January 12 327

How to Build a Profitable Niche Site in 2022 — $4 524 in 30 Days

Recently, you can hardly find someone who hasn’t thought at least for a second about online business or passive income. Well, the concept of running a niche website is one of the most common and popular. In fact, to put the idea into practice is a bit more complicated than it seems at first thought and requires some research and knowledge. Niche sites rightfully get more attention: you can master a specific niche and become an expert. People will read your articles and trust your opinion. While websites without a specific focus and platforms that provide articles about everything and nothing in particular slide to nowhere.

Usually, people search for information, be it a cake recipe or a baby stroller, and they want to get professional advice or a detailed review. When you plan to bake chocolate cookies for your family, you don’t need a vague description of how delicious chocolate cookies are, or about the negative impact of sugar on the human body, what you need is a simple recipe of chocolate cookies with detailed step-by-step instructions. That is why niche websites gain more authority. You will trust a chocolate cookie recipe from a reputable food blog much more than a recipe published in a sports blog.  

Ok, you have decided to create a niche site. If you think just to register a domain name, install free WordPress, post a few simple texts, so you won’t get anything in terms of authority and income. To reap the harvest you have to invest (time & knowledge) first. As one of the successful marketers said, “Taking action is good, but taking action after properly researching and learning the method is way better.” Here we go, let’s dismantle the process of building a site and peek into income reports of several niche sites.


 Niche Website: Definition

As the name implies, a niche website is a website built around a specific niche (subject) and targeting a group of people interested in the subject. Most niche sites are built based on SEO techniques to get the highest possible ranking in search engines. The target is to get as much free traffic as possible.

There is one important issue to be clarified: a niche site doesn’t stand for a small website. Small websites can be called ‘micro-niche sites’. For example, a website about coffee is a niche site, but a website about just the best latte coffee recipes is a micro-niche website. The narrower the topic, the fewer options for content you will have, and the sooner you will run out of ideas. Actually, micro-niche sites also offer fewer options for monetizing the site (logically – fewer affiliate products, limited traffic).

So, when people think that 10-20 content pages are enough for a niche site, this is a misunderstanding. Yes, ‘niche’ stands for a small market segment or a product category. In other words, a niche website is focused on a small market segment, but it doesn’t mean that a website itself is small.

One of the most popular examples of a niche website is ESPN.com. There is no mistake because even Wikipedia defines ESPN as a niche website (targeted at niche market). For example, not necessarily your niche website should cover all sports in general (to be honest, it would be extremely complicated to get high ranks in Google), you may go with ‘Tennis on Clay’, but it doesn’t mean that your website cannot have hundreds or thousands of pages of content.

Some webmasters recommend searching for markets with low competition for keywords to get quickly to the first page of search results. From the basic frame later you can expand the platform and build the authority site using long-tail keywords.

One important thing to know from the very beginning is that building a niche website is a long-term project. Organic traffic doesn’t happen overnight, it grows over time. Accompanied with the right SEO techniques and monetization strategy, your income will begin growing. So, do not rush things.


How Much You Can Earn with Niche Websites

Actually, numbers vary significantly, from a few hundred dollars per month to six-digit numbers per year. But despite all differences, the general idea is still the same: you discover a profitable niche, use numerous keywords to get ranked in Google, and monetize your traffic via affiliate programs or your own product offers. Below you will find several examples of successful niche and micro-niche sites, as well as case studies with income reports from niche websites.

 

Spoiler: income of featured sites varies significantly from a couple of thousand dollars a month up to $80k+.  

Do not get deceived by the low starting costs: yes, building a niche website from scratch can be under $100, mainly for the domain name and hosting, but to keep investments under control, you’ll have to create high-quality content and work on SEO on your own.


Example of a Micro-Niche Website: BestRoofBox

As mentioned above, running a profitable micro-niche site might be a challenging task due to limited content ideas and, consequently, fewer options for monetization. It is a difficult task but not impossible. Give a look at Best Roof Box as a bright example of a successful micro-niche website.

BestRoofBox is a website focused on the roof box car market. This is a very narrow niche, isn’t it? They explain their niche choice: "We’re passionate about getting the most from your car when it comes to going on adventures and road trips. When you take one of these trips, you often need more room in your car. This is when we come in, to help you find the best roof box for your car and needs."

In terms of traffic, numbers speak for themselves. The site began generating traffic in April 2019, and in March 2020 the site was getting 1 278 visitors per month. 

The site has 567 backlinks. Naturally, the increase in the number of backlinks reflects traffic growth. But the most interesting fact is that some backlinks come from very credible sources, such as News12Connecticut.  

Obviously, BestRoofBox implements the right strategy towards building its authority in the niche. The site is monetized via the Amazon affiliate program. 

Besides in-depth articles covering all the spectrum of roof boxes and relevant topics, they use comparison charts and tables with a direct call-to-action and qualifiers (aka ‘markers’) (i.e., ‘Best Overall’ or ‘Best Wide Range’).  Well done and keep up the good work!


What Aspects to Consider While Selecting a Niche

Many bloggers and webmasters consider choosing a niche as a very challenging task. Usually, there are two polar situations, tons of ideas or lack of ideas. Available recommendations might make you even more confused because some gurus advise you to go with your passion (or hobby) and other experts urge on profitable trending niches. But common sense leads us towards the ‘golden mean’, which represents a combo of personal interests seasoned with trending products or activities. Go with a niche where people are purchasing things, whether products or services. Examples: Interested in cooking and fast food? Homemade healthy fast food recipes.  Interested in drawing? Anime sketches. Interested in architecture? Urban sustainable architecture. You should take into account the following aspects:

  • Trending and growing markets. You may create a list of your own interests and carry out research on trending subjects. Overlapping areas might serve as references for a potential niche. At this point, you can wonder why a niche should match your interests. Well, it’s quite simple. Considering a long-term project, you’ll need tons of articles. In case you are not interested in the field, you’ll get bored quickly or have to look for a writer (this means additional costs for a brand new website without an income source yet).

To see whether your niche idea is trending or not, just open Google trends and enter the topic. We tried it with "tennis gear":

Obviously, I’m not going with this niche and use the topic just to illustrate the example. The best result is when the topic is trending upward.  

Additionally, you can use social media (i.e. Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, etc.) and search for pages and communities around the topic. If you find many crowded and active communities this is a good sign.

  • Scalable business. Eventually, you can replicate the approach to other niches. Adding more content and implementing monetization strategies can expand your reach and significantly increase earnings.
  • Income potential. Indeed, niche websites have great potential in generating passive income. To maintain the income stream you should develop a monetization strategy and consider affiliate marketing, selling your own products and services, etc.
  • Use doppelgangers: ‘doppelgangers’ are quite new websites ranked on the first page of Google search. They are very useful to research and compare. Look for websites not older than one year with domain authority less than 25. Tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush might help with analyzing the traffic and keywords. If new websites are ranked high for long-tail keywords and generate decent organic traffic, it is a pretty good indication. This method allows you to discover other long-tail keywords that might be useful for your new niche website.

Top Sources for Niche Ideas

  • Quora. This platform is a fantastic tool to find niche ideas. Again, it’s pretty simple. Use a search bar and enter a general term you are interested in. We used "tennis". When you click on a topic, you will find a sidebar "Related". Some of the given ideas you can add to your list.

  • Amazon. Begin with non-branded general categories (like ‘Home, Garden & Tools’, ‘Home Decor’, or ‘Pet Supplies’) on Amazon and ignore various featured products. For example, when you open ‘Home Decor’, you’ll see the sub-menu:

You can add some of these to your list of ideas. Note that now you just create a list without evaluating every idea’s prospects. Then scroll some other categories on Amazon and open sub-menus for ideas.

  • ClickBank. The process is the same as with Amazon: open categories, then — sub-categories. Voila! Maybe, ClickBank isn’t really good for discovering micro-niches, but you can find some larger niche ideas.

  • Answer the Public. The platform helps you to reveal what people are asking Google about.  

I entered the same "tennis" in the search bar and got 390 results and a fantastic chart that might be helpful to find niche ideas.

  • Keywords Everywhere. You can use this plugin as follows: enter a general term and click a spacebar. You can tune your search by adding numbers, spaces, etc. You will receive a long list of potential niches.
Do you use Keywords Everywhere to find keywords?
0 votes

A Checklist to Determine a Good Niche

Make a catalog of niche ideas for your new project and evaluate every niche based on the list below:

  • How much are you interested in the long-term project within this segment (use a scale from 1 to 10).
  • Are you ready to produce more than 100 ideas for the content?
  • Is it easy to find long-tail keywords for the niche? Are there any keywords under KC30?
  • How many new (let’s call them "weak": less than one-year-old, under DA 25-30) websites within the same niche are there?  
  • What potential products can be created?
  • Is there any way for a new website to stand out?

To finalize, there are positive and negative signs while analyzing the top 10 ranks for the selected topic.

Let’s begin with negative signs:

  • The top 10 results are represented by homepages
  • The results are old — 2 or more years old
  • The results are websites with hundreds (or worse – thousands) of pages
  • One or more of the top 5 results represent a huge authority website  
  • The top 10 results have thousands of backlinks with a majority of them from authority sites

Positive signs:

  • The top 10 results are internal pages of websites
  • The top 10 results are not well-optimized for your main keywords
  • The top 10 results have fewer than 100 backlinks
  • The top 10 results are represented by one or more websites that are under 2 years old
  • Some websites from the top 10 results have less than 100 pages
  • The top 10 results include one or more niche sites.

There is competition in any niche, the objective in the beginning to select a niche with relatively low competition. Running a blog for fun and building a site for business are two different things. Think of any niche in business terms.  


How to Let Your Niche Site Stand Out

The key idea in this stage is to consider your website as a real business. Think over the vision and the target; determine ‘products’ and mission that will allow you to be different and not to vanish in the crowd of competitors. First of all, you need to decide on the principal goal of your website and determine the problems you are going to solve for readers and questions to answer. Maybe you have some original ideas and gimmicks to make your website stand out and attract visitors. There are several examples of webmasters’ creativity that worked pretty well.

The owner of Fit2fat2fit, Drew Manning has gained much weight to make his process of losing weight as a business. He indeed made his name through a detailed explanation of every step he took to get in shape. As of now, Drew is a well-known fitness and diet coach who made his name and stood out in the very competitive market.

Another great example of implementing a creative approach comes from Blendtec, a company that sells … Yes, blenders. These ordinary kitchen devices might sound boring, but the brand turned blenders into real fun with a series of entertaining videos "Will It Blend?"

With a notice "Don’t try this at home" they take various objects (including skis, iPhones, boned chicken and cola, hockey pucks, etc.) and see if the company's blenders can blend them. You wonder about the result, don’t you? Well, tons of links, sales, and mentions. The creative approach allowed the brand to be recognizable at once.

You just select the path that is closer to you whether it will be informative and fact-based, humorous, or helpful.


Keywords

As you probably know, keywords are words or short phrases that people use in a search engine. Webmasters and marketers use keywords in content creation to optimize websites for search engines. First of all, keyword optimization helps search engines determine what your website (or page) is about. Second, when you align your content with words and phrases that people use to search for information, you have better chances to show up in search results.

The role of keywords in search engine optimization can’t be overestimated. Keywords help with the following aspects:

  • Create valuable content for the target audience
  • Show Google that a website has a match for a query
  • Deliver content to the right people
  • Improve search rankings by communicating to Google the website content
  • Increase time on site by directing targeted traffic to the relevant webpages
  • Increase conversions being found before competitors

According to the research conducted in 2020, most title tags from the first page of Google contained keywords completely or partially matching the search query.  


Why Long-Tail Keywords Are Important

Why is targeting long-tail keywords better than "general" keywords?  See here. If you’ve decided on the sports niche, the principal term ‘sports’ has millions of searches per month. Probably, you won’t be capable of competing with such monsters as ESPN, BBC Sports, SkySports, and many other giants. At the same time, if you narrow the segment to "hiking" and go with "best hiking gear for winter" or "best hiking backpacks review" you may find your way to the high ranking.  

Do not get deceived by the low search volume because all your long-tail keywords might add up much more traffic than a single popular term.  Spencer Haws brings the following example: the keyword “ways to make money from your website” (the keyword his website NichePursuits is ranked for) gets only 10 searches per month, according to Google. That said, the article received 3 791 unique page views last month.  

Spencer explained how that is possible — keywords variations. He noticed that “for any given keyword phrase, people might type in their query slightly differently, even though they are looking for the exact same thing.

So, your article will end up ranking for many of these different keyword variations which add up to much more than 10 searches per month (for instance, ‘how to make money from a website’, ‘ways to make money from website’, ‘ways to make money from a website’, ‘how to earn money from the website’, ‘how to make money on your website’, etc.) Hence, do not dash out keywords with low search volumes.

The parameters to select the right keywords include high advertiser competition (commercial demand), relevance, search volume for some generalized keywords over 1 000, long-tail keywords with low competition in Google, new websites ranking (weak niche websites).


How to Find Long-Tail Keywords

For the beginning, you may start with a simple seed keyword. There are various tools to help you with long-tail keyword options, such as Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and LongTailPro. The suggested keywords you can target in your articles.

Usually, you’ll get the list as follows:

  • Best … (i.e. Best Niches to Make Money)
  • … Reviews (i.e. Best Money-Making Niches Reviews)
  • … vs …  (i.e. Affiliate Marketing vs Email Marketing)
  • Best … Brands (i.e. Best Hiking Backpacks Brands)
  • Where to Buy … (Where to Buy Best Hiking Backpacks)
  • … under $... (Hiking Backpacks under $50)

Next, you analyze thoroughly the first page of Google, where you’ll find your competitors. Another hack to get a nice pack of keywords is to look at question-based keywords. People use Google to search for answers to their questions in all niches. If you are capable of providing answers to those questions, you can choose question-like phrases as long-tail keywords. By the way, it is easier to get ranked for such keywords.


Choosing a Domain Name

As for a domain name, the times of using a precise keyword in a domain are gone. Consider something memorable and related to your future brand. While choosing a domain name, try to select a short and easy to spell name, preferably .com. It’s great if you can find a self-explanatory domain so that people understand what a site is about at once.

Always remember, there is no such a thing as a ‘perfect domain name’. Try some name generating tools, such as NameMesh, Domain Name Brain, or Dot-o-mator.  

Once you’ve selected the domain name, check whether the name is available through resources like Hover or NameCheap.


Choosing Web Hosting

Next, you need a good web host and a theme for your website. There are thousands of companies that offer hosting services; some of them charge less than $10 per month. In some way, hosting is like architecture for your website. Look for a reputable company with positive reviews from fellow webmasters.

As you’re at the very beginning of your web journey, don’t go with some expensive hosting providers. There are many reputable low-cost hosting providers. Some hosting companies allow easy and fast WordPress installation.

It is worth mentioning that WordPress is not the only CMS (Content Management System) for a new website. There are several CMS great options for a new website, such as Joomla, Drupal, Weebly, Wix, etc.

Since niche sites are mostly informative (we do not consider online shops in the direct meaning), WordPress might be the best option, particularly for beginners. Here is the list of features to consider while choosing web hosting (Note: Higher price doesn’t always mean better service):

  • Speed of the server
  • Available tools and applications on backend dashboard (some web hosting services offer automated WordPress installation)
  • PHP capability and uptime reliability
  • Data transfer limits
  • Qualified and responsive customer support service

Choosing a Theme

Now, if you want a great website, you will need a great theme. If hosting represents architecture, so the theme represents design. This is all about the first impression: new visitors are interested in your content, but a professional-looking website might help you turn new visitors into regular readers, followers, and potential customers. Give a look at ThemeForest, Astra, or GeneratePress, probably, you can find a superb theme there. Anyway, if you change your mind about the theme, you can always upgrade it later.

To look and sound serious you can’t skip a logo.  The logo should represent your brand, your vision, your business. You can use online tools like Canva or Crello to make your own design from scratch or based on provided templates.  Another option is to hire a professional designer. There are numerous freelance platforms where you can hire a designer or you can cooperate with one of the numerous design companies. Choose your brand color or a color scheme. Study your competitors and go with a different color scheme to set your brand apart. Colors are often associated with emotions, so you can select colors scientifically:


Building a Website

Now you have a niche, a domain, a brand, and web hosting. This is the time to install and set up your CMS. As WordPress is the most popular CMS, let’s see how to set up your new website based on WordPress. The process is not as difficult as it might sound.

CMS Optimization  

Click ‘Settings’ and then go to ‘General’. Here you can verify that your Site Address and chosen (preferred) WordPress Address are correct — the URL should be the same in both fields.

Next, go to the ‘Reading’ tab and ensure that Search Engine Visibility is unmarked.

Then you go to ‘Settings’ –> ‘Permalinks’ and in the list of Common Settings select ‘Post name’. This URL structure is most efficient for SEO. There are more complex URLs, but in most cases, the Post name variant works just fine.

Plugin Installation

To run your site smoothly you will need to install several important plugins. Definitely, you need an SEO plugin. There are two popular and trusted options: Yoast and All in One SEO Pack. The setup process is almost the same for both options. If you decide on ‘All in One SEO Pack’, find ‘All in One SEO Pack’ on the left side of the WordPress dashboard, choose ‘General Settings’.

In the list below ‘General Settings’ select ‘Canonical URLs’. 

Next, in the Home Page Settings, you need to fill in the ‘Home Title’ and ‘Home Description’. Here you provide a short description of your site.

Then you go to the ‘NoIndex Settings’. It is important to verify that Pages and Posts are unmarked. Some webmasters (including Nathan Gotch from GotchSEO) recommend keeping marked and NoIndexed the following: date archives, categories, author archives, search pages, tag archives, 404 pages, and paginated posts. This prevents duplicating content-related issues.

Next, you need to install a Really Simple SSL plugin. This plugin helps to secure all pages of your website. Install it, click on ‘Settings’, scroll down the list, and choose ‘SSL’. Make sure that four checkpoints are marked.

Next, you might need the Schema plugin that significantly simplifies structured markup for your pages. You will find it particularly useful for product reviews.

If you consider monetizing your site through affiliate programs, you will need the Pretty Links plugin. In most cases, affiliate links are bulky, Pretty Links helps to keep links short and organized and tracks click data. The plugin is easy-to-use: to create affiliate links via Pretty Links you need to click on ‘Add New Link’ under the tab ‘Pretty Links’. Then you copy-paste the affiliate URL in the field ‘Target URL’ and select the way how the link should look.

One more plugin that you might find useful is Open Graph. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, use Open Graph to display posts. Open Graph ensures that shared posts will look correctly. The plugin doesn’t need any setup.

You will also need the Contact Form 7 plugin. With this plugin, you can create free contact forms on a website. You can easily create the first contact form by clicking ‘Add New’ under the tab ‘Contact’.

It’s most likely that you will add more plugins in the future, but these few plugins ensure the proper functionality of your new site in the very beginning.

Google Analytics

Finally, you should create a Google Analytics Account. This is free. Once you’ve created an account, Google provides you with a special analytics tracking code. Do not worry, you can find it here: ‘Admin’ –> ‘Tracking Info’ –> ‘Tracking Code’.  Now you need to place the tracking code on the website. Copy and paste your UA number into ‘All in One SEO Pack’.

There are other variants on how you can place the tracking code on the website but they are a bit more complicated, so let’s skip them for now.


Content strategy

Content is the most powerful and important aspect of any niche site. People click on links searching for answers to their questions. If they see high-quality materials they will continue reading you. If they see useless blah-blah, well, you know… This is content that makes a website average (or call it undistinguished) or great. To gain authority, your content strategy should be well-thought-out.    

The key aspects of great content

  • Keyword-based. You can use the targeted keyword in a title and use it 2-5 times in the text; moreover, related long-tail keywords can be used in subtitles.  
  • Well-written with no mistakes. Try Grammarly or Hemingway Editor to clean up your articles.
  • Structured (paragraphs, numbering, and bullet points).
  • Valuable. Never sacrifice value and quality to scheduling or quantity. To be valuable your articles should be unique — you may share a personal experience or invite a guest writer with expertise and authority in the field. The principle stays the same — the text should provide knowledge and value to readers who want to learn from experts.

Tip: if you don’t have expertise in the specific field you may bring experts to your readers, invite professionals to make guest posts, or interview experts and gurus. This way you deliver authority.

  • Visually appealing (photo and video materials, data charts, etc.)
  • Containing internal and external links to related materials and data sources.

Prepare around 20-25 articles, create a schedule for website updates (let’s say, 3 articles a week or 5 per month), and follow it. You determine the size and scale of your website (30 posts or 30 000 articles). Actually, the best content strategies demonstrated that the approximate ratio of 1 long-read article (aka ‘pillar’) to 10 shorter articles is the best.  Pillars are considered more valuable and shareable, so they clearly deserve to exert more effort into link building.

You can do all the content work yourself or, if you plan to run several websites, you can hire a freelance writer on Upwork. If you decide on outsource writing, check your portfolio carefully and make a short-term trial to verify mistake-free language and writing skills. You can send some examples of articles to clarify the required structure of the content. To avoid any misunderstanding, provide detailed instructions on how you see articles, including volume, paragraphs, bulleted lists, images and charts, keywords to be used. As experience shows, 1 500+ words are required for a piece of content to be ranked well in Google.

As for eye-catching images, you can use original photos, non-copyright images, or custom-designed images. If your budget doesn’t allow hiring a graphic designer, try Canva — an easy-to-use free tool to create unique images in a few minutes.

Try to use several categories to organize and structure your content. You may begin with 3-5 categories and stick to them. It’s recommended to make internal linking between articles of the same category. Linking to articles from other categories is possible if they are relevant.

Every time you prepare a new article, follow the checklist below to get a high ranking:

  • Similar topic and information as in the top 10 results but delivering more details
  • Updated stats and news on the discussed subject
  • Origin of the topic and its practical implementation
  • Experts involved in the industry
  • New data from your own experience and/or research
  • Useful products and services relevant to the topic
  • Step-by-step guides and instructions
  • Connect with readers through sharing emotions, using niche-related words, easy-to-read text structure, and humor to keep readers’ attention.

Titles Are Important

The right title might lead to more clicks and shares. As mentioned above, it’s recommended to include a keyword in a title (for better ranking). At the same time, your headline should be brief and easy to read, it should provide a clear idea of what your article is about. In other words, your title should seduce potential readers. You can try one very interesting tool, Coschedule Headline Analyzer, to get a score for your titles and see recommendations to improve them.


Link Building

The link building topic brought tons of discussions in webmasters’ community: some consider it as a crucial aspect of website’s success, while others bring examples of pretty successful sites whose owners have never been concerned about link building. Actually, the truth lies somewhere in the middle (and Spencer Haws is on my side in this case). Spoiler: the most important and valuable links will appear naturally.

Link building is important but not a crucial activity for your website. Proper keyword research and high-quality content represent the most important aspect and activity. Undoubtedly, you can speed up the link-building process but if you do all steps in building a website right, links will come with no extra effort applied. As you’ve probably heard, Google ranks higher websites with high-quality links. As you see from infographics provided by FirstPageSage, backlinks represent only 16% in the rank estimation, while consistent publication of engaging content occupies more than a quarter (26%) of the total.  

Important: Due to continuously changing Google algorithms, aggressive link building might lead to a lowering of ranking in Google if your strategy is considered grey-hat (or even worse – black-hat). When you build relationships and community naturally, you’ll notice an increase in the number of links to your resource. Do not hurry things up, focus on the quality and value of your website.

How you can get links:

  • Contact relevant and authority websites and ask them to link to you.
  • Ask your contacts (people you know) for links
  • Guest posts
  • Look at resources that link to your competitors and ask them for a link.
  • Infographics
  • Various competitions and contests
  • Build long-term relationships within the community to get the most valuable links naturally.

Once you have published an article, get back to Ahrefs and check how many backlinks are required to get ranked in the top 10 for the specific keyword.

Definitely, you are wondering now how long it will take to get ranked in Google. Ahrefs conducted thorough research and shared the results in the blog. According to the study, less than 6% of pages reach the first page of Google in the first year. However, some webmasters succeed to rank their websites on the first page of Google within 3-4 months.


Traffic Sources and Promotion

Now that you’ve built a fantastic website around a trending topic and filled it with awesome content, you need people to discover the site:  the more people, the better. There are several ways to get traffic and the best part is that these traffic sources can be combined.  

  • SEO. The great news to beginners is that you don’t have to be an SEO expert to build a niche site and implement SEO. But to get organic traffic to your website you need to understand how SEO works. SEO traffic is the best because it’s free. Organic traffic works even when you sleep. All your investments into making your website visible and ranked are paid off because it doesn’t stop. With proper keyword research, search engines will send you traffic round the clock. This is what sets organic traffic apart from paid campaigns. When your paid advertising campaign stops, the traffic disappears. Search traffic will work for you 24/7. But it doesn’t come right away from the first day.
  • Social media marketing. This is one of the most powerful traffic sources. You can generate traffic from Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and other social media platforms. Naturally, social media marketing is time-consuming and if you are not yet ready to hire a professional to take responsibility for social media, you’d better focus on a couple of social media platforms that suit your niche the best. Some niches work just fine with YouTube, some match Pinterest or Instagram more. Indeed, it’s up to you what channels to choose to generate additional traffic to your website.
  • Communities. These can be social media communities, Reddit, Quora, and various relevant forums. The idea is not to spam communities with links and aggressive promotion of your new resource. Play smarter: be informative. If you are an active member (or do your best to become an active member) you may share some information from your content. If you communicate, ask and answer questions, and comment on particular topics, your recommendation might be appreciated.
  • Build and expand your email list. Ok, this is not exactly a traffic source. Your email database is a great tool for further monetization and promotion. If you give a look at the most successful sites within your niche you might notice that all of them build email lists. An email list can help you to get feedback and get more ideas for content, try out your monetization tools, and even sell products. You can place a sign-up form somewhere in the right sidebar, or make a pop-up window. Do not overload your site with invitations to subscribe as it may lead to the opposite result. A good idea is to offer something valuable in exchange for a subscription, for example, an e-book with your best articles.
  • Guest blogging. This is a great strategy to promote your website and get links. You can invite other bloggers (webmasters) to post an article on your website (sure, the topic should be relevant and provide value to your readers) and you can contact other websites to write an article for them. When you act as a guest writer, in exchange for a free article you get a few links to your website, a new audience, and additional traffic. Additionally, you lay the foundation for potential future partnerships and relationships within the community.

 How to Monetize a Niche Website

Oh, come on, this is the aspect why we are all into online business. Profit. We’ve discussed above how to build a website with great content and how to get ranked in Google. Now we will discuss how to make your niche website profitable.  Ok, there are several ways to monetize your website.

  • Google AdSense (or Mediavine, or AdThrive). There are several ways you can get ads on your website. Google AdSense is probably the most well-known and popular. Mediavine is in direct competition with AdSense, and many webmasters prefer Mediavine because of higher payments. Unfortunately for beginners, Mediavine has recently set minimum requirements to websites — 50 000 sessions in the previous 30 days (before the minimum requirement was 25 000 sessions). Ezoic requires around 10 000 sessions per month, and AdThrive needs 100 000 page views per month. However, the RPM for Mediavine, Ezoic, and AdThrive are 2-6 times more than Google AdSense.

 So, at the very beginning, Google AdSense might sound better.  

  • Affiliate marketing. This is one of the best methods of earning passive income. Affiliate marketing involves three parties: an advertiser, a potential customer, and a publisher. As a website owner, you act as a publisher or a mediator between an advertiser and a potential customer. Using various available marketing tools and instruments you can introduce specific services and products to your readers. If your readers purchase the advertised product, you are paid a commission. Whatever niche you choose, there are always products or services you can promote to get your commissions. One of the most popular affiliate programs is Amazon Associates.

Below you will find several case studies with income reports from niche sites that raise revenue mainly from affiliate programs.

One of the best examples of monetizing a niche site via affiliate marketing is OutdoorGearLab. Amazon affiliate program is good but not always it offers the best commission and the cookies policy is restricted by 24 hours. There are other affiliate in-house programs and affiliate networks to choose from, such as CJ Affiliate, ShareASale, Rakuten, etc. OutdoorGearLab is a great example of using different affiliate programs to earn income. Let’s analyze the website with Ahrefs and reveal the details.

As you see on the screenshot above, the organic traffic is 691k and the traffic value is $473k. When people search for the ‘best hiking boots’, OutdoorGearLab will be listed #2.  

Another impressive feature is 120k backlinks. The website has many reviews and comparison tables with affiliate links to purchase products. I would call it a smart-content approach.  

  • YouTube. In addition to the website, you can open a YouTube channel. Whatever niche you choose, video materials might enhance your impact. If you feel fine in front of a camera, you may record a video course sharing your experience and make video reviews of products related to your niche. First of all, YouTube is a great source of traffic. Second, you can monetize your YouTube channel via AdSense and affiliate marketing. However, you need to generate enough views to get the income stream.
  • Coaching and online courses. According to Forbes, the e-learning industry will grow to almost $325 billion. Whatever your specialization is, you can share your expertise with other people via online courses. The more authority you gain in your field the higher the demand will be. You can consider online courses in the form of webinars or individual coaching.
  • Selling your own products and services. You can sell physical products (like handmade soap and candles) or virtual products (tutorials, e-books, software).
  • Sponsorship. You can earn decent money on sponsored posts. Having built authority in the field, some companies or brands might offer partnership: you write a post or review a product for a certain amount of money. Important: Always keep in mind the interests of your readers. Stay transparent and honest about products. Sponsored posts work well when you like the product (or service) you advertise. Long-term relationships with your audience are more valuable than a trifle from a sponsor.
  • Selling ad space on your site. This monetization method can be considered when you’ll get more traffic. It will take more time to find advertisers than using AdSense, but the potential revenue is much higher. There are platforms like BuySellAds that provide advertising solutions for both advertisers and marketers. They act as an intermediary between you and potential advertisers.
  • Warning: do not be too greedy as multiple ads disrupt users’ experience. Additionally, people have developed ‘ad blindness’, which is also known as advertising resistance. So you can use limited space for ads as they might top up your account and help to cover initial costs. For example, with 1 000 page views a day and $0.50 per click with a CTR of 0.25% you can get $125 per day or $3 750 per month.  

Do not rush with monetizing your site. In the beginning, you can try a combination of AdSense and affiliate marketing. Once you get a reputation and build an email list, you can consider selling your own products. Testing is the key to success. You test various methods and master them. Then you decide on what method works best for your site.


Analysis of a Successful Niche Site — Roasty Coffee

Roasty Coffee is a very stylish and dedicated niche site for coffee lovers. You can hardly find a person who doesn’t like coffee. The website provides tons of information on coffee machines and the coffee brewing process. There are many reviews of coffee makers, recommendations, and recipes. This is what Ahrefs picks up about the website: 

As you see from the screenshot above, Toasty Coffee has 324k of organic traffic and a traffic value of $412k. Solid numbers for a niche site.

Next, let’s analyze the content for high volume keywords:

If people use Google to search for the ‘best coffee machine’, the site will occupy the 4th line, and for ‘macchiato’ it is ranked #3.

Next, with almost 3 000 backlinks, some of which are from authority websites, such as Wirecutter, Roasty Coffee has a very strong position.

Most comparison tables and reviews include brief information, images, and a call-to-action button that will take you to Amazon.

In fact, they do ads (via affiliate links) so naturally that you do not think of them as ads but more of friendly recommendations.


Ideas for Niche Websites in 2022

Do not mix up niche ideas with industries. When you think about niches, you are likely to consider travel, video games, food, etc.  These are industries. To stand out and gain authority, you need to select a narrower path.  

  • Sports and e-sports: billiards, paintball hacks, tennis equipment, archery, airsoft, and so on.
  • Hobbies and passions: magic tricks, model cars, constructor sets (LEGO),
  • Outdoor activities. Once a global pandemic has hit the world, outdoor activities are on the rise. People prefer spending time out of crowded cities. By the way, outdoor activities are quite expensive and provide numerous possibilities for monetization through affiliate marketing. Ideas for a niche website: hiking, survival, fishing, hunting, mountain climbing, camping, etc.
  • Indoors activities: design and furniture, kitchen design, etc.
  • Health and Fitness. Obviously, this is a trending but very challenging niche. Health and fitness-focused websites are rather difficult to rank high due to extremely high competition in this market. Google has recently updated its algorithms to make sure that only websites with high-quality useful content get high ranks, not shadow bloggers who run for a quick buck with a couple of affiliate links. Get more specific and show your expertise and authority in the chosen topic. Ideas for Health and Fitness niche websites:  workouts from home (+equipment), CrossFit, paleo, keto diet, yoga, etc.
  • Software reviews. You may begin with software for smartphones (Android or iOS) or PC and expand later. The key to success — honest reviews based on the first-hand experience.
  • Household: DIY house repair, household tool reviews (saws, lawnmowers, etc.)
  • Food and Drinks. People won’t stop eating and drinking. This is an evergreen niche with plenty of opportunities to monetize. Affiliate marketing works just fine for food and drinks: video reviews (hands-on experience) of various devices like coffee machines, food processors, knives; comparison reviews of products and devices. Ideas for niche sites: barbecue, cocktails, coffee, desserts, etc.

Note: don’t forget about YouTube. YouTube is the second largest search engine with a huge audience. Create a dedicated YouTube channel for your niche site and monetize it.  

  • Work from home niche. Last year changed a lot in our lifestyle, including remote work. Here we go, there are new possibilities to use affiliate programs and earn some money: wireless and noise-cancelling headphones, lamps, keyboards, screens, messaging apps, video conferencing software, etc. As many companies have announced, they will continue work-from-home practice at least part-time. That’s why a niche website around this topic might do well.
  • Arts & Crafts. This category opens up limitless opportunities with lots of products and topics. Additionally, sub-niches are YouTube and social media-friendly. Options: beading and jewelry making; knitting; cross-stitching; scrapbooking; craft storage; sewing.
  • Beauty. You may consider here all kinds of hair care for both men (beard and mustache) and women; nail care; make-up. But remember that this niche is extremely competitive. Micro-niche might be a better option.
  • Technologies. Innovative technologies rule the market, so you may also like such niches as 3D printing.
  • Family & Kids. Think about baby gear, wedding decors, etc.
  • Pets. This category offers tons of niche ideas, including home aquariums (reef keeping, freshwater aquariums, reptiles), giant dog care, pet supplies, etc.
  • Education. Undergraduate programs, e-learning, language courses, MBA, etc.

Several More Examples of Successful Niche Websites

Actually, it was a challenging task to bring examples of successful sites. No, not because there are so few good ones; quite opposite - there are many indeed professional and noteworthy blogs and websites, so it wasn’t easy to select just a few.

  • GearLab — one of the best platforms with reviews of outdoor gear.
  • Niche Pursuits — Spencer Haws is an expert in niche websites.
  • Car Bibles — a niche site dedicated to automobiles and driving.
  • NomadicMatt — a travel blog about smarter, cheaper, and longer trips
  • CleverHiker — a great site for outdoor adventures.
  • TryFI — a micro-niche site about smart collars for dogs.
  • Learn How to Become — an education website that targets prospective students.

Great in-depth articles about career prospects and various educational institutions around the globe. Thanks to cooperation with numerous institutions the number of backlinks is impressive. By the way, affiliate programs in this niche are often lucrative.


Useful Resources and Tools

Again, below you see only a few of many available resources and tools that might be useful. However, you may discover other apps, plugins, resources, and blogs.  

  • One of the most recognizable bloggers that helped many marketers to establish their niche sites is Pat Flynn. Pat’s blog Smart Passive Income provides many tutorials, articles, interviews, and podcasts that might help you with building your first niche site.
  • Spencer Haws from Niche Pursuits shares his secrets about building profitable niche websites in his blog. By the way, in case you don’t know, Spencer has created a keyword research tool LongTail Pro.

Hats off to those bloggers who succeeded with their projects and helped others to build an online business based on tested strategies and techniques that really work. Transparency is the best instrument to build more trust and attract more visitors and potential customers.

Tools and Instruments to Simplify and Fasten the Process of Building a Niche Site:

  • LongTailPro: makes keyword research much easier and faster
  • SEMRush: helps with additional keyword research and competitor analysis
  • Astra and GeneratePress: selection of WordPress themes
  • ConvertKit: an email auto-responder for managing your email list.
  • OptinMonster and ThriveLeads: a simple tool to capture email leads.
  • How to Do Keyword Research for SEO by Ahrefs.

Top Statistics to Keep in Mind Running an Online Business in 2022

According to the recent Local Customer Review Survey 2020:

  • Over $5 000 a month most businesses spend on SEO 
  • Almost 1 in 3 of mobile searches  are related to location 
  • 93% of consumers used the Internet to find a local business 
  • 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses 

  • 73% of consumers pay attention only to reviews written in the last month
  • 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine
  • 0.78% of Google searchers click on results from the 2nd page 
  • SEO drives 1000%+ more traffic than organic social media 
  • 69.7% of search queries contain four words or more. 

And some more data from recent Ahref's research:

  • The average cost of buying a link is $361.44
  • The average cost of publishing a paid guest post is $77.80
  • 70.87% of keywords with more than 10 000 monthly searches consist of only one or two words
  • Around 8% of search queries are phrased as questions.

Additionally, some more important SEO statistics for 2021 (BackLinko):

  • The #1 result in Google gets approximately 32% of all clicks
  • Almost 60% of the pages ranking in the top 10 Google results are 3 or more years old 
  • Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, said links, content, and RankBrain as the top 3 factors for Google’s search results
  • On average, long content receives 77.2% more backlinks than short articles
  • The #1 ranking page in the search results gets an additional 5%-14.5% more dofollow backlinks from new websites each month
  • 50% of search queries contain 4 or more words 
  • Over 29% of keywords with over 10K+ monthly searches consist of 3+ words 
  • 21% of searchers click on more than 1 search result.

Case Study 1: Niche Website that Makes $2 985 a Month

Spencer Haws revealed in his blog that he quit his job in 2011 because his ‘niche websites were making over $10 000 a month’. Later, he said that the website that was making $2 985 a month was sold together with the associated Amazon FBA business for $425 000. Additionally, one of Spencer’s recent niche websites reached more than $5 000 a month and Spencer expects ‘that it will continue to grow over the coming years’.  

As you see, Spencer makes over $10 000 a month from niche websites (excluding his NichePursuits blog).

The strategy includes the following steps:

  • Niche ideas selection. You need a profitable niche idea. Brainstorm for some niche topics you’re interested in. No need to stick to topics you’re passionate about, a slight interest is enough to stay inspired and engaged. Additionally, you’d better go with a topic that allows creating not less than 100 posts.
  • Keywords research. Try LongTailPro (which Spencer created) – Spencer’s tool that makes keyword research much easier and faster. SEMRush.com is one more useful instrument for additional keyword research and competitor analysis. Go with long-tail keywords (at least 4 words) containing ‘best’, ‘how to’, ‘reviews’, ‘vs’, etc.
  • Hosting arrangements and theme selection. A good domain name might be very helpful. Look for domain options that contain some keywords and are memorable.  
  • Content strategy. You need to answer some questions to develop the general strategy for your content. Think about how your website will stand out in the market and what problems you’ll help to solve. To make a niche site successful, you need high-quality content seasoned with long-tail keywords. You need content that both visitors and search engines will like and appreciate. The key to success is to solve problems and answer the requests of potential visitors. As a rule, detailed reviews, comparisons, and ‘how to’ articles are very effective. The optimal solution is a combination of long-reads and short articles (dedicated to answers to specific questions). Add here low-competition long-tail keywords, and — voila!
  • Monetization. Spencer noted that he uses various monetization strategies for his websites. With one of his websites, OwnTheYard, Spencer earns from the Amazon affiliate program and the display ads. Through his other sites, he sells (actually, very successfully) his e-books and guides.  
  • Link building. While other webmasters are struggling to get as many links as possible, Spencer confirms that backlinks are important but believes that most links should come naturally.
  • Developing social media strategy. Social media marketing and your choice of a social media platform may depend on your niche. Obviously, social media traffic plays an important role. Spencer recommends selecting a single platform and focusing on it.  

Spencer’s conclusion is that the potential of generating good income with niche websites is 100%.


Case Study 2. Matt Taylor Shared His Income Report

Matt Taylor from In the Kitchen with Matt is a passionate cook. As he explains, cooking has always been his hobby. Matt confessed that he "really didn’t know anything about blogging". Moreover, he didn’t have an idea of how to build a website and promote it. So, as you read how to build a niche site, Matt made exactly the same around a couple of years ago — he spent hours researching and learning.

He decided in favor of WordPress, watched tons of videos, and "did a lot of research on different web hosting providers". Matt settled with Siteground. At the very beginning of the journey, he was just wondering how bloggers make money from their websites and where he will be at the end of the first year.  

The good thing in Matt’s case — he had a well-established YouTube channel, so he had traffic from the first day of his website’s existence. In the first month, Matt received 8 265 page views and 4 468 sessions; yes, 95% of traffic was coming from YouTube.

As his blog posts weren’t ranked and there was no organic traffic, Matt started off with Google AdSense. Later, in April he reached the required number of sessions to sign up with Mediavine.

Matt noted in his blog income report that in May 2020 his "YouTube channel exploded because so many people were at home cooking." Covid-19 lockdowns helped Matt get many more page views and sessions.

In September 2020, Matt was happy to hit almost $3 000 for that month.

For his first year blogging, Matt made $12 185.26. He doesn’t include revenue from his YouTube channel in this report. He also mentioned that he worked really hard through the year: 270 posts on the website, some of which reached the top three on Google Search.  

As for the expenses, Matt spent $692.04, including the most expensive plan for SiteGround.

As of now, only 35% of traffic is from YouTube, 15% — from Pinterest, and 50% — organic traffic.

The only regret for Matt Taylor is that he didn’t start his blog earlier. He said, "I wish I would have started it right when he started his cooking channel."


Case Study 3: How I made $3 000 Blogging in January 2020

Iva Ursano from Women Blazing Trails chose the self-improvement and motivation niche and became a well-known blogger who supports and inspires people all over the globe. Targeting mainly women, she created a niche site "for the woman who is tired of living a mediocre life and ready to embrace change and step way out of her comfort zone…"

Iva is the owner of another blog Amazing Me Movement and the author of the Self Help e-book series, From Hell to Happiness e-book, and 21 Day Challenge Workbook. As she noted, her goal was to hit $3 000 a month by the end of 2019. She reached her goal and even surpassed it.

The best thing I like about Iva, she indeed inspires her readers and fellow bloggers: "We don’t start out making thousands of dollars a month with our blogs. It takes time, lots of time, and perseverance. Lots of that too. So while I’m not making a bazillion dollars with my blog I am making enough to live off…"  

Note: The image below shows Iva’s income in Canadian Dollars.

Iva started with 3 figures a month and step-by-step worked her way up to $3 000 a month (for her blog Amazing Me Movement).

Iva noted that she has 8 streams of income for her blog. Her report looks as follows:

Ezoic Ad Earnings: $2 210 (including $30 which Iva received as an affiliate). Iva mentioned that she started out with Google AdSense, but when her traffic increased to 10 000, she applied to Ezoic. As of now, her site gets more than 100k+ visitors a month, so she was validated to apply for AdThrive. So she did and got accepted. Unfortunately, she didn’t post her impressions, so hopefully, we will see the results in her next blog income report.

Google AdSense earnings: $60

Ko–Fi: $139.

Medium: $71. If you are unfamiliar with Medium, you might consider this digital magazine. Medium allows you to write and get paid. Membership costs $5. Iva mentioned that she makes from $50 to $300 a month, "depending on how often she writes and how well her articles do."

E-books: $242

And another e-book:

Facebook Instant Articles: $123. Iva signed up for Instant Articles way back when it was possible to make decent money from it. In her first few months with Instant Articles, Iva was making up to $800 a month.

Sponsored Post: $150.

Amazon affiliates: $5. "Yup, a whopping $5… Pretty pathetic huh?" — some of Iva's comments about her affiliate achievements are hilarious.  

As you see, the total revenue is $3 000, which Iva finds "pretty decent" and intends to move forward, expanding monetization tools for her blog.


Case Study 4: How I Made $13 242.05 (CAD) in Q1 of 2021 from Dylan Houlihan

Dylan Houlihan from SwiftSalary shared the income report for the first quarter of 2021. Dylan has chosen a financial niche to work with, and it is fair to say, he runs his site successfully.

Dylan received $13 242.05 (CAD) in Q1 of 2021; the income by months:

  • January: $4 611.64 (CAD)
  • February: $3 179.53 (CAD)
  • March: $5 450.88 (CAD) = $4 524 (USD)

The screenshot below shows the breakdown of revenue by sources of income (mainly affiliate marketing and advertising revenue).  

Besides income breakdown, Dylan also shows his expenses for the website for the same period:

Total Net Profit: $10 884.67 (CAD).

As for traffic breakdown, Dylan shows 216 697 page views:

Actually, 2021 is the fourth year for Dylan’s Swift Salary. At the end of 2020, Dylan posted a year income report for 2020 (the third year of running Swift Salary) — his revenue was $40 600 (CAD). What I like about Dylan, he is transparent about his attempts to expand his site and increase revenue; he shares not only successful tactics but fails as well. Dylan proves once again that building a profitable niche site is possible.


 Case study 5: Blog Income Report for November 2020 – How I Made $83 737 from Adam Enfroy

Well, this is a heavy weapon. To some extent, I hate reading Adam’s income reports. I guess you understand. Or, instead, I get over-motivated by his income reports. In any event, his website represents one of the best examples of a successful online business. Yep, he does things right.

Adam Enfroy doesn’t need a special introduction as some of his articles have gone viral in the marketing community. Besides, he makes guest posts on some well-known platforms; therefore, probably you’ve heard about him or read some of his articles.

Publishing his income reports Adam intends to prove that "making money with a blog is still possible, even in 2021 and beyond." Since Adam’s blog inception in January 2019, he has made more than $935k. As of now, we discuss today his November 2020 income report, and Adam is very likely to hit $1 million. No kidding, $1 million within two years of launch.  

Adam stated that he makes money mainly from ad revenue and affiliate marketing. Here are the details about income and traffic.

The traffic in November was 505 621 sessions (decreased slightly from October traffic — 524 808 sessions). Blog income in November 2020: $83 737.

Affiliate programs earnings: $59 859 from 58 different affiliate programs. For comparison, in November 2019 affiliate earnings were $16 926. Adam Enfroy confirms that affiliate marketing is his favorite method of website monetization. He has elaborated an awesome strategy to work with affiliate programs. Interestingly,

Adam conducts thorough keyword research and publishes "articles based on monetizable affiliate post types in his niche." Usually, articles are in the form of reviews and comparisons (as we’ve discussed above). He doesn’t add affiliate links to his posts at once but uses links to homepages of companies that have affiliate programs.

This approach saves time from joining affiliate programs that might be not working well. Adam adds affiliate links to the article "only if and when the post starts ranking on at least the second page of Google." Again, this is about traffic. Affiliate links mean nothing in terms of income if they don’t get clicks and sales. In fact, I like it this way.

Advertising revenue: $14 557. Adam joined the Mediavine ad network in July 2020. With $28.79 RPM (revenue per 1 000 sessions), he got additional $485 per day.

Digital Product Sales: $1 221.

SEO Consulting for 3 B2B Clients: $8 100.

Expenses in November 2020: $14 734.

Adam noted in his income report that in November 2020 he spent much more than he usually does. He had some extra expenses for hiring a course creation expert for his new course. Expenses also include a full year of web hosting ($4 400) and $1 050 for a new content architecture.

Finally, monthly profit in November 2020: $69 003.

A piece of advice from Adam Enfroy: “All that you can do is launch your blog, develop your content strategy, and build authority to turn your blog into a monetizable asset.”

Well, I can’t help but agree with Adam.  

Will you buy Adam Enfroy’s tutorials after reading his income reports?
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Conclusion

Building niche websites can completely change your life – probably, you’ll be able to quit your office work to enjoy freedom. Don’t get me wrong, freedom doesn’t mean you do nothing at all. Freedom means you work anywhere you like at any time you like. What you need is just your laptop and the Internet.

As of now, the demand for content websites is huge. People prefer buying niche websites with stable traffic and income. So, if you master building niche websites and monetizing them, you can keep them as long-term income or sell them. Remember to take your niche site as a business where you need to find the balance between keywords, traffic, and affiliate programs. You need detailed research, time, and persistence – these are essential components of a successful site.

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