Niche sites had the potential of becoming easy money makers about a decade ago (wow, has it been so long already?). All you had to do was find a low competition keyword, write a few articles, automate the link building and enjoy the passive income. People were making thousands of dollars per month, having tens of niche blogs and enjoying the good life. And then Google kicked in and killed most of those sites and left us all wonder: are niche sites still working in 2014?
The short answer would be yes. There are still many bloggers reaping on the benefits of building small niche sites and generating passive income. The link building strategies have changed a lot and getting backlinks that will benefit your site is more difficult now than it was a while ago, but it’s still doable. More time to invest for the same results. So… is this worth it?
I personally believe that even though having a network of 100 niche sites, each making 50 bucks per month still sounds good and anybody (including me) would take that deal, it might be better to change your approach and go for the even more difficult route, but with more potential earnings. What about earning just 10 sites making 500 per month (but with an unlimited potential)?
The key to the niche approach today is the Authority Blog
An authority blog can still be a niche blog, but not a small blog. There are tens of thousands of blogs with five articles out there that can be easily outranked because Google loves content. And authority blogs or websites have a lot of content. Let’s do some simple math and see that creating an Authority site is not that difficult:
– 100 niche sites with 5 articles each means 500 articles.
– 10 niches sites with 500 articles means 50 articles per site. Now that already looks like an authority blog, right? And you spend the same resources to build them!
Plus, managing 100 sites is a LOT more time consuming and costly than running just 10. I have just a few blogs and the management part is eating up most of my time. 100 would require 24 extra hours per day, I guess.
Why Authority blogs are better
Apart from the clear gains that you have from easier management of your sites, Authority blogs are better for one big reason:
If you were to spend the same amount of resources (time and money) on building backlinks for a 100 blogs network and a 10 blogs network, which one would have more backlinks? The smaller one, of course. And more backlinks means better rankings and overall a stronger root domain that will automatically rank your incoming articles. The result? You will get more traffic and more traffic means more revenue. It’s as simple as that!
Also, an authority blog has a huge advantage: it can constantly grow. Both in terms of articles published and traffic/income. The good news is that most niche sites have the potential to become authority blogs. You can start almost any blog as a 5 article blog and if it picks up, start working on it, build it and turn it into an authority. But make sure that you pick the niche that allows you to branch out and build a bigger website. Because you don’t want to be limited by a low potential maximum income!
How to find potential authority niches?
Stay away from micro niches! “The best diving watches under $50” might be a great niche that will generate a nice chunk of money. But if you go up a level – you don’t even have to go for a more competitive “Best Diving Watches – to “Best diving watches under $100” you have a bigger niche. And you can still include the “under 50” as an alternative keyword. Even better, go for a more generic “cheap diving watches” and you have a lot of content to play with. Lists, reviews and more lists. And you have an authority website!
The idea is to find a micro niche and see how to go one level higher. Or maybe too, just for the sake of having a broader range. It’s true that the competition might be tougher, but it’s also easier to build and rank a solid blog than a thin one with just a few pages of content.
Why don’t people do this?
Well, people are actually doing this. Most of the success stories posted on the internet (Pat Flynn’s Security Guard Training HQ is probably the best known example) are actually of niche sites that are turned into authority sites. Most – if not all – of the blogs that people show us in their examples as top earning niche blogs are actually authority sites. They’re not 5 article blogs. They’re not “build it and leave it” types of blogs. They are websites that are constantly worked on, improved and promoted.
The risk is somewhat higher with an authority blog. If you do something wrong in terms of link building and your entire authority blog is killed, then you have more to lose than you would with a smaller niche site. However, most bloggers use the same methods for all their blogs, so if such an unfortunate event would happen, you would actually lose all your small niche sites, as it happened to most pro bloggers after Google released the Pandas and the Penguins. So the problem is just you being afraid to think big. Stop being afraid and start building quality!