So you’re digging the niche website biz are you?
Me too. I love it. Possibilities are endless.
If you’re fortunate, you’re making a few bucks. Maybe $100/mo.? $1,000/mo.? $10,000/mo.?
Wherever you’re at, always be thinking about scaling. The niche website biz is all about scaling. It’s not always easy, but it’s a perfect model for scaling which is one reason I love it so much.
I’d rather build a business I can scale than earn $1,000 per hour.
If you can make $1,000/mo., you can make $10,000/mo. online. It’s just a matter of scaling up.
Sure, you’ll hit plateaus. Your income will very likely bounce around – up (awesome) and down (ouch). Be prepared. That’s the nature of this biz. Through it all, think how you can scale.
Scaling is at the forefront of my mind lately
I’ve more or less hit a plateau in 2016.
I had hoped to grow my biz more, but at least it didn’t tank.
For me it’s time to scale. I’ve put a lot of thought into my options and approach. The thing is there are many options. Too many actually.
Table of Contents
- How to Scale Your Niche Website Biz
- 1. Scale Existing Niche Site
- 2. Scale by Launching Another Website
- Scale Existing Site vs. Starting a New Site
- The #2 Rule for Scaling
- And the #1 Rule for Scaling Is…
- 1 Crazy Goal I’m Shooting For
How to Scale Your Niche Website Biz
1. Scale Existing Niche Site
Most people think the only way to scale is to start another website. While that is one way to scale, you can also scale an existing site. Here’s how.
a. Grow Traffic
Buy it: Go about setting up content and funnels that can profit with paid traffic. Then turn on the paid traffic spigot.
Build Links: I read somewhere that links to your website can grow organic search traffic. In that case, attract links. Yeah, it’s a pain but apparently it works. “A pain” is an understatement. Link building isn’t my favorite activity. Some people are very good at it, but invest a lot of time at it. If you like the idea of focusing on ranking a few URLs and hauling in boatloads of traffic, your best bet is to become very good at link building. There are numerous ways to build links. I’m not going to get into them here because it’s a weighty topic. Instead, Google it, read SEO websites and use your brain as to what’s best for your website.
Increase content production: This is one of my favorite methods to grow traffic. I suggest you analyze what types of content is the most successful for you and then crank out more of it.
Publish content that may go viral: Instead of cranking out content targeting keyword after keyword, use your brain and do some research to publish content that may get shared a ton. Yeah, this is FAR easier said than done, but when it works, it really works.
FYI, publishing viral content keyword targeted content are not mutually exclusive. You can publish both types of content. I do.
Update/improve existing content: I haven’t done too much of this, but it makes sense. Why not improve old content and re-promote? I’ve read it CAN help with organic search results too. This is definitely on my to-do list for my niche sites and Fat Stacks. Not only can it be good for more traffic but it’s good for users too.
Grow social channels: Social channels can be an easy and tremendous source of traffic. My favorite these days is Pinterest, but Pinterest isn’t ideal for every niche. Just image focused niches. If you’re wondering if Pinterest is worth doing for your website, see if your niche is in the main Pinterest Categories.
Pinterest’s main niches/categories:
What about building a Facebook page?
It’s worth doing still but don’t expect being able to generate vast sums of traffic like you could 2 to 3 years ago. Facebook has severely limited organic reach compared to 2 to 3 years ago. It’s a real drag. Us niche publishers had a sweet gig going a few years ago with all the free, easy Facebook traffic.
That said, some FB pages still succeed in sending decent volumes of traffic to their site so it’s possible. Just don’t plan on it being your sole source of traffic. That’s right, I know publishers a few short years ago pretty much focused on FB traffic because it came in droves with every post.
What about Twitter?
I’ve never been a power Twitter user. I think it works better in some niches than others. It’s not a terrific fit with my niche site so I don’t bother. I think it would be good for Fat Stacks but I haven’t gotten around to really invest time into Twitter.
Instagram is interesting. The problem with Instagram is twofold:
i. You can’t insert links in the individual posts. This really puts a damper on sending traffic to your site. Instead users must click to your site via your Instagram profile. Like that’s gonna happen.
ii. You must post via your mobile phone. Even with social media software, you must post via your phone. This is time consuming.
But all is NOT lost… Instagram could still be worth it. Here’s how.
If you’re building up a personal brand, you could eventually charge hundreds or thousands for one post. Engagement on Instagram is insane… probably because you can’t put links into the posts.
I think your best bet with Instagram is building a personal brand that people follow. Think celebrities, but it can also be niche superstars. Your “robotic vacuums” Amazon site ain’t gonna kill it on Instagram. But your mommy blog or fashion blog might.
=> Read about my 2 favorite social media posting software platforms to dramatically scale up and speed up social media posting.
Foster repeat traffic: Build an email list, a push notification subscribership and/or YouTube subscribers for repeat visitors. The easiest ways to get people back to your website is to have them join your email newsletter, push notification subscription service and/or become a subscriber to your YouTube Channel.
b. Improve current revenue streams
Improve ad RPM: I explain the simple formula here. If you can add $2 to $5 rpm by tweaking your ads, you can add a lot to your bottom line.
Improve affiliate RPM: You can do this by working on conversion and adding more content that promotes affiliate products. It’s pretty simple.
Tweak out your email funnel with higher sign up rates and better promotions: I’m bad at this, but I’ll mention it anyway. If you have traffic, you can get email subscribers. From there work on monetizing the email list.
That said, some niches aren’t that great with email marketing. It’s true even though everyone says the money is in the list. Sometimes email marketing just isn’t worth it. It’s not a big deal.
Sell more stuff: If you’re into e-commerce (digital or physical products) add more products and work on increasing sales of existing products. With digital products you can also test different price points.
c. Add Revenue Streams
- Display ads: Add content monetized with display ads if there’s nothing better.
- Affiliate promotions: If you just monetize with ads, why not add in some affiliate promotion.
- Sponsored posts: Unfortunately this won’t work for every niche, but if you have a loyal following, you can earn some great fees with sponsored blog and/or social media posts.
- E-commerce: If there are products you can promote as an affiliate, there are products you can sell directly and earn more profit. That said, it’s more work selling directly than promoting as an affiliate. Currently, despite e-commerce opportunities, I’m sticking with affiliate promotions.
- Consulting: Again, not conducive to every niche, but in some niches it can be very lucrative.
- Offer Services: Not for every niche, but if you don’t mind trading time for money or can hire people to deliver services, this can be a solid way to add a revenue stream to your website.
2. Scale by Launching Another Website
You don’t want to launch another site prematurely. Ensure you have your bread and butter site working smoothly with little time required by you. If you stretch yourself too thin you end up with 2 crappy sites. You’re much better off with one awesome site than 2 mediocre sites.
Options for Additional Sites
Related niche: The benefit of launching a related niche site is you can leverage your existing traffic and funnel them to your new site. Recently I launched 2 new niche sites with the same demographic as my existing site. I plan to funnel traffic to the new sites.
Unrelated niche: Maybe you want to jump into something entirely new. I get that. It never hurts to add a little variety to your work.
Leveraged niche: By leveraged niche I’m referring to leveraging knowledge or something you have and creating a business out of it. An obvious leveraged niche for me and many other successful niche website owners is launching a “make money online” blog. It makes sense. For me it’s both fun and lucrative. I love publishing Fat Stacks and hope to have more time for it going forward.
Similar Revenue Model: You can launch in a different niche with the same revenue model. I do think it’s worth developing more than one revenue stream. Just a suggestion.
Different Revenue Model: If you can swing it, scale and diversify your revenue streams at the same time.
Scale Existing Site vs. Starting a New Site
It’s not easy knowing when you should continue focusing on growing an existing site or launching a new site.
Launching a new site is a lot of work. If you have a successful website, you probably forgot how much blood, sweat and tears you put into it during the early days. It’s like kids – you forget (kind of) how much work it was when they were babies and toddlers. Actually I haven’t forgotten because our second is 15 months.
I’m in the midst of launching 2 new sites so I’m back in the weeds. Fortunately I’m outsourcing most of it. I have a detailed plan. I know exactly where I’m going with each site. I spent 4 weeks researching, testing and planning these sites. Now it’s just a matter of time and money.
Why am I tackling 2 new sites?
These sites are structured totally different than anything I’ve ever done before. It’s a concept I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I just finally found the right software to make it work. I spent weeks dealing with setting up the proto-type. Now that it’s set up, it’s just a matter of building them out.
I’m tackling 2 because one is an improvement of an existing niche site and the other is a niche in which I think there’s tremendous opportunity. Since I can outsource most of it, I’m comfortable growing both.
If one of the two sites is a hit, I’ll be very happy. I don’t expect every site I launch to be a success. I’ve launched more failures than successes.
As an aside, I still haven’t turned the site I bought into a success. However, I’ve finally decided what I’m going to do with it. While I’m in the red big time with that purchase, I’m optimistic I’ll make that purchase pay off. I guess you could say with my plans to grow the site I purchased, I’m kind of launching 3 sites.
When is it time to scale by launching a new site?
It’s time when your work to continue growing your existing site is finished early in the day. This means you have systems and people in place or else you’ve maxed out everything you can possibly do to grow it. Usually it’s the former – you have systems and people in place to make to run smoothly with little direct effort on your part.
However, sometimes you are foolish to launch a new site. If your existing site has massive potential you haven’t tapped, go that route. Maybe there are new features or concepts you can add that will make it even better. Perhaps you can expand by adding more topics, mediums (i.e. add podcasts), products for sale, etc.
That said, maybe the opportunities to grow an existing site are there but you’re not interested. I get that. I could add features and/or products for sale or focus on even more content on my existing site, but frankly I like the idea of taking a chance on new sites. I find it exciting. Maybe foolhardy, but exciting.
It’s not always an easy decision to launch a second site. I know I kicked it around for a long time before launching 2 more sites.
An easy “no-brainer” 2nd website option…
If you’re making $3,000 or more per month from a niche site, it’s a no-brainer to start a make money online blog. I know I’d love to read about what you’re doing. Make Money Online blogs are fun, helpful and can be really lucrative. With success in a regular niche you have the credentials to blog about that success.
While my time ebbs and flows on Fat Stacks, I love working on it and have really loved getting to know so many bloggers and publishers. It’s been a great project; one I’ll continue with hopefully for years. The revenue is good too, but don’t expect instant riches with such a blog. Start it because it interests you. If you’re helpful, the revenue will follow.
I say “easy” loosely. It’s easy because if you have success with a regular niche site, you have a lot of first-rate knowledge to blog about. It’s not easy because it’s a lot of writing that you don’t want to outsource. It’s a cross between a personal and business blog. At least that’s how I view it.
If you despise writing, even on internet marketing topics, don’t bother. Stick to what you’re doing because without your personal flavor, you’ll have a hard time making it a success.
Where does it end?
It ends when you say it ends (or some external force tanks your sites, which is always a possibility).
Sell it all. Outsource it and forget it. Keep on growing it.
Maybe you grow it into a public company.
Work a lot or a little.
The beauty about this biz is you have options.
The #2 Rule for Scaling
The number 2 rule for scaling is doing it without working more. Better yet, scale while working less. Achieve this and you’ve hit the motherload.
I have no desire to stop working. I love this stuff too much. But working less while making more is always good.
Before you scale, you must have a plan in place so that you can scale with less work on your part or at the very least not having to work too much more in order to significantly increase revenue.
How can you scale while working less?
1. Work smarter
Focus on highest ROI activities:
This past summer I analyzed which types of content attracted the most traffic. What I found out was that one type of content performed terribly. Moreover, that type of content was expensive to produce. I immediately stopped publishing that content and now focus on content with a much better ROI.
Stick to your strengths
I’m not a coder. Even if I were to learn coding, I doubt I’d be very good. I can hardly remember the code for an html hyperlink. CSS and PHP, forget about it.
You wouldn’t believe the number of days I’ve wasted trying to tweak stuff with code. In most cases I could have paid a coder $50 to $100 to do it and it would have been done in minutes.
Software: Whenever you’re doing something manually see if there’s software for that. I’m often amazed at how I can find plugins or software to do stuff faster.
For example, I got so sick and tired of the social media posting treadmill, I decided to give Viraltag and MeetEdgar a shot. Both are amazing. Both create “libraries” out of your posts so if you don’t post, the software will post something from your bank of past posts. This means over time you create a nice passive traffic stream.
Each platform is a little different. I use Viraltag for Pinterest and Facebook image posts. I use MeetEdgar for link posts. I plan to do a write up explaining the nuanced differences between the two. They’re the 2 best social media software platforms I’ve ever used.
Funnels: Email sequences are amazing for automating revenue streams. They take a little bit to set up, but once set up and tested, they can be a nice source of “recurring” income.
Outsource: If you have the resources, outsource those tedious, recurring tasks immediately.
And the #1 Rule for Scaling Is…
You’ve tasted success. That’s awesome.
Now you’re lucky enough to be faced with deciding how to scale. It’s a good position to be in.
The #1 rule for scaling is to scale in a direction that you enjoy.
Money motivates, but enjoyment/fulfillment motivates more.
I could probably make loads more jumping into Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or growing my local marketing business.
FBA would probably work well on 2 niche sites I own.
Local marketing isn’t hard and since I have a little success with it, scaling up would be easy.
However, to date I don’t bother with both because I enjoy other options more.
I’ve done plenty of stuff in my life I don’t enjoy.
Now that I have the luxury to choose, even if it means making less money or leaving money on the table, I prefer sticking with work I enjoy.
How do you figure out what you enjoy?
Maybe you think this is a stupid question, but I don’t think it is.
Sometimes it’s not easy figuring out what type of online work you enjoy. Chances are you’ve done a lot of work out of necessity rather than enjoyment. The key is focusing on doing the individual tasks you enjoy.
The way I figured out what I enjoy is by looking back to see what tasks I do when I’m not pressed for time. Tasks and activities I get lost in when doing them and before I know it, hours have gone by.
For me, those tasks include:
- Testing and tinkering with my websites to improve UX and RPM. I particularly love testing new features and functionality with plugins;
- Working on increasing efficiency, primarily with software and systems. I don’t like inefficiencies;
- Keyword research and website growth planning;
- Researching opportunities, techniques, features and ideas primarily by checking out what other websites do;
- Sharing, teaching, consulting and writing about my niche business via this website (Fat Stacks).
What do I not like doing?
I figured this out by being aware of tasks I procrastinate or never actually get to.
- Formatting and editing content;
- Posting to social media;
- Writing and formatting email newsletters;
- Anything graphics/image editing related;
- Anything video production related;
- Setting up websites and social media accounts.
Accordingly, I’ve resolved to outsource the tasks I don’t care so I can focus on what I like doing. I believe this is the surest way to scale my business. Fortunately much of what I don’t like doing can be outsourced.
Once you figure out what you like doing, scale and set your business up so you can focus on those tasks.
1 Crazy Goal I’m Shooting For
I’m far off this goal, but the ultimate set up is being able to efficiently and effectively run my entire business from my mobile phone like our good friend Mr. Stock Photo:
Wouldn’t that be sweet?
Currently I mostly work on a laptop with a second monitor because I’m pretty hands on.
Working on mobile phone means being able to run everything with short emails, dictated messages and/or skype. I love that concept because that would mean I could really work pretty much anywhere without having to roll up my sleeves digging into the details of building my business.
What’s your ultimate crazy goal? Leave a comment.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.