So, is it a viable strategy to go after those 500 to 1k monthly search volume terms?
You don't need a ton of volume to do well with 'best' terms.
Ex from an :amazon: site I'm looking at now:
Feb Users (GA): 7,541
Feb :amazon: Clicks: 4,751 (63% CTR)
Feb :amazon: Conv: 3.77% (179 ordered items)
Feb :amazon: Earnings: $399.91
Feb $/User: ~$0.05
So 100 visits a day = $5/day site, 200 = $10/day, etc
Worth noting the stuff the site's promoting is way out of season right now.
Here’s a bit of potential “golden” advice (which, some might not share quite so freely)...
Don’t necessarily build on ideas for specific products or niches, but rather use-cases & problem-solving.
So, rather than a site about Widgets, you would instead, have a site that shows people how to use Widgets to accomplish various tasks, how to protect their interests, improve their lives, how to make money, etc.
This same principle goes for domain name selection as well - choose domain names that speak to the end-users problem rather than the specific product/niche (of course, it’s great if it includes a keyword or two).
If you’re not inspired by the use-cases, and can’t think of how to develop robust content around those issues, then it’s probably a “pass.”