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2 Keys to a Successful Niche Site Project

2 Keys to a Successful Niche Site Project

I recently wrote about how building niche websites is a numbers game.  I think this is very true for those of you who may choose a similar business model to what I have; which is essentially building lots of small niche sites and then growing the ones that perform well.

Using this strategy you can quickly find winners and ideally grow them into something more significant.  But this may not be the best model for everyone.  What if you have just one topic that you want to build a site on?  Can you still be successful on your very first site?  I think the answer is absolutely, if you do it right, and I want to provide an example of how to do it “right”.

After all, I am well aware that perhaps not everyone has the resources or time to build 10 sites at once.  Because I am able to outsource most of the project, I am able to do such a thing – but if its just you building one site, I think building a profitable site is still very attainable.  The 2 keys to success are:

  1. Keyword research
  2. Lots of great content

I have already talked alot about the importance of keyword research, and in particular the importance of analyzing the top 10 competitors in Google.  However, even if you don’t pick the perfect keywords, you can often make up for that in volume of content (of course keyword targeted content is going to perform better).

A Successful Niche Site Project in the Making

I wanted to specifically look at the Niche Site Project that Chris Ducker at is publicly documenting on his site.  You can read what his project is all about and many more details right here on his Niche Site Project Kick Off Page. I am probably like most of you and love reading about projects that bloggers have opened up to the public – its fun to read about and very informative.

The best part part about this experiment is that he has opened it up to all his readers so that they can share their progress and earnings on their niche sites as well!  I think projects like this are really great motivators for people and are a great learning experience for everyone.

Another interesting thing to note, is that this is the very first “true” niche site that Chris has built!  And I have to admit that so far I am impressed with his results.

Chris is targeting the keyword “certified nursing assistant”.  I actually feel that this is a bit more difficult to rank for keyword than I would typically choose for my smaller niche sites; however, in part because of the volume of content that Chris is placing on his site; its still doing quite well. I actually commented on his blog post that he picked a difficult keyword that may take 6 months to a year to rank on the first page of Google for, but that the niche itself is very good.  At the time of this writing his site is ranking #39 in Google for “certified nursing assistant” – and also ranking #4 in both Yahoo and Bing!

However, despite being on the 4th page of Google his niche site earned nearly $100 from Google Adsense last month!  How is that possible?  Well, I believe it is essentially because of the volume of content that is targeting long tail keywords.  Lets take a look at the stats that Chris provided in his last monthly update here:

You will note from this that only 26 visitors came to his site from the keyword “certified nursing assistant” on Google.  However, he also getting search engine traffic from many other long tail keywords.  At the time of his last monthly report he already had approximately 100 pages of content on his site, and he plans on adding 300 content articles within the first six months of his site.  I’m sure he will posting another monthly update very soon.

Anyway, I wanted to highlight the efforts that Chris is making because of the lessons it points out.  First, even though this is his very first real niche site – he has still already achieved a $100/month earnings level and I’m sure it will continue to climb.  Secondly, even though he may have picked a more difficult keyword than I would have wanted to target, he is making up for it in volume of content.  By targeting lots of smaller less competitive terms with these articles he is able to get a decent amount of traffic early on.  In the future, I wish him all the best in getting his site to #1 for his primary keyword!

Brief Update on My Own Authority Site Project

Now as you may be aware, this is all very similar to my own authority site project which I have discussed.  I purposely chose a bit of a more difficult keyword to rank for because of its traffic and overall value.  I initially set out not expecting to rank on the first page of Google for the first 6 to 12 months.  This still might be the case, but I am currently ranked 17th!!  So, perhaps I will get there sooner than later!

In addition, I also plan to add a larger volume of content for this site than my typical small niche sites.  There have been some very interesting developments with this project, but I will be saving those for a post later this week (hopefully).  I currently have around 20 posts up on the site, and will be adding lots more over the coming weeks.

Anyway, when it comes down to it, there are really 2 keys to success when building a niche website – keyword research and lots of great content.  Hopefully projects like Chris Ducker’s Niche Site Project and my own Authority Site Project can help motivate and educate everyone.  I would be interested in hearing your thoughts below!

51 Comments for this Post

  1. Claudio


    Warning: I have a malicios url warning from my kaspersky when you click on the link Chris Ducker…

    • Spencer


      Hmmm, I don’t have any warnings – anyone else?

      • steve wyman

        steve wyman

        HI no problem here im running mcafee and its happy 🙂

      • Ronny


        Nall good here to, running AVG

        • Michael


          It’s all good for me as well. I am also running AVG.

      • Curt


        Running McAfee and it’s A-OK.

      • Jimmy


        Nope… Everything was fine. In fact, I’ve signed up for this news letters.

  2. Jon Haver

    Jon Haver

    All these open multi person challanges are excellent motovators for people just starting out and more experienced people. I plan on participating.

  3. John @ Black Picture Frames

    John @ Black Picture Frames

    I’m going to take a look at Chris’s project now, but off hand, do you know if he’s targeting his content at the long tail? Say 300 exact searches/mth, as you do?

    Looking forward to your posts later on in the week.

    Cheers, John

    • Spencer


      I’m not sure what search volume he is targeting to be honest. I think he is more focused on just related content rather than smaller search volume like I am doing.

    • steve wyman

      steve wyman


      is the link to the project HQ as it were. You can find everything there from the begining. Im sure you get an answer to your question there.

      My gut reaction is no chris went after the short tail but he is adjusting his strategy even now. ALthough he’s actually being a lazy Virtual CEO in las vegas 🙂

  4. Conscientious Troll

    Conscientious Troll

    Do any of you care about actually creating quality content that’s good for readers of these sites? Imagine yourself actually needing information, but only having access to the kind of sites that you and others like you create. These are not useful sites.

    I’m glad you are making money, but are you making the world better? I don’t think so. I think you are temporarily gaming the system until the rules finally catch up with you. At that point, I hope you have a backup plan.

    Conscientious Troll

    • steve wyman

      steve wyman

      Hi Spencer

      you points are well made. withe regards to the two specific at the top. I would emphasis the need to do lots and lot of keyword research.

      The more one does the better the chances of finding golden eggs. sure they all need to be built and tested so why not hunt down the best first.

      I for one have been guilt of seeing a new shiney emd and buying it. toonly find a “Better” one the next day. I tend now to batch up domain oppurtunities and go through them again before buying. So avoiding buyers regert.

      Im also tempted do start movig up in exact match. Away from 1500 to say 4000 as a minimum. given the cost to build and test a 1500 emd is the same aas a 4000 emd there is a point in moving up. Ok the competition mybe stiffer but not neccasrily. As so many people concnetrate around 1000 exact and $1.

      what do you think?

    • Spencer


      Hello Mr. Troll 🙂

      I agree that GREAT content is one of the keys to success. In fact this is my 2nd point. “Lots of GREAT content”. Perhaps you missed that. (You should also read my last post where I discuss content quality specificially: I don’t mind the comment because its an important point, but its one I have already mentioned many times.

  5. steve wyman

    steve wyman

    opps I had no ment to reply to mr troll that swas in error.


  6. Adrijus


    Don’t take it personally, but posts like Chris’s experiment are skewed and a bit unrealistic examples.. the guy has the budget to pump money into new site and outsource article writing and other stuff. He’s advanced marketer WITH a team of internet marketers working for him.. His success will build up unrealistic expectations …

    I’d say for newbies like me who are just starting it’s best to start with small sites, learn how they work. Build 10 of them, get some earnings coming in. Now newbies will be confused more. It’s tough to focus on making simple steps first… I just built 4 sites and work on 5th one. Tons to learn and honestly, reading too much different advice is just getting me away from my plan..

    The whole thing why I liked these niche sites is because you can build them fast, get them earning some cash and repeat the process… Slow, rinse and repeat system. For advanced guys like you, Spencer, niche authority sites are the way to go and you will be making a bank. But one has to get to that point first and pay dues..

    This niche site building trend is really picking up speed..

    • Ronny


      I’m not sure I see your point here, why is authority sites more difficult for a beginner?

      I would have thought that it keeping track of fewer sites and paying for less domains would actually be cheaper and mor managable for a beginner.

      • Adrijus


        Longer time to rank, longer and more articles to write, more link building. Risk to choose a wrong keyword is bigger (you will get better at keyword research as you do it often, not few times..). Also, it’s not easier to manage a bigger site. Yes it’s less domains, but it’s more details to be taken care of when you have bigger site. You can get Google slapped, you have to manage a lot of products and update offers if you are selling stuff on it. If you become authority you will get a lot of emails about the topic with people expecting you to answer them (basically customer support), if you get advertisers then you will be managing that too…
        All business models need managing.

        Small sites seem like a bit more passive undertaking. And this is why people come to this.. to build passive income..

        I think for newbies small sites are way to go and then if you stumble upon potential authority niche site than build it up but you have to grow into it so to say….

        BTW, you can buy those sites too, instead of building it yourself you will spend money and have ready made income… maybe that’s a better option, you will spending money on either way.

        And yeah you save on domains, but you spend multiple times more on content. If you need a site with 100 articles..well that’s 500 bucks at least.. and that is for content that is average, if you want great content, you’ll pay twice that at least…

        • Spencer


          You both have great points. Either strategy works.

        • Adrijus


          Yeah, I’m just arguing from newbies perspective. I prefer to build small ones, altho I think I’ve been lucky enough to stumble on some keywords that let you build up a niche authority site. I’m launching two of them but still, testing them at small scale to see if they work well in 3 months and then take it from there.

          Spencer have you been testing some 1000+ word articles on your sites? I think I’ve heard you and Trent Dyrsmit talk about it, maybe you got some tips there. I think maybe this could be better strategy than having 100 articles of 500 words. Site like comes to mind. Huge huge articles there…

        • Michael


          I agree that building an authority site would be harder. At least in my mind it is. You have to write a ton more content that is all closely related, you need to rank for those keywords, and it will take more time to build up such a large authority site.

          I am starting with a bunch of niche sites and if some of them work then I’ll be adding more content and making them more of an authority site.

        • Adrijus


          And I would make a point that authority site doesn’t have to have 300 articles, maybe 20 that are really in-depth articles would be enough.. It’s authority site if it’s helpful not because it has tons of pages. At least in my mind 🙂

          Nice keyword Michael, site looks well too.

          Good luck with sites!

  7. Tipjar


    Interesting to see his progress from back in July…I’m sure he’ll reach page 1.

  8. Mike


    Spencer do you think that maybe your first authority site go de-indexed because maybe someone was copying your contect like what happened to Chris?

    • Spencer


      My site was not deindexed (completely removed from Google); it just wasn’t ranking as well as it should have been. No, I don’t think it had to do with copied content.

  9. Dean


    Hi Spencer,
    Great site! I came here thru one of your affiliates and you have filled in a lot of “what if” questions I had. The only problem is I can’t stop reading and must have spent hours on your site so far (really, well worth it). 🙂

    One question I had was I notice on Chris’ site and on sites that your referred to in another posting only had “about” and “contact” pages. I’m a newbie so is that all we need? I thought we are suppose to have a minimum of other pages such as “privacy”, “affiliate disclaimer” and a “TOS” page?

    Thanks ahead of time.

    I’m excited to start this business and get it rolling!

    • Spencer


      I also include a Privacy Policy Page (which includes an advertising disclaimer) – I’ve never done a TOS page though – not required as far as Im aware.

      Glad you love the site!

  10. ken


    Hi, I am just wondering whats with the suffix, “hq”, just like what Chris used with this website…I am seeing a lot of that suffix and I am really wondering is there a specific reason for that. There are other suffix that one can use that makes more sense so I am really wondering about this “hq” if there is a specific logic behind that.

    • Spencer


      No there is not special reason to use hq – ANY suffix would be just as good. I personally try to avoid hq just because everyone else uses it. You can use a suffix of: review, hub, site, pro, guide, or anything really.

    • Adrijus



      it means headquarters.. so it makes sense to use it. Years ago, word ”central” was popular in website names too.. now it’s ‘guide, pro, online’ etc.

  11. Michael


    Thanks for sharing his website Spencer. I really enjoy looking at other peoples niche websites to see exactly what they are doing for format / placement of ads / content extra.

    I’ve got a bunch of niche sites on the go right now and am really excited to see how they will rank in the up coming months.

    Hopefully I can get a few of my keywords ranked on the first page of Google.

  12. Matt


    I also got a malicious script/site warning when I clicked on the link. I too am using Kaspersky

  13. Toni


    Interesting stuff, Spencer, thanks for sharing. I’m currently enrolled in the “University of Internet Marketing” and you are one of my favorite professors.

    • Spencer


      Thanks? I didn’t even know I was a professor there – what is that exactly?

      • Toni


        You’re so cute! It’s not a real place–just a phrase I coined! After a few failed internet businesses, and a lot of $$$ down the drain, I’m teaching myself about several aspects of internet-based businesses by following a few experts–and you are one of those.

        Although I may never build the kind of niche websites you talk about, I’m still learning tons of good information.

        By the way, I wish you would do more podcasts.

        • Spencer


          Okay, lol! I thought maybe you had me confused with someone else. (I’m a bit slow sometimes 🙂 )

          Glad you are enjoying the content here – and who knows maybe I’ll get to another podcast one of these days!

  14. Ralph


    I agree with Adrijus on the newbie part but I also want to say something regarding that same item.

    There is no quick get rich scheme.. it takes money to make money. This can be the purchase of a domain or the time YOU invest in writing the article.

    Usually if you work half an hour longer at work, you can afford 5 articles to be written by someone else.

    On the other hand, you can buy a domain / website that is already making money and you will save (I personally see it as miss the education) the time and money to set up a website.

    I’ve learned a great deal of setting up Adsense sites. I.e. don’t choose a subject where there is no follow up..

    But choose a subject that has a follow up step.
    My content explains what my topic is.. but people just leave after that as they know what they wanted to know.

    It is a bit hard to give the exact example without giving away my niche but I hope the point comes across.


  15. Federico


    The same here, malicious site warning on both links(pity)…

    I went on google and looked for this guy and his site, but I’ve got the same malicious site warning, is that anyway you can contact him tellig him that, Spencer?

    I think is a great point talking about authority site and for the newbies it’s better start to learn that , ’cause google with the new panda updating this year is knocking down thousands of small niche sites.

    Thank you for the video Spencer….

    Best regards,

    • steve wyman

      steve wyman

      Chris is rather well know around our part of the web. using both AVG and McAfee and a propritry system there is no virus there.

      You should all come joing the VBL tribe its epc. almost as much as Spencers 🙂

  16. Rob


    A little off topic I guess but I wanted to know your thoughts on content writing. When you finally find a keyword that meets all of the criteria, do you go online to get educated on the topic and then in your own words create the content or do you approach it some other way. I find keywords that look promising but being able to flesh out a 5-10 page site with a few articles per page stop me in my tracks. I dont want to put together some thin site that I would not want a manual reviewer to see. Thanks

    • Spencer


      You can outsource to experts in the field. I have done this on particularly difficult subjects. I will hire writers that have years of experience in the particular niche and let them write the content. This is the best approach if you are not knowledgeable on the subject. However, if you are doing all the writing yourself, you would need to spend some time educating yourself until you felt you had a good grasp on the subject and can effectively answer the searchers query.

  17. Chris


    Spencer I remember on an earlier post you mentioned the pros and cons of installing Google Analytics on your sites.

    I found an interesting take on this from another blog (it’s by the same people that own secockpit).

    The topic post is: Alternatives To Google Analytics
    here is the link:

    Toward the bottom of the post he mentions IMPORTANTLY – he says:

    “Yeah, that’s a good point. With AdSense on the site, there’s no escaping Google anyway and linking it up to GA has many benefits. I think this approach is best (GA for AdSense sites, different solution for all others).”

    When you get a chance take a look.
    What do you think?

    • Spencer


      I am back to using Google Analytics. I just couldn’t find anything else that was quite as easy to use. And yes, with adsense – Google knows all of your sites anyway.

  18. Lindsay Collins

    Lindsay Collins

    Hey Spencer, I’m wondering if you still go for keywords if there’s no ads to the right side of google search results when you search it?

    I have found some keywords that have good amount of local searches, good CPC, and easy to rank, but some of them have no ads on the right side. How important is that?

  19. Swami


    Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing, making $100 though ranking at 4 th page of google! awesome. His site theme is great and it could pull nearly 10% CTR i guess, that is the reason he was able to make $100 with average of 100 UVs every day

  20. David


    Hi Spencer,

    I was wondering how often do u post to each of your individual sites once they have been up and running for 3 or 4 months and are earning you $5-$20 a month on adsense?

    If the idea is to continually post content surely at the rate of 1 or 2 articles a month in the long term at $5 an article, that’s going to chew up your profit margin.

    If you spend $10 a month just on content creation which lets be honest isn’t much content at all, how do you keep earning more than you are spending? Or do you choose to set and forget? Which of course raises the issue that Google may penalise you for not updating the website with frequent content, which is what they seem to be targeting.

    • Spencer


      I don’t post any articles to most of my sites over 3 to 4 months old. If a site is only making $5 to $20 (your numbers) a month I don’t worry about it. Only if a site is making like $300 or $400 or more per month do I usually consider adding more content to it. Obviously there may be other circumstances where I might add content; but mostly its set it and forget it. Feed the big winners and just ride the rest. Google doesn’t penalize much for not updating content in my experience. (I haven’t updated some sites in a year or even 2 and they still rank just as well as before).

      • David


        Thanks Spencer for getting back to me so quickly. Well then what you say makes sense then. Def ride the winners and let loose of the rest.

        I have read your free e-book and planning on buying long tail pro to launch an adsense campaign. I’m currently planning the project and setting out my weekly goals and procedures. I want to be extremely organised because I know that handling dozens of sites at once can become difficult without the right level of organizational skills.

        Great work again Spence, you have inspired me.

  21. Akil


    Hi Spencer,

    I believe your writing in your blog post that content is king and targeting long tail keyword while building steady content will win the race.

    I believe that targeting providing readers with valuable content they can act on or use will help any site get notice and therefore increase their income.

    I myself find it takes a while to build up an audience and you also have to convert that audience into buyers also by targeting buying keyword.

    Also I believe that being organized helps a lot too, I am learning to become more organized. There are numerous skills that as a blogger/entrepreneur we need to develop such as project management skills and learn how to read the trends(understanding economics – supply & demand).

    The key I believe is to keep learning, growing and implement what you learn to help others. No one fails they gain a learning experience that they hope not to repeat.

    Wish you the best spencer and keep up the good work.

  22. Justin


    It’s interesting following Chris’s journey, as it’s a great model for us. We own an outsourcing company in the Philippines as well…so anything he can do we should be able to do as well.

    I’m particularly interested in the cost vs. revenue and the ROI associated. I’d asked Chris how much he spent and he stated around $500…but with around 120 articles up at the time that just didn’t make sense to me. Interested to see how it turns out.

  23. amaz


    thanks a lot.i found it very informative

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