Podcast 113: Niche Site Project Update – Ryan’s Site Revealed
When you buy something through one of the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
We're back with an update from Ryan Spadafora on Niche Site Project 3!
Today, we're actually going to reveal Ryan's site in our call. Since it's been awhile, here's a quick recap of the high level plan for Ryan's site:
- Focus on baseball and provide content based around skill development, coaching plans, and gear recommendations and reviews.
- Mix in product-focused affiliate content along with other shareable content types we talked about several months ago.
- Network and build links/shares/awareness by emailing people he includes in his various list-style posts.
- (Longer term) build a YouTube channel featuring Ryan giving baseball skill development lessons of his own, following a long tail strategy we outlined here.
The Struggle Continues…
In addition to revealing the site on our call today, we also talk about the struggles Ryan has experienced during the process. We knew coming in that he'd be working around a full-time schedule and a family – like many of you are doing. In Ryan's defense, his work schedule has become more grueling since we started this project and he's had some health/family issues that popped up unexpectedly.
In fact, he took some PTO in the middle of the day to record this call.
Obviously I've invested a chunk of personal time and effort in Ryan throughout this process, so nobody wants to see him succeed and get to the $500/month mark more than me.
What's been interesting is the mix of comments from you guys, the Niche Pursuits community, about Ryan's continued struggles. Generally, it seems like folks are in 1 of 2 camps:
- I'm glad to see someone like me who struggles to find time to do this on the side! Hang in there!
- We've all got problems. You gotta want it and make the time – no excuses!
Whichever side you fall on – I think you're both right!
Sometimes when you read case studies or success stories online, things get oversimplified and it can be deflating when it seems like others find success rather quickly and easily and you aren't seeing any results despite putting in the effort.
That's the fun part about doing a public niche site project – you never know what's going to happen.
Building a new site can be a lonely process that involves a bunch of self-doubt, optimism, joy, sadness, and everything in-between. If you're taking part in this journey, be sure to join the Niche SIte Project 3 Facebook group so you can connect with others going through the same things you are trying to build a profitable website.
While I think that many people can do this – it's not easy. Especially when you've never done it before, or if you've tried in the past and failed. You've got to believe in the process and make some sacrifices.
Let's face it, it's never a fun or convenient time to write a 3,000 word article.
You've just got to make the time – whether that means staying up late or getting up early, it comes down to how bad you want it.
Today I encourage Ryan on the call that it's not how you start, but how you finish.
Ryan has a list of about 50 solid, low competition keywords sitting in a Google doc right now and he really knows his stuff when it comes to the subject matter.
If I could wave a magic wand and Ryan would have completed just these 50 articles in the first half of 2016, with his knowledge of baseball and his talent as a writer, he'd be well on his way to his goal.
Unfortunately, I don't have a magic wand handy.
So the reality is that the site we're revealing today isn't seeing significant traffic (yet) or making any money (yet.) I say “yet” because Ryan is still determined to put in the work needed to make it happen – so the long term future of the site remains to be seen.
Other Topics Discussed
In addition to offering Ryan some encouragement to get re-focused and start knocking out the content on his to-do list, I also show a few little things on Ryan's site for him to take a look at:
Amazon Affiliate Links
I referenced this article which talks about complying with Amazon's terms of service with how you link to their products. Ryan had some anchor text that wasn't really obvious that it was going to a product page, so I suggested he clean that up to avoid any issues with his Amazon account.
If you're already to this stage on your site, don't miss our post full of ideas to maximize Amazon affiliate earnings.
As a rule, when I do curated style posts where I'm talking about a collection of ideas I learned from other people, like a list of baseball throwing drills, I like to reach out to everyone I link to or reference in any way in that post. I just give them a quick heads up and say “thanks” which is a good way to start a relationship with that person and possibly get a link or a social share of your content.
Lower Hanging Fruit First
At this point, Ryan has 10 published posts. A couple of them aren't really keyword-focused at all, which doesn't do a whole lot of good when your traffic is non-existent. I suggest that he start out with his lowest competition keywords and get those published, then add in these more general posts later once he's developed some traffic and (hopefully) an email list.
Set Short Term Goals
Staring at a huge list of keywords yet to be written can be overwhelming. I encouraged Ryan to start setting a shorter term goal of maybe doing 1 or 2 per week – something a little more measureable that would keep him on task as opposed to thinking “man, I've got to find time to write 50 articles.”
If you prefer to listen to the audio only, you can download it here.
When we started this process I had hoped to be revealing Ryan's site on a high note where we had met some traffic or earnings goal.
Clearly, we're not there yet.
The good news is, the story of Ryan's site is far from over.
In fact, if it were a book it would be like a very talented author had a compelling outline, then in the middle of writing chapter 1 got distracted and stopped making progress…
That can still be a great book, but not until the author finishes it.
Similarly, at this point it's up to Ryan. A website with 10 blog posts and a couple of links isn't going to do a whole lot, and he's well aware of that. However, I'm still confident in the plan and the strategy we've outlined for his site, and now it's time to execute.
If he does, $500/month and beyond won't be a problem. If he doesn't, FiveToolSchool.com will go down as another niche site idea that never really got off the ground (I've had a few of those myself over the years).
I still believe in Ryan, and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to report back with positive updates in the months to come!
Building Niche Sites
Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?
Yes! I Love to Learn
Learn How I Built My Niche Site Empire to a Full-time Income
- How to Pick the Right Keywords at the START, and avoid the losers
- How to Scale and Outsource 90% of the Work, Allowing Your Empire to GROW Without You
- How to Build a Site That Gets REAL TRAFFIC FROM GOOGLE (every. single. day.)
- Subscribe to the Niche Pursuits Newsletter delivered with value 3X per week
My top recommendations
You can do it Ryan! Indeed building a niche site from scratch is a lonely road… And it comes with many doubts… If you are not STRONG ENOUGH, you will ditch the site rather too early. I personally give my website(s) 6 months before expecting any traffic and $$$.
And within those 6 months, i must have up to 30+ articles that are informational and focused on my targeted keywords.
Why not just outsource some of the article writing? Maybe outsource one per week or something of that nature so you are at least gaining traction.
Definitely a good idea and something we’ve talked about, but Ryan’s working from a true shoestring budget here and wants to do the first chunk himself.
Your progress is amazing! Well done! One little advice for you, remove Meta and Archives widgets from sidebar. This two widgets are totally useless and even anyone can see WordPress Log In option there.
Good point, Bryan – I’d overlooked that until you mentioned it.
Good job Ryan, I am one of those who belongs to both camp, it feels good to know that other people is going through what I am going through and not just read success stories one after another. This business can be really lonely sometimes, as most of the times you are alone, and during those times, doubt creeps in, but we have to keep moving forward, moving forward doesn’t mean whatever we are working on right now will succeed, but knowing that someday we will, this site or the next one.
Thanks for the encouragement.
I checked out couple articles. Not bad, although as a no-nothing little league dad, I would have liked more specific instruction.. I.e.. place your feet here, more your arms in this manner, etc…
On a technical note, I’m viewing on mobile and had a hard time seeing your animated GIFs. They were too small. Good luck!
Thanks for the tips, Guy.
I certainly can relate to a lot of stuff in that call. Being systematic in your approach is probably the biggest advantage in doing this kind of work. I’m not a very systematic person by nature, so I can relate to Ryan in that way. Building out sites for a living can be an overwhelming task. One thing that particularly struck me in the conversation was about doing the outreach as you go along. It’s a really good idea, obviously, and I’m trying to get into that mindset myself at this point, but really – any part of the process can snag you if you’re not “in the mood”. Don’t like researching keywords? Suck it up. Don’t like writing? Suck it up. Don’t like formatting? Suck it up. Don’t like familiarizing yourself with Amazon’s TOS? Suck it up. Don’t like having to finish a huge article that took all your thought and energy, only to have to make yet another spreadsheet and find the people you linked out to so you can write to them an personally thank them, in the hopes they’ll write you back? Suck it up. Don’t like making one if not more social media profiles to promote your brand once that’s all done? Suck it up. This is why it can be better to work with a team of people to get all these jobs done. But who has money for a “team” when they’re starting out? Right – basically no one.
On the flip side, there’s this. Do you like working for a boss? Maybe you do. But if you don’t, this lifestyle is one way out of that situation. It’s also a way to have as much “upward mobility” as you want, provided you’re willing to put the time in. Some people have some seriously heinous things they need to do to make money in life, and they could only dream of sitting on their ass and writing about “the best…” whatever. There are people who can’t even fathom that people actually do this for a living, much less be able to do it. I remember I used to have a job for a few months sweeping a factory every day for like 10 hours when the floor was already immaculately clean. Talk about ridiculous. Well, that’s where temp work will get you.
Anyway, I would like to say something encouraging, but there’s really no point. Sometimes encouragement isn’t what is needed. Seriously, sometimes it just needs to sink in that not everyone can, or even deserves the opportunity do this kind of work, since it is so specialized and that’s what makes it cool if you do make it.
Jake is defnitely being very generous to Ryan. He should really appreciate that because most people would not want to spend the time on what is nearly a lost cause.
Unless Ryan has a serious change in his work ethic towards this particularly task, I think he will be lucky to scrape more than a few hundred a month from it.
There is a lot to do for a site – a lot. I outsource most things now because otherwise I wouldn’t get much done. Even if Ryan knows a lot about the subject I think he should outsource the articles because he just isn’t getting them done. He can give an outline to the writer of what he wants and make sure the writing is solid still.
I don’t want Ryan to fail but having done this for a long while, it took a lot of work and commitment to get to a comfortable and fulfilling income. I didn’t have anyone holding my hand either and had to fight through the times of self doubt and negativity. You have someone holding your hand – take advantage and show your appreciation by nailing this.
Hey Jake and guys, by the way.. if you do post my comment, I think one of my main sites is posted in there too as I saw it in the favicon. If that’s in there, could you please take it out? I don’t even know why its there. Thanks!
Hey Dave – really appreciate the comment and I think I fixed your favicon issue here. Fun fact – if you include a “.” in your gmail address it works the same. So I added a period in the middle of your email address associated with the comment and your favicon turned to the generic faceless person.
Oh like this?
Hey Jake. You said he should change his anchor text to something else, like a product name. Then you refer to a post you wrote about a lady who got banned for “not using the correct anchor text”. I looked that post up and It doesn’t seem that she was banned for using the wrong anchor text, but instead was banned for “cloaking” her links. Are you talking about the “marketing with Sara” right?
I don’t think Ryan would get banned for using “money they’re asking” even though it’s not the best anchor text to use. It would be great if we could get an answer on this. I have links that I use that don’t have the product name in it, but have what the product is. So not like “Panasonic shaver 1124B” but instead “shaver like this one”.
I have some sites that are 2 years old that use this technique and still just fine with amazon, but now you got me worried that I just got lucky. How do we figure out the best anchor text to use with our amazon sites?
Yes, the first part of that email exchange has to do with anchor text and she asks specific examples about what would be permissible and they said “The answer to your first 3 questions is yes, you are welcome to use names in your links. The only time where we look at trademarks is in the URL of your website. You are fine using the text link “Crayola Crayons” to link to a Crayola product on Amazon.com. You are also welcome to say “Buy Crayola Crayons Here” or “Get a Great Deal on Crayola Crayons Here.”” –
So I think the idea is that you have the affiliate disclosure in your footer on all pages, and then your anchor text should be pretty obvious that when you click it you are going to a product page. Personally, I think “Shaver like this one” is fine because it’s pretty clear you are going to show me a shaver. For Ryan, “money they’re asking” doesn’t suggest that I’m going to look at a product – so I suggested that he play it safe and just remove the affiliate link there.
Keep working hard Ryan. Just checked out the site, it looks great! The one BIG thing that I have learnt over the last couple of months is to focus on those keywords related to your site instead of just keep knocking out lots of general articles. It will save you time and will get traffic to your site. I invested in some software called Long Tail Pro , anyone heard of it ? 😉 It has changed my whole aspect to what I am writing and focusing on, I know concentrate on those long tail keywords and KC scores and then write my articles accordingly. Good luck Ryan
My recommendation, if you can afford it, is to outsource your articles. Trying and failing to write the articles is the number 1 reason I see people giving up on niche websites. If you don’t like writing, then you just don’t like writing, no shame in that.
It’s true and a good point. I’m personally doing that more and more now. For Ryan, it’s an issue of lack of budget which is why he’s committed to doing the writing himself initially.
I look at the progress of my niche site this way. I don’t answer anyone but “Dan W”. Ryan does not have to answer to anyone but Ryan Spaldafora. If Im on a pace that it will take 10 years to complete, and I’m fine with it, who cares what anybody else thinks. This is not a kindagarten class and it involves tasks involved, family, health and the whole gammit of surrounding factors in life.
I am not really content with a 10 year plan, but if it takes me 5 years to get it going, well guess what, I will be better off than I was five years ago and I have learned a whole lot. Some people will do it in 6 months or a year; those people have youth, free time, great talent, luck, and other factors that not everyone has. Heck I have 2 missing teeth. The Bell’s curve has been known to science for a long time. Keyword research is built on it via long tail low hanging fruit; and the Bells curve applies to how fast an individual will accomplish a niche project. It can and will vary greatly among groups of people. I think judging Ryan or me is ridiculous. I know one thing, Ryan is further along now than he was 6 months ago. Next month he could start hitting the home runs instead of singles or he can continue to be a singles hitter. Progress can be made either way. Pete Rose made a living at it!
Dan – you start talking Peter Edward Rose, fellow Cincinnatian, you start talking my language! That’s a good point – This site is 100% Ryan’s and in the end he only answers himself. I’m just here to encourage and guide the way.
My comment in no way was aimed at yourself, Perrin or Spencer. All you mentors have done a fabulous job and actually pretty much anything coming from you guys is fine by me.
I was pretty much aiming at the idea that Ryan was one of 3 selected individuals , and because of that, he is a waste of a selection since he is somehow blowing an opportunity here since Ryan has blessed direct advice from NichePursuits staff. In my opinion, Ryan is demonstrating a real life issue(s) that goes along with growing a niche site.
This is educational to me and others on how one might overcome such obstacles. The judgement crap, because he was one of the selected, somehow he should perform faster, to me, is irrelevant and ridiculous. Thank you all for a great educational experience with Niche Site Project 3.
Similarly, we all differ in our opinions of situations. Gee, how many people think the greatest singles hitter of all time, Pete Rose, should have a lifetime ban from the hall of fame because of alleged gambling activities. Would one ban Muhammed Ali, perhaps the greatest athlete/boxer of our time if he was gambling on boxing matches? I would imagine there are great varying opinions on these two situations.
Niche selection is very confusing step in coming into blogging. I have selected tech category. Hope to get more tips from you.
I agree with you that niche selection can be an awful confusing task. It wasn’t till Niche Project 3 came along, with Spencer Hawes demonstrating his niche selection techniques based on doppelgangers that I started to get some footing on niche selection. I was able to translate these concepts to spreadsheets which got me on the right path. I was a real, tough go before I realized how to properly research niche selection. The best teachers are ones who give examples and get specific. Thank you NichePursuits!
The power of niche sites if the length of content, the interest of content, too!
It’s a nice looking site! it’s great that you have a niche/subject that you have a passion for, they are much easier to build out. This site could be a real money maker if you put the work/time into it Ryan.
On the other hand building sites out can get boring and repetitive, even when you are making a ton of money. I believe a key ingredient is not just having a passion for the niche but a passion for building sites, keyword research and a thirst for killing those that rank above you.
Ryan… Crush the competition and put every page/post in the #1 position in the SERP’s. Accept nothing less, take no domains prisoner.
I read over only a couple of your articles but I didn’t see any internal links pointing to other articles within your site. I like to do this and find it very beneficial for a number of reasons, just my opinion though.
Hi Jake, Thank you for yours inpiring article. Iam choosing very competitive niche, coupons. It will be very hard to get good positions in SERP but I believe I can do it.
Is this your website – fivetoolschool.com
That’s the one.
I am following NSP project 3 from first. This article encourage me to publish my own niche site. I have some low competitive keyword about 40. How many article i can publish to live my site?
I know how this is when there is no budget for outsourcing. I am in the same situation.
What I did to get some webwork done was bartering. I have a guy who does some work for me and in exchange he receives a very well cooked meal (restaurant style) – something that he really likes but cannot afford.
Regarding the site please allow me a little comment: on the homepage I see an article at the bottom (What are the …. ) that in my opinion should be on anchored on top of the page and stay there. This is an introduction to the whole topic of the site and would pull the visitor in to read more.
Its nice to see Ryan’s project. I’m watching this since the beginning and see what he’s doing, make me feel confortable to do the same here.
I’m starting a gaming project (I put my url in the comment) and if you can give me some tips to grow up and get ideas of monetization (if you already tried), it would be awesome!
Thank you for everything!
Site is not ranking yet
Keep Going Ryan!
Firstly, thanks for sharing and being brave, honest and open about your struggles.
Secondly, we’ve all faced the same pain – but most have given up, and that’s why so many people are both inspired and rooting for you 🙂
Time is the biggest factor anyone has to face – although most people think it’s money. Your content is good, and I’m sure that’s also a factor – that you don’t just want to publish crap crud (which is what the majority of people would do if they were struggling). So for that alone, we salute you, sir!
Will keep watching, cheering and supporting 🙂
I hear you completely on this! I’ve been struggling so much lately to get back into my affiliate groove. I’m hoping the new year and following your podcasts here will help me get back into the swing of it.