While we love to build authority sites we also build niche websites (well kind of). We build niche websites that pack a punch. In this tutorial you will learn everything you need to know to build a successful niche site.
What is a niche website?
A niche website is a website that is created around a very specific topic or keyword. A niche website will typically focus on one or two keywords at most. The content that is added to the website is usually very focused around those one or two keywords. To fully optimize a niche website most of them are also using EMD or exact match domains. However, recently this has changed. Exact match domains are no longer given a benefit in the search engines. This makes choosing a more marketable domain name the better option.
One key element of the niche website business model is that niche websites are very focused and specific and don’t use broad terms. Usually the more specific you get with your niche website the better opportunity you have to rank well for your keywords. The idea behind a niche website is to target a topic with a low amount of competition that you can easily obtain traffic for with minimal effort. Then you take that traffic and find a way to monetize it.
The niche website method
If you want to make the most of your niche websites you have to have traffic. One of the best ways to get traffic to your niche website is organic search, also known as traffic from search engines. If you can rank your website in the top ten Google search results you are one your way to getting traffic.
The key to niche website success is finding valuable keywords that you can rank for fairly easy. When you start to rank for your keywords you will start to see website traffic. Once you are able to get the traffic you then need to monetize that traffic using one or many methods.
Finally, once you are able to build a successful niche website you repeat the process and create another one. The income potential for niche websites is great because you can create an unlimited amount of them.It is online business model with a lot of growth opportunity considering the amount of niche markets that exist.
Niche websites can be very profitable, especially if they’re built in mass. A lot of Internet marketing beginners will not attempt making niche websites. There’re many different reasons why they won’t, but one of the main reasons is that they fear it will be difficult to do.
If you have ever created a website before then niche websites will be fairly easy to create in comparison. Niche websites are fairly easy to create because they’re usually only focused on a few target keywords and the content is very specific. In most cases they do not contain a lot of content so the websites will be fairly small and easy to maintain. Usually somewhere between 10 and 30 pages per website.
The hardest part of niche website creation is creating the content for the website. This is why many people choose against creating niche websites. You often hear people say “if you’re going to create a website you have to be passionate about your topic.”
Well let’s be completely honest here, that is not always the case. Being passionate about a topic could be very useful but it’s not necessary for creating niche websites. When you’re creating a niche website you are not creating a whole lot of content and it’s possible that you may even outsource the content creation completely. So being passionate about the topic is not necessary.
Types of Niche Websites
I consider there to be two main types of niche websites. The determining factor between the two is the amount of content and/or keywords on them.
The first type of niche website is the small niche website. This is the type of website you probably imagine when you hear the terms niche website. These are the ones with a small number of pages and content focusing on one or two very specific keywords. These types of niche websites usually only contain 10 to 30 pages of content.
The second type of niche website is the niche website hybrid. I consider this to be a mix between a standard niche website and some of the qualities of an authority website. These are an expanded version of the small niche website that has a lot more content and pages. It is possible that they also target a few more keywords and have the potential to get more traffic.
The niche website hybrid is what I have started to expand my focus on. With all the changes in the search engine algorithms I think these types of niche websites have a better chance to rank well. I also think the long term value and traffic opportunities make this type of niche website more valuable in the end.
Why you should consider building niche websites
Niche websites can be really profitable. If you are not including niche websites in your internet marketing plans you may miss out on a nice online income stream. Niche websites are most profitable when you are able to find a formula that works and replicate it. Then you build multiple niche websites for different keywords and make profits from each of them.
Benefits of Niche Websites
Creating niche websites is fairly easy and comes at a low cost. Niche websites do not require a lot of content. This means you can put together 10 to 30 pages of content and be up and running in no time. If you have the funds available you can even outsource the content creation. This makes it super easy to get the content you need.
Also, content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress have made it pretty simple to create a high quality, professional looking website with minimal effort and knowledge of HTML, CSS, and graphic design. You can have a niche website up in a short amount of time with a professional appeal.
Niche websites can be really cheap to set up as well. If you plan to host your own website (which I highly recommend) then you will have some costs but not a lot. If you are creating the content yourself, you really only have a few costs to get up and running. First, you will need to buy a domain name from services such as Go Daddy. Once you have purchased your domain name all you need is hosting. These are the two main expenses you will encounter as you create niche websites.
One of my favorite things about creating niche websites is that they can start making money pretty quick. Once you start ranking for your keywords you can start monetizing your website with Google Adsense or affiliate products. If you really do your research and find a very easy keyword to rank for you can start making money really quick.
Another valuable benefit of the niche website business model is the fact that it can be replicated over and over again. This means you can find a formula that works and increase your income potential be repeating the process over and over for different niches.
Once you have created your niche website you have given yourself the opportunity to make passive income from it. Essentially your niche websites will make you money without continually putting effort into them. They are not always set and forget but depending on your topic they can be.
How to choose a topic and keywords for a niche website
Another fear that many have about niche websites is that they will create them and never be able to rank them and get traffic. In some cases that is true but that is why you really have to do your research and choose good keywords, get a good domain name, and analyze the competition. You really have to choose a niche that is fairly easy to compete in and rank your website. If you truly want to succeed with niche websites you have to be willing to do some research.
How to brainstorm keyword ideas for niche websites
Coming up with the right ideas for your keywords and niche website topics is probably the main element for creating successful niche websites. The great thing is that ideas are all around us. Everywhere we look could contain a potential niche website idea. There are literally tons of ways that you could come up with ideas for your niche websites.
One of the tools I use is a software program called Long Tail Pro. This program allows me to add up to five different keyword ideas and then populates a large amount of related keywords within just a few minutes (up to 800 keywords per seed keyword.) It also helps you find out if exact match domains are available and more which we will get into later. This is a great tool for anyone who is interested in created niche websites for a profit. Free keyword tools and Google search is enough to do quality research it might just take a little more time.
Probably my favorite method for coming up with keyword ideas is keeping an ongoing log of them. I keep a log of keyword or website ideas in a Google document. I like to do this in a Google document because it allows me to access it no matter where I am. I am constantly seeing things or thinking of keyword ideas and I want to be able to capture those anytime they come to me.
Keeping my keyword list on Google Drive is very helpful. I can access it anywhere on a computer with an internet connection or I can also use the apps on my phone to access my keyword list.
Anything that rings a bell that could be a potential keyword should be put down. Later when you do your keyword research you can elaborate and expand that list from the keywords. Any keywords that you research that don’t have a lot of value you can remove from the list.
Another popular way of finding niche website ideas is by going to article directories and browsing articles and categories. The articles and categories would give you ideas for keywords and things that you could potentially build a niche website about. Sometimes it might even be beneficial to look at the sitemaps for those websites to get a full listing of everything on their website.
Some Internet marketers also like to use affiliate websites such as Clickbank or Amazon and build websites around affiliate products. This can be a great way to come up with keyword ideas. One issue with this method is the fact that a lot of the keywords that you find here will be very competitive as their product based. A lot of keywords focused directly around products typically have a lot of competition.
How to choose keywords for your niche website
So after you have compiled a large list of possible keywords you have to analyze them and see if you could turn a profit out of them. So now we have to do some intense research to determine if we want to create a niche website around a particular keyword.
When I choose a niche market I am looking for keywords that have the following characteristics:
First and foremost I am looking for keywords that are getting traffic. I don’t always put a limit on the amount of searches that a keyword gets but I do try to at least look for keywords that are getting 1500+ exact match searches locally. This way I know that I can get a decent amount of traffic that I can convert. To find this information I use the Long Tail Pro or the Google Keyword Tool.
The next thing that is important to me is the CPC (cost per click). I like to have values that are at least $1 for the most part. The higher the better.
The next important factor: Is an exact match domain available? Although some now argue that exact match domains don’t hold as much weight as they used to I still think it is important. One of the great features of Long Tail Pro is that it has the functionality to check if the domain name is available while searching for keywords. I try to stick with only .com or .net although some recommend that .org is another valuable extension to use.
Now that I have all the information above it is time to analyze my competition. I want to go into Google and search for my exact keyword. From there I will review the top ten results and see what I will be up against to make it to the first page of the search results. If I think I can easily outrank a few of the websites in the top ten then I will definitely consider that a keyword and I might go after it. A few things you should check on the top ten websites in Google for your keyword.
- Are my keywords being used in the domain name
- Are the websites using my keywords in the websites title.
- How many backlinks does the website have, or how many backlinks are on the page targeting my keywords
- What is the domain age of the competition
These are the main things that I use to analyze keywords and decide whether or not I want to build a niche website around them.
How to monetize a niche website
Affiliate Programs – Affiliate Marketing is a great way to monetize a niche website. Affiliate marketing can be used by finding products that are very targeted to your niche market. Then you add your affiliate links to your website with either text links or image/banner links. Websites such as Clickbank, Commission Junction, and Amazon are great for finding profitable affiliate programs.
Product Creation – Although creating your own products is not an easy task it can be a very profitable one. As you become an expert on your niche, find a way to create a product that meets your readers needs. This can be an eBook, software, audio book, tool, or anything that helps your readers. You can even outsource the work if you would rather someone else do it for you. If you are unsure how to create your own product we got you covered. Check out our complete guide to product creation.
Email List – Building an email list is still one of the most popular and effective ways to make money online. If you have a niche website add an email list signup. You can then send out affiliate offers or updates. Affiliate offers can be converted into sales. The updates can get the users back to your website to monetize the traffic.
How to Build a Niche Website
Getting a niche website up and live is pretty simple if you have set up a website before. It’s fairly simple as well if you’ve never done it before but you have to understand how to use your hosting account and install WordPress. I use WordPress as my content management system for all of my websites including my niche websites.
WordPress is a very simple yet very effective platform for creating high-quality websites. There is also an extremely large library of very helpful plug-ins and tools that you can integrate into WordPress to make your site useful to your visitors without knowing how to use HTML, CSS, and graphic design.
The first thing that I do is add my domain to my existing hosting account with Go Daddy. Once I have added my domain to my hosting account I go to my applications within Go Daddy and install WordPress to the root directory of that domain. Once I have done that WordPress installs a generic website with a sample post, some pages, and the default WordPress theme.
At this point you want to set up the outline for your niche website. I find it helpful to have some content prepared already when it’s time to set up the website. This might include a header graphic, my first couple of posts, contact information, and about page.
Having this content prepared ahead of time makes it easy once you have set up WordPress. You can go in and easily set up those pages add a couple posts and make your website live.
Once I have done that I also make sure that I set up my website in Google Webmaster tools, and set it up to track the niche website through Google Analytics. Webmasters tools allows me to submit my sitemap to Google and check my website for errors and many other useful features.
Setting up Google Analytics for your niche website allows you to track traffic, where it came from, what keywords they used to find your website, and many more analytics that are very useful to you. These are very useful tools that you should integrate into all of your websites.
Setting up Google Analytics is as easy as adding the website to your Analytics account and then using your ID in Google Analytics on your website. There is even a good little Analytics WordPress plug-in that will add the Google Analytics code to your website just using your Google Analytics ID.
WordPress plug-ins to use on a niche website
Contact form 7 – This is a very simple plug-in that allows you to add a contact form to your website. I want the users of the website to know if they have any questions or comments they can contact me. This plugin makes it really simple and integrates with your email.
Google Analytics – I use this plug-in to easily integrate my website with Google Analytics. This is very important for tracking traffic and analyzing it. Add your Google Analytics ID to this plug-in and it will automatically add the analytics tracking code to your website.
nrelate Related Content – I use this plugin to add related posts to the bottom of my blog posts. This will display relevant content at the end of each post to keep my website visitors on my niche website longer.
One-Click Child Theme – This is a nice plugin that I recently discovered that makes creating a child theme for your WordPress website within a matter of seconds and just a click. This is great if you want to customize a WordPress theme but don’t want to worry about destroying the original theme.
The following three plugins I use to make my niche websites faster.
- Use Google Libraries
- W3 Total Cache
- WP Smush.it
WordPress SEO – The WordPress SEO plugin is probably the most popular (free) SEO plugin out there for WordPress. This plugin makes it easy to evaluate your blog posts, create good titles, focus keywords, meta descriptions, and even shows you a preview of what your post might look like in Google search results. I highly recommend this plugin.
Outsourcing content creation for your niche website
Once I’ve taken care of these important initial steps it’s time to create content, optimize my website, and set up my monetization tools. If you are a decent writer and know about the subject your website is focusing on you can create the content yourself for free. However, if you are not a writer or don’t know a lot about the subject. Or if you don’t have time to create the content you can outsource it. I use textbroker.com and iwriter for my article writing needs. Depending on the quality you want and the amount of money you want to spend should determine which content outsourcing company you want to use.
I have found that textbroker usually provides a lot better quality articles but it is also much more expensive to use than iwriter. You can spend as low as a couple of bucks to get content from iwriter but with the cheaper price you are going to have to edit the posts a lot more. If you do decide to outsource your article writing you should definitely review the articles and make sure they are quality and accurate before posting them to your website. If not you can completely ruin the reputation of your website.
Another thing that you can consider outsourcing is the creation of videos for your website. This is something that I have actually considered using fiverr.com for. I have yet to use it yet but it might be a good way to get someone to turn your blog posts into videos. Then you can turn those videos into backlinks and additional traffic sources for your niche websites.
Another thing that I have outsourced is graphic design. I am able to put together some graphics but sometimes it is better to use a professional. If you need high quality artwork for the specific niche market you are working in you may consider outsourcing the graphic design.
How to rank and build backlinks to your niche website
Spending a lot of time ranking my niche websites is not something that I do. I really try to focus on keywords during my research that have very low competition that I can easily rank for. Because of this I don’t have to spend a lot of time building backlinks to my websites.
The first way that I improve my niche website rankings is by creating high-quality content and making sure that it is fully optimized. I first create the good content and then I make sure to optimize it for search engines. I make sure that my keywords are in the titles of my blog post, heading tags, throughout the articles, and sometimes I use bold text on the keywords within the content. I also include images in my blog posts that have the keywords in the title in the alt text.
If I have created a video around this particular subject I will also include a video in the post, again using the keywords in the title. The last thing that I try to do is make sure that I interlink my posts. This allows me to find relevant text in my current post to another post and link to it that way.
Another way that I create backlinks to my niche website is creating videos and sharing them on sites such as YouTube. Not only does this give me a backlink to my website but it also reaches an audience that could potentially click through the links to my website. Very informative videos can be very useful to get clicks to your website. For your videos you can even re-purpose some of your blog content. This can be done in a video format or even a PowerPoint presentation.
Another way that I will create backlinks to my niche website is social sharing. This is simply creating social media accounts to share your blogs content. This will help you get your content indexed faster.
As I said before, for me it’s all about picking the right keywords and website topics. I do some backlinking and SEO but more importantly it’s picking the right keywords that allow me to rank easily. Do the research up front and you don’t have to become an SEO and backlink expert to rank your niche websites well.
Outsourcing SEO and backlinking for your niche website
If you don’t have the time available to build links for your website than you can also outsource this work. Personally, I like to do all of my own SEO and backlinking. This allows me to know what is happening to my niche website. The last thing I want to do is have someone build spammy backlinks to my website that result in my website being penalized.
How to analyze and test your niche website results
Once you have created your niche websites and added content it is time to start tracking their performance. I like to analyze how well my keywords are performing in search results. This lets me know if I need to further optimize my website or build more backlinks to move my website up in the rankings.
Another thing I like to test is how well my advertisements are performing once I get traffic. I will then try to optimize the placement of adds on my website to get the most value out of my traffic. With plugins like easy Adsense I can easily test different ad placements and even allow them to automatically shift around.
How to avoid the risks associated with building niche websites
One of the biggest risks of niche website is that they’re usually very dependent upon search engine results. This can be tough because the algorithms are always changing and you have to be aware of the current ways to optimize your websites.
The other big risk is that a lot of niche website creators are monetizing through PPC networks such as Google AdSense. If your account gets banned and that is your only monetization method it could completely destroy your business. Adsense sites can also be “clickbombed”. This is when a competitor repeatedly clicks your Adsense advertisements to get your account banned.
In order to avoid these risks there’s a number of steps that you can take. The first step that I recommend is that you diversify your income stream. Find other Internet business ideas that also bring in income. Don’t only focus on niche websites in case something was to ever happen.
The second way to protect yourself is by diversifying your monetization methods. Don’t only focus on one way to monetize your website. Monetize with PPC networks, affiliate programs, selling your own products, and building a mailing list.
The last way to protect yourself is by trying to diversify the ways people find your website. Don’t always count on the search engines to be your only traffic source. Do forum posting and content creation such as videos to drive traffic to your website.
Now get out there and make some niche websites! Please leave comments on what you do to create valuable niche websites. Let’s make this the hub for creating niche websites!