Niche Websites

The Ultimate Guide to Niche Site Monetization: With 35 Real-Life Money-Making Examples

Niche site monetization

None of us got into the niche site business for the pure joy of it.

Sure, we might be passionate about the topics we’re working with, but at the end of the day, we need to make money from the sites we spend hours setting up.

Fortunately, there are abundant possibilities to monetize your niche blog, and most of them can work side-by-side.

This means multiple streams of reliable revenue from each of your sites.

Rather than presenting you with a generic list with overly-obvious information about making money online (You can make money from AdSense while you sleep?!? Nooooo……), we’ve put together a list of these methods along with the actual money figures real niche site owners are making with them on a monthly or yearly basis.

Some methods can support a modest full-time income all on their own, and others can work together to do the same thing.

Whatever your current monetization situation is, we hope this list will inspire you to optimize one of your current methods, or employ one (or a few) more methods to make all the hard work you've put into your niche site worth it.

What You Will Learn:

  • How to monetize your niche site so you can make money from all your hard work.
  • 35 real-life examples of bloggers/niche site owners making money from these methods and how you can emulate them.
  • How to multiply your site's income by adding in more revenue streams so you can make more money from your existing traffic.
  • How to get your first $500 using on of these methods then scale it up into a full-time income.

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Running Ads From Networks

Real Life Examples:

1. With a very specific, expensive niche, Pat Flynn’s Security Guard Training HQ site makes around $48 per 1,000 visits (that’s visits, not clicks).

2. Moms Make Money had 158,710 visits in October 2013 and made $272.82 on AdSense and $320.53 from BlogHer.

3. Pinch of Yum employs the power of two ad networks: AdSense and BlogHer. In one month, this site made $565.30 from AdSense and $590.08 from BlogHer.

4. On Leslis Samuel's biology site, he gets between 60,000 to 65,000 unique visitors per month and makes anywhere from $800 to $2,500 per month from AdSense ads that run on his site and within his tutorial videos.

5. On the larger side of things, Social Media Examiner gets about 1 million unique visitors and 2 million page views per month and earns $5,000 per month with two ads in their side bar.

The idea here is to place ads on your site from your choice of a network and make money from the traffic that’s already coming to your site.

Though you have some say in what displays on your site and what doesn’t.

The ad network itself has the ultimate control over what your visitors are seeing when they land on your site, and the ads usually change each time the page loads.

The most common of these networks is AdSense—after all, their only requirement is to own a url, and the setup couldn’t be easier.

Other networks, some which require an application process, a base amount of traffic, and possibly niche requirements include BlogHer, Site Scout, Federated Media, Glam Network, and Izea.

Ads (especially from AdSense) are super easy to setup and are a way to start earning income the instant your site goes up—just don’t get your hopes up.

A lot of veterans in the make money online space estimate you need at least 10,000 visits per month before you start seeing anything significant coming into your bank account from ad networks.

(Though this can depend on your niche, the vast majority of ads pay $0.02 to $0.03 per click, though some pay $1, $3 or $5.)

Sending Traffic Away from Your Site

One thing to keep in mind while optimizing for ad revenue is that you’re essentially getting paid pennies to send visitors away from your site, one by one. It may not matter at first, especially if you don’t have affiliate products you’re selling or your own products that you’d rather your visitors spend their time and money on. Take that you don’t over do it on display ads in an effort to make easy money. It can work well at first, but make sure that with time you’re re-focusing towards offering things of higher value, both for your readers and for your wallet.

Darren Rowse
"One of the biggest reason my initial attempts with Amazon simply didn't convert was that I thought it'd be enough to slap a button on my sidebar," said Darren. "Amazon gives publishers a lot of these type banners or widgets but despite trying almost all of them, I had little or no success with using them. Instead - 99% of my conversions have come from links to Amazon from within blog posts about the products themselves."

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Ad Placement

Real Life Examples:

6. Yaro Starak of started selling ad spots on his blog for $50 each as an experiment in the early 2000s.

With time, he’s increased his pricing and now makes anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 per month from selling ad spots to businesses.

Rather than renting out a certain space on your niche website to a general blog network, you can set aside certain spaces in your side bar or header.

Then sell ads directly to businesses who are interested in reaching your audience.

This takes a little more work than simply throwing a piece of code from Google into a sidebar widget.

But can establish a reliable small income from your ad space while earning significantly more than you would with any ad network.

For example, if you’ve got a niche in the health and wellness space, you know that there’s lots of money in that industry, but their ads are a dime a dozen.

But once you have some data on how many people click on your ads via AdSense (or other ad network), your traffic, and some demographics on your visitors... can put together an effective and convincing media kit that shows companies your value and what their return on investment could be by advertising with you.

To get an idea of what to charge, it helps to know that AdSense gives you 71% of the revenue from clicks/

And if you set up the categories you do and don’t want to show on your niche site, you can have a rough idea of what your ad spaces are currently worth.

You can also shop around and try to find out what your competitors are charging.

That’s pretty significant: if he figures out a way to steadily make $5,000 per month, that’s a $60,000 per year income just on ad sales.

Yaro Starak

He suggests a formula for figuring out how much you should charge: "You can charge X dollars per month, per ad, with X being equal to your daily visitors count divided by ten. So if you get 500 visitors per day, you can expect to make $50 per banner ad." Click to tweet this

Sponsored Posts

Real Life Examples:

7. Blogger Rachel Phipps writes about food, recipes and restaurants, and makes 33% of her income from sponsored posts.

8. Successful Blogging’s Sue Anne said algorithms and charts told her she should only charge $55 per sponsored post, but she didn’t think that would make it worth her time. So for her niche travel site, she charges 14x that amount and earns $770 per sponsored post.

Writing a sponsored post is a great way to educate your audience on a topic (or product) they’re interested in.

And to make money for the writing work that you would have done anyway.

To get started, you can work with agencies like SponsoredReviews, Social Spark, Mom It Forward, Collective Bias's Social Fabric, or Tap Influence.

There’s a handful of others, too.

Depending on the popularity of your niche site and your topic area, you may end up getting a lot of offers to write sponsored posts.

But to keep the integrity of your site, it’s important to stay true to your readers and not sell out to the point that every single post is a sponsored one.

Sponsored posts can review just about anything: services, software, groceries, clothes, restaurants, supplements, children’s toys, other publications, anything.

If you’ve got a niche that buys based on their interest (hopefully they do), there will be something you can review for them.

She figured out how much to charge by looking at agency rates.

That means if she writes just one sponsored post per month working it into her regular blogging schedule for that site, it’s an extra $9,240 per year for writing she would be doing anyway - so why not?

Sue Anne Dunlevie

"I based my current sponsored blog post rate on what a big blog advertising agency charges brands for sponsored blog posts on blogs with similar traffic to mine," she said. "The brands actually pay the blog advertising agency twice as much as that but the agency keeps 50% and gives the blogger around 50%. Since I know some brands pay $1,500 through a blog advertising agency for a sponsored blog post on a blog with similar traffic to mine, and I charge half the price, I believe my rate offers excellent value."

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Network Based Affiliate Marketing

Real Life Examples:

9. As an Amazon affiliate, Chris Guthrie of made $41,438.32 in one year and $90,336.65 in two years, which breaks down to a cool $3,764.03 per month.

He sites his success to constantly linking to Amazon throughout his writing.

10. Darren Rowse of ProBlogger estimates that he’s earned $420,000 from Amazon over a period of 10 years. (An average of $3,500 per month)

11. One More Cup of Coffee’s Nathaniell built niche sites specifically for the purpose of selling Click Bank products. Because he hardly works on them anymore, he claims that his Click Bank income averages out to $1,200 per hour he spends working on these sites.

12. If you sign up as a Udemy affiliate and choose one or two courses that are relevant to your niche site’s audience, you make a 50% commission on every course that’s sold from one of your affiliate links. Lucian Mhailescu worked up to making $1,600 per month of affiliate sales, which adds up to a nice $19,200 cushion to add to his yearly income.

Amazon is like the AdSense of the affiliate marketing world: it’s easy to set up and get going.

You don’t need many prerequisites beyond owning your own website, and you make a commission on all the sales that result from your visitors clicking on your links.

Better than AdSense though, is your ability to choose which products display on your site.

So you can focus on products that provide value to your audience rather than just random ads based on broad categories.

Other popular affiliate networks you can work with include Click Bank, Social Spark and Share a Sale.

Another popular one is Udemy

Nathaniell Brenes

"Don't take that as a green light to rush over to CB," warns Nathaniell, citing all the work he had to put in and some of Click Bank's fairly worthless products. "Though you can still make money on Click Bank as I have demonstrated here today, it's not any easier than any other affiliate marketing setup."

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Affiliate Marketing: Premium Products

Real Life Examples:

13. Pat Flynn makes tens of thousands of dollars per month as a Bluehost affiliate. In November 2014, he made $30,070 from Bluehost, and a total of $54,031.99 from all of his affiliate sales.

Rather than going through a product listing service, a lot of companies (especially those offering subscriptions to a quality service) will let you do business directly with them as an affiliate.

To find good places to start, think about all the online products and services you use anyway and find out if they have a direct affiliate program.

Some online ebook authors will also offer these types of programs, so seeking out writers who target the same audience as you could prove beneficial.

The earnings here (especially if you’re an affiliate for a product that costs at least a couple hundred dollars like software programs) are seemingly limitless.

Pat Flynn

"My second most important rule for affiliate marketing is: I never tell anyone to directly buy a product," says Pat. "There's a huge difference (on several levels" between: 'Buy [product] now because you need it to grow your online business...' and 'Here's how I used [product] to help me achieve...'"

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Sell An Ebook

Real Life Examples:

14. Cheryl Kaye Tardif, who writes suspense thrillers for her audience, made more than $42,000 in one month from Kindle ebooks sales. And now that she’s figured out the formula, she’s selling and making money on another ebook, targeting the niche audience that’s interested in that.

15. Glen of made $30,000 from an ebook that got $4,000 of revenue on its launch day.

Up until this point, the niche site monetization strategies have been all about earning money from other people by letting them buy presence on your website and getting in front of the audience you put the time and effort in to build.

With this strategy, it’s a bit of a shift in gears:

You’re putting in the grind work to create your own product with the benefit of receiving full income from the sale cost and not losing your traffic to someone else’s site.

Writing a book does take a lot of work, but you don’t have to do it from scratch.

If your blog’s been around long enough to build an audience...

Chances are you’ve got plenty of clues to tell you what to write about and a back log of blog posts and user comments to serve as the basis of your content and research.

For example, check out your most popular posts by social media shares and readers’ emotional reactions.

Do any of them deal with a problem that your audience needs solving?

If yes, then that’s the topic of your ebook.

Even though the average ebook only earned $297 in 2013 according to author Mike Cooper, the vast majority of them didn’t have a thriving audience behind them.

Imagine how far your can go and how much your book could earn with a proper launch strategy and a decent amount of marketing to back it up.

Glen ViperChill

"I personally like to price my products around the $27 - $37 range when working with ebooks," Says Glen. "I know in the future, when I create bigger products with more features, that price will rise quite a lot."

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Sell An Information Product

Real Life Examples:

16. For example, Mike Geary created an entire business around his ebook “The Truth About Abs.” He makes money on his ebooks, for sure, but he also provides other ebooks and products that land him around $1 million per month in revenue.

17. Bryan Harris created a product that gives online entrepreneurs access to high-quality contractors so they can outsource their work and get more done in less time. With the first email launch of his product, he made $10,000.

18. When NicheHacks launched 65 High Paying Affiliate Niches in November 2014, Stuart made $2,000 in four days from his audience alone; without the help of any affiliate sellers.

Beyond creating an ebook, you can create something that stretches out over time and lasts longer, increasing the time and money investment your readers make with your brand and the valuable information that you’re feeding them.

The idea here is teaching something that presents a real value to your audience, or providing resources that will help them help themselves.

Mike Geary_head

"While the financial freedom this business has created is amazing," says Mike, "it's also been very rewarding to receive thousands of emails in our support center from customers who have literally changed their lives with the help of my fitness advice."

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Create A Members Site

Real Life Examples:

19., a site aimed at helping users learn software, creative, and business skills, brings in a whopping $200 million per month for access to video tutorials. With costs ranging from $25 to $37.50 per month per visitor, the people behind Lynda make sure they provide an awesome value in exchange for the price tag—and reap the benefits.

20. Yaro Starak of launched his membership site at a cost of $47 per month for access, and made $18,800 in the first month’s launch with 400 members.

21. The members area of NicheHacks has 167 members, all of who have paid a $30 lifetime fee, or are paying a monthly membership.

Membership sites (or members-only areas of websites with a lot of traffic) are a great way to provide extended value to the top people in your audience who are the most serious about the help or insight you have to offer them.

You can offer an updated forum-style community, access to training courses and ebooks that would otherwise cost money, webinars.

Or past interviews you’ve done with industry experts that were free to everyone but now require paid access.

If you’ve got the content ready to go, membership sites can cost less than $200 to set up.

And if you don’t want to wait, the secret is you don’t have to have more than one month’s worth of content to get started.

Once you get the first month of subscribers going, you can work on creating and adding the second month’s material, and so on.

One way to ramp up your yearly earnings from your membership site and get yourself a bonus of one month’s earnings is to charge on a four-week cycle, rather than month to month.

Some people don’t like this idea, but if it doesn’t bother you, why not try it?

Yaro Starak

"Most people think the key for success with a membership site is attracting members," says Yaro, "but that's not entirely true. Yes you do need to be good at marketing your site in order to fill it with members, but that's only half the equation. It's equally important to learn how to KEEP your members in your site."

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Podcast Commercials

Real Life Examples:

22. Entrepreneur on Fire earned a total of $60,592 on podcast sponsorships in December 2014.

23. Without actively seeking commercial buyers, Pat Flynn has offers from companies to sponsor his posts for $5,000 per episode.

According to Time, there were 1 billion podcast listens in iTunes alone in 2013.

Just like ads that are placed on your site, you can have commercial pricing strategies that charge per download or per spot, based on your listener numbers and predicted growth in your media kit.

You can sign up for podcast networks like Podtrac or Wizzard Media, or you can sell commercials directly to businesses.

If your podcast is one that’s known for providing great informative value and has a steadily growing number of listeners, going the route of selling commercial space directly may be the most profitable.

Chris Guthrie

"It's common for me to link to Amazon five to ten times in a single article (more if I'm doing a product review," he says.

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Real Life Examples:

24. Jon Morrow has earned his right as an expert in blogging and increasing online traffic, and charges his clients $1,000 just to talk to him for an hour.

25. For the rest of us, did a survey of niche bloggers, and found that of everyone offering consulting as a service, the least they charged was $150 per hour. The most common rate was $300 per hour, and consulting packages or engagements that usually range from 20 to 40 hours of consulting ranged in price from $2,000 to $4,000.

Besides running ads from an ad network, this is one of the easiest ways to start earning cash and establishing yourself as an industry expert right away.

Basically, all you do is get paid in exchange for talking to people over the phone for an hour, helping them get better at whatever your area of expertise is.

If you have a niche site about dieting, you can help the assess their eating habits and create a plan to eat better.

If you work in the productivity niche, you can go through their day-to-day schedule and their responsibilities to find ways to adjust how and when they do certain things to get more out of the time they have.

Consulting can turn out to be so lucrative that many bloggers stay at it for their entire career.

Dave Sheffield

"Most speakers who have practiced their programs in front of audiences usually sell themselves short," he says. "For example, one of my coaching clients insisted that she could only fetch $3,500 for a keynote. Once I challenged her to up her fees and standards, she wound up booking a $7,500 date within two months."

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Public Speaking

Real Life Examples:

26. According to Dave Sheffield of, even total newbies in the space of public speaking can earn up to $500 per speaking engagement. After you’ve had a book (or ebook) published, he estimates that figure can easily increase to $2,500 to $5,000 per event.

27. Author, blogger, and regular speaker Rosetta Thurman of estimates that the average speaker charges for someone in her level of experience is around $5,000, but that the figure would vary based on whether you were doing a keynote or motivational speech, a webinar, or a half-day training session.

28. After Brian Dean of Backlinko put together an epic piece of content on Google’s 200 search ranking factors, he not only reaped the benefits by attracting loads of traffic and quality back links to his site, but also got invited to speak at a conference in London with that piece as his topic, further establishing himself and his business as a leader in the SEO niche.

Establishing a popular niche site with a decent following is an easy ticket to get the label of “expert” in your industry.

If a piece of your cornerstone content lands in front of the eyes of the right person (or if you give it a marketing push to get there), you could find yourself with an invitation to speak at a conference or a seminar.

Rosetta Thurman

"Your standard fee should not vary widely though," she warns, "as organizations tend to talk to each other about costs, especially if they are giving you a referral."

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Guest Blogging

Real Life Examples:

29. Carol Tice of Make a Living Writing has a list of 140 blogs that pay writers at least $50 per post.

30. In 2011, Bamidele Onibalusi of Writers in Charge made $55,753.50 from writing guest blog posts on other niche sites that had a similar audience.

31. Maneesh Sethi of Hack The System used email signup strategies in conjunction with a guest post he wrote on Scott H. Young’s blog to generate $12,840 from that one post when everything was said and done.

By making money this way, you’re essentially working as a freelance writer, but in addition to getting paid for what you write, you’re getting an author bio and a link back to your site to help build your own niche business with more traffic and subscribers.

(Yes, despite what Matt Cutts said about it.)

Carol Tice

"Let's face it," says Carol, "most blogs don't pay for guest posts. It's considered a marketing activity by the writer, who gets a link back to their site... But I believe writers should be paid for their work. And the sites that take guest posts still get a piece of writing out of the deal."

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You can easily get paid the going rate for your blog posts, especially if you can get yourself hired as a regular contributor with an author bio and back link.

You can browse listings like ProBlogger or startup blogs on AngelList for people in your niche looking for writers.

If you don’t get hired as a contributor, you can still write at discounted rates, especially if you know you’re going to get quality traffic back to your site.

You can also strategically plan a guest post to have a smart call to action and link back to a clever page on your own niche site to go beyond the basic dollar amount the host blog gives you in exchange for your writin.

After all, the bottom line of the idea is to maximize on someone else’s traffic for your own benefit.

Maneesh Sethi

"Sitting down with a glass of Trader Joe's finest Merlot, I repeatedly refreshed my Aweber analytics, watching the subscriber count," he says about after this particular post went live. "At first, it flowed slowly - 5, 6, 7 subscribers in the first hour. Nothing crazy, so I took a break, topped off my wine glass, and returned after a couple hours. My jaw dropped - my wine glass almost did, too. 100 subscriptions in two hours."

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Create An Email List

Real Life Examples:

32. Another way to make some easy cash from your email subscriptions is by using Recommended by Stuart of NicheHacks, the idea is to get people to subscribe to similar blogs when they subscribe to yours. He’s used it to make an easy extra $1,000 per month.

Like we mentioned in under Sell an Informational Product above, Bryan Harris was able to make $10,000 from launching his informational product to his email list.

With such a seemingly easy win in his book, he’s emphatic about the importance of every online entrepreneur building an email list as a go-to sales tool.

Bryan Harris

"Let me tell you one thing that's blown me away recently: There isn't a college degree in how to build and profit from an email list," he said in an interview. "That you can't get a degree in email lists is just crazy. It's the single most effective sales tool I've ever seen. It's insane. You can send an email and make $10,000 and not have a clue what you're doing, and have a product that's too broad--it's just nuts. I've sold millions of dollars of stuff, but I've never sent an email and made $10,000 until a month ago." Click to tweet this

Host A Webinar

Real Life Examples:

33. Jon Morrow is a huge fan of hosting webinars because it's the most profitable thing he does. Aside from helping grow his subscriber base by 1,000 to 2,000 people per webinar, he says the payout is around $40,000 per hour invested.

34. NicheHacks recently made a partnership for an exclusive live training for the NicheHacks audience. Part of the deal was that the webinar host could sell his product on the back end of the training, with Stuart as an affiliate.

Without even being live on the call (he was actually sleeping), his profit from the affiliate sales came to $4,298 with hardly any extra work from his side.

Just like hosting a conference in a brick-and-mortar location can be an incredible way to make money from registration fees and sponsorships, so can hosting one online

Except you don’t have to deal with the logistics hassle of location, space, or lots of people being physically present in the same location for stretches of time.

You also don’t have to worry about covering travel fees for yourself or your speakers.

Jon Morrow

"It's by far the most profitable thing I do," he says. "Nothing else even comes close." (Remember, this is the guy that charges $1,000 per hour for consulting.)

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Create A Product Package With Other Bloggers

Real Life Examples:

35. The 5DayDeal sold value-based products to photographers and earned over $400,000 in revenue.

Also known as blogger bundles, when you do one of these, you work together with other site owners in your niche to put together value-packed bundles of your informational products and ebooks at a discounted price for your audiences.

Because you leverage everyone’s following, you get far more sales than you normally would, boosting your own product sales and getting a nice rush of income and possibly new readers.

Usually, ebook or info product authors earn 70% to 80% commissions on all the bundle sales they make, and affiliates for these sales can make around 50%.

Sean Ogle

"Why was it so successful?" asks Sean Ogle. "It all started because they chose a fantastic niche that no one had done a sale like this in."

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Make More Money From Your Niche Site

Getting started with a new avenue of site monetization is easiest to do when you find a method that already resonates with your audience.

For example, if you post frequently, seeking post sponsors might make more sense than starting a membership area if you don't already have an audience request for it.

Make a plan to get to your first $500 from your new method and learn along the way more of what resonates with your audience, grows your traffic, and creates engagement.

With that, what are some of your favorite ways to monetize your niche site audience?

Or do you have more impressive earnings than the ones we've reported here?

Chelsea Baldwin