Launching a niche website and setting it up for organic success
Finding a niche and creating a solution to a problem people have within that niche is how many businesses are created, and launching a website is no different.
Launching a website can be a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. Building an organic audience takes time, effort, and patience, but with the right practices, your website can thrive. Here are four helpful tips to consider when launching a niche website that my team and I have learned through experience (See the case study).
Note: This is not a post about finding a niche; rather, it is about what to do with that information or idea once you have it.
1. Listen to your audience
The success of any website hinges on its ability to provide value to its target audience. As you launch your niche website, take the time to listen to your audience. Engage with them on social media, forums, or comment sections. Pay attention to their feedback, questions, and concerns, and use this information to create valuable content.
2. Study competitors
One of the best ways to understand your audience and industry is to perform competitive research.
Take a deep dive into a short list of your business and search competitors’ websites to uncover insights.
Business competitors are businesses similar to yours that offer similar services or products.
Search competitors are websites you will often compete against for search engine rankings. They could be business competitors, but they don’t have to be.
Start by merging a list of what’s important to search engines and your audience. Here are some things to consider:
Information architecture - content hubs, navigation, URL structure, etc.
Position of content - style, tone of voice, target audiences, etc.
User trust signals - author bylines, bios, reviews, etc.
Creative assets - videos, graphics, call-to-action, etc.
Keyword rankings - what themes do they rank well for?
Backlinks - how do they earn backlinks?
Use this list as a starting point to analyze what other providers are doing well and what they could improve upon, and use this information to create a unique experience or value proposition for your own website. Tools that will help with this research include:
3. Let your experience and expertise shine
Your website's success may largely depend on your experience and expertise in your niche. Use your website to showcase your knowledge and skills by creating content that provides value to your audience. Establish yourself as an authority in your niche, and leverage your expertise to build trust and credibility with your audience.
Practically speaking, this means having your subject matter experts write or review your content and promoting your unique value propositions. It also means showing people and search engines you can be trusted with user trust signals.
If you can quickly get SMEs (subject matter experts) to help with content creation, tremendous; if not, then here are a few things that could help:
Create guardrails - consider starting smaller by asking for them to review an outline or content text after it has been written
Be specific in your communications - share a short list of questions or a checklist with your SME so your ask is tactical, and their efforts can be directed
Provide resources or examples - if you have a “best in class” example in mind, share it. If you are creating content based on competitive research, share an overview of that research
Be reasonable and fair - always respect everyone’s time and strive for collective fairness
After you’ve created content, next is the implementation of user trust signals. With one of Google’s more recent announcements being the addition of Experience to E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trust) to make E-E-A-T in their Quality Rate Guidelines, showcasing who is responsible for creating your content is more important than ever. Here are a few ways to bolster your E-E-A-T signals:
Strive to earn quality backlinks and social engagement
Have author bylines and profile pages
Always cite your sources and link quality sites when relevant
Utilize subject matter experts to write or review your content
Lastly, improving authority takes time. Factors like the length of your domain registration may be considered when determining E-E-A-T, so naturally, time is essential.
4. Stay patient, humble, and hungry
Being patient and persistent is essential. Building organic traffic takes time and effort, so keep going even if you don't see immediate results. Stay committed to providing value to your audience and building your brand and content library over time.
While you are waiting, continuously monitoring your website's performance will help you uncover what might be working and what’s not. Use the data tools at your disposal to set goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) once your site is launched. As you review these, stay humble and agile and adjust your strategy as needed.
Launching a niche website and setting it up for organic success is no small feat, but by implementing these helpful practices, you can increase your chances of success: 1) Listen to your audience, 2) study your competitors, 3) showcase your experience and expertise, and 4) stay patient, humble, and hungry.
Remember, building an organic audience takes time, but your website can thrive if you build upon the steps I’ve outlined above.