Building a niche website from scratch has become a proven way to make a decent income, provided you’re willing to put in the time and effort to make it worth your while. Plenty of people all over the internet have been able to grow their niche websites into a passive income that gives them money every month with very little effort.
This may sound too good to be true, but in fact, this is an achievable reality. That being said, a niche site is not a get-rich-quick scheme, and it will take time and effort to set up. Once that’s done, though, the income becomes relatively passive.
So what exactly is a niche site, and how much money can you earn by creating one? Those are the questions that we will attempt to answer in this article, along with the basic steps towards tackling the task of creating a niche site.
Definition of a Niche Site
A niche site is described as a blog that “may appeal to geographic areas, a specialty industry, ethnic or age groups, or any other particular group of people.”
So what does that mean?
Basically, it means that a niche site is a blog that you create with a specific topic and purpose that is meant to appeal to a certain group of people. These people are usually connected by something they have in common, whether it be their location, their age, their interests, or any combination of those or other factors.
Why is this becoming such a popular marketing tool? Because it generates organic leads. Instead of pushing products or services on readers, these kinds of blogs have the goal of brand awareness. They develop a common question or topic, and highlight products and services that appeal to their readership.
The job of a niche blog writer is to produce content that is helpful to their target audience. This means providing information, resources, and recommendations for their niche topic. Then, using advertisements or affiliate links, niche blogs earn revenue from vendors in their area of focus.
Finding your specific niche is an essential part of creating a niche website. Why is it so important, and how specific do you have to be?
Why is it So Important to Have a Niche?
Let’s imagine that you’ve chosen to focus on photography in your blog. This is an extremely popular topic for searches, which may sound good at first.
However, since this is so popular, there are many different websites that discuss photography. Thus, when that keyword is searched, your niche site is unlikely to be found in the sea of results that pop up, due to the fact that there are tons of other authority websites out there.
So, how can you avoid all of this competition? Remove the competition you find in a broad market by narrowing down your niche.
Let’s go back to our example. Each new keyword that you add to your original keyword (in the example, photography) means you’re targeting a narrowing audience. For example, you could narrow your niche down to outdoor photography, or portrait photography. Then, narrow it down again by adding more keywords; for example, outdoor urban digital photography, or senior portrait photography with DSLR camera.
Each time you add a new keyword, you’re narrowing your niche. Each time you narrow your niche, you cut out the competition of a broad market and make it easier to find your website in a search engine query.
Appeal to and Draw in Your Targets
By narrowing down to a specific niche, you’re putting focus on a smaller, more valuable target audience. That target audience is your key to success in a niche site.
We’ve already said that by narrowing down your niche, you’re easier to find in search engines queries. Another factor that this involves is the people behind those queries.
Taking our example above, let’s say someone searches for senior portrait photography with DSLR camera and finds your niche-specific website. They will be more likely to spend time on your site, click on ads or links that you’ve placed, and ultimately earn you more money!
These specific searchers are your golden target audience, and narrowing your focus will draw them in to your site.
Choosing Your Niche
So how do you choose what to write about? Let’s consider three factors that are equally important in your decision-making process.
Be Inspired by Your Passion
If I ask you to list five things that you are passionate about, what would you list?
You can pause here and make that list if you’d like.
Now, let’s imagine you choose a niche topic out of that list. Can you picture yourself spending hours reading about, researching and writing about this topic? How long would it take for you to start banging your head against the wall (or at least to get fairly bored)? Or, are you passionate enough to really enjoy writing a blog about this subject? Can you stay up to date with information related to this niche?
These are all essential questions that you need to think about and consider. That’s why I used the word passion in this heading: because if you’re not really passionate about a subject, there’s no way you’ll be able to endure writing a niche site about it. Obviously, if you’re getting bored with your subject, it will come through in your writing as well.
So a good place to start is finding the topics that you already know you enjoy reading about or doing research on. If you already have a good amount of knowledge about a certain subject, or are very willing to learn, then add that topic to your list.
Too Much Competition, or Too Little?
To narrow down your above list of topics that interest you, it’s time to do a bit of keyword research.
Are people actually looking for the keywords of your focus niche? If this topic is commonly searched, how much competition will you have? Finding the balance between these two points is key to success in your niche.
Your blog will not become popular if there is too much competition in that topic. However, if you choose an obscure topic that no one searches, then your niche blog is just as likely to fail. Instead, find the middle ground. What has enough searches to be viable, but not so many as to indicate a lot of competition?
The Ability to Make a Profit
To make sure that your chosen niche is profitable, it’s time to consider products or services that are being sold in that industry.
Remember, we said above that niche websites earn money through affiliate marketing and advertisements. That means that if you pick a topic with little or no options for sales, you’re severely limiting the amount of money you could be making.
Continuing with our example above, there are many viable products or services that you could promote or recommend in your niche blog about senior portrait photography with DSLR cameras. The most obvious would be DSLR cameras themselves, but think too about camera accessories, tripods, lenses, studio props, photography courses, etc. There are tons of options for recommending products in this specific niche, and they’re all in relatively high demand for your target audience.
To recap, your perfect niche can be found by:
- Listing topics you’re passionate about.
- Testing to see how many searches your topic keywords get.
- Finding products that are in demand in that industry.
How Much Can Your Niche Site Earn?
Alright, it’s time to answer the question that you’ve all be waiting for: how much money can you actually expect to earn by creating a niche website?
This is a highly debatable and very hot topic at this point in time. It’s easy to find stories of niche bloggers who started websites at the right time, made the effort, and now earn tens of thousands of dollars every month.
This is an incredible amount of money, and quite frankly it is next to impossible to achieve that sort of income from a niche site. So realistically, if you’re not making as much as these uber-success stories, how much will you make?
Using the method promoted here on Income School with our Niche Site School, it’s possible to earn up to $3,000 or $4,000 per month after just a year or two online. While this number proves consistently true for many niche bloggers, others struggle to make even $100 or $200 per month. And some blogs may make almost nothing at all.
That being said, if your site has a good idea at its base and earns a high amount of traffic, it is possible for you to exceed the estimate above. In fact, high traffic niche websites have nearly unlimited earning potential.
What This All Means
Creating a passive income with a niche website is absolutely possible. Within a few months, you could easily have a website that brings you anywhere from $100 to $3,000.
The longer it’s running the better it will perform, due to Google’s current SEO policies. As you consistently provide meaningful content that is focused on your specific keywords and tailored to your target audience, your traffic will increase.
As your traffic increases over time, you will gradually start to earn more revenue from affiliate links and/or advertisements.
What it Doesn’t Mean
Earning a passive income with a niche website is not easy. It is not something that you can set up and have money coming in overnight.
In fact, most niche sites fail within the first year (or even the first few months!) of creation. Why? One reason is that the revenue isn’t coming fast enough, and the creators get discouraged. A perfectly viable idea may be trashed simply because the effort wasn’t put in to make it a source of consistent income.
Another reason a niche site may fail is because the niche itself was not very profitable, and has limited earning potential.
Creating a niche site is a difficult task, and maintaining it brings even more challenges.
Please don’t think I’m trying to discourage you. On the contrary, I believe wholeheartedly in the idea of building income from a niche site. However, these facts cannot be ignored.
What Kind of Effort is Involved?
Within the first few months of creating your niche website, you will need to be especially active online. Building up your content is what will bring new traffic, and posting regularly will keep those people coming back.
It’s recommended to post at least every day or every other day for about a month or two. This will build up your site’s content and allow you to be seen as an expert in the field. Be careful not to let the quality of your content slide during this time.
Continue to regularly post valuable content to receive consistent traffic to your site. To bring in new readers, promote your niche site across different social media networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, Quora, Instagram, etc. Also, guest posting on other sites within your niche is a fantastic way to draw new readers to your site.
In short, you’re looking at a hefty amount of work to be done, especially at the beginning. However, this work will pay off in the long run. Consistency is the key, and as long as you stay motivated, your continued work will bring you a steady revenue every month.
The bottom line is this: Your niche site, if based on a solid idea, has the potential to earn you anywhere from $200 to $4,000 per month. However, there is a good amount of effort involved, and it may take a year or more to start seeing reliable earnings.
Consistency is the key, and as long as you stay motivated, your continued work will bring you a steady revenue every month.
How to Monetize a Niche Website
We’ve already discussed how important it is that products and services in your focus niche are available for purchase, and hopefully in demand. Now, we’ll see why.
Affiliate marketing basically means that you are helping to drive traffic to a website that sells a product or service within your niche. This is done by recommending these products within your posts, and then including a special link to the affiliate company. When a reader clicks on that link and then makes a purchase on the affiliate company’s website, you get a commission.
Affiliate networks such as Amazon Associates make it easy to link out to these vendors in your niche industry. Simply sign up for the service, and start recommending products!
The caution with this type of monetization is somewhat obvious: don’t overdo it. Remember, your niche site is not a sales page. Your goal is to provide helpful information within the niche topic, and product recommendations shouldn’t be the main focus of your blog posts.
Also, it’s not wise to recommend products that you haven’t tested yourself, or that you can’t find honest reviews for. To earn your reader’s trust, you’ll have to make sure the products or services that you recommend are of good quality and related to your topic.
Lastly, don’t forget to include an affiliate disclaimer in your posts. Your readers won’t be fooled, and hiding your affiliation with the companies you recommend will not leave a good taste in their mouths.
Placing advertisements on your niche site is another great way to earn revenue. Google Adsense is a well-known and highly used ad network, although there are plenty of other options that you can choose from.
Ads earn you money in different ways. PPC (Pay per Click) ads will give you a commission every time that a reader clicks to go to the advertiser’s website. This is the most common method of ad revenue, and gives you the freedom to work with many different advertisers.
For this method to earn you a steady income, the ads placed on your site must be extremely well targeted to your audience. If they have no interest in the ad, then they won’t click, and you’ll be losing out on income. Normally ad networks do their own research to tailor the ads well, but you as the publisher will typically have some control over which ads are presented.
The second most common option, CPM (Cost per Thousand Impressions), gives you a commission for every thousand impressions that the ad receives. This method has the advantage of earning you money whether your readers click on the ads or not, however the commission will be smaller than with PPC ads.
If you have the possibility to build relationships with companies in your chosen niche, then this option may work very well for you. Normally, a sponsored post is a recommendation or review of a product or service. The company pays you one flat fee for the post, and the deal is done.
How much you can get paid for a sponsored post depends on several factors, such as:
- Page views. How many people actually come and look at your posts?
- Engagement. Out of those views, how many people post comments, like, or share your content?
- Social media. Do you have a relatively large social media following?
- The length of the post. Obviously, you’d charge more for a 2,000-word post than a 500-word post.
To decide whether doing sponsored posts is a valuable source of income for your niche site, compare your income sources. Could you earn more writing a post that includes affiliate marketing links? Or is this flat fee actually worth it?
Remember, you set your own prices for a sponsored post. So if the client is too pushy or tries to lower your prices, you don’t have to deal with him. Although negotiating a bit may be worthwhile, don’t get stuck working with a client that will ultimately frustrate you.
Selling Digital or Physical Products
This will make your job a bit more proactive, but it can be a useful tool for making money on your niche site.
Is there any kind of physical product that is easy for you to produce and fits within your niche? What about a digital product?
Let’s go back to our photography example for a moment. A viable digital product for your niche (senior portrait photography with DSLR cameras) could be an eBook with your top tips on that subject, an online video course for senior portrait photography, video training in using certain DSLR cameras that you’ve recommended, etc.
Depending on your chosen niche, this could be an extremely profitable method for your niche site.
Quick Steps to Start Your Niche Site
So now that we’ve discussed the ins and outs of your niche site, how are you going to start it? Below you will find some quick steps towards getting your niche site started!
#1 Get a Domain and Hosting
Let’s make a website! Choose a domain name that fits your niche, but is somehow unique. Finding the balance between being too generic and too obscure is the key to a perfect name.
While a .com website is the general standard, it’s also possible to include keywords after the dot, such as .photography, .write, .travel, etc. This rather new phenomenon gives you the ability to shorten your domain, and create a catchy name!
Choose your hosting service with care, as these are the people who will be making sure your website stays up and running. BlueHost is a great service that fits into almost any budget but provides fantastic services for the price.
#2 Set up Your Design
You don’t need to be a graphic designer to have a website that is appealing to the eye. This step is important because a good design will make your readers happy, and allow them to focus on the content on your pages.
Most hosting services allow you to connect to WordPress or another common blog-building service. Their website themes give you plenty of creative leeway, but are a huge help to those of us who are not designers.
Another service that is fantastic for helping with design is Canva. This website gives you the ability to produce eye-catching media content for your pages with as much or as little work as you want!
#3 Collect Content Ideas and Keywords
You already have your niche topic, but now it’s time to decide what your posts will be about. For this, it’s important to get on social media and see what people are talking about in your niche topic.
Quora is a great site for finding out what people are asking, and whether or not they’re finding satisfying answers.
Another free tool for finding new post ideas is Answer the Public. This tool allows you to search a more general keyword, and then provides you with questions and related keywords that are commonly searched within that topic. It’s a great way to find out what information people are searching for.
#4 Set a Publishing Schedule
Once you’re ready to start producing content, set your publishing schedule. This will help you to stay on track with your posts and not to slip out of the routine of writing. Creating and sticking to your schedule is essential when it comes to starting a niche site, as regular content will bring you more traffic.
Set alarms to let you know when you need to start writing posts, and when they need to be online. Also, creating a schedule for your social media posts is a great way to product constant content that your readers will find interesting. Tools such as Hootsuite or Klout can also help you in this regard.
#5 Start Producing Content!
Once you have everything you need in place, don’t hesitate! Jump right in! Waiting now will get you nowhere, so start publishing new content and getting traffic to your site. It’s a huge step, and it may be scary, but taking the plunge now will result in a new source of income in the near future.
The sooner you start producing content, the sooner that revenue will start coming in!
A Head Start to Niche Site Success
As we stated above, starting a niche site is not easy. However, there is a way to cut through all of the questions and get right down to the work that will ultimately earn you money.
After years of experience in starting and maintaining niche websites, the owner of this site has produced a course that will help you get started with your own niche site. When you sign up for the Niche Site School, you’ll get personalized information to help you choose a profitable niche, and the guidance you need to take your ideas from their beginning stages all the way to making actual cash.
If you’re not ready to sign up for the full course, then make sure to check out the free Niche Site Tutorial, which will give you plenty of ideas to get started with.
Building a passive income from a focused niche site is absolutely possible. Once you focus in on your target audience within a specific niche, you’ll be able to build traffic and thus earn more revenue from the methods we mentioned above. Within a few months, you could be earning anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars from your niche site!
With hard work, determination, and a bit of guidance, your niche site can be one of the success stories.