The famous niche site, it is today pursued like a diamond! Trainings and promises of an ultimate technique to create niche websites are appearing everywhere on the web.
Yet, when I look at what's being done on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), I see excellent things and envy the talent of some editors, but other times, I quickly understand that the person behind the initiative has not really thought about the profitability of the project.
Here are some key questions to ask yourself before starting a niche website in order to estimate its profitability.
What is a niche website?
In marketing, a niche is a small market segment. A niche website is therefore a website that will focus on a specific sector or even a product.
Indeed, when they create a new website, some publishers target the niche by deciding to work on one idea (e.g. Scandinavian furniture) and others on a single product (e.g. the Scandinavian chair).
LBoth applications are valid and I own both types of websites. Whatever you decide to do, the following questions are valid.
As a general rule, you can assume that the narrower your niche, the easier it is to be in the top places. Easy equals less time spent on the website, less money spent…
At the same time, the narrower the niche, the smaller the potential income.
It's up to you to choose the strategy you prefer.
How much traffic can you expect?
With ultra-niche sites (a website dedicated to a product and often monetized with Amazon affiliation), we have seen websites created on almost every product request.
However, there is a big difference in possible revenues between a website on lawnmowers (the word and its declinations make more than 10,000 searches per month on Google) and a website only on Bosch lawnmowers (about 2,000 searches per month).
I specify that the photos and figures in the article come from French tools. The data are therefore for Google.fr.
I sometimes see niche websites with a single main query that doesn't even exceed 1,000 searches per month. Unless this product pays triple-digit commissions, it's going to be very hard to make a decent living out of it.
Why is that?
Estimate the traffic of one Keyword!
I should point out that my figures are very approximate, but this is the method to follow for a quick estimate.
On a keyword, the first place usually gets around 30% of the clicks. This means that out of 1000 searches, 300 people will come to your website if you manage to be first.
BUT, on a product query, Google displays a lot of ads before the "search" results, such as classic Adwords or Shopping ads. With four ads before your website, the click through rate is often below 20% on the first place. You are therefore at 200 monthly visitors.
If you have a very nice 15% rate of visitors who click on your affiliate links, you send 30 people to the website on which you earn commissions.
If it has an interesting offer and converts beautifully with a rate of 10%, you potentially have 3 commissions per month.
What are the possible methods of monetization?
If the SEO community seems completely oriented towards Amazon, other means of monetization exist (fortunately!).You can of course try competing affiliations from other big websites.
However, you can sometimes find less known but more qualitative programs by looking on affiliate platforms.
In addition to affiliation, you can add displays (Adsense, Criteo, Ezoic...). Depending on your traffic and the amount of your commissions, this may or may not be interesting.
Another form of monetization is to sell articles with links pointing to advertisers. However, the narrower your niche, the less popular it is with advertisers.
Another option is to sell leads. If you have a website about swimming pools, you can create a page dedicated to pool installers with an information request form. Then you sell these leads (contact details of interested people) to real pool installers.
There is no one way that always pays more than the others. A good mix is often the key to maximizing profits.
What is the average revenue per commission or lead?
After the query with few searches, the cheap product is the second most common error.
Let's imagine that you have your 3 commissions per month and that you sell products at 1000$ (with 5% commission), then you get $150. The income is small, but your efforts will quickly pay off and the website will be able to keep running, at least for a while, with a minimum of work.
Knowing that you need to target keywords with more visits, you have chosen a great marketplace that earns you 100 commissions per month! Congratulations, but what is the price of the product? If it's $20 with a 5% commission, you get $100 per month...
Personally, for a niche website based on a single product, I recommend that you avoid all products below $70 (in the case of a 5% commission), otherwise you will only get pennies.
What is the current competition?
If you are alone on the circuit or there is only one amateur in karting, it is easy to win. But if you're up against Hamilton and Vettel, you'll soon be overtaken.
You should never overestimate the competition, otherwise you won't start a niche website. There are often one or two competitors who already rank well, but we are all used to setting up more websites than reworking existing ones.
Cela me rappelle les vélos d'appartement. Quand je me suis lancé dans les sites de niche, je voyais plein de nouveaux éditeurs de sites de niche se lancer dans ce produit cher avec beaucoup de recherches, sans réfléchir à la concurrence.
It is possible to overtake a website that seemed to rank well and which in reality stagnates due to a lack of work on it.
Nevertheless, if you start in a niche where there are already twenty skilled competitors, it's going to be more than hard. Even if you succeed, the budget and time required will have been too big compared to other accessible niches.
There is niche and niche: can you extend the topic?
At the beginning of the article, I told you that there is the narrow niche technique and the wider niche technique. With the latter, your income can potentially increase easily.
Let's go back to our Scandinavian example. With a website only about Scandinavian chairs, you can enlarge by publishing pages according to colours, on cheap or high quality models... You quickly reach the overexploitation of the niche.
On the other hand, with a website about Scandinavian furniture, you can write about Scandinavian chairs, but also about tables, lamps...
The more you can diversify your niche, the more you increase your potential income. But, it is more difficult to position yourself well with a " mainstream " niche website (paradoxical expression!) than with a very narrow one.
With which tools to start the profitability study of the niche website?
Do you have a niche idea? Here are the tools I use to find out if it's possible to make money from it.
- Google… The basics! Enter the targeted keyword(s) on Google and look at the competition, but also at the type of results that emerge (comparators, ecommerce, content blog...).
- A keyword generator to discover the number of searches and the possible keywords in the topic: Semrush, Moz's Keyword Research...
- A link analyzer to know if the first results are big websites with a strong reputation or if it is possible to appear more easily: Majestic, Ahrefs...
- Affiliation networks to know the possible rates of commission on the niche and the average selling prices.
Not that complicated, is it? Now it's time to come up with some ideas for deeper work.
There's no magic way to get niche ideas. Think about your daily life, your needs, follow the best sales on big websites like Amazon, listen to new trends...
It sounds hard, but in reality, by immersing yourself in it, you will have more ideas than time to implement them!