30th Dec 2012 | by: Nick LeRoy

If you want to read more about the progression of this niche site experiment check out these posts.

I’ve been debating for months whether or not I should publish posts in regards to niche websites or specific sites in which I make money from.  I recently mentioned in my 2013 goals post that I want to do less client work and focus most of my time into personal websites.  With that said I have also decided to test out a niche site experiment i’m running with you guys.

I really enjoy reading about peoples success stories and basically anything niche website related — especially from Adsense Flippers, Niche Pursuits and Smart Passive Income.  All three sites are inspirational and were sources that helped me build some of my “side income”.

Today I share with you my first post on niche website.  My niche site experiment.  Please note that some of the links that I share with you are affiliate links.  I wouldn’t waste my time or yours if I didn’t think they offered value and saved tons of time.  So thanks in advance if you use them, but if not – still check out the products by typing into Google the product name.

My Niche Site Goal

This experiment is completely different then my other websites.  I’m normally a big fan of building large authority sites and ranking for all sorts of long tail keywords to build traffic.  At that point I monetize the site with Adsense, affiliate offers or lead generation offers.  Typically, large authority sites take a lot of resources not limited to content generation and major link building.  It’s a long term strategy that if done right can make some serious dough.   This niche site experiment is a little different.  The goal is to rank for long tail keywords with very minimum link building if any at all. 

What I’m Looking For In a Keyword Phrase

keyword-phrase

When I started with this niche site experiment last week I had the idea of using Adsense as a primary monetization strategy.  With that said I knew it would be important to find a profitable keyword that had buying intent.  For example  “cheap web hosting” vs “godaddy vs hostgator hosting”.  While both can generate a lot of traffic “cheap web hosting” is a search phrase that is conducted by people already further along in the buying process.  Choosing a keyword with buying intent is very important since the goal of the site will be to generate traffic that is interested in clicking on the advertisements.

What Information Am I Looking at When Selecting Keywords?

When searching for keyword phrases i’m looking at a couple things in specifically:

  • Monthly search (how many visitors per month)
  • Advertising competition (How many advertisers are bidding on this keyword phrase?)
  • Google competition (Whats it going to take to rank?)
  • Average cost per click (CPC) that is above 50 cents.
  • Is an exact match domain available in a .com . net or .org TLD.

Everyone’s “requirements” for the list mentioned above might be a little different.  For this very specific niche site experiment my goal was to rank without having to do much link building.  So finding high search volume, low competition and moderate CPC is very important.

How Do I Find My Keywords?

longtail

A couple weeks back I was introduced to Long Tail Pro.  This software is a major time saver.  There is nothing more time consuming then searching the google keyword tool, doing a Google search for competition numbers, running to godaddy to see if a domain is available AND check to see who is advertising for this keyword.  This task literally took 20 plus minutes per search! Long Tail Pro does everything for me in one screen and for the price it’s definitely worth the investment.  I’ll explain in my niche site selection how this software helped me select a keyword in a fraction of the time it would normally take me.

What Did I Choose For A Niche & Keyword?

So When I said I fought with myself over the past few months to write and publish this post this was the part that stopped me from writing.  I’ve seen people go after other bloggers niches and keywords and since the goal of this niche experiment is to rank without link building it could be fairly easy to outrank if someone wants to put the time and effort into building links.  So with that said, i’ll give you a lot of details but at this time I will not be announcing the exact domain or keyword phrase.  Sorry.

The niche I selected to build a niche website in is apparel.  The one thing I have learned over the years is that women typically click on any banner advertisement that saves them money.  A lot of the Adsense ads include savings, discounts, coupons etc so it is perfect for this website.

After spending about an hour using long tail pro (this was after signing up for the free 10 day trial) I was able to to find a three word keyword phrase that offered:

  • CPC of .77
  • local search of 1600
  • google competition of less than 4000 sites.
  • Exact match domain available.

The best part was that an exact match domain was available too.  See below for the metrics via LongTailPro
LTP-snippet

How Much Time & $$$ Did I Spend?

Within one hours time I had my niche, keyword phrase and domain picked out.  Because I was using the free 10 day trial of LTP I hadn’t spent a cent.   I found a coupon online and purchased the domain name from GoDaddy for $2.99 for one year.  I already have a web hosting account at HostGator so it didn’t cost me anything more then what I already pay.  If you don’t already have web hosting HostGator offers great hosting at about 6 bucks a month (for unlimited domains).  HostGator also has one-click WordPress installation which is fantastic for individuals like myself who aren’t extremely tech savvy.

So at this point the total cost of my niche site is $3.13 (with taxes) for registering the domain.

WordPress, Design, & Content

wordpress-logo With the domain in hand and keyword phrase selected it was time to push forward with the site build out.  I’m a huge fan of WordPress so I used the one-click installation through HostGator to get everything set up.  After that I uploaded a WordPress theme that is extremely customizable.  If you need a cheap WordPress theme for your site I highly suggest checking out ThemeForest.net. In fact, that’s where I got the theme for NickLeRoy.com

As for the content I had two options. I could write it myself or outsource it.  I decided this time to write the content myself and save the extra cash. I have routinely had content written for about $10 a page that’s both researched and coherent on odesk.com.  You can also outsource your WordPress install, theme install in addition to the content if your pressed for time.

Updating the time it took me to get the site up and running to this point.

  • Keyword research & domain registration – 60 minutes
  • WordPress installation and theme upload – 20 minutes
  • Tweaking my custom WP theme – 120 minutes (I suck at design & development – I admit it)
  • Writing 5 pages of researched content roughly 500-900 words each page. — 120 minutes

That’s a grand total of 5 hours and 20 minutes with a total cost of $3.13 cents.  I could have outsourced the content generation and theme customization for about $100 but I was cheap and had time with the holidays so I saved the cash and did it myself.  If this niche experiment is a success i’ll likely outsource much more of future site development.

One Week Later… I Rank Where?

One week after the website was launched and indexed I ranked #10 on the front page.  This is without a single link.  The site has been visited again since I tweaked the title tags on the site and the homepage is now ranking #9 for the main keyword.

Traffic is very minimal, in fact its only in the single digits at this point.  I did go ahead and publish the Adsense blocks since its already receiving traffic but its only been a day since implementation.  The good news is that the ads are VERY relevant and will be very enticing to individuals looking to buy (remember the importance of buying intent keywords!).

Next Update To Come…

I hope to publish an update on this website by the end of January.  I have a couple guest blog post opportunities lined up but don’t plan on doing any extensive link building for this site.  I want to see where the site sits in a month and if its making any money.  If you want to be notified when the next niche site experiment update is published please subscribe to the newsletter below.

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14 Comments

  • I clicked here to read the article thinking that someone would finally publish a recent test and be fully transparent. It would be nice to know if you’re using an exact match domain and if your main keyword is the same as the domain name. I understand you wanting to keep things secret, but If you could share more details to help us understand the test in greater detail, that would be awesome.

    Best wishes for continued success in affiliate marketing in 2013!

    -rick

    • Nick LeRoy says:

      Hey Rick, my apologies for not being clear. I thought the screen shot and the list of requirements outlined that I was looking for exact match domains. This particular site is a three word keywords phrase that I was able to register the exact match domain.

      To further clarify i went into the post and added that the exact match domain was available.

      • Cool. Thanks for the update. Keep us posted on the outcome. Over the last 6 months I’ve tried the same thing a couple of times and after initially knocking it out of the park, Big G came back and bitch-slapped the domains. It seems that you can get out the door and be successful with thinner/short term affiliate websites but then Big G returns and says, wait a minute I thought…. and then they knock you way down.

        I recently read a great post http://t.co/2uCfsAG5 from Adii Pienaar of WooThemes talking about focus. As someone who once had over a dozen affiliate websites running at one time, I’m down to 3 in 2013.

        Again, keep us posted.

        -rick

        • Nick LeRoy says:

          I’ll definitely check out that post, thanks!

          I hear you on the temporary success on these types of sites. In fact that’s why I’m trying to build out some good content even if it is only about 5 pages per site. I think as long as the content is unique and “quality” that a site might stick around for such non competitive keywords.

          Of course any link building will have to be as non evasive as possible too. Which is kinda an oxymoron with SEO :)

      • hi Nick

        congrats for your results!

        did you check the keyword rank competitiveness with LTP platinum version or how did you feel confident in that particular keyword?

        also, for your rankings… did you drive traffic to just your home page, or did you back-link to internal pages too?

        keep up the great work, and I look forward for next reports…

        best!

  • Gaz Copeland says:

    Hey Nick,

    Really interesting article and something I’ve also been thinking about doing more of in 2013, I might give your tips a try! I do have to disagree sightly on your thinking behind the phrase which was further down the buying process. ““godaddy vs hostgator hosting” vrs “cheap web hosting”.

    To my mind somebody searching for specific providers has already done a bit of research on the topic and has narrowed it down to just 2 products, these are the guys with their wallets out. “Cheap web hosting” seems a very generic and less informed search phrase personally.

    At the risk of making myself sound stupid, I have a few questions….

    First of all why would you want to rule out a niche where the CPC is less than 50 cents? Surely the cheaper the better if you are looking to buy traffic to the site?

    Secondly do you consider the average purchase price in the niche? If you’re looking at something like web hosting at a few dollars per year you’re going to get less return than electric goods are a few hundred dollars right?

    Thirdly (and finally :) ) 2 hours to research a topic and write at least 2,500 words of content. Is that right? Even if you take the minimum number of words and give no time to content that’s 21 words per minute.

    Thanks again for an interesting post, looking forward to the next one. No doubt I will have more questions ;)

    Gaz

    • Nick LeRoy says:

      Hey Gaz, let me try to cover your questions first.

      1. You’re right but i’m not looking to buy traffic for these sites. I’m looking to take advantage of the super low competition in organic rankings so that I can get organic traffic to the site. I want a CPC of above 50 cents because when/if people click on the adsense on the site I want it to pay more than a super small amount.

      2. With Adsense i’m not too concerned with the price of the item since I get paid by each click or “lead” I send to a website. If i’m going to make it an affiliate site then absolutely I would keep in consideration of item price and purchase frequency. Make sense?

      3. This particular website topic I had a little knowledge to begin with. With the combination of wikipedia, about and eHow I was able to gather enough knowledge to write comprehendable content that I feel still offers value.

      Finally, “cheap web hosting” vs “godaddy vs hostgator” might not be the best example. I don’t disagree with what you said so better example could be “Kitchenaid blenders” vs “Recipes for Kitchenaid Blenders”. The second term isn’t likely one that an individual looking to buy a blender but already owns one.

  • Nick LeRoy says:

    Sure do. They might not have the initial ranking “value” they might once have had but their still valuable.

  • Chris says:

    I’ve done this with tons and tons of small niche sites. What is effecting a lot now is the size of the site for certain search terms. I know it sounds stupid but some things are messed up now. Number of indexed pages on the site is now a variable of what I choose to go into. If a niche site holds the ranking and has a million indexed pages.. Kiss your idea good bye.

    I’ve been having better luck with finding an expired domain with a niche keyword in the domain and using that. The older the archive.org goes back, the better. I hate how google is working right now…

    • Nick LeRoy says:

      Hey Chris, sorry for the delayed response.

      Thanks for the tips. Until now, small “niche” sites really wasn’t my thing. But I figured I’d give it a shot and see how profitable (if at all) they can still be. I’m finding out that im more or less trading my link building time with extensive keyword research time.

      I’m going to shoot you an e-mail today to follow up with a few questoins about expired domains.

  • Ian Howells says:

    Setup looks good.

    My main area of focus would be around the shoulder/tail terms for this. By my estimates, your main term is only going to be worth about $10 a month. Find 9 related terms with similar stats and rank those as well, and we’re talking.

    • Nick LeRoy says:

      Thanks for the tips Ian. The small niche arena is definitely new to me so I enjoy playing with something new.

      Your numbers aren’t all that off. With ranking for that specific word + some additional long trail phrases bounding around #5-#12 this site has brought in about $6 this month. Though with the traffic i’m pulling in at #5-#12 I imagine the traffic estimate originally given is VERY conservative.

Comments are closed.

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Snapshot update on the auto insurance niche website BaltimoreCarInsurance.org

December Earnings: $27.09
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About Nick LeRoy

Nick-LeRoyNick LeRoy is the owner of Back Breaking SEO LLC a SEO company offering internet marketing services to small business owners.

In his free time he likes to build and monetize websites that allows his family an extra few dollars each month to enjoy the little "extras" in life.      To learn more about Nick click here

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