Posted on: June 9, 2022 | Back to the homepage

The worrying trend of niche site claims

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I’m not on social media much these days, but whenever I do take a look I’m disappointed by what I’m seeing.

Bold claims. Fibs. Porkies.

And there’s so much engagement for the Pinocchios of the niche site world, especially on Twitter.

You’ve probably seen the same narrative:

“I was broke.”

“I was working a 9-5.”

“I started my first niche site. Now six months later I’m making 5-figures a month!”

If you’ve got a good bullshit detector then maybe yours goes off when you see this too, but the engagement they get tells me a lot of people are falling for it.

Alright, there are probably a few telling the truth. I’m still suspicious when people don’t back these things up with numbers or proof.

It annoys me because I’m good friends with multiple people actually trying to escape the 9-5 hustle. I’m also not so out of touch that I don’t remember what it’s like to actually be broke.

The few people telling the truth that think their immediate success is repeatable are equally toxic because their beliefs stink of their inexperience in this business.

On the whole, I’m more concerned with the misrepresentation of what’s possible. I’m more concerned with the liars. It’s not constructive. One of my main talking points with people is query-based niche sites because these are how to get on the niche site ladder for people who really are struggling. I’m detailed, I know the numbers.

So when someone says they are flat-ass broke and they’ve published 200 articles in six months to achieve a 5-figure a month income…

#1 You’re probably not going to do it without an expired domain.

It’s not that realistic at all to achieve much success with a brand new domain in under a year or two. Let’s face it too, a good expired domain is going to cost you around $1,500 on average.

#2 Content economics

I’ve talked about ths before, but success with niche sites often comes down to content economics. Can you find good writers for a better price than your competitors?

A lot of people are paying around $0.045 cents per word. So let’s be extremely generous and say that these self-admitted beginners can find the right writers for $0.025 cents per word.

#3 Average word count

What’s the average word count for an article these days on a niche site? It’s going to depend on the type of site e.g. affiliate, display ad. It’s going to depend on the niche as well. Let’s call the average 1,500 words.

Let’s total that up…

200 articles x 1,500 words = 300,000 words.

300,000 x 0.025 = $7,500

Content costs = $7,500

Domain cost = $1,500

Minimum total cost = $9,000.

Monthly content costs = $1,250

If you’ve got around $1,250 to spend per month on a new business, you’re not broke, and if you think you are then go visit a food bank. Some people are out of touch and we do need to understand that when people say they are broke.

#4 Pareto principle

If you’re not familiar with the Pareto principle then simply know it’s basically the 8020 rule. This asserts that around 20% of X will bring around 80% of Y.

Content sites are no different.

Roughly 20% of your content is going to bring 80% of traffic, income, etc.

This means that not every article you publish is going to hit. Many of them won’t index that well, some won’t index at all, some will rank well and some never will.

Then you look at the top 20% of the top 20%….

#5 Number of posts

Listen, I’m a display ads person now. In years gone by, I was more of an affiliate. So when someone says they’ve published around 200 posts in six months I know they’re probably doing display ads as well.

#6 RPMs

RPM means Revenue Per Milli and it literally means how much your content generates per thousand impressions. The RPM you get will vary on many factors, but it tends to be somewhere between $0.50C and $50USD.

So let’s say the average is about $25.

#7 Pareto, Posts, and RPMs

The lowest 5-figure monthly income is $10,000 USD/mo. Using the 8020 rule on some of the bold claims we’ve seen you’d have to generate 80% of that from 20% of the 200 posts. So around 40 articles are making money.

How much traffic would they need to get?

$10,000 USD / $25 RPM = 400 milli.

400 * 1000 = 400,000 impressions.

400,000 impressions / 40 posts = 10,000 impressions per post.

It’s not that realistic because only around 20% of ads on a page reach the ad viewability threshold to receive an impression. Which is around 1-2 seconds per advertisement. That’s why ad units above the fold are most valuable.

So 10,000 impressions per post could actually require around 8,000 visitors per post.

Even if we halved that number of visitors for that number of impressions it’s still quite a lot.

It’s simply not that realistic, especially in six months.

So I’m calling bullshit, and reminding those of you that follow me who are looking to get going with niche sites to ignore the noise. Ignore the bold claims unless someone is backing it up with numbers, and don’t believe anyone who tells you they were broke if you know they have to spend at least a thousand dollars a month to achieve the unrealistic to 99% of people things they claim to have achieved with almost no experience whatsoever.