COVID-19 Impacts to Niche Site Owners

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2020 has been bananas. The global pandemic changed how people live, interact, and how businesses operate.

Many online businesses grew a lot since people spent more money online and less in person. And at the same time, Amazon changed the commission(YouTube Video) rate structure for its affiliate program.

Other businesses, like travel, saw dramatic drops as populations were forced to quarantine. Airline travel is down about 65% when comparing 2019 to 2020.

I asked niche site owners how the pandemic impacted them. Here are 7 stories, some sites benefited and others saw significant negative impacts.

Consumers are even more active online

Healy Jones from Fin vs Fin

How has your niche site been impacted by COVID-19 and the global pandemic?

Our major niche is direct-to-consumer products, with a heavy emphasis on telemedicine. This niche adjusted really well to COVID, as consumers shifted from shopping in stores and going to doctors’ offices to doing everything online.

Have your traffic and earnings changed?

We were growing prior to the pandemic, so it’s hard to say how much of the growth is due to our niche vs. our existing momentum. We had a slight dip in March, and then meaningful growth.

Our monthly earnings and traffic are basically 2x where they were in Jan. We are obviously continuing to create great content and tweak existing content to keep visitors coming and engaged with our site.

Have you changed your monetization strategy due to impacts related to COVID-19? If so, how?

No, we continue to monetize through affiliate links.


 

Travel is the Forbidden Fruit in 2020

Shaun Taylor from Moriti Safaris

How has your niche site been impacted by COVID-19 and the global pandemic?

I have lost all my business in 2020 due to postponements and cancellations

Have your traffic and earnings changed?

My traffic is the same and actually has increased. However, because no one can travel my earnings have dropped by over 90% as people look at traveling in 2021 or when they feel it is safe.

This is the norm. Officially in Africa, earnings and bookings have dropped by 91.3% since March.

Have you changed your monetization strategy due to impacts related to COVID-19? If so, how?

Yes, I have. I have started using Pinterest with the idea that people can save pins and come back to them later when travel opens up.


 

Eco-friendly is also Pandemic-friendly!

April Duffy from Cloth Diapers for Beginners

How has your niche site been impacted by COVID-19 and the global pandemic?

In the early days of the shutdown, when essentials like toilet paper, hand soap, and yes, baby diapers, were pillaged and impossible to find in stores, moms came flocking to my cloth diaper website and Facebook group.

The 2019/2020 school year was really the first opportunity I got to work on the site, so thanks to Spring Break lasting until September for my own kid as well I haven’t been able to work on it very much at all.

In other words, there have been minimal updates and new content added to the site since the shutdown, so I can’t say any of the traffic increase is typical or due to normal growth.

The quality of the audience is a different matter though, and something I think is worth mentioning. Before my audience was mostly *crunchy* moms who really wanted to cloth diaper their littles. They are still there, but there’s also now moms who are there to kind of check it out, or who felt forced into it a bit and maybe don’t want to so much.

Their questions and concerns can sometimes have negative undertones, and so it’s really challenged me to sell the whole idea of cloth diapers a bit more than I had to before.

Have your traffic and earnings changed?
Traffic more than doubled on the website, and membership tripled in the group (which for me means more email signups).

Currently, it’s down ever so slightly from March/April levels, but it’s still up. It’s currently higher than what it was before the shutdown in March.

Have you changed your monetization strategy due to impacts related to COVID-19? If so, how?
Pre-covid, my plans for April were all about Earth Day ad sales.

Earth Day is a big sale day for cloth diapers and retailers would have been happy to advertise as they have in the past.

In April of 2020, however, cloth diaper retailers were too busy to deal with the demand, had low stock, and didn’t really have the sales they normally have let alone want to advertise them. So that was quite a bit of money lost.

I did add my first, small product during the shutdown, so I instead focused on that, which did ok but didn’t make up for the ad revenue loss completely.

Adsense ads and Amazon conversion are up as well, but of course thanks to Amazon’s cut, it’s not as fantastic as it should be.

All in all, my “passive” income is up, but my advertising income was cut severely.

The audience growth was well worth it though, as I think I can monetize that later on a bit better.


My Site Since the Pandemic

Tomasio Rubinshtein from Philosocom

How has your niche site been impacted by COVID-19 and the global pandemic?
Since more people were at home, I got much more views.
Have your traffic and earnings changed?

Yes, there has been a drastic change compared to 2019 in traffic since the global spreading. Currently, the site isn’t monetized.

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Have you changed your monetization strategy due to impacts related to COVID-19? If so, how?
I did not change the monetization because of it. [Since it isn’t monetized at this time.]


Covid-19 destroyed my launch

Antonio James from Gossip Depot

How has your niche site been impacted by COVID-19 and the global pandemic?
As a website word of mouth is important, however covid force us to cancel all of our planned in person focus groups, face to face sales, and more.

Have your traffic and earnings changed?
Where we were expecting to have 10,000 new signups by September 1, 2020, we are dangerously close to not reaching that goal.

blankHave you changed your monetization strategy due to impacts related to COVID-19? If so, how?
Yes, instead of being defeated, I had to learn SEO, internet marketing, and how to navigate social media.


COVID-19 Changed my Business

Sir Sanju Ganglani from gang&lani media

How has your niche site been impacted by COVID-19 and the global pandemic?
Due to COVID-19 traffic and conversions came to almost a complete halt

Have your traffic and earnings changed?
Traffic and earnings went from a healthy pipeline to almost NIL at the peak of COVID-19, as expected, marketing budgets were the first to go.

Have you changed your monetization strategy due to impacts related to COVID-19? If so, how?
We focused more on long term services, such as SEO, and doubled our efforts on rebrands, websites, and helping people launch new businesses.


Gained Traction During Covid

Ashley from avoidthehack!

How has your niche site been impacted by COVID-19 and the global pandemic?
People are realizing that their data privacy (and protection) is important. It’s easier to get through to people – they’re coming to our very new website via search more than ever.

Have your traffic and earnings changed?
We don’t earn anything, even though we are supported by affiliates (we’ve looked at adding an option to donate. We don’t plan on utilizing ads.)

blankHave you changed your monetization strategy due to impacts related to COVID-19? If so, how?

No. [Since it isn’t monetized at this time.]

 

About the Author: Doug Cunnington is the founder of Niche Site Project. He shows people how to create Affiliate Sites using project management and a proven, repeatable framework. Doug loves creating systems, using templates, and brewing beer (but usually not at the same time).

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