I started my internet earning journey in November 2009 when I quit my job and started my digital agency. In 2009, online marketing was still in its teens and we had to learn HTML (gasp!!) as WordPress wasn’t widely used.
By 2015, I was frustrated by the constant need of client servicing. We had centers in London, New York, Auckland, and Mumbai and I literally worked around the clock. I was burning out and burning out fast. I knew I needed to do something to change my situation.
In November 2015, I came across Niche Hacks while doing SEO research and I learned that you can earn a passive income sitting at home without having to worry about clients and deliverables.
This sounded like manna from heaven. Over the past 3 years, I have seen a lot of ups and downs in my niche site journey. Though 3 years sounds quite less, when it comes to internet marketing and the speed at which things change online, 3 years could well be 30!!
Anyway, after a sale of my biggest site for a mid-six-figure and a constant passive income of four figures every month, I can safely say that I have learned a thing or two.
Would you like to know the Top 3 Things that I learned in the past 3 years of Niche Site Marketing?
What will you learn from this post?
1. What is the biggest threat to your online marketing career.
2. Why you should select a niche and not a keyword when starting a website.
3. How to get links without link building
Let’s get started.
1. Power of One: One of the biggest disadvantages when it comes to Internet Marketing is its low barrier of entry. You literally can buy a domain and set it up for less than ten dollars. Heck, these days hosting companies give you a free domain with their hosting plan which is just $3.95/- per month. The biggest problem of this is that we are affected by the Shiny Object Syndrome.
The Shiny Object Syndrome is that when you start one site or project, you come across an even more lucrative idea, keyword, and strategy online and you are tempted to try that. This is one of the worst things that can happen to an IM and to be honest almost every IM I have spoken to has suffered from this at one time or the other in their career. Over the past three years, I have started a music site, a news site, two “best of” multi-niche sites, a home improvement site, a payday loan lead generation site, a dating affiliate site and this site.
If you are starting out or if you haven’t reached $1,000 per month so far, the best thing you can do is stick to one niche website. Pour in your 100% into that one website and make it the best resource about that topic on the internet. There are many who started their IM journey around the same time that I did and today I see them earning in thousands and tens of thousands per month with this strategy.
Even I started making a decent amount ONLY after I kept aside all distractions and focused only on one website.
2. Select a Niche and not a product or a keyword or a monetization strategy: This is a rule which I didn’t follow for a very long time. To be honest I still have a tough time following it.
When I started in 2015, the trend was about Adsense sites (monetization strategy) and over time moved to Amazon Affiliate Sites (again monetization strategy). I used to search for easy to rank keywords on Ahrefs (I literally spend hundreds of hours scouring KD 0 keywords) so that I can make sites around it and rank fast. Though this strategy works, it is a very short-term way of looking at things.
Even today, I get tempted by easy to rank keywords. For example, while helping a member of my group yesterday to find niche ideas, I came across a keyword which is very juicy:
• Monthly Searches: 310,000
• Allintitle (Number of pages which have articles written about it): 78
• Price of the product: $299/-
• Earnings if I rank in the Top 3: ~ $14,000 (1% conversion rate, 5% commission rate, 30% Google to website traffic)
The above keyword literally made me salivate (not sure if it’s an IM thing or just me).
Anyway, I didn’t pursue it as it is in an unrelated niche and it is not worth me spending my time on in the long run.
When I started out, Stuart from Niche Hacks used to constantly tell his members, focus on a Niche and not on a keyword. This makes a lot of sense and more importantly allows you to scale. When you focus on a niche, your domain name selection is broader, your time frame is longer, if you are banned from Amazon or Adsense or if their policy changes, you won’t be affected much, if the product is beaten by competition or is out of style, you can still leverage your website with other products.
Having said that. when you are starting out, easy wins is very important. This not only boosts your confidence in online earning, but you can also reinvest the money to scale. So if you come across a keyword which is easy to rank (Ahrefs KD 0 to 5 literally ranks within 6-8 months if done right) or a product that can get you easy wins, don’t let it go. Just broaden your outlook. Another easy way is to target featured snippets.
Write about the niche or sub-niche or sub-sub-niche rather than just about the keyword or about the product. That way your site comes across as an informational resource rather than just a money spinner. It makes it easier for you to get links.
3. Network in your niche
Speaking about getting links, you need to start networking in your niche from Day 1. Not only will it bring you brand recognition and traffic; it will also help you get links easily.
We get so engrossed with IM and our own niche marketing groups on Facebook, Reddit and Quora that we invest our time in those groups learning new methods of ranking (most of the time it is the same but we enjoy it so we stick on). Instead, make a list of groups, subreddits and Quora influencers in your niche and keep following it. You can use these platforms to get content ideas too. I learned this recently from an excellent post by Matt Diggity.
This helps you to solve two of your biggest problems i.e. what to write (content) and how to get links. Keep in mind, websites don’t link to websites. People link to People. I like and respect the work of Stuart Walker and Matt Diggity so I have linked to their content via this post.
Well, folks, those were my Top three tips that I learned over the past three years running niche websites. I hope that you found it useful and more importantly implement it in your niche site journey.
1. Focus only on one site till you earn at least $1,000/-. You can then rinse and repeat or outsource for faster results.
2. Build your site around a niche and not a keyword/product or monetization strategy. You can start with a keyword for easy wins but make sure that you keep in mind that your site should be a useful resource in the niche and not just for a few keywords.
3. Network in your niche as much as you can. Help, answer, promote. Keep sending out good intentions and they will come back multifold.
Have a great November