Welcome to my Million Dollar Niche Site Project!
What is the Million Dollar Project exactly? Simply put, it's a project where I'm going to attempt to build an affiliate website from scratch and grow it until it's valued at over $1,000,000.
I'm going to document the journey, including all of my strategies, so that you can follow the growth of the site and hopefully learn a thing or two about how to make money yourself with niche sites along the way.
At the moment, I don't have any plans to reveal the name of the website - but I'm not necessarily opposed to doing that sometime in the future if I feel like revealing the domain name won't negatively impact the site or my ability to sell it.
A Million Bucks? That's a Lot Of Money...
I know, I know. A million dollars is a pretty significant pile of money. And I've never built a website that's reached the milestone of a seven figure valuation before.
But I'm a firm believer in self-fulfilling prophecies - a phenomenon where a future event or outcome will begin to manifest in your life simply because you hold the expectation within yourself that it will in fact happen.
When you expect a certain outcome your thoughts and actions begin to affirm your beliefs - both consciously and subconsciously.
In simpler terms, I think that setting big goals are important because the loftiness of the goal will force you to do the things you have to do to reach that goal. My niche site won't reach a million dollar valuation if I don't build good systems, post a lot of great content, and have a great way to monetize the audience I'm going to build.
And here's the thing - this goal isn't out of the realm of possibility at all.
I regularly scroll though the marketplace on Empire Flippers. For those who aren't familiar, Empire Flippers is a leading broker of online businesses and assets.
There are websites at or above the million dollar threshold that get listed seemingly every week - and many of them have been built with the exact same techniques and monetization methods I'm going to use in this project.
How Is the Site Coming Along?
As of the end of 2020, this project is going about as good as it possibly could be going after only 14 months. The site eclipsed $10,000 in revenue in both November and December 2020 and grew steadily all year.
Valuation wise, I think the site could sell in the range of $250,000 to $300,000 at the moment. That's a pretty exciting number and well on the way to a million dollar valuation.
I'm hoping to double the valuation in 2021 - which essentially means the site will need to average $15,000 per month in revenue!
Tools and Services I Use for This Project
- SEMRush - Excellent SEO and SEM are crucial to success in just about any online money making venture. SEMRush is my go to tool for keyword research, link research, keyword rank tracking, and site health audits for this project and many others. Try their 14 day free trial here.
- Bluehost - Bluehost is my default when it comes to hosting providers and domain registrars. Their services are reliable, affordable, and their platform is incredibly easy to use for building WordPress sites.
- Ezoic - Display ads are a tried and true method to monetize a blog or website. Ezoic is a display ad service that utilizes machine learning to maximize revenue and user experience.
- Geniuslink - Geniuslink is a tool that localizes Amazon affiliate links, among other things. Essentially, their product helps me get the absolute most affiliate revenue possible out of the traffic that comes to my site.
- The Hoth - Building links takes a ton of time. Frankly, I have better things to do than manual link outreach - so I work with The Hoth to help secure links to my site - they are a big part of my link building strategy.
- Niche Website Builders - Writing content also takes a ton of time. At first, I wrote most of the content myself for this project. As the site started making money, I outsourced content writing to Niche Website Builders. They understand how to write affiliate content that converts.
- WP Astra - I use Astra as my WordPress theme for many of my affiliate sites. It's quick, intuitive, and produces layouts that convert.
How Does the Site Make Money?
The bread and butter of this site is going to be affiliate relationships (Amazon Associates and also some others) and display advertising.
Of course, to make money with either of those models you have to have visitors to the website.
The primary plan for getting traffic to the website will be to have the site's content rank high naturally in Google search results. I also think that there is a pretty nice opportunity to get traffic via Pinterest within the niche I'm choosing.
With display advertising, pretty much all traffic is good traffic - you get to make money by essentially selling space on your website to advertisers. The best way to make money with affiliate relationships on the other hand is to rank well for highly targeted keywords that allow you to get affiliate links in front of an audience that will convert well.
If you don't have a background in affiliate marketing don't worry! I'll be going in depth on these strategies throughout the project.
How Will You Know When the Site is Worth $1,000,000?
The good news here is that we can know with a pretty strong degree of certainty when the site could sell for a million or more.
Industry standard for digital assets like an affiliate/advertising website is to value it based on the site's monthly net profit times a certain multiple. Most websites sell somewhere in the range of 32 to 42 times their monthly net income - a particular website can fall on either side of that range depending on a wide variety of factors.
For this project, we're going to assume that I can sell the website at a 38x multiple - which I think is very reasonable considering the quality that I plan for the website to be.
So to reach a million dollar valuation:
$1,000,000/38 = $26,315.79 monthly net income
Another quick nugget about valuations - most brokers allow for certain expenses to be "added back" to your net income number because they're considered to be long term improvements to the website.
Content creation and link building expenses are allowed to be added back into the net income for purposes of a valuation. So if I'm paying writers $4,000 per month to write blog posts for my site, it essentially won't count against my site's valuation.
So really, to hit the million dollar goal I need for the site to make $26,315.79 in monthly net income after accounting for add backs.
The Strategy I'm Using to Get to Seven Figures
There are really two high level ideas at play here when it comes to making money with the website I'm creating.
Step 1: Create Content That Ranks Organically in Google Search Results
First, and most importantly, people have to visit the website. To me the single most important key to success in almost any business is getting your product (whether it's a physical product, digital product, or information product) in front of a relevant audience.
The way I plan to get visitors to this site is through SEO - that is, making my site's pages rank high in Google search results when people search for various terms.
It definitely takes a while to build a steady stream of website visitors via this strategy, but there's a huge payoff when you can pull it off. If your site naturally ranks high in Google search results, you can pretty easily monetize that traffic and make consistent monthly income - even if those visitors never return to your site.
I'll eventually build an email list/newsletter for this website to hopefully be able to monetize a recurring audience, but the main strategy for audience building will be trying to rank my pages high in Google.
Step 2: Monetize the Site's Audience
Mainly I'm planning to use Amazon's affiliate program, Amazon Associates, to monetize the site. A lot of my content will be based around reviewing products that can be found on Amazon, and I'll earn fees when people click Amazon links from my website and buy something. Pretty simple!
Most of the products in the niche I chose are in an 8% fee product category on Amazon Associates, so for every $100 worth of stuff they buy, I make $8 in fees.
The other way the site will be monetized is with display ads - if you've spent any time surfing the web you've seen them. I'll essentially dedicate some of the virtual real estate on my site to advertisers where they can pay to show up to my audience using Google Adsense at first.
The Pillars of Great SEO
There are a ton of factors that go into optimizing your website to give it the best chance to rank high in Google, but there are two in particular that are by far the most important: content and backlinks.
Content creation and link building can both be done for free if you put the time in, or you can also outsource content and link building campaigns if you want to pay somebody else to do it. This is one of the things that makes building niche sites so great to me - you can build your income with either a time or money investment, or both, depending on where you're at and what your goals are.
For this site, I'm going to write all of the content for the first 3 to 4 months to keep costs down, but after that I'll start to hire writers and outsource the content piece.
Personally, I'd rather try to run through a brick wall than reach out to thousands of other website owners asking for backlinks. I know there are other strategies than out for building links, but either way I've always found acquiring backlinks to be way too time consuming for my taste. So I'll be hiring others to do this for me from the start.
Let's Make It Happen
Lofty goal? For sure. But I think it's totally doable.
I'm excited to get to share a behind the curtain look at what it takes to build a digital asset that puts money into your pocket each month. You should definitely get an idea of what kind of investment you're looking at (time and money wise) if you want to get into the space.
Thanks for following along! Check out the links above to see monthly updates and other major milestones that I hit during this project.