In my last couple of income reports I mentioned that I’ve been working on a new project.
I know I’ve been kind of vague about what I’ve been working on so far, so today I’m spilling the beans for anyone who’s interested!
My newest side hustle is building a niche website. I’m monetising it through affiliate marketing.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when you promote products and earn a commission on the sales.
You don’t have to create your own products to sell. Instead, you find existing products which you enjoy and use, and promote them yourself.
The company will give you a special link, called an affiliate link, to redirect your readers to their website. This way, they can track which buyers came via your recommendation.
And you get a cut of the sales!
Typically, most internet marketers create websites or blogs around the products they want to promote. However, it’s also possible to make money without a website, just by sharing your affiliate links on social media or Pinterest, or with your family and friends.
I’m hoping to build an online income by creating a niche website to promote my affiliate links.
What is a niche site?
A niche site is simply a website or blog that focuses on a particular niche or market.
A niche can be absolutely anything:
It could be a particular hobby, like yoga, DIY or baking.
It could be a problem that people need solving, such as acne, job hunting or meeting a partner.
Or, it could be a particular set of products, such as baby toys, power tools or designer handbags.
The idea is that you choose something that interests you and build up a website around that topic. You want to create an interesting, helpful and informative site that helps people develop their knowledge or solve problems in that niche.
Some of your articles might be product reviews or mention certain products. This is where you can use your affiliate links.
Over time, your website will hopefully get more and more visitors. If anybody clicks through and buys a product that you recommended using your link, you’ll get some commission.
Niche sites are take a lot of time and work to set up. But eventually, they can be a source of passive income:
If your site starts to turn up on the first page of Google searches in your niche, you will start getting hundreds or thousands of visitors even when you are not actively working. You can take a few weeks off, go on holiday and your website will still be there, making money for you.
How do I pick a niche and why do I need one?
I wrote above that you should pick a niche that interests you. But you don’t have to. You can choose any topic you like – and of course, some people choose the niches that they think will make the most money over the niches that they personally love.
But I personally chose to create a niche site around a topic that I do love, and I recommend you do the same. Why?
- You will spend a lot of time reading and writing about your niche. If you choose something you’re not interested in, you’re more likely to get bored of the project and give up.
- You already know a lot about your niche. You don’t have to be a world expert in your niche to create a website, but you should know enough to provide genuine guidance to your audience. If you already have experience in your niche, you can probably write several articles that will be really helpful to beginners even without spending a lot of time on research.
- Your writing will be more engaging if you have a genuine interest that shines through.
- You likely already have a lot of experience with different products in your niche, so you can give honest, authentic recommendations.
Also, you don’t necessarily need a niche site to make money from affiliate marketing. People can and do make money with any kind of blog or website, even very general ones with no particular focus.
However, focusing on a smaller niche is easier (especially in the beginning) for various reasons:
- Easier to research articles and create a lot of content on similar topics
- Easier to find and keep your target audience
- People are more likely to browse or return to your site and buy similar products in the niche
- You will rank better in Google if you have a lot of articles on similar topics, because it helps you look like an authority on the subject
How do niche sites actually make money?
Ok, we’ve established that the end goal is making money.
But how do you find these products to promote? Which companies are going to pay you to build a website around their products?
The good news is, you can find an affiliate scheme for almost any product.
The biggest affiliate scheme out there is Amazon. Yes, Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer, will pay you commission if you send them customers. The commission goes up to 10%, depending on the product category.
As well as (or instead of) physical products, you might want to promote a course or digital product. ClickBank and JVZoo are just two sites when you can find hundreds of different products to promote, including a large number of digital courses. One advantage of promoting digital products is that the commission is usually higher, since the seller doesn’t have any additional production costs.
In addition, there are thousands of unique retailers who offer their own affiliate programs. The next time you’re shopping online, scroll to the bottom of the page and you will likely see a link saying ‘affiliates’ or ‘partners’. This is where you can sign up to promote their products on your own site.
If you already have a niche in mind, try a Google search on your niche or product name plus “affiliate program” and see what comes up.
Why am I building a niche site?
Over the last few months, I’ve experimented with lots of different side hustles and ways of making money online.
Some months, I made several hundred pounds with matched betting and other schemes.
So why have I put these aside to focus on one, newer project – which doesn’t even guarantee instant results?
Well, there are several reasons. I guess partly what it comes down to is that my own goals have changed since I started trying to make extra income online!
When I started Boost My Budget in October 2016, I was hoping to make an extra couple of hundred per month. This would supplement my main income from my salary and help take off some off the financial pressure.
The further I got sucked into the world of making money online, the more I’ve seen what is possible. I know several people online who make incredible full time incomes through blogging and niche sites.
Now, my aim is to build up my own online business, and make enough income to eventually quit my day job!
These are the main reasons I’ve decided that building niche sites is the right online business for me:
- Potential to build up a business, rather than just quick cash
- Develop a source of passive income (one of my goals for 2017)
- Location independent, completely flexible work
- I love writing – and writing is one of the biggest components of this business
- I can create sites around my own hobbies, interests and knowledge
- Low start-up cost
- No special equipment or physical products involved. All I need is my laptop
- I enjoy it the most!
This last point is probably the most important. I’ve experimented with a lot of different ways of making extra cash, but ultimately making websites just clicks the best for me right now. I’ve been spending every spare minute on my niche site over the last couple of months, but it never feels like a chore.
I love the writing, the research, the strategizing – everything right now!
What’s the difference between this blog and my new niche site?
As I wrote above, you can use affiliate links on any website. It doesn’t have to be a niche site. In fact, I use affiliate links on this blog too.
However, Boost My Budget is also kind of a personal record for me. I write about what I’ve been trying and learning, what does work and doesn’t work.
I also ramble on a bit sometimes on this blog, and cover a lot of different topics.
Basically, Boost My Budget has other purposes alongside making money.
I wanted to experiment with a new site that is closely focused on one niche and targeted towards making money.
Of course, I do still want it to be a useful and valuable resource in my niche, and I only recommend products that I’m happy to get behind.
But my new site is also a lot more focused on selling. With my niche blog, I’m paying a lot more attention to things like keyword research, SEO and analytics. I’m treating it as a business, not as a hobby.
How I got started with my niche site
I actually kickstarted this project by buying a small ready-made site from a company called Human Proof Designs. This got me a small site with a handful of articles, a premium website theme and plugins, a file of keywords to target, and a series of training videos on the next steps.
There are both pros and cons to the site I got from Human Proof Designs, and I don’t know if I would buy from them again in the future. However, the main pro is that it gave me that kick up the backside I needed to get started! Since everything was all set up I didn’t waste time early on worrying about things like design and technical stuff.
And having paid for the site, it makes me determined to turn a profit!
How can YOU get started?
If you want to get started but you’re on a budget, you don’t have to buy a ready made site. It’s perfectly possible to build a money-making niche site yourself – without spending anything.
This site will even give you a free website, hosting and training – everything you need to get started. Yes, that’s all completely for free. There’s also a paid membership available which gives you extra training and live help, but honestly, the free version is good enough to get you started.
There are also loads of other websites about niche sites where you can get a huge amount of information for free. Two of my favourites are Niche Hacks and Niche Pursuits. The blog at Human Proof Designs is very good too.
Alongside these big players, I love reading blogs by people like me who are still building up their businesses alongside a day job, like Essi at My Path to Passive Income and Nadya at Living Off Cloud. These real-life accounts are what inspired me to get started. By following Essi’s income reports, you can see how he took a brand new site from zero to over $6000 income in just a few months. It’s hugely motivating to read success stories like this and I know that I can do the same if I just keep putting in the work!
So, what’s my site?
Well, that would be telling!
I’ve learned that most people in the niche site community don’t share their own sites. This is because unfortunately there are a lot of copycats out there. Once you start seeing success, there are some people who will scoop in and try to replicate your niche or site. Obviously you don’t want people taking advantage of your hard work and you don’t want necessary competition.
For this reason, I’ve decided not to share my actual site right now.
But, I will reveal that the broad niche is language learning.
There are loads of courses, books and products to review and promote in the language learning space – mostly with very nice commissions. Also, since my niche is a language I speak myself, I can easily create a lot of materials and useful content to add to my site and promote on social media.
There’s even the potential to create my own course or ebook to sell one day.
Well, this is all I’ll say about it for now.
There is so much to say about the niche site business, and maybe later I’ll write a more detailed guide on how to get started.
For now, I mainly wanted to introduce my latest side hustle so that readers will know what I’m working on!
If you’re interested in learning more – or even starting up a niche site of your own – I would recommend setting up a free account at this link.
Do any of my readers make money with affiliate marketing? I would love to hear how you get on!
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13 thoughts on “My Newest Side Hustle Revealed: Building a Passive Income with a Niche Website and Affiliate Marketing”
Great post and great motivation for those who aren’t familiar with affiliate marketing yet.
I know exactly what it feels like to want to make some money online but not sure where to start. When I discovered AM (affiliate marketing) I was blown away and sold by the idea instantly. There’s 3 billion people online daily.
If you get a fraction of those potential clients on your site you’d be sorted for life already.
It also shows that there’s virtually no limit to how much money you could be making online. Of course it takes time to build a solid side income that eventually turns into your full income and like any entrepreneurial project it also has it’s ups and downs and is never a guaranteed source of income.
But then again no job is guaranteed. I’m very flattered and honoured you mentioned my blog and side hustle.
It’s true that anyone get this going (I should be proof enough because I’m still so new to all of this) and it doesn’t take much to get your first dollar.
Once that first dollar is made you know you’re on the right track. The only advice I really always tell everyone and really want to highlight is not to fall for the shiny object syndrome. I can’t mention it enough. I fell for so many courses and false promises that I literally wasted an entire year. The only thing I learnt through it is to not repeat the same mistake and yet I did.
I think it was a smart move to buy a ready made website. I have yet to try it out. I wish you all the best and good luck with your new side hustle. Treat it like a plant. Water it, give it a lot of sunlight and occasionally sing to it haha and it will grow into a strong tree with healthy fruit for you to enjoy!
Thanks for your comment! Great point about the shiny object syndrome. I’ve gone through that big time in the last few months. Still, I’ve learned a lot about myself – my working style, goals etc – through my various projects, and now I’m ready to knuckle down and make some money! I definitely feel like affiliate marketing is a great way to build a long term business. As you say, there are billions of people online and you only need a tiny number of visitors to start making money.
Thanks for your support and stay in touch!
I think a lot of “niches” are no longer niches. The credit card review area used to be a niche, but now it’s being dominated by websites with tens of millions of readers every month like wisebread. how do you compete with those? you can’t.
I don’t know about the credit card niche, but there are definitely still lots of profitable niches that are easy to rank for. I know because I’m following a lot of people online who are still setting up new sites and making money! The training I’m doing and sites linked above have lots of advice on how to tell if a niche is worth entering.
Oo, love this! I absolutely love it when people start on new money earners – I just find it fascinating! I definitely want to do this in the future. The only thing is though, is it really passive? Will you be marketing and content creating often?
Thanks, I’m really enjoying it so far! Definitely something I want to stick with for a while. Good point – I think it will take a long time to become passive. I’m not really expecting to make money at all for 4-6 months or so, and there will be a lot of unpaid work during that time. But I think that once a site gets a certain momentum going and ranks well in Google, it can become a lot more hands off. My short term goal is just to get to the stage where there’s a little something coming in even when if I get sick or can’t work for whatever reason. I’ll keep you posted!
Excellent post. And also very smart of you to keep your niche secret. I do niche sites too and have found it’s very different to the collaborative community in blogging. I think it’s best for people to start off blogging, then branch out to niche sites once they know what’s what.
I adore blogging, but it’s way more work than niche sites. I have a site that makes a few hundred bucks a month and doesn’t even have a social media presence. It’s all SEO traffic. I work on it maybe 1-2 hours max per month. As you say, it’s all about finding those profitable and low competition keywords and building awesome content around them. If I could replicate that site 10 times over I’d be laughing all the way to the bank!
Hi Emma, thanks for your comment! That’s awesome that you have a niche site doing so well. It’s such a great feeling to have that income on autopilot! I also have some recurring income coming in from my niche site now and I’ve barely touched it in months. I know it has potential to earn a lot more too but the tough thing about having multiple sites is finding time for them all! Would love to develop more sites one day.
really your all article is very helpful for beginner like me thanks and keep it up… 🙂
Awesome post… So, weird, I discovered your site via Pinterest just the other day and we have quite similar backgrounds and similar sites as well, (I’m in my 30’s, in the UK… in the money saving/make money online niche, also create niche sites, also on Merch by Amazon and have done some matched betting, both on Mediavine…. quite spooky!!!). Anyway, great to meet you and will keep reading and love to hear how you’re getting on! 🙂 Nat
Hi Nat! Thanks for commenting 🙂 always good to meet people on the same journey. I will check out your blog too!
Nice to meet you! Yes, I love to watch how people progress and there is so much to learn from others too. All the best for 2019!