Today’s reader question:
Hey Jed! I was thinking about starting a snowboard review site and earning a living from it. What are your thoughts on this as someone inside the whole online snowboard space?
My first thought is you’ve chosen a very tough market and it’s generally a really bad idea. You have to REALLY know what you’re doing if you venture down the snowboard review path expecting to make decent money.
Let’s talk about the big issues with running a snowboard review site:
1) Oversaturated market
There is an insane amount of competition if you want to get into the snowboard reviewing scene. It’s practically the first thing many people think of when they decide to start a blog in snowboarding.
The web is littered with snowboard review blogs and basically every big (and even little) online snowboard shop is fighting with you for keywords like ‘burton snowboard review’ on google, so you’re in for a tough fight to get your site up in the google rankings.
Even if your reviews are awesome, you’ll be against sites with far more authority on google who can write a crummy short review and get it to rank high on google while you fight to get your detailed review to the first page.
You have to really know your online marketing (search engine optimization, link building etc etc) if you want to rank well with snowboard reviews.
2) Lack of access to gear
Most snowboard reviewers get access to the gear to review in one of 3 ways:
- Snowboard demos
- Backed by a snowboard shop
- Get review gear sent by companies
There are A LOT of snowboards released every year and you need some sort of strategy to get access to a large supply of them if you want to run a snowboard review site. This is one of the big issues people run into when they try to run their own snowboard review site.
Also, don’t expect companies to want to send you gear to review unless your site is well known and/or you have relationships with a lot of snowboard reps (and even then you’ll probably still have to go to demos to get access to a lot of gear).
3) Reviewer integrity
A huge problem with snowboard reviews is you start to get into the territory of trust and integrity. People have to trust that you aren’t telling them a snowboard is good simply to make money.
Not to mention there’s the issue of snowboard company relationships. Companies don’t tend to like it if you say their snowboard sucks. Will you be able to say a snowboard sucks if it means the company stops buying ads from you or stops hooking you up with gear to review?
You’ll find that a lot of snowboard review sites only post positive reviews because they’re too scared to say anything negative that could hurt their income/access to gear.
How will you make money from your site while maintaining reviewer integrity? That’s a big question you have to answer. You don’t want to end up like those snowboard magazine buyer guides that sell positive reviews to companies.
4) Reviewing snowboards sucks
This is my personal feeling on the matter, but I find reviewing snowboards to be the opposite of fun. It’s time consuming and you really have to put in a lot of effort and ride a wide variety of terrain to get a feel for a snowboard.
For me, my time on the hill is for snowboarding. If I’m not able to enjoy my snowboarding then what’s the point of having a job related to snowboarding.
I’d much rather spend my time on the hill doing what I want to do and riding what I want to ride instead of constantly having my riding time taken up with snowboard reviews. That’s honestly why I’ve always stuck to jobs I can do outside of snowboard hours because I like my snowboard time to be my snowboard time.
The bottom line
I don’t mean to kill your buzz, but you have to be VERY sure you know what you’re doing if you get into snowboard reviews as your main business plan. Most snowboard review sites fail horribly and a lot of medium sized ones don’t make full time income.
It’s fine to do it for fun or as a side hobby on the occasional demo day, but if you intend to make it a job and your main source of income, you have your work cut out for you and it’s not going to be anywhere near easy.
Not saying it’s impossible, there are certainly ways to make a snowboard review site work, but I honestly think there are far better opportunities to get involved in snowboarding besides snowboard reviews.
If you choose to continue with the review site, tread carefully.