As I recently discussed, building niche websites is an excellent strategy for 3 main reasons. Niche sites are in a growing market, they are scalable, and they can generate passive income. But what I didn't discuss is exactly what a niche website is, and what the strategy is for building one. Some of the topics I would like to cover here are the overall strategy, niche sites vs. general websites, and an action plan.
Because there really is so much detail that I COULD include in this post, I will refer you to the Niche Websites Hub to reference other posts that will cover more details that this one cannot for lack of space. I am trying to cover as much detail as possible over the next few months on how to build successful niche websites – so I appreciate your patience!
The Overall Strategy
The basic idea behind building a niche website is to target 1 specific keyword and to rank well in Google and other search engines for that keyword so that you can get as much free traffic as possible. Obviously with time you will rank for other keywords and can target other keyword related to your site, but the key strategy is to be laser focused on one keyword. With this keyword, you will base your domain name (preferably and exact match domain), content, and link building.
My personal strategy is to enter a market where I feel like I can rank in the top 10 of Google (top 5 preferred) very quickly (within a couple of months). Therefore, I tend to target keywords that typically get lower search volume but also have very low competition. Keywords that receive small amounts of searches each month are called “Long Tail Keywords”. The number of words in a phrase has NOTHING to do with whether or not a keyword is considered a “long tail” keyword – only the number of searches matter (it has to do with the “tail” of a normal bell curve – those items on the fringes). My point here isn't to teach you what a long tail keyword is – for that you can read Chris Anderson's monumental article on the subject where he coined the phrase in 2004. I explain more about long tail keywords and give specific examples in my free Long Tail handbook on building niche websites right here.
So, in a nutshell, the strategy is to target low competition keywords that you can get free traffic from relatively quickly. Then you simply replicate the process by building new websites. Obviously exactly how this is implemented can vary depending on the keyword and circumstances; however, below I have listed a quick bullet point list of what goes into building a niche website.
Quick List for Building Niche Websites
- Find a keyword that receives at least 1,000 exact match searches. Honestly, I try to only focus on keywords that get 5k or more exact match searches now. Remember this is a MINIMUM – its BETTER to target a keyword that gets 20k or more as long as the competition is still low. If you can find a keyword that gets 100k Exact match searches per month and still has very low competition then GO FOR IT! However, the reality is that you will find many more keywords with low competition in the lower search volume range. You won't make very much money on a keyword that only get 1,000 searches every month – so keep that in mind.
- Find a keyword that has an average CPC of $1 or more. This is generally the rule if you plan on monetizing your site with Google Adsense. If you are using other methods, the CPC might not be as relevant. You need to find out how you are going to make money with your site and make sure your chosen keywords will allow you to meet those goals.
- Check the competition by looking at the top 10 results in Google. I will cover how to judge the competition in detail in a future post, but here are a few things you need to look at in the results. Is the keyword in the Title of the Pages? Are the results mainly root domains or subpages? Look for low Pageranks, zero links to the results pages if possible (not the root domain), site age, .edu and .gov links, and a few other items can be looked at as well.
- Buy an Exact Match Domain if possible.
- Install WordPress. I use WordPress on all my sites – however, using regular html or other site builders is just fine too.
- Install plugins – I will give a detailed list and discussion of plugins in the future.
- Add content to your site. I like to start with between 5 and 10 articles. When the site starts to make money or shows promise of growth, I will add more content. If the site is a dud, I don't add more content. Usually only 1 article should have your main keyword in the title. The other articles will be on related terms – don't overuse your keyword on your site. A 1 to 2% keyword density is sufficient on your 1 main article. I might not even use the keyword in the other articles on my site.
- Insert adsense or other monetization methods. I do this right away.
- Build links. I usually wait a week or two before I build any links to my site. Then I will do a combination of article marketing and other link building. Most of my niche sites have less than 100 links showing in Yahoo site explorer. So, don't go overboard. Start with 50 to 100 links and then wait a few weeks. Build more if needed. Use your chosen keyword as anchor text for added relevance.
- Add More Content if needed. If your website is ranking well and you are making good money, add more articles.
- Optimize your site for CTR and overall earnings.
- That's about it – move onto the next site!
Niche Websites vs. General Websites
A niche website will almost always if done properly outrank a general website like an article directory. An article directory usually doesn't have any focus and just publishes lots of articles on whatever. For this reason their domain name is not optimized for your keyword, the article usually doesn't have many links built to it, and the rest of the site is unrelated to the topic. So an entire website that has intense focus on a particular keyword or topic should always outrank a website that just has a random article on the topic.
Obviously this isn't always the case depending on a number of factors; however, in general a niche website is MUCH easier to rank for a keyword than a general website with no focus is to rank. The searcher also is usually more satisfied because they get lots of articles that discuss their query in detail rather than just one article that they get with article directories. This is another reason why niche sites are so powerful.
Conclusion and Your Comments
Overall, I have experienced great success with building niche websites, which is why I am such an advocate of this strategy. By following the bullet points listed above and truly understanding the “long tail” strategy you will have everything you need to start building a business. Obviously there is much more that I will cover and hope to do so with great detail.
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Overall, let me know your thoughts below! What other questions do you have? What insights can your provide from your own experience – so we can all learn?!?