Niche and authority websites can be a great way to earn a consistent income semi-passively after you’ve built it up. However, there’s a lot of wrong information out there about starting this type of website. To help you avoid this information, here are the best niche site courses to help you get started.
What are Niche Websites?
Niche websites focus on a particular topic within a broader industry or sector. An example of this would be a site that reviews scuba diving wetsuits vs. a general website about scuba diving.
These sites can generate revenue through various means but most commonly earn through one or more of the following methods:
- Affiliate revenue
- Ad revenue
Niche websites are an attractive business opportunity for many because they can operate semi-passively when set up correctly. Depending on the niche, there is also the potential to earn a solid income that can potentially become a full-time income.
The downside to the niche website model is that it can be incredibly competitive. You also require a longer time commitment to begin seeing decent results. Depending on how competitive a niche is, how much money you have for growing your website, and your level of experience, it can take as much as a year or more to begin seeing any solid returns.
7 Must-Haves in a Niche Site Course
There are many niche and authority site-building courses you can choose from, with new courses coming out each year. However, before you rush to buy the first course that sounds good, there are a few critical features that you need to look out for.
Each of these is non-negotiable. If the course you’re looking into doesn’t have one of these sections, you will significantly hamper your chances of success.
1. How To Find a Niche For Your Site
The best niche site courses will provide you with some criteria for creating an initial list of niches you’d like to operate in and then filtering down that list.
An example of this is the Authority Site System from Authority Hackers. The course provides stringent criteria and a scoring system for picking niches with a long-term upside. The course makes this a step-by-step process, so there is no confusion when selecting your niche.
Because this is an essential step, you want to ensure that any course you take goes in-depth into niche selection. It’s also vital that you closely follow that process to better ensure your chances of success. While you may have an idea of a niche you want to start in, you may fail if it isn’t profitable or too competitive for a beginner.
2. Site Setup (Domain, Hosting, Theme)
Once you’ve selected a niche you want to operate in, you need to set up your website. This starts with a domain, picking your hosting, and setting up a fresh WordPress install.
None of these steps are too complicated; however, as a beginner, there are quite a few things you need to consider, which is why having each of these explained can be of great benefit.
Take selecting a domain, for example. While it may seem like this is as simple as finding what you want and registering it, there are many details to consider before settling on the right domain. Do you want something keyword-rich or brandable? Should you opt for a niche-specific domain or something broader that allows you to expand in the future? These are all things you need to consider.
The same goes for hosting and theme selection. These are highly complex topics, and, for beginners, it’s easy to get overloaded trying to learn everything from scratch. A good course will be able to provide a list of recommendations and easily explain in layman’s terms why you want to go with a specific hosting provider or theme without you becoming too confused.
3. Site Architecture & On-Page SEO Setup
Aside from selecting your niche, site architecture may be one of the most important things to get right in the beginning. Failure to get your site architecture right can lead to your website being ineffective and will require an overhaul later on that can be both time-consuming and costly in terms of lost profit.
Your website architecture refers to your site’s main pages and how you choose to structure things like your blog pages. Typical site structure for new niche sites includes:
- Home Page
- Contact Page
- About Page
- Blog Page
- Legal/Affiliate Disclaimer Page
Aside from these, the typical new niche site might have privacy policies (recommended), terms and conditions (recommended), a cookies solution page, meet the team (more on this later), and sitemap.
While this is the most common setup for new niche sites, it’s by no means the only way you can set up your site. Good niche courses will cover the different ways to structure new sites and explain why you want one particular site architecture over another.
Along these lines is your on-page SEO. This refers to all SEO efforts done on your website to optimize pages and posts to rank better in search. Some of the things you will do with on-page SEO include:
- Content optimization
- Internal linking
- Keyword targeting
- Mobile responsiveness
There are so many more things that go into getting your on-page SEO right, so any niche course you choose must have this as a section. Getting your on-page SEO right is essential for your long-term success, so make sure that whoever teaches a course has experience and data to back up their claims.
An example of this is The Affiliate Lab from Matt Diggity (more on this course below). Because Matt has an agency and vast portfolio of niche and authority websites, he’s constantly testing what works and what doesn’t. So, when you go through The Affiliate Lab, you’re getting recommendations that have been tested out in the field and not just recycled information that is out of date or, even worse, a spammy and black hat.
4. Content Planning & Keyword Research
One of the biggest challenges for most people new to building niche websites is figuring out what content to write and how to get that content written. If you aren’t a writer, the idea of producing dozens of pages of content to start can be pretty intimidating.
That’s why it’s critical for any course you choose to cover in-depth the content creation process and how to determine what content you want to produce through keyword research. Ideally, you want a system that covers creating content on your own and how to outsource content production to freelance writers or agencies.
The best courses typically layout a system for conducting keyword research using tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush. I particularly like how Authority Hacker has this laid out in their Authority Site System using premade spreadsheets, allowing you to plugin and rank keywords based on information like traffic volume and ranking difficulty.
For the actual content production, the top niche site building courses step-by-step layout processes for creating content, including how to do the research, outline articles, and make your content more readable and competitive.
These are all essential for a well-rounded niche site-building course and will help you create solid content that ranks well and provides readers with real value that will keep them coming back and help establish you as a trustworthy source in your niche.
5. Branding Your Site
Have you ever seen a website that looked off? Maybe the logos were cheaply made, or the site seemed to be designed by a first-year web design student. Whatever it was, you didn’t entirely trust the website because it didn’t look professional.
You could be an expert in your field and provide some of the best content in the world on the topic of your niche, but if your branding doesn’t match what you’re saying, people won’t trust you. At the end of the day, trust will be what leads people to buy products you recommend and will lead them to return to your website in the future.
Any course you purchase or commit the time to go through must discuss how to brand your website, what’s important when considering branding, and how to address website trust signals properly.
This should go past just how to buy a logo online and instead go somewhat in-depth into what makes your brand trustworthy and how to use this trust for increasing conversion rates. I would pass on any course that doesn’t go into branding, especially trust-building.
6. Site Promotion & Off-Page SEO
I’ve found that along with content, promoting your website is the other area where new niche and authority website owners struggle. For this reason, make sure that any course you commit to talks about how to do things like:
- Link Building
- Social Media Promotion
- Press Releases
- Building Trust Signals]
- Building an Email List
Link building especially will be critical to your website’s early success. While there are many examples of people building successful websites without link building, I find this is the exception rather than the norm. Typically, these people also have years of experience, so everything else they’ve done to build and promote their website is perfect.
As a first-time website builder, you will need to build links, and, more importantly, you will need to understand what links you want and how to avoid creating a lot of spammy or low-quality links that can ruin your domain.
Link building and other off-page SEO activities are easy to get wrong, and the long-term consequences can be catastrophic. So, do not go through a course unless it goes in-depth into proper link-building techniques and best practices and leveraging social media and other sources to promote your website.
7. Website Monetization
The final section you want in a course is a guide to all of the different ways you can monetize your website. This should go past the typical advice of using the Amazon affiliate program.
One of the best things you can learn is to find alternative affiliate programs and reaching out to companies directly to establish an affiliate relationship if they don’t have a program set up. Many new niche and authority site builders overlook this and leave tons of money on the table they could have been earning from higher-paying affiliates.
Ideally, a course will also explain all options outside of an affiliate program, such as creating info products, setting up advertising on your website, dropshipping, or consulting for certain niches.
You want to create as many income streams as possible and grow those as much as possible. This will allow you to increase revenue, and it also makes your website more attractive later on if you want to sell it. A niche or authority website with multiple income streams is much more stable and less susceptible to ranking fluctuations or changes in an affiliate program, such as lowering rates.
5 Nice-to-Haves In a Niche Site Course
While the above are essential items you need to look for in a niche site course, there are other skills critical to learning that you should also look out for.
There are plenty of articles, videos, guides, and even specialized courses that cover these topics. Most of these are not essential but will help as your website grows so that you can scale more quickly and with much less stress. It isn’t a deal-breaker if any of these aren’t included.
However, if you are looking between two niche website building courses and one has all of these plus the above essentials, and the other doesn’t then go with the one that has the below extras.
1. How To Scale Operations
One of the lesser-known secrets of building niche and authority sites is that to scale them, you need to have the right processes, systems, and SOPs in place. This starts from the very beginning when you first begin to build your website.
While it isn’t the end of the world, you will likely reach a plateau and have to change up your processes if you don’t start with growth in mind. An example of this is if you write all of your content and reach a point where you want to hire others. If you haven’t developed standard operating procedures, don’t have a system for content briefs, and don’t have content guides, you will likely find it difficult to scale.
Having a course that outlines scaling your website from the beginning, even if you aren’t yet ready to scale, will set you up for success later on. Fortunately, I’ve found some of the top niche and authority site courses, including the Authority Site System and The Affiliate Lab, cover the topic of scaling your website.
2. How To Delegate & Outsource
As noted above, to scale your website, you will eventually need to delegate tasks to others and outsource things like:
- Link Building
- Content Creation
- Social Media
- Video Creation
- Ad Management
Hiring and outsourcing can be difficult if you aren’t sure what to look for and don’t have these skills yourself. You want a course that covers this information to help you hire the right people and avoid wasting money.
You need to understand what criteria to measure people against, where to find people, and what you should pay people to remain competitive and hire top talent. It’s also important to know what roles to hire out for and what you should keep in-house.
3. How To Improve Conversion Rate & Maximize Earnings
Conversion rate optimization is another topic that won’t necessarily be a concern early on but will help to understand as your website grows to help maximize your earning potential. Having this as a topic in a niche site course ensures that you will keep finding use from the course.
If you’re unsure what CRO is, it’s the continuous optimization of certain website features to increase conversions and drive growth. The actual conversions you optimize can vary, including:
- Lead Form Signups
- Affiliate Offer Click-Throughs
- Course Signups
- Social Shares
Anytime you want people to take a specific action can be improved through conversion rate optimization. That’s why having a section in a niche website course on CRO is so important.
One other thing to ensure is that the course is regularly updated. Many of the tactics that worked in the past no longer work or can have the opposite effect of turning off visitors. Conversion rate optimization best practices change quite often. So, make sure the course you’re looking into is updated often enough to stay relevant.
4. Case Studies
Case studies serve a twofold benefit. First, they let you know that the information provided to you in the course has been used successfully with genuine websites, and second, you have a real-world example to help you build your site.
While a course not having case studies isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, it should be cause for extra due diligence. Coursemakers who have been in the industry for any length of time are guaranteed to have more than one case study they can post in their course.
If a course doesn’t have case studies, it could signify that whoever made it has simply regurgitated facts from other courses and websites. I would highly encourage that if you don’t see any case studies, take some time to look into the person’s background making it and what their experience is.
Some of the case studies that can be extra helpful as a beginner include case studies covering the topics of:
- Link Building
- Content Marketing
- Conversion Rate Optimization
- Email Marketing
The above topics represent some of the more challenging aspects of building a niche or authority website for new site builders. Having a case study to refer to can help you better understand the content you’re learning as applied to a real-life website that you know is successful.
5. How To Potentially Sell a Website
The best niche and authority site building courses will provide you benefits long after you’ve built and initially monetized your website. Good courses will have sections that help you scale your website and, when ready, flip your website for as much as you possibly can.
How to sell your website is a great section to look for in any course you buy because it gives you an end goal. Niche and authority websites can sell for many multiples, as high as 40x in some cases. For this reason, it can be a good idea to sell your website once it gets to a certain level, as you never know if your site is going to retain long term income or if the niche you choose will fade in interest (think of all the travel blogs that took a hit after 2020).
Ideally, the course will cover where to sell your website, calculate the value of your site correctly, transfer website assets, and protect yourself from scammers. These are all crucial topics to learn when selling your website and will ensure you can command top dollar while minimizing downside risks.
6 Best Courses Around Building Authority Niche Sites
Now that I’ve covered what to look for in a website, here are the best niche and authority site courses that meet all of the above essential criteria and most of the extras. Each course has been created by top names in the industry so that you can trust the information.
More importantly, courses like the Authority Site System and The Affiliate Lab present information gathered from direct testing and can’t be found anywhere else. This means you can cut down significant amounts of learning time and potentially get to earning revenue much faster.
1. Ahrefs Academy: Blogging For Business
Ahrefs Blogging for Business is a great starter course for niche and authority site builders and traditional business owners looking to use content to drive traffic. One of the best things about the course is that it’s free and created by one of the top SaaS companies in the world.
The course has ten sections plus a section of guest interviews. There are forty lessons with close to five hours of content. Everything in the course is geared towards beginners and explained very clearly, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost.
I like how they’ve broken everything down into bite-sized sections so that you don’t get overloaded with content. This also makes it easier to break the content into a manageable schedule if you’re a busy person.
The content covers topics ranging from strategies for growing a blog, the importance of content marketing, ranking difficult keywords, finding content ideas, optimizing your content, promoting content, link building, and more. It’s a great starter course if you’re thinking of dipping your toes into niche or authority site-building and are not yet ready for a full-on course like the Affiliate Lab or Authority Site System.
Pros of Ahrefs Academy: Blogging For Business
- A comprehensive breakdown of content marketing
- Covers tried and true link building methods
- Created by experts in the industry
- Information for both creating and promoting content
Cons of Ahrefs Academy: Blogging For Business
- Not a complete resource for building niche and authority sites
2. Authority Hacker: The Authority Site System 3.0
The Authority Site System from Authority Hacker was the first course I took when learning how to build authority websites almost six years ago. At the time, they were only on version 1.0 but have since gone on to update it regularly and are now on version 3.0.
That they keep the content updated regularly is one of the things I appreciate about the Authority Hacker courses. Because the SEO and authority site landscape is periodically changing, it’s essential to keep course material current. Failure to do so can mean new entrants to the course are building websites based on old and outdated info, hampering potential results.
One other thing that I appreciate about the Authority Site System is that it is geared towards white hat techniques and dissuades users from doing things like using personas or building shady links. While using personas from websites like This Person Does Not Exist isn’t necessarily a black hat technique, it can severely limit your growth potential and lead visitors not to trust you.
The course features 15 modules with 181 video lessons and over 100 thousand words of content to support each lesson. After you’ve finished the Authority Site System and you have a site generating consistent monthly revenue, you can sign up for the waitlist for the Authority Hacker Pro course with advanced tactics for growing your business and even selling your website when you’re ready.
Pros of The Authority Site System 3.0
- Complete system for creating and growing niche and authority sites
- Covers site building, content creation, link building, and more
- Designed by experts based on tried and proven techniques
- Over the shoulder videos providing practical guides for building sites
Cons of The Authority Site System 3.0
- It can be a bit much for complete newbies without prior marketing experience
3. Matt Diggity: Affiliate Lab
Along with The Authority Site System 3.0, I’ve found The Affiliate Lab to be one of the best niche and authority site courses. If you have the money for both, there is content unique to each course that can be incredibly beneficial and potentially decrease the time to profit required when building an authority or niche website.
One of the most significant differences between the two programs is that the Affiliate Lab encourages a few strategies, such as using personas that can be beneficial for short-term growth but lead to problems later on (though the course covers this).
The Affiliate Lab also has the benefit of being created by Matt Diggity and the rest of the team behind Diggity Marketing, The Search Initiative, and LeadSpring. Because of the extensive resources available for testing new techniques and the many talented individuals that work at these companies, The Affiliate Lab has tips and techniques that you won’t find anywhere else.
For the main Affiliate Lab course, there are 34 different sections comprised of over 150 lessons and bonus lessons. Aside from the main Affiliate Lab course, you also get access to extras such as the Website Flipping Masterclass, The Truth About Penalties, Outreach Masterclass, The Affiliate Email Marketing Masterclass, Affiliate Portfolio Playbook, SEO Testing Guidebook, Content Scaling Playbook, Topical Authority Masterclass, and more.
This means you have plenty of extra courses that can benefit you once you’ve built your first website and are ready to scale up. There are also resources for optimizing your life that I have found beneficial for improving productivity and getting more accomplished in less time. Overall, I’ve found The Affiliate Lab to be one of the best courses around on building niche and authority websites.
Pros of The Affiliate Lab
- Proven techniques you won’t find in any other course
- Extensive resources outside of the core site building course
- Tons of supplementary resources available within the course
- It covers everything you need to know, from building the site to selling it
Cons of The Affiliate Lab
- It may be too much information for first-time site builders
4. Income School: Project 24
Project 24 from Income School is another excellent course with complete information covering how to start a blog. The course is geared towards absolute beginners but covers more advanced techniques that can benefit individuals with established sites not making the money they’d like to be.
I like that the course has resources beyond the standard text and videos, including members-only podcasts, live virtual masterminds, and an active community to ask questions and receive answers. This can be helpful for different learning styles and for receiving support beyond what the course can provide.
The course covers everything you need to know for starting a blog, including selecting a winning niche, how to build your website, creating content and scaling production, and monetization of your blog. There are also some advanced courses like creating content for YouTube and creating info products.
One thing also is that this doesn’t cover tactics like link building, opting instead to take the controversial opinion that you shouldn’t build links and instead focus on content. This isn’t necessarily wrong advice, as many people have gone through the Project 24 course and found success. But, it does go against commonly held views on SEO and growing a website.
It should also be noted that the course is paid every year instead of a one-time payment. This may be a drawback if you want to continually use the course as it’s updated.
Pros of Project 24
- A good option for total beginners who may be overwhelmed by more advanced courses
- Covers content creation and scaling extensively
- Extra courses on YouTube audience building and creating info products
- Plenty of case studies and other resources such as a community, podcast, and live virtual masterminds
Cons of Project 24
- Paid every year as opposed to a one-time payment
- It does not cover link building and instead actively discourages building links
5. Morten Storgaard: Passive Income Geek
The Passive Income Geek course from Morten Storgaard is focused on individuals who want to create full-time incomes from passive income sources. I find that it does an excellent job of explaining how to build websites in a scalable and easy way to outsource, freeing up your time in the long term.
The course is geared towards beginners and those who’ve tried to create niche websites previously and failed. There are over 15 hours of video spread across nine core modules. Topics of the course include choosing a niche, topic research, finding a good domain, setting up your website, writing content, SEO tips, monetization, social media, and outsourcing content.
Like the Project 24 course, the Passive Income Geek course is priced on a yearly subscription rather than a one-time cost. Short term, this can save you money, but over the long term, it will be more expensive than paid upfront courses like The Affiliate Lab and Authority Site System.
Pros of Passive Income Geek
- Course geared towards helping beginners build websites
- Emphasis on creating passive income over the long term
- A community for asking and answering questions
- Regular updates to the course
Cons of Passive Income Geek
- Paid every year as opposed to a one-time fee
6. Jon Dykstra’s: Fat Stacks Course
The Fat Stacks Course bundle from John Dykstra has everything you need to create a niche site that brings inconsistent income. It was created by a man who has years of experience creating these types of sites meaning all of the information is first-hand and not just copied from other sources.
I like the easy-to-follow style that Jon uses to create all of the content. Everything is written so that complete beginners can follow along and get up and running without too much trouble. On that note, this is a course bundle, but each course can be purchased individually. If you already have a bit of experience, you can buy only the courses you need to fill in the gaps in your knowledge base. Or, if you’re a complete beginner, you can start with the Niche Site Building course to make sure this is right for you.
The courses cover a wide variety of information, including content site autopilot, natural link building, display ads deep dive, on-site SEO deep dive, niche site exponential, and a Pinterest magnate course. As noted already, these can be purchased as a bundle or individually. You also get access to the Fat Stacks forum for further help from fellow site builders with each course.
Overall, The Fat Stacks Courses are a good option to create semi-passive income through niche and authority sites. It should be noted that it’s a paid yearly subscription versus a one-time purchase. Also, the course is closed, and registration only opens during certain times of the year, a tactic that I find personally annoying.
Pros of The Fat Stacks Course:
- Numerous different courses are included in the bundle to help you succeed
- Created and written with beginners in mind
- Access to The Fat Stacks forum with every course or bundle purchase
- Written from first-hand experience creating successful websites
Cons of The Fat Stacks Course:
- Based on a yearly subscription instead of a one-time fee
- Signups for the course are only open at certain times of the year
How To Choose The Best Niche Site Course For You?
Those are my top recommendations for the best niche site courses. However, each course will be appropriate for different audiences. To make sure you purchase the right course for your needs, there are a few different criteria you need to consider.
Your Existing Knowledge
First, you need to be honest with your current knowledge level. It’s okay to be a complete beginner, everybody has to start somewhere, and you can’t expect to get everything right from the get-go. However, if you have absolutely no knowledge of site building, content writing, or online marketing, you need a course that will cover all of these things.
Some courses start with the understanding that you at least have a basic comprehension of site-building or blogging. These may prove to be more challenging for complete beginners and leave you more confused than when you started. So, make sure to evaluate what skills you currently have and choose a course reflective of your current skill level.
Course Author Verifiable Experience
It’s unfortunate, but there are many courses out there created by people who don’t have the experience they claim or who just haven’t had much success building niche and authority sites. However, many of these people succeed in marketing courses by copying what others are doing and repeating basic information.
Conduct proper due diligence on anyone you consider buying a course from. One thing to look out for is income reports, where most of their money is from selling courses and not from websites they’ve built. There are plenty of course creators with real experience, so you don’t need to settle on a lesser course.
Another thing to consider is what money you have to spend on a niche site course. Some of the top courses can cost a thousand US dollars or more. That said, there are plenty of lower-cost courses that can help get you started.
These lower-priced courses will typically provide you with everything you need to get going, including picking a niche, building a site, creating content, etc. While these lower-priced courses generally won’t have all of the extras, such as scaling, outsourcing, or social media promotion, they can at least help you to build a basic website to start earning money. Later on, you can buy the higher-priced course or wait until they go on sale, such as on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
The final thing you need to consider is how up-to-date the course your looking at is. All of the above top courses are regularly updated with new information and even course add-ons that can help you grow.
With the pace at which the online landscape changes, including Google algorithm changes, new CRO best practices, changing site design methods, etc., it’s essential that any course you buy is up-to-date. Ideally, you can determine how often the course is updated on the course sales page. However, if you can’t easily find this info, email the course support to find out before deciding.
Takeaway – What Course Carries The Best Information?
While it’s ultimately a tough call on which course is the best, I’d say at the end of the day, it’s between The Authority Site System 3.0 from Authority Hacker and The Affiliate Lab from Matt Diggity.
These are solid courses created by knowledgeable professionals with extensive experience and a long roster of successful websites to back up any claims they make. If I had to pick one of the two, I’d say that The Affiliate Lab is the better option due to the numerous bonus courses you get. However, if you’re a total beginner, the Authority Site System 3.0 is also good.