Niche Sites 2018 – My Top Ten Tips
Alright, I don’t have much time today. As always though, we’ve got Niche Site Saturday and we need to have a post.
It’s the last Niche Site Saturday of 2017… and so I’ll give my top ten quick tips for how to build niche sites in 2018. These are a culmination of all the things I’ve learned since the close of the Niche Site Challenge back in April.
1. Think About The Audience First And Foremost
Most niche sites of mine have failed because I took a product-first or idea-first approach to the niche.
For instance, you might think, “I know… cycling equipment is expensive and uncompetitive. Maybe I’ll create cyclingstuffreviews.com.”
The idea is fine and the products are fine, but think how your site appears.
Someone finds it on Twitter or Google or whatever, and they see it’s called “CyclingStuffReviews.com” and they see that all the posts are about the best cycling equipment.
They’re going to get that little red siren whirling in their head.
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Whereas DaveTalksCycling.com might have a ton of reviews, a couple of how-to guides and a nicer domain name.
Same material, different impression entirely.
2. Forget Bells and Whistles Tech-Wise
I know that pretty much everyone who writes about niche sites tends to tell you that you need super-duper everything… affiliate links included.
Some people have asked me about using scarcity plugins, complex email marketing systems and getting all kinds of super-duper hosting things to speed up their niche site.
Those things are unnecessary.
Sure, if you’re running a big site or you have multiple websites or whatever, you’ll want the professional option.
And getting a flashy bit of kit or a new widget that does something specific can be a great investment.
But if you’re looking to create a little website to practice your online marketing skills and maybe make a little money on the side, then you don’t need all of that.
You need basic hosting, a domain name, maybe a premium theme and the will to sit, write and learn.
Worry about the gadgetry later.
3. Structure Is Important
This follows on from point one. A lot of guys have asked me about how I come up with material for my niche sites and variations on that.
What they get wrong isn’t picking a niche that’s rubbish (in most cases.) It’s not even really a depth-of-topic issue. It’s a structural problem.
Here’s an example I used way back:
Imagine you’re creating a men’s fashion niche site.
You might want to have different categories for different products:
Now, you might find some good affiliate programs and get five posts in each category.
But then what?
If those are your categories, then you’ll struggle to come up with easy, new and exciting content.
You could struggle, but you don’t have to. Instead, use these categories:
- Product Reviews
- News In Fashion
- Weird Stuff
In most niches, there’s always fresh news. In men’s fashion, some celebrity guy goes out wearing something cool/stupid every single day and ends up in the news.
That means every day you can rewrite something and point it to your affiliate links.
It means you don’t have to come up with material, because the world is doing that for you.
4. You Can Make Money Just With Affiliate Links, But Probably Shouldn’t
Let’s talk about monetising your niche site.
You can make money with just affiliate links. But you probably shouldn’t.
From completely anecdotal data, you can throw an ebook on your niche site and charge $10 for it and people are going to pay providing your site is good. This won’t affect the amount of affiliate sales you get.
It is extra money.
When you’re spending your time, energy and brain power creating a money-making resource, your ultimate goal is that it makes you money. If that money comes from affiliate links, then great. But some guys are afraid to try other stuff and they shouldn’t be.
It’s your website. Do what’s best for you.
5. Your Voice
A few guys have sent me examples of their niche sites.
A lot of them have a great writing ability. They also pick good niches. The technical stuff sometimes gets them or they do things slightly wrong, but that’s not a big deal.
By far the biggest thing holding people back (apart from the stuff I mentioned above) is getting the voice wrong.
It’s kind of like in copywriting in general. Everyone recommends reading Gary Halbert – and that’s a great idea, because his writing style is perfect for soft-selling and copywriting.
But they then fail to realise that Gary is writing in a specific voice to people like them.
If Gary Halbert were writing for old ladies, then his style would need to be different. Yet you get people writing to old ladies selling them on funeral plans in that slick 70’s hustler way… and it doesn’t work.
The technique is right, but they fail to take audience into account.
It’s the same with niche sites. Most guys building niche sites are in their 20s-30s, so young, entrepreneurially minded, male and slightly dorky. (No offence, we’re all in this together.)
This is great, but you can’t create a girl’s perfume site using the same voice you talk to your buddies at the bar.
Remember the audience and tailor your voice to it. Go to relevant forums and see how your target market actually talk. Sign up and try and fit in. It’ll be worth it.
6. It’s All In The Writing
Assuming you’ve heeded the above advice, realise it’s all in the writing. There are a billion hustlers who’ll sell you on complicated SEO packages, shoutouts, ebooks and ecourses… some of them will be good and some of them won’t.
If your writing is good, useful and you pick good products, then your writing will do the work. If your writing is terrible, then you won’t sell anything regardless of the money you throw at ancillary stuff.
7. Marketing Your Niche Site
People go to La-La land when it comes to marketing their niche site.
The best marketing you can do is to put out relevant and useful content for people. It’s all in the writing.
Now, if you want to do outreach, then keep it simple. Start with SEO and build towards SEO traffic. Then take part in the communities you joined (because I told you to above.) Link to your news stuff or your how-tos (and not directly to your product reviews.)
Join reddit. Post in relevant subreddits.
Join Twitter conversations.
Above all, don’t spend too much time or effort on marketing a niche site. Whatever you can automate, do, and otherwise throw in links where they’re helpful and relevant.
8. Retaining Readers
For the most part, you don’t need to retain readers.
You want them to click on, read your article and then click off to purchase something.
This will make you money.
However, we’re all about maximising money for the smallest effort.
So think about what happens when your readers don’t do the above.
Give them a few more options to be sold on something else, and failing that, put them in an email list so that you can send them more opportunities to buy later.
Don’t overcomplicate it, but consider the options.
9. Keyword Research For Niche Sites 2018
This is another place where people will overcomplicate stuff.
Keyword research consists of a few things;
- Finding search terms that people look for
- Making sure the search terms aren’t too competitive
For both, I recommend getting James Holt’s Easy Money book, which’ll take you through the technical side of keyword research.
But otherwise it’s another, “Don’t complicate” process. Go on a forum or Reddit and see what questions people are asking. Those are the things they’re searching for, and most of them aren’t all that competitive (because otherwise they’d not be asking the question – they would have found it with a basic search.)
I realise that I’m getting into some pretty niche territory with the last few points.
Everything I’ve worked out started from the position of, “I don’t know what will work… let’s try this.”
This is the best way to approach niche sites. There are a lot of moving pieces and each niche site is different. Yet none of the pieces themselves are especially complex.
You don’t know about SEO? Write an article and see what happens. Then look up some best practices and write another and see if it’s better than the first.
Can’t get traffic? Try posting your site somewhere.
Got traffic but no sales? Try promoting a different product, writing a different type of post or whatever else.
Ultimately, most people can write useful and targeted information and thus there’s no reason they can’t build profitable websites of any size. Yet people are held back by fear and worrying about a bunch of stuff that isn’t going to happen.
Keep it simple, find your own way and if you think, “Am I making this too complicated?” then you probably are.
Those are ten thoughts to wrap up niche sites for 2017.
Remember: The above are my informed opinion, and they’ve all come from experimentation.
Your results may vary, but you’re only going to find out by testing and discovering for yourself.
Good luck with your niche sites in 2018 – and if you only read the niche site posts, then see you in 2018.
Happy New Year.