Podcast 131: Niche Site Project 4 Strategies, Income Expectations, and Timeline

By Spencer Haws |

I was able to sit down recently with Jake and Jason to record another episode of the Niche Pursuits Podcast.

During this episode we dive a bit deeper into the overall strategy and timeline of Niche Site Project 4.  

In particular, we discuss:

We also dive into what my budget for the project will be as I plan to outsource a significant amount of the content.  In addition, we answer a few other questions that have come up via blog comments or the Facebook group.

Read the Full Transcript Here:

Spencer: Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Niche Pursuits Podcast. . I’ve got my co-hosts with me, Jake and Jayson. How are you guys doing? 

Jake: Doing great, man. Glad to be here. 

Jayson: Doing great as well. 

Spencer: Awesome, it’s good to have you guys here. I know both of you were kind of travelling in the last week or so, but you’re back, settled home, sort of and comfortable, ready to record another podcast. 

Jake: Ready to do it, man. Two weeks in a row. Call it a streak. 

Spencer: That’s right. Actually, while you were on a vacation, I recorded another interview with somebody. Just so you know. This would be my third one in a year. I’m really on a roll here. 

Jake: How does it feel? 

Spencer: It feels good to be back on the saddle, it does. 

Jake: Okay. 

Spencer: I get a lot of good feedback from people that are listening, they’re enjoying the podcast. I think we’re doing a good thing here. 

Jake: Very nice. I saw some of the comments. A lot of people were excited to have it back, they were missing you. Pretty cool. 

Spencer: It is very cool and a lot of people are listening. I can see those download numbers. We had a nice spike when I put out a new episode. It’s always good that people haven’t completely forgotten about me. 

Jake: Cool. 

Spencer: Let’s dive into today’s topic. I want to talk about the overall strategy and timeline for Niche Site Project 4. The last time we sat down and talked together, we sort of just put out the idea that, “Hey, I’m going to be building a Niche Site from scratch.” Others are going to be allowed to follow along and we even send people to a URL where they could apply. That was 

Quick prediction time here guys, I have not looked at how many applicants we’ve had in a couple of days. I think while we were recording that podcast, we were somewhere between 200 and 300, if I’m not mistaken. 

Jake: Oh wow. 

Spencer: Any predictions now, it’s been a week and a half, maybe almost two weeks since we last talked. What do you guys think? Jake, Jayson, how many people do you think have applied to the Niche Site Project 4? 

Jake: Jayson, fire away. 

Jayson: 423. 

Jake: I’m going to go 424 above. 

Spencer: You’re not going to win a new car or anything, but let’s see. Actually, I don’t know. I’m going to scroll down, scrolling.  

Jake: What’s your prediction? 

Spencer: Too late, I just saw it. 

Jayson: You win. 

Spencer: I’m going to get right on the money, 731 people. 

Jayson: Holy cow! 

Spencer: I looked a couple of days ago and it topped 600 and that blew my mind. I was not expecting this. We’ve got 731 people that have agreed to build a niche site from scratch, they’re excited, they’re ready to enjoy project. We’ve got a lot of pressure here guys we've got to fulfill. We need to put out podcast, the blogpost, teaching people how to build the niche sites, and I need to be building the niche site right along with it. I do plan on doing that and honestly it’s really motivating to see everybody applying and joining right behind me. It’s great. 

Jayson: You know what’s cool about that, is just the law of averages says that a good chunk of those people may never even buy a domain name and start a site, however, there are going to be people in that group that through this, during this time period make a life changing amount of money. That sounds overstated, but it’s true. They’ll make enough money where they might not be out retired on a yacht somewhere. But like a meaningful life changing amount of extra side income, maybe some people that are going build sites to fully replace their income will come out of that number, which is pretty exciting. 

Spencer: It is really exciting. I agree. With 731 people applying, there is going to be some success stories, and if you’re listening, that definitely could be you out there. I know it sounds a little bit corny but Jake, Jayson and I have all been to through this process. We've built sites that are making significant amounts of money every month. I know that some of these people that are going to apply themselves to the process and follow along and work at it, put in the effort, they’re going to see a lot of success as well. Great point. 

I want to talk about again, the overall strategy and timeline for the project, I've gotten a lot of questions about that. The big picture strategy, I’m going to just dive into this to clarify for anybody listening that maybe is unaware. There’s a couple of nuances here that are different than previous projects as well. 

First, I want to create a very professional looking website. I’m going to use a premium or a custom designed WordPress theme, something that looks really, really great. I’m not just putting out a quick small website that doesn’t look great. I want something to be proud of. It’s going to be possibly custom designed or at least a premium WordPress theme. 

I’m going to be putting out lots of really high quality in depth content, targeting lots of keywords in my particular niche. This isn’t going to be a 10-article website. Over time, this is going to have 50, 100, 200 articles. Just depends on how long the site is around, but the idea is that this is going to have lots and lots of content targeting lots and lots of different keywords. The idea here is that I’m going to target keywords that are really easy to rank for, write a new article for each of these keywords, of course. 

Quite often, I’ll probably be targeting keywords that gets searched for only 50-500 times a month. This may be a little bit different than people have heard in the past that used to say: Just look for keywords that are getting searched for a thousand times per month. But I’ve seen a lot of success targeting these smaller, lower volume keywords. They are easier to rank for and so, a lot of my content is going to be targeting in that range, the 50-500 times per month. 

Jake: Spencer! 

Spencer: Yeah? 

Jake: Sorry, let me ask you a question coming from somebody who may be listening in and just getting started of the idea of a theme and for Jayson as well. I know you mentioned for this that you’re going to may be even a custom theme which will cost some money, how important do you guys think that the theme is, for somebody who is getting starting on a tight budget? Obviously, there are a lot of free WordPress themes out there, some you can pay for and semi customized and then of course you can go fully custom, but some people might be wondering that like if they go with the free theme, is that going to hamstring them from the beginning where they can’t be successful? What are you guys’ takes of how important a theme is? 

Spencer: Jayson, I’ll let you dive in on this one. 

Jayson: Yeah. For me, I think it’s more important to have a really professional looking logo and so that your brand is more effective than necessarily having a custom theme with all the bells and whistles, you can go with the simpler theme. I definitely recommend premium themes because those typically, if it’s like one of the larger theme developer, they typically update regularly. From just a basic security perspective, I think that’s important. But I would be more preferential to leaning into spending a little budget on having a logo design so that your logo looks really professional and that your branding is appropriate rather than blowing tons of money on the theme. 

Spencer: Two points about the theme. The reason that you want a really good looking theme, you might be able to find a free theme that looks great, but chances are, you probably need something, a premium theme. That could be less than $100. We’re not talking a lot of money here. There’s lots of great premium themes for $50. 

That’s probably what all it lean towards is something in that range less than $100 that you wanted to look really good for two reasons. One when people come to your website, people search on Google, they visit your website, you want them to feel comfortable staying on your website. When you have something that looks professional, they’re going to stick around a little bit longer, they’re going to trust your website a little bit more. 

And then the second reason is it actually helps with link building. When you do a lot of outreach or other people are potentially looking to reference your article, they are a lot more likely to link to your website or reference your article if you look really professional. You want to make sure for those reasons that you have a great looking theme. 

That’s my thoughts there. You probably don’t need an all out custom theme, you don’t need to go spend thousands of dollars, but for less than $100, you can get a great and premium theme. I agree with Jayson, a great logo and again, that can be $50 or less, a lot of times, you can get a great looking logo to match that theme. 

The idea again is to rank well in Google. This is going to be primarily focused on SEO The Project. I’m going to get most of my traffic from Google and ranking in Google for hundreds eventually of those keywords that I’m targeting. And then, I want to monetize my traffic with Amazon Associates, right now is a focus. I am currently in the process of doing a lot of keyword research and so, I am looking at a lot of different Amazon products that I could review, promote, make commissions on, but display ads or other affiliate programs will definitely be considered as I get further in the process. That’s at least the idea right now, is that the main focus would be Amazon Associates. 

And then for building trust and rankings in Google, I do plan on trying out some link building strategies. In the past, I’ve talked a lot about just writing a lot of great content, targeting low competition keywords and you will rank over time. That’s still true, and for a lot of my content, I’m hoping that holds true because I certainly won’t have time to build links to every single one of my articles. But I do plan on trying some additional outreach strategies, other link building tactics to add some authority and link choose, if you will, to my website itself so as we go further in the project, I do plan on talking a lot more about link building. That’s why I think that’s going to be important for this project as well. 

Next, another strategy I want to implement is using social media, especially Pinterest in this case. I want to reach a little bit outside of just Google and I want to be getting traffic from Pinterest, maybe Facebook, other social media. But I’ve seen and I know Jake and Jayson, you guys have seen some success with Pinterest recently and that’s something that I’m going to be focusing on from the get go, doing custom blog header images or other little images and getting a Pinterest presence up and running right away to hopefully diversify my traffic a little bit there. 

Jayson: Spencer, do you think you’ll hire somebody out for this or do you think that this is something that you’re going to want to start and maybe do it yourself to start and then look to outsource? How do you think you’ll manage the Pinterest and social media piece? 

Spencer: I think I’m probably going to hire somebody to manage it. I know you can get a VA for $200, $250, $300 a month. I may just go ahead and bite the bullet there. We’ll see. I actually may dive in to this. I’m not a Pinterest expert, I do have a site that does really well on Pinterest, but it’s all hired out. I may see what I can learn of my own and maybe get the ball rolling to start. But I expect that I’m going to probably, for the most part, just hire somebody. Do you guys have any thoughts on that? 

Jayson: I agree. Maybe it’s good to learn how to design a custom image like on the cheap, maybe that might be something that could be shared with the readers. But I agree, we’re focused on SEO and getting or getting traffic from Google. I think this is great if we can find a resource that we could just hire this piece out and have them do our thing, or have them do their thing while we focus on ours. 

Spencer: Yeah, I agree. That’s the main idea, is that there’s lots of people out there that really know what they’re doing on Pinterest. It makes a lot of sense if you can just turn it over and let them do what they do best. 

Jake: Yes. 

Spencer: The next thing that maybe is a little bit different than other projects that I’ve done is I want to build an email list and probably do that from the get go. There’s a lot of strategies including doing contest and giveaways, that you can build an email list relatively quickly. I expect that I may be building an email list before I’m getting a lot of traffic from Google even potentially. Just depends of how quickly I dive in and do that. But you could certainly start building the email list using social media, writing some contest of Facebook, maybe spend a little bit, $5 a day for a week or something to try build up a little bit of an email list. 

I want to do that and then try sending that email list to either affiliate offers or even my own niche products. I don’t know if it’s worth diving into what some of my ideas are right now, but I do have a couple and crazy ideas that maybe could work in any niche. 

Jayson: What’s one of them? What’s crazy idea number one? 

Spencer: And maybe it’s not too crazy, but t-shirts is something that can work well in just about any niche. You can get a t-shirt design pretty cheap. Anyways,you can get a store set up really quick even right within WordPress if you want. If you have an email list and they are all in the same niche, let’s say they’re all dog lovers or more specifically, pug lovers, you know you can be cranking out new t-shirts every month and sending people to that list and potentially making some sale. That’s one idea. 

I guess even a step back from that, you don’t even have to create your own t-shirts, you can just be sending them to an affiliate offer t-shirt. You could just be sending them to an Amazon Associates listing. I will clarify, you can’t email your list directly and send them Amazon. You’d have to send them to your website first, maybe have a picture of the t-shirt and say click here to buy and then they go to Amazon, right? 

T-shirts is one idea. If you're going to build up an email list and you don’t have any other way to monetize that list, you can always use a t-shirt. 

Jayson: For sure. 

Spencer: That’s my one crazy idea. 

Jake: There you go. Not so crazy. 

Spencer: Yeah. 

Jake: T-shirts for everything, man. 

Spencer: T-shirts for everything. Absolutely. We’ll see. Obviously, I haven’t started yet, but that’s one idea I could potentially work on building up a really big email list, monetize the t-shirts until the SEO traffic kicks in a few months later and start making more with the Amazon Associate. 

The next one pretty much covers exactly what I just said. I do want to get creative with building an email list and my own niche products to try and grow the site a little bit faster. Any comments on that guys? That’s sort of the main big picture strategy that I want to follow. Obviously, there’s a lot of details there. Big picture wise, hopefully that gives people an idea of what I’m thinking, what I’m planning on with doing with the site. 

Jake: Any idea of budget? As far as what you’re going to spend of just the overall stuff you talked about with outsourcing Pinterest and some of these other things. What do you think of spend in the first couple of months, do you have any idea on that? And then maybe along with that, that number for you might be different than one of the 700+ people who are following along. What do you think somebody could emulate this similar strategy and get by with on a tight budget? 

Spencer: Yeah, that’s a great question. I have a couple of people come and ton of recent blogpost and asked that specific question about budget. I do think that if people are doing all the writing themselves, they can get by with a really small shoestring budget. Probably less than $100 a month, just depending of what you might consider hiring for, little task here and there. 

It’s really cheap if you do it all of your own. I’m probably going to outsource most of the content writing myself, I mentioned Pinterest, there may be a couple of other things there. I do plan on writing in depth long content, 3000 words or longer a lot of times. For that type of content, I might be spending a $150 an article. 

If I do some quick math, say $150 times 50 articles, that’s $7500 right there that probably on content in the first three, four, five months I’m going to be spending. I think let’s just round it up to $10,000 if I include everything. That’s going to get me pretty well all the way down to six months down the road. 

That’s what I’m thinking. It’s probably $7000-$10,000 is what I expect to spend on this. The reason I’m willing to do that is because I know that after the first six months, I should be making and this we could dive into how fast should a website be making money, but I’m hoping after six months, I can be close to that $500 a month in earnings. After 12 months I hope I’m close to that $1000 per month in earnings. 

If you have a website that’s making $1000 a month, and just project what you could sell it for at 30 times monthly earnings, that’s $30,000 right there. If I’m willing to spend $10,000? Yes, that’s a lot to risk up front, but after a year if I have a website that’s worth $30,000 that triples my money right there. 

Jake: Yup, absolutely. 

Spencer: Does that reasonable, guys? Do you think I missed anything? We haven’t actually talked about the budget a lot, but if I plan of outsourcing everything, you think I can get a good website up and pretty much completely manage for about $10,000? 

Jayson: Yeah, I think so. 

Jake: I definitely do. 

Jayson: Yup. 

Jake: I’ll say, too, for those people that are listening that hear the number of $10,000 and you’re about to pass out on the floor because you have no idea. Like Spencer said, and I think we can probably all attest to this fact when we were first getting started, I’m a pretty frugal guy. For a lot of stuff, like with Pinterest, and with writing, I did it all myself in the early days and it was hard and it wasn’t fun. I was working around a full time job moonlighting. It progresses a little bit slower as you might imagine, when you can’t hire all that stuff out. 

But I spent in the hundreds not the thousands to really get ramped up, but then once you start seeing the success, you start making the money rather than taking that $300 you make a few months down the road and go on and going out to a nice dinner, spend that money on more content. That’s when you start treating it like a business and reinvesting your money. 

When you do that, now, I think we’ve all grown sites to the point where now I outsource just about all if my content. I outsource my social media and all of these stuff because now I can afford it. Now, I’ve got enough profit to pay for that and then plenty leftover. 

Anyway, it’s not going to be like that forever. If you’re willing to hammer it out in the beginning, you can do it of a tight budget. Once you start making other earnings, put it back into the business and you eventually can get where you can scale and grow much quicker. 

Jayson: I agree Jake. It’s also important to remember, we’re not saying $10,000 in month one. A lot of people might hear that number and freak out. But that’s over time. Your upfront investment is much smaller and obviously, you’re going to have some sweat equity, like if you're just starting out and you’re on a budget and you can’t afford to go outsource a lot of this stuff, you’re going to be writing content on your own, it’s going to be your own time that you’re putting in. If you’re rich of time and poor on capital, then just look at it as your own time and learning experience and investment. It’s going to pay off. It might take a little longer, but it’s going to pay off. 

Spencer: That’s what I love about this business, is that anybody can get into it if they’re willing to put into the time and the effort. You really don’t need the money. 

Jake: Totally. 

Spencer: The only reason I’m doing this is because I have five or six other big projects, other websites that I’m working on. I can’t shut all of those down and focus 100% of my time on this new niche site that I’m building. It’s just not feasible. If I will let this project to move along, I really do have to outsource some of these. 

I’m in the position where I can do that, but I if didn’t have all of that going on, I absolutely would spend my own time rather than money. You guys are exactly spot on. 

People that are out there that don’t have the money, please invest the time, learn how to do it, write your own articles, do everything yourself that you can and you’re going to save a ton of money and still have a successful site. 

Jake: I might say just on that point real quick, even if you do have the money, early on it might be worth doing it yourself if you’ve never done it before, discover what do to and then know what to look for. If you just go out and spend money like, “Hey, do some content for me,” but you have no idea how to do the on page SEO and the keyword research and all of that, you’re really just going to be probably wasting your money because you’re not going to know what’s good and what’s not. So get in there and doing it I think, is a worthwhile exercise even if you’re sitting on a pile of cash to start. 

Spencer: Yeah. That’s a great point. 

Jayson: Just to add to that a little bit, Jake, I think it’s a great point, but also, the internet marketing industry, it’s tough when there’s lots of services out there, it’s tough for a lot of people just getting into it to make sure that they’re shopping for the right services. I think you spend that time, you learn exactly what it’s worth spending your money on. 

Folks that have listened to you for a long time, Spencer, it could help navigate some landmines. You get involved, you learn for a few months, and you learn what to avoid, too. 

Spencer: Right. Absolutely. We talked a little bit about earnings, a goal of earnings per month. A lot of people ask me this question, “How much should my site be making at certain milestones?” I threw out a roughly $500 after six months, $1000 after 12 months. But big picture wise, I don’t just want a website making $1000 a month. I would love to have a website making $5000 or $10,000 a month. 

That’s part of this project. I’m going into a niche, I’m building a site that I hope has the potential to be broad enough, big enough, that it could make that $5000-$10,000 a month. How long it would take to get there? I don’t know. Every website is different. Some sites can make that after 12 months, some sites of course, never get there, but sometimes it’s a really slow projection, after two years, after three years. I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball to predict what this website is going to earn. But certainly, building a site that makes $5000 or $10,000 a month using SEO, using these strategies is very feasible. 

I just want to make that clear for people joining this project. We’re not talking about building a site that makes $500 and that’s it, we move on to the next one. I’m talking about focusing on one website, building it huge into something that has a lot of earning potential. 

Having said that, there is just one more point that I wanted to discuss with you guys here on the podcast. That’s when should I reveal the website? I actually did go and buy the domain itself about a week ago. I’ve picked my niche, I have the domain, and I started my keyword research. I haven’t done anything else beyond that yet. But when should I go in and actually reveal the domain? When should I reveal the website? Maybe I’ll get both of your thoughts, Jake and Jayson. Then I can share a little bit what some readers on Niche Pursuit have shared on the Facebook group. 

Jake: Jayson, what do you think? 

Jayson: I’m super cautious in my own business. I’m going to lean on the more conservative side, Spencer. I would say give yourself six months until you’re making your first $500 a month in your goal. I would say wait until month six. That’s my personal opinion. 

Spencer: Okay, Jake? 

Jake: I was actually going to say the same thing. Six months, because it’s just inevitable that you’re going to have people copying the site and who knows what else when it becomes public. I feel like it’s enough time to give you a good head start. 

Spencer: Yup. 

Jake: Any sooner than that I think might be a little dangerous. 

Spencer: It was kind of surprising, I expected everybody to say reveal your site right away, we want to see it right now. But I don’t know if it’s because I've trained people through previous Niche Site Projects, but 99% of people plus said wait. We want you to wait, we want you to build up the site for a number of reasons. One is the copycats, we want you to get ahead of the copiers, get your site up earning and doing well. The other perspective is they didn’t want the numbers to be skewed by people from Niche Pursuits going over the new niche site. They wanted to see that the website was doing well of its own before I revealed it. 

Jake: True. 

Spencer: I think for those reasons, I have to wait. I think that’s about what you guys said, is after maybe six months or maybe once it hits $500 a month, or maybe once it hits some milestone, when it get in a couple of hundred visitors a day from Google, or something. General idea is I want it to be established in Google, doing well, seeing some success, some earnings probably around the sixth month mark is a good estimate of when that might be. That’s what I'm leaning towards. 

Jake: Following along with the project, it’s not like you’re not learning anything before the site is revealed. You’re pretty much going to get the same out of the whole process, even without knowing the site and seeing it from those following along. You’re not really missing out on anything by not knowing the domain. I think that’ll be good. 

Spencer: I agree. 

Jayson: I agree and I also like that response Spencer, where someone said, “So you’re not getting traffic to the site from Niche Pursuits.” External referral traffic is a ranking signal these days. I think it’s a smart comment from whoever made that because anything can impact a newer site if you’re getting external traffic or if you’re getting link. I think keeping it a secret, six months is definitely an awesome idea. 

Spencer: Yeah, no thank you. That’s what I plan to do so people are aware. As the Niche Site Project goes along, I want people to stay excited and part of that is usually, they want to be able to see the website itself. I hope people can hang on for six months or so while I build the site behind the scenes and do some things, so it’s ranking in Google. 

Listeners can work on their sites and hopefully starts to see success there. I know right at the beginning in these projects, people are pumped. I’ve got 731 people that want to start right now, they want to get everything done right now. I don’t want that excitement to fizzle after the first couple of weeks or month. This is a long term project, people need to stick with it. Just understand that you are going to have to put a lot of work in over the next six months. I’m going to be doing that behind the scenes, you do that on your own website and then hopefully, we can both see some success together. 

Any closing thoughts from either of you Jake or Jayson on the overall strategy or timeline for the Niche Site Project here? 

Jayson: Nope, I’m pumped. I ready to get started, man. 

Spencer: Awesome. 

Jake: Yep, same here. For the 700+ people and maybe growing list that are signed up. That’s a really big following, is there any carrot out there for these people that are following along? Any kind of contest or recognition or anything for people that do well there? Is there a chance for some of them to maybe just do some case studies or whatever, I’m just curious if you’ve had any thought about that. 

Jayson: Put me on the spot. 

Spencer: I have, I don’t have a big cash prize at the end, if that’s what you mean. But I have put some thought into what might be a little bit motivating is that once a month I am going to do a monthly report for everyone. It’s going to be kind of a one liner report, so I think of a spreadsheet with 700 lines, I guess. But basically, we’ll allow them to report their traffic numbers and earnings. 

At least publicly they will be held accountable. They’ll know that once a month they need to report what’s your traffic? What’s your earnings for that month? And maybe there won’t be much more than that until people start to see some success. 

So four, five months down the road, if two or three people start doing pretty well in earnings on those reports, I may reach out to them personally, even have them on the podcast or do a blogpost or case study about them. That maybe is a little bit of motivation there that they know at least monthly, they will be doing some sort of report along the way. 

Jake: Cool. You know what else will be fun, is just tally that up and have a big total number that you could report in. Like of the 700 sites or whatever it is that all started, this past month we had maybe hundreds of thousands of visitors and made a grand total of X amount. It could be a pretty powerful number if we have some successful sites come out of these. 

Spencer: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a good idea. I like that. 

Jayson: I like it. 

Spencer: It’s a learning process as we go. So people that are listening in, I’ve open to feedback, go ahead and leave some feedback on Niche Pursuits or on the Facebook group. I am willing to consider all options, but generally speaking, the strategy that I’m going to follow in the timeline that I expect, I just laid out there. I’m excited for the project. I’m going to be building the website, I hope you guys are out there working on your own websites as well. 

Thanks a lot for listening to the podcast. If you want to follow along, go to and you’ll find the case studies there. Thanks a lot guys! 


By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding, and co-founding You can learn more about Spencer here.

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

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