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Micro Niche Sites: Still Working?

Micro Niche Sites: Still Working?

I quit my job about 2 years ago thanks to micro niche sites.  I built lots of sites, ranked them quickly in Google, and made money with Google Adsense.

And even though I constantly blog about both micro niches sites and larger “authority” sites.  You can read more on the niche website hub here. I still receive lots of basic questions about what micro niches sites are, and how they work.  So, this post is meant to answer your basic questions on the subject.

What are Micro Niche Sites?

A “micro” niche site is typically a site that is only 1 to 10 pages that targets only 1 primary keyword.  Because it only has a few pages of content, its called “micro”.  Because it only targets one specific topic or keyword, its a “niche” site.

So, what’s the difference between a regular niche site and a micro niche site?

A niche site could be a site with a lot or a little bit of content.  “Niche” simply means that it targets a specific topic.  There are sites that cover nothing but convertible vehicles that are thousands of pages.  Or there are sites that cover nothing but how to build a scrapbook that are thousands of pages long.  These are both examples of niche sites because they cover a very specific topic; but they are not micro niche sites.

In addition, a micro niche site is very often also an exact match domain.  So, if you are targeting the keyword, “how to train monkeys”, then your website would be those exact keywords: howtotrainmonkeys.com, .net, or .org (typically).

My Experience with Niche Sites

I’ve personally built hundreds of micro niche sites and have done very well with them.  I began building these small sites in 2008 or so and was about to quit my job in March 2011 because my income from Google Adsense was more than my corporate job.

The primary benefit of these types of small sites is that you are able to quickly target a keyword, and having an exact match domain often provided a benefit for ranking in Google.  In addition, by targeting such specific terms, I was often able to write articles about exactly what the searcher was looking for; whereas my competitors, sometimes only generally discussed the topic.

So, targeted keyword relevancy was vital to my success (and still is, but read on).

What About Authority Niche Sites?

Although, I’ve built hundreds of small niche sites, times have changed.  Google has updated how they rank sites with the Panda update and the Penguin update.  This has added some hurdles to how easily sites used to rank.  You most certainly can still rank micro niche sites, but is that the best strategy?  I wrote recently about my switch to focusing on fewer sites with more content.  I personally think a strategy of building larger authority sites is a better long term strategy.

I actually still do quite well with my existing micro niche sites, but for the amount of time it takes to rank, why not build something more significant that can bring in even more money?

Overall, I wanted to share what micro niche sites are, how I made my money, and my current thoughts on the subject.  You can certainly still use small sites to test markets, make a quick buck, and for other reasons.  But I would advise that a better long term strategy is building up your small niche sites with more content, higher quality, and attracting natural links.

If you have any questions, I would love to hear your thoughts!

20 Comments for this Post

  1. Sergey

    Sergey

    You say about your old micro niche sites, but what about new micro niche sites on new, recently registered domains? I have very bad results, even i have good results, it works only for next update, like panda or penguin.

  2. Nicolas

    Nicolas

    Every day i read something about giving up micro niche sites and focusing on more authoritative sites, with quality content and natural links…
    The fact that yourself say so just confirm my strategy (i’m all new in this… and although i’ve been reading for now 9 months about the subject, I only recently took action myself…)
    By the way… i am French and i also follow that french blogger that says that niche sites are pretty saturated in english (mainly to make his point saying that there are still many available niche sites in french or spanish). What do you think about this?
    Do you find it harder and harder to find “available” niche (low competition and interesting money to make)?
    Thanks!
    Nicolas.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yep, there are probably still lots of niches available in french and spanish. But there are still TONS in English too. New niches are created every single day. No shortage of keywords…ever.

  3. Chris Hunter

    Chris Hunter

    Spencer,

    I’ve read your blog before about you having a lot of blogs for the micro niche site model, but I was curious as to how you were able to fight hacking of those sites.

    Do you have any tips for security? Hacking prevention? I’ve had this problem recently with many less blogs than you and could use some tips in this regard.

    Love to hear what you have to say about that!

    Thanks!

    Chris Hunter

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I’ve used ManageWP.com to keep my plugins and themes updated. Most hacking risk comes from outdated installations.

      • Chris Hunter

        Chris Hunter

        Thanks, Spencer! I’ve heard of that site but never used it before. I’ll give it a try!

        Chris Hunter

  4. Kris @ Detailed Success

    Kris @ Detailed Success

    So micro niche sites are officially history? (they probably have been for the past 6 months)

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      No, I wouldn’t say that. They can still work – but the better long term strategy is bigger niche sites. One page sites still rank plenty in Google, but whether or not they stick is the real question.

    • Alex B. (@DreamJobGuy)

      Alex B. (@DreamJobGuy)

      Like Spencer mentioned, I don’t think they are “officially history” per say, but I don’t think they are as successful as they originally use to be.

      All the best!
      -Alex

  5. Dave Starr

    Dave Starr

    I really liked one of your reasons where micro niche sites are still useful:

    use small sites to test markets

    No matter how good your research, only results count.

  6. Alex B. (@DreamJobGuy)

    Alex B. (@DreamJobGuy)

    “Go big, or go home!” ..right?

    In all seriousness, my struggle with small, thin, micro niche sites has always been the value factor. Or I should say; “lack there of.” Every time I would pull up a chair at my desk to start my keyword research and narrowing down my “micro niche” site, I would start thinking about my motivation. What was motivating me to create the site? Was it simply just to try and rank high on Google and then hope the traffic that landed on my site would randomly click on one of my Adsense ad(s) — well yes. Yes, that was the plan.

    The more I thought about that “plan,” the more I found it to be a poor plan at that. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the longevity of it, nor could I see the value I was offering my audience. In fact, while typically you would want folks to land on you page and stay, these micro niche sites would have brought in traffic and then hopefully sent them back on their way onto another site.. Not good. I wanted a business plan that would allow for continuous improvement, and allow for me to under promise and over deliver to my audience. I wanted a platform where I could solve my reader’s problems myself, and truly offer them a solution instead of focus on trying to get them to click on an ad.

    This is why I’ve always decided to maintain focus around a larger niche that allows for one to become the “authority” and fill in the gaps between what’s currently being offered to customers, and what’s missing. Earn their trust, solve their problems, be passionate, and you’ll have customers for life!

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and ideas, where you started with micro niche sites, and where you are headed today!

    Wishing you much success my friend!

    All the best,
    -Alex

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks for the great comment Alex!

  7. Dave Batista

    Dave Batista

    They said that the previous google update targeted those EMD sites. Will this make micro-niche no longer effective?

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  9. Phalgun

    Phalgun

    Hi Spencer,

    I have started blogging but I am making very few cents a day. Can you please tell me how you pick a keyword for micro niche site? Is there any software to find keyword most users are search? Please give me few tips. I appreciate you.

    Regards,
    Phal

  10. James McAllister

    James McAllister

    While I do agree authority websites are better in the long run, I still do prefer creating niche websites myself. Why? Blogs are expected to be updated regularly, niche website aren’t. Niche websites create passive income, which isn’t really possible on a blog.

    I do run several blogs, but I could not live off of them like I could my niche websites. They’re a lot more work, and while they may give you more money in the long run, niche websites are a lot easier to maintain.

  11. Jan Koch

    Jan Koch

    Hi Spencer,

    I’m building my very first (micro) niche site right now. I’m planning to have it up and running with not more than 6 or 7 pages, but the topic definitely allows extending the site to an authority page.

    How much content do you recommend for the pages? Is it still practicable to build one ranking site with around 1,000 words and create other pages around it?

    Thanks!
    Jan

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