If you are new to building niche websites (or even if you are more experienced), you are probably interested in seeing some specific examples of successful niche websites. Well, that is what I am going to review today – 4 examples to be exact. Now just to be clear – THESE ARE NOT MY WEBSITES! I don't know who owns these websites or how much money they make. However, I am going to explain what I think they have done right and why I think they are most likely doing well as far as income is concerned.
Also, just to note – all of these sites are primarily monetized by Google Adsense. This is where my expertise lies and so I feel most comfortable analyzing other sites that are similar to my own. All of these sites are targeting keywords that receive good search volume and have a high CPC. I will NOT be looking specifically at the competition levels for these keywords however. Most of these sites are targeting fairly high competition keywords – but that is not the focus of this post today. I want to focus on the volume and CPC of the keywords, the domain names, and the website layout, content, and monetization methods.
So, here is the first example of a good niche website:
1. Medicalassistantsalaryguide.org – Medical Assistant Salary
The targeted keyword is obviously “Medical Assistant Salary”. This keyword receives 27,100 exact match local searches each month and has a high CPC of $3.88 according to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. I personally like to target keywords that have 3 to 5k or more exact match searches. So, 27k is GREAT! Also, the CPC of $3.88 is also very good (over my $1 minimum).
The site currently ranks #8 in Google for its primary keyword. Note that they have used the keyword in the domain name, even though its not an exact match domain – its still keyword dense.
Here's what the site looks like:
The first things that pops out is the number of ads (which I circled). This might be a bit ad heavy and I usually don't place this many ads above the fold. However, I guarantee that they have an excellent CTR with this layout. The ads are above the fold and within the content, in addition the use of the link unit at the top where a navigation bar would typically go is also very saavy. I would be surprised if the CTR is not at least 10%. However, I would caution against using this many ads. My tweak would be to remove one of the medium square units, and then wrapping the text around the other one.
Anyway, my guess is that this site ranking at #8 in Google for this keyword and the high CPC, probably pulls in between $500 to $1000 per month. In fact it could actually be much more that that just depending on how much traffic they really receive. This is with the assumption that they receive traffic from more than just this keyword (which is the case with every single website I have ever owned).
2. Dentalassistantsalarydata.com – Dental Assistant Salary
This search term also happens to receive about 27,100 EXACT match LOCAL searches per month. The CPC is $4.24 – another great Adsense keyword. I can't stress how important it is to check the exact match searches to make sure the volume is really there.
The site is currently ranking #1 in Google!
Here is what the site looks like:
I have highlighted with red boxes how they are monetizing the site. First I will point out how professional the site looks – it has a custom logo and a very clean look and feel to the site. This helps build trust right away. Secondly, I like how they have the salary data that searchers are looking for right away on top. Then they have the adsense ads immediately following (still above the fold).
The other monetization method is through the sidebar (and also at the end of every article) is education lead generation. They are probably an affiliate of a number of different schools or other educational lead companies. However, not only are they probably making good money with the site, but they offer great content on the site. They allow users to search by state to find local salaries and much more information. Content is important!
Because the site is ranking #1 in Google for this (and probably ranks very well for other related terms), they are probably making great money. This is probably easily a $100 to $200 a day website. That's right, I would not be surprised if this site was pulling in $3k to $6k or more each month. In fact it could be more, but its hard to guess without knowing all the traffic they are receiving.
3. Scholarshiphispanic.com – Scholarships for Hispanics
This search term gets 14,800 exact match searches each month with a CPC of $2.19. You can also see on the adwords tool that this has high advertiser competition – this is a GOOD thing for you. This lets you know lots of people are buying ads for this term – more competition usually means more money for you.
Here is what this site looks like:
You will notice that this site does try to make some money with Adsense, but the banner ad at the top is an affiliate ad (through Commission Junction) for Fastweb. I just logged into CJ.com to see how much FastWeb pays – its looks like only $0.80 per lead – OUCH! This is really low. This website owner also trys to promote fastweb in the articles – but no Adsense. I think they should be focusing more heavily on Adsense within the content of their articles to increase their income. My guess is that this site earns almost $.80 on average per Adsense click (which is MUCH easier to get than a lead).
So, this site has picked what appears to be a good keyword, but could probably be monetized better. In fact, they could probably generate education leads or something that pays more than Fastweb. I think there is nothing wrong with turning this into a niche lead generation site, but the site is under-utilizing its potential right now in my opinion.
My guess is that this site has a low CTR of 1 to 3% for Adsense. It probably pulls in around 3k visitors for its primary keyword a month but is probably only making $100 to $200 in Adsense. I have no idea how much they are pulling in from FastWeb, but my guess is that its not more than $100 each month. My guess is that this site is definitely earning less than $300 per month.
4. Nursingscholarship.us – Nursing Scholarships
Nursing Scholarships receives 40,500 Exact match Local searches each month and has a CPC of $3.09 and has high advertiser competition. This is a great keyword to target as far as those 2 criteria are concerned. (Remember I am not even looking at the top 10 competition in this post). However, this site is ranking #2 in Google for its chosen keyword.
Here is what the site looks like:
This site is ranking very well for a very competitive keyword. They are primarily monetized by adsense as outlined here; however, in the navigation bar, I also boxed a link that takes the visitor to another website owned by the same person/company. Its obvious as there is quite a bit of interlinking between these 2 sites and actually several other websites as well. The Adsense placement is good on this site. Its above the fold and within the content. This probably gets a pretty good click through rate.
From just the one keyword, this websites is probably getting close to 20k hits per month. I am sure they are generating just as much traffic from various other keywords as well. When all is said and done, this website could easily be a $10k per month site. Its hard to say – that prediction could be way high or even way low. But I would not be surprised if this site is pulling in $10k or more per month.
In conclusion, I have covered 4 niche websites that I think are targeting keywords that have great search volume and high CPCs. I discussed the pros and cons of the layouts of the websites to give you an idea of how I think a niche site should be monetized. Remember, I did NOT go into whether or not anyone should be targeting these keywords as I did not really look at the competition levels. My guess is that these keywords would be too competitive for me to go after. I will discuss competition, and how to analyze the Google competition in detail in future posts.
Anyway, I just wanted to give you an idea of what a successful niche website looks like. These are NOT my websites, but I think overall they have done a good job with their sites, and clearly they are ranking well for some great keywords.
Let me know what you think of my analysis – and feel free to post your comments or questions below!