Are you interested in starting a website? Today, I am interviewing Mike Futia on how you can start a money making niche site.
A niche site is a little different from a traditional blog, and he will be teaching you all about that today.
Mike Futia is the founder of Stupid Simple SEO, where he teaches bloggers how to scale their traffic and income with SEO.
Mike recently sold a niche site for over $100,000, and he has also taken three different niche sites to over $10,000 in monthly earnings each. I have also taken a course of his, and I highly recommend them due to the wealth of knowledge that he shares.
He is an expert on this topic, and I’m excited for you to learn more.
In today’s interview, questions answered include:
- What is a niche site? How is this different from a “normal” blog?
- How much money can a niche site make?
- How can you monetize a niche site?
- How long does it take to monetize a niche site?
- What are the most profitable niches for blogging?
Mike also has a free webinar – How To Build A Money-Making Niche Site. In this free webinar, you will learn how one of Mike’s students sees 200,000 pageviews per month (in just 8 months), why niche sites are a great way to make money, his 3-step framework for creating your niche site and making money with it, and more.
Today’s interview will help you get started and perhaps even introduce you to a new way to make money from home.
If you want to start your own site and get paid, this is a great article to help you get started.
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How To Start A Niche Site
1. Please give us a little background on yourself and how you got started. How long have you been blogging for?
My name is Mike Futia and I’m the founder of Stupid Simple SEO, where I teach bloggers how to scale their traffic & income with SEO.
I created my first blog over a decade ago after following Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. I created a “niche site” in the vacuum niche—it was really bad!—that reviewed vacuum cleaners, and was monetized with Amazon affiliate links.
With SEO, I was able to rank my articles in Google, and get that site up to about $3,000 per month.
Now, remember—this was 10 years ago, my site really wasn’t very good at all, and a lot has changed with both blogging and SEO!
But that was my first “taste” of blogging, niche sites, and making money online. And I was hooked.
Since then, I’ve created several niche sites—and have sold a few—and four years ago, I decided to start an “SEO blog” helping teach others how to do the same thing.
So I’ve been running Stupid Simple SEO since 2018 and I offer a few courses, a membership program, and we just recently launched our first software tool, NicheFinder.io, which helps you research profitable niches.
2. What is a niche site? How is this different from a “normal” blog?
A “niche site” is a website that focuses on one specific audience. And on that site, you produce content (blog posts & videos) that speaks directly to your audience and all of their questions & problems.
For example: you might start a niche site in the “coffee” niche. And you would write articles teaching them how to brew espresso, and discuss the differences between a latte and a cappuccino, and you’d review different coffee products that they might be interested in.
And you would produce a lot of content all around the same general theme/topic: coffee.
You’d find all of your audience’s questions around coffee, and coffee products, and write blog posts that answer those questions.
Niche sites are very similar to blogs: you’re starting a new site, and you’re writing about things.
The key differentiator with niche sites is they are focused on one specific audience (not like some blogs that write about recipes, finance, travel, and parenting, all under one site).
3. How much money can a niche site make? How much do you earn?
I recently sold a niche site for six-figures, which was making around $10,000 per month. I’ve taken three different sites to over $10,000 per month, two of which I’ve sold. These sites are monetized with display ads (like Mediavine) and affiliate marketing (like Amazon).
How much can you make with a niche site? I know of two people that make close to $100,000 per month with a portfolio of niche sites.
But that’s certainly not the norm.
I know of many more people making between $5,000-$10,000 per month. Again, I’m not suggesting that it’s easy, but it’s definitely doable with the right niche & the right strategy.
4. In what ways can a niche site be monetized? How long does it take to monetize a niche site?
The majority of niche sites I see are monetized with display ads and affiliate marketing.
From a display ad perspective, let’s say you’re in a niche that has a $30 RPM (not uncommon for Mediavine or AdThrive).
Working backwards, to get to $10,000 per month with just ads, you’d need to get to around 333,000 pageviews per month. Which again—is certainly not easy, but it’s possible.
When you throw in affiliate marketing revenue on top of the ad revenue, you can see how sites can quickly get to over $10,000 per month.
5. What do you think are the best profitable niches for blogging?
I think the “obvious” ones like finance, recipes, home & decor are still profitable niches—but we also need to keep competition in mind when choosing a niche.
With niche sites, the two most important things to look at in a niche are search competition, and traffic potential.
Search competition basically means: how much competition is there on Google? Who are the other players in the space? Are they all big, authoritative sites that have been around forever? Then it will be very hard to rank in Google, and get search traffic.
For example: the “health” niche may be very profitable, but it’s also brutally competitive. You’ll never outrank WebMd and Healthline.com in Google with a health niche site. So even though it’s a profitable niche, it’s still a “bad” niche to choose because it’s way too competitive.
So we want to look for moderate or low-competition niches.
And then we have traffic potential: just because a niche may be “low-competition” doesn’t mean it’s a good niche, if nobody is interested in it!
So we need to keep search potential in mind: or, is this actually a popular niche? Are lots of people searching for it? Is it reasonably popular?
Because if nobody is searching for it, you’re not going to get a lot of traffic from Google.
6. How can a person choose their niche?
As I mentioned above, search competition and traffic potential are arguably the two most important factors when choosing a niche.
Another thing to keep in mind is personal interest: are you actually interested (at least somewhat) in the niche? You’re going to be starting an entire website in this niche, so it definitely helps if you have some interest in it.
Producing content is also something to consider. How difficult will it be to produce/write this content?
For example: if you’re starting a niche site in the “air fryer recipes” niche—you’re actually going to have to make those recipes! And making recipes, and documenting them, isn’t exactly easy: it takes a lot of time and effort. So the “degree of difficulty” in producing that content is very high.
On the other hand, a lot of folks start niche sites where they just answer a bunch of random questions that people have in a niche.
For example: “how much space do you need between a countertop and upper cabinets?” That’s a perfect example of a really niched-down keyword/article. And you could research and write that article in under an hour, probably.
And with a niche site, you want to produce a LOT of content. So keeping in mind how difficult it will be to write your content is important.
7. What are the pros and cons of a niche site?
Pros of starting a niche site:
- You can start a niche site on the side
- You can make a lot of money if everything goes right!
- You don’t need a “team”—you can do everything yourself
- Once your content starts ranking in Google, the traffic & income is largely “passive”
- You can sell a niche site for ~40x monthly profit—so if you get your site to $3,000 per month, you can potentially sell it for $120,000!
Cons of starting a niche site:
- Producing content is a lot of work
- SEO is a long-term game—it takes time to rank in Google
- It can be incredibly frustrating when you’re just starting out, and not seeing results
- There’s lots of competition out there because many people are interested in niche sites now
8. How do you get readers and traffic to a niche website?
Most folks focus on SEO traffic from Google–so you write a post, and hopefully it ranks near the top in Google, and people click on over to your site after searching for a keyword.
That said, on a brand new domain, ranking in Google can take a long time—six months at least.
So while you’re “waiting on Google”, some folks like to diversify their traffic streams with either Pinterest, or even YouTube.
9. What makes a niche site successful?
Here are my top 5 tips for having a successful niche site:
- Picking the right niche! (See above)
- Identifying low-competition keywords to go after (keyword research)
- Writing really good content that addresses those keywords (content quality)
- Write a LOT of really good content (content quantity)
- Repeating Steps 2-4 over time—niche sites are a long-term play, and people who are in it for the long haul are the ones who get rewarded
10. Can you tell me more about the training that you offer? Who is Niche Site Academy for?
Niche Site Academy teaches you how to start, grow, and scale a niche site from scratch.
Inside of the training, we go deep on topics like:
- Choosing a niche (20+ videos dedicated to this topic, because it’s so important!),
- Setting up your niche site (theme, hosting, plugins, etc.)
- Finding low-competition keywords to write about (keyword research)
- Creating your content
- Optimizing your content for SEO
- Outsourcing your content eventually (you may want to hire freelance writers to help you out!)
Over 1,200 students have taken Niche Site Academy so far!
Are you interested in starting a website?
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