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
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?
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 thefree 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
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
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.