The 2024 niche site model: My plan

Many people are saying that niche sites are dead or, at least, that they’re dying. I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

For the reasons I explained here, I think niche sites still have a role in the Internet ecosystem.

Will niche sites last forever? Probably not. Nothing lasts “forever“.

I love AI and can geek over it all day long, but I believe effective personalized AI agents are still a few years into the future. Until we get to that point, people will need websites.

Sure, many sites were hit during the recent Google updates. Not the first time this has happened, and probably not the last either. I’ve been in this business for more than 20 years, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that “change is the only constant” in web publishing.

Today, I want to share my vision for a successful website in 2024. And guess what? It doesn’t include branding!

Before I share my thoughts, a short commercial break (don’t worry, I’m the advertiser in this case!)

How I see the ideal site in 2024

The key for sites moving forward is in diversifying traffic sources. No single algorithm can be relied on.

While that has always been the case, up until 2020-2022, we had an anomaly of “easy traffic” from Google that skewed the idea of getting people to your content. For a few years, we moved from traffic generation into the “one-track mind” scenario known as SEO.

As someone who has been publishing sites long before two college kids named Sergei and Larry decided to form a company, I can tell you that there’s an internet beyond Google’s grasp and control.

A robust site should tap into multiple sources of traffic.

Here’s my “back of the envelope” plan for creating or improving a niche site in 2024.

Test at least five different channels of potential traffic. Try each one for at least three months and assess. Then, focus on the best three channels.

Establish a mailing list early on and harvest emails from visitors from any traffic source. Keep your visitors within your site’s ecosystem, offering links within your emails to content items across your channels.

So far, I’ve identified 42 potential website traffic channels and created a list here on Yeys. When you can, take a look and let me know what you think. I’d love to keep growing and refining that list based on recommendations from other publishers.

Eventually, the ideal site should have –

  • At least three robust traffic sources that bring in more than 25% of the traffic each.
  • An engaged mailing list (potentially serving as an additional source of traffic down the road)


Traffic diversification efforts could be costly. Trying a traffic strategy for three months would be time-consuming and resource-intensive, and there is no guarantee of success.


I believe these sites are going to be more stable. You see, it’s not just the Google algorithm that’s capricious. If you have a site that depends on Facebook, Pinterest, or any other source, you ultimately rely on someone else’s algorithm.

A mailing list provides some protection, but

a. you need to get those subscribers and,

b. that protection is limited in nature

For example, Gmail – a major email provider – could change its algorithm to filter out newsletter emails more aggressively.

The truth of the matter is there are no guarantees in business. Risks are built-in. We should do our best to mitigate those risks; diversification is a mitigation strategy.

Sites with multiple traffic sources can withstand algo hits much better because you would still have revenue coming in. If and when you take a hit, revenue from the remaining traffic sources would allow you to go out again and invest in finding additional traffic sources.

Moreover, these sites would be more attractive for buyers should you ever want to exit. I’m not an expert in site flipping, but I imagine traffic diversification will be a significant selling point, driving multiples up.

Will this work in every niche?

I believe so. I think this strategy would apply to every niche and website. It’s just a question of finding the right channels for that specific niche and site. Some niches would do best on Twitter/X, others might work on Pinterest or Instagram. There are many potential traffic sources, and each website requires a tailored solution.

But wait, isn’t that the same as creating a “brand”?

The term “brand building” seems to be everywhere these days. I’m not a huge fan of the concept. Here’s why.

“Brand” is an elusive term in marketing, and people have various definitions for what exactly makes a brand. Essentially, it’s about making the name of your site recognizable by people in the field. IMHO, it’s crucial in some areas and not so much in others. I think most niche sites fall under the “others” category.

What’s more, truly creating a brand is a massive effort. Proper branding takes a very long time or a significant investment of money. Often, it’s both.

I know because at least one of my websites is what might be considered a brand in its niche. The kind where its top search query is the site’s name. It’s been around for over 20 years and has fans, merch, and all that jazz.

And guess what? It can still get hit by Google updates.

If you want to think of branching into Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest as “brand building,” then sure, my vision of a well-rounded website may seem like branding efforts. However, I don’t see it that way.

Whereas some “branding” promoters see it as a way to win the Google game, my approach is not about SEO. My focus is 100% on the practical side of getting traffic to that site from various sources.

So, there you have it.

This is my general direction. It’s not earth-shattering or revolutionary and is pretty much a continuation of what I set out to do in 2023. It builds on those efforts and expands them into a more concrete plan for some of our sites.

As always, I welcome your feedback! I’m really bouncing ideas here, so leave a comment if you have any thoughts to share.


  1. I’ve quit building sites about a year ago, but still visit your site regularly. And the idea of diversified traffic sources is something that is slowly pulling me back into the game.

    Thank you for your wonderful insights. I loved your monthly reports all the way back in 2019 (if I remember correctly). Those were my main source of inspiration when I started. And these newer updates are fantastic as well. There’s always lots to learn here!

    • Hi Jasper,
      So glad you found – and still find – Yeys a source of inspiration! I think the fact that you call this “a game” may mean you’re one of us, and cannot ever truly leave 😉

  2. Just watched your podcast with Authority Hackers and found myself agreeing with so many things you said.
    Plus, you’re right we do need some regulation and support for this industry.

  3. Great plan Anne. I’m gonna use this as an outline going forward. Quite prescient to mention Gmail ‘tightening the screws’ on email. They just started their mass deletions and have new reg’s coming next month for email marketers. Thanks!

    • Glad you liked the post, Chris! And yeah, Gmail is not easy and can drastically affect publishers relying too heavily on email.

  4. I have been your follower ever since I learned about you on Jon D’s forum. I love your content, and this post is no exception 🙂

    However, I can’t deny that this post makes me a bit worried, too.

    The thing is, I have tried multiple traffic source strategies in the past, and I ended up burning myself up a couple of times. I realized that building a blog, an email list, a podcast, and a YouTube channel (at the same time) was just too much. I was spreading myself too thin.

    So, for someone who has 10 hours per week to focus on a niche site building (doing things solo, outside the office hours), what would you advise me to do?

    • Hi Timo, that’s a great question, and I think the answer depends on what you’re trying to achieve from your project. I’m not sure you can build a significant business with 10 hours a week. You could either outsource some things, or focus on growing a small passion site for fun. That would be my direction if I only had 10 hours a week and no budget. When it’s something you’re passionate about, you can engage with others in various social media platforms (Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook) using groups and other organic channels. It’s going to be slow growth, but I don’t see how you can fast track without further investment of either time or money.

  5. I just discovered your website, and I’m so glad I did. Competing with large authority publications is very hard, especially when they target even the smallest keywords. As for diversification, it looks like YouTube is the second main traffic source since it shows 4 or more rows in search results, ads, and after the organic pages.

    • Hi Maria, YouTube is great or many creators. I’ve often considered it, and may still try it with some sites, but for now I prefer other avenues, myself.

  6. In your monetization model and, in general, in your niche site system, in terms of percentage how much you make from asd and how much you make from affiliate programs (mainly Amazon, I guess). Also, always in percentage, how many pages are built to be monetized mostly by ads and how many are built to be monetized mostly by affiliates? I’m living out of the US and I have a portfolio of 10 websites that are monetized mostly by ads (with RPM of $1.5. Sigh), I would like to grow it by 735% in a year and I’m trying to figure out how can I make from ads if I diversify my revenue models. Thank you, great post, great blog and inspiration!

    • Hi Beppi,
      Since you have such a low RPM, I wonder if your audience is like mine. If your audience isn’t first tier countries, you may be seeing different numbers in terms of affiliate revenue too. Also, there are other ways to monetize, beyond display ads and affiliate. I’m looking into testing info products this year, for example.

      • Hi Anne,
        It makes sense. It’s not really possible to make a comparison between your situation and mine (Tier 2–Tier 3 country, once Roman Empire). My plan is as follows.
        I will apply to Mediavine, assuming that my RPM will grow at least to $4. 
        As for affiliate revenues, I conservatively assume that, with 10% of my posts created for affiliate marketing (Amazon), it will be 10% of my ad revenues. 
        As for other sources of revenues, given the small population (58 million) and its low online spending, indicative of the low RPM, I exclude products or infoproducts. 
        According to my calculation with these numbers I’ll need to publish 250k posts on 10 niche sites to reach my goal of $10K. Quite hard. Maybe I should target the US market, but I’m worried about the higher competition and about not being English mother tongue.
        Thank you for your feedback and suggestions.
        Goold luck with you 2024 Plan!

        • Hi Beppi,
          Sounds like an ambitious plan. I don’t mean to rain on that parade, and I’m no expert on the Romanian market, but I’m not sure how this could work?
          For starters, where would you get traffic to these 250K posts? Sounds like programmatic AI articles with zero editing. Unless you have an untapped source of zero competition keywords in Romanian, I’m not sure how you’re going to rank any of that content on Google. And you would need keywords that work REALLY well with unedited AI (easy answers that don’t require any real world experience) and a very good AI in Romanian. In my experience, once you deviate from English, the quality of GPT4 answers declines. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with that type of content, myself. Moreover, I doubt Mediavine would ever accept such a site. Do they even accept sites in languages other than English? Something to look into.
          I’m not a native speaker of English, but I don’t think that should be a major concern. Your English seems good to me 🙂 Plus, you can always have an AI like ChatGPT or Claude go over your writing. Either that, or maybe try to curate a small site for the Romanian market, on a topic you really know and understand. Create that into a local brand by providing hi-quality content. Get media exposure as a local entrepreneur and work on getting direct traffic and creating a robust email list. Then maybe look into low-price info products. If they match your audience’s needs, it might work?
          Anyway, yes, good luck to us all in 2024!

          • Hi Anne,
              Thank you for your well-thought-out answer. Actually, I’m from Italy; sorry for the misunderstanding. My current plan is to publish 15K posts this year (around 50 a day) and do the editing myself. Create the others in another year, handing over part of the job to a few editors. It is a semi-programmatic approach (Koala + AP modified spreadsheet). But quality is good. The hard part is to put in 10 hours of work a day for 6 days a week! I expect 80% of traffic from Google, the rest from Facebook and Pinterest. I checked with Mediavine, and yes, they work with my country and my traffic, but they refused to share RPM. Anyway, probably your idea of creating something in English is the way to go. Other than not being native English, as a publisher, the US is a market that I do not know and that I know is much more competitive. I’ll probably give it a try, keeping one foot in Italy and one in the English market. I got great inspiration from this blog. Thank you and good luck again!

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