Unexpected Income from Niche Sites

We spend a lot of our time focused on driving conversions on our niche sites: testing ad placements, building e-mail lists, strategically placing affiliate links, etc. Although some people make a lot of money doing this, results almost always fall below expectations.  You create a site, work hard at building backlinks, but are ultimately disappointed by the actual income earned.  Either our expectations are too high, or we simply aren’t working hard enough to reach those expectations.

That’s why when you’re hit with unexpected income, it’s really exciting, no matter how small the income.  I decided to share three short examples with you today from my own niche sites, where I’ve run into “unexpected” income.

Each of these examples is different from the other, and great thing is, these were all brought to my attention (i.e. I did not seek out these opportunities).  It’s important to note that none of these sites receives a tremendous amount of traffic.  Generally, each of these sites receives 10-30 unique visits per day.  So when I receive an e-mail from someone looking to pay me for exposure on my site, it is pretty unexpected.

Passive Income via Advertisements

I have one niche site about a particular type of “exotic” pet that I spent maybe 3-4 hours building.  It has a few pages and was only monetized with AdSense, so I hadn’t been making too much money with it (around $5/month).  The site is, however, currently ranking at the bottom of page 1 on Google for its targeted keyword, and it has generally received 20-30 unique visits per day.  I was still shocked to receive this e-mail:

I blocked out any identifying information, but you can see the gist of the e-mail.  After a little bit of back and forth discussion, I agreed to put an ad block up for her site at a rate of $35/month while the site is ranking near the bottom of page 1 on Google, however the rate will increase to $85/month if/when the site ranks in one of the top 2 spots on Google.

This may not seem like much, but that would amount to over $1,000/year for a site I only spent a few hours building! Because the search term isn’t terribly competitive, I have put in very little backlinking work – the high ranking is mostly due to the strength of the exact match keyword domain.  The best part is, this was unexpected income for me!

Income from a Written Review

This one was less passive, but nonetheless, it was unexpected.  For one of my Amazon sites (in the gaming niche), I received an e-mail from someone who wanted me to write about their game.  After a bit of negotiating, here was the deal:

Although this technically isn’t passive, this was a tremendous deal for me! It would take approximately 30-45 minutes to do a write-up of this site, and I would receive $150 just for keeping it posted for 12 months.  Again, this was never anything I sought out – it came to me, just for having a site that ranked highly on Google (this site actually ranks at the top of page 2 for its target keyword, but may rank higher for longer-tail keywords).

This One Really Isn’t Income, But Still Cool Anyway

I have another niche site (one of my Amazon niche sites) that focuses on reviewing smaller electronic gadgets.  To my surprise, I received this e-mail:

.

Although this opportunity was neither passive nor income, I figured it would be fun to go for it anyway.  So, I agreed to test out some samples of their products, and here’s what they sent me:

Again, it’s nothing special, but it just goes to show you that there are various unexpected opportunities that can come from even very small niche sites.  Although this particular site ranks #1 for its target keyword, traffic remains fairly low (10-30 unique visitors per day).  And as you’ve seen through my income reports, these sites have yet to earn substantial income.

Conclusion

I’m not sure if you got much out of this, but I wanted to share these few examples with you of situations where I received “unexpected income” from my niche sites.  Hopefully this will help motivate those of you who worry about having a site in a niche that doesn’t receive a ton of traffic.  It’s important to not think of your earnings in absolute terms.  For instance, my example above where I’m earning advertising revenue of $35-85 per month doesn’t seem like much, but when you compare it against the amount of time I put into the site (not too many hours), it’s actually a very rewarding payoff.

Do you have any examples with your niche sites where you received something unexpected?  Please share them in the comments, I’d love to read about them!

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19 Responses to “Unexpected Income from Niche Sites”

  1. As it has been always said when it comes to internet marketing that its better to work on a niche and not incorporating plenty of stuff on a single site. Anyways, this article did provide an insight on how things actually happen once you start working with niche sites.
    Adam Gardner recently posted… Peaceful Japanese Interior Design

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment Adam!

    [Reply]

    Adam Gardner Reply:

    You are always welcome Eric.
    I must say that the quality of the articles put up here is very nice, and you have done plenty of research to put up facts here.
    Adam Gardner recently posted… Victorian Furniture History

    [Reply]

  2. Hey, this was nice. I think the internet is really awesome cause you can get to do various things and receive different offers.

    One of the unexpected income that I’ve had was build a blogspot site for my brother. It had as little as 5 posts (including about and contact).

    After that I put a related affiliate banner. Months after, I’d look at the sales and wow. $100 in the account. :)
    Marco Lee recently posted… What could Video Games Teach us about Life

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Marco, great story – $100 after just setting up a simple Blogspot site is awesome!

    [Reply]

  3. Hi Eric,

    Thanks for sharing those stories. Very uplifting! It just goes to show that being at the top of Google leads to other opportunities you never would’ve imagined. Always enjoy following your progress!

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Harlan, I always appreciate you reading and commenting!

    [Reply]

  4. Those stories are definitely encouraging! Friday last week was actually the first time I received an offer for advertising on one of my niche sites, as well, which was definitely a positive!
    Master Dayton recently posted… Freelance Writing 2011- So What Now

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    That’s awesome, nice work. Isn’t it exciting to get those offers?

    [Reply]

  5. Hey Eric,

    Congrats 😉 It’s such validation to start seeing some sort of earnings or unexpected opportunities from your little niche sites. I hadn’t realized I had made a $45 commission from one of my small niche sites that is sitting on top of page two in Google (or bottom of page one in Google!)

    Pretty cool. Keep working on those sites for bigger opportunities and more cash.
    Moon Hussain recently posted… 100 Dollar Bills At a Time

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    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Moon, thanks for the comment – it’s nice to hear from you! Although the expected income is what we “bank” on, the unexpected stuff is definitely a nice surprise whenever it pops up.

    [Reply]

  6. That is something cool. I think i need to concentrate on these amazon product site. If they will rank high. We will get additional income with gadjets for free.
    Rahul recently posted… 100k Blue Print Is this possible

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    Eric G. Reply:

    Definitely, Rahul. Income is the goal, and the gadgets are a nice bonus. :)

    [Reply]

  7. Thanks so much for sharing these! It’s so encouraging to see that even a small amount of surprise income can happen when you least expect it. This has given me motivation to work harder. :)
    Maria Pavel@CNA recently posted… Hiring CNA – HHA – Caregiver – Malibu and Woodland Hills

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    No problem, Maria. And you’re right – it is very motivating. After I came across each of these surprises, I was motivated to put some more work into the sites. You really never know where the surprises are going to come from.

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  8. The passive income from ads seems a bit unlikely to happen, your example is probably one in a million, since that website was ranked last on the first page. How many people actually click on that website?
    But i admit, if/when it happens, it’s still good income that adds up.
    Antonia recently posted… The Hypnotic Connection

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Actually, the website receives a fair number of clicks (it’s ranked #9 on page 1 right now) and the advertisers have been very pleased with the click-through rate to their site. I think depending on the niche, if you have a site that’s receiving traffic and there are a fair number of companies in the niche (especially smaller companies who generally don’t have a good grasp on advertising online), it’s not far fetched to get them to pay you for letting them advertise on your site. Granted, you may need to reach out to them initially (vs. them coming to you), but if you reach out to enough companies, you’ll find ones that want to pay for advertising space.

    [Reply]

    Antonia Reply:

    Oh, i get it now, i wasn’t thinking about the niche. It’s true, if it’s wide enough then it’s worth the money for ads even if the website is lower on the first page.
    Imagine what you could do on the first 3 spots :)
    Antonia recently posted… 20 Day Persuasion Review

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  9. It’s always nice to get some extra money, even more fun when it’s not planned. I often get people coming to me to buy links or reviews, and i’m glad to see they acknowledge me and my work. The money’s just the icing on the cake.
    Richard recently posted… Wagner 0525032 EZ Tilt 7.2 GPH Power Painter Max featuring Optimus Dual Tip Technology Review

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