Like most people, you're searching for more time and flexibility in your life. You want more independence and the freedom to relax and not think about money every day.
You're not alone.
You may also have a mountain of bills to pay and overwhelming debt, and you'd like to know if making money online is possible.
It is possible. Maybe not in the way fake gurus and false prophets say it is, but it is possible.
The objective of this guide to making money with a niche website is to help. It will give you an overview of the process and the steps you must take to get started.
I'll discuss the details of the following topics:
- What is a Niche?
- What is a Niche Website?
- The Basics of Building a Niche Website
- Make Money With Your Niche Website
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Niche?
A niche is a specific area of interest that a person or company specializes in. It can be a market, a type of customer, a problem someone has, or a product or service.
It could be a topic such as golf or fashion, or a type of product such as baby clothes or guitars.
Examples of Niches
The best niches provide solutions to specific problems or cater to a particular group of consumers who are passionate and loyal to a specific product, service, activity, cause, etc.
Some examples of niches include:
- Pets and pet owners
- Cars and car enthusiasts
- Parents of young children
- Hard to find books
- Fixing computer crashes
What Is A Niche Website?
A niche website is a website that focuses on a specific topic or industry. Unlike authority sites, news sites, or informational sites… niche websites are generally more personal. They don't only focus on a specific topic or industry. They also connect with a specific group of people who have a common problem or interest.
The number of niche websites is increasing daily, especially as the internet becomes more attractive as a platform to make a living. There are tens of millions if not more in existence today, but of course, there's no way to know for sure.
The total number of websites is approaching two billion and likely more by the time you read this.
Niche websites can be big or small. Larger sites generally take a broader approach and cover topics like sports, entertainment, health and wellness, relationships, finance, or technology.
Smaller niche websites focus on a narrow topic or a narrow subset of a larger topic.
For example, rather than “how to make money online” as a broad niche, which includes dozens of methods, a smaller website might focus on just one method, like “how to make money online with Shopify or eBay.”
Another example would be health and fitness. Instead of “how to lose weight,” which would be a large niche website, a smaller site might focus on “how to lose weight for people with arthritis.”
So, niche websites can be of any size but generally speaking, the larger they are, the more competitive they are. And the revenue they generate is usually higher.
If you're willing to put in the work, niche sites, big or small, are a great way to increase your income. You must create valuable content to attract traffic, but you can monetize your site with ads, affiliate marketing, and other methods, which I'll discuss further below.
The Basics of Building a Niche Website?
Websites are easy to build today. There are many site builders, and if you can point and click, you can build a niche website. However, making money with your niche website is a little more challenging.
There are four fundamental areas of expertise:
- Technical: Building your website.
- Content: Writing (or outsourcing) articles and content that people want to read.
- Traffic: Optimizing (and promoting) your site and content for eyeballs.
- Conversions: Converting your audience into customers.
That may sound like a lot to learn, and when you're starting, it can be. But if you take a step back and look at the overall picture of what you're doing, it's a simple process.
In short, you're just answering people's questions.
An expanded description would be:
- You find questions people are typing into search engines.
- If the question is unanswered or you know you can answer it better, write an article about it.
- People find your articles when searching online and read them.
- Make money through display ads, affiliate marketing, and various other offers.
To start, you'll need to choose a niche…
Start With a List of Niche Ideas
Niche research is the key to building a profitable website. The first step is to identify a niche you are interested in and understand. You don't need to be an expert, but you should know enough to be competent.
Some knowledge will help you create informative and interesting content for your target audience.
Start with a list of niche ideas. These can be ideas of products, hobbies, interests, activities, or groups of people.
Approaching your niche from a product point of view, you might choose something like baseball gear. Or, you could narrow it down and only focus on baseball bats or baseball movies.
Hobby, Interest, and Activity Niches
From a hobby, interest, or activity perspective, using baseball as an example… your niche would likely be about the game itself.
Of course, baseball is a broad topic, so you can narrow your niche idea down to local baseball leagues and events or baseball fan gatherings.
Hobby, interest, and activity niches tend to focus more on the “thing” audiences do or are interested in, rather than the audience. It's a subtle difference, but it's an important one.
The way many site owners approach niches is from the perspective of their audience. You're not focusing on a specific product or, in the example above, a particular type of baseball or league.
Instead, you're helping a specific group of people with common challenges.
Parents of kids who play baseball are one example. Or baseball players over a certain age.
When your niche is audience-focused, you will connect with them far better than if you only focus on products, hobbies, interests, etc., which are impersonal.
Those suggestions above are obviously only examples of niches, and you'll have to do your research, but your first step should be to make a list of potential niche ideas that interest you.
Do Your Niche Research
Once you have your list of potential niches, it's critical to research how big your audience could be and how much competition you will have.
Seth Godin calls this your minimum viable audience or MVA.
Your MVA is the smallest group of people possible that can sustain your business. Or, in this case, your niche website.
It can't be so small and obscure that no one searches for it. Nor should it be so big that it becomes impersonal and meaningless to people.
A book website that covers every genre would be an example of an impersonal website. Passionate science fiction fans are different from romance novel fans who are different from biography fans. The fact they all read is not a strong enough thread for everyone, including the site owner, to connect around a common interest or passion.
Not that you can't build a broad topic niche website, it's just a lot harder to compete against large sites with teams of writers who produce content across dozens of categories.
When doing research, you are looking for under-served topics. These are topics in your niche that people search for but no one else has written about. Or at least, no one has written about them extensively.
Under-served topics represent opportunities, and finding them is like mining for gold. You'll have a fast-growing and successful website if you can find a cluster of under-served topics.
Your most valuable tool here is Google. Type a keyword related to your topic into Google and pay attention to the suggestions provided.
For example, if Golden Retrievers were your niche, you would type something like “are golden retrievers” into Google's search field.
Google will try to predict what you will type next based on what other people search online.
In the example above, Google suggested the following:
- are golden retrievers smart
- are golden retrievers easy to train
- are golden retrievers smart dogs
- are golden retrievers hypoallergenic
- are golden retrievers good with kids
You will then go through those topics to see if competitor content (other websites in the search engine results pages or SERPs) have already covered those topics in-depth. If they have, you can try more searches and again, see what Google suggests.
Just change the trigger word at the beginning (do, can, why, best, etc.).
- do golden retrievers…
- can golden retrievers…
- why golden retrievers…
- best (blank…) for golden retrievers
You can also do local searches related to golden retrievers (groups, gatherings, laws, parks, where to adopt, etc.)
If you can find topics not covered, you may have a viable niche.
If there are no under-served topics or very few, then golden retrievers may not be the best niche choice.
That doesn't mean you can't build a successful niche website about golden retrievers; it just means it may be more challenging. You will have to create better content than your competitors, and it will take longer to build authority and generate traffic than if you chose a less competitive niche.
Choose A Profitable Niche
Once you've done your niche research (above), it's time to choose your niche.
There is a lot of contradictory advice about choosing a niche you're passionate about vs. a profitable one. Hopefully, they are the same, but some people say you should only focus on what you're interested in and let the money follow. Others say it's more important to find a niche with a higher chance of making money.
I'm on the fence about this, to be honest.
Here's what Steve Jobs says…
“People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you're doing, and it's totally true. The reason is because it's so hard that if you don't (have a lot of passion), any rational person would give up. It's really hard, and you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don't love it, if you're not having fun doing it, (then) you don't really love it, and you're going to give up.”
Who am I to disagree with Steve Jobs?
In my experience and having done this a few times now, your niche should be something you're interested in and enjoy. It's challenging to write dozens, if not hundreds, of articles about something you don't care about, and the probability you'll get bored and quit is high.
You may quit entirely or start a new website in a niche you're interested in (in which case, it would have been better to choose that niche in the first place).
Having said that, there are people making money with niche websites even though they don't care about the niche. If you can push out content consistently regardless of the topic, or if you can hire writers to do it for you, targeting a more profitable niche might be the better option.
Narrow Your Niche Further (Optional)
At this point, you've chosen your niche. Now it's time to narrow it down and target a specific category (or categories).
This step is optional, but it's a great way to build your site authority. Rather than creating content around random keywords and topics within your niche, you create content clusters by narrowing them down to a specific category. The goal here is not necessarily to generate a lot of traffic but rather to cover a sub-topic within your niche better than any other website.
Approaching your content that way can make you an authority in Google's eyes and make it easier to rank for higher traffic keywords down the road.
Whether you identify specific categories and topic clusters, your next step is to plan out your content with keyword research.
Plan Your Content With Keyword Research
You may be wondering why you've done all of this research so far and haven't yet built your actual website. That's because building a website is easy.
At least, the technical aspects of building a website are easy.
What's hard is developing an effective content strategy that will generate loads of traffic and, eventually, money.
If you've chosen the wrong niche and content plan, you don't want to build your website and spend a ton of time on things like domain choice, logo, color combinations, your “about page”, etc.
You can do it that way if you want. I've had to do that many times, and it's not the end of the world. If you choose wrong, just start a new website. In fact, you learn a lot going through that process which will help you tremendously later on.
If you're looking for the fastest way to make money, though, it's better to start with research, then build your website.
When creating content, it's essential to make sure that you target keywords that people are actually searching for. Keyword research tools can help you find related keywords and blog post ideas that help you rank higher in search engines.
You can also continue using Google Autocomplete (as described above) to find topics to write about.
If you plan out your first ten or twenty articles at this stage, you'll find it much easier to launch your niche website once built. This is because you'll have a clear plan and goal in place.
Some experienced niche site owners even write their first ten or twenty articles before building their website, but it's unnecessary.
Build Your Website
The first step in building your website is to choose a domain name. A domain name is the address of your website and will be what people type into their browsers to visit your site.
You can register a domain name through various registrars, and it's important to choose one that is trustworthy and reliable.
Now that you have your domain, your next step is choosing a CMS or platform, the foundation of your website and where you add content.
There are many different options, but WordPress is the most popular among niche site owners. It's user-friendly and versatile, making it an excellent choice for those just starting. Plus, there are plenty of helpful tutorials and support forums available online should you need them.
Then you need to find a host for your website. A host is where you store all the information about your website and make it accessible to people on the internet. There are many different hosting providers out there.
For new niche site and blog owners, I recommend an all-in-one solution like Wealthy Affiliate where you can register a domain, build a WordPress website, and host it all on one platform. Platforms like these often have both free and paid options and will walk you through the entire process in one place rather than piecing together different components and tutorials from other companies.
Once you have your site up and running, it will look plain, and if you're at all like me when I built my first site, you'll wonder what you're looking at.
To make your niche site look like something you're proud of, you will need to build it out with a theme, adding a homepage, a logo, etc.
A WordPress theme is a pre-designed template you can install on your WordPress site. There are thousands of free and paid themes out there.
Choose a responsive theme (one that looks good and functions on all devices), loads fast, is easy to customize, and has basic features like font options, header controls, etc.
It's also essential that your theme be supported with regular updates to take advantage of new features and security updates.
To create a logo, you can either hire a designer or use one of the online logo generators available. I recommend using the free version of Canva because it's simple, but you can hire designers on freelance sites like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer for a reasonable price.
Of course, a complete step-by-step tutorial of how to build a niche website is beyond the scope of most articles, but this video will show you how.
Again, you can also choose an all-in-one solution like Wealthy Affiliate and get your site up and running with just a few clicks.
Now that you've got your keywords (your content plan) and your website built, your next step is to create quality content.
Create Great Content
In the early days of the internet, you could publish low-quality articles and use what online marketers call “black-hat” strategies to game search engines and rank high on page one. Those days are long gone.
Today, quality is more important than quantity (although quantity is still important).
Producing great content is essential when it comes to building a niche website. It must be better than your competitors to attract and keep readers.
People not only share high-quality content more often, but search engines are far more likely to rank it.
Before publishing a new article, ask yourself if it deserves to be in the top two or three positions when people search for your topic. If your answer is no, don't be upset if it doesn't.
Your goal should be to create the best article and add more value than your competitors in most cases.
However, progress and momentum are also important.
A lot of website owners let perfect become the enemy of good. They spend so much time perfecting a single blog post that it never gets published, and their site never takes off.
Instead, leverage the 80/20 principle when creating content. If you haven't heard of the 80/20 principle, it states that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your effort.
You may want to put more than 20 percent of your effort into your work (or blog post) but aim for 80 to 90 percent of the content you'd typically be satisfied with.
You will never be 100% satisfied. But you can always improve and update your articles later.
Create content from personal experience if you can. It will help you connect with your audience and produce articles they'll appreciate.
Also, to be an authoritative source in your niche, you must have a lot of knowledge and the ability to communicate it effectively. That doesn't mean you need to know everything about your niche now, but it does mean you'll have to learn (which you will if you're researching and writing great content).
Make sure your content is accurate, engaging, and when appropriate, include visual elements such as images, tables, infographics, videos, etc.
Optimize Your Content for Search Engines (SEO)
One big difference between building a personal blog and building a niche website is that personal blogs often focus on social media promotion while niche websites use search engine optimization (SEO). They target Google search traffic.
Personal bloggers like to share their stories and experiences on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, while niche site owners looking to profit from their websites answer questions people ask online.
That's one reason some blogs don't make money.
It's fun to share your stories and experiences, but you must optimize your content for search engines.
If you've followed the steps above, you've already started to optimize your content with keyword research. You've chosen under-served topics that people search online and then analyze your competitors.
Pay attention to the content that already ranks for your chosen keywords. You can try and “guess” what Google wants, or just search your keyword and have Google show you what it wants. Then structure your content around the topics Google is already ranking.
Check the word count of your competitors. For example, if every article on the first page of Google is a 5,000+ word essay with videos, infographics, and downloadable resources, a 1000 word post with no visual elements will not cut it.
That doesn't mean you should add words just for the sake of adding words. A smaller article that stays on topic and answers the reader's question will usually outrank a bigger article full of fluff and filler.
If search engine rank is your objective, beyond quality content (relevant to your searcher's query), you need to use best practices for on-page and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO optimizes a website's content and structure, including title tags, load speed, proper keyword locations, internal linking strategies, page experience, etc.
On the other hand, off-page SEO includes building relationships with other websites, the way courses like Blog Growth Engine teach. You can also promote your content for shares and natural links (or backlinks from other websites) to increase your authority.
It also involves monitoring GSC (Google Search Console) and the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for rankings and new opportunities.
There are entire courses dedicated to SEO and debates on which strategies are the best. So tackling a topic so extensive in its entirety is not possible here. However, the most critical thing to know is that Google's primary goal is to give searchers the best content available to answer their questions and solve their problems.
Therefore, your primary goal is to supply Google with that content.
Promote Your Content
According to recent statistics, 7.5 million blog posts are published every day. That's a lot of noise.
Search engine traffic is enough for most niches, but you can also promote your content to reach more people. There are a variety of ways to do that.
Guest blogging, social media marketing, and email campaigns are all great ways to attract attention to your site. Guest blogging allows you to share your content on other websites while still driving traffic back to your own. Social media provides a platform for you to share links to your content and interact with potential customers.
Email marketing allows you to directly reach out to customers who have shown an interest in your product or service.
Other Ways To Generate Traffic to Your Niche Website
There are other ways of generating traffic to your website. One way is through paid advertising, in which you pay a company (like Google or Facebook, for example) to place ads on their platform. This can be an effective way to reach a large audience quickly, but it can also be expensive.
Another way is to place ads in newspapers and publications. Depending on your niche, this can be very effective. If your niche is local and/or targeted at an audience more accustomed to print media, you may find this is the least competitive traffic source.
Put your site address on business cards, vehicles, and swag if it suits your niche. For example, if you're in the car enthusiast niche, print stickers and generate buzz through meets and car shows.
You can also supplement and drive traffic to your niche site with a YouTube channel, a podcast, or a Kindle book series.
There are a variety of unique and creative ways to generate traffic.
Make Money With Your Niche Website
Now that you have a niche website with traffic, it's time to start making money.
There are several ways to make money with your niche website. You can place ads on your site, offer services, sell products, and generate leads through CPA (Cost per Action). You can also create courses, publish sponsored posts and promote affiliate products to earn commissions.
Here are the most common ways of making money with your niche website…
Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your website and generate traffic. Essentially, you partner with other businesses that have products or services to sell and promote them on your website. When someone clicks on an affiliate link (provided by your affiliate partner) and makes a purchase, you earn a commission.
Affiliate networks like Amazon Associates, ShareASale, and Awin make it easy to find products to promote in your posts, and you get a commission for every sale you generate.
Make sure to build trust with your readers. That means you should only recommend products you trust are of good quality and related to your niche. Additionally, you should disclose when you are being compensated for a product recommendation.
Of course, affiliate marketing isn't just adding affiliate links to your content. Your content should serve a purpose and lead to a product or service that helps your reader.
Examples of content that serves a purpose are how-to posts, best of lists, and product reviews. Some targeted strategies you can use to break through the online noise are versus posts (reviewing two products) and launch jacking (reviewing products before they are released).
Display advertising is another great way to generate income from your website.
Niche site owners who want to make money this way can start by using Google Adsense. The payout is relatively low, but it's a good starting point. As your traffic increases, you'll qualify for ad networks like Ezoic and Mediavine, which offer much higher payouts.
Ezoic is an excellent service and is generally easier to qualify for than Mediavine. They have monetization services for sites with less than 10,000 visitors a month and higher-paying services for sites with more.
Mediavine, on the other hand, pays higher according to some members and has better support. But they require 50,000 or more visitors per month to join.
Both networks are good to work with, and determining which one is better depends on where you are in your niche site journey. Members of both are often passionately supportive, and the pros and cons of each are subjective.
Lead Generation (CPA)
Lead generation or CPA (Cost per Action) marketing is a way of generating leads for companies. When you send site visitors to these companies' websites and fill out a form, provide an email address, or perform other actions, they will pay you.
Depending on your niche, payments can range from a dollar per email to hundreds of dollars for filling out an application.
For some niche sites, this is their most lucrative monetization strategy.
Sponsorships and Sponsored Posts
Sponsorships are a way of making money with your site by generating exposure and awareness for related brands. This typically requires that you have a large and passionate following.
More common for niche websites are sponsored posts. You write or publish blog posts for a company in exchange for a flat fee. It may involve a product or service recommendation, a review, or a tutorial. The main point is that you get paid to publish it.
In some cases, they may ask you to write it, and in others, they will write it (or have it written). It often depends on how authoritative your site is and how much traffic you can send the company.
A lot of back and forth negotiation can go into sponsored posts, which can be frustrating. Most will tell you they have a minimal budget far below what they can actually afford. But if you get in the habit of accepting sponsored posts, set your price and stick to it. If your niche site generates significant traffic, there will be no end to sponsored post requests. You may even get several per day.
According to research, adding an email list to a niche website can potentially increase revenue by several thousand dollars per month.
Of course, there is no exact method of calculating a specific dollar amount because it depends on several factors. Not all niches work with an email list, and how you approach your niche is also a factor.
- Are you building a relationship with your audience or simply promoting products?
- Are the products you're promoting any good?
The number of subscribers you have matters, how many emails you send each week or month, and what those emails contain.
Whatever the circumstances, building an email list is an effective way to keep in touch with your readers and potentially earn more income over time.
Course Creation and Memberships
As a niche site owner and affiliate marketer, you can earn commissions by recommending other people's courses and membership programs.
Likewise, you can create your own courses and membership programs if suited to your niche.
Renting Space on Your Website
Somewhere between sponsorships and advertising, there are rental strategies to monetize your site. For example, if your site targets a local audience, some local businesses may be willing to rent certain pages of your site where they add their own logo and phone number.
This is similar to the rank and rent method, but rather than renting out your entire site to a business, you're only renting out specific pages that rank in the search engines.
If you have your products, like handmade jewelry or clothing, for example, you can sell those on your website. Of course, your niche should match the products you're selling.
You can also buy products from flea markets, thrift stores, clearance sales, etc., and sell those on your website.
If you're selling physical products, though, you are not limited to just your niche site. You should also list them on places like Facebook Marketplace and eBay to maximize exposure. If you're selling original products you've made, Etsy is another platform to consider.
You can also use your niche website for dropshipping. Dropshipping lets entrepreneurs sell online without purchasing inventory in advance. When a customer makes a purchase, you then buy the product from a wholesaler at a discount and they ship it directly to your customer.
Traffic is generated from your niche website and of course, your content, and then directed to an online store where sales, invoicing, and payment processing are automated. It's possible to integrate those systems into your niche website, but a cleaner approach would be dropshipping on Shopify.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Niche Sites Still Profitable?
Yes, niche sites are still profitable because they provide specific solutions to specific audiences with specific problems. Audiences and problems are not likely going anywhere, and solutions to those problems are not going anywhere. Therefore, niche websites that help people solve problems are not going anywhere.
It's true that time has tightened the playing field for niche sites, making them more competitive than ever before. With so many people starting niche sites, it's essential to find a unique approach, produce great content, and stick with it longer than you may have had to years ago.
But niche sites are still profitable.
Which Niche is The Most Profitable?
The most profitable niches are generally the most competitive because they offer the greatest potential for return on investment. In addition, they are niches that have the highest customer value and offer products or services that people are passionate about.
However, it's difficult to say which niche exactly is the most profitable. Many factors come into play, such as the size of the market, how competitive it is, and how saturated it is. However, some niches are known to be more profitable than others.
For example, the most lucrative include finance, insurance, investing, making money online, digital marketing, health and fitness, pet care, food, and travel. Keep in mind that these are general categories; within each category, many specific sub-niches may be more profitable for you because they are less competitive and provide a better opportunity.
How Much Money Can You Make From a Niche Website?
The amount of money you can make from a niche website will depend mainly on several factors, including:
- Your niche and how competitive it is.
- The size of your site.
- The quality of your site's content.
- The amount of effort you put into marketing and learning SEO.
- How well you connect with your readers and why they visit your site (are you just entertaining them or helping them solve problems?)
Niche sites can be highly profitable if done correctly. You can make anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month to well over six figures a year with them. Some niche sites even make six figures per month, but those are rare.
For example, NerdWallet, which started as a niche website in 2009, was recently valued near $1.25 billion.
Big or small, any amount of income from a niche site won't happen overnight. Instead, it takes time, effort, and patience to grow.
However, when it does grow, the benefits are significant because there are multiple ways to monetize them. As your site ages and Google trusts it more, your traffic and revenue will gain momentum. Your top-performing posts will continue to get traffic and generate income for years if you've monetized them correctly.
And one more point to keep in mind, you can have more than one niche website.
How Long Does it Take to Build a Niche Website?
It can take a few hours or less to build a niche website. However, it takes significantly more time and effort to make a niche website profitable. Factors that determine how fast you'll make money include choosing a good niche, creating high-quality content, and optimizing for search engines.
It can take quite a while to build a successful niche website, up to several months to a year, or even longer. However, if you are patient and continue to put in the hard work, your efforts will eventually pay off.
Other factors include the number of hours you spend on your website each week. And how you spend those hours.
If most of your time is on low-productivity tasks, like selecting a theme or designing a logo, it will take a long time to make money from your site. On the other hand, if you focus on high-productivity tasks like keyword research and creating content, you'll see results more quickly.
Niche websites are a great way to supplement your job income or replace it entirely. There are a variety of skills you'll need to acquire, but the big picture is simple.
You answer the questions people ask search engines and help them solve problems.
You can quickly get bogged down in the details of SEO, the creativity of design, and the complexity of analytics. But like many who earn their living with niche websites, you can learn those things too.