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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 – even if it's just to get some proof that you can still make a living online. Well, that is what I am going to review today – 22 updated examples of sites that are crushing it in monthly traffic. Now just to be clear – THESE ARE NOT MY WEBSITES! I don't know who owns all of 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 have a number of different monetization methods. There are so many different ways to monetize a website these days, that it's hard to NOT make money when you have a lot of traffic. All of these sites are targeting keywords that receive good search volume.
I will NOT be looking specifically at the competition levels for these keywords – but rather how much traffic is coming in for some of the larger volume keywords. 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.
If you've been following me for a while, you probably know that nowadays, everything is about quality – not just from the website, but also the quality of the actual page on the site as well. You are unlikely to rank well for a competitive keyword with a 1500 word article and lots of links. Most articles need to be in-depth, and answer every question the user might have about the topic.
- 1 22 Succsesful Niche Website Examples:
- 1.1 Website Name: TheWirecutter.com + TheSweetHome.com
- 1.2 Website Name: OutdoorGearLab.com
- 1.3 Website Name: 10Beasts.com
- 1.4 Website Name: Fatherly.com
- 1.5 Website Name: TomsHardware.com
- 1.6 Website Name: BestReviews.com
- 1.7 Website Name: GearPatrol.com
- 1.8 Website Name: RunnerClick.com
- 1.9 Website Name: BabyGearLab.com
- 1.10 Website Name: TheAthleticBuild.com
- 1.11 Website Name: TheSpruce.com
- 1.12 Website Name: LearnHowToBecome.org
- 1.13 Website Name: MuscleForLife.com
- 1.14 Website Name: Greatist.com
- 1.15 Website Name: HealthAmbition.com
- 1.16 Website Name: HerePup.com
- 1.17 Website Name: LabradorTrainingHQ.com
- 1.18 Website Name: LawyerEdu.org
- 1.19 Website Name: NerdWallet.com
- 1.20 Website Name: NomadicMatt.com
- 1.21 Website Name: MakingSenseofCents.com
- 1.22 Website Name: NichePursuits.com
- 2 What Can You Take Away From All These Sites?
- 3 4 Niche Website Examples From 2012 (My, How Things Have Changed!):
22 Succsesful Niche Website Examples:
While there are plenty of websites out there that are doing extremely well, here is a list of 22 websites that I've pulled together for you that I either know are doing very well, or I suspect they are doing very well based on traffic. I am not sure what tactics they are utilizing to achieve the heavy amounts of traffic they receive, but I can tell that they get lots of traffic and with that traffic, a good amount of monthly recurring income. Let's dive in with 22 examples in no particular order.
Website Name: TheWirecutter.com + TheSweetHome.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 4.5 + Million Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 3.2 Million + Ranked Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Wireless Routers
Top Ranking Page Content Length: 10,181 Words (Does Not Include Comments)
How They Earn Revenue: Primarily Amazon Affiliates
The Wirecutter.com and TheSweetHome.com were sold a couple years back to the New York Times. They were both Amazon Affiliate sites, and that's where most of their revenue came from then, and still comes from today. When the sites were purchased, TheSweetHome.com was redirected to TheWireCutter.com as both sites had very similar content structures. The WireCutter dominates organic search results for a lot of buyer-intent keywords, and is also a “verified expert reviewer” by Amazon. The site gets huge amounts of organic traffic, and has gained massively in popularity and search positioning once it was purchase by the New York Times.
Because of the budget they have, this site has the capacity to purchase products and pay independent reviewers to review each product and take pictures for their article. Many of their articles are extensively researched, and it's not uncommon to see some of their articles with more than 7,000 words on a topic. This is one of the biggest examples of a successful Amazon niche website, and based on the estimated traffic, they are more than likely earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per month, if not millions – a far cry from my recent FBA venture and business sale.
Website Name: OutdoorGearLab.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 611,000 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 349,000 + Ranked Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Hiking Boots
Top Ranking Page Content Length: 6,001 Words (Does not include comments)
How They Earn Revenue: Primarily Amazon Affiliates & Advertising Space Sales
OutdoorGearLab.com is another Amazon Affiliate monster. They get tons of traffic and target many different buyer-intent keywords for purchases that are largely made online. They are more niched down (which I think is a good thing) than a web property like TheWireCutter.com. I would never suggest anyone go out and create another WireCutter because if you are just starting out, you will not have the required budget to compete as in-depth as they do.
When it comes to ranking well in Google, generally Google will give your site preferential treatment on certain topics, once it's figured out what your website is about. Sites that cover such a broad variety of topics don't tend to rank as well as sites that are niched down, unless you have an amazing backlink profile and a really big budget. Since TheWireCutter is owned by New York Times, they have the budget to test new products, and have the authority to get linked to by any other web properties owned by the New York Times. If you niche down to a specific audience, it's far more likely that Google will favor your content over a larger site when it comes to that audience. OutdoorGearLab.com has done exactly that by only focusing on outdoor gear reviews. I am guessing that they also have a large budget, and have built a very successful affiliate business as a result. Plus it's a great looking site with lots of excellent information.
Website Name: 10Beasts.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 211,000 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 35,700 + Ranked Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Wireless Routers
Top Ranking Page Content Length: 5,300 Words (Does not include comments)
How They Earn Revenue: Amazon Affiliates
10Beasts.com has been a successful affiliate site for the last couple years. It's been somewhat of a “hot debate” in the internet marketing industry. The website actually has very little content when compared to some other authority sites. It has under 20 pages of actual content, but it's believed that because of the strong linking profile, that Google favored the site's content. It's an extremely unusual site, as most of the link profile consists of scholarship links, which many marketers believe is an overused link building tactic that's ripe for a Google penalty.
With that being said, the traffic that this site earns for having so few posts is extremely impressive. There have been a number of other websites that have attempted to achieve the same success with the same tactics, but haven't had the same results that 10beasts.com has had with regards to rankings. While it's tough to estimate the income, I'd guess it was in the 30K to 50K per month range because of all the traffic the primary articles receive. They are highly purchased items online (gaming mice and wireless routers), making this an extremely profitable affiliate site. While I may not recommend trying to get links via scholarship links, there's no doubt that Google has ranked this site very well due to those links. The content is not as good as some other in-depth articles, but they are very tuned in to the specific keywords they are trying to rank for.
Website Name: Fatherly.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 171,000 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 497,000 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Baby Monitors
Top Page Content Length: 1,600 Words
How They Earn Revenue: Display Ad Revenue & Amazon Associates
Fatherly is a website that tackles many different forms of content. Based on a similarweb.com lookup, they get about 22% of their traffic from organic search. Close to 25% of their traffic is direct, and almost 40% of it comes from social media (Facebook, Pinterest, etc.). It's important to take note of that because even though they may not be getting a ton of google organic traffic based on their keyword spread – they are getting a ton of traffic from social media platforms which no doubt has an immense impact on revenue.
While their top keyword that they get organic traffic for is about Baby Monitors, articles like these that are monetized via Amazon Affiliates are only a fraction of site revenue. I'm sure that display ads make up the bulk of their income, either through an ad network or selling their own advertising space. It does appear that they are currently monetized with adsense, but that could be part of their monetization strategy with any larger ad network. There are larger ad networks out there that typically deliver a higher RPM than just Adsense these days, so that's something that every website owner with some serious traffic should look at. Overall the traffic that Fatherly.com generates every month is extremely impressive.
Website Name: TomsHardware.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 11.6 Million + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 7.6 Million + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: GPU Heirarchy
Top Page Content Length: 1500 Words (Extremely Useful Table Data)
How They Earn Revenue: Display Ad Revenue & Amazon Associates
Tom's Hardware pretty much started off as a forum. They have expanded and re-designed and the website is now one of the most popular and heavily visited site in the PC niche. The site is where hardcore PC enthusiasts go to discuss all different matters of PC parts. Popular topics include CPU units, Memory, Motherboards, Overclocking, Systems, Operating Systems and New Build computers. While the old format of strictly forum posts did well as a display ad revenue method (I remember when the site was mostly a forum as I used it for a PC build I did) – the amount of authority the site has lent itself very well to becoming a fully fledged content based site.
Now Tom's Hardware publishes their own reviews, and on top of their display ad revenue, they are making a significant portion of money from Amazon Affiliate links. The site is already well known for reliable content about Personal Computing, so it made sense to turn up the content generation to attract more organic search volume. It would be tough to estimate monthly revenue for this site, but it's highly likely that it generates 7 figures per month.
Website Name: BestReviews.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 522,000 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 471,000 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Air Fryers
Top Page Content Length: 3,000 Words
How They Earn Revenue: Amazon Affiliates
Best Reviews is a website that does exactly what the domain name claims. They offer extremely detailed and in-depth reviews of certain products, and make sure to showcase that their reviewers have their brand showcased to ensure the reader builds an established trust factor with the website. This is a very smart move for any type of reviews based website. If you can take your own pictures, and show your readers you have actual experience with the products, there's a good chance your reader will identify with your content and be more likely to convert to a buyer once they've gone to Amazon or another online resource to purchase their product.
Best Reviews is interesting for different reasons though. They are interesting because they pay for a ton of their traffic based on findings through SEMRush.com. They average about 300k visits every month because of their Google Adwords advertising spend. This means they are bidding on keywords and paying for traffic on top of the organic traffic they already get. It's possible that buying this additional traffic has helped them gain additional links because their content is very good. The purchased traffic is just helping them get in front of an audience that's actually looking for their product, just like SEO. If conversion rates are lower, you will end up making less money than you spend to buy traffic, but because of the authenticity of the Reviews, it's likely that BestReviews.com converts researchers to buyers at a higher rate than other affiliate sites. While it's tough to know exactly, I would guess that this site makes 6 figures per month or more in Amazon Affiliate revenue due to their traffic numbers.
Website Name: GearPatrol.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 668,000 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 772,000 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Office Chairs
Top Page Content Length: 1,600 Words
How They Earn Revenue: Amazon Affiliates, Display Ads
GearPatrol.com is an online resource that reviews just about anything you can think of. They run in the same vein as TheWireCutter.com but take an angle that's more towards men. They get lots of traffic with their bourbon and whiskey reviews, as well as many other products that might be considered more masculine. They highlight a lot of men's gear in their reviews, and probably make a really good chunk of their revenue from being an Amazon Affiliate. They do run adsense, and it also looks like they have a fair amount of content that could be considered a “sponsored post” – which basically is just an article that a larger company puts together for you to promote their product, while paying the website owner for the exposure.
This site is an example of what many sites are doing these days. They are “niched down” into brackets of certain products, and creating an online multimedia experience in the form of an online magazine style site. There's lots of large pictures, some videos, and it looks like a true media property. Chances are that you'd need to hire a designer to get a similar look and feel for your own website if you were to attempt it. From a revenue perspective, this site is more than likely doing more than six figures in total revenue if I had to take a guess, just based on their organic traffic numbers.
Website Name: RunnerClick.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 548,000 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 394,000 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Running Shoes
Top Page Content Length: 4,891 Words
How They Earn Revenue: Amazon Affiliates
RunnerClick.com is an interesting Amazon Affiliate website. It's interesting in the fact that it hasn't been around forever, but it's gained rapid momentum due to their consistent outreach efforts. You can see that their link building efforts have been a success when you look at the historical data on Ahrefs, that shows the trend in referring domains. They rank extremely well for many buyer-oriented keywords in the running space, and have a ton of product reviews.
The thing I like the most about the site is the way it feels. All of the Amazon affiliate links are extremely well integrated, and they've done some custom design work to make some of their images feel interactive. Another trend here is that the owners of this site, own similar sites in several other niches. You can tell which sites are owned by the owners of this site when you look at the bottom of the site and notice that they link internally to their other web properties. This is becoming a popular trend, with the folks over at DigitalMarketer.com doing the same thing with some of their projects, like SurvivalLife.com and DIYReady.com. It's hard to estimate the total revenue for this site, but because the call-to-actions on the site are so good, it would not surprise me if this site was doing over 70K per month in Amazon Affiliate income every month.
Website Name: BabyGearLab.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 119,000 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 107,000 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Convertible Car Seats
Top Page Content Length: 8,800 Words
How They Earn Revenue: Amazon Associates
BabyGearLab.com is basically the baby's gear version of OutdoorGearLab.com. It has the same theme and site structure as OutDoorGearLab.com. While it doesn't express that this site is owned by the same people, it's probably operated by the same group. The structure is very similar and the focus is definitely Amazon Affiliate income for this site. The cool thing about this site is that they actually have some really good reviews and content. It's similar to TheWireCutter.com – but niched down, which is a popular route that most sites are going these days.
While the traffic estimates are lower than some of the other sites on this list, people in the baby gear niche are an important customer base because they definitely purchase products. This is a big industry and I would guess that the conversion rate for this site is slightly higher than OutDoorGearLab.com. Typically when someone researches a baby product, they are typically looking to buy that baby product. If someone is researching a tent, they may just be looking around at different options that they can compare for their next camping trip – not necessarily to buy that tent. Most of their traffic is organic, and continuing the trend of well ranked long form content, their top post is 8,800 words long (which is a beast of an article). If I had to take a guess at revenue, it would probably be north of 30k per month for this site based on traffic.
Website Name: TheAthleticBuild.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 85,000 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 62,000 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Female Athletes
Top Page Content Length: 2,500 Words
How They Earn Revenue: Amazon Associates, Affiliate Programs, Display Ads
TheAthleticBuild.com is a website that's covers a number of different fitness topics. It's probably safe to say that most of their content is geared towards men, and most of their revenue comes from either Amazon or their affiliate programs. Based on the looks of the site, they have a few supplement reviews that are probably affiliate programs where they get paid a portion of each sale that a buyer makes. Some of these affiliate programs have higher returns than other programs, but there are some right vs. wrong decisions you'll have to work through yourself if you are endorsing certain types of nutritional products, especially if you don't take them yourself.
With all that being said, this site definitely gets some decent traffic and even if they were just participating in display ads and Amazon Associates as monetization, I'm sure it would make a significant amount of income. Like BabyGearLab.com – people researching supplements are usually looking to buy something, and health food decisions are often impulse buys. That means that this niche may convert better than others, especially because the price points of a lot of these products is on the lower end. For an income “guesstimate” – I would say that this site is probably making north of 20K per month between affiliate and display ad revenue.
Website Name: TheSpruce.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 42 + Million Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 13.4 + Million Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Oven Roasted Pork Chops
Top Page Content Length: Under 1,000 Words – But Highly Relevant Grid of Many Pork Chop Recipies
How They Earn Revenue: Display Ads, Direct Ad Space Sales
TheSpruce.com is an interesting website for several reasons. It started taking off in early 2017, specifically as a kitchen + food website. The traffic growth is massive, and the website now ranks for millions of rather competitive keywords. They have a small staff, and early on, focused on producing recipes, with high quality pinnable images (Pinterest) and even some very detailed videos that showcase how to cook or decorate parts of your home. They accept contributor posts, but not unsolicited guest posts – and because of the domain authority, I'm sure there are food bloggers lining up to provide them extremely valuable content for free as long as they are featured on the site.
As a result of their rapid growth, they've also got a stellar link profile. It's a situation where because they rank well, they get more links, and the more links they get, the better all of their articles rank. There are a number of reasons why this site has taken off, but overall it's an excellent site that has built a strong foundation on nothing but organic traffic. I have no idea what strategy they used initially to get links and start getting the exposure that they did, but the growth that this site has experienced is extremely impressive to say the least. I'd estimate their traffic figures to be between six and seven figures on a monthly basis.
Website Name: LearnHowToBecome.org
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 445,000 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 168,000 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Medical Assistant Education
Top Page Content Length: 3157 Words
How They Earn Revenue: CPA/Leads
LearnHowToBecome.org is an education website that provides information to prospective students. They have a lot of great content and cover just about every type of education field you can think of when it comes to finding out the best college path in a given profession. A quick look at backlinks shows that they have tons of major educational institutions that they work with, which is a significant portion of their backlinking strategy. The content is top notch, and the website is specifically designed to keep the users interacting with the comparison grids and searching through the best possible schools for their given topic.
Where they make their money is when someone picks a school to get information about. There are companies (like Quinstreet) that allow you to get paid “per lead” for education content. Some of these leads can payout anywhere from $20 all the way up to $50 per lead depending on the institution. There are plenty of affiliate sites in the education niche that get paid using these types of leads. I'm not sure if LearnHowToBecome.org uses Quinstreet or another CPA network, but the fact is that there is definitely big money in the field for education affiliates. It used to be that these were some of the most profitable CPC adsense earning niches you could be in (see our sites from 2012), but lots of them have completely shifted to the lead based model when it comes to monetization. If I were to guess, LearnHowToBecome.org is probably making multiple six figure monthly income due to ranking for a number of excellent education focused keywords.
Website Name: MuscleForLife.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 636,000 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 431,000 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Ab Workouts For Men
Top Page Content Length: 2507 Words
How They Earn Revenue: Selling His Own Products
MuscleForLife.com is another successful website. I hate to call it an affiliate website, because really it's a true brand, and probably the truest form of what I'd recommend most people do if they have a niche they are passionate about. Basically, Mike Matthews started a fitness blog because he was passionate about fitness. I'm not sure about his credentials as a fitness mastermind – it's possible he has none. What he did do is write a book on what worked for him, and people followed him. Lots of folks have seen excellent results from following his workout programs, so because of the value he created, he sold lots of books.
Looking over his history, he looks like he's always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I'm not sure if he wrote his books himself, or had them ghostwritten, but once he had a larger following – he launched his own supplement product line and looks to be doing extremely well selling in his own store, as well as selling on Amazon.com. Mike has done what most people just starting online business should hope to do – build a brand around themselves, build an audience, and sell them products that they truly want that will make a difference. If I'm guessing on income numbers, I'm sure this is a multiple seven figure per year business with his supplements.
Website Name: Greatist.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 2.1 + Million Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 4.4 + Million Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Healthy Breakfasts
Top Page Content Length: 2,655 Words
How They Earn Revenue: Display Ads
Greatist.com is a health publication that was started in 2011. The traffic growth over the last couple years is incredible, and the site has become a full fledged media resource. Greatist.com has a larger staff, and has purchased a number of other online businesses. The top keyword “healthy breakfasts” gets an estimated 62,000 searches per month, but the long tail traffic that Greatist.com gets is truly incredible.
With 2.1 million organic search hits per month, this site rivals some of the bigger media publications in the health and fitness niche. They also appear to a broad mass of individuals instead of just bodybuilders or professional weightlifters. Greatist.com articles feature content on food, basic fitness, strength training, marathons and more. It's not as niched down as other health sites, but it doesn't pretend to be an expert in a specific niche. Rather, they recruit experts in the industry to write for them about specific topics. The sheer traffic volume alone that Greatist.com takes on each month leads me to estimate that this website is probably doing multiple six figures per month alone in display ad revenue.
Website Name: HealthAmbition.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 181,000 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 241,000 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Apple Cider Vinegar
Top Page Content Length: 1,600 Words
How They Earn Revenue: Display Ads, Amazon Affiliates, Affiliate Products
HealthAmbition is a public case study website that was created by the guys over at AuthorityHacker.com. It's easily a 20K per month business based on their own admission, and they make their profit by display ads, recommended Amazon products as well as separate affiliate offers they push out to their mailing list. This has been a long term project owned by the Authority Hacker team, as they publish new content and test different monetization strategies.
Just like I've been able to create several profitable websites, this site is a really good example of what's working right now in SEO. The site is full of useful content, and most of the newer content is pretty long-form (meaning over 2,000 words per article). They publish quite a bit, and this team is known to have their processes down really well between their writers, editors, VAs, and other parts of their team. This is a tough niche to crack, but these guys have done a great job showcasing how to build a profitable authority site from A-Z.
Website Name: HerePup.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 66,500 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 86,500 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: What Dogs Can/Can't Eat
Top Page Content Length: 3,886 Words
How They Earn Revenue: Display Ads, Affiliate Partnership
HerePup.com is another public case study that was released by one of my former employees, Perrin. Perrin is no stranger to affiliate sites, as he was the public case study for Niche Site Project 2, and built an authority site in the shaving niche. This site was one he started building while he was still working for me, and the traffic took off. The site was performing very well for him for quite some time, when he decided to sell the site to several outside investors.
Perrin has blogged about his site on the AuthorityHacker.com blog, and he's also openly discussed the sale of this site, which was sold at over $200K as the final sales price. The site still does very well in organic search rankings, and the monetization appears to have been diverted from display ads, over to an affiliate program with a pet food company. This site is proof that with the right systems and content in place, profitable affiliate sites are still out there to be created – even by the solo entrepreneur or the person who loves SEO as a side-hustle.
Website Name: LabradorTrainingHQ.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 223,000 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 196,000 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: English Labradors
Top Page Content Length: 7,720 Words (Including Comments Section)
How They Earn Revenue: Display Ads, Affiliate Partnership
LabradorTrainingHQ.com is a site that I came across when doing some competitive research for Perrin's affiliate site. They compete for some of the same keywords, and it appears that they are monetized by the same methods (Amazon Affiliates and an Affiliate Program with Chewy.com). This site gets more traffic than HerePup.com, but it's still another example of a smaller website doing very well. This is a WordPress site, with a generic template/theme and (there are free themes that look just as good) it's more in the form of a Blog than an actual media property.
The site has a lot of links, and the long form content that the site showcases is one of the reasons why it ranks so well. Most of the content on the site is extremely focused, and very informative. It's pretty typical that an article on this site is over 2,000 words. While longer content doesn't always mean better, Google does base some of its ranking factors on how much content is on the page that covers the topic in its entirety. The more in-depth the article, the more likely the user is to find the answer they were looking for, which is why this website has so many articles that rank very well. Each article is very complete and provides great information on the topic. If I had to guess, the site is probably making over $20k per month based on traffic estimates.
Website Name: LawyerEdu.org
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 55,500 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 35,000 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: How Long is Law School
Top Page Content Length: 600 Words
How They Earn Revenue: CPA/Leads
Similar to LearnHowToBecome.org, LawyerEdu.org is a site that's focused on continuing education for the legal profession. Their content is engineered around guiding their visitors to the most appropriate law career. The site is custom coded as an HTML site, so it loads extremely fast. All of the sites we've looked at up to this point have predominantly used WordPress as their CMS system, so it's interesting when I see a successful affiliate site that's using a custom design and HTML.
I'd say the content on this site is a little less “in-depth” when comparing it to LearnHowToBecome.org, but the content is still very good (hence the reason a 600 word article is ranking well for a high volume keyword). While it's difficult to judge based on traffic estimates, I would make a guess that LawyerEdu.org is making over $10k per month based on lead sales. If you remember, CPA/Lead sale programs can yield up to $50 or more per lead, and some professions and/or schools pay even more for them. Overall this site doesn't have a ton of content, but the content it does have is super informative and hyper focused on one line of work. It also has an excellent link profile, which is another reason it's ranking well.
Website Name: NerdWallet.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 11 Million + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 2.9 Million + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: How Much House Can I Afford
Top Page Content Length: 200 Words (Interactive Calculator with Proper Title Attribute)
How They Earn Revenue: CPA/Leads
NerdWallet is another gigantic site, that earns most of its income from the form of CPA offers and leads generated for financial institutions. Similar to services like Lending Tree, NerdWallet gets your information when you are looking at different financial products, and sells your contact information as a “lead” to qualified financial institutions who try to sell you products. The kicker here is that the CPA on most financial products is significantly higher than other CPA offers, like educational leads for example. One lead for a loan might pay out at $200 instead of the normal $20 – $50 that you'll get in the education niche.
Should you attempt to get into the Financial niche? Personally, this isn't a niche that I would consider. Financial niches are extremely competitive, and while they are very lucrative if your site ranks, it's going to cost a lot more time and money to get your site in a place where you are making a consistent income. With that being said, if you are a certified financial expert, or you already have a social media following for financial topics, it may be “easier” to start a site, get backlinks and hit the ground running. If you are strictly going to start a website about student loans, or buying a house – expect there to be lots of competition. I have no doubts that NerdWallet is making over 7 figures per month.
Website Name: NomadicMatt.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 393,000 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 360,000 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Thailand
Top Page Content Length: 3,158 Words
How They Earn Revenue: Book Sales
NomadicMatt.com is similar to MuscleForLife.com in the fact that Matt Kepnes took his passion and turned it into a legitimate business. If you plan on starting a site in the travel niche, Nomadic Matt's blog is probably a resource you'll be taking a look at pretty frequently when you are analyzing your content. He has capitalized on his traffic by self-publishing a number of books. He's gained credibility by several media appearances, which I'm sure helps his book sales, and helps him get really high-quality and Natural Links.
The traffic volume he gets is significant when you figure that most people who are interested in travel have disposable income. This means they are more likely to spend money on luxury items, making them a perfect buying demographic for products. In the past, Matt has had some CPA offers on his posts where he's talked about the best travel credit cards. Those offers earn income similar to NerdWallet.com, that when someone clicks his link and applies for a credit card, he gets paid a referral fee. It looks like those products are gone now, and he's decided to focus strictly on book sales and keep his blog free of other display advertising (Kudos to you Matt). If I had to guess, I'm sure Matt is making at least $50k per month on his book sales seeing as much traffic as he gets.
Website Name: MakingSenseofCents.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 49,100 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 50,000 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Earn Amazon Gift Cards
Top Page Content Length: 1,425 Words
How They Earn Revenue: Hosting Affiliate, Course Sales, Display Ads
Michelle Schroeder-Gardener launched MakignSenseofCents.com in 2013. While Ahrefs estimates that she's getting 49,000 hits per month, her actual pageviews are much higher as she's part of the AdThrive network, which only allows websites to be a part of it if they have over 100,000 page views per month. You can see in her income reports, that this income makes up an extremely small portion of her entire revenue streams. Her biggest earners are her Bluehost affiliate commissions and her course that she sells.
The thing I love about this website, is Michelle tells you exactly how she makes her money and she hides nothing. Her traffic numbers are impressive, and she's starting to gain steam on social media, based on her 2017 business review wrap up. She has a very nicely sized email list, which I'm sure is used for not only promoting her own products, but also for other affiliate offers or sponsors that may come her way for product or course related opportutnities. She's done a great job diversifying her income, and luckily for me – I don't have to guess how much she makes. She fully discloses her income, and she's making over $120k per month from her blog alone.
Website Name: NichePursuits.com
Organic Monthly Traffic (Ahrefs Estimate): 17,700 + Hits
Number of Organic Keywords (Ahrefs Estimates): 28,200 + Keywords
Top Ranking Page Content Topic: Amazon FBA
Top Page Content Length: 5,270 Words
How They Earn Revenue: My Own Products, Affiliate Partnerships
That's right, my blog NichePursuits.com is a successful Affiliate website! While I don't make as much as some other bloggers, it's been my passion and my voice that lends itself to my brands and to my software product businesses that I know my readers can use. While I don't publicly reveal the income I make from my businesses, you can go back and see from my prior income reports exactly how much NichePursuits makes each month. My income from NichePursuits.com is only a portion of my online income because of all my other businesses I'm a part of.
With all that being said, NichePursuits.com does earn me a decent amount of revenue from affiliate partnerships, and I make some from hosting affiliate partnerships. The reason I have Niche Pursuits listed here is because it is a successful site, and it does prove that you can make money online if you put your mind to it.
What Can You Take Away From All These Sites?
There's a few things that you can take away from all these sites. Some of it is important, and I think it's worth mentioning in a little greater detail.
- You can still be successful online, you just have to put in the work. It may take you longer now that it used to, but there are countless businesses being started online every single day.
- Long content seems to dominate Google right now. It doesn't matter what you are selling, but if you want to rank well in Google – you need to give Google a well researched topic.
- Not all affiliate sites focus on the same thing. There are thousands of ways to make money online – pick a niche you love, and find a way to monetize it.
- There is always room for more competition. Niche yourself down if you need to – there are people out there making six figures from websites about succulent plants.
- Don't chase money. Money is good, but if you want to really grow your business, focus on value. All of these websites are unique in that they provide a lot of value. Value first, money second.
4 Niche Website Examples From 2012 (My, How Things Have Changed!):
If you want to see some historical data – here were some of the successful websites back in 2012. It's crazy how things have shifted from smaller sites that really focused on having an exact match domain name (keywords in the domain name) to sites that are authority sites with loads of quality content.
Website Name: Medicalassistantsalaryguide.org
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).
Website Name: Dentalassistantsalarydata.com
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.
Website Name: Scholarshiphispanic.com
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.
Website Name: Nursingscholarship.us
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!