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The Secret of Product Blogs That Sell

Posted By Brian Clark 11th of July 2006 General 0 Comments

One of the most effective ways to make money with a blog — and a method that is gaining steam — is product blogging. Essentially, your blog is built around selling one or more products, either directly from you or via affiliate programs and joint ventures with others.

There’s many ways to go about this. You could have a blog designed to promote information products that you have created — such as ebooks or audio/video products — that go into much greater detail about the subject matter than your free posts provide. You could do the same with other people’s information products via affiliate programs.

Or, your blog posts themselves could be designed to promote your catalog of software or hard goods directly. Some people like to call this catablogging, and again, you could do a catablog with affiliate programs if you don’t have products of your own.

And of course, there are endless combinations and hybrids that you can come up with.

Whatever your product blogging model, one crucial skill will determine whether you make an optimal amount of cash for your efforts. You’ll need to be able to craft words that sell, which is a nice definition of the art and science of copywriting.

In my next couple of guest posts here at Problogger, I’m going to do case studies on two different approaches to product blogging. Then I’ll follow up with a look at product blogs powered by affiliate programs, which anyone can start up quickly and, if done correctly, very profitably.

If you’re not familiar with the basics of copywriting, feel free to check out this introductory copywriting tutorial I put together over at my place. Copywriting skills are an essential element to the new conversational style of blog marketing, and this free tutorial should get you up and running in no time.

  • Jay

    Great post..I’ll have to bookmark this one :)

  • Ed

    I have been doing some research on this very topic. I’m looking forward your upcoming post.

  • So, basically a product blog is like a less-efficient version of a spam blog? I mean, instead of normal blog stuff you have content and such that is focused on advertising and selling a specific product. The goal of a product blog is to sell a product as effectively as possible. Spam blogs do the same thing, but they are maybe a bit unreasonably “optimal”. Too much content too quickly perhaps and the content itself is less human generated and real-sounding, but the basic principles are there. The reasoning behind both categories of blog are the exact same. Spam blogs are usually just a lot more aggressive than so called “product blogs”.

  • Interesting perspective, Blackbeard.

    Is Aaron Wall’s SEO Book a spam blog?

    How about Engadget? Take away the ads and add in affiliate links, do Engadget and Gizmodo become spam blogs?

  • I’d say that if the purpose of the blog is to sell a product or service then yes it could be considered a “spam blog”. However, to be clear I don’t see this as a bad thing. Most bloggers look down on spam blogs because they generate way more content and probably bring in a lot more money than the average “product blog” as described above. Spam blogs tend to be more highly specialized than a traditional blow and their biggest downfall is that the content isn’t “unique” enough and not “human” enough.

    However, my point in all of this is that by calling computer-generated blogs of this nature “spam blogs” and human-generated blogs of this nature “product blogs” is silly. Both are the same type of blog and the only difference is what is generating the content.

    As a side note, for those of you who say that spam blogs by default have bad content and that’s why they are so spammy, remember this: Humans can make crappy content just as easily as machines can. While spam blogs might not be terribly sophisticated now, eventually they will become every bit as sophisticated as human-generated blogs and at some point people won’t be able to tell the difference.

  • Interesting viewpoint Blackbeard. I personally think it ultimately boils down to the visitors “perspective” as to what’s considered “spam”.

  • Ray


    Your argument was very eloquently stated. I tend to agree with you on most points, however I think even though both types of blog have the same objective, a product blog “can” be made more valuble to the product user, by providing real world examples of use, feedback etc.

    Nevertheless you make a pretty damm convincing argument.



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  • I seriously doubt that you can create a product blog from scratch. Visitor fidelity will be very low, as will click through rates and sales. It makes more sense to build a neiche community and feed products to it. There was a thread about this here:

    It is very interesting, there is input from a big product blogger there too. But no matter what they say, I say that community is the key, and then you can do what you want with it.

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  • I didn’t know catablogging was “one of the most effective ways to make money with a blog.” I figured no one would want to read a product blog. But then again, I can see how consumers will search for product reviews and what not.


  • I’ve been searching all over the place to find out how the guys generate the product reviews for their catablogs!! These are obviously created using some aort of automation technique…

    Do these reviews come from RSS feeds, and where do you subscribe?

    How did Darren build his “Camera Phone Review” blog?

    Maybe I’m being stupid but I can;t find much on the subject – also it seems the spam blogs and these catablogs are very similar since neither have original content, what distinguishes the two?