When I decided to start a niche site, I had already been blogging for years, and I knew that I didn’t want the new site to be a “traditional” blog. Instead, I wanted to focus on a particular topic and build a business around that. But I had no idea how to make sure that I chose a profitable niche or how to build the site in a systematic way.
Niche Site Academy is a course that walks you through the process of building a niche site from scratch. The course was created by Mike Futia of Stupid Simple SEO. He is a well-known and respected figure in the online business world.
When he first introduced Niche Site Academy, I wasn’t planning to start a niche site, so I didn’t buy it. But last year, when I started thinking about adding a niche site to my portfolio, I knew that Mike was the person I wanted to learn from.
I wanted to learn from someone who had already been successful in the process.
Since I had already taken Stupid Simple SEO, I knew that he was knowledgeable and reliable. But more importantly, he has built several successful niche sites. So I knew that if I followed his process, I would have a good chance of success.
In this Niche Site Academy review, I share my personal experience and opinion of the course.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link. For more information, see my full disclaimer here.
What is Niche Site Academy?
Niche Site Academy is an online course that walks you through the process of building a niche site from scratch.
It’s a video-based course with both talking head videos and technical screen shares. It’s hosted on the Kajabi platform. You get instant access to all modules when you sign up.
The course was created by Mike Futia, an SEO expert who has built several successful niche websites.
The primary benefit of Niche Site Academy is that it teaches a step-by-step framework to build a profitable niche site from scratch.
The course is designed to help you choose a money-making niche, build a high-quality website, drive traffic to your site, and monetize your site with affiliate marketing and display ads.
Niche Site Academy is priced at $597. The price may seem high, but in my opinion, it’s worth the price based on the time savings. Instead of trying to figure out all this on your own, you can follow a proven process and get started quickly.
A payment plan is available. You can get started with $197, then make three more monthly payments of the same amount. (If you can swing it, the one-time payment option is the better deal).
What does it cover?
Note: Niche Site Academy was completely overhauled, and a new version was released in May 2022. It has ALL brand-new videos, and several modules have been added. The information below is based on the new version.
Module 0: NSA Foundations
This module is background on how the course works, mindset, setting expectations, etc.
Module 1: The Niche Site Model
- the niche site framework
- the differences between niche sites and traditional blogging
- how niche sites make money and get traffic
- the main types of content you’ll create
Module 2: Finding a Niche (Part I)
In the module, Mike talks about the elements of a good niche and the types to avoid. There’s also a guest lesson from Carly Campbell regarding Pinterest-friendly niches. Additionally, this module covers tools you’ll be using as you go through the process.
New for 2022 is a lesson on topical authority, which is certainly an important factor in niche site success.
If you are interested in using Pinterest for your niche site, Carly offers a short masterclass that’s a good complement to Niche Site Academy. I’ve taken it, as well.
Module 3: Finding a Niche (Part II)
The second “Finding a Niche” module shows you how to start validating your ideas. It includes a technical walkthrough of Mike’s Niche Research Spreadsheet. And there are also several example videos where Mike walks through the process of researching and validating different ideas.
Module 4: Finding a Niche (Part III)
Part III covers how to further validate your niche site ideas and make your final choice.
Module 5: Setting Up Your Niche Site
Module 5 is about setting up your website. If you have never set up a WordPress website before, this will be super helpful.
Even if you have used WordPress for years (like me), I recommend going through this module, especially if you tend to overthink website design.
In addition to covering WordPress and theme choices, he goes over how to quickly choose brand colors and create a logo.
Mike shows you the minimum you need to quickly get your site up and running. This part should not take more than a few hours.
Module 6: Creating Your Site Structure
This is a continuation of Module 5. It covers website categories, menu and footer, and the essential pages that you need to get started.
Again, the goal here is to get your site up and running as fast as possible without wasting time on a lot of site elements that you don’t need at the beginning.
Module 7: Keyword Research
Keyword research is vital to the success of a niche site. Mike has a very analytical process for choosing keywords that he goes over in detail in this module. He also talks about planning your content calendar using your keyword research.
Module 8: Content Preparation (NEW)
This is a new module that was added in 2022. It covers burning questions like “How much content do you need?” and “How long should your posts be?”
It also goes into best practices for content creation and introduces the main types of posts you’ll create.
Module 9: Content Research (NEW)
Another new module is all about content research. Mike shares six different methods of conducting research so that you can build out the best outline possible for your posts.
Module 10: Content Creation
This module is all about content creation. You’ll learn how much content to create, the types of posts to write, how to structure your posts and more. This is a deep dive – there are 12 lessons about creating content.
Module 11: Content Optimization (NEW)
The third brand-new module is about optimizing your content in WordPress. If you are an experienced blogger, you may not need this module. However, if this is your first website (or your first website in WordPress), you’ll find this module helpful.
Module 12: Niche Site Monetization (NEW)
This module goes into the two main ways that you’ll monetize your site. In addition to high-level lessons, Mike talks about monetizing specific types of posts.
Bonus Module: Hiring Freelance Writers
If you want to outsource content, this bonus module is a deep dive on finding, hiring, and managing writers.
Bonus Module: Using a Content Agency (NEW)
Another way to outsource content is by using an agency. Mike walks you through exactly how to use an agency he uses for his sites.
Bonus Module: Advanced Tools & Strategies (NEW)
In this brand-new bonus module, Mike goes over various tools you can use, such as SurferSEO, Jarvis AI, Frase, LowFruits, and Odys Domains.
Bonus Module: Selling Your Site (NEW)
This is a guest lesson all about selling your website.
Bonus: Facebook Group
There’s also a private Facebook group for course students. This is a great place to ask questions and get feedback on your progress.
I’ve found the community to be very supportive, and it’s nice to have a place to go for answers when working on your niche blog site.
What you’ll learn:
How to choose and validate your niche
This is one of my favorite parts of the course: how to find a niche that has the potential to be profitable. In the first module, you’ll learn about the niche site model and how to find a profitable niche. Then in modules 2-4, you’ll validate your niche ideas and make your final choice.
How to quickly set up a professional-looking website
In Module 5, you’ll learn how to set up your WordPress website from scratch using Mike’s step-by-step process. And in Module 6, you’ll learn how to create a site structure that is both user-friendly and search engine friendly.
How to find a list of keywords that you can rank for
One of the best things about Niche Site Academy is the keyword research module. Mike teaches you an analytical process for finding profitable keywords that you can rank for even on a brand-new site. And he also provides a great spreadsheet that you can use to organize your keyword research.
How to create a content strategy
Once you have your keywords, Niche Site Academy will help you create a content strategy that will help you rank your website on the first page of Google. Believe me, you’ll have plenty of topic ideas (I have thousands).
You’ll also learn exactly what types of posts to write and how to structure them. This section is very in-depth, and I found it much more valuable than I expected.
How to outsource content
If you want to grow your site faster, you can outsource the content creation process. In the bonus modules, Mike will teach you how to find, pay, and manage writers or use a content agency. Personally, I haven’t used these modules, but if I ever decide to outsource writing, I will come back to them.
I was really impressed with how comprehensive and in-depth the Niche Site Academy course is. Mike covers everything from finding a niche to setting up your website to creating content. And he also has a lot of helpful bonus modules, like one on outsourcing content creation. The Facebook group is also an excellent resource for getting feedback and help from other students.
When I logged in and saw all the lessons, I was overwhelmed. There’s a lot of content to go through. However, most of the videos are short. So just take it step by step, and you’ll be fine.
I want to mention that Niche Site Academy is not a “get-rich-quick” scheme. In the introductory module, Mike talks about an 18- to 24-month timeline before you can expect to make money from your site. That’s because it takes time to build up a website and rank it high in Google search results.
However, if you’re willing to put in the work, Niche Site Academy can help you build a successful niche website. The screenshots that Mike shares in the first module are very helpful in setting the right expectations.
Thoughts on Using Niche Site Academy
I bought Niche Site Academy in May 2021. However, I did not start going through the course until September. I watched all the videos first to get a sense of the process. Then I did all the “finding a niche” and “setting up” the site work in October. Finally, I started publishing posts in November.
So overall, it’s been a few months since I actually started going through the program. I’m now at the point where I am beginning to see some traffic from Google, and I have a little revenue coming in.
Side note: You can do this much faster. This niche site is a side hustle for me, so I have to fit the work in where I can.
Choosing the right niche is super important
3 modules out of 8 are about finding a niche. That should tell you how important that aspect is for this course. Working on the wrong niche is a waste of time, and nobody wants that.
Mike’s approach to choosing a niche is very analytical. I have an analytical mind, so I appreciated that. I had a few ideas going into the process. I was able to validate my ideas quickly and decide which niche to go with.
As for the niche, I chose something I’m interested in but not necessarily “passionate” about. I followed Mike’s process for validating the niche, but I also wanted something that I wouldn’t get bored writing about.
Don’t spend a lot of time on site-setup
Mike recommends that you don’t spend a lot of time on “choosing the perfect theme” and site setup.
I tend to get bogged down with that kind of thing, so I decided to follow his advice (almost) exactly, and I’m glad I did. I started with a super simple site design and structure. I’ve dressed it up a little over time, but it’s still very simple.
Be prepared to create a lot of content
This is definitely the most time-consuming part. Having the keyword research and content plan done in advance is very helpful because I don’t have to think about what to write. I simply follow the plan.
My goal is to publish 100 posts in the first 12 months. (I’m not on target for that, so I need to pick up the pace).
Mike shares a screenshot in the initial module where he shows the number of posts published on one of his sites and compares it to the amount of traffic. He didn’t hit 10,000 pageviews a month until well after he had published 50 posts. Pay attention to this timeline and adjust your expectations accordingly.
Thoughts on the new version
As I said earlier, a new version of the course just came out. I’m super excited about all the new content that’s included. I’ve already watched several of the videos to get a sense of what’s new. The new lessons are very much about what’s working NOW for niche sites. I’m confident that this will help me grow my site even faster.
You should be aware of a couple of caveats before buying the course.
You’ll need to spend money on a keyword research subscription
Mike’s process requires a subscription to an expensive keyword research tool – Ahrefs. When I went through the course, you could get a 7-day/$7 trial of Ahrefs. So I was able to do all the research using the trial.
However, Ahrefs no longer offers the trial, so you’ll need to buy a one-month subscription, which costs $199. This is an expensive add-on, but you can’t do the course without it, so factor that additional $199 into the course cost. You don’t have to pay for this part until you start doing your research.
This is not a comprehensive “how to blog” course
If you’re looking for a comprehensive “how to blog” course, this is not it.
You WILL learn how to build and grow a site that relies on organic Google search traffic and is monetized with display ads (like MediaVine) and affiliate income.
So, if you’re looking for a course on building a general lifestyle blog, this is not the course for you.
Niche Site Academy Review: Final Verdict
Would I recommend this course? Absolutely.
I loved the step-by-step process, and I followed it (almost) to the letter.
As I said earlier, I published my first post in November 2021, so my niche site has been live for just over 6 months. I don’t have scads of traffic yet, but it is starting to pick up.
And I’m already making money through affiliate marketing. I did not expect to have any revenue for at least six months.
But I earned the first Amazon commissions in January. And so far this month, I’ve had Amazon sales almost every single day.
I’m in this for the long haul. I’m excited to see what the next year (and beyond) will bring!
If you are willing to do the work and you can be patient if you don’t see results right away, then this course will help you build a profitable niche site.
How To Sign Up
Niche Site Academy only opens for enrollment a couple of times of year. It will be open from May 23 to May 27, 2022.
Or you can sign up for the waitlist here if it’s outside the open cart period.