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Why I quit building niche websites

Published 11 days ago • 2 min read

Hi Reader,

I was a niche website builder for a few years.

Up till early 2023, It was a great model for writers and bloggers.

I built websites in the food and drinks, health and fitness, and home niches.

I researched high-volume, low-competition keywords weekly using tools like AHREFS, SEMRush, and Clearscope.

I set a goal of writing and publishing a set number of articles each month.

Then, I either wrote articles targeting these keywords.

I also hired writers who could produce them and ordered dozens of articles each week from a content agency.

An editor checked each article before two employees published them with images on the various content websites.

More articles meant more eyeballs on the sites. And more eyeballs meant more ad revenue.

In theory, anyway.

The sites earned reasonably good money from display advertising.

It was a simple enough business model. And it didn't take up much time unless I wrote and edited the articles.

A friend wanted to get into the niche website game a while ago.

I reviewed his niche, prepared a keyword plan, and gave him my publishing procedures.

Today, I'd tell him to avoid this model.

I'd tell any writer or blogger to avoid it.

Why?

These days, I get emails every day from wanna-preneurs hawking their latest AI tools.

They claim their fancy new tool can generate dozens of articles at a click. A few are good. 99% are terrible.

I reviewed the better ones for my YouTube channel.

A dozen videos in, I realized the barrier to entry to content websites is low–too low.

Type "site:forbes.com cats" into Google, and you'll see how much competition bloggers and publishers face.

Then, a series of brutal Google algo updates tanked the traffic of many website owners.

The only publishers who escaped this traffic correction?

Gigachad brands like Forbes and user-generated sites like Reddit and Quora.

A few of my sites faced 80% or more traffic corrections.

I'm one in a long line of content website owners with tales of woe.

SEO X is full of content publishers who lost most of their traffic and revenue.

A few are pivoting to Facebook and Pinterest.

But no one platform is a safe play.

And no one platform owes content publishers any traffic.

With no recovery in sight and only ambiguous, unhelpful guidelines from Google to work with, I let the writers and editor go.

And that's all before factoring in how Google Gemini and ChatGPT's AI tools work.

They scrape the content from content websites and surface it in their outputs or on page zero of Google and Bing search results.

That all takes traffic and revenue away from smaller website publishers.

I set aside my publishing goals, abandoned most of my content websites, and picked a different business model.

So what am I doing now?

I'm doubling down on my newsletter.

I'm writing what AI can't.

And I'm working with a select group of writers who want to go pro.

Write on,

Bryan Collins

PS I’m holding a premium workshop in a few days to help writers get their first 1k subscribers. For more info, reply and ask.

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