After getting the hang of using WordPress and learning the ins and outs of writing a post and adding links the next logical step is to find some images or videos to put on your site. But before you go do an Google search and nab any ol’ image you desire be aware that nearly every photo on the internet is copyrighted. Which means it’s illegal for you to use it without the the copyright owner’s permission. Simply giving them credit or a link back does not make your use of their photo legit and you can actually get sued for doing so.
But, no need to fear because you can find free stock photos around the internet with a little effort. Do pay attention to what the terms and conditions are for the image licensing though. Each site or photo owner may have different conditions.
For most people the only two types you will encounter are “free” images and “royalty-free” images. They are different. Free images are free to download as to be used in whatever way you desire within the limitation and conditions. Royalty-free images, on the other hand, require you to pay for them one time and then you can use them however you would like, but again within the limitations and conditions the author set forth.
What’s up with the limitations and conditions? Well some image owners may set certain restrictions to how you are allowed to use their photos. For examples they may not allow you to edit the photo or change the resolution or size or use it for commercial purposes. So it is important not to simply skip past these “Terms and Conditions” as most of us do when installing new software.
Everybody loves case studies to not only learn about a new topic but also in order to demonstrate what is possible. I remember reading about a similarly documented phenomenon in the book “The Talent Code.” In one of the chapters the author talks about the rapid increase of talent in places such as the tennis world of Russia and soccer in Brazil. Also the 4 minute mile time record had not been broken for a long time but when it was finally broken it continued to be broken more and more by people in a relatively short time. Why does this seem to happen?
The basic idea behind what he found out was that when a person breaks a record or becomes a extraordinarily talented in any area in which it draws other peoples attention, then more will follow. People see that it is possible thanks to the pioneers that crossed into uncharted territories. Well, generating an online income in various ways is no different. And with a process with as many steps to it as creating a niche site this is especially true. So I am sharing below some resources that I have been found that demonstrated their process of building niche websites for others to learn from and to demonstrate how doable of an online business model this is. I hope you enjoy them and let me know if they help you out and of course if you know of some other beneficial case studies you think I should throw up.
– Avoid targeting eCommerce keywords: The reason for this is because Google favors ranking actual eCommerce websites (Website that sell physical product like Amazon, eBay, etc.) for eCommerce related keywords. And example of an eCommerce keyword would be “buy camera.” As an alternative try experimenting with a prefex or suffix. For example changing the prefix to “best camera” may give you much different results. Or try adding a suffix like “camera review.” Again, a seed keyword like this may change your results to less eCommerce related results.
– Weakness in the top 10: When checking Google’s top 10 results to analyze your competition you want to see signs of weakness such as forum posts, question and answer websites, other niche websites, or other types of weak sites already ranking in the top 10 results. If you see this, you have a very good indicator that you can rank on the first page relatively easily. Of course, if you find a keyword that has almost all or only weak sites ranking in the top 10 on Google… guess what? Your are almost certain to rank in the top 10 with ease.
– At Least 1,500 Local Monthly Searches : Your niche site keyword should have at least 1,500 local monthly searches (Set to US for location). Go ahead an put this in your filter on whatever keyword tool you are using so you don’t waste your time browsing through keywords that will not bring you an adequate amount of traffic. 3,000 to 5,000 monthly local searches is an even better minimum but when you are working on your first few niche site it may be better to learn with keyword that has a smaller number of searches since they will typically have weaker competition than a keyword with a higher number of searches (not always the case though.)
– Pages within the top 10 results of Google that contain exact match keyword within the domain: For example if your keyword is “best canned beans” then take note of how many websites within the top 10 results on Google have best canned beans within their URL. For example Amazon.com/best-canned-bean or AbsoluteBestCannedBeans.com.
– Pages with a young site age: How many pages within the top 10 results of Google have a site age of 2 years or less. The more of these you see, the better a sign it is that you may beat the competition.
– At least $0.25 CPC (Cost Per Click) value: You actually want more around $1 dollar minimum CPC keywords to target however for the learning process you may want to accept a lower CPC and then increase your minimum acceptable CPC as you go along and get better at this.
– Multiple results within the top 10 with PA (Page Authority) of less than 30: This is a scale of 1 – 100 based off of SEOMoz.com. This metric measures a webpages ability to rank for arbitrary content, 1 being the least likely and 100 being the most likely. Lower numbered sites will be easier to beat so the more of these you see the better your chances of beating the competitions.
– Multiple results within the top 10 with less than 30 juice links: A juice link (another SEOMoz.com metric) is basically a quality back link likely from a more authoritative and higher page ranked source. You want to see several websites ranking with less than 30 juice links because this is another indicator of weak competition.
This is my attempt at a complete niche website guide and tutorial. It will first give a brief overview of what a niche website is and then get into the nuts and bolts of exact processes and guidelines for creating a niche site to the end goal of generating an income from it and then repeating the process. From there you can either sell the niche website or keep developing it with the goal of increasing its profits.
A niche website is basically a website around a narrow and limited topic. For instance www.Fishing .com would be an example of what is known as an authority website because it covers a multitude of topics relating to the broad term of fishing.
Your basic goal of creating a niche website should be to do the following:
Primary Keyword Research (The main keyword you want to rank for)
Secondary Keyword Research (Multiple secondary keywords you want to rank for)
Find a Domain: Aim for a Exact Match Domain (EMD) or a close Partial Match Domain (PMD). The exception to this rule is if you are seeking to make a more branded website in which case you would want to come up with something catchy, simple, and easy to remember. For example a banded website domain for a shaving niche site could be something like www.sirshavesalot.com or www.apennyshaved.com whereas an EMD would be something like www.bestfourheadedelectricshavers.com or www.straightrazorreviews.com, Purchase at GoDaddy.com or NameCheap.com GoDaddy.com has a bulk domain checker so you can enter in a multitude of proposed domain names to check their availability. Also, prior to purchasing your domain do a Google search for coupon codes because there is almost always some kind of deal going on at both of these domain dealers. You can also look into purchasing an expired domain if you can find a good deal on one since you will get some SEO juice passed on to your from whatever prior backlinks the website had.
Niche Site Setup : Set up your website in a way to increase your chances of success (profitable)
Content Creation (Writing articles for your site targeting your primary and then your secondary keywords, or have this process outsourced
Media Gathering (Finding approptiate media to insert into your articles. This can be photos, graphics, videos, or sound clips)
Link Building (Building links for your articles focusing on your primary keyword first and once it is ranking where you are happy with it start on your secondary keywords)
Monetize (After your traffic starts coming in and your website could be considered fairly complete you will want to start monetizing your traffic)
Many people when beginning their keyword research get discouraged when they see how many other websites exist that have their proposed keyword their URL but don’t make this mistake!
Your goal is only to beat the top 10 – 20 results on Google since that is the spot you want to be on that is your competition. When you are scoping your competition, only pay attention to your serious competitor, those top 10 – 20 of Google.
Brainstorming Seed Keywords
Keyword Research – Practical Exercise #1
1. Find no less than 20 subject that you find interesting but that you know nothing or very little about. 2. Find no less than 20 random seed keyword from brainstorming, observing things around you, or browsing (For example: Check Amazon.com, your library, forums, etc.) 3. Find no less than 20 frustrations or problems that people have (For example: acne, weight loss, fear of public speaking, etc.) 4. List no less than 20 interest you have that you have at least a little knowledge about. 5. List no less than 20 hobbies, interests, or passions that other people have (For example: Fantasy football, wood carving, skin products, gardening)
This should give you a total of at least 100 seed keywords that you will enter into whatever keyword research tool of your choosing at separate times. Just record these on a word or text document or throw them on a Google Docs spreadsheet. I have started using Google Docs more often because I can access it from any computer with an internet connection should the need arise. This is quite handy if you need or want to work on a project from a friends house or while your on vacation or anywhere else where you might not have your computer.
Each one you enter will spit out several hundred related keywords that you can then analyze. By the end of doing this process you may not have found any keywords worth going after but at the very least you will become familiarized with the process and the keyword research tools and you should start to have more of an idea of the different metrics that these tools give you. This in turn will help you understand further concepts of selecting a niche.
I think you’ll see after knocking this out that keyword research can be a lot of fun. It almost feels like treasure hunting and I’ve heard it compared to that multiple times around the web. Why compare it to treasure hunting? Well you never know when that next keyword may turn into a new income stream for you. This make this part of the process pretty fun but be sure to keep a rational and analytical mindset while you do this so you end up targeting a keyword that is indeed going to be worth your effort.
Here is a helpful video from Spencer Haws from NichePursuits.com where he goes over some basics principles and guidelines for keyword research for a niche website.
What’s the deal with broad match, exact match, or phrase match keywords? This is an option that used to exist on Google’s old Keyword Tool but has since been discontinued in the Google Keyword Planner.
Minimum Cost Per Click (CPC) For Keyword Research
While it can be a good idea to set a minimum Cost Per Click or CPC when conducting keyword research for a niche website it is not always completely necessary. It is usually a good rule of thumb to set the minimum CPC at $1.00 but remember this will limit your results and don’t forget the other variables present in this process. For example you may find a good potential keyword that has a CPC of $0.64 but has a much higher search volume than another potential keyword you found that has a CPC of $1.13. Well the higher search volume of the lower CPC keyword may equal out the higher CPC keyword with lower search volume. For this reason it is okay to set your minimum CPC to lower than the 1 dollar rule of thumb.
I have been setting mine around $0.75 lately but remember you could accept lower if you are targeting a keyword that get’s a higher volume of searches per month or if you plan on monetizing the website via other means such as the Amazon Affiliates program which we will discuss more later.
List of Good Websites That Discuss Building Niche Websites
Authority Website Income : Jon Haver’s blog that is a bit more on the “authority” website side but he uses the same principles as many niche site webmasters. Instead of leaving them as a “niche site” he develops them to have content that is better than even larger more authoritative websites.
Niche Pursuits – Spencer Haws blog about niche sites of which he makes his primary income. Spencer and Pat Flynn were the first two to get me interested in making websites and then monetizing them. Spencer also developed the keyword research tool Long Tail Pro to help him with his own keyword research and has since then begun selling it to others. I own Long Tail Pro and play for the Platinum feature and I find myself using it more often than Market Samurai which I had purchased previous to LongTailPro. You’ll want to check out his public niche site projects where he demonstrates his niche website research and creation process at no charge.
Cloud Living Journey – Tung Trans blog where he talks about his online business. Tung has been successful with niche website and even sold a 6 month old niche site recently for $10,000. Not bad at all! He has quite a bit of useful information about his processes for niche site creation on his blog so check it out.
Niche Site Duel –
List of Example Niche Websites of Different Types:
www.BestSurvivalKnifeReview.com – This is one of Spencer Haws public niche projects. What’s great about this website is that Spencer documented the entire process here on his blog so you really hack some time of your learning curve by reading about the way he does it here.
www.paymystudentloans.com – A more authoritative example of a niche website. This site is targeted around a small niche, however Jon Haver spent considerable more time building this website into a valuable resource than what many webmaster would spend building what is considered a “niche website.” Although it takes more time and effort to build such a site, I believe that they typical payoff is higher and you are less likely to fluctuate rankings strongly due to a Google update.
Use Youtube: Do you know what the number 2 most used search engine is? Bing? No, it’s actually (not surprisingly) Youtube! And since Google owns Youtube, Google shows a lot of love toward Youtube. Because of this it is a great tool to drive traffic to your website and if done properly can give you some great link juice too.
Your Youtube video certainly does not even have to be fancy. You could make a PowerPoint presentation on your article and just record yourself going through slideshow and use this as the video. Or you could literally record yourself reading your article and post this to Youtube.com with a link back to your homepage, and article within the video description.
Don’t forget to use your keyword and related keywords in the meta tags on your Youtube video and you can also transcribe or outsource transcription of your video and include the transcription in closed captioning. This helps Youtube understand what your video is about and will help them rank it appropriately.
You can also use your new video as a “video response” to related videos. This seems to give more exposure to your video which can lead to more views which can lead to more visitors to your website.
Your last step is to embed this video in your article somewhere. There are many other strategies for using Youtube for driving traffic to your website but we will discuss those elsewhere on the blog.
Make Your Own Private Blog Network (PBN):
Link Building Service: If you go this route be sure you understand how they work and the risks to your website associated with using them. If you are comforable with the risk to reward ration then be sure to use a reputable service such as LayeredLinks.com
Use Fiverr: I wouldn’t recommend using Fiverr for link-building unless you want to risk getting your site penalized by Google. However you can use Fiverr to get yourself some diversified social media love. You can find gigs on there that will give you diversified Facebook and Google Plus likes and tweets.
Niche Site Content Creation Tips:
Identify What is Already Out There: Spend some time Googling your target keyword and just read through the articles that come up as the top 20 or so results. This will simply give you some familiarity of what is already covered on the topic by other websites. But don’t stop there…
Identify Knowledge Gaps: So now that you have read a good bit from what is already out there you have a better idea of what kind of information in your topic is not easily available (or not easily discoverable since it may exist on the internet but since it is so far down on Google’s ranking it may not be found very often.) These knowledge gaps may be a great place to start researching and writing articles. If people can’t find what their looking for on other websites but your website offers that information then they will likely show up at your site. Also check out comments below the article for more clues about what kind of info people may be seeking. Forums in related areas may also be a good place to look around.
Focus on Providing Value: If you create value to your visitors on your website, videos, slide shows, etc. you can’t go wrong. Sure there are a lot of factor that can pull your attention away, especially when you are first starting out on niche websites. As a niche site beginner you are being exposed to a whole new vocabulary, technical skills, and theories. Learn all of these but don’t lose focus on providing value to your customer or reader. This is actually easier in my opinion when you know nothing or very little about a topic. Why? Because you have you approach the topic in a manner where you have to learn everything from scratch and you can write it in a such a way. By going after a topic you are unfamiliar with you will most likely create a very thorough resource that other people will find incredibly useful. Otherwise if you were already very knowledgeable on the topic you may assume your readers knowledge and experience level may be higher than it is and leave out important information they may be seeking.
Niche Site Setup
Adsense Flippers on Niche Site Setup Video 1
Adsense Flippers on Niche Site Setup Video 2
Niche Site Monetization
Use Pictures: When you are using Amazon Affiliates you should really give picture links a try. A lot of niche site owners have said that when they added some picture links their sales really increased. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And in terms of products, a picture really helps a potential buyer experience the product their computer screen much better than a written article. Even better than a picture is probably a video but I have not messed around too much with that. I have seen people do this on Youtube though. I believe I’ve even seen it on Amazon under the product review sections there are sometimes unpackaging or review videos of various products.