The Biggest Mistake I Made Through The Niche Site Challenge
The Niche Site Challenge was a huge success. I’m pretty confident in my ability to create websites in short order that can make money and pay for my stupid new hobby ideas act as online assets for years to come.
However, there are limitations to the guidelines presented by the Challenge, and whilst people with big brains probably could have avoided it, I managed to make a big mistake with a lot of my sites, and thus hamper their profitability in the short term.
This can be corrected by correcting one short-sighted error. That error is:
Not Thinking Long Term
Towards the end of the Challenge, I wrote about how you could make a niche site slightly more complex and that would pay dividends. The limitations of the challenge; niche sites with only basic SEO, no marketing, no products and nothing complex; meant that I ignored the basic facts I’m going to talk about in this article.
Essentially, your niche website is a long term asset from the minute you rent that domain name for $10. You should treat it as such. Even if you buy a domain and sit on it (which you should never do because it makes you a dick) you’ve acquired a long-term asset.
The Niche Site Challenge was all about creating websites that did well on SEO and had very little in the way of authority building going on. After all, the whole idea of a niche site as we niche site challengers defined it was that people would click your headline, read your article, click your affiliate link and then go and buy the product, never to be seen again.
This is incredibly inefficient in a number of ways.
Firstly… that’s a lost visitor. You should grab them.
Secondly… someone else is getting the benefit of your hard work.
Thirdly… you’re writing loads of material anyway. There’s no sense in not building some better mechanisms into the process.
A Little Authority Goes A Long Way
My niche sites with email lists do better than those without them.
My sites where I write more “authority-style” articles do better than the ones that don’t.
The sites where I’ve designed a nice home page tend to outperform the ones which are just a collection of latest articles.
Now, all of those things might be coincidence and you’d have to weigh up the extra work versus the potential income gains, but I’d suggest that a little bit of authority goes a long way. By that I mean think of your website as an authority source.
Even if all you do is acknowledge the fact you’re a human being and say “Hey, I’m Jamie and I’m writing this because X and I recommend these products because Y” you’ll probably do better.
Experimenting is key but think in terms of a ratio of say 30% authority posts, 60% reviews or whatnot. I’ve written about why you should write how-to articles on your niche sites before. Writing authority articles has the same rationale but just extends it further. Make your website about your experience and not about the products themselves, and you’ll find you do better. (Though again, experiment and don’t take my word for it.)
Outside Of That… Long Term Thinking
Outside of a specifically designed challenge, there’s no reason to think of any website as tangibly different. I’m not a fan of the authority v. niche site dichotomy. All of these websites, landing pages, email generation landers are all created for a few limited goals:
- Get people interested in your funnel
- Get people into your funnel
- Have them pay you for something or in some way
- Keep them in your funnel
The Niche Site Challenge is a worthwhile challenge because it teaches you how to build sites that convert, but just because the challenge is limited, doesn’t mean your site has to be limited. As always, experiment, take what works, scrap what doesn’t and build better systems.
By better systems, you could write books or compile them from your articles (hence more need for authority stuff and how-to information) or do entirely different monetisation things. You can collect emails for various things and build lead magnets based on your posts.
The list goes on… but look at the four bullet points above. You can use a niche site for all of those things. Every website you build can be an asset in various ways for years to come. And it should be. If you’re putting in the hours to make a site a success, then why would you settle for less success when you could have more?
Don’t limit yourself.