[Case Study] How To Make Money Online Promoting Hardware

HomeNiche Business Ideas How To Make Money Online Promoting Hardware

Please note that affiliate links may be included in some posts.

One word: pliers.

This is honestly a pretty awesome niche. Unless you're a carpenter or machinist, you'd be surprised how many different types of pliers there are.

From snap ring pliers and needle-nosed pliers, to flat nose pliers and electrician pliers- there are a lot of specialty hand tools out there for different industries.

This niche is just dying for someone to help disambiguate it a bit and generate recurring affiliate revenue for themselves.

I first published this niche report focusing on pliers, but it really applies to any type of hardware: hammers, wrenches, drills, etc. Read on with that in mind- though I focus on pliers just understand that you can apply these strategies to any hardware item, whether you niche down to a type of tool, or you specialize in something more general.

Home Depot Keyword Research

To get a sense of all the hardware keywords out there- I extracted 1,000 of Home Depot's top-performing keywords.

Use this table to brainstorm the tools niche. Below, I'm going to use pliers as a niche example.

Niche Overview

  • Low SEO competition means easy rankings for free organic traffic
  • 150,000 monthly search volume for phrases containing the keyword "plier" according to LongTailPro
  • Easy monetization (Amazon, Ebay, Home Depot affiliates) + drop shipping down the line
  • Great opportunity to shoot unboxing videos, create media across YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and build a true brand
  • Great niche for a beginner to taste success

Search Trends

Niche Market Research

The opportunity

There's a ton of search volume, little competition, and high buyer intention. Running my own general product & service review site, I've reviewed every type of plier you can imagine.

There are some larger tool review sites that cover pliers, but none that offer dedicated, quality coverage.

What you'll often find are Amazon and Home Depot eCommerce product pages ranking for 5-figure search volume terms.

Check out the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) below- a 12,100 monthly search volume with Amazon and Home Depot product pages ranking at the top. This indicates low competition:

Plier Niche

Your task will be to build an authority site that reviews different types of pliers from different brands and assesses their quality.

There are tons of different pliers out there:​

Niche Marketing Traffic

​​How to get traffic


This will primarily be an SEO play- you'll want to produce longform review content on your website structured around different plier types. I'd recommend actually buying the pliers from Amazon, shooting short video reviews, and including an in depth writeup.

For example, for "snap ring plier", I'd create something epic- perhaps the "10 best snap ring pliers", making it 10,000 words at least, with all of the on-page SEO strategies to ensure you DOMINATE this keyword vertical.

There is a bit of a keyword volume discrepancy between LongTailPro and Keywords Everywhere regarding "snap ring plier", whether it's 9,900/month or 12,100/month- but it doesn't really matter.

There's evidently tons of volume as you can see in the downloadable table below. I only included keywords with search volumes greater than 590- there's thousands and thousands of more keywords available in this niche. I'd recommend subscribing to LongTailPro and investigating it yourself. 

Check out some of the top plier keywords and their LongTailPro Keyword Competitiveness ​rating (Avg. KC) below.

Keyword Competitiveness Scores

  • 0-10 (No Competition),
  • 10-20 (Extremely Low Competition),
  • 20-30 (Low Competition),
  • 30-40 (Moderate Competition),
  • 40-50 (Somewhat High Competition),
  • 60-70 (Very High Competition),
  • 70-100 (Don't Even Think About It).

You'll find it pretty easy to rank on the first page of the SERPs for 'secondary' keyword terms like "best Irwin Tools plier" or "water pump plier reviews" a few months in. And over time, as your site gets more authority, you'll begin edging up the rankings for primary keywords like "water pump plier".

One quick pro tip: include the plier model numbers in your review- people search by model number, as well.

My instinct is to create content across all channels- your primary resource might be written review content, but you can easily shoot a short unboxing video for YouTube, take some photos and create some cool images for Pinterest and Twitter (using recommended image dimensions), and generate referral traffic that way, as well.

Here's a cool infographic I created using a Canva template:

Slip Joint Pliers Buying Guides
Not just affiliate content...

Besides just affiliate content, you'll want to create some informational content, as well. This will get you search traffic, help earn you backlinks from quality sites, that are oftentimes leery of linking to affiliate content, which will increase your search rankings. As well, you can use this content to deep-link into your site.

An example, mega-informational post could be "How To Use Every Type Of Plier Ever". This post would describe how to use every type of plier imaginable- you can deep link to your own review content, use other people's videos- it would be an ongoing project that would attract backlinks naturally and eventually rank for a ton of long-tail keywords.

Guest Posting

You might be able to discover some guest posting opportunities- especially if you are producing original and high-quality content. People will want you to write for them- this will expose you to a wider audience and get you referral traffic and backlinks.

Email Marketing

Creating rich, original content (ie actually buying and demonstrating the pliers) will help convince your readers to sign up. I'd encourage you to solicit feedback from your readers about what to review next. Plus, it's a good recurring traffic source if you set up an autoresponder alerting your readers to new content.

Referral traffic

Producing images and videos will get you traffic from Google Image Search, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter- wherever you choose to publish the images.

How To Make Money With Your Niche

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How to make money

Affiliate Marketing

This will be a strong Amazon affiliate play. I'd recommend applying to the Home Depot affiliate program, as well- though it might be best to approach them when you have some rankings you can show them.

I'm currently planning on re-applying (I was initially rejected) to the Home Depot affiliate program, citing my strong rankings across range of different products.

For diversification purposes, you can layer in some affiliate links to Ebay, Jet.com and Walmart, but Amazon will convert the best.

Top 10 Amazon.com Plier Searches

  • pliers
  • pliers and cutters
  • pliers and pouch
  • pliers and wrench set
  • pliers angle
  • pliers for jewelry making
  • pliers holder
  • pliers organizer
  • pliers rack
  • pliers set

*According to KeywordTool.io


Eventually you can experiment with drop-shipping- you can recoup higher margins than affiliate marketing.

Sponsored Posts

Once you get some acclaim, product creators will find you and request reviews of their products. It's left to your discretion how you handle that aspect of your online business.

Product Creation

Once you've been doing your site for awhile, you might discover an opportunity to create your own plier​. Or perhaps you bundle a bunch of existing pliers into a set that you can sell on Amazon. 

How To Get Started

  1. Choose a fun, brandable domain name
  2. Keyword research- I use both LongTailPro and Ahrefs for keyword research. This will help you figure out the keywords to target.
  3. Buy up some pliers from Amazon when you're ready to begin (you can always return or re-sell them)
  4. Shoot unboxing videos and writeup your reviews.
  5. You'll want to apply to the Amazon Associates affiliate program once you have a website up and running for best chances of getting accepted.
  6. Publish and promote your material across different platforms.
  7. Over time, you will make money, if your content is good. You honestly don't even need to promote it because the SEO competition is so weak. Though I'd recommend marketing your content cross platform. 

Additional Resources

Top Ranking Plier Content

Available Domains

Final Thoughts

The products don't cost much, so your commissions might be low on a per-item basis, but you can make up for this with volume of sales on high-search-volume terms. If I were just starting out, this is a project I'd love to take on.

This doesn't need to be a life's work- I'd imagine 2 months of work could establish a really solid baseline. Especially if you follow my advice and make all your content epic and produce content cross-channel.


  • Low compeition
  • High buyer intention
  • Great SEO play (free traffic)
  • Great for beginners
  • Opportunity for advanced monetization (drop-shipping, product creation, etc.)


  • A lot of the pliers aren't that expensive- so commissions will be somewhat low on them, but you can make that up by volume.

Last Updated on November 15, 2023 by Ryan Nelson

Ryan Nelson
Ryan Nelsonhttp://nichefacts.com
​Ryan Nelson is a NYC-based Industrial-Organizational Psychologist and a full-stack online marketer. He created NicheFacts.com to help people discover and build profitable, content-focused online businesses.



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