Do you want to create a reviews website and make money from your blog?
Online reviews help others make a buying decision while allowing you to earn referral fees, known as affiliate commissions. You can build a reviews website dedicated to a specific niche, or you can add a reviews section to your existing blog.
In this article, we will show you how to easily create a niche review site in WordPress and make money from it.
Here are the steps we will cover in this guide.
- Why create a reviews site
- Before you start
- Choosing a theme for your reviews website
- Installing a WordPress reviews plugin
- Adding a review in WordPress
- Displaying reviews in sidebars
- Making money from your reviews site
- Taking your reviews site to the next level
- Mastering WordPress skills
Why Create a WordPress Reviews Site?
What’s the first thing that you do when you’re looking to buy something online?
If you’re like most of us, then you check the online reviews of that product to see what others are saying about it.
This is why a popular online review site Wirecutter was sold to The New York Times for $30 million.
While everyone cannot be as big as sites like Wirecutter or TripAdvisor, we know several folks that are earning anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a month from running a niche review site.
There are two popular ways to create a review website. The first is to add a reviews section on your existing WordPress blog. The second is to create a completely independent online reviews site.
Regardless of the direction you choose, it’s important that you don’t pick a highly competitive niche.
For example, there are tons of sites talking about digital camera reviews, but not as many that are talking about camera accessory reviews.
The secret to building a successful review site is to find the right niche. A perfect niche has low competition, and it should be something that you’re passionate about.
Here are a few factors to think about:
- What unique things can you do to build traffic?
- Can you easily attract advertisers? (i.e. are people selling paid products)
- Are there affiliate programs available?
- Are other people making money in this niche?
- What is the competition like?
You can browse our list of best blogging niches to help you get started. Once you have a few ideas, you can dig further into each market by using market research tools and traffic analysis tools to better understand your niche.
You can even use a tool like SEMRush to uncover keywords to write your product reviews and articles about. For more details, see our guide on how to do keyword research for your WordPress blog.
Once you have picked your niche, let’s take a look at how you can create a reviews site.
Step 0. Before You Start
Before you start your website, you need to choose the right blogging platform. Of course WordPress is #1, but there are actually two different types of WordPress.
First, there is WordPress.com which is a limited hosted platform. Second, you have the popular WordPress.org, also known as self-hosted WordPress.
When you hear WordPress, people are typically talking about WordPress.org. To understand the difference, see our comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
We recommend using WordPress.org because it gives you full freedom to create any kind of website. It also gives you full access to all WordPress features out of the box.
We highly recommend Bluehost because they are an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider, and one of the largest hosting companies in the world.
Not to mention, they are giving our readers a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and 69% off their hosting plan.
Simply click the button below to get started.
Once you have signed up for web hosting and set up your domain name, the next step is to install WordPress. With Bluehost, WordPress comes pre-installed.
Most other hosting companies offer a 1-click WordPress install option. If you’re using a different hosting provider, then see our guide on how to install WordPress which covers every major hosting platform.
Once you have your WordPress site setup, you will reach the WordPress dashboard.
Step 1. Choosing the Perfect WordPress “Review” Theme
The first step after setting up your WordPress website is to select the perfect WordPress theme for your product review blog.
When you’re searching for the best WordPress review themes, you will likely come across several themes that offer complete review-site functionality baked into the theme. You need to avoid these at all costs.
You don’t need a WordPress review site theme. Most of those WordPress review themes are bloated and will lock you into using them forever.
That’s why it’s better to use a WordPress reviews plugin because plugins will work with any theme that you choose.
You will have the flexibility to change your WordPress theme in the future without having to hire a developer.
Your goal should be to pick a theme that you like in terms of look and feel. Take a look at our expert picks of the best WordPress themes for some great choices.
Once you have found the theme you like, you can go ahead and install it. Need help installing the theme? See our beginners guide on how to install a WordPress theme for step by step instructions.
Step 2. Installing the Best WordPress Reviews Plugin
Now that your WordPress website is ready, it is time to add reviews functionality to your website. We will be using a plugin to add SEO friendly reviews that make your website more easily discoverable by search engines and users.
First, thing you need to do is install and activate the plugin. For more details, see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
The basic version is available for free and has enough features to let you add simple review boxes to your product reviews.
However, we’ll be using the premium version for this tutorial since it comes with advanced features like review templates, multiple rating systems, user reviews, comparison tables, and even integrates with WooCommerce.
The WP Review plugin is easy to use, lets you create high converting reviews, and helps you stand out in the search engines by adding schema markup or rich snippets to your reviews.
In plain English, this will add a star rating, price, and other details next to your reviews in Google to help you stand out.
Upon activation, navigate to Settings » WP Review in your WordPress admin panel to configure the plugin settings.
The settings page is divided into different sections.
First, you can choose to restrict ratings to registered users only. If you select ‘Yes’, then your readers won’t be able to contribute their own rating.
You can also display the total rating on your product thumbnails.
To change the settings simply click the toggle to ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
Next, you can choose to allow users to add comments to the review. You can control the comment template, if ratings are required, and more.
You don’t have to allow user comments and ratings, but it can add more legitimacy to your reviews.
Next, click the ‘Styling’ menu option. Here you can choose between different review box templates.
Simply select the template you want to use from the ‘Default’ drop down. It will automatically generate a new preview based on the template you choose.
Below that, you can completely customize the colors of your review box so they match your WordPress theme.
You can also change the review width, fonts, and more.
Then, click the ‘Defaults’ menu option. Here you’ll set the default settings for your review box.
These can be changed on each review, but if you’re writing reviews for the same kind of product, then these settings will save you time.
You have control over the type of review, where the review box is placed, what kind of review schema it uses, and more.
Once you’re done customizing these settings, make sure you click the ‘Save Changes’ button at the bottom of the screen.
The plugin is also equipped with features that let you add product popups, alert bars, Yelp and Facebook reviews, and more.
Step 3: Adding a Review in WordPress
Adding a review using WP Review is quite easy. You can add reviews to any existing WordPress blog post or write a new review from scratch.
Instead of creating a new review post type, it simply gives you the option to add a review box to any blog post.
The first thing you need to do is open up an existing post or create a new post in WordPress.
You will write the main content of your review like you would write any other post in WordPress.
Then, below the post content, you’ll find a meta box called ‘Review’. Here you will enter your review box content.
First, you need to select the type of review in the ‘Review Type’ drop down and enter a heading.
Then, select the schema type from the ‘Review Item Schema’ drop down and enter any relevant schema information.
This is the product review data that will display in the search engines.
Next, choose whether you want the rating to be from the author or a user rating aggregate (like Amazon) in the ‘Review Rating Schema’ drop down.
You can also enter a custom author name for the product review.
After that, you need to add specific product features in the ‘Review Item’ section and give each feature a score.
You can also change the color to make it stand out.
Next, you need to add your links into the ‘Review Links’ section.
This can be used for your affiliate links to send readers to the product website to make a purchase.
Then, you can enter the product description in the ‘Review Description’ section.
You can also add pros and cons for the product features.
After that, you have the option to enable user reviews.
This is common in most online stores, where users can give products a star rating.
Then, enter the product’s price into the ‘Product Price’ box.
Once you are done, simply click the ‘Update’ or ‘Publish’ button to make your review live.
You can now visit the post to see the review box in action.
Step 4. Displaying Your Product Reviews in Your Sidebar
WP Review also allows you to show your review posts in your sidebar and other widget areas of your website.
This is a great way to get more traffic to your high converting product reviews.
First, go to Appearance » Widgets and click the ‘Plus’ add block icon and search for ‘WP Reviews’.
Then, select the block, and it will add it to your widget area. Next, you can choose how you want your reviews to display.
You can choose to display top rated reviews, recent reviews, certain types of reviews, and more. Simply check the boxes for each review type you want to display.
It also lets you customize the number of reviews, title length, thumbnail image size, and the extra post information to show.
Make sure to click the ‘Update’ button to save the changes to your widget area.
Now, go ahead and visit your website to see the reviews widget in action.
It will show the top rated reviews and product image.
Step 5. Making Money From Your WordPress Reviews Site
Review websites are a great way to generate passive income on the side. There are multiple different business models to make money from your niche site.
Following are some of the most common ways used by review websites to generate revenue.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing allows you to make money from your reviews by recommending products on your website. Affiliate marketers earn a commission when users click on your referral link and buy from your product review site.
To learn more, see our ultimate affiliate marketing guide for beginners with detailed instructions and tools/plugins you’ll need to grow your business.
A lot of the top big name brands using WordPress generate revenue with display ads. You get paid either for impressions or when a user clicks on the ad from your website.
The easiest way to displays ads on your reviews site is by using Google AdSense. This gives you access to thousands of advertisers who are looking for targeted audiences.
To learn more, see our guide on how to properly add Google AdSense to your WordPress site.
Apart from Google AdSense, you can join other advertising networks like Media.net or sell ads directly to advertisers. This allows you to diversify and maximize advertising revenue on your reviews website.
3. Paid Reviews
This direct approach allows you to cut the middleman and directly reach out to eCommerce businesses that want their products to be reviewed.
You get paid for testing and writing reviews with your honest opinion of the product. However, the outreach requires a lot of time and can influence the quality of your reviews.
For more ways to make money from your reviews site, see our list of proven ways to make money online.
Step 6. Taking Your WordPress Reviews Site to the Next Level
WordPress is a powerful platform, and it gives you access to thousands of awesome plugins that you can use to grow your reviews site.
Following are just some of the essential plugins that you can install right away.
Pretty Links – It allows you to cloak affiliate links and easily add, manage, and edit affiliate links in WordPress.
MonsterInsights – It allows you to easily install Google Analytics in WordPress and see where your visitors are coming from and which reviews are the most popular. You can also track outbound affiliate links to improve your marketing strategy over time.
For more plugin recommendations, see our list of the best affiliate marketing tools and plugins for WordPress.
Step 7. Improving Your WordPress Skills
WordPress is quite easy to use even for the beginners. However, occasionally you’ll need help in learning new things as your website grows. This is where WPBeginner can help.
WPBeginner is the largest free WordPress resource site for beginners. We have lots of helpful content which is created specifically for beginners, business owners, and bloggers.
Following are a few of the helpful resources you will find on WPBeginner (all of them are completely free).
- WPBeginner Blog – The central place for all our WordPress tutorials and guides.
- WPBeginner Dictionary – Our WordPress glossary is the best place to familiarize yourself with the WordPress lingo.
- WPBeginner on YouTube – Need more video instructions? Subscribe to our YouTube channel with more than 130,000 subscribers and 12 Million+ views.
- WPBeginner Deals – Exclusive discounts on WordPress products and services for WPBeginner readers.
For more discussions, you may want to join our free Facebook group WPBeginner Engage. With more than 80,000 members, the group is focused on helping beginners and non-techy users do more with WordPress.
We hope this article helped you learn how to create a niche review site in WordPress like a pro. You may also want to see our guide on how to create a free business email address and our expert picks of the best GoDaddy alternatives that are cheaper and more reliable.