#03 | Are Niche Sites Officially Dead?

I was advised early on in my niche site journey not to rely 100% on organic traffic.

“Build a brand. Generate multiple traffic and revenue streams.”

But some lessons simply need to be learned through experience.

No matter how many times you’re told, some things just don’t click.

Take day-trading stocks, for example.

I was told 97% of day traders lose money.

Only 1% are actually profitable.

Young, dumb, college me heard that and immediately thought,

“Good thing I’m going to be part of the 1%”.

Shortly after having that thought, I lost most of my money.

Turns out it’s about time in the market, not timing the market.

Lesson learned.

The one-legged stool

My first niche site, the one I just sold, was built like a one-legged stool.

The entire game plan was to write SEO content, rank it, and then monetize it with display ads.

And for several years, this plan worked wonderfully.

Hell, at times I was standing and juggling all at once on top of that one-legged stool.

No problem.

Then one day someone walked by and bumped into me.

And all at once I became hyper-aware of just how unstable things were.

When your entire business model relies on a single traffic source that you don’t control, the future of your business is forever uncertain.

You might just wake up one morning and find your revenue down 50, 60, 70%.

No explanation.

No warning.

No control over the situation.

Not all cash-flow is created equal

The thing is, you can still make a lot of money building one-legged stools.

I did.

And many others have, and are at this very moment.

But not all cash flow is created equal.

At this stage in my online money making journey, I value stability.

I want the next thing I spend my time working on to be durable.


I want it to be able to take a hit.

I want it to last.

I don’t want to have to check my analytics first thing each morning to see whether or not I still have a business.

That’s no way to live.

Don’t just build a business, build a brand

The reality is, building a brand is the best chance you and I have at longevity online.

Cue the eye-rolls and I told you so’s from the more experienced folks in the back.

But it’s true.

With a strong enough brand, you can make changes to your underlying business, and your customers/readers will follow.

A brand provides a level of stability that a simple niche site targeting long-tail, low-competition keywords never could.

Because if keyword targeting is your entire game plan, it’s not a matter of if, but when you’ll take a massive haircut from Google.

Speaking from first-hand experience here 🙋🏼‍♂️.

The simplest way to determine whether or not you have a brand, is to answer this question:

“How many times a month are humans typing your brand name into Google and clicking search?”

If the answer is never, you probably have a niche site.

Which is fine, if you’re comfortable with all the uncertainty that comes with relying solely on Google.

But if you’re not comfortable with that, you really have two options:

  1. Evolve your existing niche site into a brand over time (easier said than done for many traditional niche sites)
  2. Start over, from the ground up, with brand as your focus

Niche Twins

For all of these reasons and more, Keith and I have started to lean in more on Niche Twins.

It has all the makings of a brand-able, more durable venture.

In terms of traffic sources:

1) Organic Social:

A combined ~43,000 followers on Twitter + Keith is starting to upload YouTube videos…

2) Direct Traffic:

A couple thousand times a month, “www. nichetwins .com” is typed directly into people’s web browsers.

3) Organic Search:

I suspect organic traffic will surpass direct traffic this month for the first time ever. 100% credit to Keith and the work he’s been doing on the SEO side.

Also of note: “Niche Twins” is typed directly into Google search nearly 200 times a month! That’s a strong signal.

nichetwins search console

4) Email: I just started sending this weekly Niche Twins newsletter to 2650 subscribers, and growing quickly. (I still need to create a lead magnet!)

Here’s the analytics showing the volume of all of those various traffic sources so far – just half-way through March (15 days of data):

niche twins google analytics march 2023

Right now, our primary revenue sources are from affiliates, and a few newsletter sponsorships.

But there are several, much larger opportunities we haven’t even scratched the surface of yet.

For example:

  • Selling our own digital products
  • Doubling down on SEO content and monetizing it with both display ads and affiliates
  • Building up the YouTube channel further, and eventually monetizing it
  • Partnering with a service or software company that aligns well with our brand

We believe that if we do some combination of these things even half-well, it will result in a fairly stable six-figure a year business.

And the best part?

We’re enjoying the work.

Now if only there were more hours in a day…

Oh, and my wife and I are taking a very similar approach with a travel blog that she started a little while back.

But more on that after baby #2 arrives in…

Have a great weekend!


mike keith always be publishing

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