If you're a small genealogy business owner, stop posting general information like census data or passenger lists on your site, the big companies will always outpace your efforts. And our industry is seeing an increase in the number of medium companies (e.g. WorldVitalRecords.com and GenealogyBank.com) joining in the fray.
Yes, many genealogists are frugal and will often seek a free source for the information they are looking for, but as these medium companies grow and the bigger companies invest more and more in mainstream advertising, will the next generation of genealogists even think to check your site for these commodity items?
Compound this changing climate in our industry with the glut of keyword-happy Google AdSense web sites, and the visibility of a smaller genealogy web site will clearly be on the decline.
One of the solutions is to hone your collecting skills and expertise on smaller, more unique information sources and then become the best online resource.
Another reason I'm looking at this strategy is that the affiliate marketing opportunities available today (versus several years ago) are more focused on new customer acquisition. By specializing in more unique resources, you have the opportunity to reach individuals that may be interested in genealogy but not actively pursuing the hobby.
For example, a couple of months ago I stumbled upon a World War Two ration book in an antique shop. The book had interesting genealogical information on it, so I bought it. When I got back to the office, I did some research and found that there weren't any online repositories of these little books.
Now, as I'm collecting and expanding the WW2 war ration book database index on Genealogy Today, I'm also attracting military enthusiasts and researchers.
And the last marketing incentive for creating a specialized online resource is the ability to establish links from non-genealogy web site. Developing a highly focused page on the topic will get you good search engine placement, thus webmasters will find your page and link to it. How can they resist when you're the only site with an abundance of information on the topic, right?
The remaining question is how many niches can you establish and still have enough resources to be remarkable in each!