There are many ways to market your book, but one of my personal favorites is creating a niche website.
Niche websites are forms of content marketing that utilize the power of Google to bring customers to your business.
They are common ways to market in other areas, especially in nonfiction topics, just like you might start a YouTube channel or a podcast to market your book.
And in the world of author websites, this is what we would call an intermediate website option.
But for those who want to create content for your website, potentially a lot of content, then this is the introductory guide for you.
- What a niche website is
- Why you should have one
- A step-by-step process to create your niche website
- How to make a niche website
Table of contents
- What Is a Niche Website?
- Why Have a Niche Website?
- How to Create a Niche Website
- Step 1: Identify Your Audience
- Step 2: Pick Your Platform
- Step 3: Pick Your Host
- Step 4: Identify Your Lead Magnet and Set Up an Email Provider
- Step 5: Conduct Keyword Research
- Step 6: Start Creating Content for Your Niche Website
- Step 7: Monetize Your Niche Website
- Advanced Strategies for Your Niche Website
- Final Thoughts
Side note: this article is written specifically for authors, but it can be just as useful for anyone who wants to start a niche website.
Why Am I Qualified to Talk to You About Websites?
It's totally understandable to ask, why is this guy talking to me about building a website? How can he prove the he knows what he's talking about?
Totally understandable question.
Well, for one, I've been the content manager for Kindlepreneur for many years now, and in that time I've learned from the best, and built Kindlepreneur up to the point where it gets more than double the organic traffic that it received when I started.
Additionally, I've built a variety of author websites in my time, including MythBank, which is for my fiction audience.
But before Dave and I even started writing this article and all of the other related articles, we put our heads together to figure out the best approach, then surveyed hundreds of thousands of authors to learn what they do when building author websites.
When putting all that expertise together, I believe I have a good idea of the best routes authors should take to build their website.
So let's dive in.
What Is a Niche Website?
A niche website (sometimes called an authority website), is a website that generates content around a specific niche. This content is usually intended to attract audiences through search engine optimization (SEO) through search engines like Google, Bing, etc. (but mostly Google).
The way it works is you generate a piece of content that is optimized for specific search query or keyword. Then, if all goes well, that piece of content will begin ranking on Google.
If you have chosen your topic correctly, it will be your audience that is clicking to your website from Google, leading that audience to discover you and your books.
Why Have a Niche Website?
Niche websites can be a fantastic way to attract new readers to your book in a way that is organic and (mostly) free.
That said, there are many forms of marketing, and I only recommend a niche website if you have a lot more to say that doesn't go in a book.
Basically, if you are excited about a certain topic, and you want to write about that topic beyond just your books, then a niche website might be for you.
I would say the same thing to anyone who wants to create a YouTube channel or podcast. A niche website is basically the same, but in the written form. It is a form of content marketing.
Content marketing isn't for everyone, as it can take a lot of time. However, it can be one of the most effective forms of marketing when done well.
In fact, Kindlepreneur, this very site that you are on right now, is a niche website. Dave Chesson created it around the niche of self-publishing.
And you can see how influential it has been, not to mention helpful for many authors.
If that is something you want, then read on.
How to Create a Niche Website
I have broken down this process into a series of seven steps, with some advanced strategies at the end of this post. Those seven steps are:
- Identify your audience
- Pick your platform
- Pick your host
- Set up email and identify your lead magnet
- Do keyword research
- Create content
Let's go through each of these one by one.
Step 1: Identify Your Audience
The first, and possibly most important, step to building a niche website is to identify your audience.
If you have already written some books, this process will be a little easier.
However, it can get a little dicey when distinguishing between fiction and nonfiction authors.
If you write nonfiction, identifying your audience should be the same as the nonfiction books you write.
In essence, you will be writing around the very same topics that you write about in your books, which makes this process easy.
If you write fiction, there is often a tendency to create a niche site about how to write books.
But this is not a good niche for fiction authors.
Think about it. If you are writing articles on how to write books, you are writing for an audience of authors, not your ideal readers.
Instead, you want to identify topics that your readers are interested in. These can sometimes be hard to pin down. They are usually nonfiction topics that are closely related to your fiction niche. Here are some examples of broad niches (you would want to narrow them down further) for some of the larger fiction categories:
- Romance: romantic travel destinations, relationship advice, etc.
- Thriller: archaeology, politics, conspiracy theories, some types of technology.
- Mystery: true crime, unexplained mysteries, unsolved cases.
- Fantasy: mythology (this is what I did), medieval times, swords and warfare, etc.
- Science fiction: technology, astronomy, physics, etc.
That should gave you an idea of the type of niches that are appropriate for fiction. Bear in mind that you should also look at book “lists”, because a lot of readers are searching for lists of books that they would want to read.
In fact, a lot of niche websites that focus on fiction are based entirely around book lists, but that also means that these can be slightly more saturated on Google.
Once you know what your niche should be, and who your audience is, it is time to move on to the next step…
Step 2: Pick Your Platform
I'm going to make this one easy for you, the platform you use should be WordPress.
Nothing else even comes close.
Yes, you can start blogging or creating content on other web platforms like Wix, Squarespace, etc., but the functionalities of those sites are extremely limited, and you will eventually need to upgrade to a more capable platform eventually.
WordPress is that platform.
WordPress can do almost anything you need it to. It has a variety of plug-ins, most of them free, that can incorporate almost any functionality you need.
And while it can feel a little overwhelming at first, WordPress is something you can easily get adjusted to over time.
I, personally, still have trouble believing that others find WordPress complicated, because I find it quite intuitive.
But I've been using it for years, so I may be biased.
Nonetheless, there is no other platform out there better suited for a niche website, specifically.
Step 3: Pick Your Host
When setting up your website, you want to have a good web host. A drag-and-drop web host like Squarespace or Wix will not cut it. You will need to self host this website.
We've done articles about the best host for authors before, but my top recommendation is Siteground, which is the perfect mix of affordability plus all of the essential features that you need (like one-click WordPress installation, automatic backups, etc.).
You might also want to pick up a good WordPress theme, a theme that determines the style of your website.
Shopping for WordPress themes can be a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of work.
Thankfully, I have already put together a solid list of the best WordPress themes for authors which you should definitely check out.
Important Pages to Build
As you are building up your WordPress website, and before you start generating massive amounts of content, you will need to build a few key pages first:
- Homepage: The homepage is crucial as it's typically the first point of contact for visitors. This page should give a clear idea of what your niche website is about and what value your content provides. It should be welcoming, intriguing, and user-friendly. A well-designed homepage can significantly improve the time visitors spend on your site.
- About Page: This is where visitors get a deeper understanding of who you are. The About page should provide information about your background and the motivation for starting the niche website. It's a chance for you to tell your story and connect with your readers on a more personal level. Be genuine and don't shy away from showcasing your personality.
- Contact Page: The Contact Page is where you provide information on how visitors can reach out to you. This can include a contact form, email address, or social media handles. Having a clear and easily accessible point of contact fosters open communication, enabling feedback, potential partnerships, and more.
- Books Page: If you're an author, this page should showcase your works and provide links to where they can be purchased. Even if you're not an author, a Books page could highlight books you recommend within your niche. Ensure the page is visually pleasing, organized, and easy to navigate. Keep it updated with any new additions.
- Resources or Tools Page: This is where you can share useful resources, tools, or products that you frequently use or recommend within your niche. This can be an excellent resource for your visitors and potentially a source of affiliate income for you.
With those out of the way, let’s look at the next crucial step of the process.
Step 4: Identify Your Lead Magnet and Set Up an Email Provider
One of the most effective ways to grow your audience and establish a direct line of communication with them is through an email list. However, to convince your website visitors to subscribe, it's often necessary to offer them something of value in return.
This is your lead magnet.
Identifying Your Lead Magnet
A lead magnet can take many forms, but its primary purpose is to provide value to your audience in exchange for their contact information.
For fiction authors, this often comes in the form of a free piece of writing. This could be a short story, a novella, or even a full book.
For nonfiction authors, the options can vary considerably. Checklists and frameworks tend to perform well, but they are far from the only options you should consider.
The key is to provide something that your audience will see as valuable, enticing them to provide their email address in exchange.
Keep in mind, your lead magnet should align with the content you're offering on your website and the expectations of your audience. For instance, if your website is dedicated to a series of mystery novels you've written, your lead magnet could be a free prequel or a bonus chapter that your readers can't access anywhere else.
Setting Up an Email Provider
Once you've identified your lead magnet, the next step is setting up an email provider. An email provider, or email marketing service, will allow you to collect email addresses, manage your subscriber list, and send out emails to your audience.
There are many email providers available, including the following:
However, I recommend MailerLite for authors, for its ease of use, affordability, and the range of features it offers. With MailerLite, you can create beautiful emails, automate your email campaigns, and analyze your results with their comprehensive reporting features.
We even created a course to walk you through how to use Mailerlite.
Each of these providers has their own unique set of features and pricing, so be sure to do some research to find the one that suits your needs best.
Remember, building an email list is a powerful way to connect directly with your audience. Through regular email communication, you can keep your readers engaged, promote your latest work, and build a loyal fanbase that will be eager to hear from you.
Step 5: Conduct Keyword Research
Keyword research is a critical part of establishing a successful niche website. This process helps you understand the phrases and terms your target audience uses when searching for content like yours. Armed with this knowledge, you can then create content tailored to these searches, improving your visibility on search engine results pages.
Choosing a Keyword Research Tool
Here are a few recommended tools for conducting keyword research:
- Ahrefs: This is a comprehensive tool offering analysis of keywords, tracking of your website's performance, and insight into your competitors' activities. It also suggests related keywords that could give you an edge over your competition. Keep in mind, it's a premium tool, and the price might be a consideration for some.
- Ubersuggest: A more affordable alternative to Ahrefs, Ubersuggest provides key data about keywords, including search volume and competition level.
- Semrush: On par with Ahrefs in terms of features and capabilities, Semrush is another solid choice for keyword research. It's also a premium tool, so it's important to consider your budget.
Remember, if these paid options aren't a good fit for your budget, there are free methods for conducting keyword research, though they might require more time and effort.
And speaking of which…
Using Google for Keyword Research
One of the simplest ways to start your keyword research is by using Google. Begin typing a term related to your niche into the search bar and look at the suggestions that pop up. These are popular search terms that people are already using, and they can provide excellent insights into what your audience is interested in.
You can also check out the “People also ask” and “Related searches” sections on Google search result pages for more keyword ideas.
Checking Out the Competition
Another effective strategy for keyword research is to look at what your competitors are doing.
Identify other websites in your niche that are performing well and analyze the keywords they're targeting. This will give you a good sense of what keywords are effective in your niche.
Remember, the goal isn't to copy your competitors but to understand their strategies and find opportunities for your own website.
You might find keywords they haven't utilized or discover ways to create more engaging, valuable content around the keywords they are targeting.
Step 6: Start Creating Content for Your Niche Website
Content creation is the heart and soul of your niche website. It's through the content you produce that you engage with your audience, provide value, and establish your website as an authority in your chosen niche.
Make it the Best on the Internet
When Dave Chesson originally hired me at Kindlepreneur, he emphasized a golden rule: don’t hit publish until it’s the best thing on the Internet.
This is really the secret to content that ranks on Google: create content that's better than anything else that comes up for the given search term.
High-quality, useful content that satisfies a searcher's query is more likely to appear in the top results.
Text Best Practices
To create effective, engaging text content, it's crucial to make your content scannable. Here are a few tips:
- Use shorter paragraphs: Online readers tend to skim text, so shorter paragraphs can make your content easier to digest.
- Include lists where possible: Lists, either bulleted or numbered, are an excellent way to break down information into easily digestible chunks.
- Utilize headings and subheadings: Break up your content into sections with clear, descriptive headings and subheadings to help readers navigate your content.
- Emphasize important points: Use bolding or italicizing to highlight crucial points or key pieces of information in your text.
Image Best Practices
Images add visual interest to your content and can help illustrate complex ideas or concepts. However, it's important to use images effectively and responsibly:
- Avoid large files: Large image files can slow down your website's load time, which can frustrate users and hurt your SEO. Always strive to use the smallest file size that still provides a high-quality image.
- Compress your images: Compressing images can reduce file size without significantly impacting image quality. There are several free online tools you can use to compress images. (we use Kraken.io)
- Use alt tags: Alt tags are brief descriptions of images that help improve accessibility and SEO. These tags help screen-reading tools describe images to visually impaired readers and allow search engines to better understand your content.
The Skimmers and the Scuba-divers
When crafting your content, it's important to keep in mind that your audience will consist of two main types of readers, which I like to call: “skimmers” and “scuba-divers.”
- Skimmers are readers who quickly scan through your content, picking out key points and moving swiftly from section to section. To cater to these readers, make sure your headings, subheadings, and bolded text clearly communicate the main ideas of your content. Even by just glancing through the article, these readers should be able to gain an understanding of your topic and your main points.
- Scuba-divers are those readers who like to dive deep into your content, reading each sentence carefully and thoughtfully. For these readers, ensure your content provides thorough and comprehensive information, backed up by facts, figures, and relevant examples. The material should be engaging and informative enough to keep their interest from start to finish.
By striking a balance between these two approaches, you can create content that appeals to a broad range of readers, thereby increasing your reach and impact.
Step 7: Monetize Your Niche Website
Now that you have successfully set up your niche website and started creating high-quality content, the next crucial step is to monetize your efforts.
The good news is that there are several methods to make money from your niche website. Here are some of the most common and effective ways:
The Amazon Associates program is one of the most popular affiliate marketing programs in the world. This is because it allows you to earn a commission by promoting any of the millions of products available on Amazon.
When visitors to your site click on your Amazon affiliate links and make a purchase, you earn a percentage of the sale.
Other Affiliate Programs
While Amazon Associates is quite popular, it's not the only affiliate program out there. Depending on your niche, there may be other affiliate programs that are a better fit.
Kindlepreneur makes a chunk of its revenue this way (you’ll notice I promoted Siteground earlier).
There are tons of affiliate programs out there, and I would urge you to explore them, especially if you write nonfiction, where there are a lot of helpful tools for almost any audience. But always consider your niche and audience when selecting affiliate programs.
Placing ads on your website can be another source of income. Programs like Google AdSense allow you to display ads on your site, and you get paid whenever a visitor interacts with these ads (either by viewing them or by clicking on them).
While this method can generate revenue, keep in mind that ads can be disruptive and could potentially detract from the user experience if not implemented carefully.
For example, we don’t use them here on Kindlepreneur, other than to promote our own products.
Selling a Product
Finally, one of the most profitable ways to monetize your niche website is by selling your own product.
This could be anything from an ebook to a course or even physical products, depending on your niche. If you're an author, this could be the perfect platform to sell your books directly to your audience.
Having a product to sell gives you complete control over the pricing, marketing, and distribution of your product.
Advanced Strategies for Your Niche Website
Taking your niche website to new heights requires a bit more than just basic strategies. Below, I delve into some advanced tactics to supercharge your site's performance and reach:
In the world of SEO, link building is crucial, but it is also one of the most difficult steps. Thankfully, it’s a little less important than it used to be.
It involves procuring inbound links from other websites to your site, which boosts your website's credibility in the eyes of search engines. This can be quite a task, but the rewards are significant.
The best way to do link building is to foster relationships with others, and then potentially getting a link in a guest blog, podcast show notes, or other types of content.
Of course, the best way to get links is to create content that is so good that people can’t help but link to it!
Broadening your content's horizon can help you reach a wider audience. If you're comfortable with the spotlight, or have a knack for audio/video content, launching a YouTube channel or podcast could be an ideal step.
They can be excellent tools for engaging with your audience, offering valuable content, and ushering traffic to your site.
Plus, the extra formats is a key indicator to Google that you are an authority in that area, helping to boost your rankings even higher.
To become an authoritative figure in your niche, you need to offer comprehensive, in-depth, and insightful content that turns you into a primary resource.
This concept is called “topical authority.” It entails crafting numerous articles around a specific topic, showing Google that you're an authority in that area.
This can give all your articles a significant boost in visibility. For instance, at Kindlepreneur, Dave initially achieved this with an extensive suite of articles focused on keywords and categories.
Keep It Personal
Despite your website's growth, maintaining a personal touch is key.
Remember, real people make up your audience, and they value genuine interaction. It's important to maintain your unique voice, share personal experiences, and engage with your audience on an individual level.
In fact, Google favors articles where it can see a real person is behind the content. The more personal you can make it, such as including relevant images of yourself, the more trust Google is likely to place in your article.
These advanced strategies can exponentially augment your website's growth and profitability. Remember, these tactics are a bit more sophisticated and require consistent effort and patience to see results. So, stay persistent, and in time, the fruits of your labor will manifest.
So, are you ready to get started? Take the first step and set up your hosting with Siteground, the platform I highly recommend for its excellent mix of affordability and comprehensive features.
However, your journey doesn't stop here. As you continue to grow your niche website, you'll find that the more knowledge you gather, the more effective your strategies become. Hence, keep learning, keep experimenting, and keep refining.
For your next step, I recommend reading more about how websites can help boost your author business.