Okay, raise your your hand if you enthralled with the idea of building a website that passively generates extra money while you sleep.
Yes, my hand is raised, too. 🙂
While that wasn’t the initial intent of creating my blog, that has definitely been the direction all of my sites including my wife’s has gone.
Blogging is definitely not passive income.
Not even close.
But it is nice when you can walk away from your blog for several days and still generate revenue. There aren’t many business that allow for that.
That’s why I love blogging! 😉
There are tons of ways to make money online. One way that has had my attention for a long time is building a niche site.
Don’t know what a niche site is? Don’t worry. You will soon.
How to Build Profitable Niche Sites
Spencer Haws from NichePursuits.com has been building niche sites for years. In fact, he’s built more niche sites in the last 3 years than I could probably pull off in my lifetime.
Spencer became so prolific at it, that he even created a piece of software that made the niche site building process easier for him and anyone else that was interested in replicating his process.
If you think Spencer can’t get even way cooler….wait for it…..wait for it…..
He publicly built a niche site and took all his readers along for the ride to show the entire process A-Z.
That (one) niche site is now making almost $500 per month with little upkeep.
That’s what I’m talking about!
Okay, enough of my long winded introduction. It’s to learn more about Spencer Haws and how’s he built his niche site empire.
1. Can you give us a little of your background of what got you into blogging and what your blog Niche Pursuits is about?
I actually started my very first blog back in 2006, but it was a big failure. The blog was in the personal finance category, but I really didn’t know what I was doing and lost commitment. However, this led me to building other types of sites (which I’ll discuss below). I eventually got very good at these other types of sites over the years and quit my job in 2011 because my income from these had surpassed my day job.
At that point, I started my business blog at NichePursuits.com, where I teach others how to build and rank websites. So, I really started blogging because I had found success in something and I wanted to teach others what I had found.
Primarily I blog about building niche websites and search engine optimization.
2. What were some of the greatest challenges you faced trying to make money online?
Honestly, there were a lot of challenges. The learning curve can just seem so steep sometimes. So, the biggest challenge was just staying committed and doing my best to overcome all the little hurdles like learning about hosting and domains…and of course how to get traffic from search engines.
All these little challenges have prevented lots of other people from starting successful blogs; but luckily I was able to stick it out and now most of these challenges seem very simple to me.
What is a Niche Site?
3. You recently publicly shared how you were able to rank #1 for a keyword of a new niche website. Could you first explain to our readers what a niche site is.
A “niche website” is simply an information based site that targets a very specific topic. Finding low competition keywords that I can target and then rank for in Google is what I got very good at early on in my online career. And these niche websites is what led me to being able to quit my job.
For example, many of my sites are VERY specific. Instead of having a “survival” site I get more specific. I could do something on survival gear, but I get even more specific. I could do something on survival knives, but I get even more specific.
I built a site on the keyword of “best survival knives”. This is the keyword that I rank #1 for in Google and have shared the process of building this site publicly on my blog.
You can check out Spencer’s niche site here: BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com
4. Why do you believe it’s financially attractive to want to build one (you can get into the various ways to monetize niche sites here)
Niche site can be very profitable because the ability to rank for these keywords is often quite un-competitive. So, not too many sites were targeting the phrase, “best survival knife”, and as a result I was able to dominate the search engines. Last month this site made me about $350 as I referred people to Amazon.com to buy knives.
The possibilities are immense with niche sites as they become passive at some point. So, I now have many small niche sites each earning me a little bit each month, but together was enough to quit my job and do it full-time.
5. I read where you built over 200 niche sites in one year (Wow!). Can you share some of the highs and lows of that experience?
Yes, I do have over 200 niche sites now. Not all of them were built in one year, but either way it’s A LOT! The benefit is that I was able to uncover some GREAT opportunities and start bringing in a good deal of money. The downside to building so many sites so quickly is that the quality can suffer.
So, I’ll be the first to admit that there was a time when the sites I built were not that great. However, now I am focusing more on building quality niche sites rather than a large quantity. So, I do still have over 200 sites, but I don’t build as many anymore, and the ones I do build are much more likely to stand the test of time and truly provide the end user what they are looking for.
How to Build a Niche Site
6. For someone that is new to blogging, how difficult would it be for someone to start a niche site from scratch? What sort of start-up costs would be involved?
Like anything, there is a learning curve to niche sites. You have to buy a domain and set up hosting. However, the most important part is finding a keyword (topic) to target. This is not an easy skill to master, as it requires a good understanding of how Google works, so that you can begin to understand what might be low competition.
However, the actual start-up costs are very low. All you need is a hosting account, a domain, and that may be it if you write all your own content, etc. The investment is primarily time. Once you get to a certain point as I have, you can then begin to outsource content creation or other aspects of your business – which obviously means more monetary investment, but frees up your time.
7. With all of Google’s algorithm updates, how has that impacted you in building new niche sites?
I have moved to higher quality sites and the updates in Google is certainly a big reason for doing that. Some of the sites I had built previously didn’t rank as well in Google anymore, so I wanted to fix that with future sites. So, better content and other quality tactics have helped me continue successfully in this business.
8. I see that you actually created your own premium tool (Long Tail Pro) to help people find competitive keywords even faster. Can you explain what your tool does and how it compares to Google’s Adword Tool or Market Samurai?
Yes, I created Long Tail Pro to help people find profitable keywords quicker and to analyze the competition in Google more effectively. I build the tool out of my own need. I wasn’t satisfied with the speed and usability of Market Samurai, so I hired someone to build a piece of software that worked the way I wanted it to.
Essentially the tool generates keywords similar to how Market Samurai and the Google Adwords Keyword tool does; but allows you to do so MUCH quicker. In addition, I’ve built in a feature that allows you to analyze the Google competition much more effectively than other tools (using a formula called Keyword Competitiveness).
Overall, I had a need for the software myself, and so I had a programmer built it for me (I’m not a programmer), and others have also found it very useful – and Long Tail Pro is now a successful business on its own.
Interested in trying Long Tail Pro? Sign up now for a free 10 day trial.
How do You Make Money From Building Niche Sites?
9. How do you make money with your niche sites?
I make money on my niche sites from affiliate networks. Most of my sites are monetized with Google Adsense – the largest advertising network in the world.
For my survival knife site, I am using Amazon Associates – so whenever someone buys a product off of Amazon, I make a commission.
10. How do you promote your niche sites? Are these sites created solely for Google search engine traffic or does he promote them other ways too?
I do not promote my niche sites in any other way. My entire strategy for my niche sites is to target low competition keywords, rank in Google, and enjoy the free traffic.
11. If I wanted to create a niche site tomorrow…where do I start?
If you wanted to start a niche site, you will start by finding a low competition keyword, buying a domain, and setting up hosting. Obviously, there is a lot to learn. I’ve covered a lot of the basic tips to learning about niche sites on my blog at NichePursuits.com.
12. Any last tips for people wanting to start their own niche site?
Whether you are wanting to start a niche site or just want a traditional blog, it really is critical that you have a basic understanding of how Google works. By choosing the correct keywords to go after for your next blog post or next niche website, you will be much more successful that if you just take a shot in the dark and hope the free Google traffic comes.
Want to Build a Niche Site With Us?
First, thanks to Spencer for sharing his knowledge regarding building niche sites! I love hearing stories where people have quit their day job to pursue an online business.
You may have noticed that in our income reports that I often refer to our niche sites as being significant income producers. Much how Spencer has altered his strategy with Google’s updates, my niche sites don’t follow the “set it and forget it” approach. I consider them more authority sites where I’m constantly updating with new content trying to separate them from the competition.
Before Spencer made his niche site public, Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com was the 1st blogger (that I know of) that publicly shared his journey of creating a niche site in the “security guard training” niche. That site is now making around $3k per month!
Pat did this in what he called his Niche Site Duel where he and others created niche sites from scratch and dueled to see who could make money first. Recently, Pat launched Niche Site Duel 2.0 once again rallying new bloggers who are interested in creating a niche site from scratch.
Did someone say duel? I love a challenge!
Joining Niche Site Duel 2.0
Okay, here’s a closer look at reality. I have no extra time to start a brand new site. None. At all. So why would I even consider doing this?
- Reason 1: I think you (our reader) would really enjoy being walked through the entire niche site building process.
- Reason 2: I’ve solicited my virtual assistant to do a lot of the heavy lifting in getting our niche site off the ground.
How’s that for some good reasons?
I pretty much have the idea about the niche site, now I just have to register the domain, build the site, and get some content on there.
Yeah, easier said that done, right? Haha….
Expect future updates to begin posting soon and we’ll also be revealing what niche we’ll be getting into soon on the blog.
Let the Niche Site Duel begin!