Maybe you heard about niche websites, affiliate marketing, or are just exploring the idea of making money online.
Let me introduce you to niche sites.
You have probably come across such websites before and not even known it. Niche sites are websites that are centered around a particular topic for the purpose of making money. A lot of them are blogs from everyday people like you and me, and you don’t need to be a programmer, marketer, or salesperson to get started either.
These everyday people make money from these websites by recommending products and displaying ads. The great thing about niche sites is that it’s really accessible. For just a few dollars, you can make a website that generates thousands of passive income every month.
And no, I’m not talking about MLM scams where you need to become a salesperson to convince your friends and family to sign up for products they don’t actually need. I’m talking about providing real value to people that already want what you have to offer.
If you are eager to learn, are willing to put in the work, and can write a high school research paper, you too can make money from niche sites.
First, Pick a Niche
But what is a niche? In the context of “niche sites”, a niche is simply a topic for your website that you want to help people with. It can be almost anything, but in order to be a niche, it can’t be too broad. Picking something generic like “health” or “technology” wouldn’t be a good idea because they aren’t specific enough. Here are some niche ideas:
- Going on road trips
- Adult acne treatments
- Dollhouses for hobbyists
- Downhill mountain biking
Niches are all around us, and many times we already are considered everyday experts. If you have a passion, skill, or hobby, chances are those are great niches. In this way, it is said that niches are often realized rather than discovered.
But don’t think you need to be an expert in a particular topic to create a niche site. As long as you can research and write about a particular topic, you can be successful.
Even though lots of niches can work, some niches will work better than others. Everything being equal, niches that contain higher prices products will do better than niches with cheaper or no products.
Take a niche on “mindfulness”. Though it might be popular, it’s not product focused. And the less money in a niche, the less money merchants are willing to spend on ads, which means less ad revenue for you.
Compare that to other niches like 3D printing where products can cost upwards of several thousand dollars. The difference in monetization is huge. But there are other considerations too, such as competition, popularity, and seasonality.
Next, Setup Your Website
Now that you have a solid niche that you want to help people with, it’s time to start making your website.
If you aren’t a programmer or designer, that’s okay! Many of the websites created today don’t require any programming or design skills. That’s because they use a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress.
WordPress is a platform that was originally designed for blogging, but now, one-third of the internet uses it to power their websites. That’s a lot! And even big sites use it like Whitehouse.gov!
But WordPress is just one piece of a website. To create your website, you’ll need 3 things:
- A domain name (your www address)
- A hosting provider (a place where your files and database will be stored)
- A content management system like WordPress
WordPress is open-source, which means it’s free. All you should be paying for is a domain name and a hosting provider. One thing to note, be careful of the website WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a WordPress hosting company that is not recommended. It’s best to stay away from the site altogether to avoid confusion.
Looking for recommendations? I put together a list of the best and cheapest services to use to get started building niche sites. Head over to the tools section and check them out.
Now, Write Content People Are Looking For
This is one of the biggest mistakes that new bloggers make with their website – that is, writing about whatever they want however they want it. If you want Google to send you free traffic (traffic from organic search), it is absolutely essential that you write content that people are looking for. Nobody is on Google looking to read about your dog or what you had for dinner last night. People are on Google because they are looking for answers to their problems.
But how do you find content that people are looking for? Good question! Here are some of my favorite ways:
- Using Google Autosuggest and ‘People also ask’ features on Google
- Browsing forums and communities like Quora and Facebook
Once you find questions that people have in your niche, you can start writing helpful answers. And the key here is to be as helpful as possible!
But hold up! There are still plenty of mistakes bloggers make when writing. Remember when I said you can’t write content however you want to write it? This is where SEO comes in.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a way of making your website show up higher in the search results when someone searches for something in a search engine, usually Google.
SEO is a practice and a skillset, not a magical plugin or something that you install on your website, though there are some plugins that can help.
Learning SEO might seem intimidating at first, but just by understanding the basics you’ll be a lot better off.
So you have all this great content on your website… but how exactly are going to make money?
So there are two really easy ways to start making money from your blog:
- Affiliate links
- Display ads
Affiliate links are links that you add to your articles pointing readers to related products or services. You’ll need to sign up with affiliate programs beforehand and get approved. Once approved, you’ll be given a special link to place on your site that goes to the merchant. When one of your readers clicks the link and buys anything, you earn a commission. Nice!
The most popular affiliate program out there is Amazon. Amazon is a trusted household name that many people already shop with. In fact, half of every dollar spent online is spent on Amazon! Anyone can sign up for their affiliate program, even if you are outside the US.
It’s best though to wait till you have about 10 pages of content before signing up for Amazon. You’ll also need disclaimers on your site and there are a few rules to follow. If you want to find out more, head over to the Amazon Affiliate site.
Another popular network is Shareasale.com, which contains a list of thousands of merchants to promote. They usually have a longer sales window (cookie length) and pay a higher commission than Amazon. They are also a lot less strict than Amazon. Head over and sign up with Shareasale.
The 2nd popular way of earning through blogging is using display ads. This can be a really passive way to earn money online because you don’t need to sell anything. Earnings are very predictable and as long as you get traffic, you can make money.
To show ads on your site, you’ll want to sign up with an ad network. Ad networks act as middlemen between the merchant displaying the ad and you, the publisher. Working with ad agencies are really easy. All you typically need to do is get your application approved and make a few changes to your website.
I don’t recommend showing ads right away on your website. If you aren’t getting a lot of traffic yet, ads could hurt the user experience and slow you down from ranking in Google. It’s not worth the few dollars a month you would earn in the beginning. I like to hold off on ads until I get around 5-10K visits per month before displaying ads.