My niche website is now up and running with some content! As planned and discussed here, I wrote 1 in-depth article targeting my primary keyword of “best survival knife”. I have basically spent the past 10 days researching and learning about my chosen niche and then creating something useful.
So, in my post today, I want to cover how I've researched the niche, what I have planned for secondary articles, site design, plugins, monetization, and more.
How Did I Research My Niche?
As I've mentioned previously, I'm not an expert on survival knives (at least I wasn't when I started this process). However, I decided to do a couple of things before I created my new niche site. First, I wanted to see what information was currently ranking in the top 10 of Google for my chosen keyword. Secondly, I wanted to provide a resource that I thought was more valuable than those top 10 sites in Google.
I think I've accomplished that.
In order to provide something valuable, I had to do some in-depth research (and you will to). So, for the past 10 days I read every article ranking in Google and documented every knife mentioned in an excel spreadsheet. Then I went over to Amazon.com and found dozens more knife makes and models NOT mentioned in any of these articles. I read the companies descriptions of the knives, read reviews, and documented all the stats for each knife (cost, blade length, weight, and more).
By collecting all the data and reading reviews, I was able to learn a GREAT deal about knives. I also jumped into several forums and learned how people were using these knives. This got me familiar with the “lingo” of the niche, common questions, and what people are looking for in a knife.
In doing all of this, I found out there are TONS of knives and everyone has their own opinion on what the best one is. (This may occur in your niche as well, so be ready for it). Rather, than trying to write an article stating what the absolute best knife was, I decided to provide a interactive matrix/comparison guide that would allow users to research the best product for them.
Not only do I think end users will find this very useful, but I didn't see anything quite like it on any of the sites currently ranking in Google. I think I provided something valuable and unique to make me stand out. (That's the idea).
Gathering all the information was VERY time consuming! Every knife lists their stats on different websites and in different formats. I had to convert European manufactured knives from mm and kg to inches and ounces. I could find no one spot anywhere that had all the information that I compiled into one spot.
I probably spent a good 10 hours just putting that chart together, and its still not done. I now need to go back in and add my Amazon affiliate link to the images and knife names. But more on that in a minute…
I also wrote the primary article myself. Its nearly 2,000 words long (not including the chart) and was the culmination of all the research I did. I think the primary keyword is used about 5 times – which is less than 0.3% of the time.
What About Secondary Articles?
In choosing secondary keywords to target, I will follow a somewhat similar process to choosing a primary keyword. Namely, I will be looking for low competition keywords that I believe I can rank for in Google for most of them. I say “most”, because some articles I may just write if they make sense (even if they aren't low competition) in order to fill out my site with good useful content.
So, I've gone over to Long Tail Pro, and typed in seed keywords that I ran across in researching my primary article such as knife names, brands, common topics on forums, and more.
I also am willing to accept lower search volume for the secondary keywords. Rather than looking for keywords that get 5,000 exact match local searches, I'm willing to accept keywords that get as little as 200 searches per month, as long as I believe I can rank for it in Google.
So, overall my secondary articles will be a mix of low competition keywords with lower search volume and related keywords that may not be as low competition, but just make sense to write about.
For example, a couple of lower competition keywords that I might write about are:
- survival machete – 320 exact match local searches (26 keyword competitiveness if using Long Tail Platinum)
- survival axe – 590 exact match local searches (27 keyword competitiveness)
Articles that would just make sense:
- bear grylls ultimate knife
- cold steal trailmaster
- best hunting knives
Web Design and Logo
As you can see from my niche site (best survival knife guide .com), I'm using the Niche Website Theme. (Which is on sale for the next couple days here). I really haven't settled on a color scheme just yet, so it may change quite a bit from what you see right now.
So, I'm playing around with different color and layout options right now.
In addition, I'm hiring someone to design a logo/header for me. I expect to have the overall look and feel of the site complete in the next week or so.
Plugins to Use
The basic plugins I'm using for this site are:
I used TablePress to create the comparison chart on the homepage. Essentially I just gathered all the data and input it on an excel spreadsheet. Then I uploaded the CSV file to my site using the TablePress plugin. Pretty simple.
The Niche Website Theme already includes an area to input my Google Analytics ID, social information ( twitter, facebook, etc), removal of post date (if I want), Ad management, and more. So, if I wasn't using the theme, I would need to install at least 3 or 4 other plugins.
I am using Amazon Associates to monetize the site right now. This is just a good fit for the niche I'm in. As mentioned, I will be adding affiliate links to the knife chart I created.
In addition, down the road, I expect to add an email opt-in form and an email series that I can monetize with other affiliate products. However, my focus right now is just getting content up on the site.
Getting Indexed and Rankings
I have not built any links to the niche site, and don't plan to until I have 10 or so articles on the site. I just feel like I want great content on the site before I start focusing on link building. I'm in no rush.
I often get people asking how I get my sites indexed. The answer is that I do nothing.
By using WordPress, they have a built in pinging system that sends a ping when I publish anything on my site. This is enough to get a site indexed. So, I did nothing to try and get indexed by Google and I am now indexed by Google. Its a non-issue, so you shouldn't worry about it.
My site doesn't rank anywhere for my primary keyword. I expect this to be the case for the next week or so. I may pop up in the hundreds somewhere, but again I'm not worried about rankings at the moment. In a couple of weeks when my core content is published (10 articles or so), then I'll start focusing on link building and rankings.
When that time comes, I'll most certainly be keeping you updated here with my plans and progress!
As I go through this process, I want to document the dates of everything. So for my own records, and for you to refer to, here's what's happened so far:
- Purchased domain (bestsurvival knifeguide .com) – Feb 7, 2013 (see video of it here)
- Installed WordPress – Feb 12, 2013 (see video of it here)
- Site Indexed in Google – sometime between Feb 12th and Feb 20th
- Published first article on site – Feb 22, 2013
- UPDATE (not on original post): Feb 26th, 2013 – Ranking 385 in Google!
My next steps will involve producing additional content and finishing up the logo/site design. I expect that I will be outsourcing several of the secondary articles; however, I do plan on writing at least of few more of the articles on my own.
Once I have the core content of 10 articles, I'll start thinking about link building. I'll also continue to produce content until I have at least 15 to 20 articles before I focus full-time on getting the site ranked in Google. I expect it to be at least a few weeks before I see too much action in terms of link building and perhaps even some movement up in Google.
In an ideal situation, I would crack the top 10 of Google in about 2 months. We'll see what happens!
Overall, I hope this update has been useful for you as you go out and start working on your own niche sites. I would love to hear your thoughts, questions, or observations in the comments below.