Reader Questions On Niche Site Authenticity

By Jamie McSloy / March 10, 2018
Questions On Niche Site Authenticity featured image

Questions On Niche Site Authenticity

A reader writes in to ask the following questions:


Jamie, keep bouncing back to your site to read about niche sites, love your content. Is it necessary to own the products your niche site reviews, have a picture of yourself in the about me and use your real name in order to appear more authentic?

From what ive read many niche sites crash and burn because theyre spammy and salesy. Or can you simply build trust on a topic by reading a couple books on it, and writing long form helpful content around keywords? (Without actually showing pictures of you using it)

Love your work man! Jason

First of all, thanks for commenting, Jason.

Let’s answer these questions.

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Is It Necessary To Own The Products?

Is it necessary to own products in order to write a review of them?

No. You can write a review – a completely authentic review at that – without ever having seen a product.

You can write about something without having direct experience of it. If I told you to write up an article about travelling to North Korea, you probably wouldn’t go there. What would you do?

You’d probably take all of the information you could find, sprinkle in facts and figures, and maybe add your own personal experiences regarding travel, your knowledge of North Korea and its history, and so on.

If it were needed, you could embed pictures, videos and link out to other good sources of information.

This is how you write anything, including a product review.

Now, does it help to own the product and take your own photos of it?

Absolutely, and I’d recommend you do that if you can. It gives you a built-in story to use and you can compare the features and find the benefits yourself. It makes the whole thing a lot easier and it’ll probably make your writing more effective.

Niche Site Branding, Authenticity, Etc.

Alright. First part of the questions completed. Let’s move on to addressing something related to the above but a bit wider in scope.

Do you need pictures of yourself in order to establish credibility?


Again, you absolutely can and it might help, but you don’t need to. I’ve never posted a picture of my face on this site, and this isn’t a niche site as it is an authority project designed with a much wider scope.

It might be an idea for me to post my face here, but it’s not necessary to establish that I know what I’m talking about with online business stuff. (Well, maybe it is, but I can’t see how.)

Authenticity is established by knowing what you’re talking about. You do this by knowing about the products in depth, and more importantly, you seem authentic and credible if you understand the target audience and write from their perspective.

Niche sites are especially like this. You aren’t building credibility for the long term in the same way that you would for an authority site. You are attempting to establish credibility in the time it takes a person to read your article. This is two-fold:

  1. Write to the audience’s reality and needs
  2. Have a credible looking site

They’re both self-explanatory. All I’d say with the latter is that your site shouldn’t look like a scam site and you should structure it so that it looks like a resource site as opposed to a site filled with product reviews.

Have a good logo, categories and titles that focus on solving problems as opposed to selling products, and get some nice stock photos.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully that’s answered Jason’s questions and given everyone else a little bit of guidance should they be stuck with these things.

It’s a concise article, but when it comes to niche sites, it’s best not to overthink things. Just do it and test later on.

The idea of using your face and likeness is actually a pretty good thing to test further down the road if you’re not camera shy.

Try it and let me know what you find out!

  • Jason says:

    Dude thanks so much for the article.

    Definitely makes more sense now. I guess if you write specific, relevant and helpful content that’s another way to build rapport and authenticity.

    Think ive spent waaaay too much time trying to find the ‘perfect niche’. Thanks again!

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