With P2P investing off the table as one of my extra income ideas, I got right back on the horse and turned my attention towards a new type of side project: Building a niche website.
For those of you who are not familiar with what a niche site is, it’s generally a smaller type of website that focuses on a very specific topic. If its full of good content, then they can be of great value to readers who are interested in that subject. Chances are that you’ve probably typed a very detailed search term into Google and one of the first results that you’ve clicked on was a niche site that someone created.
A niche site is different from a blog. Blogs are generally a little looser in their topics and are usually more focused on building a community of followers. If I want to post something about my day at work or the great deal I got on something I bought, a blog is appropriate place to do that. In contrast, a niche site is more informational in nature and not as concerned about the community aspect. The site might only be 10 – 100 pages, each targeting a keyword that ties back into the central them of the site. In some cases, the owners may have dozens of niche sites about various topics, so personal interaction with each one is not really practical.
Why Bother With Building a Niche Website? What’s In It for Me?
If you’re asking yourself why anyone would want to screw around with building a niche, then let me invite you to read the following:
1. Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income made $3707.17 in January from his Security Guard Training HQ site.
2. Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits was on a roll to collect $500 per month from one of his niche sites.
(It is worth noting that almost all of the income reported in those two examples above was made from using Google Adsense. Yes, Google Adsense – those spammy little ads that all the ultra-cool bloggers like to bash on.)
So to get back to the question “what’s in it for me?” Mainly the opportunity for passive income!
While my blog has become a great source of side money, it does require a great deal of time and involvement. My fear is that if I got the idea to run TWO blogs and potentially double my income, that would mean TWICE as much time. It’s not that I don’t love you my readers, but that is way too much time commitment.
In contrast, the model for a niche site is about as passive as it gets. Consider the following points:
• Content does not need to get updated regularly. A new post every 1 to 2 weeks seems to be okay.
• The primary income model is based completely off of clicks on your Google Adsense ads, affiliate ads, or other self-made products ( .. but on that last one, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves ..)
• Traffic is almost all organic and based on the keywords you select. Unlike a blog, there’s no time spent commenting on other blogs or anything like that.
• Ten or more pages of good content is sufficient. You could then move on to create another site if you wish.
The key of course, like any website, is how effective you are in making it friendly to Google and the other search engines. That means really knowing your stuff when it comes to keyword research, SEO, content writing, and back linking.
Lowest Risk of My Extra Income Ideas:
The other main thing I like about this project is that unlike purchasing real estate or stocks, there is really nothing to lose. Consider how low risk of a project this is:
• My web host iPage lets me host as many domains as I want under my current service. So the minimum cost is just the $15 fee to register for the domain.
• If I get caught up in real life or work and I need to ignore the project for a while, I’ll be okay.
• If it flat out doesn’t do as well as I hoped or just plain fails to rank, I could always just abandon it and be out the $15. The other option would be to sell it on Flippa. As long as I net more than $15, I’d be right back to where I started (minus the time spent working on the site).
Sounds Good. So When Do I Get To See This Niche Site?
I’ve got a confession for you – my niche site is already up and running!
Next week I’ll reveal it and talk further about my plans to develop the site further. Hint – If you follow any of the blog carnivals, chances are you’ve already stumbled across it.
Readers – What are your new extra income ideas? Has anyone else been thinking about expanding their digital portfolio and starting a niche website?
1) Passive Income Ideas to Start Making Extra Money Now
2) My Awesome Birthday Weekend and Finally a Google PageRank Increase!
3) Blogging Tips from All the Dumb Mistakes I Made My First Year
Image courtesy of phanlop88 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank says
I have tried the whole niche site thing, but only 1 has ever made enough money to stay active the others just don’t get enough traffic.
That’s kind of what I’m afraid of. Throughout my research I did notice a lot of “niche sites aren’t worth it” articles. That’s why I’m doing just one. If it stinks, then I’m out $15. No big deal. But if it works ….
Savvy Scot says
Looking forward to finding out what your Niche site is 🙂 – I have bought a domain for mine, but just can’t find the time to start the content! 🙂 Good post
I know exactly what you mean with not having the time. The first weekend I sat down and tried to write content for both, I thought I had just started my third job and wondered what the hell I had just got myself into.
S. B. says
While the direct, monetary costs of building a niche site may be low, the time commitment could still be high, although I agree it is not as high as a blog. I would encourage people to choose a niche that they already know a lot about, as you will then utilize the sunk costs of the time you’ve already spent acquiring this knowledge. I look forward to reading about your site(s).
I hope I can live up to your expectations, SB! I do agree that this project will be yet another time commitment, something I’m not really prepared for. I’m hoping that once I figure out my formula that the process will get a lot easier. The key will be testing it on this first site and seeing what works.
John S @ Frugal Rules says
Great for you MMD! I have thought about doing one, but right now just do not have the time. Running the blog, plus our business, there is just not enough time in the day. Plus, I think my wife would shoot me if I were to start another site right now. 😉 Excited to learn what the new site is.
If I was self employed like you, I’d probably focus all my efforts on my own business too (since every dollar you make just benefits your family). Maybe you can live vicariously through my niche site updates 🙂
Daisy @ Add Vodka says
Wow, I’d love to see where this goes! I’ve loved Pat’s niche site posts. I keep on hoping to eventually be able to start a niche site but I have to admit, I find the backlinking strategy intimidating.
Like any good business, it does require some financial outset, so I guess that could be taken care of by an outsourcing strategy, but there are all the “what if it doesn’t make any money” fears.
Thanks Daisy! I hope I impress! I’m with you – the backlinking has been the most confusing part of this whole process. What is good, what is bad, what does Google like, what don’t they – there are so many rules and opinions …
I’m far TOO cheap to outsource any of it. At least for now. If it starts to make some income, I will definitely reconsider.
I can’t wait until you share this niche site! I have definitely thought about starting one, but for right now I feel like I have no time to dedicate to it.
Thanks Michelle. But if I was making as much side cash that you are each week, I’d just stick to that. You’ve got a good thing going.
Good for you! I’ve been doing some planning behind the scenes here as well. I’d like to get something up and running. Pat does well with his security guard training site. Looking forward to seeing your site mate.
Pat’s site almost does TOO good, doesn’t it. I wonder if it has to do with all his followers knowing what it is and visiting it to figure out how to do their own niche site. That’s the only reason I visited it.
I was just thinking about it over the weekend as I browsed a site to buy/sell websites, some were selling pretty low and already set up. I wouldn’t start from scratch since I don’t know enough about SEO / backlinks and prefer to have fun with my site than research that. Good luck MMD!
Pauline, you are way ahead of the rest of us! A lot of the articles I read regarding backlinking suggested that you use that very method: Buy an old but ranking site and just build upon that.
[email protected] says
That’s very exciting! I wonder what it is?? I have wanted to create a niche site, but the time…..!!
Thanks Tony! I hope you like what you see next week.
I’m excited to hear how the niche website performs and whether or not it produces the income you’re looking for! I’m on pace to make around $100 on WSL in CPC income this month and I’m pretty stoked about that. It’s not a ton, but it’s definitely a start and 2x more than I’ve made in any month prior!
Not bad!! That sounds like a dream to me at the moment. Niche site or not, I’ve really got to do more to amp up my affiliate conversions.
Matthew Allen says
It is unfortunate that you think P2P lending is off the table as a resident of Michigan. I just commented on your original post in that regard.
I do love that you are taking the initiative to create passive income by several different means. I personally am fascinated by this niche site thing (as you know). I too am beginning to build a niche site empire and multiple streams of passive income!
Thanks Matt. Part of what inspired me to get started were some of the early Dumb Passive Income posts. The idea of the niche site sounds too good to be true, but you can clearly read about regular people like us making decent side cash off of ventures like this. For the risk/return, I figure why not give it a shot and see what happens. I’m excited!
[email protected] says
I’m really bummed that Michigan doesn’t allow us to invest in P2P. Once my debt is paid off I’m thinking of going through with investment properties. I think that the houses in my county are still pretty depreciated and there are opportunities to make money.
Justin, I think you are very wise (and brave) to get into real estate. I’ve heard of so many success stories with real estate, but I’m too cautious to make a move on it. My buddy just bought a great house in the St Clair Shores relatively close to you for $80K. That’s not too shabby at all!
Financial Independence says
I have been under impression that one can make a lot of money from specific adds on the webiste, rather that Google Ads.
I do have some niche web sites and they are making some handsome profit but typically you are in much better money if you selling adds directly or some kind of a product.
Most of the people who bash Google Adsense claim you can make a lot more from Affiliate ads. Although there may be some truth to that, the draw to Adsense is that it is a CPC rather than a sale. Even if someone accidently clicks it, you’re still making some money from it. So although both roads are completely passive, there is some immediate benefit to Adsense. I am hoping that my Affiliate sales will boost.
Selling ads directly can also have immediate benefit, but if you have high traffic, you might do better on a CPC or sale basis. The product idea is good too, but you need to have a product to sell first!
Adam Roseland says
Even further to your point… adsense is automatically targeted to your content, so you don’t have to spend time trying to find an affiliate program that works with your niche site topic.
Good point. You can filter out the type of ads you don’t want, and let Google do the rest for you. A lot of people complain about it, but Adsense is everywhere. Plus its very EASY to maintain.
Looking forward to seeing your niche site. I am really surprised that there is so much to be made on AdSense from just Google ads. I hope it works out for you!
Thanks Brian! I was surprised by how much those sites were making from Google Adsense too. I think the way it works is you not only find a keyword with a lot of global traffic and low SERP competition, but you also find one with a high Google Adsense CPC and advertising competition. That way instead of making pennies for every click you make a dollar or two.
[email protected] says
I’ve found that people who bash things; adsense, living frugally, paying off all debt, are generally people who secretly want to be successful in that endeavor but can’t or won’t for whatever reason. It’s easier to bash it and act like you have no interest. Good luck!
Agreed, and there seems to be a lot of that when it comes to both investing and blogging. I’m trying to keep an open mind and see how this all plays out before I decide it is or isn’t worth it.
The Rookie says
As of this post Im following your blog. I feel that I have many similarities with you as I have been involved and still am in many different things.
I actually have been doing niche sites for a long time and they do work great. Fairly passive but not entirely. A long time ago I had over a hundred niche sites making between 5 and ten bucks a month each. Not much indiviually but it added up.. A few of them got to the few hundred dollar per month range and Ive kept them as the smaller ones were just more of a chore. (I could have just kept them but let the domains expire) So I have a few left (most the good ones –although my best one I lost to a bonehead move–)and have got back into it. They are easy and making the ones that make more money is easy too. Its just better content and a little more care in the beginning.
Of course I could rinse and repeat but I find I make the most in real estate per minute of time spent and the risk is minimal.
Just thought Id chime in, great post.
Thanks Rookie. I’m always fascinated when people tell me they are (or at one time) manage over 100 sites. That seems like so much to keep track of! I’m having a hard time just trying to keep 2 alive and on the radar.
Knowing what you know now, would you rather go for quantity or just focus on making 1 – 5 of the sites really stand out so that they earn the most income? I’ve heard different opinions, so I’m always interested to know what people think …