One thing busy working professionals do not have much off is spare time. The Niche Content Website (NCW) business model works very well for an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to establish a secondary source of passive income while managing a successful career.
You may have heard stories such as that of Jerry Alonzy from the Natural Handyman or Ashley from WhateverLife. These stories show that anyone, from a 14 year old girl to a 60 year old retired handyman can earn a significant amount of money online from a static content website.
Thanks to the growth and wide use of the Internet globally, these success stories are everywhere around us today.
A niche content website is a static website on a given subject matter or topic, referred to here as a niche. Niche websites are typically focused on a narrow and a very specific subject matter with the goal of capturing search traffic looking for information on the topic.
Many internet entrepreneurs prefer establishing niche content websites because it allows them to work on a “set it and forget it” business model. Because there is opportunity to write quality content that is timeless (it will hold true today and tomorrow), the website has the potential of lasting forever. Therefore, many entrepreneurs set it on auto pilot when they start making money from it and let the cash trickle in over-time on auto pilot.
The benefit of timeless content is that the website will be just as fresh today as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. That said, there are a number of niche website owners who choose to expand their websites by adding more content over time. Others expand by adding a blog or a forum to an already successful niche website to increase its traffic and exposure.
Niche websites can be established and forgotten about, or used to completely dominate a subject matter.
Niche websites work on the internet because they are content heavy and target a very specific subject matter. The world of the internet works on keywords, and the more keywords you can rank high for in search results, the more traffic your website will generate.
On the internet, traffic is directly proportionate to revenues generated by a website. The more content you have, the more keywords you can target, the more traffic you can attract and the more money you can make. It’s a pretty straightforward equation.
Can you use just any set of keywords? No. The keywords you use have to be targeted and specific. They have to be targeted to your potential visitors (those who are interested in your niche). If your website is about frogs, it doesn’t make sense to target keywords related to cows.
The keywords you use have to be specific in that they must be highly demanded and poorly supplied. What does that mean? Demand refers to the number of search queries web surfers conduct online on search engines such as Google. Supply refers to the number of webpages on the internet that are also focusing on the same keyword.
As common sense would state, the higher the demand and the lower the supply, the easier it is for your website to rank high on a listing of search results when a user searches for that keyword online. Try it out for yourself. Type in the phrase “Dubai City Information” on Google. Do you see the Dubai Information Site on the first page?
That is one of my websites, which originally started as a pet project hobby. Look at the number of results near the search bar. How did I get ahead of millions of other competing webpages? I did this by using the keyword (or key phrase) Dubai City Information as effectively as I could when writing the content of the webpage that you see ranked high.
Optimal or effective use of keywords along with some other strategies to propel your website to page one of Google is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Although many wannabes make it sound like its rocket science, it is actually quite simple. If you follow the fundamental and simple principles of SEO without getting distracted with all the minutiae out there, you will have no problems getting your website to rank high over time on search engine search results.
But where do the keywords come from? Billions of searches are conducted on the internet regularly. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing publish these numbers and show us what keywords are searched for, as well as all the websites in cyberspace that are “optimized” for those keywords.
There are dedicated tools that have been developed that scour the web and provide you with this information in an easy to read format. WordTracker is one such tool, by far the best that I have come across and one that I personally use regularly.
Update: I was hooked on to WordTracker because SBI provides it for free. However, since I started developing websites on WordPress, I started to use the Market Samurai keyword research tool, which I feel is more cost effective and equally as good.
Below is a sample screen shot of what it can do. This is a simple search run for the term Anguilla. The tool provides 902 of related and topmost searched for terms with their respective supply and demand figures:
It is important to study the demand for your subject matter before launching your website. Some niches are too small for you to waste your time in. Others are too big and saturated where the competition is already fierce.
Everyone has something to offer to the world. Whether it is your knowledge, skill, expertise in a subject matter, ability to do something or simply your experience, it is important to realize that whatever your niche is, there is demand for what you have to offer.
How can you find out more about your market? Through use of several free tools available on the Internet. If you are going to establish a niche website online, chances are your target readers will be web surfers who already use the Internet predominantly. This is the reason search engine data is the most important component of your research.
Use the Free Google Adword Keyword Research Tool. Type in the main keyword in your contemplated niche. For example, type the keyword Anguilla if you are contemplating a website on that subject. Below is an example of what you will see.
Rearrange the results to show you what the “Estimated Average CPC” or Cost per Click is. This essentially translates into what the advertising competition is for the keyword. There are some very specific protocols to follow to conclude whether the niche can be profitable for you.
This is often referred to as keyword research, which not only gives you an idea of potential demand and profitability, but also the number and types of keywords to use in your website’s content creation.
The keywords to use are driven by the supply, demand and profitability components I discussed above. You can also gauge the supply of the keyword by typing it into the Google search bar and then looking at the search results in small print usually underneath the search bar. This shows you how many competing webpages are out there for the keyword you typed in.
In addition to using search registered data, ask people you know to gauge their interest and their opinion on whether your niche has a market. Spend some time and attend events where your target crowd is likely to spend their time and ask your ideal target directly.
Visit blogs and forums in the niche or niches of your consideration and read the types of topics people are discussing and interested in learning more about. What are their pain points? Are there overarching questions or themes that your website can address?
Visit Amazon.com and browse their books. See which topics are selling most. For some books, you can even get a glance of their table of content and first few pages. Look for the “Look Inside” sign usually to the top left of the book image.
There are tools online that aggregate all this information for you that will save you tons of hours in your research. WordTracker is was the best tool that I have had come across which I have been using for years now was using in the past.
Update: Many of the tools, philosophies, search engine behaviors and my approach has changed since I started. You can read about the tools I use in the resources section of my blog to learn more about the best and most relevant tools I use today.
I realize that there is a more than a decade of experience behind what I say or type in this case. It may sound intimidating and overwhelming, especially if this is the first time you are exposed to this material. Take my word however and relax. None of this is anything you cannot do. I am willing to bet that what you do is much more complex, and that you are good at it because you have been exposed to doing it for a while now.
Remember, I am a self taught internet entrepreneur. I am not a programmer, and I don’t know how to code. I went to business school to study “how to do business”. If I can do this, I am sure you can too.
In my opinion, monetization is the easiest of all components in this process. This is because a website that generates significant user traffic will inevitably make money if monetization avenues are implemented.
On the internet, traffic directly correlates to revenues. Although there is no specific formula that can pin-point the exact math, this statement is generally accurate. Getting your website to a point where it starts to generate respectable traffic through marketing strategies takes some time and effort.
This is a whole another discussion, and one with various components, that I have left out from this post. I will discuss website marketing in the future however as I continue to expand on the topic of making money from websites.
A big reason why I don’t want to spend so much time on marketing is because it takes a lot of time to learn, understand and apply what it takes to be successful. Although I will certainly dive into that aspect as well later, my goal right now is to get you acquainted with the idea and this type of a “business model”.
Because the audience of this blog are successful professionals, I am assuming you have some discretionary income (not a lot) to invest in tools that make marketing painless and fun at the same time. Remember that one thing busy professionals don’t have much off is time!
Anyway, here are some ways you can make money from your website:
There are numerous other ways to monetize a website generating decent traffic. For example, if you are a service provider you can use your website to generate automatic and consistent leads over time and build a bigger business.
Similarly, there are many other ways you can benefit from the traffic your website generates online.
Of all the ways I make money, niche content websites are my favorite because I can take my time to build the business, there are tools readily available that make everything very easy, they can be very profitable, I can use any subject matter I want, they involve very little start-up cost, I can establish them and then forget about them, the business model is extremely scalable, I can outsource the work if I want to, and they are just a lot of fun to be involved with.
When I started with niche content websites, I was already involved in real estate, small business investing as well as an ecommerce website. I wanted to try something different, something that would not require as much of my time and energy to sustain and thus move closer to a true passive and residual business venture.
I first started with The Dubai Information Site, a hobby website which my wife and I honed into a successful business. I then went on to establish the underlying website of this blog Easy Extra Money Online. This website is a compilation of my experiences and experiments with paid surveys and other “get paid to” programs.
As I learned more about websites, search engine optimization and internet marketing, my websites picked up steam and grew exponentially in traffic and profits. I was enjoying the success and realized how little effort, if at all, is required to sustain the success once the sites got going.
One year later, I launched Sue the Airline, a website dedicated to help travelers who have been wronged by airlines. I was able to achieve success much faster because of my knowledge, experience and the tools that were available online that were specifically built to succeed on the internet – no matter what type of business.
Thanks to the automated tools and my experience, I was able to recruit other successful professionals who wanted to establish income streams on the side from websites to work with me on several joint ventures.
I offered my expertise and execution in exchange for their hard work putting together the website content under my instructions. I have since then launched several successful joint ventures online that are generating profits on auto pilot for me and my partners (Note: I have a 50/50 split agreement on all of these websites).
I plan on talking about these ventures in the future, perhaps as individual case studies. I will be discussing how you can leverage the interest of other successful professionals who know they want to make money from websites, but just don’t know how to do it or how to even get started learning about it.
Your experience, exposure and ability to talk the talk can assist you in building a nice portfolio of several income-producing websites by leveraging assistance from bright and dedicated individuals.
Because of what my partners have learned and been exposed to in the process, some have gone on their own to recruit their own partners and establish their own portfolio of websites. I don’t mind knowledge and income sharing at all.
There are two ways you can go about setting up niche content websites.
The first way is to do it all yourself. This means educating yourself on how websites work, the tools and components needed to put it together, how to optimize it well, how to market it and the 98 other things that come with it.
For example, you will need a website domain name and a host server. You will need to code the webpages of your website, and then load them to the server using a file transfer protocol (FTP). The list goes on. You can visit my resources page to see the tools I use.
Though possible, and used to be the only way to do it, the process takes a lot of time given that you are patient enough and have the interest to learn what it takes to make it happen and then spend time on trial and error execution.
You might be able to pull it off if you are a developer and web savvy. But what if you are not? That is where the second option comes in. The second option involves leveraging one of the readily available online tools and resources.
For example, I used Site Build It as my single solution website provider. It is the only tool I needed to get a website up and running in less than a week. The solution suite provides you with your own domain, hosting, multiple email addresses, a built-in point and click tool to create webpages without requiring you to learn coding, inbuilt newsletter programs and several other components that I utilize in my online business.
Site Build It is specifically meant for folks like you and I, who are not programmers and are busy and successful professionals who want to explore the internet as an avenue to build a solid, long term business and make money.
The beauty of this program is that it has a comprehensive tutorial that walks you through the process of researching and selecting a niche, putting together a blueprint of your website and then executing on it. There are step by step instructions at each point along the way, with all the tools necessary to get the job done. This solution was God sent for me when I was getting started.
The other one is Niche Profit Classroom, founded by Adam Short, who started with one niche website and today runs over 100 across all kinds of niches. He now dedicates his time teaching others how to replicate his success by sharing a step by step blueprint as well as sharing the tools necessary to make it happen.
I have used Adam’s proven system with equally successful results. In fact in many of my joint ventures, I have blended the Niche Profit Classroom approach with the Site Build It approach and the results have been very good.
Note: I am an affiliate of Adam’s course and used it to establish some of my niche sites. I feel his course is still pretty solid years after launching it. He can certainly update his keyword research methodology to further improvise it.
So back to my point, even if you can do it the long and hard way, why would you? I recommend you don’t do this. Your time is a lot more valuable and you have better things to do. It’s not like you can’t afford the little bit of money it takes to automate the process so you can focus on the fun part, the strategy and building your online business.
To cap off this post, what I wanted to convey to you in a nutshell is how you can leverage the internet and make money from niche content websites either on the side or as a full time venture. Many are doing it successfully, and you can too.
I certainly hope this “brief introduction” has helped walk you through the concept and possibilities at an introductory level (and hopefully a bit more). If you decide to pursue this business model further, I certainly hope you will leverage the technology available today to realize expedited success.
What are your thoughts on this business model? Do you have any personal experience with it? Does it seem like something you’d like to pursue someday?Previous: Living Large with Residual Income