Niche websites have been popular tools for affiliate marketers for years to earn money on the Internet. The construction usually requires a lot of time, however, it is sometimes the best way to really build a passive income. Compared to Dropshipping, Amazon FBA and other popular online business models, the time spent on niche websites decreases with time and the income increases. So if you do it right, you come very close to a passive income in practice.
In this article we explain how to build a profitable niche site and give practical examples as well as our experience. In addition, we cast a critical light on the current situation and the future of niche websides. Because a lot will change in the next few years and new opportunities will arise.
What are niche sites? Definition
First to the definition – What is a niche website anyway? Niche websites are nothing more than blogs or websites with high quality content specialized in certain niches. The goal is to get a kind of authority and expert status in one area to get traffic via Google. The contents of the website are mostly blog posts in the form of guides, reviews and tutorials.
In these contributions usually suitable products on Affiliate basis are merged. Through these affiliate products the biggest part of the profit is generated on an automated basis and many people talk about a more or less passive income. Affiliate marketers are also often associated with niche sites for this reason.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Before you start with niche sites you should know the advantages & disadvantages. Just like any other business model there are pro’s and con’s that you should know and weigh before you start.
This is important because you always have a realistic expectation of the whole thing and also assess whether it is the right business model. Because there is not the best online business but only what suits you best.
Advantage: Low start-up costs / risk
One of the main reasons why the creation of niche sites is interesting is the low initial cost. One needs only 200 USD starting capital in order to be able to fully take off. This is much lower than with other business models such as Dropshipping or Amazon FBA.
Due to the fact that so little start-up costs are needed, the potential loss is kept within limits. The default risk is correspondingly low and there is not much to lose. But besides time you learn something as well.
In general, the entry barrier is very low, not only in terms of money. Also concerning age, gender and education there are no basic requirements which you need. Therfore, a student, entrepreneur, single mother and everyone else can build a niche website.
Advantage: Location & time independent
A further advantage which also applies to any other online business is the location-independent and temporal flexibility. No matter where you are as long as you have a stable Internet connection, nothing stands in the way of setting up and operating a niche website. It is a 100% location independent business.
Beyond that also the time plays no role. With niche sites there are no opening or operating times. You can work at almost any time and earn money.
Advantage: Scalable & automatable
A particularly important aspect is scalability and automation. This is much more difficult with most offline businesses than with online business models. But also in comparison to other online business models, niche sites are much more flexible and easier to scale and automate.
The reason is that fewer variables (such as shipping, logistics, shipping, customer support, etc.) need to be considered. This also increases scalability and speed. A niche side is also particularly easy to automate. Once you have created the basis, it is easy to keep it. In addition, the tasks are not too complex to hire anybody to do them.
Disadvantage: Time consuming construction
A big potential disadvantage is that it takes several weeks and sometimes even months until you earn good money with niche sites. This is because the setup is very time-consuming and it also takes time for Google to index and rank all the articles.
As a rule, however, this depends strongly on the competition and the quality and length of the article. Sometimes it only takes a few days for a page to rank at the top of Google. But it can also take weeks and months and depends on these factors.
The cash flow can therefore only start after weeks or a few months. So who is looking for a Get Rich Quick Scheme is wrong with niche sites. It is rather a long-term, stable and passive model to build up a digital income.
In order to build up a successful niche website, however, a few basic skills or abilities are required. These can of course be learned. You should be aware of this, because you often find gurus on YouTube or in Facebook groups who think it’s easy money. If it were easy and you didn’t have to have any skills, everyone would probably do it.
Web design is one of the most basic and important skills when it comes to building a niche website or blog. However, it is now much easier than before and you can learn the most important web design skills within a few hours or days. In times of WordPress and Co. it is absolutely no longer necessary to have HTML or other programming languages.
It is even for various reasons to build a website based on WordPress. With a ready-made theme and a Visual Page Builder you can build websites of any kind by Drag and Drop. However, it does not harm to deal more intensively with the topic WordPress & Co to achieve the desired results.
SEO / Search engine optimization
SEO is crucial for the success of niche sites because you get the most traffic through Google. Accordingly, knowledge in the field of search engine optimization is important.
This already starts with the right web design and setting up the website up to the SEO optimized format of the blog article. SEO is a very comprehensive skill but you can learn it within a few days if you are ready. The better you are in search engine optimization the better the results are.
Of course, you should also have a certain know-how or expertise in the area in which you blog. The content should be of high quality and create added value. Accordingly, you should really know your niche. This helps to better understand the problems of the target group and to solve them accordingly.
Most of the time it makes sense to build a niche website about a topic that interests you or you already know about. Otherwise one must include even more time in research.
This point is ultimately critical to the success you have with niche sites and any other online business. Who expects to earn money quickly and without much effort on the Internet will probably be disappointed and give up early. Even though the Internet offers incredible possibilities, you should be aware that the same entrepreneurial principles apply here and you should bring the appropriate mindset with you.
Create Niche Websites Guide - 7 Steps
Here is the ultimate guide to creating a successful niche site. All these steps are essential and should not be skipped but followed chronologically. The cleaner and more accurate these steps are, the more success you will have with a niche site.
So here we go – here are the 7 most important steps for creating a niche page:
1. market & trend analysis
The first step is the same for almost every business and that is market analysis. Before you build a website or take any other steps, you should first do a thorough market analysis. Even before choosing a market it is advisable to start with a rough analysis of several markets. This helps to identify trends and supposed gaps in the market.
There are already some helpful tools for this, such as:
- Google Trends
- Kick starter
On these platforms there are TOP Trending categories everywhere which can inspire you. They provide insight into the latest trends and movements in a wide variety of markets. But it doesn’t have to be a current trend but also an evergreen market such as health, fitness, fashion, lifestyle and many more. It is only important that the topic or market is relevant and remains relevant. Descending or already irrelevant markets should be avoided.
Ideally one finds topics which are just very strong in coming but still hardly have any competition. The growth potential here is mostly enormous. Examples are Smart Home, E-Mobility, Blockchain, Sustainability, Online Marketing etc…
The market & trend analysis is thus the first most basic step and determines the basic direction in which one should go.
2. competitor analysis, niche selection & positioning
The next step is to become more specific and determine the concrete choice of niche and positioning, taking into account the analysis of the competition. This step should be as well thought out as the first one because afterwards there is no going back.
As soon as the niche and the positioning of the page have been determined, this cannot be changed so easily once the page has been set up. In addition, rebrandings and reorientations always cost a lot of time and money.
So if you have decided for the main market “Fitness” before, it is necessary to become more exact in this step. Here is one possible approach for this example:
Fitness > Strength Training > Bodybuilding > Natural Bodybuilding
Thus the positioning of the site is very clearly defined in order to address an appropriate target group. Theoretically one could be more precise with > New School Bodybuilding or > Vegan Bodybuilding but that would be too specific.
It is important to position the site and its contents in a niche but this must not be narrow. Because if this is too strongly defined there is no room for growth or similar relevant topics. Balance is therefore crucial for the right niche selection and orientation of the site.
However, the competition also plays a major role in positioning. Especially in markets that are evergreen and have been relatively saturated for years. Here it is particularly important to position oneself clearly in certain niches and ideally to distinguish oneself by unique selling propositions. With new emerging topics and niches the problem is not so big, because the competition is still very weak and you have more flexibility.
3. Content Plan & Keyword Analyse
As a rule, it is advisable to publish an average of at least 20 blog posts on a niche site. This signals to Google that there is enough content on the site and that it is relevant. However, more content is almost always better. As long as it is of high quality, more content is definitely better.
Before you start writing, these 20 articles should be planned and the keywords you want to rank should be selected. Again, planning is the key to success. The better you plan this, the better the results will be. Specifically, the goal is to find keywords which are an interesting search volume but still easy to rank. Specifically, the search volume should be higher than 200 / month and the keyword difference should be less than 5 (at least for the beginning).
For the beginning it is recommended to approach keywords with low difficulty (low keyword difficulty). This way you get traffic earlier, Google gets to know the site and trusts it faster. In addition, you will soon see the first results, which is good for your motivation. The so-called longtail keywords are usually longer, have less search volume but are easier to hide.
An example would be to use the keyword “lose weight” instead of “lose weight without sport” or “lose weight quickly without sport”. Even better would be “lose weight quickly without sport and diet”. The latter has a search volume of 250 searches in Germany but much less competition (lower keyword difficulty) than the first “umbrella keyword” namely “lose weight”.
But how do you find such keywords and analyze the competition? Quite simply for this there are numerous tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest and Ahrefs which provide an exact insight into the search volume and the competition. The search volume is displayed as “Volume” and the competition or difficulty as “KD” for Keyword Difficulty. Theoretically you can even sort the list and set filters. You can set the search volume to > 200 and simultaneously sort the KD from 0 in ascending order.
This process can take an enormous amount of time but is especially important because ultimately you want to get as much traffic as possible with as little effort as possible. In the beginning this can be a challenge especially with new domains or new pages and so the extra time you put into the research is worth it.
AHREFS is a paid tool but for beginners Ubersuggest or the Google Keyword Planner is enough. There you have just as much insight into search volume and degree of difficulty. In addition, you should always look at the competition directly to see how long and detailed the content is. Basically the rule of thumb is that the content / the article must be at least as long and detailed as the competition to be able to rank.
Google itself already provides relevant suggestions for keywords. These of course also have a high search volume, otherwise Google would not suggest them by itself. This is sometimes one of the easiest tricks to find new relevant keywords and get inspiration.
But even after entering the keyword, you will find at the bottom of the search results a few suggestions from Google which may be just as relevant. These keywords are of course also searched otherwise Google would not suggest them. Afterwards you can test with the mentioned tools exactly how high the search volume and the competition is.
Using Google Trends you can also see how the keyword and search volume will behave over time and whether it is trended up or down. Keywords which lose relevance according to statistics should not be tracked anymore (example Fidget Spinner, ). On the other hand, as already mentioned before, it does deal with up-and-coming topics and trends.
As soon as you have 20 article topics and accordingly at least 20 keywords (for some articles there are also several keywords) you can start building the niche page.
4. create a niche website with WordPress
To publish the content you need a medium and that is best your own website. This can be set up in a few steps. Right from the start, we clearly recommend to create the website with WordPress and no other CMS. The system is perfect for niche sites and free of charge. Other CMS like Squarespace, Wix and Co. can definitely not keep up in the long run.
Here are the 4 steps to create a professional niche site with WordPress even if you are not yet a professional wedesigner:
1. Choose WebHost & Domain
There are hundreds of web hosts and if you google the term you are usually overwhelmed with the choice. Many make the mistake of not taking this decision seriously and emotionally choose any or the cheapest. This is a mistake, because webhosting is the basis of every homepage. It creates the foundation for the house we build.
Without getting too complicated and to list all technical details we recommend our #1 webhost right from the start and that for years – Siteground. The company is unbeatable when it comes to performance, functionality, support & price / performance.
Numerous independent tests have already shown that Siteground is one of the leaders in its fields:
- Website Speed & Performance
- Customer support
- Web memory
- Price / Performance
For WordPress installations Siteground is especially suitable because there is 1 Click Install. This allows an easy installation with one click. Furthermore, Siteground has developed its own plugin which massively increases the performance of WordPress pages with just a few clicks. Therefore WordPress is without a doubt the best host for WordPress websites. Even Worpdress.org itself recommends Siteground.
In the course of webhosting you will be asked which domain you want to use. The choice of domain is crucial for many different aspects such as SEO, branding, marketing and positioning. Ideally you should choose a domain with a .COM extension. Thus you rank best internationally (also in the DACH area) and everyone knows the domain extension (easy to remember).
The domain itself should be short and concise. Numerous studies by AHREFS and other platforms have shown that short domains rank better. The name should be meaningful and stand for the brand.
From a branding point of view this is decisive and often the name of the site or brand depends on the availability of the domains and not vice versa. You are also welcome to choose your own creations with recognition value.
Finally, you should consider the following points when choosing a domain:
- Short & concise
- No numbers and special characters
- No hyphens (rather suboptimal)
- Suitable for Brand & Page
- .COM extension
2. install WordPress
Then you have to install WordPress. This used to be a very complicated task for beginners. Meanwhile, good hosts offer a 1ClickInstall solution. At Siteground you can easily find a category called AUTOINSTALLERS in the CPANEL. There you can easily install WordPress with one click and define the login credentials. After only a few minutes the site is ready and online.
3. choose theme & upload
After WordPress is ready for use, you have to find the right theme. WordPress alone is very lean and does not look like a professional website. Also the themes provided by WordPress are not necessarily usable. Therefore one should decide at most for a professional WordPress theme.
These are best found on Themeforest or TemplateMonster. The platforms offer a huge selection of professional WordPress themes of different kinds suitable for various niches and industries.
A very good and light Theme is : Astra
4. Theme / Install & Activate Plugins - Done!
Now you have to download the theme and upload it to the new WordPress website. After logging into Worpdress you will find a menu item Design > Themes in the Dashbaord. There you upload the theme, activate it and install it. You should also install all the suggested plugins from the theme manufacturer at the same time.
Furthermore it is recommended to install the previously mentioned plugin from Siteground. The so-called SG Optimizer is a tool specially developed by Siteground which massively increases the performance and performance of the site.
With just a few clicks, the tool can complete the page:
- Encrypt / Activate SSL
- Compress images
- Activate Caching
- CSS, HTML & Java Script Minimize
- Activate CDN
This is one of the main reasons why Siteground is a recommended host. With other hosts you would have to install several plugins instead, which are more complicated and far less functional in practice.
5. produce content
As soon as the website is technically up and running, the theme is installed and everything is activated, the page has to be filled with content. The first thing you should do is to create the most important pages and provide them with content.
This includes the most important pages for a website:
- About us
- Contact us
- Privacy statement
As described before, we recommend to set at least 20 articles as a target and to create BLOG or Magazine under the created tab. Niche sites live from these articles and the better, longer and higher quality they are, the better. As long as you can maintain the quality, more articles are always better. Because more articles mean more traffic and accordingly also higher incomes by Affilliate products.
Monetarization is sometimes the most important aspect and at the same time the point that many do wrong. Showing Random products on affiliate basis and hoping someone clicks on them doesn’t work. People love to buy it but hate it when they get something sold. You should pay close attention to what products you recommend and how you do it.
Products should only be implemented and suggested if they have been tested before and you can say for sure that they are really good. Because readers only come back when the experience they had the first time is good. So you should always recommend the best products and not the ones with the best commission. This is the first and most important rule in affiliate marketing.
In addition, you should ask yourself with each product whether it really solves the problem of the reader. Affiliate products which are only entered into articles as a matter of principle do not convert. You have to solve a problem as effectively as possible and in line with the customer.
With an article about weight loss without sports, a training program makes less sense than weight loss capsules. Unless one speaks out clearly against it and recommends doing sport. The sense behind it is that the product is inserted as organically as possible into the article and solves exactly the problem of the customer / reader.
Create E-Mail List
The most successful affiliate marketers all have an email list and are constantly expanding it. Email marketing is easy, free and still works great. Even in times of Messenger Bots and Whatsapp OptIns you should still build and maintain an email list.
This works best with a so-called freebie. Many already know it and here is an example:
20 seconds after one opened the Website comes a POPUP with the following Headline: “Experience the 5 best tricks of the Hollywood actors to get into Top Shape within days” – “Just enter your e-mail address and get your Hollywood figure” . Therefore one sets a clear Call to Action and lures the user with a free / not rejectable offer into the E-Mail list.
That is the most important trick which one must know thereby.
Jab Jab Right Hook
Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the most successful online marketing and social media experts, explained the Jab Jab Right Hook method in his book. This principle briefly explains a metaphor from boxing after you have to prepare your opponent with two jabs before you can give him the right hook.
Translated into marketing means that you have to give a customer at least two free offers before making an offer to buy. You start with free tips and tricks (Freebie) and continue them with several e-mails, articles or messages.
Afterwards there is to the appropriate topic a ToP offer “e.g. Weightloss Masterclass or Weightloss Bible – the book” which again exactly solves the problem of the customer however is very comprehensive. With the first free tips you build trust and create added value before you make the purchase offer.
- CJ Afiliate
- eBay Partner Network
- Share a Sale
- and much more
There you can find the most different products with different commission models. With software and subscriptions there are often recurring commissions. This is particularly suitable if you want to build up a passive income. Basically, the commissions for digital products are much higher than for real products. An online course or digital training program will pay a commission of more than 50%, while Amazon pays a maximum of 5-7% for a training device.
Of course, there is nothing to stop us from offering our own products. These products ultimately have the best margin and conversion rate. However one should consider that these are also connected with more expenditure.
On the one hand you have to create the products and on the other hand you have to continuously maintain and update them. Usually customer support is also necessary. So you should weigh for yourself if the effort is worth it. Of course you should only take this step if you already earn money with affiliate marketing and get enough traffic on the site.
7. expand - scale - automate
Ultimately, it should not stay with the 20 blog posts unless you are satisfied with the income. However, more and more is possible and there is nothing against expanding the niche site and continuing to produce content. You can still do this process yourself or give it up and hire a blog writer. We have already done this with numerous sites and these continue to grow.
Thus the sides are developed further and scale and on Autopliot. However, one should make sure that the new bogger or writing also delivers corresponding quality and creates added value with the articles.
However, you can also scale a niche site in other ways and simply diversify the traffic sources. Almost all visitors to most niche sites come through Google. However, there is nothing against using platforms like Pinterest and YouTube if the target group allows it.
In the same way one can switch retargeting ads and get visitors who were already on the website back through such ads (e.g. draw attention to new articles).
SEO Crash Course
SEO short for search engine optimization is a key element when it comes to successfully creating a niche site. After all, the traffic in most cases comes from Google. SEO is often regarded as the supreme discipline in online marketing, as it is very difficult to get traffic but it is free and usually very stable. Thus one can win customers free of charge by purposeful SEO.
Even if it seems extremely complicated, SEO can be broken down into the 3 most important factors:
- On Page Optimization / Technical SEO
in exactly that order. First, the page (WordPress) should be optimized from a technical point of view. This process is also called On Page Optimization. Afterwards the right SEO friendly content has to be published. The third factor is backlinks. Back links are more or less recommendations of other websites and increase the domain rating and the relevance of your own website.
A complete SEO tutorial would go beyond the scope of this article, but here is a short overview to understand the most important aspects:
On Page Optimierung
Technical SEO is very dry and boring (for most at least) so here is a list of the most important points a technically optimized website has:
- SSL Encryption
- Fast loading speed
- Responsive / Mobile Optimized
- Title Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- Short URLs
- Scheme Markup
If you consider these points you are already very far and meet the most important criteria for SEO in 2019. Of course there are more but these points already make up 90% of the equation.
High quality and comprehensive content is mandatory. This includes detailed articles with structure and clear structure. Just as with a scientific paper, a clear structure should be created. H1, H2, H3, H4 and H5 headings with table of contents are therefore important.
They also give Google insight into the content and create an overview for the user. Photos, videos and graphics are advantageous if they make the content more understandable, appealing and interesting.
Google also measures how long users are on the site (Dwell Time). If this is short, Google concludes that the content is bad and ranks the page lower. Therfore it makes little sense to manipulate bad content with bought backlinks or similar tactics, because Google recognizes this at the latest if the users are not satisfied with the content.
Backlinks are nothing more than letters of recommendation from other websites. The more you get and the higher the quality, the better. If you get backlinks from bigger authority sites (e.g. Newspaper, FAZ or specific magazines like Men’s Health) the site and the corresponding articles get an enormous boost. Because it is just like a letter of recommendation.
The aim is to get as many backlinks / letters of recommendation as possible from other websites with high authority. The basic requirement for this is a good site with high quality content. Nobody links to spam or dubious sites.
The future of niche websites
Niche sites will continue to exist in the future but the way they are run will definitely change this year. Specifically it is about a basic perspective which many entrepreneurs who earn money online have. So far it has worked very well to create system with certain tricks which run or less on autopilot.
But in the future it will take more than just buying a domain, building a logo with Paint and filling a page with content. The same goes for Shopify Dropshipping, Amazon FBA and other business models. The key word here is branding.
In the long run, brands will always prevail and customers are also increasingly looking for brands. No name products or dubious pages on the Internet are disappearing more and more from the picture surface. Also many affiliate marketers who do not want to adapt have suffered some setbacks in recent years and rightly so.
But not only customers but also big search engines like Google, YouTube and Amazon prefer real brands more and more. The ads are cheaper for such brands and also the organic rankings are higher.
The reason? Well, more and more people are trying to earn money on the Internet through black hat marketing and dubious techniques. For this reason, these search engines also prefer the customers of large brands which have been around for years, are in the public eye and are exposed to a certain reputation.
Thus the trend goes completely clearly in the direction Branding, transparency and values create. This also applies to niche sites, blogs and websites. It makes sense to spend a little extra time and energy on building a brand in the future.
This includes name, logo, corporate design and, in the next instance, the development of a corporate identity to a certain degree. In addition, brands are usually on the move on several channels and market themselves via the Omni Channel Approach.
We as an agency had very positive experiences with niche sites and have now gone the extra mile and started building them into brands. Specifically, we developed new corporate designs for the respective pages and expanded the content. Meanwhile we have even the first own products in development.
Also that is open to everyone the niche sides can grow upward and develop themselves further. That’s also the nice thing about it. You don’t have to be satisfied with affiliate commissions but you can keep the full margin by launching your own products.
You should also be patient because it can take up to 6 months from experience to achieve the final rankings on Google.
Niche websites can be a lucrative way to earn money online if you have the necessary patience and know-how. In comparison to other online business models, a good niche site can bring you very close to a passive income, usually for years. In addition, there are hardly any barriers to entry in terms of age, gender, education or other factors. Even with less than 100 USD starting capital you can build a very profitable website.
It is important to focus on quality and added value. Because successful niche sites solve the problems with content and products from the searcher. That’s why you have to deal with the niche or the topic to become really successful with niche sites and affiliate marketing.
In the future, aspects such as branding and brand building will become increasingly important because the Internet is full of dubious and insecure sites. Not only the users but also the biggest search engines of the world like Amazon, Google and YouTube prefer real brands with a certain authority. You should keep this in mind if you want to build successful niche sites in the long run.