Niche Site Academy Review: Unpopular Opinion
UPDATE March 7, 2023: Niche Site Academy is OPEN FOR ENROLLMENT for only 4 more days. This only happens TWICE per year.
Also, here is the niche site I gave up on after spending only 2 months on it. One year later, I hadn't touched it at all, and it was generating traffic (mostly from Pinterest). I even made some affiliate money off of it from Amazon:
Obviously, you're reading a Niche Site Academy review because you're trying to decide if you should spend your hard-earned money on just one of the hundreds of blogging courses that are being pushed on you ALL the freaking time.
So let me cut right to the chase:
Do I recommend Niche Site Academy?
No—UNLESS you meet a very specific set of criteria, which I will outline below. It's complicated, and here's why: Niche Site Academy is the most high-quality and in-depth course I've taken about niche selection, and Mike is the real deal (in 2020, he sold one of his niche blogs for MULTIPLE six figures).
BUT Niche Site Academy is NOT for people who want to make money (or even see traffic!) from their blog within the first 6 months or even first year. In fact, I started a niche site after taking this course and QUIT after two months because I was so discouraged and exhausted.
Read on to find out what I mean.
But wait…what are my credentials?
You shouldn't listen to ANYTHING I say about Niche Site Academy until you understand the context of where I am coming from. (Actually, this goes for ANYONE who is writing a Niche Site Academy review. Even when someone highly recommends a course, their recommendation means NOTHING unless their circumstances/level of skill match your own):
- I have been blogging since 2008 and sold one blog for more money than I made in a year at my full-time job (so I know a lot about blogging for money).
- I am an affiliate for this course (so I might be biased no matter how much I think I am not).
- I have taken 12 paid blogging courses (so I can more accurately compare and contrast the quality of courses). Here is everything I have taken:
- Instagram with Intention
- Pinfinite Growth
- Pinterest Traffic Avalanche
- Pinteresting Strategies
- Pajama Affiliates Affiliate Marketing and SEO Courses
- Genius Bloggers Toolkit
- Pinterest Strategy Guide by The Busy Budgeter
- Six-Figure Bloggers by Create and Go
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
- Stupid Simple SEO
- Niche Site Academy
- Project 24
- Perfecting Pinterest
Why You Need a Blogging Course That is Specifically About Niche Selection
Most bloggers who want to make money fail because they chose the wrong niche. And the sad thing about this is, because of the slow nature of profitable blogging, if you choose the wrong niche, you won't even KNOW it until two years down the line when you STILL haven't made a single penny from your blog.
The reason you need to take a course about niche selection is that it will save you SO much time, money, and frustration.
If you've taken all the Pinterest courses…
If you've been writing posts consistently…
If you've been grinding away at your blog for years, and STILL cannot make money…
The problem is your niche. Plain and simple. And yet, niche selection is NOT something most bloggers focus on. I've been blogging professionally since 2012, and niche selection was never part of my training.
In fact, I always frowned upon “niching down.” Why? Because I had a very broad travel blog, and it was doing quite well. I was making about $5,000/month. I thought that meant I had this blogging for money thing down.
But after I sold my travel blog and started new blogs in an attempt to make the same kind of money—I failed. Again and again. I tried for 2 years, and still couldn't make ANY money with my blogs.
But I'm an experienced blogger. A professional writer. I'm well-versed in SEO. How could this be?
It's because I was approaching niche selection the WRONG WAY. Maybe you are too. Does this sound familiar? Does your niche selection go something like…
“Hm, what am I an expert in? What did I study in school? Which subjects do I know about? Which topics am I passionate about?”
And then you pick from that list.
NO. Do not do this. This is where I went wrong.
Niche Site Academy shows you how to rely on data and results to choose the niche that will make you money.
Niche Site Academy Review: Breakdown of My Experience with the Course
- **Update March 2023** You NO LONGER need to purchase the expensive SEO software Ahrefs to take Niche Site Academy. Mike has created his own software (NicheFinder.io) that he gives to you for FREE when you enroll in Niche Site Academy. I went through the course a little differently. I didn't buy Ahrefs (paid tool required for the course) at first. I just went ahead and took all the modules so I could get a feel for it, and THEN I went back and bought Ahrefs and went back through the modules showing me how to use the keyword research tool to find a money-making niche.
- Once you get to the part about installing Ahrefs, you might think you can’t continue until you install it, but that’s not true! Just keep watching, and you’ll have a good idea of how to use it before you buy it.
- He gives lots of EXAMPLES, where you literally look over his shoulder as he shares his screen. He walks you through the process of evaluating niche ideas over and over. So helpful.
- He does a good job of letting you know when you can skip ahead.
- He is SO clever! He finds cool “hacks” for validating niche site ideas (Ghostery is an ad blocker but he uses it to see if a site is on an ad network to verify minimum traffic)
What you learn in Niche Site Academy
- What to expect in terms of how long it'll take to make money from your niche site
- The “Niche Site Framework” Mike uses for every blog he starts
- How to find profitable niche ideas in a data-driven way
- How to validate your niche ideas to quickly tell if something is a waste of time or not
- How to set up your niche site
- How to do keyword research and SEO
- The exact framework Mike and his writers use to write blog content, How to use linkbuilding to help your niche site rank faster
- Bonus: How to scale and outsource content by hiring a team of writers to create content for you
This is why building a niche site is horrible
Mike is VERY upfront about this. In the course, he tells you to take an 18-24-month view. That means, do NOT expect to make ANY MONEY in the first year of starting your niche site.
In one course video (screenshot below), he straight-up says, “Most people will just give up right here.” After EIGHT months and FIFTY articles, Mike was STILL MAKING ZERO DOLLARS. Heck yes, I'd give up there too. But thankfully, Mike didn't. In month 33, he made $18,000.
Let me be transparent: I gave up on my niche site and there are regular postings in the Niche Site Academy Facebook group about people who have already given up or are considering doing so. There are also success stories being posted there too, but I feel like they're fewer in number.
When Does Niche Site Academy Open for Enrollment?
Niche Site Academy only opens its doors TWO times per year. BUT, you can always join the waitlist here to be notified when it opens. Mike usually opens the course for enrollment in November—that's when I bought the course! So keep an eye out in November for sure.
Should I Buy Stupid Simple SEO or Niche Site Academy First? What's the Difference?
Okay, so here's the thing: BOTH courses teach a VERY SLOW way of earning money blogging. Having said that, there's no truly “fast” way to make money blogging. It takes so much time. There's only slow and very slow (sorry!).
Once you understand that making money blogging takes a really long time, here's my suggestion as someone who has purchased BOTH courses: Get Niche Site Academy first.
Here's my logic: Before you even think about SEO, you have to think about blog topics, and before you think about blog topics, you have to think about niche. It all begins with the niche. If you choose a niche that won't make you any money…you'll never make any money. It would suck to get to the two-year mark on your blog only to find out you chose the wrong niche. Get Niche Site Academy first.
Niche Site Academy vs. Project 24 by Income School: Which Is Better?
So, I purchased Project 24 too (I'm a course hoarder!) and here's what I can say: They are two VERY DIFFERENT ways to achieve the same thing. Both take a long time (Project 24 is called so because the creators say it takes 24 months to get your blog to full-time income, which is fair).
- Niche Site Academy goes really in-depth into finding a profitable niche.
- Project 24 has way more variety with courses about YouTube, SEO, niche selection and much more.
- Project 24's niche selection process is extremely different from Niche Site Academy's process. P24 is less detailed and less “scientific,” but it probably still works. Depends which process you prefer.
- P24's SEO course is the WEIRDEST SEO advice I've ever heard. It's completely different from what I've been taught, and again, it's less scientific. But, clearly, it works because the creators have several blogs making thousands a month.
P24 is crazy overwhelming because of the wide variety of courses and topics. I haven't even finished that course because it's basically 50 courses rolled into one platform. Niche Site Academy is limited only to niche selection, with a little bit of SEO training thrown in.
Who Teaches Niche Site Academy? Meet Mike Pearson
I first found Mike back in 2018 when I was looking for an SEO course to take. To be frank, I thought I already knew all there was to know about SEO (I've been studying it since 2010), but people kept raving about Mike's Stupid Simple SEO course, so I got curious and bought it. What's more, Mike himself says that Stupid Simple SEO is not an advanced SEO course. But what shocked me is I learned so much from Stupid Simple SEO that I'd never heard of before. And by following Mike's tactic's, one blog post ranked number one and brings a huge amount of traffic to my old travel blog. So I know he knows what he's talking about!
Mike works a full-time job and runs multiple niche sites on the side. He earns tens of thousands of dollars a month from these, he's sold many sites, and he sold one niche site in 2020 for multiple six figures.
So…Should I Buy Niche Site Academy?
You would benefit from Niche Site Academy IF:
- You are starting a blog with the main goal of making money from it, and it's not about “following your passion” for you.
- You have a TON of patience and are willing to wait 18-24 months to see any results from your blog.
- You're not sure what to blog about that will make money.
- You want a proven, rigid, and data-intensive process for selecting a profitable niche.
You would NOT benefit from Niche Site Academy if:
- You are starting your blog with the main goal of having fun with it, and you don't care if it never makes much money.
- You need to make money fast and want to see traffic to your blog within the first three months.
- You have little to no patience and give up easily when you don't see results within a few weeks.
- You already know what you want to blog about, and nothing will change your mind.
Final Words: Do I Regret Buying Niche Site Academy?
NO, my only regret is that I didn't buy it BEFORE launching three new blogs without doing any niche research. I'm gonna be real transparent here.
This is the niche I selected after taking Niche Site Academy: college life. I gave up three months into it, despite having added more than 20 posts in a short span of time! For some reason, even though the niche research I did met exactly the standards Mike promotes, I just couldn't get anything to rank. I started the college life niche site in December 2020, and it is now July 2021, and nothing is ranking on the first page of Google despite having “easy” competition.
On the flip side, I started these three niche sites BEFORE taking Niche Site Academy and WITHOUT doing any research:
For ALL THREE blogs, within four months, I had at least one post ranking on the first page of Google, WITHOUT doing any keyword research. I just wrote posts based on what I knew and what I thought would be helpful.
BUT, here's the thing: Those are all extremely competitive niches (especially blogging about blogging). Even though my oldest blog out of the three mentioned above is now FOUR years old—it still only made $350 last month.
I am CONVINCED that I should've taken Niche Site Academy before sinking so much time and effort into those three blogs. Yes, my college life blog that I chose after taking NSA “failed,” but I only worked at it for three months and gave up. It might just be a fluke; maybe college life is NOT a good niche after all, but NSA gave me other niche ideas that I might pursue later on. The tricky spot I'm in is this: Do I give up on the three blogs I've been working on for years, when I already have some traction? Or do I start over from scratch yet again?
Niche Site Academy Price
As of March 2023, the Niche Site Academy price is $497 OR four payments of $147. I bought it for $297 in November 2020. The price keeps going up, so honestly, if you wanna buy it, buy it now to save money. The course only opens up twice per year, so you don't have too many chances at it.
If you want to get the most out of Niche Site Academy, you need to do this
Unpopular opinion: Buy a Pinterest course to supplement Niche Site Academy. Now, to be clear, Mike hates Pinterest. He thinks it's a waste of time, and he doesn't use it for his own blogs and still makes THOUSANDS of dollars a month. Good for him!
However, I am CONVINCED that only 1 in 100 people has the patience to wait an entire year to see any results from something they are pouring their heart and time into (ahem, niche sites). For that reason, I find it's best to use Pinterest in conjunction with a strategy course like Niche Site Academy. That's how I was able to find the motivation to continue building a new blog.
I think the best course for this is Pinteresting Strategies—it's the cheapest AND most effective. It got me results like this within four months (with VERY little time invested):
The cool thing is that Carly Campbell, the creator of Pinteresting Strategies, actually appears in a guest module in Niche Site Academy! She teaches you how to pick a good niche for Pinterest. However, what she shows there is NOT enough to drive tons of traffic to your niche site from Pinterest. For that, I highly recommend you buy her course (which is super inexpensive compared to Niche Site Academy).
So in short, yes, I'd recommend Niche Site Academy if you meet the requirements I listed above AND if you buy Pinteresting Strategies and follow the strategy to get quick traffic to your blog to keep up your motivation those first 12 months. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure you'll just give up (and I wouldn't blame you). My niche site has been sitting stagnant since January. I shifted my focus to a lifestyle blog (basically the opposite of a niche site) that I started in 2019, and that's been more rewarding because it receives Pinterest traffic and is making some affiliate and ad income already.
Mike only opens the doors to Niche Site Academy TWO times per YEAR. So enroll while you still can!
You can also sign up for Mike's FREE video course on building niche sites. That'll give you a good feel for his style of teaching, and you can see for yourself if what he says is actually valuable.
And if you're still skeptical (I feel ya), here's my post on why you probably shouldn't buy that online course.