of each product.
I do like that they have a brief overview of the product (dryer/washer combo) before the long, in-depth description. The simple, one-sentence description lets the reader know the main selling point of that product. The red affiliate buttons do a great job of standing out, and they likely attract tons of clicks (I always recommend using red or some other contrasting color for affiliate links/buttons to increase conversions).
They also present two different places for the reader to buy the product. This can hurt conversions (analysis paralysis), but it also complies with Google’s December product reviews update (Google now favors sites that give readers multiple places to buy the product from).