Niche Websites for Affiliate Marketing
Niche websites are websites specifically created for one particular niche. If you are involved in affiliate marketing you will most probably be using a niche website.
Niche websites are no different to any other type of website. They are built in exactly the same way as other websites. They are referred to as niche websites simply because they are sites devoted exclusively to one particular niche.
Niche Websites do not generally have as much content as sites that are created with a view to them becoming 'authority sites'. Some niche websites are created to promote only one product (as opposed to one type of product). These 'micro niche websites' will sometimes have only four or five pages of content.
Most affiliate marketing websites are niche sites. They may even contain substantial amounts of content but all of that content will relate, in some way or another, to one niche or topic.
There are a vast number of ways to create a niche website. You can use one of the free website builders (such as Wix or Weebly for example) or you can choose one of the self hosted options.
Although there is nothing wrong with using one of the free website builders for affiliate marketing I would always advise that you create a self hosted site if at all possible.
I would also always strongly recommend that you create your site using WordPress. It is extremely easy to understand for beginners and you have virtually unlimited options with regard to the appearance of the site itself.
There are two versions of WordPress. There is the free website builder version (WordPress.com) and the self hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org).
WordPress is an 'open source' application (or script) and is free to use in either guise. The technique for building a website in either version is actually very similar.
As you might expect there are differences between the two platforms. Although the free site builder version is extremely good the tools provided are nowhere near as extensive as those available in the self hosted version.
With the self hosted version you are able to add functionality to your site by installing what is known as 'plugins'. There are literally thousands of 'plugins' to choose from. You decide what type of function you want to add to your site and, generally speaking, there will be a plugin that will enable you to do it. The option to use plugins, and add functionality, is not available with the free hosted version.
The other main difference between the free hosted and self hosted versions of WordPress is the way in which the domain name is presented.
If you use the free hosted version of WordPress the domain name of your site will look something like this 'mydomainname.wordpress.com'. You are given a choice of domain names but your site address will always end with 'wordpress.com'.
With a self hosted website using WordPress you have complete control over the domain name you choose. The word 'wordpress' will no longer have to be included.
Niche Websites – Choosing your domain name!
There are dozens of places online that will sell you a domain name (including Godaddy, Bluehost and Hostgator for example).
Once you are on their site you simply type in the domain name you would like into the search bar. You will then be shown details about the availability of that domain.
The screen shot on the left is an example of how the data may be presented to you.
As you can see I have typed in 'domainexample' in the search box. I am then shown a list of the domain suffixes that are available for my chosen domain name along with the cost. There is a dropdown menu in the price section that gives the cost of owning the domain name for various periods of time (the choices range from 1 year up to 10 years).
Bear in mind that when you 'buy a domain name' you are not actually buying it outright. You are effectively 'leasing', or renting, it. When the initial period of the 'lease' is over you will need to renew it in order to be able to keep using it.
If you do not renew your domain name your website will be taken down and the content you have on the site will ultimately be lost.
Choosing Domain Names for your Niche Websites
There are a lot of differing opinions about the choice of domain names. To a large extent the type of name you choose will depend on what you are going to do with the site.
If you are building a website or blog for your own personal use then using your own name would be perfectly acceptable.
If you are building niche websites then you might prefer to use a domain name that is relevant in some way to that niche.
There are however sites on the web that have successfully built a brand around a persons name (Jenny Craig for example). This type of site tends to use the '.com' suffix if it is available as many people still associated it with commerce and believe it provides more credibility than some of the other suffixes available.
A niche websites domain name should be something that is easily remembered and should not be too long. Avoid using hyphens and numbers in your domain name. Try to find a domain name that also sounds right when it is spoken out loud.
Avoid the temptation to get a domain name for your niche website that looks or sounds like a site belonging to a major brand. You could end up having to take down your website or worse still find yourself in court for trademark infringement.
Although most people will opt for the '.com' suffix if it is available (myself included) there is no real evidence to suggest that this will increase your chances of being successful or improve your sites ranking in Google.
The '.com' suffix is simply short for 'company' whilst '.net' is short for 'network'. In the early days of the internet '.com' was intended to be used by profit making companies whilst '.net' was intended to be used by none profit organizations.
Over the years these lines of distinction have become blurred and you can basically use any domain suffix you wish for any purpose.
Due to the increasing number of websites that are now being published it has been necessary to increase the selection of suffix options available. These new suffixes include '.shop', '.club', '.space', '.store' and a host of others.
There are also domain suffixes that relate specifically to geographic locations such as '.uk' (for UK based businesses), '.us' (for businesses that operate in the United States) along with suffixes relating to the majority of countries throughout the world.
What is the difference between a niche website and an authority website?
An authority site is one that provides lots of high quality information about a broad range of subjects relating to one particular main topic. Niche websites usually concentrate on just one topic. As they tend to be more specialized niche websites tend to appeal to a smaller audience.
An authority site can take several months (or even years) to become established. You will need to put large amounts of content on the site and add to it on a regular basis. A website only becomes an authority site when your visitors recognize and acknowledge it as being so.
Niche websites are generally quicker and easier to set up and get established. A niche site will usually (but not always) have less content than an authority site.
Niche Websites and Exact Match Domains
Some years ago many people who wanted to create niche websites used what was referred to as 'exact match domains' (EMD's for short). The individual would do their keyword research and, having found the keyword they wanted to target, then find a domain name that exactly matched that particular keyword.
This is no longer recommended. Initially it was seen as a way of helping to get a niche website to rank better. Indeed in many cases it did. However in 2012 Google changed their algorithms and actually began to penalize sites that used EDM's. Google took the view that using this type of domain name was in fact (or could be construed as) a form of 'spamming'. Many sites that were previously high in the rankings suddenly disappeared from sight.
Some of the sites did however survive. The sites that survived tended to be those with good quality content that were using legitimate SEO tactics and proper backlinking techniques. The ones that disappeared were, to a large extent, the ones that had little content of any value and were using dubious SEO and backlinking strategies to try and gain an unfair advantage.
It is worth pointing out that no one actually knows for certain what Google does or does not like. There are a number of 'experts' that run lots of comparison tests and trials to try to work out what is, and what is not, acceptable to Google. They then make an 'educated guess' based on those results. The truth is however that at the end of the day it is only 'an educated guess'.
Buy your Domain Name
I would always advise you to purchase the domain name from the same company that you intend to use for your website hosting. If you buy your domain from one company and then use a different hosting company you will have to transfer the domain name. This is not difficult but why make extra work for yourself if you don't have to? There is also usually a small fee for doing the transfer.