Building niche content sites remains one of the most consistent and profitable ways to make money online. Niche websites help meet that growing demand for even more content on the web.
Building a quality profitable niche website takes skills and a lot of work, but the effort can pay off in a big way. While nothing beats the real-life experience of building, growing, and flipping a website from scratch, a good guide can speed up the process in major ways.
I have a lot of experience from over 12 years of building and selling profitable websites, and will be sharing my knowledge on how to build a good niche content website.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What is a Niche Website?
A niche website is a website focusing on one specific topic. This could be very general like fishing, more specific like fly fishing, or even something extremely narrow like best lures for rainbow trout.
The website focuses on providing product reviews, answering questions, and offering high-quality information on topics in that specific niche.
By staying on that one topic or niche, the site builds trust and authority that can help the posts to rank in Google and other search engines.
How Much Money Can You Make From Niche Websites?
The amount of money that can be made from niche sites varies. Factors like where posts rank for top keywords, monetization, and the niche itself all help determine how little or how much a website can potentially make.
There are tens of thousands of websites that make a few hundred dollars a month to a couple thousand. There are also extreme examples like Baby Gear Lab or The Wirecutter which are estimated to make millions a year.
If a person has done proper due diligence on a niche and the competition, it’s not unreasonable to expect $2,000 to $4,000 a month from a good niche site. Many thousands of webmasters get one or more sites to this level.
3 Types of Niche Content Websites
Niche content websites will generally fall into one of three categories. While some sites can successfully monetize in multiple ways, a niche site will still often be primarily one of these three types with the additional monetization acting as an “add-on” as opposed to the main focus.
1. Affiliate Websites
Affiliate websites are designed around making the sale. Products are reviewed, informational content is often slanted to answer questions that lead to a product as a solution, and the niche site owner gets a percentage of every sale made.
Amazon Associates is a common starting point for affiliate sites because Amazon is such a trusted brand and their affiliate program is very easy to get into.
2. Display Ads Websites
Websites focusing on display ads will have fewer product reviews and more of an informational focus. These sites answer questions, give detailed guides, and give in-depth information on many topics in the niche.
Google AdSense is a common first display ad provider, but most site publishers move to premium display ad providers like Ezoic, Mediavine, or AdThrive.
3. Lead Generation Websites
Lead generation sites tend to show up in industries with a very high customer value. A lead generation site gets paid for every email received, appointment setup, or consulting call made. This is the process of taking a potential client in a high-revenue area like law or real estate and connecting them to a provider.
The provider then pays an agreed-upon amount for each lead sent their way.
Building vs Buying Niche Websites
The question of building vs buying websites is a good one and in my experience, the best answer will vary based on three factors:
- The budget for the site/project
- Your experience with building/buying niche sites
- The end goal
If the budget is too small there just might not be enough there to effectively scale up the site using mostly freelance help.
For experienced flippers, this becomes less of an issue over time, with budget issues mostly falling under whether or not they want to invest as much as the due diligence says it would take to get competitive in a niche.
Buying can make a lot of sense. With the skills that come from successfully analyzing niches, building & ranking successful sites, and flipping them for a profit over the years, an experienced site builder can identify under-optimized or under-monetized sites, buy them cheap, and then properly bring out their potential.
When the end goal is to flip the site, buying makes a lot of sense because an established site will rank new content faster, easy wins will show results faster, and the earnings from a site can scale much faster when skipping the Google Sandbox.
I believe new website builders should always build first. Not only is this more budget-friendly by taking time and work versus money, but it’s crucial to learn the necessary skills for building a successful site firsthand to make your future projects, and training of outsourced help, better.
How To Build Niche Content Websites: 11-Step Process
Building a niche website can be broken down to an 11-step process. If you want a systematic process, check out the various niche website building courses out there.
1. Brainstorm Niche Ideas
The more interesting a niche, the better. If I’m spending months or even years on a site I want a topic that is exciting, interesting, and catches my attention. This makes the work much easier and produces better content and work on my end.
2. Perform Competitor Research
Look at the competition. No matter how interesting the niche, if the competition is all heavy-duty authority sites through the top three pages of Google then it’s a terrible niche.
Proper due diligence needs to be ruthless in seeing who the major sites in the niche are and realistic on whether or not you can break into that particular niche.
Find Your Website Doppelgangers
How many sites in the niche are affiliate sites, display ad sites, or otherwise clearly built as niche sites? These sites are a good indicator of where you can rank and give a comparison to know what level of work will be needed to rank well in the vertical.
If there aren’t any examples of affiliate sites ranking that could be a red flag that Google doesn’t like traditional niche site builds for that topic.
How To Know If You Picked a Good Niche?
I’m looking for a niche that has multiple advertisers, a few good product lines, and room for new sites doing content and SEO right to break into the top rankings. If there’s low competition on top of it, that’s ideal.
3. Brainstorm Site Monetization
Based on the research is this going to be a display ad site, an affiliate-heavy site, or some combination? Is there room for a good digital product or sponsorship deals?
While monetization can change once I see the actual rankings and results, looking at monetization early matters because it can dictate the type of content the site needs and my plan for what topics to go after or what style of article to order from freelancers.
4. Pick a Good Domain Name
Building from scratch means picking a good domain name. The first decision is whether to build off a fresh domain name or to buy an aged domain. A fresh domain allows me to search for the best possible name, but it has no history and means I’ll be starting from scratch to rank in Google.
Aged domains limit me to what’s available, which can make branding more difficult, but those domains have links and history allowing me to skip the Google Sandbox.
Then there’s the question of going exact match domain versus branded. While there still can be some SEO benefits to having a keyword in the site title, this isn’t like the old EMD days where that alone could help you rank top of Google.
Going branded is usually better and makes the site more appealing to buyers when flipping.
5. Find Reliable Hosting Provider
Good hosting is crucial. The hosting needs to be reliable, secure, and fast. Site speed and up-time are things Google looks at when ranking sites, so don’t go with the cheapest hosting plan you can find.
Quality hosting matters.
6. Keyword Research & Content Planning Phase
This is one of the most crucial steps. Good keyword research can make a site while mediocre keyword research can sink a site’s chances to succeed.
Finding Long-Tail Keywords
There’s a reason long-tail keywords are popular in virtually every SEO and niche website course. Long-tail keywords are the best way to break into a niche and some have incredible traffic.
If the main keyword in a niche is “Fishing Rods” long-tail keyword examples would be “ultralight fishing rods for trout” or “carbon graphite heavy duty fishing rods.”
All these keywords will have less traffic than the main keyword, but ranking for those words is much easier.
A long list of long-tail keywords in a niche makes success far more likely.
Building articles around answering questions in a niche is a great way to get traffic. These keywords are often overlooked and every niche is going to have people asking questions.
Using common sense to think of questions is a starting point, as is Google’s “People Also Asked,” but tools like Keyword Chef and Ask the Public can also be incredibly helpful for loading up on good question keywords.
Zero Search Volume Keywords
While tools like Ahrefs can be useful, even the best keyword tools are notoriously inaccurate when it comes to search volume. If these tools bring back keywords that make sense for a niche but say 0 for search volume, it’s often worth trying a few to see what real world results actually come back.
Google “Alphabet Soup”
Google’s Autofill can provide a lot of ideas based on what people are actually searching for, which means there’s likely traffic.
The Alphabet Soup method means bringing up Google search and typing “Keyword A” and recording all the autofill results, then “Keyword B” and so on right down the alphabet.
This gives a large list of potential keywords that might be worth an article.
Silos of content are like “mini niches” on a site where a series of articles on very closely related topics are written and then all link together to push up content on that sub-topic. Building silos is a great way to push up rankings on all those related articles.
Creating the Content
Make a detailed content plan. What content can be outsourced, and which will you handle personally? What category pages will be built and what silos should be tackled first?
A content plan is crucial for getting the most out of my time and money investments.
7. How To Make Your Content Valuable
Google isn’t just looking for content, they’re looking for quality content. So what makes content valuable to Google and online readers alike?
Develop Expertise Around The Topic
Readers hate “fluff.” Developing an expertise around the topic means being able to provide useful information that informs, directs, or teaches. Google strives to provide information that is accurate and helpful, so that’s what needs to be provided.
Developing an expertise in the niche will help to do this, while guest posting and boosting the brand online can help Google see the site as more of an expert in the niche as well.
Develop a Voice
Bland writing is boring. Being able to develop an entertaining yet trustworthy voice can go a long way to making the content enjoyable to read. These show up to Google as time on page metrics and provide value to both the reader and the search engines.
8. Website Design (Theme, Logo & Functionalities)
A good website design is clean, fast, but offers everything a visitor could want. There are many good themes out there, but to get a theme that encourages fast loading you’ll want to look at premium options like GeneratePress.
A site should have a clear logo for branding, look good to the eyes, and without sacrificing functionality. A visitor should be able to easily find whatever they are looking for.
9. How To Organize & Optimize Content On Your Website?
Optimizing the site is a crucial part of getting the most out of both on-site SEO and monetization. The details matter.
A good theme is crucial. Silos of content must be easy to find and Google should be able to easily crawl every article and post I want them to see. Information should be easy to find and the articles themselves need to be well organized to deliver a great user experience.
Internal linking is crucial for on-site SEO, in addition to creating good optimization of content. Linking to useful relevant articles from one post to another is good for the reader, and it’s a powerful SEO tool that is too often overlooked.
Proper On-Page Optimization
The smart use of keywords in headings and subheadings is only part of the process. The page should have bullet point lists, small paragraphs, and pictures or charts where appropriate to break up blocks of text and add value.
10. Niche Website Link Building & Promotion
Link building remains a crucial part of promoting your site. Link building and SEO can often go hand-in-hand with promoting the brand.
Help A Reporter is one of the best practices for getting high quality backlinks to your niche website.
Traditional methods like email outreach and guest post offers can still get some results but do take work.
On the promotion side, there are many small and medium sized podcasts and YouTube channels that need guests. Reaching out to niche-related podcasts and YouTube channels can be a great way to spread your brand’s recognition and even get a backlink from the show notes.
Major link building methods include
- Guest post outreach
- Broken link outreach
- Creating “linkable” resources
- Podcast circuit
11. Optimize Site Monetization
The original site monetization plan should be in effect as the site is being built up. This is the point where optimization matters.
Find better affiliate offers or negotiate better rates, tweak the site to optimize display ads, and look up other potential monetization methods like video ads or sponsorship deals.
My Expert Tips Over 12+ Years of Experience
Thanks to over 12 years of building, buying, and flipping niche sites, I’ve acquired a lot of firsthand knowledge about the space. Here’s some of the best advice I have to pass on.
Start Small and Work Your Way Up Patiently
True beginners should focus on one site and build it from scratch. This helps to develop all the skills from creating good content to monetization to solving challenges and issues that come up.
Knowing these skills is crucial to not only repeat a successful website build, but to give better training to freelance writers, editors, and VAs that are necessary to hire in the future if you want to scale up the business.
The first site takes several years and a lot of patience. Building niche sites well takes many different skills, and those are not developed overnight.
Patience is key to learning and developing these all-important skills.
Become An Authority On The Topic
The more I know a topic inside and out, the more in-depth and authoritative my content will be. That makes it more helpful, more useful, and builds trust with website visitors and the search engines.
Becoming an authority on a specific niche is the best way to get a leg up over others who just do surface level research or picked it because the revenue potential looked good and then outsourced a bunch of topics.
Authority will win out in the long run.
Think About Creating & Selling Your Own Products
Display ads and affiliate sales are great ways to make money in the beginning. They’re easy, and you never forget the first time you make $1,000 or $2,000 in a month.
Those revenue streams also pale in comparison to what can be made when you have your own products to sell.
Consider the following:
- 3% of a $20 Amazon sale for $0.60 commission
- A display ad click for $1.10
- Selling a manufactured product (FBA or dropshipped) for $9 profit after expenses
- Selling an ebook for $20 – all of which is now profit
Out of these four options it’s obvious which two are the most appealing. Information products are an especially great investment because such a high percentage of revenue is profit and they can be created by individuals without a warehouse or worries about shipping.
Almost every niche has an opportunity for new products of some type whether physical or information.
Have An End Goal In Mind
While some people love the idea of passive income, there are very few websites that last over 20 years. The monthly payments are nice, but I always develop sites with the intention to sell eventually.
The advantage of a website flip is a large payment at once and once it’s in the bank that can fund multiple new websites, create a safety net with cash on hand, or both.
Keeping that eventual end goal of a website flip in mind will make sure that the branding, products, and site is developed in a way that can allow for a smooth transition down the road.
Successful Niche Website Examples
Niche websites can be successful with many different designs and styles but there will be common practices with all of them.
For those wanting examples of impressively successful niche websites, here are four great examples:
These are just a handful of very successful niche sites across multiple niches. Niche sites are everywhere and will appear on many more topics than just those covered by the four examples.
FAQ about Niche Websites
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about niche websites.
Evergreen niches are niches where there will always be new customers. First-time homeowners, babies, and funeral services are all examples.
There will always be new homeowners looking to buy, families having their first child, and people will die. This means these niches will always be relevant.
Building a niche site from scratch takes time as it will be nearly a year before content starts to rank outside of Google’s Sandbox. Most niche website builders plan on 2-3 years of building out a site before seeing serious results.
Building off an aged domain can speed up the process by about a year in many cases.
The cost varies based on how much you have to invest and whether you want to bootstrap or not. On the low end a niche site can be set up for under $50 for year one using a free theme, cheap hosting, and a domain name sale.
Many professionals once they’ve built and flipped several sites will invest in content, premium themes, better hosting, and editors. This often runs in the $10,000 to $30,000 range depending on the niche and how much content is being produced at once.
Or one can also buy a premade niche website for around $5,000 to $10,000 range which includes content, website design, and some training.
Building niche content websites is a great way to make money from online work and whether the goal is long-term passive income or major income from a website flip, a niche site can provide major financial rewards.
- Planning is crucial
- Always perform due diligence on the niche and competition
- Have a monetization plan early – 3 common types of niche websites
- Learn all the skills needed to build a niche site
- Become an authority in the niche
- Consider creating your own products
- Always keep the end goal in mind
Follow the advice in this guide and you’ll be on your way to building a successful niche site of your own.