Looking for a way to supplement your income? Niche marketing — the business of using websites to generate income through pay-per-click, affiliate marketing, lead generation, or old fashioned product-selling — is turning into one of the most popular money making ideas online! Thanks to more automated, easy-to-implement programs, you don’t have to be a computer genius to get started. All you really need is patience, persistence and a little flexibility.
One caveat: It’s important to realize that, unless people are throwing you money at random, there is really no such thing as “easy money”. If niche marketing is going to work for you, it will be because you make it work for you. Like everything else worth doing, it will take effort, education, and time. Oh, and nor will you (most likely) be earning six figures within a month, if ever. That being said, many people find niche marketing an exciting, satisfying way to add to their income, and some entrepreneurs are able to make it their full-time job.
Let’s see what is involved in trying to make money using niche sites, and you can decide for yourself if this is one of the money making ideas that will work for you.
What Do You Need?
First, you’ll need to decide on a business strategy. There are two common routes to niche marketing. Some prefer to go for depth, building a content-heavy site which attracts repeat visitors. These sites require you to add content on a regular basis to build your following. You’ll be able to boost your Google ranking through backlinks, and your income will come from pay-per-click ads and affiliates, but you may also get more lucrative lead-generator deals and product sales.
Other niche marketers like the volume approach. They develop a large number of shallower niche sites and aim to get their visitors to click on an ad as quickly as possible. Their content is valuable (or at least it should be), but it is not the main focus of the site and they don’t mind if they have little repeat traffic. Their income is derived from pay-per-click and affiliate marketing, and the more sites they have, the more money they earn. If a site performs poorly, it’s culled and another put up in its place.
Either scenario can be successful; it’s up to you to decide which most appeals to you. While there is no right or wrong way to do this, every Google algorithm update seems to indicate that Google favors those with deep content. That is something to keep in mind if you rely on Google search results as one of your primary traffic sources.
This can be tricky. The key is to come up with a topic that
- you care enough about to generate content for
- others care enough about to search for
- doesn’t have a huge number of competing sites, so you can rank well in Google
- and has good advertising/affiliate/lead generation potential
One of the most common approaches to determining a niche is keyword research. First you make a list of areas that are of interest to you. Next,using a free tool like Google Keyword Reseach Tool or a paid tool like Market Samurai, you try to determine what keywords people are using to search the web while looking for something in these areas. If you are using a free tool, you then go back and try a Google search to determine what kind of sites come up when you search for those terms. You will then have to determine how strong the competition is a the top of the Google results is by determining the rank and inlinks of the sites showing up at the top of the search. This step of determining the competition is much easier with paid tools, since they provide you with all the information you need on one screen in a neatly tabulated format, so you don’t have to go around the web digging for the information. Finally, you go look on an affiliate portal like clickbank to determine if there are any good products that you can promote in this niche.
Determining your niche is possibly the most difficult, and yet the most important step that ultimately decides how much you can earn with this money making idea.
How to Get Started?
Now that you’ve found a niche and identified your keywords and phrases, it’s time to build your site. Not a programmer? No worries! You can set up your site on a user-friendly platform such as WordPress. Because you’re running a business and not just writing a personal blog, you’ll also want to use your own domain name. You can get this from sites like 1and1.com, and host them with a reliable, affordable hosting service like bluehost. Next, check out the commerce friendly plugins on WordPress to aid in search engine optimization, cloaking affiliate links etc.
The information provided in this article is an overview to help you decide if this is the right option for you. We cannot possibly go into all the details in one article. Based on the basic information here, if you think this is one of the money making ideas you wish to learn more about, check out the other articles in the Niche Sites subcategory and the Success Tips sections of this site for more in-depth, step-by-step tutorials and how-to articles, if this seems like the right option for you.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of getting started depends entirely on you. If you do all the work yourself, then the only real cost will be for the domain name and hosting services, which should be in the $50 – $100 per year range. On the other hand, if you choose to outsource some or all of the work involved, then you could potentially end up spending a lot more. If you choose to go the outsourcing route, your choice of “what” and “whom to” can make a huge impact on your bottom line. For instance, let’s say you choose to outsource your content generation. If you get your content written by freelancers in Asian/Russian countries, you could get it for much cheaper than someone here in the US. The compromise however is that English is likely not the native language of the writer, and as such you may get articles that need to be extensively edited. Also, note that the articles may lack references to pop culture and some of the idioms uses may not be appropriate for your audiences. On the other hand, if you wish to hire locally, you may find someone with an excellent command over the English language and has a nice witty writing style. But they may end up charging you a big bundle for their services.
The same goes for other aspects as well – you could do your keyword research yourself using either the free tools or the paid tools or you could outsource it to someone to do it for you. The compromise here is that, if you outsource it, you could potentially miss an amazing opportunity because the person doing the research for you may just not be on the same page regarding what to look for. I personally think doing the keyword research by yourself, with a paid tool like Market Samurai is a good compromise, since you get to review all the results yourself keeping you in control, but the tool does all the tedious work, saving you from the frustration of it. If you go this route, it will probably cost you a little under $100 depending on which tool you get. Note that this cost applies only to your first site. If you go on to create more than one niche site, then for your second site and beyond, this cost does not apply.
How Much Can You Make?
$0 to $Hundreds-of-thousands. No seriously. Do a quick Google search and you will find several people claiming to make “hundreds-of-thousands”, if not millions, by building niche sites. And if you keep looking you will find many more frustrated newbies complaining that they made nothing. The key here is planning. If you are after some quick money and slap together something together in a hurry and expect the money to roll in – sorry, you will likely end up in the frustrated newbie lot. But if you plan well, and persevere, you may be one of those that make the mythical “hundreds-of-thousands”. Realistically though, making a few hundred dollars each month from each site will be a likely target you can easily achieve.
So there, now you sort of have an idea of what building niche sites, with the intention of making money is all about. If this seems like the one of the money making ideas of you, go for it. Pitch your niche and maybe someday you will get very rich!