I Can Only Handle 1 Authority Site, Back to Niche Sites!

By Spencer Haws |

I kinda feel like I need to give a “State of the Union” address like the President of the US does each year.  So this post is more like a State of the Niche Pursuits type post.  I have been on vacation with my family for the past 10 days, and this time has given me the ability to think about my business and really consider where I want to take it.

So what is the state of my Niche Pursuits business?  I’m in recovery, and I think pulling out strong.

What Happened So Far This Year?

The early part of this year was rough for me.  I had my Google Adsense account banned in April.  Then Google Penguin hit and negatively affected lots of my sites.  It was like a 1-2 punch that had me dazed for the past couple of months.

In fact, I basically decided at that point to focus on building a large authority site instead of putting all my effort into small niche sites.  This is what I did.  So in fact I do have a site that I personally wrote a couple of dozen articles for and even had a custom logo and design created.  But guess what?  Its a lot of work!

Honestly, after working on it for a couple of months, I don’t think I can handle it.  I ALREADY have an authority blog right here at, so I’m going to put my effort into this site – not my newly created other site.  I’ll keep the other site, but its no longer a focus.  Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time or energy to work on 2 great sites – I can only handle 1 Authority site; and that site is Niche Pursuits.

Back to Building Niche Sites

The authority site topic I had picked is something I am passionate about, but not as passionate as I am for niche sites.  So, I am excited to say that after a few months of a break, I am going to be building small niche sites with a vengeance again.  I’m back!

After discussing my business with several people and getting inspired by Hayden Miyamoto on our podcasts here and here; I’m ready to re-establish niche sites as the core of my business.

Niche sites always have been the core of my business, but the early part of this year really shook me up.  I’ve looked at the damage and still see a pretty sweet business.  I still earn a great passive income from my niche sites (yes its much less), even after Penguin and Adsense closure.  I’m ready to emerge stronger after the storm.

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I’ve already written many times about the risks of niche sites and better strategies; I almost felt it my duty to warn the uninformed.  But enough of the warnings; I’m ready to move full steam ahead with what fits my personality and has earned me the most money – small niche sites. Who’s with me? I know the risks, and I’ve ALWAYS bounced back after penalties, deindexing, and more.

My Recent Sites and Success

I actually started building some new sites in June.  I built about 10 sites in June and have another 10 or 15 in the works for July.  What I see from June is very encouraging.  Two of those sites are already ranking in the top 10 for their keywords, and I have not done ANY link building.  This just re-affirms the fact that the same old Google is still around.  Build sites that target low competition keywords and you can rank.  Most of the time you will need some links, but not always.

Low competition is key. 

Out of these 2 sites, one is an Exact Match Domain, the other is not.  EMD is not critical.  One site (the EMD) will probably be a $10 to $15 a month site is all, the other looks like potentially a $75 to $100 a month site.  Not bad for not building any links!

So combined with the success that others are having like Hayden earning $30k a month post penguin, and the success I am seeing already with my sites from June and July; I’m ready to dive head first back into the business.  Some will say I’m crazy or even stupid.  But the reality is that I’m well informed, I’ve seen the hits that I can take and realize that I will probably take more in the future.  Its still profitable!  That’s all I’m gonna say.

I love the small niche site business and I’m planting my flag here as a long term advocate of the business.  Who else is ready to join me?  I may have waffled for a little bit after getting knocked around, but I’m still standing.

So what do you think?  Are you a small niche site builder? Or are you sticking with authority sites exclusively?

Stories & Projects | 107 comments

By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding, and co-founding You can learn more about Spencer here.

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Survey Spencer

That’s awesome Spencer. I know you’ll be back in a big way!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Spencer! Sure hope so 🙂


Hey Spence are you implementing Hayden’s stuff? I know he said he was going to let you try his tools. How has that turned out?


When you initially said you were going to build another authority site I commented that it made no real sense when you’ve already “got the ball rolling…” with this authority site.

It would be much easier to double the following of this blog than create another of equal size from the ground up.

Glad you’re back in the niche game, don’t follow the lemmings… stick with what you know.

Spencer Haws

Yep, you’re right Josh. I don’t know why I thought I could handle blogging 2 different places…not gonna happen. I’d be spreading myself way too thin.

Jamie Alexander

I don’t think it matters what you choose as long as you are passionate. Whatever gets you up in the morning, right?

I personally can’t work on niche sites, but it’s really good to see you being so optimistic about them. Everyone should feel that way about their business.

Good luck

Spencer Haws

Thanks Jamie – I agree.

Tony Tovar

I agree with Jamie,

It’s all about what get’s you bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning!

Niche Sites are a part of what I do but I’ve been venturing into product development mode recently and am enjoying the idea of finding things that would really help me and then creating them for others! 🙂

Great posts, glad to see you’re moving towards something you are clearly passionate about.

Good luck,

Arbel Arif

I am with you my man… 🙂 lets make some $$$$

Spencer Haws

Alright Arbel…that’s what I like to hear!

Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon

Though I still think that authority sites are the better business model at this point, I think you are making the right choice. Why? Because it’s obvious that making niche sites is a LOT more fun for you than authority sites. I think that passion makes up for the risks – you will stick with it longer and you will ultimately be more successful. Plus – you still have LTP and your theme, plugin, etc. to fall back on if Google strikes again.


Spencer Haws

Yep, good point Thomas. My brain just has the right combination of chemicals to make me enjoy small niche sites I guess.


Hey Spencer!

Congrats on getting back to pursuing the core of your business! After all, one of the key perks to owning your own online business is the opportunity to do what you love and are passionate about.

If you’re heart and desires aren’t in to developing authority style sites, then do what you’re most passionate about! Happy to see you’re jumping back into this.

One question I have, if you do not mind answering, what is your monitization strategy for these new niche sites since you no longer have your Adsense account?

If this question is already covered in a previous post– my apologies. I would kindly ask that you share the link.

Thanks Spencer, and I certainly look forward to your reply!

Wishing you much continued success,


Yes. I’m interested too. Do you really expect to make $100 a month on a niche site with infolinks et al?

If you go back to Adsense using an LLC or something, what is your plan to prevent another google ban?

Your authority site is about niche site building strategies, but if your expert advice gets us banned, how much of an authority are you really. Just saying. . .

Spencer Haws

I understand Peter. I try things out and write about them. If you’re not comfortable with anything I say, don’t follow it.

Spencer Haws

Hey Alex – I haven’t written a follow up post on my monetization strategy yet. I initially wrote this about alternatives I was attempting to use: Infolinks is about the best general in-content solution so far. still won’t approve me, not sure why. Affiliate products or your own products are a good way to go. (I have one site doing fairly well with an $17 ebook I sell). I know this is vague, but I will be doing a full post soon about my specific monetization strategies.



Thanks so much for sharing this my friend! I will be looking forward to your full post regarding specific monetization strategies.

I’m someone that entertains the idea of creating a handful of niche sites for low competition keywords, but I’m waiting to evaluate various monetization strategies before I move forward.

I have a Adsense account, but I do not plan on using it at all. Seems like to me, it’s just a dead end road. It’s not a questions of “if it will get banned,” more of “when will it get banned.” I don’t want to wake up everyday dreading to check my e-mail in the event I get the dreadful e-mail from Adsense. So instead, I’m not even going to wast time optimizing and building sites ideal for Adsense.

In closing — thanks again for the updates, and I wish you much continued success. I’ll be watching for your next full monetization post.


Trent Dyrsmid

Hey Alex,

On my site,, I have now been testing video ads from and they are monetizing about equal to Adsense, so you might want to check them out.



waffle waffle selfpromotion – whats new

why not add original content


Hey Trent, is that autoplaying video about household cleaning items part of that network? If all the videos are that good I might have to add that to my sites.

Spencer Haws

Alex – you might as well use your adsense account if you have it. No point in just letting it sit idle. If you get banned, at least you earned something from it. If you never use it, then you are worse off then getting banned.


Hi Spencer, I look forward to hearing your specific monetization alternatives, as both my personal and corporate adsense accounts were banned and I have not had success in coming remotely close to the money I was earning with Adsense.



Hi Spencer
I am with you, although I dont have a niche site yet.
I am gonna start one, and then some more.


Eddy D

Spencer Haws

Great! Lets do this…:)

Shae Bynes

Good stuff, Spencer! There’s nothing like a 10 day vacation to get your head back on straight. LOL! 😉 Wishing you the best, as always.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Shae – the vacation definitely did that!

Casey Dennison

Yes! I’m ready with you on this man. I’ve to, taken somewhat of a break around the start of this year but I’m ready to get back at it and continue to follow along with your posts.

Amir Najmi

Both strategies are great and will work, just whatever you enjoy…that is the reason we do this after all right? 🙂

You’ve had huge success with the niche sites so I think it’s smart to stick with those too while like you said, focusing on this blog as your authority site.

I’m done with niche sites (for now at least) but I think with all these recent updates, it’s more important than ever to focus on keyword research to find those low hanging terms.


Spencer Haws

Thanks Amir, and if you decide to start building small niche sites again – I’ll be here.


So when you say “low competition,” how low are we looking for?


Hey Spencer I got a question about your criteria. What about if you find SERP’s that the top 1-2 positions are strong but the other 7 meet your criteria?

Ralph | Niche Websites

Mate, I never left 😉

Good to hear you are giving it another go.
I’ve got a few “bigger” sites that take up a lot of time but also diving in the niches.

Some make money and some well… the potential is there…

I’m curious on how you want to monetize it as a lot of people have got their adsense banned and trying to make it with infolinks of sorts.. but it is just not really making money.

I know you have other businesses and products but still.

All the best!

ps. I bought a site of Mike from Maine and hope I can turn that into a little bit more 🙂

Spencer Haws

Ralph – glad to hear you’re still in. I will be discussing monetization in greater detail in a future post (soon).

Omid - Royal Online Income

Great post Spencer.

I’m still not a fan of niche sites, but that’s me. I always believe you should keep doing whatever you are good in.

If you are good in making niches site, then why not making them? If you know how to rank them and how to monetize them then why not doing so?

I think you made a wise decision and I wish you luck with the rest of your career.

~ Omid

Spencer Haws

Thanks Omid!


Glad to have you back Spencer. I’ve just started out and I truthfully I haven’t had that much success. But you just confirmed again that this is indeed a possibility and I look forward to getting back at it!

Kent Chow

Spencer, nice to see you back. Hayden Story is very impressive. Thanks for doing all those podcast.

I got hit by Penguin and trying to motivate myself and rebuild my niche site empire.

My Amazon Aff income went well quite a bit; hope I could rebuild and grow my Adsense income too.

I realize that this niche site business model just works. It’s all about the process and just keep building them out.

Look forward to your new niche site update.

Spencer Haws

The model works. Tactics will constantly be changing, but niches sites will always be around.


I’m in. Start a new case study with 5 sites.


Great to have you back, Spencer! 🙂

It’s hard to get away from something that you know well, like, and has made you a good amount of money. Looking forward to seeing how this all plays out, man.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Justin – yep…love the business, have had success, and know I can repeat. Should be fun!


Now you’re back Spencer 😀 I’m glad to know that and I’m sure other people do as well!

I’ve been reading your blog for months but this is my first comment. And I want to say that I’m with you in this business model. I love niche sites and I know the potential it brings. I used to earn around $200/mo from Amazon Associate with only one website with 6 pages of content. I survived all the Panda attacks but then the crazy Penguin came and took away my only money machine lol!

Now I’m heading back into the business. I agree that the good old SEO is still working well. We just need to move with cautious now and build links naturally.

Hopefully, by the end of this year, I could have around 5-7 sites that make money consistently.

That’s it. I’m looking forward for more updates from you Spencer.

All the best man!

Spencer Haws

Duy – thanks for the first comment! SEO still works. Best of luck with your sites and I’ll have many more updates in the future.


It’s about time Spencer! I credit you for inspiring me to dive into the niche site path and create with Trevor – so seeing you go at it again means a lot to us! Back before we started wsotesters, I stumbled upon this blog (and the older one) and read your articles. I then found your old posts when you were still learning how to build successful sites. Watching your growth along with the adsenseflippers and a few others helped drive our own ideas and successes. So yes, we’re definitely glad to hear your creating niche sites again 🙂

Spencer Haws

Thanks Josh – looks like you guys are seeing some nice growth with your sites too.


Hey Spencer, I’m glad you pointed that out. I agree it’s generally not a good idea to focus on one authority site while at the same time “focusing” on another.

By the way how do you monetize small niche sites without adsense? Our Adsense account was also disabled and most of my sites remain unmonetized for months, and I’m talking about sites that are ranked #1, #2 and everywhere on the 1st page of Google. I have tried Adbrite and Chitika but I earned almost nothing with them. I’m making a few dollars from my 2 sites on, but they don’t seem to be accepting new sites now. I applied several sites almost a month ago and they’re still on a pending status. Also tried Amazon, Zazzle, Clickback, cj and other affiliate programs without much success.

Spencer Haws

Chris – I will have a post soon where I discuss monetization in detail. However I am finding similar things that you are with the ad networks that you mentioned – they don’t pay as well as adsense.


Good luck. I look forward to watching your progress. What will you be using now that your adsense account is banned?

Kris @ Detailed Success

Hi Spence!

Are you going to build them in the same massive scale again? All mini-niche sites (up to 5 pages) or are you maybe going to build a bit fewer and a little bit bigger sites (20 pages)?

To run and especially to write for two authority sites is nearly impossible. But when you get content from a writer and someone to manage it for you, it’s doable.

What most people don’t realize is that you actually still CAN rank sites in Google. Just the process is a little different now.

Spencer Haws

Hey Kris – they will start mini-sites. But as they hit certain revenue numbers (say $100/mth or more) then those sites will get more articles. Some of sites will end up much bigger than 20 pages I’m sure. (But a lot will remain small as its a numbers game).

Chris Guthrie

I’ve been in a major slump ever since the penguin update.

My wife has started her authority mommy blog. The hardest part about that right now is traffic generation. We’re primarily focusing on Twitter and Pinterest right now. She hates keyword research, so she’s just basically making sure a keyword exists for her blog posts, but not really analyzing the competition.

She confessed, that even if the site turns out to be only a few hundred a month, that it would be worth it for her. She said it has been a great release, and she has been connecting with a bunch of family that she usually doesn’t keep in contact with due to the site.

I think I need to re look at building a few more niche sites. Thanks for the update and the constant motivation Spencer!

Spencer Haws

Hey if your wife is interested in the topic and is happy with a few hundreds dollars a month, then sounds like she is on the right path.


“Then Google Penguin hit and negatively effected lots of my sites.”

No, Penguin hit and negative *a*ffected…

Spencer Haws

Okay okay, got it 🙂

Sunil l Expedited Wealth Building

interesting move Spencer.

while one school of thought tells me to stick to what has worked and what’s working, another tells me to change with time and follow the cheese which keeps moving.

another school of thought pushes me to diversify, but then again time is a limited commodity (the whole reason why we can’t manage so many authority sites).

it seems like you are still diversified, however focusing a bigger chunk of your time on niche sites.

looking forward to how it pans out for your.

all the best

Spencer Haws

I think everyone should do what’s working for them. My strategies have certainly evolved, but mini sites are still the focus (ranking strategies have changed).


Mini sites aren’t dead. Just search for best XYZ, XYZ reviews etc. sites are ranking.

Matthew Allen

I’m with ya Spencer! I just jumped into the niche site scene largely due to inspiration from you.

My first attempt is already at #1 for my primary keyword with NO link building. Looks like it will be a $10-$15 per month site.

Looking forward to more great content on this authority site!

Spencer Haws

Alright! Glad to have some others involved Matthew!



I am with you. I have never stopped creating niche sites as I now know what Google is looking for and what they probably will be looking for in the future. With all the information that we have now it will be easy to create sites that stick around for a long time.


Spencer Haws


Steve Wyman

Hi Spencer

Welcome back as they say. We missed you.

I’ve always been a fan of your niche site work so its good to have you back focused and hopefully continuing to contribute to our knowledge base.

Ill be interested to see if you do any backlinking at all, or even submissions to any directories etc or do you pan to have zero?

I have site with zero working and making good money but it some how feels wrong 🙂

Spencer Haws

I definitely plan to build links. These newer sites just haven’t gotten any as I’m working on my new process. But if you can rank without any links it shouldn’t feel wrong!


Ugh, you are entering the world of the guburus. Making money by talking about how to make money. You guys can’t do authority sites because you don’t have the patience. The curse of the serial entrepreneur.

Steve Wyman

about me that’s true in part. I can do patience but i’d rather not 🙂

Spencer Haws

Actually I’ve make money from niche sites – have been for a couple of years now…full time. Perhaps you haven’t read my earlier posts:


Hey Spencer, I have been looking at this website for almost over 2 days. You have a lot of information regarding the niche website business.
The reason I admire you the most is because of your honesty, regarding adsense, tips, personal experience.

This is now my homepage, I am finally going to start a niche website(s) and I would like to see how it progress over time.

Spencer Haws

Great…thanks for the kind words. Great to have you along for the ride 🙂


Hi Spencer

Apart from a couple of e-commerce sites I was a serial “nicher” before penguin. Since Penguin I have largely been paralyzed by analysis. However I have kept testing and building small numbers of niche sites. In many ways getting kicked in the balls hard on April 24 has been a boost to my long term succes. I now do things a lot differently and am seeing results from the niche sites I built post 4/24. The game is the same but with a few different rules. I am still on course to be full time by end 2012 with significant diversity across my business base. Your site has always been a *massive* inspiration and reset my apprach to building sites several times.

Right here with you buddy.


Spencer Haws

Kyle – yep, I guess I was similarly paralyzed by analysis. Penguin has forced us to evolve, and that will likely be a constant…almost be ready to evolve. Always great to hear that this site has had a massive impact on you and others. Seriously, love to hear that…thanks!


Well that’s good , I’m glad your fighting back
I on the other hand have closed shop for now
I seems people don’t not want quality sites at our prices
It’s to hard to compete with outsourced labor
Which leaves most Americans out in the cold
I guess I just have to except it.
Between outsourcing and Imagration which effects my other job, I feel surrounded. But that’s the new economy I’ve been hearing about , Welcome to Mexico USA. I’m glad you’re bouncing back though , Good Luck.


Hey Spencer, whats your advice on .net domains, if the .com is taken?

Spencer Haws

.net is great, so is .org. I’m happy if I can find a .com, .net, or .org. Those are the only extensions I use though.


I tried a few .co EMDs and while there isn’t anything wrong with them they deff dont seem to have the power of an EMD .net .org or .com

I will just use an extension from now on.


Glad to hear you are back doing what you love. Don’t let Google bully you around! Make a stand and make it work. I am sure you can increase the traffic on this website along with making more successful niche websites. I haven’t had much success with niche websites (small ones that is) so I am focusing more on an authority website. I hope it works out for me!


Looking forward to hear what you will do different this time. Everyone keeps saying the process has changed but I dont understand what has changed exactly. Was penguin all about the massive linking from giant blog networks?

Probably a newb question but..what am I missing here?

Spencer Haws

Zara – Penguin involved quite a few things, and no one but Google knows everything that it changed. But linkbuilding and particularly anchor text used was a big part of the update. Sites that used to much exact keyword anchor text or linked from keyword stuffed pages were penalized. But you are right that the overall process is the same for finding low competition keywords, etc – but some of the specific linkbuilding and other tactics have changed.


Congrats, Life is short it makes sense to try to find a way to make what you love work!

Im curious what your post penquin on page SEO looks like on the pages you are getting page 1 rankings for, for the keywords you intended. Im seeing advice all over the place on this.



Spencer Haws

My on page SEO has not really changed. Always use less than 1% keyword density in your articles.


Hey Spencer-I am also glad that you are back in the niche business model. I was disappointed earlier when you announced that niche sites are way too risky…. I was disheartened but hoped that you will get back to where you belong! Don’t listen to others, you got the experience & knowledge to know that niche sites business model is way better than having a couple of authority sites. Google penguin/panda will hit authority sites as much as it does niche sites.There are no guarantees to either having niche sites or authority sites… but it’s better to have niche sites instead of authority sites cuz you won’t lose everything in one shot….Incase you get hit by panda/penguin, with niche sites you will have a few sites that survives as compared to having just a couple of authority sites. It’s good to see you back as the original niche site master!!!!

Spencer Haws

Thanks for the encouragement Chetan. I don’t think I ever said niche sites were TOO risky – I simply said they were indeed risky and everyone needs to know that going into the business.


Hey Spencer,

Penguin took me from a full time income to $0 overnight. I thought a long time about giving up on niche sites and IM…decided that I really enjoy doing it and that I’m going to go bigger and better.

Good luck with the new niche sites, I enjoy your blog and I love the content! Keep it coming!


Hey Jonny, if you don’t mind me asking, what is the main reason penguin destroyed your niche sites. Black Hat seo?

I’m asking because, I’m planning to get into niche websites, but I’m afraid just in case I get hit by a Google algorithm.

Spencer Haws

Jonny, sorry to hear you took such a hit – good luck getting the income back!


Awesome Spencer. Most of my high paying sites have bit the dust but I see others in those SERPS that are also niche sites and they didn’t move. It is all in the way they build links!



Over at Kings of Azon we’ve been building smaller niche sites focusing on selling physical products through Amazon. We too have found that it’s still possible to rank low competition keywords with good content and on-page SEO and ZERO backlinks.

We launched two new sites in June and both are ranking for their main keywords without any backlinks. We’re just starting to build links to push them from the second page onto the ever-so-important first page but it’s encouraging to see that well targeted keywords is key.

What are you using for advertising now since your adsense account got banned?

Here’s to your $uccess!


Spencer Haws

That’s great to hear your success as well. I will be discussing monetization very soon.


I thought my niche sites were gonna get killed earlier this year. They’re hanging on, but I wanted something meatier.

So I started a membership site. Maybe a few other folk have tried to do the same. Here’s my experiences of the first 3 months…

Executive summary: this is a way bigger thing than finding a long tail keyword and building a mini-niche site! Only a very few people will have the commitment to build a site of this scale.


Have you tried CPA offers for your niche sites yet?

Spencer Haws

I tried to find relevant offers, but most of my sites are just not a good fit for CPA offers.

Ann Parker

Hi Spence,

Good for you for going ahead with what your ‘gut’ tells you to do. Too often we don’t listen to it. I think we need to give ourselves more credit when our instincts kick-in and play close attention to what it’s telling us.
I have just sold (maybe 2 weeks ago) an authority niche site (170 pages), because I considered my productivity to be getting mediocre on that site (athough I started it with a bang), and I have a second authority niche site, which I am equally passionate about. But, there really is something to be said for spreading yourself too thin, and I’ve concluded I’m getting more satisfaction from focusing on one authority niche site now.
However, I will continue to want to build some small-scale niche sites, as I have in the past, because I find it’s a thrill building them too, and they require less maintenance and time from me.
I know that SEO still works, but it’s been rumoured that by sometime in August 2012 that Google will replace natural searches people make with “Google Shopping” meaning we’ll all have to pay Google a handsome sum, just to get listed on Page 1 for just about any niche or authority site, and that Google Places and Google Plus results combined with the above, will altogether dominate Page 1 results.
Hmmm ….. it would be interesting if you could chime in on this, as this message has reached many others as well (sorry about the length of this comment!) Have you heard anything similar?
Best regards,

Spencer Haws

The rumor is not true. Totally against google’s business model.


Spencer, I used to read your blog regularly but this is my first comment…

I personally feel, in your situation it is a bad strategy to go back into building small niche web sites. You can’t be sure that your new niche sites will also get a hit by Google again with new algorithm changes.

You are also clear that your product is doing good so why don’t you build niche products (like ebooks, plugins, softwares) on diversified+hot markets apart from your mobile app biz. All your investment (time+money) on real “problem solving” products will definitely pay you back for the LONG TERM.

Though i work part-time online, 2 of my authority sites got hit by Penguin and i realized the importance of building product based businesses. Now i am into full-fledged product development (+build a blog around the product +bring in more affiliates)…hoping for the best.


Spencer Haws

Thanks for the advice Ven. I always take everything into consideration and I understand the risks of niche sites very well. But like you mentioned I also have a whole other part of my business; so I’m not 100% reliant on niche sites.


Hey Ven this is the approach I’m taking, ecommerce sites selling physical products, drop shipping.

John P

Spencer – My ecommerce site got hit hard by an over optimisation penalty early in the year and still trying to recover from the hit.. this site was basically my only form of income.

The good thing was that, it has repeat business, but sales are around 50% down since the hit.

I seem to remember that you said, although google had banned your adsense that the niche sites were still ranking great. Is my memory serving me right, or maybe they got hit by penguin shortly after the account ban?

Either way, my question is this – Will you be up-dating your post on how to build links to your niche sites post penguin?

I am with you, in that niche’s are the way to go and then build out the winners. It’s just that I’m still paralysed by the oop that struck me earlier in the year and don’t know how to un-freeze myself to start building links again.

Look forward to hear back and all the best, John

Spencer Haws

You are correct in remembering that the account ban was not tied to my rankings. However, many of my sites were hit by Penguin (unrelated to my adsense account ban). I have since been building new sites and testing out different link building strategies. I will be sharing my practices soon.


Does the link wheel still work? Like this?

If so can someone recommend someone/service, I want to outsource.


Great Post Spencer!

As a newbie I’m torn between the two business models. They both sound great. I started learning about “internet Marketing” early on this year and it has been a roller coaster ride for sure. Trying to learn amidst all the changes was a challenge.

I was able to build about 12 websites this year with help of outsourcers and will monetize them this week. The “Niche Website Theme” works great and my VA really designed some nice headers to make the sites look that much nicer.

My short term plan is:

To launch an authority blog thats basically a very large niche site aimed at targeting hundreds of long tail keywords as well as write some posts that are closely tied into the niche itself. I like the idea of promoting a website and I’m looking forward to having an identity or brand to promote. I’ll launch in two to three weeks or so (it’s about one week old

I lalso intend to build a “niche site” here and there

Long Tail Pro and Niche Website theme are great products and make it easy for us new guys on the block.

Best of Luck to you and the Niche Pursuits Community!


Spencer Haws

Sounds like a great plan. Thanks for the kind words about Long Tail Pro and the Niche Website Theme!


I just started listening to your podcast a couple of weeks back and started from the beginning, listening to your story. (Well done by the way). Then I heard you mention in a more recent podcast that your AdSense account was shut down. I’ve had a knot in my stomach about it ever since. I don’t have near as many sites as you or one of your recent guests on the podcast, but I have a couple of key sites that make most of their money from Google Search in a very unique niche. Basically, my sites deliver Google results including Google Ads. Again, it can’t be replaced fully because no offers the search tool that Google does within AdSense..

I remember when Google first started up they had this unofficial motto: “Don’t Be Evil”. How can they sleep at night after encouraging people to pump time and energy (and money) into making a living from their AdSense program, then turn around and pull the rug out from under those same people that made them rich?? (especially without manually reviewing those they are about to ban). A robot does their dirty work for them, then you need to appeal to get a human to review it – meanwhile loosing money each day. It hasn’t happen to me so far, but with 30% of my income tied up from Google, I really need to get some eggs in other baskets. For a company in 2012, Google certainly has some archaic policies.

Keep up the good work. I will continue to keep listening and reading your words of wisdom.


Can you still use adsense on this website?


I read this articles after your post about Adsense being banned and I can tell how much I felt confidence and energy in this one. I believe you can get back on level before Pinguin and ban from G00gl. Wish you luck, Im your fan!


I’m glad your keeping this site going. It’s an invaluable resource

Mini Niche Site

To those saying small niche sites arent viable anymore, I think better keyword research needs to be done. There are many millions of long-tail and obscure niches that are absolutely easy to rank for with a small site if you have the right content. Articles should be (in my experience) 800+ words each. Using post scheduling 2-3 times per month will ensure that your mini site remains highly ranked and relevant.

Neeraj Kulkarni

With the never ending debate going on on whether to build a niche site or an authority site many people who have heard these terms have got stuck in the process and are not progressing. Although authority sites may be difficult to build they are definitely worth it.

One big risk I find with niche sites is what if the niche becomes totally obsolete. Of course, some niches will always be green but there are some whose future is not certain. In such cases an authority site is much safer and better to rank in the search engine as well.

Personally I would like to be looked at by my audience as a wholesome person who has many interests apart from one field of expertise rather than an obsession with one field.

Thanks for the post.

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