Brainstorming Niche Ideas and Overall Strategy for Website Building: Coaching Call 1 for Niche Site Project 3
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I'm excited to finally share coaching call #1 for Niche Site Project 3! Perrin, Jake, and I individually did calls with our students and those calls are shared below.
Going into this project as coaches; we decided not to try and implement some master plan together. In other words, each of us our coaching freely…without consulting each other. So, what you may find in these coaching calls are 3 slightly different approaches to building a niche site.
I think that is the best from a learning standpoint anyway! Instead of just learning my style of coaching and building niche sites; you'll get to see how 2 others do it as well.
If you are building a niche site along with this project, we'd love to hear about it in the comments or in the new Niche Site Project 3 Facebook Group.
So, let's jump right into the coaching calls!
Spencer and Samara: Coaching Call 1
You can either watch the video of the call below or listen to the audio only here.
Our first call was fairly brief and just provided a basic overview of the project. Here's a few of the things we covered in the call:
- Why it's so vitally important to pick the right niche from the start
- Set a goal of $500/mth with the niche site
- Discussed how to brainstorm niche ideas. (Both my posts from 2011 and 2013 are still spot on here).
- Discussed the fact that “niche” does not mean small. We expect to build a large site over time. Niche simply means focused on one particular market or theme.
- Discussed why we are focusing on finding an interest or market before ever looking at keywords.
- 2 Important factors for picking a niche/market: 1. At least some interest in the topic is helpful (but not necessarily required) and 2. Making sure there is “money” is the niche is important. We'll go into much greater detail on this in future calls.
- Wrote down a few broad niche ideas based on Samara's interests/hobbies.
- Discussed keyword research briefly and why there is no minimum search volume set when looking for niche ideas.
- Assignment to come up with 20 or so potential niche ideas that we can look into further on the next call.
- Additional assignment to look at some of initial videos of Long Tail University and start basic keyword research with Long Tail Platinum on markets discovered through brainstorming.
Overall, I think the call went well. I'm super impressed with Samara, and I know she is going to do extremely well. You've all picked a great student for me!
Jake and Ryan: Coaching Call 1
You can either watch the video of the call below or listen to the audio only here.
Here's is Jake's write-up of the first coaching call…
As you can hear, Ryan and I had a lot of fun on our first call!
Ryan introduced himself to you guys, and shared his personal income goal for this niche site – which is basically to make enough money so he no longer has to work night jobs in addition to his full-time day job.
He estimates that $500 per month should do the trick, so that's what we're shooting for. (I explained to Ryan that once you grow to $500, it's often relatively easy to grow that to $1,000 per month and beyond. Getting from $0 to $500 is the bigger challenge).
I was encouraged that we were on the same page with our vision for how a niche site should be in 2016. Here are a few highlights of what I discussed:
1. Ideally the niche should be something you care about, and/or know something about. I believe you can carve out an audience in just about any niche if you are creative and use solid keyword research.
2. We should look to create a brand, not something like besthotsauces2015.com which sounds silly. So the name is important, and it doesn't need to have a keyword in it.
3. Start wide and then maybe get more narrow as you go. I talked about thinking of a niche as an umbrella, and then asked Ryan to brainstorm some niches he wants to go into and think about the topics/sub-niches that fit under that larger umbrella. We don't want to pigeonhole our selves by picking a topic that is too narrow.
4. We'll start with just a rough idea of how we'd make money from the site – I'm not worried about having an exact plan from the beginning.
5. We'll build a site that passes the eye ball test – something that you'd be proud to share with your family and friends that looks legit.
6. Once we get a few possible niches, we'll look for dozens of low competition keywords to make sure the depth is there to build a big site. We want to at least have authority site potential.
7. We'll mix in keyword focused content and shareable content on our site.
8. As the site grows, we'll dial in our plan to make money and hopefully the best opportunities will become self-evident.
Also, I asked him to watch this video of Marcus Sheridan at an Inbound Marketing conference. I love how Marcus brings real life practicality to inbound marketing, and this is the video I always send people to who don't really “get” the concept of how you can pull people into your website.
Although Marcus is very small business focused, these same principles apply to us and I try to heed the advice to “think like a teacher” with our content, because building trust is critical for any website that plans to grow an audience.
I hope you all enjoy our first call! We'll be adding some screen sharing in the future…
Perrin and Colleen: Coaching Call 1
Man… how long has it been since we’ve had a pow-wow about a niche site project?!
I’m super pumped to have just finished my first coaching call with Colleen. I’m really, really excited about kicking this thing off, and I think we’ve got a great road map to follow. So, I’m excited. Colleen can barely contain herself. And I hope you are getting pumped, too!
Let’s talk about goals.
Historically, the goals for every niche site project have been to get a site earning $500 per month at the six-month mark.
Here’s why this is a good goal: when I first started, earning even $1 online in recurring revenue seemed totally crazy to me. I’d earned a few bucks here and there, but it was largely a fluke. But $500/mo? It was massive to me—my Everest.
But is it enough?
Today, I have a lot more experience under my belt. I’ve created several sites that have broken the $1,000/mo mark, and a couple have done much better than that. I look at sites more like businesses—living, breathing things I can build and then shove out of the nest—that can bring in a real, living wage for my family.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely still get massively excited when I hit my first $500 month on any new site (we just hit that milestone with one of our new sites around here, and believe me: we were pumped).
But when I set out to create my very first site, my goal wasn’t $500. Not really.
I would have been over the moon to see that kind of money, but the real goal was to create an awesome online business that would allow me to live the life I wanted.
That’s what I want for Colleen, too.
Colleen’s in place very similar to where I was two years ago: stuck in a consulting job that just isn’t as fulfilling as she wants it to be. She wants to do other stuff: travel, stuff her face with spaghetti, ride additional camels…
Having a 9-to-5 job makes that tough. I think we all empathize with that.
So we’re going to shoot for $500/mo. That’s the first milestone. But the goal here is much bigger: I want for Colleen to create a truly sustainable lifestyle business for herself.
Is that too crazy? You tell me.
Here’s where I chose to start…
I want to start by blazing a (somewhat) new trail.
The conventional thinking around here has always been to find a great keyword and build a site around it. That’s the jab.
Colleen and I are going to walk into the ring and start throwing haymakers.
Okay, maybe it won’t be that crazy, and you’ll see that a lot of the core keyword research is exactly the same stuff Spencer taught me a couple years ago. But we’re certainly going to try to tweak our approach: instead of starting with keyword research, we’re going to start with data-driven market research.
I feel like learning how to do data-driven market research was a major part of the success of my current site. It’s a way to pre-validate content ideas en masse, come out with a list of potential business partners, and poach hundreds of proven keywords before you get started.
This is a risk.
It’s only worked for me once.
But (1) my gut tells me it’s the best way to start a new site, and (2) I think it’s a very efficient process, which means we can start earning sooner.
How do you do it? You’ll have to watch the video!
See you on the inside.
Next Calls Coming Soon!
The holiday season is upon us and it might be little difficult to nail down an exact schedule for our next calls. However, I can tell you that I am planning to get one in with Samara next week, and I think Jake and Perrin may do the same.
So, the plan is to still release our next coaching calls next week and each week thereafter. We look forward to sharing all the details as they come.
As you can see, there is a TON of content in this post. Between the videos and the write-ups, you have lots of material to keep you busy thinking about your own niche project if you are following along.
And if you are following along, I HIGHLY recommend that you join us in the Niche Site Project 3 Facebook group. We've already had lots of great interaction, and I expect this will be a very active group for the duration of the project.
As always, I look forward to the discussion in the comments below. So, if you have any comments or questions, please leave your thoughts below.
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- How to Pick the Right Keywords at the START, and avoid the losers
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- How to Build a Site That Gets REAL TRAFFIC FROM GOOGLE (every. single. day.)
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