The real estate industry is one of the most popular and evergreen niches in affiliate marketing. The need for housing (and therefore the demand) will always be there, no matter what. But since it is an evergreen, the niche is also highly competitive.
When you’re interested a niche that is very competitive, you should choose the road less traveled. That means finding a specialized sub-niche to steer clear of the industry giants and make your affiliate site stand out more.
In real estate, there are obviously a lot of options to cater to smaller, more specialized groups of interested buyers. But one that is popular with consumers but still small enough for an affiliate marketers, is tiny homes.
The Tiny House Movement
Redefining the Real Estate Industry
Tiny houses are exactly what the name suggests: small homes, that are often portable. The average size of these homes is 500 to 700 square feet, which is about on par with a studio apartment, and you can find even smaller models on occasions. The popularity of this movement is a side product of pushing back against a materialistic culture — a way to break free from the clutter and get "back to basics." They're also quite a bit less expensive than your typical home.
If you can’t picture what a tiny home might look like, you should check out the affiliate websites Tiny House Talk and Affordable Housing Designs for reference. Both the sites promote tiny house affiliate programs, which range from real estate listings to DIY eBooks, downloadable floor plans, and videos and workshops about tiny houses.
Will this niche be a viable option for an affiliate website, without too much competition? Let’s take a look!
Is "Tiny Home" synonymous with "Big Money"?
Tiny homes have been around for a while, but it's really only in the past decade that they've really come into the public consciousness. If you're a fan of home improvement and DIY-type TV shows, the odds are good you've probably stumbled across a show or two (or three) about people buying and building their tiny homes.
The recession of 2008-2009 likely played a big factor in the popularity too: as your typical home became too expensive and difficult to obtain, people started looking at alternatives. Enter the tiny home: affordable, practical, and often capable of traveling.
It's not just the economic practicality that draws people to tiny homes. For sure, it's a way to push back against a culture that defines wealth as "owning a lot of things." Tiny homes encourage people to downsize, to eliminate clutter and useless items from their lives. It's about simplicity, and that surely appeals to people.
It's not just a crazy fad that's making its rounds on the reality TV circuit, either. CNBC reports how tiny homes have become more important as ever, promoting affordability and convenience to buyers.
In 2015, Bloomberg featured an article on the sudden spread of television shows featuring tiny houses. The article also provided statistics on the viewership of a well-known real estate show called the Tiny House Nation, which rose from 257,000 viewers per week in its first season to 465,000 in its second. That alone gives us an idea how popular the niche is, at least among TV viewers.
But since we are promoting products online, it's a good practice to check the demand for a niche by looking at the number of people searching online for niche-related topics.
To get this information, we will use Google Trends. Why? Because Google is the most popular search engine out there, and it's kind enough to make information about the popularity of various searches available to us!
Let’s take a look at the graph below. Over the last 5 years, the term “tiny houses” has risen in popularity. And even though there are periodic spikes and dips in popularity), interest in the term “tiny houses” is generally trending upwards.
Building Your Keywords
Where the keyword list doesn't have to be tiny!
Now that we know there's definite interest in this niche, let's look at how competitive the keywords are.
There are many, many ways to conduct your keyword research. As for me, I like to use a lot of tools to get my list.
When it comes to getting your keywords, the more the better. If you end up with far more keywords than you need, just keep them! Choose the best keywords for your pages, and refer to the list later for more ideas.
I like to pare my list down to a maximum of 5 keywords per page. So for example, if I had 5 web pages, each with 5 keywords, that would be a total of 25 keywords. It doesn't matter whether these keywords are related or similar, so long as they describe what the page is about.
What about the rest of the keywords? Believe me, you will find a use for them as you create new pages and new articles to use for your marketing campaign. So don't worry if you have a lot of keywords in your list. Just choose the most promising ones (usually these are the top-searched keywords in your list) for the most important pages of your site.
Keyword Ideas by Google
When you have no idea where to start with your keyword research, a great place to begin is Google. Enter any seed keyword in the search box and see what the search engine giant suggests as a starting point.
Since we are covering the tiny house niche, that will be our seed keyword:
Google will automatically suggest keywords that are closely related to what you've already entered. You can use these suggested keywords later on your site.
Remember, right now we are just gathering potential keywords for the site. So try variations and multiple related keywords to see what comes up. Once you have a decent starter list, you need to re-run these keywords using Affilotools to check their competitiveness.
Another tool you can use to find potential keywords is Google Trends, which er used previously to investigate the popularity of the tiny homes niche.
Just visit the Google Trends site and enter your seed keyword, “tiny houses.” At the bottom of the results page, you can see the "related topics" and "related queries" sections.
You can set the results for each section to “top keywords” or to “rising keywords.” The top keyword results are the most popular keywords over a long period, while the rising keywords are related topics that have increased in popularity recently.
When you've investigated the Trends data, start adding your most promising keywords to the list.
If you are looking for more potential keywords, I recommend you try Ubersuggest. Simply enter the keyword “tiny houses” and the site will generate a large list of related keyword combinations, as you can see here:
Ubersuggest will give you more keyword ideas in a single go. For the term “tiny houses” you get 356 keywords, which is more than enough to get you started with your keyword competition search. You'll certainly eliminate a lot of them when you start to dig deeper.
One of the nice things about Ubersuggest is you don't have to manually copy/paste your keyword data. The site's "download" button allows you to generate a document with all the keyword data already loaded into it.
Once you've gone through the other sources on this list and gathered all potential keywords for your site, it's time to run the data through AffiloTools, a browser-based SEO tool that provides keyword research, domain research, traffic data, social media integration, and more. Since we are only looking for keyword competition, we will specifically use the AffiloTools Keyword Research Tool.
There are 3 different ways to enter keywords in AffiloTools:
- You can simply copy the keywords in your file and paste them into the AffiloTools search box, as shown above.
- You can use the "import file" button as shown. Please note that you can only import files in CSV format.
- You can simply copy and paste a website URL (this site can be a competitor site) that you want to get your keywords from.
What are we looking for in terms of keyword competition? We are looking for keywords with high search numbers (indicating popularity) but low to moderate competition (meaning you could easily get your site to rank for that keyword).
Going back to AffiloTools, I have entered “tiny houses on wheels” to check how competitive the keyword is. Here are the results:
What is good about AffiloTools is you can easily check the competitiveness of the keyword by looking at the colors under the Competition tab. Red means highly competitive. Yellow means medium competition. Green means low competition.
Based on the data, “tiny houses on wheels” is a highly competitive keyword, with a score of 95%. Is that a deal-breaker? Well, it depends. Low- and medium-competition keywords are much easier to work with, but you can also target high-competition keywords if the top-ranking sites are likely to be outranked with a bit of effort.
Let’s take “tiny houses on wheels” as an example. This is a highly competitive keyword, but that's not all there is to say about it. Let's take a closer look at the competition.
You'll need is an SEO plugin for browsers to do this next bit of research. I personally use SEO Quake for this step.
First, enter “tiny houses on wheels” (including the quotation marks) in Google. Using quotation marks will deliver only exact keyword results, so you can be sure that the data is accurate.
When I did this search, I found 430,000 competing sites using "tiny houses on wheels" as a keyword, which is not bad. There are also no ads displayed for this term either, which is a huge advantage.
What about the sites on the first page of Google results? Are they competitive or easy to outrank? That is where SEO Quake comes in handy.
By using the plugin, you can get exact data and figure out why the site is ranking high in the search engine results. The information generated includes details about the site’s backlinks, WHOIS, domain age, Google index, Alexa rank, and more.
Let’s analyze the top 10 results for tiny houses on wheels. The results are mostly well-known sites like HGTV, Pinterest, and YouTube. I will disregard YouTube and Pinterest as my competitors for this niche because these are social media sites. I can create my own YouTube and Pinterest pages, optimize them, and rank them as well for the given keyword term. As for HGTV, clearly this is an authority site for the niche. It is not impossible to outrank this kind of site but since it's a very popular one, you will need to invest a LOT of time, effort, and money to pull it off.
So out of 10, we have one very competitive site. What about the rest? I consider the rest of the sites to be medium-level competition, meaning I can outrank them in time. How can I tell? Besides my instincts and experience, I can see almost all younger domains on the top 10 list. These sites date to 2014-2016, mostly. Another factor I have considered is the number of pages that are indexed by Google. The no. 6 site has 34 indexed pages. No. 10 has 8 indexed pages on Google.
The backlinks are also good indicators for competition. Although I am not sure whether the data given is accurate (TIP: You can always double check the backlinks data using AffiloTools' Backlink Checker), you can see that most of these sites have fewer than 100 backlinks.
After analyzing the top results using SEO Quake, I would include the keyword “tiny houses on wheels” as one of my target keywords for the site. There's competition, but if you know what you're doing, you can overcome it.
BTW, “tiny houses on wheels” has a local search volume of 5400, which is low but still a good number. Normally for a sub-niche site, choosing long-tail keywords rather than the generic ones like "tiny homes" is the best strategy to target the right market. It does not matter if the search volume for most of these keywords are less than 10k: As long as you have the right keywords that will bring in the right type of interested buyer, your conversion rate could easily beat out the numbers for some of the most popular keywords out there.
Tiny House Affiliate Programs
"Tiny" doesn't always mean "cheap", at least where commissions are concerned.
About Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
Recognized as the largest tiny house and RV builder in North America, Tumbleweed provides ready-made tiny home models, custom designs, books, DVDs, and workshops. The company is also an RVIA-certified manufacturer and TRA-certified for producing green recreational vehicles.
How much can I make?
Affiliate earn 20% on books, DVDs, building plans, and workshops, plus 10% for each sale of a tiny house trailer.
How do I apply?
You may apply as an affiliate at Avantlink.
About DIY House Building
This site is managed by husband and wife duo Tom and Shane. The website provides DIY projects for bulding eco-friendly and cost-effective houses. The website is not solely focused at tiny homes alone, but much of it will apply.
How much can I make?
50% on each sale.
How do I apply?
You may apply as an affiliate through Clickbank by searching for the keyword "Tiny House Plans" in the marketplace section.
The website offers training content for tiny home builders, including how to get sponsors for their building materials and cash for tiny house projects.
How much can I make?
50% on each sale.
How do I apply?
You can sign-up at the Sponsormatic affiliates page here.
About The Tiny Project
This is a blog site maintained by husband and wife pair Alek and Lee. The website promotes living in a tiny home, emphasizing simplicity and affordability. The site sells tiny house construction plans.
How much can I make?
20% on each sale.
How do I apply?
You may sign up directly on the site here.
5. Humble Homes
About Humble Homes
Humble Homes offers tiny house and modular house plans. The site also has plans for cabins and retreat houses for people who want something a bit different.
How much can I make?
25% on each sale.
Building A Presence
Link building is the first step in spreading the word out about your site. But you don't just stop at one strategy. Combine your link-building tactics with other methods, such as social media marketing, eBook promotion, and inbound marketing.
Link building and inbound marketing is challenging. There are a lot of methods to try, and it's almost always trial-and-error when you're first starting out. Even when you've built a site or two and know your way around, you can find yourself getting stumped in this area occasionally.
You may have a link-building strategy that has worked for three of your sites. That is no guarantee the same will work for your fourth site.
So it's always a good idea to keep up with the times. Read and learn more about current link-building and inbound marketing methods. Have a strategy ready, even while in the early stages of building your site.
The time to start link-building can creep up on you before you know it, so it's best to have at least a rough draft of how you'll promote the site once it's up well before you get to that stage.
Social Media Marketing
Pinterest is a great place to share images of these lovely homes, then include your affiliate link, or a link to a relevant article on your site where your affiliate link is waiting, especially because it works as a giant bulletin board where people can collect ideas.
You can use other social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook, but Pinterest and Instagram, with their image-sharing features and millions of users, are the best venues for promoting tiny houses.
Amazon Kindle Traffic
Take your research further, or have someone do the research for you, and create a small eBook on tiny houses. It does not have to be comprehensive. Focus on a specific topic, like current design trends, or how you can further maximize space in these small dwellings.
Place your affiliate links, or links to relevant pages on your site, in the e-book and then upload it to Amazon. You can charge a small fee for each download, but giving it away for free will most likely get you more traffic to your site.
You can also use the same e-book as bait to increase your subscriber numbers.
If you have the research and know a good designer (or you are one yourself), consider creating a cool infographic about tiny houses and link back to your resources. This is not just so you have content that can easily go viral, but also so that you'll have some "bait" for the authority sites in your niche.
Once the infographic is published, send an email to your resources and let them know you featured them. If they take the bait, you'll get a high-profile site linking back to yours. If not — well, you still have that awesome content.
It doesn't have to be an infographic, either. Any content (a well-written article, a slideshow or whiteboard video) will do for this particular method.
Tiny House Affiliate Programs: Huge Profits or Too Small for Comfort?
The tiny house movement is becoming more and more popular. it's not just a fad; it's a lifestyle that's building a following.
The commissions you could earn from the affiliate programs in this niche are substantial. Whether you want to go and buy a tiny house yourself, you're already living in one, or even if you just fancy owning a tiny house one day far in the future, this is a good niche to go into. It's also a great way to expand a website on real estate.
There's the usual competition to be expected, especially for a popular trend. The way to succeed is to have a link-building and inbound marketing strategy ready. Do your research and plan out the content for your site, so you're ready to go once the site building is done.
I hope you enjoyed this week's Niche of the Week. Are you interested in tiny houses? Would you live in one? Are there any niches you want featured? Don't be shy — leave a comment and let us know!
PS: If you are want to learn how to uncover a potential highly profitable sub-niche for your next affiliate site, you should check out our best-selling course, AffiloBlueprint.