Hey everyone, Spencer here, and I wanted to provide a quick introduction to a success story from one my readers. A couple of years ago I used to publish more frequent stories of readers having success building their own niche sites.
The other day, Naveen reached out to me and told me that he had quit his job and was starting his own digital marketing agency thanks in part to Niche Pursuits, I felt like I needed to publish his story! So, enjoy hearing about Naveen's journey…
What is your name and current job/profession?
First of all, THANK YOU so much Spencer for having me on Niche Pursuits and giving me an opportunity to share my story here. I feel truly blessed to connect with such a vibrant community here.
And what’s more special with my story is Niche Pursuits played an instrumental role in my success in niche sites and it opened up a life-changing avenue in front of me. It allowed me to start my own digital marketing agency, transitioning from a full time IT programmer (and part time niche site creator) to online entrepreneur.
My name is Naveen Kulkarni and I am from India, living in Bangalore. I work as chief SEO strategist for my newly founded SEO agency nvision digital, located in Bangalore, India.
How did you get started building niche websites? How long have you been building websites?
Well, I have a pretty interesting story to share. In fact, a lot of credit goes to Spencer and Niche Pursuits that ignited that spark within me to try out something new though I was blogging since 2010 on my personal development blog, but never really thought blogging as a income generation avenue.
I was working full time in computer programming since 2004 and have an overall IT experience of 20 years (I know that’s a lot). I had a progressive career, decent money and associated with great companies, worked in multicultural atmosphere etc. I worked under varying roles like programmer, lead & a manager.
But deep down in my heart, I wanted to do something bigger, to work on things that are closely resonating with my passion for writing, design, my flair for aesthetics.
I started doing web designing way back in 2006 in those glorious HTML coding days. I built a lot of websites using frontage and dreamweaver and enjoyed every bit of it.
I started my personal blog in 2010 on WordPress framework and kept writing a lot of articles on it. It’s still active and recently reached a milestone of 100 articles.
But the turning point to my blogging career came only in 2012 when I was working in Dubai as part of my onsite deployment and I developed a habit of listening to a lot of online business podcasts while I was travelling to and from work on daily basis. Dubai buses are very cool by the way.
I was intrigued. Upon my research, it hit me that that the online business thing is real and I should give it a try since I already knew WordPress quite well and being a techie I had advantages of being able to dabble with php code or css to a reasonable extent.
The plan was to work part time from home once I am back from my day job.
As I was researching for some authentic information about building online business, I came across many websites that were sharing great content about building internet based businesses such as Pat Flynn, Internet Business Mastery and one of the sites that really inspired me to actually take me action was Niche Pursuits by Spencer Haws.
I saw that Spencer was sharing a lot of tips on niche websites and income reports and most importantly he was sharing the things that were working for him well.
I didn’t waste any time and quickly built a website on green tea as a niche site and failed spectacularly 🙂
That’s because I didn’t do keyword research, the content was bad and SEO was non existent.
But then it was also time for me to get serious and start learning more about SEO. I started reading more and more about SEO, backlinking , on-page optimisation using resources such as Moz, Google Webmaster, Niche Pursuits and dozens of other online resources.
I had an Amazon associate account since years that was linked to my personal development blog. I decided to use the same account for monetising my niche sites.
So, I created my second website in July-2013 in home improvement niche.
Guess what, I ranked that site #1 for that particular chosen keyword (‘best’ product type) in flat 13 days and it was an out of the world feeling.
I still can’t forget my first cheque from Amazon associates of $134.
That website alone went on to rank #1 for the 2 word keyword in Google and stayed there for a lot of months (it had 6,600 monthly searches globally back then in 2014, now it’s 18,000 searches), generating excellent passive income, well supplementing my day job salary and created a sense of confidence in myself that the niche sites are real and they can be a powerful source of passive income.
With my improved understanding of keyword research process, especially with usage of tools like Long Tail Pro, I quickly started creating more and more websites with good content. And interestingly, I myself wrote content for most of the websites since I loved writing.
Over these 5 years, I built about 20+ niche sites and dozens of clients websites and hundreds of other sites that are now part of my Web 2.0 PBN.
I know, the PBNs are a double edged sword and I will explain in subsequent sections how and when I use these Web 2.0 PBNs and why I don’t use them so frequently.
I also worked with hundreds of content writers, graphic designers from dozens of freelancing sites whom I employed for getting content and a lot of graphic design work done on time to time basis.
Tell us about one (preferred) or multiple of your successful websites. What is the URL and what niche are you targeting? If you are not willing to publicly share your domain or niche, that’s just fine.
I am eager to share my URL(s) with you, because without that my story seems little incomplete, however I will prefer to hold back exact URL from sharing. Instead, I can share the niches I targeted in the past and the ones that are ongoing.
My first (technically second) niche website was in home improvement niche and I created the website based on it without even checking keyword difficulty and went on ranking #1 for a two word keyword globally.
Then the next set of websites were into consumer electronics (headphones and electric driven vehicles).
Then followed by chairs, home appliances , sports and now a drone based authority website. Let me tell you, drone is a very competitive niche, but I am doing it anyways since I am personally drawn towards drones.
How much money do you make from this successful website(s) each month?
With my combined portfolio of niche websites I touched a peak of $3400 earnings per month back in Dec-16 and Jan-17 and then I also sold 3 of my best performing sites to others since I wanted to free myself to try out other ventures and also to encash some money to help me to clear off my home mortgage amount.
Trust me, those sales did help me to clear off a big chunk of my home mortgage.
Eventually I was able to pay back my complete home mortgage in the year 2017.
At present the income from niche sites is under $1000. It’s reduce because of two reasons.
- I sold my 3 best performing sites.
- Amazon reduced the commission rates last year.
Having said that, my new authority sites are picking up well and I am sure they are going to rock the SERPs soon 🙂
What is the reason for this website’s success?
Since I am referencing a portfolio of websites than a single site, the success factor for each website varies.
The top factor that contributed to my success was doing the right keyword research and picking up the right niche to promote where user’s buying intent exists and the traffic potential is great.
I invested a decent amount of time in analysing market, competition, product pricing and estimated time to rank.
Some websites rank in 4 to 5 months flat, some take an year. There are multiple variables involved such as content quality, backlink profile, keyword difficulty, user experience and dozens of other factors.
I also put up some decent content that’s well researched, well-written and nicely presented. I use premium WordPress themes for all my websites and they look great.
The user experience is top notch and it helps in reducing bounce rates and leads to more sales and dollars (of course).
Please briefly share your overall strategy for finding a niche, getting traffic to your site, ranking in Google, and making money from niche sites.
The process I do market research has greatly changed since 2013. It’s actually a kind of interesting turnaround. My earlier barometer to pick a great niche was to make sure that there are no other niche sites ranking in that niche.
I now, take a niche that’s relatively having a decent search volume and I can see at least one or two niche sites already ranking. Again these are a lot of other things to look such as keyword difficulty and backlink profile of existing sites in top 10.
And there’s has been an exponential rise in people building niches sites as I have been observing since years now (with some big companies jumping into this too), keyword research has become more immersive exercise to do.
I use tools such as Long Tail Pro, AHREFS to do my keyword research and pickup niches. I stopped targeting micro niches since they have limited potential to scale in terms of content.
The sites I am working on right now are kind of authority sites with each of them having about 35 – 70 articles on them and they represent a large base keywords usually with a monthly volume above 80,000 searches globally.
Speaking of content building, once I register a domain and having completed the initial design, I start putting up good content which is result of extensive keyword research that neatly spreads the articles into various categories such as reviews, guides, FAQs, comparisons, news and many other general articles.
Everything is systemised and tracked in the project management tool called Asana that helps in collaborating as a team which is comprising of content writers, backlink builders etc.
Speaking of backlinking, my strategy is changed significantly over these years. SEO is a dynamic beast, you might agree 🙂
I usually start with gaining profile links from high DA sources which are pretty simple to acquire. They help my site to gain better domain authority. Remember, domain authority is a 3rd party metric and they can change over time. Recently AHREFS changed their domain rating algorithm, you might have heard and read.
As time goes, I power these niche sites with social signals/social profiles. Every website will have it’s own YouTube channel, Facebook page, Twitter account & Google Plus page with custom graphics. I use tools such as YouZign and Canva for creating some quick and cool graphics.
Again, I love doing these type of works.
Press releases, blog comments, document sharing websites, links from YouTube videos, reddit threads, web2.0 sites and many many other sources from where I get backlinks.
In fact I have created a backlink roadmap through which every new site travels through. Not every website needs same level of push or link power. Some need less, some need way more links to rank.
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Some new articles rank without a single backlink. But to keep them on page 1, it always helps to have some good links pointing to them.
I use my expired Web2.0 PBN’s to power the high competition keywords that don’t respond well to above links.
Again these expired Web2.0’s are tried, tested and qualified as good sites after a rigours manual verification for spam and other vetting processes. I have complete control over these sites in terms of content, anchor texts.
What link-building tips can you offer?
Backlinks are going to stay here and definitely are one of the top 3 factors that influence the chances of your website’s doing well in SERPs.
I suggest you to create a backlink roadmap and document each link you build & qualify – a simple google spreadsheet will do.
Don’t build too many links at a time simply because you won’t know which link helped your site or tanked it. In either case, you will be deprived of important information of understanding each link quality and effect.
Build few links, wait for sometime and see how they are affecting your rankings. Create a system to categorise link quality and I have built a blog network of about 150 web 2.0 sites that I constantly test and qualify for link / domain quality.
Most importantly, never underestimate on-page optimisation. I can give you several examples where, just by doing a solid on-page changes, I was able to improve my client’s organic traffic to 4-5 times of what it was currently.
Have a good understanding of the niche, use right keywords including primary and secondary keywords.
Don’t spam the article with keywords. Use title, headings (h2 through h4), descriptions to the fullest potential. They are extremely important. A plugin like Yoast SEO is very handy indeed to handle title and descriptions. Always right engaging titles and descriptions.
If you are working for local SEO businesses, a lot more factors come into play as far as link building is considered such as schema markups, reviews, maps , citations etc.
How has the success from this website impacted your life?
Success from niche sites have CHANGED my life. Though I was doing quite well in my day job as an IT programmer, I had deep passion for writing, design and was aspiring to create a freedom based business.
And niche sites bridged the gap between my passion and a way to generate a passive income. Because, not always, passion equals business.
Niche sites gave me an opportunity to understand SEO at a deeper level and being a techie, it helped me to delve into php and CSS code as and when needed to resolve technical issues with the website which often times become bottlenecks and go undetected unless you do a comprehensive manual website audit.
I continued to strengthen my knowledge about SEO and ranking websites and started helping local businesses to rank their websites for their services.
The results were great and started getting good feedback from clients and referral businesses. I kept working in different local businesses niches and it was an exciting venture as I kept applying a lot of strategies from my niche site building experience along with a custom strategies specIfic to local SEO. A great/honest feedback from client is phenomenal feeling, trust me.
My client list grew quickly and all this was happening part time while I was still holding onto my full time job.
Then eventually, the way out for me was to pursue my dream of working on my online business full time. I decided to start my own digital marketing agency and quit my day job in Feb-2018.
Do you have any additional tips or advice for others that would like to replicate your success with their own websites?
Guys, there is tons of information out there (both FREE and PREMIUM) , however you need to figure out yourself what work truly excites you.
If you want to build niche or authority sites, do that. There’s amazing information from super-generous folks like Spencer and many other incredible people out there. Have belief in yourselves and give yourself time. Take calculated risks and celebrate small successes. The energy from these small successes is contagious and keeps you fueled and afloat for achieving bigger things.
If you are interested in client SEO, you will have to handle additional stuff like proposals, client relationship management, reporting , staff management, salaries, offices and other stuff. However, that’s true for any business.
It’s a choice you need to make on what venture you like to work. I love helping businesses to maximise their ROI through my SEO, so I enjoy working with them.
Not to mention, I am growing my niche sites in parallel as well. Because niche sites and authority sites are here to stay. I initially underestimated the power of documentation and trainings but then eventually invested a lot of time in creating those systems anyways which are now helping me now to focus on multiple things in parallel. I am improving and refining them constantly. No system is perfect.
Do you have a blog or other place that people can following along with what you are doing?
Yes, I do. You can visit my company’s/agency’s website https://nvisiondigital.in
It’s essentially, my digital agency’s website and it’s been live recently since I officially registered my firm only in March-2018.
Thanks so much again for the opportunity to share my success story and I love being part of this wonderful community here. Take care and god bless.
My Home Office (I alternate between my home office and co-working space)