Starting a Niche Website: a Step-by-step Guide to Building a Website for Income

If you've looked into different ways to make money online, you've probably come across the idea of niche website ownership before.

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The problem with starting a website for most beginning entrepreneurs is that it isn't exactly a simple process. There are many different steps you'll need to go through if you want your niche site to be successful and profitable. The following is a step-by-step guide to the basics of setting up a niche website that will help put you on the road to owning an income-generating site.

Choose a Niche

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Before you do anything else, you need to choose the niche for your website. The best one for your first website will be something about which you're at least somewhat knowledgeable and passionate. Although you can effectively build sites around niches that don't fit your criteria, the amount of work required to do so can be challenging if the topic doesn't interest you.

You also need to make sure the niche you choose is a potentially profitable one. As a general rule, niches with opportunities for product sales are more useful than those that don't involve making purchases. Fitness, for example, is a profitable niche because people are always looking to buy new workout equipment and training systems. If you can find a niche in which people are willing to spend money on products or information, there's a good chance you can make money in it yourself.

Finally, your niche needs to be at least somewhat popular. Ideally, you should be targeting keywords that have at least 2,000 searches per month at low or medium competition levels. You can use Google's Adwords Keyword Planner tool to check on the monthly search volume and competition levels for different keywords related to your niche. If your niche isn't popular enough, you'll have a hard time getting enough website traffic to make money. On the other hand, you shouldn't rush into a high-competition niche just because it's popular, since you may have a hard time establishing yourself in it. For your first site, a semi-popular niche with a moderate competition level is generally best. If you can find low-competition keywords in an otherwise popular and high-competition niche, though, you may be able to get around the competition and make more money.

Buy Your Domain and Web Hosting

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The first step in actually building your website is to buy a website domain and hosting for it. Choosing your domain name can be somewhat tricky, especially since most obvious domains are already registered. If you try some different combinations of words, though, you should be able to find a catchy name that will tell your visitors about the subject of your site. It usually costs about $20 a year to register and maintain a domain.

Most domain registrars also sell web hosting. Some of the popular hosting providers that website owners tend to like include GoDaddy, Hostgator, Bluehost, and Dreamhost. Pricing on hosting plans varies, but you should be able to start out well under $10 per month.

Set up Your Site

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Next, you'll need to get your website set up, which you can do in two ways. The first is to go for a custom web design, which you will have to pay someone to create for you unless you are proficient in computer coding. This method may result in a better-looking site, but it's relatively expensive. If you can't afford a custom site design, you can install WordPress on your site and use one of its thousands of pre-built themes. Many of these themes are free, while others you cost money. For beginners, a WordPress theme is usually the best way to go.

Create and Upload Your Content

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Now that you've selected your niche, bought your domain and set up your website's basic design, it's time to write the articles that people will come to your website to read. As with site design, you can choose to hire someone to write for you or do it yourself. If you're a reasonably good writer, it's probably best to write the articles yourself, since hiring a writer to create enough high-quality content to get a new site started off correctly will be somewhat expensive.

Though it varies by niche, a good rule is to launch your website with 10 to 20 well-written and useful articles already on it. That gives you enough content to attract some organic traffic and to ensure that visitors to your site have more than one item to read. From here, you can scale the number up as high as you want. Most website owners choose to publish one or two articles each week in the beginning, then scale up as they start to see more income from their sites.

While you're creating your articles, you should also keep SEO, or search engine optimization, in mind. Choose the search terms you want to rank for before you write an article, then distribute those terms throughout the material, including in sub-headings and image metadata. Organic search traffic is some of the most valuable traffic you can get to your site, but you won't get enough of it if you don't strategically optimize your posts to rank for keywords that are relevant to your niche.

Monetize Your Site

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The whole point of creating a niche website is to make money with it. Once you have your initial articles written and uploaded, you can start monetizing them with a variety of different methods. For beginners, hosting pay-per-click ads is usually the easiest way to start making money. Google's Adsense program is a good option because it allows you to copy and paste snippets of HTML code directly into your website's pages to display ads. Though pay-per-click ads won't make you wealthy, they will reliably generate anywhere from $2-5 per 1,000 page views, depending on your niche.

Affiliate marketing is another reasonably beginner-friendly way to make money from your niche website. Affiliate marketing involves promoting products related to your niche for a commission on every sale you generate. Though practically every major retailer has some form of affiliate program these days, the best for beginners is Amazon Associates, which lets you promote almost any product sold on Amazon. Commissions are usually in the 5-10 percent range on most products, so try to mix in higher-priced products that will generate more substantial commissions. Affiliate marketing is a monetization method that is wildly successful for many niche website owners. Top sites can earn tens of thousands of dollars every month, but it's much more common for individual sites to make a few hundred dollars monthly from affiliate commissions.

Promote Your Site to Increase Your Earnings

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The common link to all website monetization methods is, the more traffic directed to your site, the higher earnings it will produce. For this reason, one of your primary focuses as a niche website owner should be to increase your traffic by promoting your site on other platforms. Social media platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram, are great places to post links to your articles that will attract visitors. By building audiences on these platforms, you can quickly get traffic to new items as you post them.

Another massively powerful tool for promoting your site is to establish a YouTube channel. YouTube videos can attract relatively large numbers of views, and links embedded in the videos or their descriptions can direct visitors to your site. Best of all, YouTube videos are relatively simple to make. In fact, some content creators use methods as simple as reading blog posts that have been published on their sites out loud and using the audio and some relevant images to make basic videos. While you can indeed produce better and more engaging videos by actually filming yourself and offering unique information, even simple videos can perform relatively well.

Finally, you should try to promote your site through guest blogging. Guest blogging involves writing articles for other sites that are in your niche and having them posted with a link to your site for readers to follow. Once your site is established and has a fair number of articles on it, start contacting the owners of similar sites to ask about guest blogging. Not all website owners will let you write articles for their sites, but several will likely be willing to.

The Next Phase: Scaling Up

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If you follow these basic steps, you can create your website, start getting traffic and even begin earning money from it. From here, it's all just a matter of scaling up. Continue to post more content both on your site and on the other platforms you use to promote it. Over time, your site will attract more traffic and gradually earn more money. Using the skills you've developed going through the process once, you can also build other websites to produce even more income. If you keep repeating the process, you can create a portfolio of income-producing sites that will earn you money consistently.