This is a little delayed on the uptake but I recently created an affiliate marketing site with a service model (personal stylist kind of like Stitch Fix but only using Amazon items so I don’t have any inventory). Right now it’s free(!) and ultimately will be significantly under the price point of Stitch Fix, Le Tote, others in terms of both fees plus there won’t be any apparel markup. It will be smaller scale as well and without a lot of the overhead. The operations have been a little tough but I’m starting to make money. I haven’t done much marketing yet but am learning as I go (I’m a data scientist by trade). Check it out! http://www.dressjungle.com . And I’d definitely love a callout 🙂
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For example, we have Trip Advisor at the 140th spot. What you’d want to do is say, “What about travel? Is that a niche I might explore?” and then follow the next steps I’m going to show you. The next thing you want to do, once you have an idea, is head over to Quora.com, which is a crowdsource question/answer site. You want to put ‘travel’ into the search field. Then look at some of the top questions that come up in Quora search results. The reason you’re doing this is you’re taking the broad niche of travel and finding smaller niches that you can create sites around, and then monetize with affiliate offers. For example, we have this question here by Sameer: What are the best travel hacks? That’s a niche right there, travel hacks. Instead of covering all of travel, you can cover things like frequent flier miles, how to travel on the cheap, things like that. We also look at this question here: What are the most surreal places one can ever visit? You could focus on surreal destinations. Is India a good travel destination? You could have a blog or a site that covers traveling in India. These are just ways that you can brainstorm different niches under this greater niche.
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This is the really fun part when it comes to finding your niche! You get to play around here, and search for niche ideas, which is super-easy with Google’s External Keyword Tool. This is a free tool that allows you to find out both local and global search volumes for certain keywords, related keywords, as well as the competitiveness of those keywords, too.
Let's pretend you love to cook and want to create a recipe blog. “Recipes” is a very competitive arena to build a brand new brand in. So you may want to narrow the focus a bit and choose a specific recipe style – low carb recipes, Paleo recipes, recipes portioned for one (AKA single people living alone), low-fat recipes, dessert recipes, holiday recipes, etc. Almost every broad niche has multiple sub-sects within it that may hold an opportunity for you. That said, I'd ensure the domain and brand you go with have the ability to expand into wider content and monetization opportunities as your brand grows.
And how much you make can fluctuate wildly. I still have months where I might only make a few dollars, if that. You also need to factor in that many brands only pay affiliates once you’ve earned a certain amount, say $25. On the plus side, it takes next to no effort to include affiliate links, and if you’re really strategic about it and have reasonable traffic, you could potentially make a decent amount, certainly more than me.
Content is King – The more successful websites had content that was around 1,000 words per post. Google identifies this as better content and it’ll help your search rankings. It can’t just be gibberish though, it helps if you break up the content into 6-8 different sections so it’s easy for the user to navigate while still being lengthy. I used to think 300 words was good and 500 was above and beyond. I’ll likely spend even more time on articles and aim for around 1,000 words per article like my most popular article “Robinhood App Review” at 1,500 words.
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As a result of their rapid growth, they've also got a stellar link profile. It's a situation where because they rank well, they get more links, and the more links they get, the better all of their articles rank. There are a number of reasons why this site has taken off, but overall it's an excellent site that has built a strong foundation on nothing but organic traffic. I have no idea what strategy they used initially to get links and start getting the exposure that they did, but the growth that this site has experienced is extremely impressive to say the least. I'd estimate their traffic figures to be between six and seven figures on a monthly basis.
The site has a lot of links, and the long form content that the site showcases is one of the reasons why it ranks so well. Most of the content on the site is extremely focused, and very informative. It's pretty typical that an article on this site is over 2,000 words. While longer content doesn't always mean better, Google does base some of its ranking factors on how much content is on the page that covers the topic in its entirety. The more in-depth the article, the more likely the user is to find the answer they were looking for, which is why this website has so many articles that rank very well. Each article is very complete and provides great information on the topic. If I had to guess, the site is probably making over $20k per month based on traffic estimates.