5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Niche Site

freelance1In my recent review of Pro Niche Site, I talked briefly about some of my failures with a niche site project I set up a few years back. It’s performance has been quite pitiful.

Fortunately, that failure has taught me a lot of lessons for future projects. I’d like to share with you 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Niche Site:

1.) Find Better Affiliates

Don’t base a site around Amazon affiliates. Unless you have a ton of traffic, it won’t justify the time and investment because of the low payout. There are better skincare affiliate products out there I should have used.

For example, a $100 product that pays 20% is much better than a $30 product that pays 7% (In case you couldn’t do basic math).

You should really spend a lot of time researching affiliate products before starting a website. Even if you have a ton of great content ideas they will be useless if you can’t turn a profit.

There are a number of ways to find solid products. For one, you can go on sites like ClickBank and search through their products. You can also just search for the top products in that niche and see if that company has an affiliate program.

2.) Your Website is Hard to Read:

Don’t worry about the perfect design just to start. Make it good enough so your bounce rate is not absurdly high, but focus more on content and marketing than design.

That said, you can make big mistakes with design.For instance, my old theme made it so visitors would have to scroll down just to see the beggining of the article. All they would see at first was just a big image at the top. That no doubt sent people away.

Dropping $49-99 on a premium theme will pay for itself over time. Don’t hesitate to drop a little bit of coin to make the site look better than a free theme (Like this one!).

3.) You’re Not Writing for the Search Engines

Most of my posts on here ar not optimized for SEO. They’re optimized for value.

For branding purposes (whatever that means), and for my own dignity, I put quality above getting more visitors. For a niche site, that shouldn’t be the case.

The reason for this is that you aren’t staking your reputation on a tiny niche site. In fact, you will have little interaction or rapport with readers. They are just visiting your site for the information they came for via the search engine and you just want their money, not their respect or love.

Therefore, getting as many visitors as you can through search engines is imperative. This means optimizing for SEO in your content, making keywords and headings geared towards what people are looking for.

4.) You Don’t Have an E-Mail List

People used to say “It’s all in the list”, implying that an e-mail list is the best form of online marketing. Mike Cernovich debunked this a while back.

That said, I do believe an e-mail list is a valuable tool. If someone just came to your website to read a specific article and then they implement your advice, they may not return if they got all they needed. This is especially the case for my niche site in skincare. So, if they were to sign-up after being prompted by an e-mail opt-in, you can ideally keep them in the loop with your latest content.

The best approach here, in my opinion, is to offer a free bonus in exchange for their e-mail. Check out Jamie McSloy’s advice.

I am a bit of a hypocrite here, as I don’t have an e-mail pop-up, and my opt-in is a pathetic looking thing on the sidebar. The reason for this is I plan to overhaul my sites in a few months and will fix it then. Also, MailChimp only has options for pop-ups that appear within the first five seconds someone arrives on the page–I find that annoying and disingenuous, so will have something that will pop-up after a longer period of time in the future.

5.) You Don’t Have an Endgame

If you don’t have the end in mind for your site, you will end up working on it constantly with only marginal improvements. If you say you want to make $200 a month on your site, then stop when you get there if you don’t see much more potential. Instead of trying to squeeze out an extra $25 a month, why not just start another new niche site with all that energy?

Be explicit and clear with your niche site goals. Once you reach them, really take some time to consider where you want to go with your project(s) in the future.

In Summary

There’s a lot more mistakes out there that guys make with websites. In fact, there are plenty of mistakes with this website!

However, these four points are a good starting point and if you implement them you’ll no doubt have a quality website.

If you want more comprehensive advice on developing niche sites, then you should check out the Pro Niche Site course.

You can read my review here or just head straight to the free 6-part video workshop.