Last week I listened to a presentation by a leading blogger.

He claimed that 80% of revenues in any niche subject go to the top five websites. The remaining 20% is shared between the hundreds of other sites in the niche.

This theory supports my observations.

A top 5 niche website always makes more money because:

  • it will attract more traffic
  • advertisers pay more to be linked to leading sites
  • other website owners want to be associated with it so they link to it
  • readers trust it and so are happy to spend more money
  • the owners get paid to speak at events, write guest articles and feature in books
  • new opportunities continually come along to perceived leaders

Success breeds success.

Money follows money.

For your website to be really successful it needs to be in the top five sites for its niche.

How do You Ensure You Are in the Top 5?

The first an obvious thing to say is pick your niche carefully. If you choose a subject as broad as 'fishing', you will probably never be a world leading site.

However if you choose 'fly-fishing in Scotland' there is a very good chance you can be world beater.

There is a balance here. If you choose a subject with a lot of competition, you could struggle to get into the top 5. However if you pick a subject with no competition, it probably means that there is only a limited number of people interested in the topic.

Ideally you need a subject with a reasonable sized audience which means there will be a reasonable amount of competition. If this is the case, how do you ensure that your site s in the top 5.

I suggest a two pronged attack:

STEP #1 - Identify the top five websites in your niche and undertake a detailed analysis of what they do well.

STEP #2 - Then take a look at the top 100 websites in the world and learn their secrets of success.

When you combine the best of your own sector with what the best in the world are doing you can’t fail to be successful.

STEP #1 – Identifying The Top 5 Competitors

If you have been working in your niche for sometime, you should already have a good idea who your competition are. If you are just getting started, the easiest way to find your competition is to:
  • Write down the ten most important keyword phrases for your niche
  • Do a search on Google for each of these phrases
  • Write down all the websites that appear on the first page of results for each phrase
  • Go to ( and put in each of the domain names of the sites you have identified.
  • Create a list of the most popular
  • Select the top 5

Armed with this list, the next stage is to undertake a detailed analysis of each of these sites.

Becoming the Best

To become the best you have got to be better than the best. 

This is the way to analyse the top 5 websites.


  • What does the website cover?
  • What are the boundaries of the coverage?
  • What don’t they include?
  • Who is the site aimed at?
  • What types of content do they have on their site? (articles, videos, audio clips, downloads)
  • How often do they add new stuff to the site?
  • How long are their articles?
  • If the site has a section called ‘Most Popular Articles’ (or similar), what are the topics that are most successful?
  • Is the content created by one individual or a team?
  • What is the ‘tone’ or ‘voice’ of the content? This means is it friendly or formal; opinionated or factual; fun or serious; controversial or consensual)
  • If they allow reader comments, are there lots of them? What questions are being asked? What articles get the most comments?
  • Does the site have a forum? Is it active? What are the most poplar topics?
  • Do they have an email newsletter? Sign-up to see what it is like
  • What other functionality do they have to encourage their readers to interact with the site?

Making Money

  • How does the website make money?
  • If advertising, who are the advertisers?
  • If subscription how much do they charge?
  • If ecommerce, what products do they sell?

  • How many inbound links does the site have?
  • Which pages of content have the most links?

  • What are your first impressions of their site? Positive or negative
  • Well designed or amateur?
  • Are the pages well laid out?
  • Is the navigation easy to use?
  • Do the colours work?

STEP #2 – Learning from the Best in The World

I would recommend that you look at the top 100 blogs in the world.

You can find them at Technorati Top 100 .

Whilst your website might not be a blog, if it is driven by content then the top bloggers are a great source of inspiration and ideas.

I would not recommend doing a very detailed analysis of these sites as it would take too much time, but scan as many sites as you can, to look at:

  • Design, including layout, navigation, white space and colours
  • The tone and voice of the content
  • How they use images
  • The content mix
  • The functionality of the sites
  • The way they make money
Make notes of the things that impress you so that you can use them on your site.

Plan and Act



Once you have completed these two exercises, you should have a really good idea of how to make your website the best in your niche.

You should know how to design it, what content to create, what tone you want, how you will build community and all the possible ways to make money.

You MUST build all these points into a plan, which is broken down into bite size chunks. Each task MUST have a deadline or it is unlikely to get done.

Finally you MUST act on this plan with focus and determination.

If you do, you will be improving on every aspect of the best sites in your niche with lessons from the best sites in the world. How can you fail to be successful and make it into the Top 5?!

Good luck and enjoy!