Niche sites are a great way to collect relevant information for one key, highly targeted market. For the customer, niche sites are great as they contain information that is laser focused on the questions and problems they might have.
Many new bloggers target niche sites as a way to get started online, putting their own passions and expertise to good use by capturing it on a single, niche websites.
Micro niche sites can be extremely successful. They can also turn into an epic fail. Here is a list of mistakes to avoid when you are building your niche sites:
Mistake #1: Using Jargon As Your Keyword
Let’s say you want to have a website about playing the piano, and you choose “Key Signature” as one of your keywords. The term might make a lot of sense to you, as the person who is already an expert in piano-speak. However, for the customers that you are targeting, they don’t even know there is term such as key signature that exists outside of, say, signing an important document.
Mistake # 2: Not Aligning Your Monetization Strategy To Your Keywords
The traffic that comes to your niche site is qualified by the type of keywords they use, ie, money words vs information words. Traffic that arrives at your niche site with “What is …”, “How do I …” and so on, is typically looking for information. This traffic might not convert for an affiliate offer, but might work well if you are monetizing with Adsense, and any other pay-per-click or pay-per-view product.
Mistake #3: Keyword Density
An optimal keyword density is likely around 2%. Any more, and it might be considered keyword stuffing, especially in these constant Google algorithm changes. Any less, and the spiders might not know what it is that you trying to talk about, and your hopes of ranking for your niche visitors might not pan out.
Mistake #4: Obscure Keywords With Low Search Volume
It’s easy to rank on page 1 of Google for an obscure combination of words that nobody is searching for. No matter how great the keyword seems to you and your niche market, check it out in both Google Keyword Tool using the Exact Match filter, and just to be sure, double check it with SEMRush or similar tool. You probably don’t want to go under 1000 exact local searches per month.
Mistake #5: Inconsistent Articles
I’ve noticed on some niche sites that are otherwise great, the content is jarring in the sense that the articles don’t have a consistent quality, voice and style. This can obviously happen if you’ve outsourced the writing of the articles to multiple authors or if you’ve (gasp!) used PLR from various sources. Take the time to edit properly so your content reflects the tone of your site.
Mistake #6: Niche With A Single Product
While it’s clear that a niche website is dedicated to one problem, one part of a hobby, it could be a bad investment to build a website that you can monetize with only a single product. Especially if you are new to internet marketing, it might be best to start with a niche that is small enough so you have good chances of ranking, but large enough to have multiple applicable products.
Mistake #7: Confused Monetization Strategy
While some have managed to get away with having Adsense, affiliate offers and CPA (cost per action) offers all in the same website, sometimes even on the same page, it is likely not a clean monetization strategy. You might be better off having Adsense and a list building call-to-action so you can market your CPA or affiliate offers in your own time once they are on your list.
Mistake #8: Thin, Not Useful Content
Once upon a time 200-300 word articles were perfectly acceptable, and even the norm. However, nowadays your competitors are building 700-1000 word articles that are rich with images, videos and are beautifully formatted. Think also about the impact of the bounce rate (how many visitors immediately click the back button) on your rankings. You want visitors to devour your content and take their time going through it.
Mistake #9: Spending Excessive Time Designing
Just pick a theme and move on. As long as the theme is clean, doesn’t have lights flashing all over the place, and is reasonably flexible to allow you to configure it without coding, you are good to go. Spend the time on your content and in building back links instead.
Mistake #10: Backlinking Too Fast
With the recent Google war on networks, it would seem to me that attempts to build links too fast, while risky in the past, are going to be a recipe for disaster in the future. Take your time and manually build good, high quality links with article marketing, your own web 2.0 properties, and of course, my favourite, CommentLuv.
Mistake #11: Not Building Internal Links
Do not underestimate the power of internal linking. Try to go beyond the standard menu-on-every-page thing, and do contextual linking from one post to another. It is this kind of random, yet consistent backlinking with varied anchor text that seems to be the trend amongst the niche sites that enjoy high ranking.
Mistake #12: Building One Site
This is by far the biggest mistake you can make as a business owner. If you’re planning on building niche websites as a hobby, then by all means, focus on just one. But as a business owner, your mandate is to diversity your portfolio to mitigate the risk that your one site has a problem: it could lose its ranking, it could get hacked, the hosting could have a problem. Do not put all your eggs in one basket.
Now you know some of the pitfalls in building niche sites, take action and go build some!
Let’s hear in the comments if there are other gems you’ve uncovered about what not to do when building niche sites.