Public Niche Site Project: The Strategic Plan

By Spencer Haws |

Let the fun begin!

As mentioned in a recent post, I am going to be building 2 niche sites from scratch this year and share everything publicly on my blog here.  (I’ll be building more niche sites this year than 2, but only 2 will be made public).

Before I get started, I think its appropriate to develop some sort of strategic plan.  That’s the purpose of my post today; to share my thoughts on the process and how I expect it to unfold.

As most of you know, I’ve been building small niche sites for about 5 years now.  I’ve tried just about every tactic in the book and had some great success and also had some miserable failures.  I hope to chalk up this niche site project in the success column 🙂

The Goal

I think with any business or project, its important to start with a goal in mind.  My goal for this Niche Site Project (lets call it NSP 1), is to:

I also intend to generate this revenue from natural search engine traffic.  (This is important to specify, even though perhaps it was assumed by many of you).

The Strategic Plan

I’ve made the decision already to NOT monetize this niche site with Google Adsense.  There are a couple of reasons for that.  First, I’ve already had issues with Google Adsense before, and I know there will be some perhaps well-intentioned people (or blatantly ill-intentioned people) that will click my Adsense ads.

This would put my Adsense account at risk of being closed, and I don’t want to deal with that.

Secondly, using my Adsense code opens up all my other niche sites for easy discovery.

However, another reason, which is perhaps more interesting, is that I think it will be VERY educational to monetize my niche site in another way!  I don’t know the exact method I will use, but I suspect I’ll find a niche where I can promote an affiliate product or eventually create my own.

I also think that I will likely be building an email list and monetizing that list through affiliate offers.  This is an option that I know works, and I’d like to see it happen for this niche site project.

So, the strategic plan will play out like this:

The Process

Obviously, there are alot of nitty-gritty details along with that strategic outline from above.  I’m not going to cover everything today, but will over the coming months.

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Step 1 of the process is to first decide what market to go into and what exact keywords I will be targeting.  I’ve always stressed over and over again that this is the most important step.  For this reason, I’ve decided to start my market research and keyword selection.

Yep, I’m going to jump right into it with all of you watching.  This will let you see exactly how I work, how I analyze keywords, and hopefully see me picking a keyword to target!

For accountability reasons, I plan to post an update on this Niche Site Project (NSP), once per week.  I suspect that some weeks will be very short updates, but others will be very in-depth tutorials.

In addition, I know that a niche site can take a few months to start getting much traffic.  So, it may be May or June before things start getting interesting income wise (hopefully sooner, but you never know).

So, at this point I have done NO keyword research or market research for my niche.  I’ve only made the decision that I will not be using Adsense.

The rest will unfold on this blog; earnings, traffic, URL, and everything will be open.

Join the Kick-off Webinar!

So, overall that’s the strategic plan.  I want to be as open and public as possible with this niche site, so I’m holding a live webinar to begin the entire process on Thursday January 31st at 5PM PST.


Join the Webinar Here!

This will be a very information packed webinar (WebinarJam Review here)where I go through the process live of picking a niche to target.  There will be no sales pitch on the webinar. This is going to be very hands on with your feedback, questions, and input along the way.  I hope to see you there.

As always, please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.  I look forward to the discussion with you about my public niche site project!


Stories & Projects | 105 comments

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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This sounds awesome Spencer.

It’s been a while since someone posted a niche site case study like this.

See you at the webinar!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Brian…should be a lot of fun!

Arbel Arif

Great Idea, I will be in the webinar…

Spencer Haws

Thanks for joining Arbel 🙂



I only just discovered you today but am hooked on your site already! What great information you have. Really looking forward to following this project with you. Don’t think I’m going to make the webinar as I’m in the UK, I think 5pm PST is around 2am GMT? I’ll have to check it out as would love to watch.

Good luck!


Spencer Haws

Glad you found my site! I will indeed be recording, so there will be a replay for everyone that can’t make it.

Boris C.

Google “Time Zone Converter” to convert time Kate. Tools shows it will be 1AM Friday UK time.

Mike From Maine

I think you’re super smart in not using Adsense. It would just leave you open for your other sites to get discovered/clicked/banned.

I look forward to seeing what you’ve got in store.

Spencer Haws

Yep, it just gets rid of alot of worries.

Michael Treadway

this is great man, just the kind of challenging things that we need to see among us that help everyone take it to the level of making money online.
Do you not have Click Bomb?
By the way thanks for that link. What a great tool and idea. One of those that make you say “Wow, I wish I had thought of designing that”
Take Care and thanks,

Lyndsy Simon

Have you considered making this more of a contest, where others can compete and be held accountable alongside you?

I’ve fallen out of the niche site game, after make several hundred dollars on one of mine. I got it up to around $100 / month, and lost interest.

Spencer Haws

I certainly encourage anyone to build a niche site along with me! However, hadn’t really thought of making it a contest per se.


I also will be in the webinar. Just one question, what does PST mean ?
if the webinar starts at 5PM PST so what time will be in France? Anyone know? 🙂

Spencer Haws

Pacific Standard Time = PST


Hi Sebagorka,

it is 2 o’clock in the night for Germany. I suppose it is the same for France.

BTW Spencer, could it be possible to watch the webinar later. I mean could you please publish the webinar video on your site for watching later?


Spencer Haws

Yes, I will record and publish the webinar later.

Zac Johnson

Excellent, this will be exciting to watch. We are both starting up around the same time. What will Google have in store this time!

Spencer Haws

Thanks for stopping by Zac! Yes, this should be an interesting project; we’ll see what Google throws at us…


Glad to see you on-board with this idea, Spencer! Always fun reading niche site case studies.

Best of luck to you in it!

My most recent niche site case study is getting about 100 visits/day, but haven’t been able to monetize the visitors well (yet!).



Spencer Haws

Thanks Perry!


Excited to see the process in action Spencer

Spencer Haws

Thanks Jon – should be interesting…


Looking forward to this one. Love the idea of a live webinar for the keyword research.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Ivo – I may do a few more for other steps if this turns out good.


Just curious Spencer…what will be your budget for this project above the costs of a domain name & hosting, i.e., what do you plan on spending for articles, press releases, links, etc.?

Spencer Haws

Well, domain is 10 bucks. Hosting is about $5/mth (and I already have lots of hosting accounts, so I don’t have to pay anything more).

I’ll give a breakdown of what I’ll pay for articles, etc – all depends on how much I write myself vs hire out.


good luck with the Niche Site Spencer, I don’t believe in linkbuilding but will look forward to the webinar if I can make it.

Will a download be available afterwards?

I also started a niche site this month, nothing like increasing your income right? 🙂


Spencer Haws

Yes, download will be available as long as the recording goes well.

Vic Dorfman

Sounds exciting!

I’m interested to see what kind of niche you come up with.

You could always do something like the clickable map that Pat Flynn created, too. …Put your programmer’s chops to good use. 😉


Hi Vic, i read about clickable map on Pat’s Income Reports: how does he monetize that?


Awesome idea to make this a ‘public project’ (in the sense of: we look over your shoulder 🙂

5-6pm PST will translate to 2-3am in Europe, which is why I might prefer to see a replay if available (I still registered).

Look forward to following the journey.

So long,


Hey Spencer,

Awesome idea! I’m developing a lot of niche sites these days (in French only – luckily the market isn’t too crowded yet) and it will be great to compare my strategy with yours. I’m sure yours is way more advanced though 😉

It’s going to be a bit hard for me to be part of seminar as I’m in Thailand but surely I’ll be watching the replay afterwards.

Hope this will be a great year for you

Kris @ Detailed Success

Hey Spencer,

Non adsense niche sites? Hell yea! This will be very interesting.

Are you planning to monetize your email list or sell directly on the niche site as well?

I would advise you to blog to get traffic – funnel people into autoresponder series – create relationships – sell. No hard selling at the niche site.

Do you plan to write content yourself (passion projects?) or find a profitable market and outsource the content?


Spencer Haws

Glad you’re excited about it Kris! Not sure exactly how the monetization plan will work out for on site vs email list.

I’m trying not to make too many decisions before the webinar. I want it truly to start from scratch right there live.

Boris C.

Always contemplated finding niche first vs. finding if affiliate products are available and sold in a given niche. You can invest time finding niche, but what if you have found good one and there are very few questionable products available? On the other hand you can find a lot of affiliate products available and sold but niche itself is competitively crowded and has more browsers than buyers.


Not only will I be at the Webinar, I will also be following along and trying to build my own Niche site and have a great success like you aim to. I’m hoping to follow both of your public niche sites and replicate the results. If this goes as planned ill have 2 earning sites at the end of the year!

Spencer Haws

Great idea Bryan – hopefully some of what I do helps out!


Awesome. Looking forward to the over the shoulder view. Overall I feel affiliate offers and own products are a far better monetization option than Adsense.

For some reason the webinar confirmation email is from ‘Chris Guthrie’. Might want to sort that out at some point, unless you’re using his account. 🙂

Spencer Haws

We are indeed sharing an account at the moment. My bad on the email confirmation…. 🙂


This explains a LOT. I was so confused when I got an email about this webinar from Chris Guthrie!


Wow! What a leap of faith. I’ll be following you with great interest. There’s bound to be loads we can all learn along the way. Thanks for being so open and transparent with it.


This sounds great, can’t wait for the kick off!


Excited for this! Can’t wait to see what topic you pick!

Mary Elliot

Hi Spencer,

I’m sure this is going to be of great value.

I’m looking forward to the webinar, but being in the UK, it will be the recording I will see!


Mary 🙂


Brilliant idea and I’m super keen to follow your progress.

In common with other non-USA followers can you confirm that we will be able to get hold of a copy of the webinar.

Spencer Haws

Yep, I’ll make it available via a recording for sure.


This is what I just came to find out…I wasn’t able to attend at the last minute, but I would like to hear your brainstorming session and follow the project from start to finish.


Hello Mr Haws,

Can you please share the URL for the recorded webinar? I missed it and I am willing to have a look at it and learn some good practices.



Really sorry for the above comment. I should have searched for it on the site before asking.


This a terrific idea and I really appreciate the value you will be giving to your subscribers.
I recently started using Long Tail Pro and can already see what a good tool it is. I hope that you will be using it to find the niche to target.
I already appreciate that you have provided an email series with Long Tail Pro with links to posts that you wrote on strategies for finding niches.
I have found that quite a few folks make good products and provide tutorials on how to use them, but never really go in to the best strategies to use with them and how to make them part of successful business plan, so thanks very much for that.
Looking forward to the webinar!


I’ll wake up 3 AM for you Spencer and I know it’s worth it


Respect Batuhan! 🙂


Thank you Ago 🙂

Peter Rose

Being in UK, any chance of a replay? . I need to get up very early next day.



Will the webinar be posted later as a video on your blog?


Awesome idea! Already signed up for the Webimar and looking forward to seeing how you go about doing this. It’ll be an interesting activity to follow along with.

PS, loving the Platinum version of Long Tail Pro! Been able to find some niche sites that look like they can make me some money soon!


Spencer Haws

Thanks Dennis!!


Hi Spencer,

I look forward to following along. One question, how does what you will be covering differ from what is in the Long Tail Pro course OTO upsold with the software?


Spencer Haws

It may be very similar – but this will be a different niche and perhaps different monetization strategy. I probably won’t have videos of every nitty-gritty details like I did on the OTO.


I was waiting for your Open Niche Site Project.
Great idea on using Aff product and list building/marketing and will see how it unfolds!
See you in the webinar!


This project is going to be your big project for 2013 right Spencer? Okay, Looks like I’ll just have to wait for the recording of your webinar.

I’ve heard a lot about Niche Pursuits, your website is full of really valuable knowledge about Niche Website and also another tips and tricks about Internet Marketing. No wonder why your website famous 🙂

I will be waiting for this Recording Webinar, don’t forget to Publish.

Good Luck Spencer.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Julia! I’ll have a back up recording as well just to be sure 🙂


Spencer, you are simply the best 🙂
Thanks for sharing and I’ll be tracking your progress on NSP1.


I can’t wait Spencer!
The keyword reseach and the affiliate product monetization are the part I’m more interested in!

Just to know: when you find a kw where your top 3 competitors are 3 youtube videos, that’s a winning signal that you can easily rank 1st on google?
I ask because I saw that youtube has high page rank and domain authority both.

Thank youuuuu,

Spencer Haws

No, 3 youtube videos does not necessarily mean its easy to rank for that keyword. It all depends on a number of things. But sounds like Google prefers to rank videos in that niche, so it may be harder to outrank using a standard website…all depends…


Sounds awesome Spencer. I look forward to watching the webinar replay!


Good luck with your Niche project experiment, Spencer.

I have not been visiting here all too often lately, though, I will be trying to do so……and I will be keeping an eye on the progress of your niche site experiment…….

The one thing I like about your plan and the outcomes you are aiming for, is that they are realistic….as far as the time factor and the financial return expected…


Awesome! I can’t wait. Looking forward to all the great stuff you’ll be sharing.

Long Le

Building a niche site/affiliate site/email marketing!! Woot! This is exactly what I am looking for, can’t wait to see how you put this together. I’ll be in the process of doing the same and plenty more. Thank you very much for giving so much valuable information Spencer!


The confirmation email I got from gotowebinar says from “Chris Guthrie”. What gives Spencer?

Spencer Haws

lol, got it fixed.


Hey Spencer,

I got the same thing Ian above got on the webinar Registration. “From Chis Guthrie”. Are you guys doing the webinar together?

I admire the accountability you are putting on yourself to do this and show results from this case study. It can flop or it can do really well. Either way your commitment to this case study is what will keep all of us coming back. It is a great way for us to learn your thought process for picking niches and carrying out a back linking strategy for ranking the sites.

Spencer Haws

No, its just me – just had his name on the webinar and I hadn’t switched it over from a previous one.


Awesome stuff! looking forward to this.
Thanks Spencer.



Wow, i was actually waiting for this. This is going to be really cool training. Looking forward to bang on ! Thanks in advance.



Hello Spencer.

I use Google translation because I do not speak English.

-> “Secondly, using my Adsense code opens up all my other niche sites for easy discovery.”

It is ALWAYS possible to find all websites belonging to a person. One can find everything with some good research (and I did not pay anything).

I’m not going to scuttle because I respect your work. You’re sort of my mentor AdSense. That is why I sought your entire network to study it closely.

I wanted to recreate your strategy and soak in the Francophone world, that I mastered.

Good luck for the future and soon,


-Jody O-

Great Idea Spencer! Looking forward to your webinar!!!


Spencer, very excited to watch how you go about this process.

Making my latest site public has been a great motivator and has helped it get to 300+visitors/day with some decent monetization over the last 5 months.

Are you set that you will be monetizing via an email list? Monetizing via an email list was my initial idea as well but it has been a complete failure while direct linking to VERY relevant affiliate offers has been successful.

Will be watching the webinar!


I love the fact that you are revealing all of your strategies in the public like this. It’ll be valuable to newbie like me who always confuse about where to start and where to do what. ♥


AWESOME! Really looking forward to watching the webinar replay on Friday morning. I have Long Tail Platinum so I’m hoping to copy some of your strategies 🙂

Spencer Haws

Please do 🙂

Danny Micheals

I’ve been looking forward for this since I found out about it. Hope the recording goes well, I’m working during the live part.

Hopefully you can get the replay up the same day. Going to be setting up a site the next day and follow your progress very closely.

Already got my copy of Long Tail Pro all ready to do keyword research with you.

Thank you so much Spencer for doing this, you are awesome!

Spencer Haws

Glad you are exited Danny! I’ll try to have the replay up in 24 hours (probably won’t be same day though). I’ll make sure to have 2 recording sources going in case one doesn’t work. 🙂


Waiting in Spain until 2am to watch the webinar and the system is not working with Linux.

I hope I will be able to watch the video tomorrow.



Hi Spencer,

When will the recording be up?




I missed the webinar. Will you put a link or put the video somewhere ?


really ur are the best thank u man

John J. Ziemba

Hi Spencer.

I’m new to your site and have already listened to your webinar. What I liked about your presentatin is your style. What you see is what you get. I got a lot of information.

I also have some niche sites I’m developing and look forward to going thru the rest of your project blogs. Thx for sharing. This is the best way to teach and I appreciate it.

Spencer Haws

Thank you John!!


It is amazing to look back from the start and see how it all started.

I am amazed how much success you’ve had with the niche site project.

To think it all started with this public webinar.

Obviously, you have shown your expertise and skill.

All we need to do is learn from it and apply what you have taught us.

Can’t wait to see what’s next.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Lain, I appreciate that!

Ryan Gargiulo

What an incredible resource! I just spent a half hour or so reading through the entire project so far. Thank you for sharing this. You’ve got me thinking of starting a new niche site.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Ryan…glad you are gaining value from this Project! Best of luck with your new niche site 🙂


Hi Spencer,

Your website is awesome!
I’m newbie in this and wonder if I also can learn to
build a niche site, even if my computerskills are very basic?

Happy Earnings;)

Spencer Haws

If your computer skills are very basic, it may take you time some learn everything, but if you put in the time, its doable.


Hey Spencer… good stuff

Instead of building your adsense “Empire” on one adsense account have you though about forming a corp and getting a new id from adsense…

Just in case you know they decide to slam you again your junk will not all be in one trunk.

and you could do a adsense site in the public…;)

Spencer Haws

Already did that a long time ago. (I have multiple business entities).


Hi there,

Glad I found this site, to say there’s all the information I need is an understatement 😀

I was wondering…. I have had success with sites before etc, but I am intrigued to know whether you think if I was to follow your guide step by step all the way through whether it would result in success for a niche of my choice?

I mean clearly it works for you obviously, but I am serious about actually replicating what you have done for a different niche and for me to see just how effective it might be.

I understand there’s TONS of work involved, but I am willing to do it. I kinda had a disaster with one of my main sites getting dropped from Google, so from thousands of pounds to now having pretty much no income and no savings, literally lol, it’s not funny but if I didn’t laugh I’d cry 🙂

So I am in that eager, motivated state and have been for a few weeks now. Reading all your useful info really is inspiring because you go so in depth about everything!

I know how to do the work involved and the link building with programs like GSA, etc, but as I say I am just intrigued to know just how effective you think it might be if I was to try your methods above.

Maybe I shall return in a few months from now with a success story thanks to the knowledge gained from reading the stuff on your site 😀

Spencer Haws

Yes, I definitely think you can replicate in a niche of your choice. We’ve had many people do that and share their success stories:

Natasha @ HYIP Monitor

Hello Spencer, thanks so much for sharing your experience. I am now learning how to build Niche sites. Your article is a big help for me. Thanks again!


Is this webinar still anywhere on internet to see?!


found it 😀

Matt Smith


One of the things that I have wondered about (especially with changes with the Google Algorithm happening so frequently) is where to start in building niche websites!

Thanks for laying our your plan and giving some specifics about what you think about, set goals for, and plan for as you approach a new niche site. I would assume that this is a similar process that you take for each niche site that you start, right?

Thanks again, Spencer, for providing such useful and in-depth information for anyone willing to learn.


I am starting today the study case.
Very exciting process from now.
Thanks a lot

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