As I’ve promised in the last update, I will be revealing my entire process to build my 2nd niche site from scratch in today’s post as a case study so that you guys may learn something valuable and apply the tips to your own businesses.
Some of the tasks that I did are basically the same so you may want to read some of my previous posts.
I will not replicate what I’ve written so be sure to check out those posts before reading ahead if you are new to this blog.
- Online Business Idea 001: Build a Niche Website.
- How to Discover Website Ideas That Make Money: The Ultimate Guide
- Keyword Research: Why 95% of Marketers Are Doing Wrong?
- How To Set Up A Website The Right Way With WordPress
- Niche Website Update 1: Learning from a First-timer’s Mistakes
- How I Built A Niche Site That Ranked #1 in Google and Made $93.32 in 38 days
- How To Create Affordable and High Quality Content That Makes Money
- NWP Update 2: Making $1000+ in a Month
Updated: August 20th, 2013
Let’s recap some important things about my niche website project:
- I invested $170 in my 1st niche site. Unfortunately, it was a failure.
- I learned that keyword research is the most important thing. If you have a solid keyword, everything else after that will be a breeze.
- My second lesson was not to invest too much money on one site in the first place. You have to test the water before throwing your money in any particular site.
- Build your site slowly and be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- Be careful with High PR backlinks. They are powerful, but you have to use them properly. (I will have a detailed post about this).
Ok. That’s enough. Let’s talk about my new niche website.
- Domain: bestadjustabledumbbells.org
- Purchase date: March 17th 2013
- Total invest: $170.17
- Earning so far: $93.93
- Profit/Loss: - 76.24
- Traffic: Average 40-50 visits per day. Mostly through the main keyword.
Updated on August 20th 2013: This site has made over $2k5 in 5 month period. Check the screenshot:
Update on October 1st, 2013: I sold this site on Flippa for $10,000. Check out the listing here!
As you may know, my keyword researching part is mainly conducted by Long Tail Pro - a premium keyword research tool that was created by Spencer Haws at NichePursuits.com. It’s fast, easy to use and powerful.
I love the KC calculator module that helps me quickly analyze the competitiveness of a particular keyword. As Spencer has claimed, any keyword which has KC under 35 is easy to rank.
At the first place, I didn’t believe that, but after some testing, I found that the calculator is quite accurate and reliable, but you shouldn’t rely on that completely, be aware to analyze other factors as well. For detailed information, read my 3000-word tutorial about keyword research here.
My usual steps to do keyword research with Long Tail Pro are to collect a list of seed keywords, enter 5 keywords at a time to LTP, set the filters, click “Generate”, wait for LTP to pull the data and analyze the competition one by one.
For this niche website, I did little bit differently. I used LTP only to check the difficulty. So How did I find keywords? The cool thing is that I found the main keyword manually using Google Adword Keyword Tool.
I learned this method in one training video about Pillaging Amazon For High End Niches inside Forever Affiliate, which is an affiliate training course that I highly recommend you to join because of its high quality. The owner Andrew Hansen is one of just a few internet marketers I trust whose products are of high quality.
If you are serious and would like to make a living online, check out the Forever Affiliate course here. (affiliate link)
Basically the idea is to look at the category section of Amazon and use the category names as seed keywords. Also look for the most popular product in that category and use Google Adword Keyword Tool to analyze the stats (search volume, trend, cpc, etc) and then use Long Tail Pro to check the KC and competition.
Setting Up The Site
The process to set up this site is basically the same as written in this post. I got the domain name for $6.17 via Namecheap with the coupon code: buythedomain and hosted the site on my shared hosting at Hostgator. I’m considering to make a switch soon as I want to separate Cloud Living Journey with my other niche sites on different hosting accounts to minimize the risk of getting hacked.
As the main keyword is in the same format as Spencer’s public niche site, I decided to reverse engineer his survival knife sites, so I went ahead and purchased the Niche Website Themes.
Here is a list of the plugins I used:
- WordPress SEO
- Digg Digg
- Easy WP SEO
- Related Posts via Categories
- Visual Website Optimizer (Optional): I’ve installed it recently to split testing on improving click through rate.
Here’s the quick look of my site (I used Photoshop to create the header):
For more information about setting up niche website, click here.
The most common question that people often ask is : What Niche Site Model Should I Choose? Mini Site or Authority Site?
Honestly, That’s not a good question. The better one is: With Which Niche Site Model Should I Start?
There is a big misconception here: Authority site is not a website that contains lots of content. In fact, the authority of the site could only be gained after a period of time. A new website that was created 1-2 months ago cannot be seen as an authority in the eyes of Google even if it has 100 pages of content.
By the way, adding 100 articles on one site in the first place is not a good strategy in my honest opinion because you will waste your money if the site don’t perform well.
So, my best recommendation is : Start any site with mini site model (5 – 10 articles) to test the water and scale up to the authority site model if the site performs well.
By doing so, you will keep your investment minimal on a few sites for testing purpose and only invest more on the winners. That’s a great strategy for any kind of business.
For my niche site, I added about 11 articles at the beginning. As the site is doing very well, I will keep adding 1 article per 2 days this month to develop the authority and gain more traffic from long tail keywords.
I prefer to use static homepage, but you can use sticky post on the homepage as well. I don’t see any difference. I added 1500 words on the homepage along with a comparison table featuring top 5 adjustable dumbbells. Other articles were 500 word long.
I outsourced the article creation to my Filipinos writer who has been working with me for over 2 years. He delivers very good work at an affordable price. Here are some places you can visit to find some good content creation services:
- Odesk and Elance
- Warrior For Hire Section at Warrior Forum
- Buy/Sell Services Section at BlackHatWorld
One lesson I learned when talking to a friend Vlad from Amz Super Sniper Blog to boost the click through rate is to include 3-4 call to actions in the articles. This works very well! Just make sure your CTAs are eye-catching and compelling. I’m not an expert at this so here are some resources I gathered for you:
- Never. Ever. Forget your call to action
- Writing a Compelling Call to Action
- Click Here: 11 Ways to Improve Your Call to Actions
- How to Write a Strong Call-to-Action: 6 Simple Tips
- [How To] Write a Call-to-Action that Converts – With Case Studies
- How to Write Call-to-Action Copy That Gets Visitors Clicking
A good CTA will skyrocket your CTR, and higher CTR means higher earning so be willing to spend some time learning to write a good CTA.
Ranking and SEO
Most people get confused at this (include myself). They don’t know how to rank a site, what backlinking tools to use, how many links are enough, etc. When it comes to SEO, there are unlimited questions to be asked. I was struggled at SEO for a long time, so I know the feeling.
The truth is: You don’t need that many links to rank a site targeting an easy-to-rank keyword. Forget all the complicated SEO tools and systems or secret methods. Focus on your keyword research and you will save lots of time and efforts doing SEO.
This is a proven way to make money with niche sites. My niche website ranked at #3 in Google after 14 days without any backlinks at all. Yes. #3 WITHOUT ANY BACKLINK. That’s cool, right?
Actually right now I’m delegating all my SEO to the high quality services at Black Hat World to make my life easier, but I’m also slowly building out my blog networks to take full control on my link building in the future. I will write more on that later. If you want to build links yourself, here are some good articles to read:
- How to build links for niche sites by Spencer Haws (Spencer’s stuff again? He’s my inspiration so I want to link to his awesome articles )
- How To Systematize a Successful Guest Posting Campaign by Jon Haver
- The Ultimate Guide To Tiered Link Building by Matthew Woodward
Not only my site got #3 ranking on its main keyword (best adjustable dumbbells), I also noticed that it ranked #34 for a second phrase term that has lots more searches (9900 per month), which was a very good sign that I had chosen the right niche with fewer competitors (maybe the niche will be much more competitive after I publish this post :P).
I went ahead and purchased a backlink package from this amazing service which got amazing reviews from real BHW members. If you decide to purchase, be sure to use the coupon CLOUDLIVINGJOURNEY in the order form to get 15% discount.
After about 10 days using this service, here are my rankings:
I’m now at #1 for best adjustable dumbbells (1000 searches per month) and #8 for adjustable dumbbells (9900 searches per month). Here is a timeline of some major movements in Google since I created my site:
- March 14th, 2013 – Keyword Research Done.
- March 15th, 2013 – Content outsourced.
- March 17th, 2013 – Domain purchased.
- March 18th, 2013 – Content added to the site. 5 articles at first, 6 articles scheduled to be published in 6 days.
- March 22th, 2013 – First Ranking #14 in Google (wow)
- March 30th, 2013 – 7 (position in Google)
- April 2nd, 2013 – 103 (dancing) - First Sale – 2 items ordered
- April 3rd, 2013 – 10 – Second Sale – 3 items ordered – Total $71.60 in commission in 2 days
- April 7th, 2013 – 5 (still without any backlink)
- April 13th, 2013 – 3 (without links)
- April 14th, 2013 – SEO Package Ordered
- April 18th, 2013 – 2 (campaign is on progress)
- April 22th, 2013 – 1 (AWESOME !!!! )
That’s what happened in the last month.
According to Ahrefs, My niche site now has 301 backlinks across 81 referring domains. The result is great, but I have a concern that whether my site will be affected or penalized in the future or not because of too many links in the first month.
The seller who is a very reputed member at BHW claimed that there is nothing to worry about so let’s see how my site performs in the next couple of months. I will keep building links so hopefully my site will be alright.
Earnings So Far
This is my first site to be monetized with Amazon, so that’s great for me :). I was so excited when the commission rate increased from 4% to 6% when I sold 7+ items. I was lucky at the first days of April that I got a whopping 350% conversion rate, but the rate decreased quickly and now it is just 4.64% :(.
My Plan To Take The Site To The Next Level
The stats above shows that everything I did was right, and this site is clearly a winner hehe. Now I have few options:
- Sell the site for $2,000 on Flippa as I did with my previous blog (sold for $3,500)
- Scale up the site by adding more articles and turning it into an authority site.
- Leave the site alone and build more sites while enjoying the passive income.
Of course, I won’t sell the site for just $2,000. It has huge potential to become a 4 or 5 figure business, and then I can sell the site for much higher amount if I want to. Here is my plan:
- Change the theme and test some variations to have a higher click through rate.
- Optimize existing article and tweak the content to have more search engine traffic.
- Add new articles regularly based on my long tail keyword research.
- Promote other related products. People who are interested in dumbbells maybe interested in fitness and health as well so that I can promote fitness and workout product.
- Build a list. I’m considering because it may decreases my Amazon earnings.
- Create my own product. Maybe an ebook or training program on how to make the most of adjustable dumbbells.
- And a lot more ideas…
Do you build niche sites? If yes, How about your site’s performance? Do you have any tip to scale up a well-performed niche site? I’m willing to listen to your advices or recommendations on how to improve the earning of my niche site as I’m still new and there are a lot for me to learn. If you have anything to share, do let me know by leaving a comment. That would be great!
If you want to build a niche site, but don’t know how or haven’t started yet, I hope this case study will motivate you and give you a clearer look at the process of building one. You will never know if you don’t take action, even if you fail at first that would be 100 times greater than doing nothing. Take action now and you will succeed!