This is the first in a six-part series titled “Up and Running with Niche Sites for Beginners“. Check back weekly for the final five articles in this series on how to build a niche website.
Niche sites are a popular term that a lot of internet marketers are throwing around these days – and the main way that I currently make my passive income. Chances are if you ask any real marketer how to make money online, they are going to tell you, “Find a niche, and make it your own.” So what exactly does that mean? This article is going to explain exactly what a niche site is and how they have made a lot of people very wealthy.
What is a Niche Website?
To start with, let’s define the word “niche.” A niche is officially defined as a small enclosure that is set back. It’s a corner, so to speak. When you start up a niche website you are placing your focus on a small corner of the market that nobody else has yet capitalized on. For example, there are a lot of websites that sell electronics. If you start up a brand new electronics website you’re going to have to do a lot of work to get it to rank up with the likes of Sony or even eBay.
However, if you started up a website that promoted electric toothbrushes, you would have refined that market down to a much more targeted audience. It’s still fairly broad though, so you need to narrow it down even further. Make it electric toothbrushes for senior citizens, and you have what is known as a niche product.
Once you have a highly refined, specialized niche product it’s much easier to build a website that will rank at the very top of the search engines for those specialized keywords. It’s still going to take a lot of research to find the right keywords, and even more to start making money from it, but by starting out with a niche product you already have your foot in the door.
Monetizing Your Niche Website: The First Step
There is a lot more to learn and understand about actually building your site, but let’s take a minute to go over the most important part of your niche site: making money.
There are basically two ways that a niche website makes money:
- Pay Per Click Advertising
- Affiliate Programs
How to Use Pay Per Click
Pay per click, or PPC, ads are advertisements that you allow businesses to place on your site in exchange for a small royalty for each time a visitor clicks on the ad. The most common PPC program is Google Adsense. You can set up a free account with Adsense that will manage the advertisements and the subsequent clicks, and you simply place an HTML code into your site.
Is Google Adsense the only program offering PPC ads? No, but it is the most popular simply because the Google search engine is the most used search engine in the world. That means that more people have the opportunity to see the ads, leading to more click-thru’s. Yahoo and Bing offer similar services, and third-party companies, while not as well known, provide a higher cost per click for publishers.
Some of these sites are:
Setting up PPC ads on your niche website is easy and most important, it is free. One of the biggest benefits of niche sites is not the amount of wealth that they can provide, but the fact that investment capital is practically zero. Besides paying for a domain (and you really don’t even need to do that) and hosting fees, you can start up a profitable online business through a niche website without paying a dime.
The Basics of Affiliate Programs
Okay, so let’s take a look at affiliate programs now. Affiliate programs are sponsored by either a direct company or another e-commerce website (Amazon.com, for example) and they pay advertisers to promote their products – in exchange for a commission of course.
To start using an affiliate program, you have to go to their site and usually at the footer of the website will be a group of internal links. Find the one that mentions their affiliate program and proceeds to sign up. These programs are becoming a lot more popular these days; so many sites have actually moved the link to their affiliate page to the top of the site. Here are some of the biggest affiliate programs that people are using to monetize their niche sites:
- Amazon Associates
- eBay Partner Network
- Commission Junction
Sometimes the approval process for an affiliate program can take a few days. The eBay Partner Network, in particular, will take quite a while and you will need to have a website already set up that they can view. The same goes for several of the Commission Junction publishers. The work doesn’t stop once you are accepted into an affiliate program; you need to choose a product to promote and then truly “make it your own.”
The Final Step: Promoting Your Niche Website
Setting the website up is easy; promoting it is going to take some work, especially if this is your first niche site. Promotion and SEO go hand in hand, so the first thing you need to do is optimize the content for search engines and for keywords that you pick out. Let’s go back to the previous example: electric toothbrushes for seniors. If that is your primary keyword, you want to place that exact phrase several times on each page of your niche site. Stick it into articles or product reviews that you write so that when people search for that phrase, Google will consider your site to be the most relevant result.
You’re going to want to take this a step further by making use of article marketing. Article marketing is writing articles (again, optimized to your keywords) and placing them on free article directories with a link back to your niche site.
Building a niche website is not hard to do; in fact, it’s a lot easier than most people think. The most important thing is to go into the process with a clear understanding of what exactly a niche site is and how they can make money. Once you understand the basics you can try it out for yourself and soon you’ll be well on your way to earning a solid passive income online.