What Is an Online Niche?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

An online niche is a small market with a loyal following that can prove profitable for product placements and advertising targeted at the audience. This differs from mainstream or mass market advertising aimed at web users in general. News websites, for example, tend to use mainstream advertising because they have a broad user base and a variety of ads will appeal. By contrast, a gardening blogger is in an online niche and will make the most money from targeted ads about gardening.

Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

Advertisers seek out niche markets to gain access to audiences interested in their products who may take the ads more seriously when they appear in a niche environment. Websites known for being reliable and accurate can be a tempting online niche, as they have a large following of readers who will be interested in related advertisements and product endorsements. Online niches can focus on a variety of topics, from travel in Latin America to book reviews.

Niche marketing focuses on finding a niche and exploiting it with appropriate advertising, product placements, and other promotions. Marketers often offer affiliate marketing, where the site owner has some control over ads in exchange for a share of the proceeds. Affiliate marketing is only made available to the sites an advertiser feels are most likely to generate revenue, and advertisers may be very selective. Niche sites can also contact potential advertisers to seek their business.

The online niche should have evidence of a larger and loyal user base. Statistics on site visits, how long users stay, and numbers of repeat visitors are useful. The site should also have a clearly defined and described mission so advertisers know what kind of content is present and whether the site will mesh with their advertising needs. A parenting website, for example, might stress natural and organic parenting, making it of interest to companies that want to target parents interested in topics like cloth diapers and herbal ointments.

Owners of successful online niches can in turn sell them after building up an audience and creating a strong advertising base. The price for buying an online niche can vary depending on the site and the nature of the market. Sites generating substantial monthly income can be extremely costly. Other site owners may prefer to build up a niche from scratch and can source content in a variety of ways, ranging from licensing content from other sites to generating original material.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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