How about starting a niche site to make money online in 2017?
Many people tried making a living from the internet, but only a fraction of them have ever succeeded. Up to 90% of aspiring internet entrepreneurs fail to make money online, and a vast majority of them quit before they even see their first profit.
It doesn’t help that there are so many scams looming around the internet, much like sharks circling around their clueless preys. If you’ve tried to find a real make money online platform on the internet, you’ll know how hard it is to find legitimate programs. Chances are you have already been scammed at least once.
I’ve been a victim of multiple internet scams, and that’s why I’ve put together this guide that details the proper way for starting a niche site to earn some serious money. Do note that this by no means the only way to generate income from the internet, but it is one of the best ways to make money online because it comes with the lowest risks and costs to get started.
It’s also the exact method in which I built this website, and grew it to a money website that generates more than $1,000 per month consistently in less than 8 months. Since then, this site has grown to make more than $2,000 per month consistently, and I’m still looking to see how far I can take it.
This guide includes the following sections:
- Understanding how to make money online
- How to choose a niche
- How to set up your first WordPress website
- How to find relevant keywords and content ideas
- How to build quality content around keywords
- How to rank your website
There are a lot to cover when it comes to starting a successful niche site, so get ready for a rather lengthy guide. First, let’s get started with the concept of making money online.
Understanding How to Make Money Online
There are many ways to make money online – from selling your used items and products on eBay and Craigslist, providing freelance service on platforms such as Fiverr and Odesk, to day trading with trading instruments such as the stock market and Forex market.
The problem is that people often get distracted by the “latest and greatest” ways to make a killing from the internet that they are unable to settle down and build a successful (and profit generating) online business.
For some others, the programs they find typically want them to invest a huge sum of money to get started, which most of us simply don’t have the money and confidence to do so.
Since most people don’t have a large capital to spend on building their own products or investing in risky investments, one of the best ways to make money online is to leverage on existing brands and their products to generate profits for you.
And that is what we call affiliate marketing. It’s a proven technique to make a full-time income from the internet, and it’s also the one we will use to start a money making niche website.
The idea of affiliate marketing is to generate income without creating products of your own. Affiliate marketers make money online by introducing and promoting existing products, and make a commission when an internet user ends up making a purchase.
Basic framework of how a niche money website works
There are 2 billion people on the internet and they are looking (searching) for things every single day. They are looking for information, and a sizable proportion of them are looking to buy stuffs online.
This is where you will come in with your website and help them by offering information on what they are looking for. You will be helping your website visitors and earning a revenue stream through the process.
Amazon is one of the thousands of companies out there that offer an affiliate program. There are literally millions of products and services that you can write about, so don’t worry about running out of ideas or products to promote.
Promoting stuffs on Amazon is a a good start for anyone because we can leverage on the authority and popularity of Amazon. Almost everyone knows and trusts Amazon, so you won’t have problem turning your readers into customers.
As an Amazon affiliate, you earn commissions when your website visitors end up purchasing things on the Amazon website.
I always recommend beginners to start their first niche site with their own passion – a topic they are interested in and know something about. I’m interested in personal finance, that’s why I started MasterMyFinance.com as my first website.
In that sense, personal finance and making money online was my first niche.
How to Choose a Niche
A money website starts with a niche
Choosing a niche is one of the scariest task for people who are just starting out. However, the idea of choosing a niche should not scare you. Instead, it should be exciting!
A niche is a distinct segment of the market. In other words, it is a rather narrow topic in which there is an internet audience that you can serve.
When you choose a niche, ideally you want to choose your own interest or your hobby. If you don’t have a particular interest, you can try tackling a problem, a need or a want of the general population.
Almost anything you can think of is a niche, and that’s why you should choose your OWN niche based on your interests. You can earn money from absolutely any single niche, as long as there is a product or a service catered towards it.
To put things into perspective, let’s take a look at a niche that we can get into right now.
Have you ever thought about promoting toaster oven?
Before I get into a niche, I usually search the trend of its main keyword using Google Trends. It gives me a good idea of the search volume for this keyword, and the demand for the products related to it.
In fact, I came up with toaster oven as an example because I saw one across my work desk just now. Look around you and you’ll realize that literally anything can become a niche where you can build your niche site upon.
In this case, toaster oven seems to be a good niche judging from its consistent demand and trend. If you made a website 10 years ago about toaster oven, it will still be relevant and get visitors today, and for the next 10 years. Toaster oven will remain relevant for a long time to come, and it’s not gonna get phased out anytime soon.
Does it mean everyone should go out there and make a website promoting toaster ovens? NO. There are many things that you can write about, and niches that you can excel in. I want you to follow something that you are passionate about.
Take a minute to think about a niche that you can consistently get excited about and talk about. Take a piece of paper and write it down if you have to. You are much more likely to stick to your effort if you love what you are doing.
Your online business should not feel like a day job. Making money online should be fun, and it is fun. So you should start with a niche you are interested in and will enjoy working with. I sound like a broken recorder, but it is important to keep you working on it consistently.
You can also get a bit creative with your niches. Let’s say you like baking, but you don’t know how to get started with the baking niche. In this case, you can also start with the toaster oven niche, and then write about recipes and ways of baking with a toaster oven.
From there, you can expand your niche to cover other baking utensils in your guides and recipes, and linking them up to Amazon store when you mention any of the utensils in your articles.
Don’t get stuck at deciding on your niche for too long, though. Don’t worry if you absolutely have no idea what niche to get into. You can still get started with any niche to learn the ropes. Once you’ve mastered the skill set, you can conquer any niche that you want to get into.
After all, who said you can’t build more than 1 niche website?
Setting Up Your First Website
It’s time to carve your own territory on the internet!
Now that we have sorted our direction and decided on a niche, it’s time to get to work. Having your own domain name is ideal and gives you a huge competitive advantage when it comes to succeeding online.
If you have your own domain, it will look something like this:
I host all my money website domains on Wealthy Affiliate hosting platform, because it provides the best price to performance ratio when it comes to speed, number of domains hosted, and website security.
You can host up to 50 personalized domains on secure and dedicated servers, and it is a lot cheaper ($49/month) than other hosting packages offered by Pagely ($149/month), WP Engine ($250/month), or Pressable ($90/month).
Why do we need to host up to 50 domains? When you get into the business of niche websites, you want to diversify your portfolio and expand your earning potential in the long run.
Once you have learned the necessary skills, you’ll want to slowly get into other niches and build multiple niche site that money money for you simultaneously. Having multiple websites or domains hosted under 1 single platform makes it easier to manage.
Of course, not everyone has the capital to invest in a business right away, so Wealthy Affiliate offer a free membership account where you can get 2 domains for free and host them for as long as you want. This is ideal for those who want to learn how to make money online for free without putting in any financial commitment.
You can get your free Wealthy Affiliate domains and hosting through the link below.
Once you have an account with Wealthy Affiliate, you can register for a free domain within your membership account via SiteRubix.
Normally, purchasing your own domain will cost around $10/year for registration and renewal, but you are entitled to 2 SiteRubix domains that come with your free membership.
Here’s how to register for your siterubix domain and set up the basic framework. More detailed instructions can be found in Wealthy Affiliate’s own training videos, but I’ve taken a screenshot below:
Step 1: Register your free domain name
In your Wealthy Affiliate account, create a free domain name on a SiteRubix.com domain. Your website name will look something like this:
You can check for the availability of your desired domain name and register it for yourself if it’s not taken yet. Since it’s a free website by siterubix, you’ll have the siterubix domain name attached.
You can transfer the entire free domain to your own domain name (such as yourwebsite.com) after you have purchased a domain name of your own.
Step 2: Write a short description for your website
Next, write a very short description for your website. This is what your audience will see when your website appears in the search engine, so make sure it gives a good summary on what your site is all about.
You can change it anytime in your website settings panel after installation, so don’t worry too much about it.
Step 3: Choose a theme for your website
Now comes the fun part! You can choose a theme for your website, which dictates how it will appear. Prefer a visually attractive website layout? No problem, choose from the wide variety of themes available to you.
Again, you can change the theme for your website anytime after installation, so you don’t have to pick the perfect one right away. Experiment with different themes after installing your website and find the one that suits your purpose the best.
Step 4: Install WordPress website
Once you are done, click “I’m Ready, Build My Website Now!” button to begin building your site. It takes a few seconds to install and set everything up, but once it’s done your website is officially online.
You will be able to access the settings of your site and configure how it looks, add contents and customize it. Now that we have the basic framework, it’s time to work on keyword researching and adding content into it.
How to Find Content Ideas and Keywords
It’s essential to have a good tool for keyword research
You have likely heard of the word “keyword research” if you have done any online marketing before. This is the process of finding suitable keyword phrases that are relevant to your niche, and deciding whether or not it is appropriate to build content around that particular keyword.
A keyword is simply a word or a phrase that people look for in the search engines. Every time you do a Google search you are typing a “keyword” into the search box.
Good keyword research ensures that your content get ranked by search engines and found by visitors, so we will be tackling keywords before we get into content creation. This is the first step of search engine optimization, or SEO in general.
In my niche sites, I rely only on SEO and organic traffic from Google search engine to get visitors and to make money online. I don’t pay for online ads to promote my pages because I think getting free traffic is the best way to make money online.
That is why keyword research is especially important in planning a niche site. Keyword research lays the foundation for a good SEO and Google ranking, and ultimately traffic to your site and money that you will make from the internet.
I use Jaaxy, an excellent keyword research tool whenever I build a new niche website to look for money keywords that I can build content around with.
Take our toaster oven website as an example.
Get insights of potential keywords you can rank for using Jaaxy
As starter, I plugged in our main keyword – “toaster oven” into Jaaxy keyword tool to have a rough gauge of its demand and competition. We also get to see other related keywords that we can consider ranking for.
The metrics of Jaaxy are as below:
Avg: Average number of search queries per month
Traffic: Estimated number of visitors to your website if you rank 1st for this keyword.
QSR: Number of competing websites that rank for the same keyword.
KQI: Difficulty to rank the keyword. Green is easy, amber is difficult.
SEO: Difficulty to rank the keyword in numeric form. The closer it is to 100, the easier to rank.
As you can see from the screenshot above, our main keyword “toaster oven” is in high demand, with an average search queries of 35321 per month in Google alone.
It’s difficult to rank for a highly competitive keyword like this, so we will turn our attention to the easier keywords for now.
Some of the keywords in this list that caught my attention were “stainless steel toaster oven”, “proctor silex toaster oven”, “spacemaker toaster oven”, “infrared toaster oven”, “toaster oven recipes”, and “black decker spacemaker toaster oven”.
All of these keywords have very low competition (QSR <200) and a relatively high search volume (AVG >100), so we have a good chance of ranking for them and get visitors. We will build our initial content around these keywords.
With just a simple search from Jaaxy, we have a decent list of starter keywords that we can build our content around with. Note that each of these keywords are highly specific, and all of them contain our main keyword “toaster oven”.
Note: Your free Jaaxy account comes with 30 free searches, which is typically enough for a niche site keyword research.
When Google see your website with multiple high quality articles targeting various long-tail keywords that contain “toaster oven”, over time it recognizes your authority in this niche and you will slowly rank for the main keyword as well.
When people search for particular long-tail keywords such as “black decker spacemaker toaster oven”, they are usually in a purchasing mode. They want to look for this particular model, so there’s a high chance they will buy it if you can present good information and a place to buy it.
And what better place is there to buy than Amazon?
Amazon carries all sorts of products that you can sell
I searched for “black decker spacemaker toaster oven” in Amazon, and turns out that they carry the exact product. In fact, you can look for any product in Amazon and it’s extremely likely that Amazon will have what you are looking for.
You can sign up for an affiliate account with Amazon, and you’ll earn a commission for every product that your website visitors purchase from Amazon within 24 hours.
It doesn’t have to be the product that you are promoting. Sometimes the visitors that you send to Amazon may end up buying other unrelated products that you didn’t promote, but you will still earn a commission for these sales.
So your job is to provide good information about your target product, and send your visitors to Amazon through your affiliate link. Amazon is a very well-known website, and they have an extremely good track record of converting visitors into customers.
How to Write Quality Content
Quality content will drive a lot of traffic to your website
There’s a phrase we like to use when it comes to internet marketing – Content is king. The most important aspect of any good content, whether it’s in text or video format, is that it’s created with the audience in mind. You want to deliver something that is relevant and helpful.
There is nothing wrong with getting some concepts or ideas from somewhere else on the internet and incorporating them into your page, but refrain from copying other people’s content word-by-word.
You don’t want Google to slap you with a penalty because they detect duplicate content on your website.
Remember that real people will navigate through your website, and they will read your content. Most importantly, they will be buying the products based on your recommendations. So make sure you do your due diligence when you create content on your website.
For our toaster oven example, you want to write about various toaster ovens in such a way that will benefit your readers. You want to write reviews on different toaster models, recipes that involve toasters, as well as handy hacks and tricks with toaster ovens.
With that said, it’s unrealistic to buy every single toaster and try them out for your reviews. What I usually do is to give objective facts and specs of the product, but at the same time I also get some ideas from customer feedback. This technique can work for any niche that you get into.
When I write a review about a physical product that I haven’t used before, I will go to their product official homepage to get the accurate facts on dimensions, features, specifications and other relevant information.
Then I list down the product facts on a blank document before I hunt for genuine customer feedback. Ideally, you don’t want to base your review article on personal opinion, especially for something that you haven’t used before.
Amazon can be a great source of genuine reviews
Fortunately, Amazon itself can be a great resource when it comes to getting genuine feedback and reviews on products. There are hundreds of reviews on most Amazon products, and what you need to do is to spend some time checking them out before adding them to your own review.
You can list down the key points and important feedback into a document before creating your own content. This way you have a clear guideline and content flow when it comes to penning them down.
Don’t over-hype the product that you are recommending, because most readers can detect it easily if you are eager to sell them something. Just choose the best products for your keywords to recommend, and detail some of the pros and cons based on genuine customer feedback.
You want to be the mediator and subject expert that helps your reader in getting good advice and product recommendations.
Most buyers simply don’t have time to read through pages of reviews and make product comparisons on their own, which presents a great opportunity for us niche site builders.
If you can provide a good summary of the products and recommend them based on careful comparison, your readers will appreciate it and buy through your affiliate links. And this is how you can make money online day in and day out.
Rinse and repeat the steps for all your low competition keywords, and soon you’ll have a collection of quality articles that appeal to your target audience and help you rank high in the search engines.
If you don’t have time to do your own research and write the content, you can always outsource it to good writers that will do all the work for you.
I use iWriter.com to find good writers that generate great content for my niche websites for as low as $3 for 500 words article, and $5 for 700 words article. I’ve tried multiple freelancing websites such as Odesk and Fiverr for content creation, but the price to performance ratio just isn’t as good as iWriter.
With iWriter, you can request your article to be re-written if you are not satisfied with it, and you won’t be charged. Of course, make sure you give clear instructions to the writer when you order your articles to minimize the hassles.
It typically takes just a few hours from ordering to receiving your articles. You can even set up a long term working relationship with your favorite writer if you like a particular writer’s style.
How to Rank Your Website
There’s no use in generating tons of great content if your targeted audience can’t even find them in the search engine. You need to publish your content to the internet, and more importantly you want to rank them in the search engines.
You want people to see your website and articles when they type in the keywords, which is why we need to make sure our keywords and articles are getting indexed by major search engines like Google.
Indexing is a process where search engines such as Google find out about your website and content, and adding them into their database. When an internet user search for a keyword, Google will display the relevant webpages that are already in their database/index.
In other words, if Google can’t find your website and index your pages, you have no chance of appearing in the search results at all.
Normally, Google use bots/spiders that crawl the internet to find new websites and pages to index. However, this process can be slow, and it can take up to a few weeks for your new content to be found and indexed.
You don’t want that to happen to you.
This is why I always proactively nudge Google to index my new content as soon as I publish it. My contents are usually indexed and ranked within minutes of getting published. You can do so by using the fetch content function in Google search console.
My post gets indexed into Google search engine just 43 seconds after publishing
I’ve detailed the process of instant indexing and ranking in my Wealthy Affiliate profile, and you can view it through this link.
Can You Money Money Online Without Any Investment?
Some of the questions that come to us time and time again is this – how can one make money online without paying anything? Is there a way to make money online that is completely free?
While it’s possible to make money online without investment using the method I outlined above, at some point you will want to invest a bit of money into useful tools that will make your life much easier. As you get closer to making a full time income from the internet, it makes more sense to reinvest some of your income into useful tools and services.
For example, even though you can get free hosting and domains with Wealthy Affiliate’s siterubix extensions, at some point you will want to buy your own domains and premium hosting to improve the speed of your website and to build a long term branding.
Also, if you are running multiple niche sites like me, it’s impossible to do everything on your own. At this point, you will want to invest some of your monthly earnings back to tools and outsourced writers to write some of your content.
So the answer is this – while it is possible to make money online for free when you are just starting out using the platforms and tools that I have recommended in this guide, eventually you will want to invest some money to make more money online.
Some of the free tools and platforms that can help you get started online:
Niche site video tutorials, free hosting and 2 free siterubix domains:
Wealthy Affiliate University
Keyword research tool (comes with 30 free searches):
Jaaxy Keyword Research Tool
Where Did I Learn All This?
I have multiple readers who asked me the same question – where did I learn all this despite holding a full-time day job in a completely unrelated field (for anyone who’s curious, I am from biomedical background working in healthcare industry).
I was lucky to stumble upon Wealthy Affiliate after getting scammed online multiple times. Since then, I was introduced to the genuine way of making money online, and I stopped buying into hypes and false hopes that many scams tend to generate.
You will need to exercise some patience and persistence when it comes to making money online. You won’t get rich overnight, and most likely you won’t even see the results within the first few months.
I worked my butt off when I created my first website because there are just so much to learn. Fortunately, Wealthy Affiliate provides a comprehensive training that covers all the necessary steps to build your first money website, and it has worked wonders for me thus far.
Keep learning and keep building your website knowing that this is a tried and proven method to make money online. Most importantly, keep your focus and don’t fall for the online scams that promise you quick riches. Starting a website that makes money is one of the safest and surest ways to generate income online.
It’s been a long post, and I hope it’s helpful for my readers who make it this far. Feel free to ask questions in the comment section and I’ll try my best to answer them.