In my opinion there's nothing like the Christmas and New Year's Eve feasts. There's Thanksgiving, but we don't celebrate that where I come from, so all we have to look forward to are the Christmas and New Year's Eve dinners. This is the time when fruitcake, ham and cheese balls are present in almost every household. There are salads of every kind, pasta, roast pork and chicken, delectable desserts ... are you hungry yet? I am! :)
Unfortunately I am, at the very best, a bland cook. Unlike other mothers out there, I don't have a "specialty dish." I do so love to eat, though, and fortunately for me, I have a superb cook for a husband.
This year, though, I'm planning to cook a dessert or two for him and my girls. A sort of Christmas morning surprise. So I was up a few nights back going over recipes online, looking for a simple dessert recipe. It was at that time that I stumbled across several cooking blogs and marveled at the ingenuity of being able to learn how to cook (or improve your cooking skills) and earn money at the same time by promoting cooking and cooking-related products. Armed with Traffic Travis and the Google search engine, I looked for cooking affiliate programs and keywords to create my own cooking blog.
Cooking Website Ingredient #1: Keywords
The niche may be "Cooking," but I suggest you target specific keywords and not the general, broad term "cooking." Not that it's a bad keyword, but it's too generic. It also brings up mostly information keywords. The global monthly search values in Traffic Travis look good, though, with keywords mostly having low to medium competition.
I tried "buy recipes" and it brought up some interesting keywords I can target, most of them with good global monthly search values and medium competition: "quick dinner ideas," "healthy meals" and "slow cooker recipes" all look good. It seems whichever cooking sub-niche I focus on, I will find good keywords to target.
I checked on "kitchenware" next and there seems to be a lot of competition in this sub-niche. Most of the keywords have high competition. I tried "bakeware" with the same results. It's not all too bad, though, since there are plenty of other keywords to target with good monthly search values and competition.
Cooking Website Ingredient #2: The Cooking Affiliate Programs
There are several sub-niches that you can focus on in the cooking niche: recipes/cookbooks, cooking school, and cooking tools/gadgets/appliances. It's tempting to take them all on your site since they are all closely related, but I suggest you decide on a specific sub-niche and focus on promoting two or three products from it. You can branch out to another sub-niche and add other related products as the site gets bigger.
Following are some of the cooking affiliate programs you can look into:
The Paleohacks Paleo Cookbook
This is one of the mere handful of products filed under the Cooking category on ClickBank. It's the only one with an acceptable gravity and commission as well. Most of the cooking products on ClickBank have a gravity of 0. They offer 70% commission per sale—roughly USD $20.
Paleo In A Kitchen: Caveman Cooking Masterclass
This is another cooking product in ClickBank. This is a cooking course that takes you from cooking newbie to Paleo chef. It has very low gravity, but it has the highest average per sale at USD $44.16. They give 50% commission for each sale.
Simplified Pantry offers a comprehensive eBook filled with recipes for meals that are easy to prepare and cook. The eBook also includes sample menus. Simplified Pantry offers their affiliates 30% commission per sale through e-Junkie.
Cook'n is a recipe organizer that lets you share recipes, as well as look up recipes in the Internet, all within one computer program. They also have apps for mobile phones and tablets. You can earn between 30 and 50% commission on each product depending on the number purchased from the Cook'n site.
They do not appear to be under a specific network. You need to send an email to them to apply.
Gluten Free Cooking School
Gluten Free Cooking School started in 2007 as a blog and now writer/cook/blogger Mary Frances helps hundreds of readers learn how to cook gluten-free food. She's published a recipe book and provides cooking classes as well.
Gluten Free Cooking School is not part of any affiliate network. You can sign up directly through a form on their affiliate page, but they have requirements: Your site needs to be closely related to the gluten-free niche and have at least 3,000 unique visitors each month. They offer 50% commission on each sale.
Shop Taste of Home
Shop Taste of Home is a part of the Taste of Home magazine. They offer a wide collection of recipe books, kitchen tools and appliances to help readers cook great meals at home. They offer 10 to 12% commission on all purchases through LinkShare.
Cooking.com is a comprehensive cooking website that offers cookware and recipes. They are partners with well-known brands and culinary names such as Rachael Ray, The Food Network and Emeril Lagasse, to name a few.
They do not mention the percentage of commission they provide affiliates, but I'm sure it'll be on their Commission Junction page. It's likely that it's within the 10 to 50% range, just like the other affiliate programs I've come across.
Smart Kitchen is an online cooking school that provides members with a 30-lesson course on how to save time and money on recipes and cooking. They offer a recurring 30% commission for each new member who signs up for their course through their affiliates. You need to be part of the ShareASale network to join the Smart Kitchen affiliate program.
If the above are not inviting enough for you, there are cooking affiliate programs on OfferVault that give between USD $10 and $60 a lead. These are usually "As Seen on TV" kitchen tools and gadgets.
As always there is Amazon.com with its wide selection of cooking books/eBooks, tools and cookware.
How to Let Readers Know What You're Cooking
They say if you're cooking steak, you have to let the guests hear the sizzle. It's not enough that you've got your cooking website going. You have to make sure the rest of the world, or a good number of the people on this planet, know what you're cooking. Below are some ideas on how:
Social Media Marketing
Share pictures of good food and handed-down recipes on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Make sure that your site has a page on these social network sites and engage your target market by sharing information they are likely looking for, like a good menu for the entire week or a space-saving, time-saving kitchen gadget.
Each time you publish new content, or create a video, share it on social media sites. You not only get backlinks by doing so, you also get traffic to your site.
Blog and Forum Commenting
There are a lot of forums and blogs on cooking and recipes that you can participate in and get inspiration and information from. You can find the best 10 cooking blogs here. There are forums, such as DiscussCooking.com, ChefTalk.com and CookingForums.net, that you could join, again to both promote your site and get information.
Amazon Kindle Traffic
Users are always on the lookout for freebies. In this niche, it could be a weekly menu plan, or recipes for specific diets like gluten-free or Paleo.
You could also put together a small eBook and share that for free on Amazon. Make sure to place links to relevant articles on your site in the eBook. If users need more information, they can click on the link and get referred to your site. You could charge a fee for the eBook but I suggest you give it away for free so that more users will be inclined to download and read it.
Cooking Affiliate Programs and the Marketer: A Good Mix?
It can be a very successful and lucrative combination if strong interest and commitment are also included in the recipe. There is competition in this niche, but not enough to make it difficult to break into. The commissions from the various cooking affiliate programs are high enough to guarantee a good return on investment. If you love to cook, and love to share what and how you cook, then this is a great niche for you.
If you don't, but are very much interested in learning, then go for it. You get to learn to cook and plan meals while making a nice little profit for yourself. It's all good.
With that I conclude this Niche of the Week. I hope you enjoyed it! Please make sure to share it with your friends and colleagues through the share buttons below. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave me a comment.