Thank you for being patient with me and returning this week to see the unveiling of my niche site. If you’re just now joining me, then you should know that last week I talked about how I was finally going to get to work on the next of my extra income ideas, and that idea was to create a niche website (a smaller and more concentrated website that is built around a very specific keyword).
If you follow the blog carnivals, then chances are you may have come across it already. But in case you haven’t, without any further ado, here is a snapshot of my niche site project:
[Removed for security purposes … 🙁 ]
How Did I Get My Niche Website Up So Fast?
It’s an illusion. To be fair, I actually started my niche website back around August / September of 2012. But I only got about a week or two into it and then quickly shelved the whole project. My Money Design had just been snubbed yet again by the latest Google Pagerank update and maintained a PR2. I figured why try to mess around with two sites when I don’t even know what I’m doing with one?
But as my confidence in my blogging abilities grew, so did my ambition to give it another shot. So around the Christmas break, I decided to dust the project off and restart my niche site efforts again.
My how a few months can really make a difference in what you know! In this go around, I had:
• A plugin to help me with SEO (on top of lots of other SEO tricks I’ve learned)
• I was using Long Tail Pro to research and find low competition, high volume keyword phrases
• Just starting to experiment / understand various back-linking strategies
Bad Keyword Choice:
Right away I can tell you that I wish I had picked a different keyword because this one receives too much competition already. It might help you to hear the back-story:
The idea for this site actually came to me during the Summer of 2012. Back then I was only using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find keywords based on high CPC and search volume. In hindsight it wasn’t very effective. But I found the keyword phrase and decided to register a domain for it anyways.
Now that I use Long Tail Pro to thoroughly analyze the competition, I can see that there is some stiff competition for this phrase.
Why Go with ANOTHER Money Site?
For a lot of reasons:
1. Specifically on the topic I chose, I feel like this is an area of confusion for many people. The idea for the site came about while talking to my sister and her husband about planning for retirement. Sure I’ve got a lot of articles about how to save for the future, but wouldn’t it be cool to point people to a site that thoroughly goes through each of their characteristics in detail?
2. My Money Design is the first and only other website I’ve ever created. To be honest, I really don’t know a lot when it comes to site development. So in this case, I thought the apple doesn’t need to fall far from the tree, and I’d keep it similar in theme / appearance to MMD.
3. The topic is a very natural fit for my writing. How hard is it going to be for me to write more material about money? Having a subject that I’m familiar with will not only keep me interested, but reduces the likelihood that I’ll need to outsource content.
4. Sometimes I feel like I overwhelm the My Money Design readers with advice and information for retirement planning. Having another place to use as an outlet might not only benefit me, but give you the readers a break as well.
5. I’ve come to know a lot of people in the personal finance blogging arena. So developing another site would make a good fit in terms of carnivals, guest posts, advertising, etc.
What is My Plan?
My plan for this niche website is relatively simple:
1. Research what keywords fit this niche and will help bring organic traffic to my site
2. Write lots of original and useful posts that will benefit the reader
3. Backlink to those pages to try to raise their authority and rank within Google (to improve organic traffic)
4. Monetize the site using Google Adsense and / or affiliate ads.
So how will this play out?
Number 1 will be relatively easy. Like I said, I’ve been using the Long Tail Pro software to research and analyze keywords. Plus I’ve been watching a few of the videos on Niche Pursuits that talk about keyword selection.
Number 2 will also be no problem. I’m going to shoot for posts that are 500 to 1500 words long in content. No “thin mints” here.
To beef up some of my older posts, I’ll be re-posting and updating my older material periodically.
Number 3 will be the most challenging for me. I’m relatively a novice to backlinking strategies and I’ve got a lot to learn. For starters, I plan to submit to the blog carnivals and do guest posts. Beyond that, I know there’s a lot of good info out there. For example, Smart Passive Income has a whole big post about the backlinking strategy that he used. I’ve just got to be willing to test it out to see what works.
If Numbers 1- 3 work, then Number 4 should take care of itself.
So How Is My Niche Site Doing So Far?
Mediocre, but I’m keeping the faith. So far we’re at #60 in Google.
When I started the project back up around Christmas, it was somewhere in the 100’s on Google. It did get a Google Pagerank of 1 and made it all the way up to Spot No. 16, but its recently slipped back somewhere in the 70’s. It’s been a little bit of a yo-yo.
I do believe that if I can build enough quality backlinks, I could boost the sites authority and rank better. But only time will tell.
Overall, I see this whole thing as one giant experiment. I’ve learned a TON about creating websites from this blog, and now it’s time to put it all to the test and see if my equation works on this new site. I’m very optimistic, but cautious. Although I don’t have too much invested in it yet, the beauty of this whole thing is that if it works, I’ll have the model I need to re-create that same success over and over.
Readers – I invite you to take a visit to my niche website and let me know what you thing. Any likes, dislikes, suggestions? Who else has some experience trying to work and develop other websites?
1) Blogging Tips from All the Dumb Mistakes I Made My First Year
2) My Awesome Birthday Weekend and Finally a Google PageRank Increase!
3) Ghosts of Personal Finance Bloggers Past
Image courtesy of Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
[email protected] says
Congrats on getting this up and running! It is amazing how much work a site takes, isn’t it? I hope that it does well for you!
BTW – How do you like Long Tail Platinum? I’ve wondered about using one of these programs, but I have yet to do it. Couldn’t you essentially do the same thing with Analytics? I’m still learning about all of this stuff, obviously:)
It took a lot more effort to get the ball rolling than I originally thought. But now that it’s done, things are in auto-pilot. Plus I’m looking for this to get easier the next time I set another one up (hint, hint)
I’m really liking LTP. It has helped me choose words that seem to get me closer to the top of the Google searches (though you can still mess things up by not doing proper SEO). Platinum is the way to go because of the Keyword Competitiveness (KC) score calculation (not available with the standard edition). You could try to just look at all the stats or even figure them out using Google Analytics, but there are SO many variables to consider and weights to put on each factor. It is just SO much easier to see the score and then make the judgement call.
John S @ Frugal Rules says
Great for you MMD! I saw a post in some Carnival last week and assumed that’s what it was. I think it fits perfectly with your writing style and one that many people question in terms of which direction they should go.
How do you like LTP? I bought it about a month ago and have been able to use it some, but not a ton. I’ve not decided to upgrade to the Platinum version yet, though I hear it’s where the real value comes in, as I’ve not had enough time to devote to it.
Thanks John! I’m glad you like what you see.
For LTP, see my response to Greg above. Platinum is the way to go because of the KC score. It cuts down your analysis time so much when you can just click a button and see a metric for how competitive it is. I use it for almost every post now.
Canadian Budget Binder says
I’ve been hearing a lot about the Long Tail Pro, maybe I’ll have a look into it. I agree there is so much to learn about blogging and doing it right the first time makes sense. Congrats on the niche site, I think that’s great that you ran with your idea. Cheers!
Thanks CBB. Now I’ll have to wait and see what you come up with for a niche site! 🙂
Austin car accident lawyer says
I have the same question as John, how do you like LTP. And totally agree with him as well, we have been using for three months and still no problem.Anyway, thanks for sharing this post.
It’s been very, very helpful. As you can tell from my story in the post: You can use Analytics to pick a word that you think will rank well and be low traffic, but how do you REALLY know? The KC feature in Platinum is a good way to standardize the analysis and quickly get an answer on whether or not to pass up the keyword.
Congrats on getting thing up and running! The niche site realm is something I have always thought would be interesting to try, but I haven’t really gotten into it. Very excited to see how you do!
Thanks Jon! I am also anxious to see how this all plays out. If all goes well, then I will definitely try another site with an even less competitive, higher search volume keyword.
Grayson @ Debt RoundUp says
Nice job branching out into niche websites. I wish I had more time to do it, but barely have time to post enough articles on my blog. They can be lucrative if you pick the right niche and produce great content.
I’ll be honest Grayson – It’s been rough in terms of a time commitment. I’m stretching as it is to post on the niche site as well as My Money Design. And then there’s all the behind the scenes stuff like trying to backlink, etc that takes up even more time. I don’t see how some people have ten or so of these sites. They must farm out everything about them. If the site starts to generate any kind of revenue whatsoever, maybe I’ll consider another site AND outsourcing some of the legwork.
[email protected] says
Congrats on getting the site up. I think the topic is one that many people have a hard time with. It can be very confusing to decide between investing in one or the other. Good luck with it.
Thanks Justin. Surprisingly I thought this would be an easy topic for me to get into. But as I do my research and write the posts for the site, I’m finding out a lot of subtle details that I guess I still had yet to know!
Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank says
Great work on getting the site up and running. I also feel like building back links can be difficult, but as you say – there are plenty of financial carnivals that you can submit to so that should help out a lot.
Thanks Glen! The carnivals have been an absolute wealth of backlinking opportunity. I really can’t think of a more convenient way to gain a few diverse links per week that are relevant to my niche.
Matthew Allen says
I don’t think you picked a bad niche at all! Maybe so if getting to the first page of Google for your primary keyword is your main goal (looks like that may be tough). But there are so many related long tail keywords you can go after in this niche to drive traffic to this site. And you already know about how powerful Long Tail Platinum is for finding those keywords.
I would be cautious when it comes to backlinking. Besides taking up time, it could end up hurting your site in the long run. Try to keep all of your backlinking as natural as possible. That way you won’t have to worry at all next time Google comes out with some update. Carnivals and guest posting are sufficient, I would think. I would be extra cautious if you are considering trying something like Pat Flynn’s “backlinking strategy that works.” Keep in mind, he did that before most of the Google updates. His site then built enough authority that it didn’t matter when Google came out with their updates and it didn’t get hit. Personally, I wouldn’t risk the well-being of one of my sites with a shady and un-natural backlinking strategy like that. Just find and go after some of those low competition keywords!
Good luck with it!
I’d love to get on page 1 of Google, but I think I’d really have to build up some authority first. So far only one of my LTKW is ranking in the top 10 and bringing in traffic. I may be able to refine the others and steer traffic my way. But I question whether my effort would be better spent building up the rest of this site and backlinking, or simply finding another keyword that is even lower in competition and then starting a different site. That’s what is fun about this – there are a lot of options!
In the week since I’ve written this post and done more research I’ve come to find that you may be right. Pat’s strategy is interesting, but I’ve now found a lot of articles that suggest NOT using Web 2.0, press releases, web directories, and other methods. Especially as of recently I’m also noticing Google seems to really be cracking down on unnatural practices. Maybe the carnivals and guest posts are the best things to stick to.
Ive actually just started my niche site project last week. Currently 2 sites are in the process and I’m trying out Pat Flynn’s backlinking strategy for on of the sites. It is way too early to tell the progress but Ill definitely update you on what I think once I get more information.
I’d be very interested to hear how that works out for you. It’s frustrating waiting to see if your keyword choice and backlinking pays off. I always forget that even though the Pagerank updates only happen every 3 months that Google is constantly indexing and evaluating the metrics of sites. So it could be possible to do things right and start seeing progress with a week or so.
the only thing I tweaked a little bit from Pat’s strategy is that I’m not using spun articles at UAW. I’m actually writing my own just because I read few spun articles and they sound very retarded.
Agreed! Spun articles do sound ridiculous. I think their time in the blogging world has passed.
[email protected] says
Congrats on getting all of this up and running! I have to admit, when it comes time for SEO I get really scared. There is no way that I can hack all of this at the same time. Good luck!!
Thanks Tony! Fortunately I’m really nerdy when it comes to wanting to understand all the technical stuff, so I have that working for me. The question is whether or not it will pay off in the end?
CT @ Cashtastrophe says
Good luck on your niche site – if you know a lot about a financial topic then why not? This saves you money with niche sites as well, becuase you won’t have to outsource as much.
Agreed! For now while in the experimental stage, I think it will be best to stick to topics I know about. That way it will just be me writing the content, and I come at a good price 🙂
Nurse Frugal says
Looks pretty sweet and like something a lot of people will be stumbling upon!!! Congrats on your new website!!! I don’t know how you’re doing it with two! Good luck!!!
Thanks! I hope people find it and get some use out of it. Honestly, I don’t know how I am (or will) do it with two sites, but I’ll try. I think as I get my pattern down things will get progressively easier. Or if I ever make any money at it, perhaps I can just outsource certain tasks 🙂
[email protected] says
Best of luck to you! I’m sure you’ll do great.
Just an FYI though, completely disregard Flynn’s post on backlinking strategies – it was written in 2010 (before the Penguin update) and is certainly no longer applicable. Article directories and spinning posts are a waste of your time – Google gives no credibility to these sites anymore and spun content is quickly devalued.
Budget and the Beach says
Congrats on getting the website up and running. When I get a sec I’ll head over and take a look. It’s hard enough running one website let alone two! Nice job!
Thanks T! I’m going to think of this as a test run, and we’ll see how it goes.
Market Samurai (??) is another keyword tool I’ve heard about (can’t remember which blog I read about it on first).
I was strongly considering using Market Samurai, and I’ve heard great things about it. But I ended up using LTP because it seemed a little easier to interpret the results. I would love to see someone do a side by side comparison and find out if you get the same results.
[email protected] says
I think that is a great topic for a website. I have probably Googled that phrase several times myself, especially as I will be setting up a solo 401K or SEP IRA hopefully later this year.
I have just started using Adsense Keywords, and it drives me nuts when what I want to say isn’t a good keyword. Right now, I just go with what I want to say, but I guess you get more into it the longer you do this. Best of luck.
Thanks Kim! I figured it was a pretty safe and good topic to choose for my first niche site.
Adsense Keywords was my first tool to choose keywords as well. It was a good start, but what I found out was that it didn’t tell you enough. Keywords tells you only how many searches there are; it doesn’t tell you anything about the competition for the word you find. You could download SEO Quake for your browser and manually review the competition in Google, but that is also time consuming. Using a tool like LTP just brought all this stuff together and made it a lot easier.
The Happy Homeowner says
This is an exciting step; congrats! I’m very interested in the niche site concept, and I look forward to seeing the success you find with yours!
Thanks HH, and welcome to the site. I’m hoping to not disappoint!