Creating a niche website may be one of the best decisions you ever make since niche websites are fairly easy to start, don’t cost a lot of money to upkeep, and gives you access to readers and customers organically every month. Niche websites are then monetized with ads and through affiliate programs.
Over the last several years, I’ve bought, built and sold several niche websites, one of which for $75,000. This post is going to cover the seven steps that I use to create profitable niche websites from the ground up.
What is a niche website? Here is my definition: “A niche website creates and publishes written or visual content that helps readers make educated buying decisions or learn more about a specific product or topic. Niche websites, also known as content websites, are SEO optimized and generate revenue through the use of affiliate programs, advertisements, SaaS sales, and other similar avenues.”
What You Will Learn In This Article:
- How To Properly Choose Your Niche Website Niche
- Find Easy Keyword Opportunites
- Interesting Ahrefs Case Study
- Setting Up Your WordPress Niche Website
- Organizing Your List of Keywords
- Content Creation and How To Outsource
- Creating Images and Graphics
- Content Formatting (Important for SEO)
- SEO Optimizing Your Content
- Link Building
- Niche Website Examples
- Niche Website Ideas
- The Niche Website Builder That I Made
The first step in creating a niche website is to choose a niche. I like to target a fairly specific niche. If you get too broad, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by different content avenues, so I like to start very niche and then broaden out over time.
When starting and doing my keyword research, I use a program called Ahrefs. Ahrefs is not free, but it is by far the best SEO keyword research tool that I have used. Neil Patel offers a free tool, but for this article we’re going to use Ahrefs in the examples. When starting out, I like to research topics that I might have an interest in. One of the niches that I enjoy is the outdoors niche. I enjoy yacht brokering, fishing, hunting, camping, and etc. Since I think I want to start an outdoor content website, I search for ‘outdoor review websites’ to see what type of content and websites appear. In the photo below, we can see a result here called Outdoor Gear Lab. Since Outdoor Gear Lab is a review website, which is the type of website I want to build, I would copy the URL and bring it over to Ahrefs.
Once in Ahrefs, paste the URL into the domain area and run a search on the website. Navigating to the top pages report on the left-hand side, we can see all of the top pages that this website is ranking for, and the associated keywords. Some of these keywords include ‘best hiking poles’, ‘best winter jackets’, and ‘best backpacking tents’. Ahrefs shows the Google search volume next to each keyword.
Very quickly, we are able to find keyword ideas for our niche website, but let’s take it one step further!
Identifying Keyword Opportunities
When starting a new website from scratch, you will want to target keyword and keyword phrases that don’t have a lot of competition. To do this, navigate to Ahrefs “Organic Keywords” section. Once here, you can filter by position (among other parameters). When starting out, I set the position from 1 to 10, which will show all keywords that this site is ranking for on the first page in Google. Once the list updates, I’ll set the keyword difficulty maximum to 10. A KD of 10 is the highest maximum that I typically target with a brand-new website.
One keyword phrase that stands out is ‘mountain bike shorts’ as it has a keyword difficulty of 4. Exploring this phrase more, it appears it receives 4,000 or so searches per month.
Scrolling down the page, we can see that although it gets 4,000 searches a month, if we were to rank on the first page of Google for this keyword, we could expect to see anywhere between 2,300 organic visitors per month to about 450. Taking the average, it looks like we could get close to 1,000 organic visitors per month to our website from just this one page, if ranked in the top 10 search engine results.
Picking your keywords and your niche is extremely important, and finding keywords that have a low difficulty will be crucial to successfully getting organic traffic to your website in a fairly short amount of time.
Ahrefs Case Study of SERP
Ahrefs put together a fairly large study analyzing how long it takes for pages to rank in Google. They found that only 5.7% of pages rank on the first page of Google in the first year. They also found that it takes, on average, almost 950 days to reach the number 1 position in Google, and 650 days to reach one of the top 10 positions. However, I have found that I’ve been able to rank my websites and content on the first page of Google in around 60 to 90 days.
Below are some screenshots to show how quickly organic traffic has begun to flow on my websites. This 10 step guides you through starting a new website from scratch, for those who want a more general website.
WordPress Website Setup
Once you have your content niche picked out, it’s time to actually get a WordPress website set up. When choosing my domain, choose a name that is niche specific, but that allows for some expansion if needed.
The company that I use for hosting and domain purchasing is Blue Host. Money Nomad actually has a deal with Blue Host where they are offering readers hosting for $3.95 a month with a free WordPress install.
Regarding the WordPress theme, I use the Jannah theme for all of my content niche review websites. This is a premium theme, which costs $59 but it is quick, mobile-friendly and SEO- friendly. Once you have Blue Host with WordPress set up, I encourage you to buy Jannah and use it as your theme.
Step 3 is to put together all of the keyword ideas that you think you want to write about, and organize them in an Excel spreadsheet. Once my list has 25 or so keywords, I go through and filter the ones that have the lowest keyword difficulty, meaning easiest to rank for, but that will deliver the most possible search traffic. These are the keywords that should be targeted first.
Putting keyword ideas in an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet helps keep everything organized while identifying which topics have been published and which ones are still being written.
Once your article topic has been decided, you can either do the article writing yourself or you can outsource it to a freelance writer on Upwork. For Money Nomad, I write all the content myself, but for my outdoor review websites and fishing review websites, I outsource all the writing. If you choose to use a freelancer, find a writer that has good use of the English language and good use of English grammar.
When I’m talking with my Upwork writers, I send them example reviews so they know how to structure the content. Be very specific in your instructions so there is no confusion or miscommunication. I look at the articles that are ranking on the first page for the specific topic I want to be written and mimic how they’re formatted. Typically, the articles are made up of text paragraphs, images, pros and cons lists, bulleted lists and call to actions. Make sure that throughout the article your writer is naturally incorporating the target keyword phrase.
I’ve found that 1600 words is the minimum that articles need to be in order to rank well.
Images and Graphics
While my writers are working on the articles, I use Canva to create a main image graphic for the review.
Let’s say we are creating a review for fishing backpacks. I would add a few non-copyright images while incorporating text and shapes to make the image aesthetically pleasing. If you don’t want to create your own images, you can hire a graphics person from Upwork as well. I have found Canva to be super easy to use, plus it’s free.
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Once your content is complete and has been added to the WordPress backend, you’ll need to format the article. You can put the title in an H1 tag, and then all the section titles below the title should use H2 and H3 tags. The remaining content should be set to the paragraph setting. Throughout my articles, I like to include photos and calls to action, like “Buy Now” or “Compare Price” buttons. I’ll also use bullet points to help break up the text and make it easy to read.
Content formatting is critical for both keeping people on your page, but also to rank well in Google.
If you have not done so already, install the Yoast SEO plugin. Before publishing your content, scroll down to the bottom where the Yoast plugin settings are. In this area you’ll be able to edit your snippet which the text that’s associated with a search engine result.
At the end of the day, Google determines what snippet to show, but the Yoast plugin helps give Google an idea of what you want to be displayed. Within your snippet make sure to use descriptive text and include your target keyword phrase.
Once the article has been published, refer back to Ahrefs and verify how many domains Ahrefs estimates that will be needed in order to rank for this keyword. If we look at the keyword difficulty of ‘mountain bike shorts,’ we see that Ahrefs estimates you would need 5 backlinks in order to rank in the top 10 for this.
Performing manual outreach works well, which is where you find other websites that have topics about mountain biking while offering them your resources which they can link to. This is a very brief summary about content outreach, but below are great resources with all sorts of clean white hat link building strategies:
- Guest Post Link Building
- Broken Link Building
- Resource Page Link Building
- Stealing Your Competitors Backlinks
Link-building is a critical component of ranking, and it’s something that you want to do to make sure your articles are found by searchers. Don’t get into black hat SEO link-building tactics, and if you don’t want to do the manual outreach yourself, you can always hire someone.
Niche Website Examples:
Here is a list of 12 niche website examples that I have found in my research over the years. I believe these examples are authoritative in their niche, are well optimized for the reader, and are monetized well. What do you think of this list? What websites would you have added?
- The Gear Hunt – An outdoor website that focuses on guides and reviews for all things camping, fishing, and hunting
- The Saw Guy – A review website focused on power tools that every DIY’er needs
- All3DP – A content website that publishes in-depth reviews and guides for everything 3d printer related
- Car Bibles – Car Bibles focuses on all things cars and driving, from tire reviews to online tools
- Niche Pursuits – A website dedicated to helping people learn about niche websites (this website inspired me to start my niche site journey)
- Dirt Bike Planet – Started by the guys at Income School, Dirt Bike Planet focuses on everything dirt biker
- My Drone Lab – A niche review and buyers guide website for drone enthusiasts
- Swim University – Started by Matt Giovanisci, Swim University is a highly trusted content website for pool owners
- Millennial Money – A website dedicated to personal finance
- Yellowfin Boats For Sale – A website dedicated to solely one brand of fishing boats, Yellowfin
- Lamborghini For Sale – A super niche website for Lamborghini enthusiasts and supercar fans.
- Bonus, The Wire Cutter – While not a niche website, this review website is a powerhouse that The New York Times bought for more than $30 million
Niche Website Ideas
Here is a list of my favorite niches that I’ve formulated from analyzing hundreds of websites. I’ve put consideration into ease of content creation/upkeep as well as monetization and saturation.
- Household tool review website (drills, saws, power tools, etc)
- Software review website (typically offer reoccurring commission)
- Automotive review and content sites
- WordPress theme review website (earn commission for referring themes)
- Mattress review website (good commissions paid out by mattress companies)
- Clothing review website (some high-end clothing retailers/manufactures pay out large commissions)
Niches that may prove to be challenging:
- Tech review websites (technology changes quickly, so new content is a must)
- Finance related content is very competitive (such as credit card reviews, or retirement plans)
- Health and wellness websites have been hit hard by Google algorithm updates recently
Don’t Have Excuses, Create Your Website Right Now
Creating niche websites has completely changed my life. I’m able to work from anywhere with just a computer and internet connection. I can reach people all over the world through my content while building awesome relationships along the way. I’ve gotten paid very well for different advertising campaigns and from using affiliate programs.
There is a huge demand for people buying content websites that are already earning money and have traffic flow. When you become good at creating niche websites, you can easily sell them for a profit, or you can hold the websites and get long-term nearly passive income every month. I use Empire Flippers to buy and sell my websites.
I guarantee you’ll start making more and more content websites once you see just how straightforward it is. Let me know if I can help you in any way (firstname.lastname@example.org).