When I began exploring affiliate marketing and someone told me to build a niche site, I was like… “what is a niche website?!”. It was quite hard to grasp all the this niche website meaning stuff. I get it now. Hopefully, I can help you understand it too.
A niche website is a site that focuses on a smaller part (i.e.:, niche) of a bigger market providing helpful content that answers questions or solves problems. If its niche has enough demand, it has the potential to generate a side or full-time income through affiliate marketing, display advertising, your own products (books, courses) or services (consulting). (E.g.: “Nutrition” is a niche of the “Health” market. “Nutrition for runners” is a sub-niche of the “Nutrition” niche.)
“Niche”, “niche site”, “niche website for affiliates” are common doubts — I had them myself — but they can be cleared out in just a few minutes. That’s exactly what I’ll be doing today.
Plus explaining you why it’s so important for your website to have a very specific focus and teaching you how to find a niche and how to build a successful niche site.
I’ll even give you some niche website ideas and examples, some success stories and much more!
What you’ll learn:
- What a niche website is
- The internet marketing version of niche markets
- The importance of having a very specific focus for your website
- How to niche down
- How to choose a niche for your website
- How to build a successful niche website
- Reasons why you should or shouldn’t build a niche site
- Some niche website ideas and a few real-life success stories
- Niche site examples
- Niche site types and sizes
Let’s get right into it!
There’s an audio version — an actual podcast episode — of this article, too, if you prefer listening to this piece of content instead of reading it.
Just hit ‘Play’ on the player below or download the MP3 file (right-click and “Save as”) to your computer or device for later listening.
How Are Niche Markets Translated Into Internet Marketing
When you’re just starting out at trying to make money online, you often get the advice that the best path to follow is to build a niche website — which is what I also recommend for the several reasons I’ll explain throughout this post.
If you’re already struggling to wrap your head around everything you need to do in order to start an online business, you’re most probably going to feel even more overwhelmed with all the new concepts and terms you need to understand.
It’s like learning a whole new language in a short period.
You have to know how to speak it, you don’t know how to do it yet and things only seem to be getting harder for you as go after your goals.
I remember that a while ago — not that long — I was also having a hard time trying to answer this question that kept bouncing in my mind:
What is a niche website, really?
If you go and search for the term on Wikipedia or in a dictionary, you’ll find that a niche is a smaller subset of a larger market.
That’s fine and all, but…
How does it actually translate into websites, internet marketing and online business?
Well, that’s exactly what I am here for.
Let’s learn all about what niche sites are!
What Is a Niche Website?
This is my definition of niche website:
While targeting a very specific term that people type into the search engines, a niche site offers its visitors helpful and quality content that aims to answer a question or to solve a problem that those searchers share among themselves.
Let me simplify it for you!
What Is a Niche?
A narrow group of people in a larger market with a common particular interest is what we call a “niche”.
In other words, a niche is a subset or smaller part of a larger market.
Take the “Fishing” market (which is represented by zone #1 in the image above), as an example.
The “Fishing” market encompasses all the different types of fishing you can think of, all the different fishing techniques, all the gear, all the different types of fish you can eat, the fishermen or fisherwomen themselves, books about fishing, fishing magazines and fishing TV shows and podcasts like the Woman Angler & Adventurer Podcast and so on.
In short, the “Fishing” market relates to everything about fishing.
A subset of that market would be the “river fishing” niche (zone #2 in the image) which is everything that relates to fishing in a river: from fishing rods to river fishes and river fishing books and so on, everything river fishing. You get the idea.
If you wanted to dive deeper (hey, not in the river!), you would have the “river fishing for trout” niche (zone 3 in the image) which, by now, you should have already understood, relates to everything about trout fishing in rivers.
Wanna go even deeper?
Let’s niche down a bit more… and we’ll have the “river fishing for trout books” niche (zone 4 of the image).
This niche or, rather, this particular topic is what would people interested in it would search for online.
And they would do it by entering niche-related keywords into the search engines.
What Is a Keyword, Keyword Term or Keyphrase in SEO?
The very specific term “river fishing for trout books” that people would type into the search engines is referred to as keyword, keyword term or key phrase in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) world.
What Is the Goal of a Niche Website?
The goal of a niche site is to present its visitors with helpful and quality content that addresses whatever it is they are searching for thus answering the question or solving the problem that those visitors share among themselves.
Continuing with our fishing example:
Say you were going to be building a niche site targeting the “river fishing for trout books” keyphrase.
You would then have to create quality content discussing, reviewing and / or promoting that particular kind of books (or even your own books about the subject, if you had them) to help your visitors / potential customers find what they came in looking for and keep them happy.
Why Is It So Important to Have a Very Specific Focus?
If your aim is to generate passive income from your website, then it is very important that you understand what all of this stuff truly represents.
Your niche site’s main keyword really needs to be very focused, very specific.
Going Broad Means Too Much Competition
Going after larger, broader markets is not going to work for you.
Not, unless you happen to have SEO superpowers (like some kind of hyper productive search engine optimization Einstein) or you have a dedicated SEO team and an endless budget…
The thing is:
Broader niches are simply way too competitive.
A broader niche like “river fishing” might have a lot of organic searches (from people typing that specific term into Google and other search engines), but it might also have a ton of competition (from lots of strong, authoritative sites like Wikipedia and fishing magazines’ websites).
Again, these are MERE EXAMPLES.
A more specific niche like “river fishing for trout” has fewer searches, but less competition, too.
An even more specific niche like “river fishing for trout books” has even less people searching for it, but much less competition, at the same time.
And it’s not only that!
Being Specific Equals Higher Earning Potential
I’m glad that we are forced (sort of) to be more specific due to the HUGE competition for broader niches.
The fact is that more focused topics will earn you MORE money.
Because people looking for broader terms are usually only searching for information — their purchasing interest (so to speak) is not at its highest peak yet.
Whereas those searching for more specific terms already have a more mature understanding of what it is they want and need.
Be at the End of the Purchase Funnel
Therefore, if you build a site around a more focused topic and deliver that information to your visitors (let me repeat myself here: helpful content that solves a problem or answers a question), you’ll be that much closer to making a sale or earning an affiliate commission.
The more advanced potential customers are in their purchase funnel, the greater the chances you’ll have to convert them into buyers.
That being said:
Be as specific as you possibly can.
Put yourself (and your niche site) at end of the purchase funnel to increase your conversion rates.
Broad Niche VS Specific Niche
So that we can clearly see the advantages and disadvantages of each option, let’s put a “broad niche” against a “specific niche” in a mano a mano fight.
Imagine that you had decided to focus your niche site on a broader niche like… (let’s stick to our example here) “river fishing”.
It would be a bad decision and this is why:
- It would be super hard to get a decent amount of organic search engine traffic due to the enormous amount of competition from stronger sites dominating the SERPs (search engine results pages).
- The few visitors you would get most probably would just be there looking for general information about “river fishing”. They would only be curious about that topic and would probably be located at the start of the purchase funnel — in the “Awareness” stage.
- And, due to the fact that your niche website wouldn’t be targeting a very specific topic, it would be far away from the end of the purchase funnel – the “Purchase” stage – thus, it would make you (virtually) no sales or affiliate commissions.
If you, instead, had niched down and built a very specific niche website focusing on one particular topic like “river fishing for trout books”.
It would be a much better decision:
- You would have an interesting amount of visitors, due to the low competition and very specific subject you would be targeting.
- Those visitors would probably be located at the end of the purchase funnel, with their wallets opened, ready to buy a book on “river fishing for trout”.
- And, due to the fact that your niche site would be just what they were looking for, your chances of making a sale or earning a commission from promoting affiliate products (like books on the subject from Amazon) would be that much higher.
Niche Site Examples
I think the best way to help you better understand “what is a niche website” is to give you some niche site examples and a few broad site examples, too.
Niche site examples:
- A site focused on kitchen ovens
- A site focused on waterproof digital cameras.
- A blog about “swimmers competing for the Summer Olympic Games”.
- A blog about politics in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. (My name is Louie, but I’m not from Louisville, but I guess I should be, right?!)
Broad or non-niche site examples:
- An online news site.
- A blog about world politics.
- A blog about all kinds of sports.
- An online store like Amazon or eBay.
How to Niche Down
Okay! Now that you have a clearer idea about the matter at hand, you’re probably thinking to yourself:
«Alright! I think I got it. I now fully understand what a niche is and what a niche website is but… how do I niche down in order to pick a more specific topic?»
That’s what I’m going to be teaching you next.
Let’s see how it’s done.
Market: Sports > Specific Niche: 2020 Summer Olympics Swimmers
Instead of a broader site about “sports” in general, a niche of the sports market would be “swimming”.
And an even more specific niche would be “swimmers competing for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games”.
Market: World Politics > Specific Niche: Louisville Politics
Instead of a less focused site about “world politics”, a niche would be “Kentucky politics” and a more specific niche would be “politics in Louisville, Kentucky, USA”.
Market: Tech > Specific Niche: Waterproof Digital Cameras
Instead of a less specific site about “tech and gadgets”, a niche would be “cameras” and a more specific niche would be “waterproof digital cameras”.
Do you get my point? 🙂
Some Niche Website Ideas and a few Real-Life Success Stories
Let me now give you a few real-life niche website ideas based on some success stories I found from expert bloggers and internet marketers.
Following what they do is always a good move!
They have their experience and results to back them up, right?
Training Niche Websites
Once he found out that each US state had different requirements, Pat wrote one post per state explaining what those were for people interested in applying for security guard registration.
The well-known online entrepreneur and podcaster was also smart with his monetization strategy.
He contacted security guard training centers across the United States and asked them to sponsor his site or to register to be listed as a school on the site (in exchange for a monthly fee).
Besides that, he used Indeed (which is a job listing website) to feature security guard jobs and earn additional income and he also put some AdSense ads on his site.
Pat Flynn took his website to the #1 ranking spot in Google for the keyword “security guard training” in a matter of a few months and later grew it into an authority site.
This was not his first attempt at building niche sites about training, though.
Pat had his first online success with his “Green Exam Academy” blog that helped fellow architects like him pass the LEED exam. This was actually how he started his very successful online business career.
An Online Course on… Online Courses
Another podcaster I know that goes by the name of Jacques Hopkins reached success by training people online, too. He created an online course teaching people how to play piano which was huge hit.
So much so that he later decided to create an online course training people on how to create successful online courses. You can find him at TheOnlineCourseGuy.com
Here’s a good niche website idea for you:
If you know / have a particular skill (like programming, drawing, playing an instrument, singing, video editing, etc.) and are comfortable teaching others either through text, audio or video, build a training niche site about that topic.
Product Range Niche Websites
A few years back, Spencer Haws, known online entrepreneur and founder of the Niche Pursuits blog, also created a niche website publicly — as I did in my Niche Site Project Case Study — and he focused it on a specific product range: survival knives.
Instead of targeting just one brand or model of knives, Haws took the product range approach and covered the best survival knives on the market.
Sometime later, in version 2 of Spencer’s Niche Site Project, his student Perrin Carrell followed the same approach and reached success beyond expectation in less than 6 months.
Another niche website idea for you:
Build a niche site targeting a specific product range. It could be winter bed blankets, outdoor ovens, swimming pool chairs, men’s electric shavers and so on.
Nutrition / Fitness / Health Niche Websites
In 2015, Neil Patel, famous blogger and internet marketer, built a niche website publicly, as well, and he decided (or, rather, his audience did) to create a niche site about nutrition.
Although nutrition was (and still is, of course) a hyper competitive niche, Patel set out to make $100,000 a month within the 12 months that followed. And he was eventually able to reach his goals.
Yet another niche website idea for you:
Build a niche website targeting health-related issues like getting fit, eating properly, exercising regularly, playing a sport, relaxing and sleeping, etc.
For Even More Niche Website Ideas
For additional niche website ideas, be sure to visit NicheHacks.com.
Niche Hacks is a blog founded by niche expert Stuart Walker that addresses the hundreds or thousands of different niches you can explore, gives you detailed reports and stats about each one of them and tells you how to best tackle them.
Niche Due Diligence
Regardless of the niche website idea you end up utilizing, always do your homework first.
Don’t forget about the level of competition in your niche, potential profitability and check to see whether or not you’re actually allowed to give advice on issues like health and nutrition!
Other Questions People Have About Niche Site Types & Sizes
Niche websites come in different types and sizes (and, why not… sometimes even flavors, too) and their definition has evolved over time.
What follows are a few other questions people generally have about niche sites, their types and their sizes and the differences between them explained.
What Is a Micro Niche Website?
A micro niche website is a very small niche site with 1-5 pages in size generally targeting an extremely precise subject like a specific product model.
(E.g.: “Olympus OM-D E‑M5 Mark II”).
What Is a Niche Site?
As I explained before, a niche site focuses on a particular interest that is shared by a group of people. By nature, topics have different sizes and different amounts of people looking for them.
That being said, the size or, in other words, the number of pages a niche website will have depends on two main factors: how much there is to talk about the topic it targets and, obviously, how many pages the site’s owner is willing to publish.
And, also, the number of visitors a niche website will be able to bring in depends on the demand (the number of people searching for the keywords it is targeting), the level of competition there is in said niche and the number of high-ranking pages.
What Is an Authority Website?
The definition of “authority website” is one of those cases where there has been a clear change throughout time.
The guys over at AuthorityHacker.com, Gael and Mark, for example, usually update their view on the matter every year.
I used to see authority websites as big sites focusing on several closely-related niches with, at least, 200 pages of high-ranking, high-quality content getting thousands of visitors per month.
Today, even a small niche website with just a few pages can be or become an authority website.
All a website needs to be viewed as an authority in its niche or market is to have quality content ranking in Google’s top ranking spots (and / or other search engines), be trustworthy to its visitors and build a brand name for itself.
Put simply, an authority website is the go-to resource on its target subject for its audience.
A good example of a small authority website is 10Beasts.com — with only a few pages of product review articles it has become a known brand in its space and has generated thousands of dollars in affiliate commissions.
Do Niche Sites Still Work?
The answer is a definite “yes”.
Niche sites definitely still work and they’ll keep on working for a lot of time, for everything that I’ve already mentioned plus what I’m about to reveal next.
In fact, they deliver faster results and easier to get started at and run than most online business models.
Should You Start a Niche Site or… Not Really?
There are several reasons as to why you should consider building a niche website and a few other reasons why you should rather ditch the idea altogether.
Let’s check them out really quickly.
Reasons Why You Should Consider Building a Niche Website
1. It’s a low overhead kind of business and it’s easy to get started.
A niche website is probably the cheapest- and easiest-to-get-started-at online business model there is.
To get things moving, all you need is a domain name and a hosting plan. It’s also easy to start and set things up — although it will you take a considerable amount of work to reach your goals as nothing of value is built overnight.
2. It delivers faster results.
As far as traffic generation and income generation is concerned, niche blogging usually delivers quicker results than most other online business models.
Now, it’s true that you are never going to make money online in the blink of an eye.
But you’ll definitely get faster results building out a niche website comparing with creating a blog that talks about everything and trying to build an audience around it which could take years to accomplish.
3. It’s a great passive-income opportunity.
Although it used to be easier years back, you can still start a niche website that will run and earn you money almost on autopilot.
It can seriously become an amazing passive-income business — as long as you do it right and are able to reach that stage of growth.
No doubt it can take you some time and effort to get there, but the rewards can be very exciting and totally worth it.
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Consider Starting a Niche Website
1. It’s not a turnkey system to make money online.
Honestly, are there any legit get-rich-quick schemes?
If you have found one, I’m willing to bet big time that it most probably is a scam.
Building a niche site takes a lot of time, effort and work.
Besides having to set everything up to begin with, you — among other important tasks — have to publish quality content and, then, you will have to wait (and keep working while you’re at it) until some initial results start showing up.
Simply put, things just don’t happen overnight.
Especially now that Google’s algorithms updates have made it even harder to rank fast, let alone the time it will take Google to find, crawl and index your site in the first place and not mentioning the chances of getting your young site in Google’s sandbox for a while.
2. Income generating potential may be limited.
A niche site focuses on a subset of a larger market; meaning a relatively small group of people.
That being said, you may very well find yourself reaching a limit in what concerns your monthly income.
Unless you expand and turn your site into a multi-niche site by exploring closely related topics, it might happen that you hit your income brick wall at some point in time.
Nevertheless, this also means that you can set things up to run practically by themselves and have extra time to start a brand new website targeting a different niche that earns your pocket additional revenue.
How Do You Choose a Niche for Your Website?
Another thing people also usually ask is:
«How do I find a niche for my website?»
I wrote an extensive article on the “how to choose a niche” topic before but, for now, let me just mention a couple of things on the subject.
I think there are two main paths to follow when picking out a good niche:
Picking a topic you’re passionate about can have a huge impact on the quality and quantity of the content you’ll be publishing and on the effort and dedication you’ll put into your niche site.
Talking about something you’re interested in is a lot easier and incredibly more pleasurable; it won’t feel like actual work.
Whenever you need to research for information, it’ll also be more interesting for you to read all you need. After all, it’s something you enjoy learning about.
It will allow you to build trust with your audience because such passion can and will be felt by those who will visit your website and consume your content — they’ll be able to get that you truly know (and love) whatever it is you’re talking about.
Plus, when or if things go sour you’ll at least have something that you’re proud of and it will make you keep going until the day that success finally knocks at your door.
I would say that the passion path should be taken if you’re just building your first niche website.
This is even truer due to all of the additional things and skills you need to learn and master when you’re entering the online marketing world for the first time.
If you’re done talking about your passions or you’re aiming to build a niche site empire (a portfolio of several niche websites) or, even, if you can’t find your passion (People, come on! Where is the love, the love, the love?), you should go where the opportunity is.
You’ll need to find a profitable niche market and build a website around that specific topic.
Bear in mind, though, that it’ll be harder for you and you’re going to struggle, because you won’t have your passion to support and push you forward.
Regardless, if you do things right, you can go a long way — especially if you’re more experienced in niche marketing. Besides, you can outsource some of work you need done (like content writing and other repetitive tasks).
Whichever one of these routes you choose to pursue, you ideally need to pick a niche that has a considerable amount of people interested in it and a fair amount of demand for related products.
In other words, you need to make sure your niche is profitable — Is there something to sell? Is there enough demand? — and that you can drive visitors to your website (meaning, there’s not too much competition).
How to Build a Successful Niche Site
In order to build a successful niche site that earns you money from affiliate marketing, you will definitely have to put a lot of work, effort and time into it.
Those days when you could quickly rank and make a profit out of a 5-page micro niche site are long gone. You might still do it, but things are much tougher nowadays.
Like I said earlier, all major search engines have had their algorithms updated several times and are now way more demanding in what they look at before featuring a site or a page at the top of their results pages.
You need to produce quality and helpful content that (I’ll have to repeat myself here) answers a question or solves a problem for your readers.
Why Is Answering a Question or Solving a Problem So Important for Google?
Google gauges the satisfaction a user has when they land on a webpage by measuring the amount of time they spend there — this is what’s called “Bounce Rate”.
(Of course, this is only one of the hundreds of ranking factors that Google tracks.)
The lower the bounce rate — the higher the time spent on your site — the more trust and authority your site you’ll gain in Google’s eyes.
Google is trying to get closer and closer to the way a human being thinks and recognizes quality. So they have come up with all these countless ranking factors to understand how good a site or a webpage is for a visitor.
Google wants to offer high quality content to its users (or else they’ll just stop using it, right?) and it aims to deliver the best possible results so that searchers can easily find whatever they are looking for.
If your site provides all of that, the search engines will fall in love with you (which is easy since you’re so adorable… to them, putting all that good stuff out there for your readers to enjoy).
How to Drive Traffic to Your Niche Website?
You have four possible ways to get people to visit your site.
1. Organic Traffic
Once you choose a niche, it’s time to begin publishing content and using SEO tactics to drive visitors to your site from the search engines.
Since your niche site will still be a brand new one (therefore it will have a low level of authority), you should bet on low-hanging fruit keywords. Meaning, low-competition, long-tail keywords and target them on your posts.
2. Mailing List
One of the best ways to drive traffic to your website – and, at the same time, an important step toward your overall success as an online entrepreneur — is to start collecting email subscribers right from day one.
Make sure to get people to subscribe to your mailing list so you’ll have another source of targeted traffic essentially for free.
3. Social Traffic
You can also take advantage of the different social networks to bring traffic to your website.
Establish your presence and share your content where your audience usually hangs out the most on social media.
4. Paid Traffic
If you’re not willing to wait for your SEO efforts to work or social traffic doesn’t work for you, you can take the paid traffic route.
I published an expert roundup article with some good paid traffic tips a while back, so take a look and see how you can leverage paid ads to boost website traffic.
Turning Your Niche Site into an Authority Website
Putting “helping people” as your number one priority (as opposed to just trying to make money out of them) is the first step to reach your goals and achieve success.
Obviously, earning money is important, too.
But that will come in the process of striving to become a better and better resource, almost as a by-product of your efforts to serve your readers, subscribers, listeners, viewers and followers.
If you’re consistent about delivering quality and focus on creating something that genuinely helps your audience (either by adding new content or improving already existing one), you’ll eventually become a trustworthy resource in your topic.
Your niche site will then become a true authority website in its own right.
I hope this resource here has finally helped clear the “what is a niche website” doubt that pops up in the mind of many of us have at some point in time.
I’ve shown you that a niche website is an online resource that focuses on a very specific interest (subject, topic or theme) that is shared by a group of people (niche).
A good niche site should provide well-organized, useful and quality content (be it in the form of text, images, audio or video) whose aim is to answer the question or to solve the problem that drove people to that web property.
The better it fulfills its purpose, the more trust it will earn from its audience and, consequently, the more authority it will gain from search engines like Google up to the point of becoming an authority website that will stand the test of time.
If you’re building a niche site for the first time, you should start by picking out a theme that you genuinely like to talk about so it does not really feel like work to you.
If you’ve already turned all your passions into niche websites and would like to start another one, you should consider all good opportunities that come your way, regardless of your interest in them.
First niche site or not, you ought to take the number of monthly searches, level of competition, products being sold and potential profitability into consideration.
Above all, be prepared for a lot of work and be patient while you wait for your niche website to grow and show results.
The seeds you plant today will blossom into beautiful flowers and fruits to be harvested later on, if you take good care of your plantation properly.
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