My Next Project: A “No Competition” Niche Site

I’ve decided that it’s finally time for my next “31-day challenge“.  If you recall from my last 31-day challenge, the purpose of the challenge is to focus solely on one project for 31 days.

It’s easy to let the little tasks distract you, and sometimes productivity is an illusion: you feel accomplished because you’re performing actions, but the actions add up to an insignificant result.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at my next 31-day challenge.

In my last 31-day challenge, I built a niche site from the ground up.  The site is complete, however I will probably continue to slowly add content to it over time.  I made a rather sizable investment in the site’s SEO and backlinking – I paid an SEO company over $200 to build a solid foundation of higher quality backlinks.

As of right now, the investment hasn’t paid off, but it’s still very early.  The backlinking project wasn’t complete until two weeks ago, and I know it takes time for Google to recognize it.  Time will tell if the investment was worthwhile.

A “No Competition” Niche Site?

With my last niche site, I targeted a keyword that receives approximately 4,400 exact match, local searches and 8,100 exact match, global searches per month.  Based on my analysis (with the help of Long Tail Pro), the keyword’s competition was relatively low.

With that said, most “buyer” keywords that have over 4,000 exact match searches per month (like the keyword I selected) are going to have some competition, and it will take some good content writing and backlinking to get a new site to rank on the first page of Google.

For the new site I plan to build, I want to focus on a keyword that seems to have almost no competition.  There’s a trade-off here, of course: The search volume I’m targeting for my main keyword will probably be around 500 exact match searches per month.

Although the primary keyword wouldn’t draw a ton of traffic, the goal would be to dominate all related keywords by writing lots of content.  If you’ve ever seen someone’s analysis of their site’s organic traffic, you’ve probably noticed that most traffic comes from random long-tail keywords, not the primary keyword.

Monetizing the Site

For smaller niche sites, I do struggle with finding ways to monetize besides using Amazon affiliate links.  Because I don’t have a Google Adsense account (I do however have a Media.net account), my options are somewhat limited.

Ideally, I’d like to find a niche that can work for both Amazon and Media.net.  My Media.net results have been spotty so far, but that’s largely due to the fact that I only have the ads on sites that don’t receive a lot of traffic.  I still haven’t had the chance to test it on a high traffic site.

You’re Not Tired of Niche Sites Yet?

If you’ve been a long time reader of this blog, you know that my track record with niche sites isn’t great.  Even so, I’m always willing to experiment with new projects.

The niche site I recently built and the one I plan to build are not like the ones I’ve built in the past.  I’ve taken more of a focus on quality, and put more time into researching the niches.  This of course will slow down the process, but I’d rather spend a year building 5 solid niche sites, than crank out 100 niche sites that don’t have much of a future.

There are still many people today who are building successful niche sites, so I know it can be done.  As long as I’m learning from my mistakes and adapting to the changing SEO environment, odds are that I will eventually build a profitable site.

I know there are many of you out there who believe the “niche site game” is futile, and that my effort should be focused on building a “real” business.  I hear you loud and clear.  My next big project (once I’m done with these 31 days) will be to start building a real business.  It won’t be passive at all, and it’ll require a lot of time and effort on my part (in the early stages, I won’t be able to outsource anything).  Stay tuned on this one.

I’m interested in reading your comments about this upcoming project.  If you’ve been working on something similar, please do share!

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28 Responses to “My Next Project: A “No Competition” Niche Site”

  1. I love to hear your plan for the new niche site that only has 500 search a month.

    Even much more interested in hearing your next big idea – start building a real business. :)

    Keep it up! I love hearing your stories and on-going working on your niche site projects.

    I have taken almost a year break. Have been thinking about my next niche site move.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thank for the comment Kent, and I hope you’re enjoying your break. :)

    [Reply]

    Kent Chow Reply:

    Eric, it’s a friendly follow-up. Did you follow through that plan in Aug 2013?

    How’s the outcome so far?? Any traffic and niche income keeps rolling in?

    Thanks,

    Kent
    Kent Chow recently posted… 3 Lessons I learned from my $11,000 Amazon Associates Income in the First Year

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hi Kent,

    Thanks for following up. This site actually does continue to earn a little bit of income – if you look at my recent income reports, the majority of what I earn under the “niche site” category is from this site. Mostly Amazon affiliate commissions. It’s not usually more than $10-20 month, but I haven’t touched the site for several months.

  2. Hey,

    I also have a small niche site army, Amazon one to be exact.

    Have a journey on a popular IM forum, just recently started building 17 new Amazon sites , quality sites as well.

    Wish you best of luck with your own projects, hope to see some success on your part.

    Also, I wish you posted more often, I check the site daily with high hopes :P

    Cheers,
    Karl

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    That sounds interesting, Karl – how are the Amazon sites doing for you so far?

    And yes, I wish I posted more often too…generally though, I post once per week.

    [Reply]

    Karl Reply:

    They’re doing pretty good considering I started the project seriously this month when I bought the 17 new domains and outsourced all the content. Already had two sales from it.

    At first I started with three sites back in February, two were rather successful and make me $50-100 total per month, as I haven’t properly ranked them yet but the third one didn’t pick up as quickly..

    If I get these up it’s a lot of SEO work ahead of me, if I can fit it in between clients work.

    PS Small tip for your blog, don’t use the word “spam” when asking people to sign up, even if it’s “no spam” because the word puts bad thoughts in the users head and has proven to decrease conversion rates.

    Try using stuff like “we respect your privacy”, secure, not shared etc

    Just something I’ve learned recently and put into use myself :D Differences have been up to 43% for me.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for that tip – just made the change. :)

  3. In terms of monetization, there’s always product creation (physical or information) in conjunction with list building.

    And being the manufacturer, you could enjoy better margins than being an ad man or an affiliate.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I could see doing an information product if the site takes off and receives a lot of traffic. That’s definitely an option, depending on what niche I’m in.

    [Reply]

  4. Eric,

    I am currently working on an authority site. It is pretty competitive, but I am passionate about the topic. I am documenting everything on my personal blog.

    I look forward to following you on the journey.

    I am not sure I understand this idea of hiring an SEO firm to do your backlinking. Isn’t that the core part of being a marketer? How are you going to know what works and tech others when you are hiring someone else to do it?
    Matt Sullivan recently posted… Changing The Home Page On My Niche Site

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    While I do “work” in the internet marketing space, I don’t consider myself an SEO expert. Although I love to learn about it, I simply don’t have the time to do it all myself.

    By outsourcing the work, I can get it done quicker and probably (hopefully) better. By seeing what they’ve done, I’ll learn what works, and can share it with others.

    If I had more time, I’d definitely do more of it myself. Unfortunately, the only way I’m going to get it done efficiently is by having someone else do it.

    [Reply]

  5. Eric – Great post (and blog!) – I am in a very similar position as my niche site creation plans go. I like your idea of targeting a lower search volume, less competitive keyword, with the notion of acquiring longer tail volume as the site grows and becomes more visible in Google.
    Just curious as to why you don’t have Adsense? I might have missed that post. Have you considered other forms of monetization such as VigLink? I have signed up, but haven’t yet built a site using just that or in conjunction with Amazon.
    Looking forward to following along your next project and happy to share anything new I find that might be of use to you through your next site build.
    Good Luck!
    Janet
    Janet recently posted… Affiliate Marketing, Adsense & Niche Sites

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Awhile back, Google disabled my Adsense account for having “invalid click activity.” Obviously, it was nothing I did to the ads, and at the time, a lot of people were losing their Adsense accounts for this “reason.”

    In my opinion, they didn’t like the fact that the ads were on fairly thin niche sites that were clearly made to make money from Adsense, which I don’t like but I can understand.

    I haven’t tried VigLink, but I’ll look into it!

    [Reply]

  6. Nice post.
    I think the idea is a great one for targeting low hanging fruit.

    What I disagree with is the “real” business comments. If you are “engaged” in your site, and make it a regular activity, then it is a business. If it is making you any profit at all, how is it not “real”? Are you being paid in monopoly cash?

    The “real” situation is that niche sites often fail, and people look at that as a problem. However, most “real” businesses fail too, ask the majority of small business owners.

    The difference between successful niche builders and the rest… is that successful builders learn from their failures and treat each and every site like its own business!

    Sorry for the rant… but you don’t need to listen to those that don’t “try” or take risks tell you that what you are doing isn’t real. That is just their excuse from taking risks and succeeding, and it makes them sleep better at night.
    Adam Roseland recently posted… MMWNS Episode #10: Interview With Brian Dean – Niche Site Link Building

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Adam, and I do get what you’re saying about the “real” business comments. We might be getting a bit caught up in semantics though.

    When I say “real” business, I’m referring to something that requires a substantial amount of involvement (at least, initially).

    Creating a niche site can absolutely be viewed as a business, but if you’re just planning on creating one site and letting it sit, you don’t have much of a business. You can, however, create a business out of building niche sites, which many have done. I think of a “real” business as an ongoing series of activities, which doesn’t always exist when you’re building one or two niche sites.

    Again though, I agree with you on the overall concept – I think we’re just disagreeing on a minor technicality.

    And you’re right – if people were to treat niche site building as an actual business, perhaps more would be successful.

    [Reply]

  7. I did find that trying to create an actual “business” takes a while at first. But I think you’ll take the lessons that you are learning now and be able to apply them towards your eventual goals. Don’t forget to keep track of what is working and what isn’t work so that you can avoid making the same mistakes twice.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Mike, I definitely agree with that advice.

    [Reply]

  8. These niches probably have no competition for a reason. I don’t think it’s a good idea to pursue.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    In many cases, you’re probably right. However, I don’t think you should run away from something just because it doesn’t have competition. I believe there are still some “hidden gems” out there.

    [Reply]

  9. Hey Eric,

    Have you tried CPA? There’s tons of networks and affiliates that will pay you for people signing up to say netflix or hulu. Also, I believe there are a TON of completely 0 competition niches with a lot of searches that you can make money from. If theres an EMD with the .com .net or .org then most likely you can rank well pretty easy.

    You just have to think a little deeper than what any keyword tool can comprehend. I don’t want to write a novel here but here’s a good example, “borderlands 2 weapons” and you could also target the most popular guns. If you’d like a few more ideas on how to find some super easy niches send me an email. Ive followed you awhile and would love to help out. :)
    Tim Sartin recently posted… Income Report [May 2013]

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Tim, I’ve tried CPA offers in the past with mixed success. That’s a good idea, and something I should consider as a possible way to monetize a new site.

    Looking at your recent income report, it looks like you’re doing a lot of things right! :)

    [Reply]

  10. On Page SEO and Choosing Keywords wisely is essential these days. I have seen many bloggers struggling in Tech niche for long years just because they were not able to pick up right keywords.
    adityakumar recently posted… All in One Mobile Recharge Software

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Agreed – keyword research is probably the most crucial step in building a successful niche site.

    [Reply]

  11. A really good sharing related to niche sites. Keep it up :-D

    [Reply]

  12. Awesome stuff, Eric! I’m currently doing real good with Amazon niche sites, so I know they can still work. It’s good to stay current with all the latest SEO news. Cant wait to hear about your business venture.

    -Cheers!
    KC recently posted… I’ve Chosen a Keyword for My New Niche Site + 1,696 Words on How You Can Too!

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, KC!

    [Reply]

  13. I think that perhaps the world of the niche keyword site might be coming to an end – there seems to be a lot of emphasis now placed by google on overall site authority, which makes it difficult to maintain multiple sites, each one with a small target niche – rather than a singles, broader site. At least, that is the way that I view things changing.
    Rob recently posted… Cloud Vapours

    [Reply]

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