Starting a niche content site or a blog to make passive income

Blogger Business ManSometimes as a small business owner, you need to consider diversifying your income streams. I have learned from personal experience that it is usually wise not to put all your eggs in one basket. In addition to the products, services, or information you already sell… you might want to consider starting a niche content site or a blog to make passive income.

Making a healthy ongoing passive income is all about making the internet better as a whole. One of the ways you can make the internet better is by sharing what you know and are passionate about in a niche content site or a blog.

The income you can make by doing this doesn’t come easy, but anybody who understands computer basics can do it. The beautiful part about the money you can make is that it is a form of passive income. This means that you put in the work now and when you feel like it, and continue to earn this income during those times you are unable to, or simply don’t feel like working. It is my favorite kind of income, when you start to see the big picture.

So, how do you get started?

Choose a niche

There are strategic ways you can choose a niche. There are subjects that are known to be the most profitable, but you must also consider that they are normally the most competitive. I honestly think one of the best ways to pick a niche is to simply pick one you can see yourself having an ongoing interest in. If you are going to be writing articles, reviews, or opinions on a certain topic… you want to make sure it is something that actually interests you. If you are a 21 year old male, writing about vintage salt and pepper shakers might not be the best choice. While you can outsource article writing to professionals on a freelance basis, I strongly believe you’ll want to select a niche you can be passionate about, and that you’ll want to share with others. This will keep you in the game, and will make it less easy to throw in the towel when challenges arise, as they inevitably will.

Another good way to choose a niche is by utilizing keyword research tools such as Market Samurai or Long Tail Pro. If you take the time to properly learn how to use these tools, you will probably increase your chances of creating a successful niche website… HOWEVER, my concern is that the cost and effort required to figure out these programs might create a barrier for you… I’d rather see you select a niche you love, and just make the decision to move forward rather than getting stuck trying to find the perfect keyword to build a website around.

Also, as a small business owner it should be obvious that you don’t want to start a blog or niche site that will reflect poorly on you as a business person. Ideally, the niche you select should further establish yourself as an expert… at minimum, it needs to be something you can stand behind if the whole world were to find out about it.

Keyword Research

This isn’t the same type of keyword research as I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Once you have chosen a niche for your website, you’ll want to take some time to research phrases people might in search engines to find you. In the example of this blog, it’s “starting a business in Ontario”.  In most cases, try not to pick something that is too generic. For example, instead of choosing a keyword of furniture, you might choose solid wood furniture instead. Instead of choosing antiques, you might choose antique tea cups.

Get a domain name

When it comes to creating a niche website, there are two good strategies for choosing a domain name. You can choose a domain name that is brandable, or you can choose a domain name that contains your targeted keywords.

Choosing a brandable domain name – A brandable domain name is typically short and to the point. It typically doesn’t contain your keyword and often won’t even be a real word. Think of some of the internet’s biggest success stories such as EBay, Paypal, Twitter, and Google. It can be a smart move to choose a brandable domain name because they will often be easy to remember, and they simply work better from a marketing perspective.

Choosing a keyword rich domain name – Another good strategy is to register a domain name that includes your chosen keywords. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is that having your keywords in your domain name can help you rank better in Google search results. Their current view on keyword rich domains is that If you have the words “How to Choose a Career” in your domain name, you obviously must have some increased amount of relevancy to that topic. The second reason is for back linking purposes. If someone visits www.howtochooseacareer.com  , and likes something they see… they might post a link on their own website that says “Check out Derrick’s How to Choose a Career site”, with the words “How to Choose a Career” linking to my web site. This is something else Google considers in their rankings. If somebody is linking to me from their site, utilizing certain keywords, I must have an increased relevance on that topic. Having the keywords in the domain name will increase the likelihood someone will put that same phrase in a link to your web site.

Sometimes, finding an available domain name with the right keywords can be difficult. While an exact domain match is ideal, you might need to just get creative with it. For example, if HowToChooseACareer.com wasn’t available, I might have tried HowToChooseACareerBlog.com or ChoosingTheRightCareer.ca instead.

If you are starting a personal blog, you can also just do what I did and use your name as the domain name… this is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

For some additional tips on choosing a domain name, you can always check out my help article “Choosing and Registering a Domain Name”.

Create a web site

The easiest way I have found to create a web site yourself is using WordPress. There is a little bit of a learning curve, but once you figure out the basics, it’s super easy… like using email or Microsoft word.  Most web hosting companies support wordpress and offer methods to easily install it. All you need to do is purchase your domain name and a web hosting account, which you can get for about $4/month. I use Godaddy. I am also a Godaddy reseller so if you don’t mind supporting me, please sign up here.

Once you have WordPress set up and installed, you should find a premium WordPress theme you like and install it. If you can’t spend the $45-$60 on a premium theme, you can use one of the free themes that comes with WordPress, but they are very basic and in my opinion they can make you look a little unprofessional. Another option is to pay a web developer (like me) for a custom design, but in my opinion this won’t make a big difference to the success of your niche site. The only real compelling reason to hire a web developer for your niche site is if you simply don’t want to spend your time doing things yourself. If you’d rather save time over money, give me a call.

In order to get a premium wordpress theme, do a Google search for “Premium WordPress Themes’. You will quickly see lots of great sites that offer them. If you want to support me, please click on this affiliate link for ThemeForest, which is a site I have personally used to purchase themes.

If you set up your web hosting using my previously mentioned affiliate account, or if you just happened to choose Godaddy… here are the steps to installing and activating a premium wordpress theme that you purchased.

Create content

Start to create the best possible content you can. It will take time to perfect a writing style, and to understand what the best and most relevant topics to write about are, but you can only learn by taking action. When you first start writing, you might initially feel very inspired to write, and have dozens of topics to write about. My suggestion is to write all the articles you wish at your own pace, but pace out the frequency of publishing them online. This gives you time to perfect articles you have written, and more importantly, it allows you to have something to post for those times you aren’t sure what to write about. There is no suggested frequency of posting, but just know that your long term rewards will normally directly relate to the effort you put in, within reason. If you can post at least one article or blog post per week, you are in pretty good shape. Saying this, posting something monthly or even 6 times per year is better than nothing.

Monetize

There are dozens of great ways you can monetize a content site or blog. Two of the most popular methods are Google Adsense and affiliate programs.

Google Adsense is a program Google offers to web site owners who are willing to host relevant ads on their web site. Every time a visitor clicks on an ad, Google shares a portion of the revenue of that click with the web site owner. Each click can vary in revenue from just a few cents to several dollars, so while it takes a lot of clicks to make decent money, it’s by far one of the easiest ways to tap into a passive income stream.

Many shopping sites (Such as Amazon.ca and ebay.ca) offer affiliate programs. Basically, they give you tools to promote their web sites or to link directly to certain products on their site. If somebody clicks on the ad and purchases a product, you earn a commission on that sale. The great part is that even if the person orders something else (Say they click on an ad for a DVD, and purchase a book as well) you get full commission for both products. Again, you need high amounts of referrals to earn a large income, but it’s another passive income stream. Once you have created the content and posted the ad, it can continue to make you money for months and years to come.

These are only two of many possible ways you can monetize your niche site. Remember that if you are selling products on a website like Amazon or EBay, check to see if the actual product manufacturer has their own affiliate program. While you miss out on the amazing systems those sites have that encourage visitors to buy more than they came for… the product manufacturer might have a much more generous affiliate commission rate.

If you want to learn about more options for monetizing a niche content site, check out this article on Problogger.net by Darren Rowse.

You might get frustrated when you put in a lot of effort and are not noticing immediate rewards. That is because we are trained that we give our time in exchange for fairly prompt monetary gain. What you are doing now is building an infrastructure that will pay you a passive residual income down the road. This infrastructure takes time to set up, and doesn’t usually pay very well at first. But your initial and ongoing efforts into developing this infrastructure WILL pay off in the long run, if you put the effort in. When looking at it from an efficiency perspective, you will actually get paid more hourly this way because when you stop working, you continue to get paid.

Optimize

In order to increase the chances of Google ranking you well and sending traffic your way, you will want to learn some search engine optimization basics.

The previously mentioned keyword research is a part of search engine optimization. In addition to putting a main keyword in your domain name, you also want to make sure to include it throughout your web site. I would include the keywords (or similar keyphrases) early and often, and then sprinkle them liberally throughout the text. At the same time, make sure you are doing it in a natural way. Google understands when you are stuffing an unnatural amount of keywords in your text, and will sometimes decrease your rankings for doing this.

In addition to this onsite optimization, you will need to do some off site optimization. This comes in the form of building links to your web site. This can be done in many ways, but one of the best ways is to find web sites that discuss similar or complementary content, and comment on an article or post on that web site. On most web sites, they allow you to include a link to your web site in the comment. This link which is hopefully coming from a web site with great & relevant content will be looked at as a recommendation. You are leaving a high quality comment on a relevant web site, so the back link is very likely relevant, and therefore that web site should rank higher in search engines.

Make sure to take the time to leave relevant comments that provide actual value to people who read it. Google again understands the difference between a spam comment or something that is copied and pasted as a high quality comment. It gives almost no credibility to generic/copied comments. In addition to that, posting great comments on relevant sites helps you get noticed by people in your field. You might end up building relationships with these people, which will only help you grow in the long run. Don’t view these web sites as competition, view them as someone who you can potentially help one day, and as someone who can potentially help you one day.

Get Noticed

As I just mentioned, the other value behind commenting on relevant/complimentary web sites and blogs is getting noticed by your peers. Over time, you might be able to build relationships with these people that can teach you a lot, and put more money in your pocket. After building a bit of a rapport with them, they might choose to link to you and tell their own networks about you. This is an extremely worthwhile relationship to build.

In addition to the benefits of commenting, you will also want to find other ways to get social about your web site. Build a network on LinkedIn or create a Facebook page, and share your content with them.

Repeat

Once you have accomplished all of the above, do it again. You can create more content. Post more comments on relevant sites. Build more relationships with your peers. You can review which monetization methods are working, and try new methods. Remember, the goal is to create an infrastructure that will pay you a passive residual income. The more you build and perfect this infrastructure, the better this will pay off for you in the long run. You will be rewarded for your part in making the internet better as a whole.

About The Author

Derrick

At LOWD Media, we specialize in supporting entrepreneurs. We understand inspired entrepreneurs and business minded individuals. We then use this understanding to learn about your business and help you create a look and feel for your business – your brand identity. Our business startup packages provide everything you need to begin marketing your business effectively and at an affordable price. Once you begin marketing and growing your business, we strive to support you and grow with you. Long term success for your business means long term success for our business. Let your brand be heard loud and clear with LOWD.

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