The following post is from MMD of MyMoneyDesign.com. My Money Design is a blog that not only tackles traditional topics in personal finance such as investing and retirement, but it also explores methods of building streams of passive income for making money on the side.
2013 was one of their most successful years when they started the niche website initiative. This was a project to start building a small collection of highly focused, authoritative websites that earn a passive income from advertising.
Here is more on how that is working out for My Money Design.
How did you get started with your side hustle?
I first discovered the concept of building niche websites when I was learning about keyword research. I was trying to figure out how I could improve the traffic on My Money Design. A lot of the tips I found suggested that I should focus my efforts on search engine optimization (SEO).
However the more I read about SEO, the more it seemed to discuss this whole concept of “niche sites”. It wasn’t long before I was checking popular websites like Niche Pursuits and learning about all the possible income you could be making every month if you were successful.
Very quickly I figured out that I was missing out on a great opportunity and I got to work. It took me a few months to start getting noticed and earning an income, but eventually it worked.
All I wanted to do once I started earning money was figure out how I could keep re-creating this success and multiplying my earnings!
What got you interested in this side hustle idea? I found building niche sites to be the ultimate in residual income ideas. Unlike a blog that requires a lot of content creation, self-promotion, networking, etc niche sites just seemed to work a little bit differently in a way that I really liked.
For instance, many of the steps to build a niche site can be automated or outsourced to a VA (virtual assistant). You can pay someone else to do keyword research, write the content, and even do your link building. And they will do it for cheap!
Once the sites are up and live, you literally don’t have to do anything else while the income rolls in every month. All you have to do is monitor them and make fixes if necessary.
Another thing I really like about creating niche sites are the costs. When you consider all the possible small investment ideas that are out there, this one is pretty substantial. You can get a site up and running for under $100 while stand the potential to make anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per month after only a few weeks of development.
Please don’t think of building niche sites as being a cold or mechanical process. A lot of webmasters choose to build sites that are geared towards something they really enjoy. This motivates and encourages them to have fun building up the sites.
For example one of my niche websites focuses specifically on topics for retirement planning. Having either wrote a lot of the content myself or reviewing what my freelance writers provide me, I can now say I know a great deal more than the average person about this topic!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a small business owner?
Just to be clear, I still have a full-time job.
My website income is something I do on the side. However, with that said, the biggest lesson I’ve learned:
No matter what – treat your hobby LIKE it’s a business!
By that I mean have a plan.
Here is the plan I follow:
Identify something that someone else would find valuable
Create a website that could satisfy that need
Decide how to monetize that effort
Make a profit from that effort by paying close attention to expenses
What are the start-up costs?
Surprisingly it doesn’t cost very much at all to start a niche website at all. Here are some of the typical costs you run into in your first month:
Domain registration and hosting: I bought a package through iPage that only cost me $36 for 3 years!
Article writing (10 to 20 quality articles): $50 to $100 using Elance
Weekly VA for link building: $5 per week or $20 per month on oDesk
I know. It’s hard to spend money at first when you’re not making money.
But then after you make your first $100 in one month, these expenses will feel like nothing!
What are your business goals for the upcoming year?
2013 was a big year for me. My portfolio went from one virtually non-existent website to a group of 3 of them making almost $1,000 per month.
I’ve vowed in 2014 to take my extra income effort to new heights. And the first place I’m going to start is to build a new niche website that utilizes a monetization strategy I haven’t tried yet: Amazon.
To date the three niche sites I’ve created all use Google Adsense as their primary income source. I’ve read a great deal of success stories where people found that building sites where Amazon was the primary income source to be far more lucrative! Therefore, that’s where my sights will be focused next.
Beyond that, I see no reason to stop a good thing. I will always be doing keyword research on the side looking for that perfect unicorn keyword that is low in competition, high in search volume, and high in income potential. And you can bet that when I find it, there will be another opportunity for me to build another site!
What’s the most positive thing about your side job?
The best thing about making money on the side like this – the fact that I know I can!
It’s very liberating to know that I have entrepreneurial potential. Too often we get ourselves trapped into thinking that our day-jobs are the one and only way that we can make any kind of serious money whatsoever. This is simply not true.
You can actually make money a ton different ways. My way is going to be to use my money to make even MORE money. And the way that I’m going to get there is to use this extra income to advance my efforts and build it much faster than I ever would have normally.
The ultimate goal: Early retirement!
Thank you Michelle for allowing me to present this post. If anyone has any comments or questions, please feel free to stop by My Money Design or drop me an email.
Have you ever thought about creating a niche site?
Do you want to make money online? Why or why not?