Now Tom's Hardware publishes their own reviews, and on top of their display ad revenue, they are making a significant portion of money from Amazon Affiliate links.  The site is already well known for reliable content about Personal Computing, so it made sense to turn up the content generation to attract more organic search volume.  It would be tough to estimate monthly revenue for this site, but it's highly likely that it generates 7 figures per month. 
Designed to create a huge amount of traffic at all times, these sites focus on building an audience of millions. These websites promote products to their massive audience through the use of banners and contextual links. This method offers superior exposure and improves conversion rates, resulting in a top-notch revenue for both the seller and the affiliate.
This site is an example of what many sites are doing these days.  They are “niched down” into brackets of certain products, and creating an online multimedia experience in the form of an online magazine style site.  There's lots of large pictures, some videos, and it looks like a true media property.  Chances are that you'd need to hire a designer to get a similar look and feel for your own website if you were to attempt it.  From a revenue perspective, this site is more than likely doing more than six figures in total revenue if I had to take a guess, just based on their organic traffic numbers.
Thanks for the great info and many examples. If a picture is worth 1000 words, 17 excellent examples are worth gazillions!! BTW, your use of “persona” was 100% correct. While a persona can be fake or deceptive (eg, “she adopted a meek persona every time he was around, but in reality, she was anything but…”), but it in no way implies that person behind it is not real. The more general meaning of the term is any character or personality presented outwardly, as to an audience or the public, and that is precisely how you used the word here.
Tom's Hardware pretty much started off as a forum.  They have expanded and re-designed and the website is now one of the most popular and heavily visited site in the PC niche.  The site is where hardcore PC enthusiasts go to discuss all different matters of PC parts.  Popular topics include CPU units, Memory, Motherboards, Overclocking, Systems, Operating Systems and New Build computers.  While the old format of strictly forum posts did well as a display ad revenue method (I remember when the site was mostly a forum as I used it for a PC build I did) – the amount of authority the site has lent itself very well to becoming a fully fledged content based site.
It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales. 
I just got finished reading Affiliate Marketing on the Web. Having been in the Internet Marketing business for almost 10 years, I must say that this was one of the best books I've read on Affiliate Marketing from both the merchant's and publisher's side. If you are looking for a book that gives you specific recommendations and pros and cons on which type of affiliate program you are seeking to deploy or participate in, this is the book for you!
In conclusion, I have covered 4 niche websites that I think are targeting keywords that have great search volume and high CPCs.  I discussed the pros and cons of the layouts of the websites to give you an idea of how I think a niche site should be monetized.  Remember, I did NOT go into whether or not anyone should be targeting these keywords as I did not really look at the competition levels.  My guess is that these keywords would be too competitive for me to go after.  I will discuss competition, and how to analyze the Google competition in detail in future posts.
While there are plenty of websites out there that are doing extremely well, here is a list of 22 websites that I've pulled together for you that I either know are doing very well, or I suspect they are doing very well based on traffic.  I am not sure what tactics they are utilizing to achieve the heavy amounts of traffic they receive, but I can tell that they get lots of traffic and with that traffic, a good amount of monthly recurring income.  Let's dive in with 22 examples in no particular order.
As a result of their rapid growth, they've also got a stellar link profile.  It's a situation where because they rank well, they get more links, and the more links they get, the better all of their articles rank.  There are a number of reasons why this site has taken off, but overall it's an excellent site that has built a strong foundation on nothing but organic traffic.  I have no idea what strategy they used initially to get links and start getting the exposure that they did, but the growth that this site has experienced is extremely impressive to say the least.  I'd estimate their traffic figures to be between six and seven figures on a monthly basis.
Two-tier programs exist in the minority of affiliate programs; most are simply one-tier. Referral programs beyond two-tier resemble multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing but are different: Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing associations tend to have more complex commission requirements/qualifications than standard affiliate programs.[citation needed]
Get trained. Quite honestly, there is plenty of FREE information available all over the web to help you learn affiliate marketing, but it’s hard, as a newbie, to know what you need to know and in the order you need to know it. I highly recommend going with a training program like this one so you can learn the proper way to choose a niche, find good affiliate programs, perform market research, build a website, create excellent content, and learn the details about how to truly succeed online

On the other hand, the more appealing your niche is, the harder it is to break into. If you go too competitive, you’ll never carve out your space. This is why I abandoned my shoe niche! To continue our cooking example, a quick Google search tells me there are thousands of cooking blogs out there. I would need to identify a more specific cooking niche to stand out. It’s also easier to find your audience if you write for a niche that’s not so well-known. That way, you can rise through the ranks faster with less effort.


Just imagine how much you could start investing if you owned or two of these niche sites. The thing is, it’s completely do-able. I have the skills (most people do) to create something like this. I am so freaking pumped to start my next niche website! I’m using these lessons learned to start my keyword research now. I’ll follow up on my progress in the upcoming blog posts. I really hope this helps you as much as it did me. It’s really inspirational to see how others are making additional income online with niche websites!
Taking the financial analysis a stage further, think about the potential profits you can make from each affiliate sale. You’ll have to sell hundreds of low priced items to make a reasonable return, and it may be better to promote premium products where one sale could generate hundreds of dollars. For example, an ebook on cat breeding tips might generate five dollars in commission for each sale. An ebook detailing a profitable gambling system might sell for ten times more and net you much higher commissions.
You will notice that this site does try to make some money with Adsense, but the banner ad at the top is an affiliate ad (through Commission Junction) for Fastweb.  I just logged into CJ.com to see how much FastWeb pays – its looks like only $0.80 per lead – OUCH!  This is really low.  This website owner also trys to promote fastweb in the articles – but no Adsense.  I think they should be focusing more heavily on Adsense within the content of their articles to increase their income.  My guess is that this site earns almost $.80 on average per Adsense click (which is MUCH easier to get than a lead). 

hello Stuart, i must confess that you've been fantastic here with all your posts and i want to say here and now that I've learned a lot, but my problem is that i don't know the one to go for now, I'm confused i want to make my full time living online but i don't know were to start from. pls i need an online business model that will make money and last forever with a low start up budget. your advice is highly needed please.

Look for a gravity score of 30 or more, because these products have a proven track record of selling well for a number of different affiliates. Products, especially new products, with gravity scores under 30 may work but are more risky. Gravity scores of greater than 100 mean the product’s popular. You could have competition, but don’t worry about that. The important thing is that there’s lots of demand.
Thanks Nathalie! And glad to see you came over from AONC 🙂 When done the right way I think affiliate links in context are much less intrusive and offensive than having ads on your sidebar. The average non-tech reader probably wont even know its an affiliate link anyway. So just by doing everything you’ve already been doing, you can switch out links, and probably make a nice side income!
When using affiliate links, the blogger also has control over where these links appear and how they look. Brands that offer affiliate partnerships typically provide a range of banners and titles for affiliates to use and contact affiliates when they have new creative to promote special offers, events and sales. However, you can also include simple text links on your site and EDMs and direct links in your social media posts.
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