I am super excited to officially announce the winning applicant for Niche Site Project 2! The best part of this selection process, is that I allowed all of you to make the decisions along the way. So, this is really a community project rather than just mine.
From the beginning, I allowed you to suggest ideas for what Niche Site Project 2 should be. I wanted to do something that would be just as useful as my first niche site project, but I wanted to make sure I was doing something that everyone was still interested in.
After adding up all of the votes for which type of case study I should do, the winning idea was to pick a student and teach him or her how to build a site from scratch.
The next step was to actually pick a student. I allowed people to just submit their name if they were interested, and received over 600 applicants. You can read about the entire student selection process here. Essentially, after getting all the applicants in, I randomly (based purely on a random number generator in Microsoft Excel) selected 10 finalists. (One dropped out after that).
So, I had no choice in the type of project, the people that applied, or who the final 9 applicants were. Then I held a vote a little over a week ago to allow YOU to pick the winner! I had the final 9 applicants submit a brief description of themselves and why they would be a good fit for this project.
As a result…Applicant 4 won the vote! Here are the results:
As you can see, Applicant 4 received about twice as many votes as the next closest applicant!
So, who is applicant 4? Well, his name is Perrin, and I will let him introduce himself!
I asked Perrin a few questions and I’m posting those questions and answers below. Perrin and I are going to be spending quite a bit of time together as we go through the coaching process. But you as a reader of Niche Site Project 2 are going to be hearing from Perrin quite a bit as well. So, I want us all to learn a little more about him!
So, Meet Perrin!
What is your name and current employment situation like?
Hey everyone! I’m Perrin. I’m 28. Looks like I won this thing, and I’m super stoked to be working with Spencer. Also, a few commenters thought I was a girl. Sadly, I’m just a regular dude. Must have been all the exclamation points and emoticons!
Anyway, a bit about me: I have a full-time job as a communication consultant for a large HR firm. Basically, when a big company needs to communicate something to all of their employees, I take care of the words. It’s pretty nuts, but it’s fun to work with some of the major brands we all see every day. Before that, I was scraping together a living as a freelance writer in Chicago while I was working on an MFA in Poetry. So, yes, I’m a published poet!
Give us some more details on your past experience building niche sites. How long have you been building sites? And what has been your strategy?
I’ve been building sites for a couple of months with no real luck to date. I’ve been using Long Tail Pro and Long Tail Classroom as my guide, but I’ve also been looking into the blogs/podcasts of some of the other names we all probably know: Hayden Miyamoto, Alex Becker, Pat Flynn – you know, those guys.
I’ve built four sites total, and I’ve been slightly varying my strategy to test what “really works.” For all sites, I use Long Tail Pro to do keyword research. To check the competition’s backlinks, I used MajesticSEO, Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs (I use all of them because they tend to pick up different backlinks).
The first site I built was pretty close to what I know of Spencer’s process. I researched a main keyword and about a dozen secondary keywords. Then, I wrote an initial 1,000-word article that included some really good information and a bunch of juicy data. Over the next couple of days, I wrote 10 more articles based on my secondary keywords. Then, I manually built some backlinks with article directories, Web 2.0 sites, social bookmarking and blog commenting. I’m not sure exactly why this one hasn’t been successful, but I think it may be that there’s not enough content on the site and my keyword was way more competitive than I thought.
My other sites are more like micro-niche sites. They don’t have a lot of content, but I was using them to experiment with linkbuilding techniques. For two of them, I bought expired domains with what I thought were good link profiles and wrote nice, long articles for each. One of them actually did pretty well (around the fourth page of Google) before falling. The other didn’t get indexed, which makes me think it was penalized in a previous life. For the last one, I’ve been using Magic Submitter (I know, I know; it was mostly an experiment to see what the grey hat stuff was all about. But don’t worry – it’ didn’t work anyway).
In short, I’m definitely a novice. At this stage, I’m still throwing the proverbial you-know-what at the walls to see what sticks.
What do you expect to get out of Niche Site Project 2?
I have a couple goals. First, I’d like to learn the nitty, gritty details of making a site that attracts traffic and actually turns a profit. Since I’m so new, part of that process will be just figuring out which things I don’t know. At the end of the project, I’d like to have a site that brings in $500/mo. That would be awesome!
I also want to learn how to scale a successful site building process into a profitable business. So, while I’m learning all this SEO stuff, I hope to learn about outsourcing work, project management, hiring a VA, creating more than one site at a time, managing multiple AdSense campaigns, and whatever comes up that I didn’t think of. Of course, not all of those things will be a part of my project, but I hope to learn about them along the way.
So, I suppose that the goal for the project is to make one profitable site. The goal in the long run is to use those skills to make a bunch of them!
Anything else you would like to say or share before we start NSP 2?
I’m just really excited. There were a lot of applicants, and each one of the final 9 seemed like an outstanding candidate to me. I think I was picked because I’m stuck where so many others are stuck: just peering over the fence into the bright green yard of SEO success (in future posts, I’ll try to keep the cheesy dad metaphors to a minimum, I promise).
I feel honored, flattered and humbled that the Niche Pursuits community thought I was a good representation of your collective journey – because what’s important is not that I, Perrin, make a couple hundred bucks; it’s that by watching a novice being coached by an expert and making the whole process transparent, we can tackle the struggles of the average Joe in a way that makes everyone more successful.
So let’s get this show on the road. Here’s to a fun, exciting, hard, educational and rewarding next couple of months!
What to Expect Going Forward
Perrin and I have been in contact with one another and will start planning out this project over the next few days. I am going to try and provide weekly updates on this project for at least the few several weeks.
As you know the first several weeks are the most critical as we will be finding a niche and specific keywords to go after. In addition, we will be developing an overall strategy.
And just so everyone knows, I am going to coach Perrin to try building a niche site that could grow into something much larger than just a normal small niche site. We will be following some of the principles I discussed in my previous post about whether people should be building one large site or many small sites.
Yes, the site will start small. And yes, we will likely find a low competition keyword that we can target right away. But I may encourage Perrin to find a domain that can be more brand-able and has growth potential, rather than just an exact match domain. I definitely want Perrin to hit his $500/mth goal with this site, and hopefully even more.
So, at this point Perrin and I are just getting started! We will have an update for you next week sometime.
I also want to reiterate that I will be sharing EVERYTHING! Any actual coaching that I do with Perrin will be recorded or at least shared on this blog. So, you will be able to learn step by step the entire process we use to build a niche site.
I look forward to working with Perrin, and sharing Niche Site Project 2 with all of you.
If you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear from you below. Thanks!