As I fly back from a trip of lifetime to Africa, it’s hard not to be reflective about what enabled this to happen. How did I get to the position where I have an online business that supports my family of 5 to live in one of the most expensive countries in the world and travel as much as we like?
The answer is niche sites.
When I think back, my success has been thanks to niche sites.
These little sites were the beginning of a business beyond sponsored posts for me.
I first built niche sites because I was disillusioned with travel blogging and feeling like it was impossible to make a great income from my travel blog.
What I didn’t realise was that building niche sites would not only make great income from the sites themselves but would also teach me incredibly valuable skills which would take my travel blog from earning a thousand dollars a month to fifteen thousand dollars a month and being one of the most popular in the world.
The knowledge I have learned from these experiences has also helped me make this blog a success as I share what works (and doesn’t).
Niche sites have the power to be transformational for your online business.
Not sure if they can work for you? Keep reading.
You will learn...
- What is a niche site
- 5 reasons why you should build a niche site
- 4 reasons not to build a niche site
What is a niche site?
A niche site in this context is a site based around a product or set of products that are built to earn money from affiliate marketing, usually from Amazon.
They rely on great SEO to get traffic from Google and then pass on the readers to an affiliate partner.
You can read more about what a niche site is and see some examples in this article.
5 reasons why you should build a niche site
1. To build passive income
The number one reason why I started building niche sites was because once you have put in the hard yards up front, they earn money day after day, week after week with very little ongoing effort.
The reason I wanted to build an online business was to give me and my family flexibility with how (and where) we lived our life. Niche sites appealed to me because they would help make this possible.
It is much different to blogging where I feel like I am constantly being drained of all my energy with everything that needs to be done from keyword research to social media to building an email list, etc etc.
Ongoing, I probably spend a couple of hours a month on my niche sites with a few days annually when I like to update and refresh the content on them.
2. Niche sites are more likely to be profitable
Niche sites are much more likely to be profitable than blogging because the whole idea of a niche site is to find a hole in the market and then build a site around that hole.
It is not at all like how the majority of us start in blogging where we start writing about an area where we have a passion or interest.
With niche sites, it’s all about researching where there is that hole and making sure that you fill it.
This means that a niche sites is more likely to be profitable with less effort. You already know there is audience and how you will reach them before you even begin.
3. Niche sites follow a formula
Another reason that I love building niche sites is that they follow a formula. I love that there isn’t all the grey areas of blogging where it’s hard to know which path to take and what to concentrate on.
Each step of building a niche site can be broken down into smaller steps making it easier to keep on track and to ensure success.
I love this logical process that stops me wasting time.
4. To become a SEO and affiliate marketing pro
Far and away the best things my niche sites gave me was not actually the money they earned directly but the valuable SEO and affiliate marketing skills they taught me which I can now apply to any other website I work on.
These skills are the reason why I have a travel blog that earns six figures.
I found it so much easier to learn, implement and test different SEO techniques and affiliate marketing strategies by starting a brand new site that was built with SEO and affiliate marketing in mind from the beginning.
It is also much easier to put on a business hat and make smart business decisions with my niche sites than it is with my blog.
Niche sites are all about SEO and affiliate marketing. In fact, with my strategy, that’s all they are about which made it much easier for me to become an expert in these areas than it would have been had I stuck to blogging where my attention is constantly divided.
When I applied these skills to my travel blog is when I saw a huge bump in the success of my travel blog. My earnings and page views sky rocketed.
It really is the best thing I could have done.
5. Niche sites are great for a flexible lifestyle
Like I mentioned above, I started building an online business because I wanted a more flexible lifestyle, especially while we have young kids.
Niche sites are fabulous for this.
Not only is there not much ongoing work to maintain them but, since I don’t have to deal with clients, I can completely schedule my own time with no external demands.
This means I can completely take time off from them as well (like when we travel) without having to worry about losing my income.
If you are not sure whether you should spend time building a blog or working on niche sites, check out this article here.
4 reasons not to build a niche site
Although I do believe niche sites are a great way to build online income, there are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether a niche site is for you or not.
1. If you don’t want to work
Niche sites do take work up front.
Nothing in life is free and you do need to put effort in up front to build your niche site. In my second niche site case study, I talk about how long each step of the process takes us.
2. If you are impatient
Niche sites are not an overnight money maker. You need to be patient and give it time.
You can see my table of earnings from my first two years of my first niche sites here. They did take awhile to start making good money.
I am currently finding it is taking longer for my niche sites to rank in Google than it did even in my second niche site case study.
We built more niche sites at the start of this year and they are only starting to get to the second pages in Google six months later. We have been slower to build links to these sites than the older ones, but it’s still something to keep in mind.
3. If you want a guarantee
If you can’t work on something without a guarantee that it will work then building a business (any type of business) is not going to be for you.
I get a lot of questions via this blog and the only annoying one is when people ask for a guarantee.
If it was that easy, we would all have 1000 niche sites and be raking in millions. However, if you put in the work and follow a good formula there is a very good chance that you will make money from niche sites.
4. If you don’t want to follow a great formula
Finally, I can’t emphasis enough how important it is to pick a good niche to start with and ensure that you know what you are doing when it comes to building a niche site.
Niche sites follow a formula and it’s important you are following the right formula.
Niche sites are a great to build a profitable website.
They have been the backbone of my business –both with the money they have earned themselves and with everything they have taught me about SEO and affiliate marketing which I have been able to apply back to my travel blog.