Subscription Websites Or Affiliate Marketing – Which Is Best?


Is it better to use subscription websites to make money online, or to use traditional affiliate marketing? What are the advantages that subscription sites offer over a traditional minisite providing a product review and then a link to the product itself – in other words, over traditional affiliate marketing?

Let’s look at each of these and discuss their pros and cons to create membership sites:

Affiliate Marketing

There are several ways to set about marketing affiliate products, the two most popular being from a website set up to offer a number of niche-related products and a series of minisites, each of which reviews and promotes a single product.

The latter tend to be set up using blog software, such as WordPress, where a domain name is chosen relating to the product and a review of the product written along with a link to the vendor’s sale, Contact and perhaps an About Us page. These are useful in getting your site listed, which the purpose of designing it.

Affiliate Marketing: Pros The major benefit is that you can choose the next big product due for release using sites that list products in their ‘pre-launch’ stage. This enables you to get an affiliate page listed on Google before a product is launched, and make money during the initial launch period when sales are at their highest.

Another benefit of affiliate marketing is that you are not restricted in what you sell. You can sell an internet marketing-related product on one site and a dog-related product on another. You can set up and run large numbers of affiliate sites to make money online from a number of income sources.

Affiliate Marketing: Cons The major negative aspect is that your sites don’t last long. It’s a general rule that products experience an initial surge of sales, then drop down to almost zero. You therefore have to keep working at it, finding new products and setting up new sites. That means you also have to purchase new domain names on a regular basis. Also, once a customer has purchased a product, that’s it for them. You will likely not see them again.

Subscription Websites

Assuming you choose the right member site software package, you can also set up as many subscription websites as you like. You can have a subscription site for each niche, using the software to set up a membership site on each of your subdomains. You can even set up a member site on your existing websites if you have any that are attracting visitors.

Subscription Websites: Pros A major benefit is that once a paying member subscribes to your site you are guaranteed income from that member every month – for as long as they remain a member. So it’s not just a one-time payment as it is with the affiliate option. Not only that, but you can also offer affiliate products to your members – do so sparingly so as not to put them off, but for many membership site owners this can be a very good source of additional income.

Subscription Websites: Cons The major disadvantage is that you have to keep your site populated with fresh content. Your members won’t be happy if the content is the same month in month out, because otherwise why should they pay to see the same stuff every month? You need fresh content: fresh tips, fresh articles, fresh products on offer and so on.

However, if you choose the right membership site package, you will likely find that the package itself is populated with products to sell and that these are regularly updated. Content is not difficult to generate if you know your niche, and one great thing about a subscription website is that your content will build up over time. By maintaining content archives, your members will have a good selection of information that they can refer to when needed, and some site owners offer an index or search box so that members can locate content containing information on specific topics of interest to them.


Subscription websites have the edge over affiliate marketing in terms of durability and their potential to make increasing amounts of money over the longer term. If you are looking for a quick killing from a new ‘hot’ product, then affiliate marketing is likely the way to go. However, if you are looking for a longer-term secure income that will enable you to fire the boss, then membership sites are the more likely to offer you that.

Affiliate sites rely too much on finding the right product at the right time, and then hoping for a good listing on the search engines in order to get traffic. Subscription websites bring in regular income that increases as membership grows, and is also more liable to get a high search engine listing as the site matures with time.

Affiliate sites have some advantages over subscription websites, although also many disadvantages. If you are looking for a comprehensive membership site package, then Member Desk at offers you everything you will need create membership sites.