Q&A Podcast + More of My Niche Websites Journey
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As you all may recall, I recently asked you for some questions that you would like to hear me answer. I took several of those questions and recorded this podcast. However, to make it a little more interesting to listen to (rather than just do Q&A), I tried to weave in my own personal story a bit. So, I answer most of the questions using my own personal experiences as I have built up a couple of hundred niche websites.
I hope that you enjoy the audio recording and find some useful information that you can apply to your own niche websites empire. As always, please feel free to ask questions and share your thoughts below. Thanks!
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My top recommendations
If the podcast is intended to be a long-term venture, be sure to set up an RSS feed solely for the podcast. I can’t subscribe unless you have that or it’s posted in iTunes. And I’m definitely interested in listening. But I only listen to stuff I can download to my mobile, because I’m always on the run. If you do get that done, be sure to send out another email update so we know.
Nah, just testing the waters. Not planning anything long term at the moment. Thanks for the advice though if I do decide to do any “real” podcasts.
contrary to Chuck, I prefer reading over listening. Would it be possible to get a transcript of the podcast? I will listen to this podcast for now, but when something is written down I can easily find it again if I want to review something.
Patrick – no transcript for this one. Next time.
LOVE your site. You and Trent from onlineincomelab are mad dogs
Really quick suggestion
Transcriptions are killer for SEO/linkbait plus at $3/4 an hour you should be able to get it done for $10-12 if you’re not lucky.
I do nearly all my browsing in spaces where I can’t have audio so for many users.. it would be epically helpful.
Haha just read the rest of the comments and everyones saying the same thing. Sorry for not reading on
90 seconds into the podcast.. someone flicked the tv on. 🙂 When you can control your environment, podcasts are great
Hey Mat, if I do podcasts in the future (still undecided), I will indeed do transcripts as well for the very reasons you mentioned.
Also, if there’s anyway you can get this transcribed that would be great. I dont have a lot of time so I read your website from work, but I work as a telemarketer,so I can’t listen to the podcast at work.
Also it would probably help with SEO a bit to have the transcript on the page.
You can probably get it transcribed for $5 on fiverr.com
A transcript will definitely help with SEO and other readers but I’m not sure this podcast with length over 40 mins can be transcribed for $5!!
If anything a 40-min audio would take at least 3 hours to transcribe. That’s less than $2 per hour if you can get it transcribed for $5. But then isn’t this way below minimum wage and therefore wrong!!
I agree! I didn’t do a transcript myself because I was feeling lazy (sorry everyone). I looked at prices to do transcriptions, and I didn’t want to spend $50 or $100 for a good transcription. I never even considered Fiverr…
@ Chuck, I think you can click this link and listen on your smart phone > https://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast1.mp3
Good thought, Rob. I may do that in the browser.
I’ve become heavily dependent on the Pocket Casts app. I’ve got everything neatly locked down in there now. So I don’t usually look for solutions outside that. But I may take the time to listen either on my desktop or thru the browser.
Sorry, I meant Gabe! LOL.
Great answers Spencer, I’m always scared of Google kneecapping my sites for some reason beyond my control or something I’ve accidentally done.
It’s nice to know the reason why your sites got deindexed, that was very helpful!
You are welcome Gabe!
WOW! As always, thanks so much. Really good information you have shared with us.
Quick question – on the initial niche sites, how many articles (on average) would one of these sites have ?
Not sure what you mean by my “initial websites”. My first 2 sites that earned me $20 per month; probably had around 10 to 15 articles apiece on them.
Beautiful, I’ve enjoied it every second… It’s much better listening than reading…The only thing was missing here was the backlink strategy, but I hope it will be for another podcast…
Thanks very much!
Great first podcast, Spencer! I particularly liked the part where you discussed how you’d figured out the deindexing of your niche sites…good insight.
I also didn’t know you use the rotating content on the home page, actually. We put up a post and leave it “static” and make pages for our secondary content…but I can see how and why the sites might rank fine otherwise as well.
Yep, I have done both static pages and traditional blogs. You can rank either way. Static is probably the way to go for smaller niche websites, but like I said you really can rank either way.
Like Justin, I find the deindexing subject pretty interesting as well. With all the sites we have created, only one has gotten deindexed, and we believe that was due to the last owner.
There really should be a better way to tell if the URL you are buying is tainted in anyway (is there?). I have not tried the Google review process through webmaster tools, but I hear it takes forever to get an answer — if at all.
BTW, I have come to the same conclusion as you — Google does not have some huge manual review team sitting there going through sites. The search team might look into sites that have been flagged, but these conspiracy theories about manual reviewers having a bad day and deindexing all your sites is just hogwash.
I agree that I wish you could see if you are getting a “clean” or not so clean URL when buying. Also, I agree that Google does things through algorithms, not angry employees looking to wreak havoc on website owners.
This is an interesting subject, as I used to work at google (mtv) as a contractor for a year. In no way is my opinion based on anything concrete, just from random musings of walking around. I was nowhere near associated with adsense. The algorithm thing sounds like it would be more correct than them having manual reviewers.
Google hires engineers and adsense/marketing people full time. For everything else they hire contractors. I used to do reviews for maps listings. I never heard of adsense reviewers, and to me it wouldn’t make economical sense for google to hire a team to screw over its main source of income.
Looking forward to your podcast. Any chance of getting it on iTunes?
Purchased your software – works great, by the way!
I will set up an itunes account if I decide to do Podcasts over the long term. This one was just a one shot deal.
I’ve forgot to mension, is a crazy thing working on 20-100 new websites,I’m doing now and I think is a ruge mistake because is much better focus on 5-10 sites per month, do the backlinks (articles,forums,comments) and then move on to another project…
Yes, to do things on a larger scale, you really need to have a good team or system in place. Most people should probably just try 5 to 10 sites a month if they can handle it.
My first piece of input for you on the podcast (recording). Don’t apologize for going on to long or for this and that. As you said yourself, if you’re still listening at this point, you’re probably very interested. I know it’s probably first episode uncertainties, but you did great with it. No need to apologize.
I’ve heard most of this story before in our conversations, however I know that lots of people will benefit from the background. I especially take heart to hear the answer to the question of what you would do if you had to start again. I sit in that very situation and I’m taking that specific advice to build what I’m calling my niche site empire.
So thanks again for the information and I look forward to more in the future. This was a perfect ‘educational’ moment for me during the day. Btw, I recommend to anyone listening to this, to pause your life and focus on what Spencer is saying. I found that I stopped everything else while I listened and I got much more out of it than trying to split my attention elsewhere. Taking a moment in your day for some education is a great idea.
Thanks for the input Steve! Glad you enjoyed the first podcast here and found it educational!
Spencer, I thought the podcast when great and I was engaged the entire time. Hearing you say that it can be done (over lunch with your friends) was clear motivation for me to continue along on the Niche site path I’m on. Thanks for that. Catch you in 6 months with nothing but success to report.
Best of luck Kevin with your niche sites!
Thanks for the info you are sharing – all good stuff and V helpful. thanks
Great podcast, thanks Spencer. You give some really valuable tips when first starting up. One really big reason to setup different Analytic accounts is because it’s very easy to trace your UA code G! gives you. If someone stumbles on your first niche site and you are using the same Analytics code, they can find all your sites.
Looking forward to the next Podcast.
Very True. But I wouldn’t worry about this unless you have a large volume of websites.
Anyone tell you you sound like a ‘posh’ version of Kurt Cobain 🙂
Great Podcast Spencer,
Full of quality information that will help everyone here that comes hungry of information about niche business.
My opinion of your podcast is that since you are talking instead of writing the quality of information is much better and easier for you to share.
Looks like you are all covered since you built your business from scratch you are able to create it again if something wrong happen and you already done that and ticked your strategy for any other tiny error that could damage your income.
Thanks for sharing this information !
Your welcome Aldo!
How many articles do you place on the niche site when you launch it ? Then approximately how many do you add and how often ?
Say you are building a niche site with 15 – 20 pages.
If I were building a niche site with 15 to 20 pages. I would put 5 articles on the site and launch it. Then I might schedule for a new post to be added every other day or some other pre-set schedule until all 15 to 20 articles are up.
Thanks for the podcast Spencer. You’re story is very motivational. My friend recently had their Adsense account banned and it definitely got me concerned. That person sent an email to someone with a link to the post for them to read. We later found out that that person noticed ads on the site from her employer and curiously clicked on them (personalized ads in action). A couple days later it was shut down. That’s all it took. My friend appealed and explained what she thought was the problem but got denied.
I wonder if you have a personal account and a business account with you as the contact, if Google treats them as “completely” separate. In other words, if your account gets banned for some reason, will they see the link to your business account via your contact info, the ip you login to the account from, an email from one account to another, etc. As I understand it, if Google determines that you had invalid clicks and you don’t catch it and report it (and sometimes even if you do) that you could get shut down and have very little recourse.
Have you tried out other contextual ad distributors to see if they work, just in case? ie. Kontera, InfoLinks, AdBright, Bidvertiser, Chitika, etc. I was planning on putting up one or two sites a month from different distributors to test the waters or maybe running a test on one of my existing sites.
When you set up a new business entity, I understand that you get a new Adsense ID. Do you also set up a brand new Analytics account and register a new Google Webmaster Tools account for the new entity? It wasn’t clear in the podcast if you went back to Google Analytics/Webmaster Tools. If not, what are you using? Piwik? I am currently using Piwik, but find it a little clunky and I would like to see Analytics integrated with Adsense. I started with Piwik awhile back on your advice not to use Google. What do you advise now? Thanks for all the great insight. See ya.
Yes, google will look at a business adsense account separately from a personal account. Even if they are logged into from the same ip address.
Yes, I have looked at alternatives and have used all of the ones you mentioned except for Bidvertiser before. None of them pay anywhere near what adsense does.
I don’t use webmaster tools anymore. But if I did, yes I would set up a separate webmaster tools and analytics account. I do indeed use Piwik on several of my sites. I still use analytics on several others.
Thanks for posting this Spencer. Downloaded to my mobile & will listen on the road. I think having a mix on your blog of audio, video, and text is an awesome idea. Thanks for the quality info as always.
You’re welcome Jon!
Great podcast Spencer, thanks!! I found it easier to listen than to read, plus I always like hearing someone in their own voice because you can really get a much better sense of them, their personality, and their intended meaning. You’re a natural!!
I hope you do many more.
Wow, thanks! Didn’t know I was a “natural”…
Hi Spencer – I thought this was an incredibly good and useful podcast and gave me some great ideas. Thank you. That is hilarious (not at the time, I’m sure) about that malicious WordPress plugin … or whatever it was that caused your sites to be deindexed. That’s unreal. Also, I didn’t realize how much you outsource now. I’m sure that’s helped you a ton, and now I have tons of questions about that but I’ll ask at another time. Overall, really great podcast and I was definitely one of the 25% listening at the very end, haha.
Hey Thanks for the kind words Kelly! It wasn’t hilarious at the time at all – but it is funny is a sad sort of way I guess.
Definitely. And like you said, you wouldn’t be where you were today if that didn’t happen, so everything definitely happens for a reason!
Because I have a semi-long commute, I LOVE the podcast format. If you want to do more podcasts in the future, that would be awesome!
I have a question about setting up adsense on wordpress. I have a site that I installed adsense on, but the ads don’t show up when I view the site on Firefox. However, they do show up in IE. Have you had experience where ads won’t show up in a particular browser?
I have never experienced that – odd. Although for some plugins such as the “Why do Work” adsense you can have it set to show or hide ads from the administrator. Its possible that you have some plugin selected that is allowing you to view ads in one browser, but not another. However, I would suspect that this would not effect regular visitors.
Is there a chance that you have an ad-blocker plugin engaged on Firefox? Many times, someone in the family will turn that on and not make everyone else aware.
Also, if the site is brand-new, you might have to give it a few days for AdSense to fully settle in. I started a new site a couple weeks ago and experienced the same thing…sporadically showing up (or not) without explanation. But after a few days, everything settled down and it started working as expected.
Thanks for the podcast. Just wondering, was it easier and did it take you less time to do the podcast or do you find writing articles a quicker method?
Actually, yes I did find it easier and quicker to do this podcast than a regular post…
Thanks for the podcast. First one I’ve evered listened too. Lots of useful info, which is why I come here every day 🙂
A few questions though: One question that wasn’t answered (or asked?)…what is the average time it takes for you to rank for your keyword?
And you mention that if you find a related keyword, you make an entire site devoted to it? I’ve been making ‘posts’ on the main site for related keywords…is that silly? Should I be registering a new domain and going after thos subsets (if they are worth it) separately???
Wow, first podcast ever! Thanks for listening.
I usually expect it to take 90 days or so to rank well for my keyword.
And SOMETIMES I make an entire site on a related keyword. I would only do this in the case of when a site is doing extremely well, and I am looking for related keywords. Its not silly to just make “posts” about the related keywords – that is the standard way of doing things. I just have a different approach sometimes. You can always just build one authority site on the topic and there is nothing wrong with that.
Great podcast I was listening intently the whole time and, took at least two pages of notes. It wasn’t too long if that is one of your concerns. Can`t wait until the next podcast! (that`s a yes vote for more podcasts)
Thanks Brett! Wow, I am surprised how many people actually enjoyed the podcast – I will have to strongly consider doing more in the future.
To be honest, i will prefer to read a transcript, hope you can provide one in future. Do you just target one main keyword for the niche website? But add 10-20 articles to it?
Yes, I target 1 primary keyword for each niche site. Then I will add additional articles on related keywords.
that was a terrific podcast full of useful info and tips, especially for us beginners. Thanks a bunch and I look forward to more in the future.
You are welcome!
Good podcast. I always find it nice when people step a little out of their comfort zone and try something new.
I appreciate all that you shared. The part that hit home with me was toward the end when you talked about your 10:00 – midnight time being your power hours and just working hard on your business.
I feel many probably think people like yourself were lucky to find the right situation and didn’t really work hard. Of all the sites I read, people have made money doing various things (adsense, affiliates, own products…), but the common theme is hustle. Everyone buckled down did some serious work for months without much payback.
Keep it up. And if I want hear interviews with other people, there’s plenty of sites for that. I’m interested in adsense niche sites and your story. Keep any future podcast to just you discussing a topic or answering a few questions. Even little 10 minutes nuggets are gold.
Jason – very true! Getting anywhere in life takes a lot of work, and often includes working long/late hours. I put in a lot of time for about 4 to 5 years before I saw much return. I certainly wasn’t an overnight success. Thanks for your thoughts on types of podcasts that you would like to hear!
Have you ever or would you, use Social Monkee for backlinks? .. I suppose my main concern is that the big G won’t like it and I could get banned .. or is that simply paranoia?
Never heard of Social Monkee. But if its one of those services that spams about 1000 social networks, I wouldn’t be interested. Yes, google is more likely to penalize you for getting that many links very quickly.
No .. they own 100 social bookmarking sites and you post to those over a period of up to 14 days so it’s not an excessive number of links so hopefully Google won’t …. I thought you use a drip feed system too for link building .. It was discussed on the warrior forum and seemed to get decent reviews
Okay, that might not be too bad.
interesting suggestion someone made .. rather than use this to link to the actual site .. use it to build links to give authority to the articles sites that have the links to the site .. increases the authority without ‘risking’ the site maybe .. It’s cheap $47 as a one off .. I’d suggest you give it a lookskie anyway at that price .. be interested in what you think
Great podcast – listened to it 3 times in the car today – gold!
3 times! That’s more than I listened to it!! Thank you though, that honestly is very humbling to hear such great feedback.
Great podcast. very useful information as always and your voice is very easy to listen too. (Won’t mention names).
May I ask if any of your niche websites have much interaction on them. By this I mean email lists you have to look after, customers comming directly to you for answers or are they all just set up and forget adsense sites. This would be my prefered route.
Thanks Adrian – I always find my voice annoying when I listen to a recording of myself – so I appreciate it! Also, I have little to no intereraction on my niche websites. I almost always turn off comments and I don’t usually collect any email addresses. They are all essentially set it up and forget it type sites.
Thank you for a great podcast. I am a newbie at niche site building and have a question for you please.
I understand that link building is is an important factor when it comes to getting sites ranked with the search engines but could there ever be an instance do you think where a keyword could have such low competition that one could rank quite well for if without doing any article writing or link building?
Thanks again for an excelent podcast Spencer.
Yes Mike. You can rank well for extremely low competition keywords without any real linkbuilding. I in fact have a few sites like this (they might have 5 or so links to them). I had one site for a while with 1 link to it ranking #1 for its keyword. I was making about $80/mth with the site. This is extremely rare though.
Great Podcast Spencer. I listened to it on the way to work (to the job I hope to quit soon with my niche websites). I really like the part where you talk about finding keywords from existing sites that are already doing well. I’m actually doing this myself, because I’ve noticed, within one niche that I’ve made a few sites in, I always at least make $1/day.
Also, you can look through flippa and see what Adsense sites are making good money and find keywords in that niche. I’m testing this out now, so, I hope it goes well.
And, like everyone else on here, it’s good to have an answer to why all your sites were deindexed. I remember reading your old blog and getting a little paranoid (even though I have less then 10 sites currently).
I hope you can quit your job soon as well…keep up the effort! Yes, its good to at least have an idea of what happened with the whole deindexing thing…
Listened to the podcast today. I can relate alot to the fact that you had to try out alot of ideas first. Thanks for sharing.
I would love to hear more podcasts from you! I can listen while I am working and it works out very well.
Great – thanks for the feedback Clint!
Spencer, when there is a theme or plug in update I can’t imagine you do each site individually, do you use MU or some other method to update?
You’re right! I use a service called ManageWP.com right now. I believe its still in beta, but it allows me to update essentially all of my plugins, themes, and more with a push of a button. Its awesome! I will probably be doing a full post on this service in the future.
Thanks so much for the podcast.
I found it very useful and inspiring.
I have been making niche websites for a few months now, and find that every setback and challenge that I have faced has taught me valuable lessons to better myself and my websites.
You are welcome JJ.
Just listened to your first podcast and thought it was good. The information you provided was interesting and kept me wanting more. When people share how they made money I seem to find that content very exciting. I guess I always think someone will reveal the big secret even though I know there is none.
Not sure if it was coincidence but one of my niche sites was deindexed shortly after I added Google Analytics code to it. Since then I have stopped using Google Analytics. The site did come back in a month or so and ranked better than ever.
Interesting. Glad your site came back!
love the podcast great content just finished listening to it have some quick questions.
1. Whats your cut of level in dropping a domain bellow $5 a month income you let it drop?
2. Your titles the use of the symbol “**” does it mean anything?
I might keep a website is its earning $3 to $5 per month, but not lower than that usually. After all it only takes about $10/year for the domain costs after the site is build. So as long as I make more than it costs, even if only by a few dollars, its still profit.
I really enjoyed this podcast. Obviously it was just an experiment, but in terms of engagement and quality of content, I really liked it.
I love hearing stories of others’ success, and yours offers a lot of food for thought. For one, it is clear that you soldiered on in the face of failure to finally reach success – I believe that is the most important thing anyone can do.
Kudos to you for all you have achieved so far!
All the best,
Really enjoyed the Podcast, and I hope that you will decide to do more in the future. One question that I did not hear answered (because it was not asked I don’t think) is this:
Of your hundreds of websites, do you have 10-20 sites that make the bulk of your income? And if so, what specific parameters did you use to find those winning keywords? Did you go higher than 3,000 or 4,000 exact searches monthly for your highest earning sites?
Thanks for taking your time to do the podcast, and answer questions that a lot of us have about building niche sites!
Yes, if you check out my income report – you can see how my top 5 sites did last month: https://www.nichepursuits.com/monthly-income-report-for-july-2011/. The parameters are different on all of these sites obviously. But my higher earning sites do in general have a higher search volume. Most of these top 5 sites get between 4 to 7k in the Google Adwords keyword tool. One gets 12k exact searches per month. Hope that helps!
Hey Spencer…. I just listened to the podcast, and you really do it like an expert. I put into practice your words and the results are not bad, 40 days and 3 of my sites, 5000-9900 Exact match are below the first page of Google…Hopefully I can be able to quit my job soonest!
I found the podcast useful. Thanks Spencer for sharing.
Was just wondering – are the additional articles you put on your sites keyword researched or are they just there to give additional information regardless of whether you think the sub page will rank well or not? Thanks again for the great podcast. Look forward to others in the future hopefully.
I do some keyword research on the other articles. Primarily I make sure to use a good keyword in the title of the other articles. But primarily they are there to provide additional information to visitors.
Hi Spencer, great podcast! Listened to it while training today for my next race, my run lasted exactly the length of your podcast so it made my session a breeze.
Just have a very simple question. When you post your keyword articles on your site, do you name the title exactly as the keyword or add other words too? What I mean is, are your titles like “long tail keyword” or “how to long tail keyword today”, for example.
Just to be clear, if the keyword were “cheap smartphones”, would you make your title “Cheap Smartphones” or “Where to find cheap smartphones”?
I would make it “Where to find Cheap Smartphones”.
Usually Add words to them. If my keyword is “long tail keywords” my title might be “How to Find Long Tail Keywords Today”.
Was curious, how do you define “low” competition. I noticed in Google Adwords Tool they define searches as low, medium, high. Is that all you use to determine low competition?
Dont use the adwords tool to determine competition. These are totally different things. Google is showing how many advertisers there are for that keyword. You want to look at the competition for ranking naturally in the search engines, which is tototally different. Read this article here to help you analyze the competition: https://www.nichepursuits.com/how-to-analyze-the-top-10-google-competition-for-your-keyword/
Spencer .. Have just listened to this during lunch at work. Am looking forward to listening to more.
Also… Your recommended resources page can you update it? 😉
I love Trents page on onlimeincomelab.com.. I just found out about managewp.com from the comments above and it seems AWESOME! Seriously. If there exist any other plugins/tools you would recommend I would give my left nut to see that.
Please keep the nut. But I will do my best to update the resources page – been meaning to do that!
Hey Spencer great podcast !!
Don’t apologize for the length of the show..I sat through the entire thing…great info really great. I’ve been trying to learn more about the Niche site field from a back end stand point right now I think you do the best job of explaining how you did it..a lot of others just give you that topical view..Thanks for sharing your story and oh…I had my note pad..
Spencer, I have stalked your site for a while now but I have never commented until today. Thank you so much for the podcast. It was so informative and so inspirational that I have just written my action plan for my sites and I’m focused on what I need to do. Hearing your story of how you just stuck with it even after getting de-indexed made me realize that I just need to focus on one site at a time post content, do some back linking and keep pushing forward. I hope to hear more podcasts in the future regardless of how long they are. I can work and listen to you at the same time! 🙂
Thanks Marc! Best of luck with your sites!
Thanks for this Spencer. Also a long time lurker, first time commenter. I usually prefer text over audio, but for QA like this, it seems much more natural and informative.
Thanks for the podcast Spencer! For some reason personal stories stick better and it was great to hear your struggles. I have trouble just sitting and listening to things, so I turned on your podcast when I went to bed, and had a nightmare that I was working for a horrible job cold calling people.
I’m glad something stuck in my head. I just started my first blog this week. Its a personal blog about camping and hiking, and I am throwing in SEO tactics to watch it rank up. Its so interesting and exciting to find your page getting indexed, and then a few days later being in the top 100 with just one article!
Anyways the podcast was great, I hope to see another at some point in the future.
PS. How do some of you guys have your own pictures next to your comment and name?
What I appreciated about this podcast was the wealth of insight in your experience … which most of us can relate to … minus your successful income – at the moment lol.
Reinvesting in oneself is the best investment of all (take that advice from a former stockbroker).
Please do more podcasts … and do think about transcripts … for those of us … who taking reading matter on trains, planes and coffeeshops. Consider using this person. He is extremely reliable and very good.
Great listening, Spenser! Sound quality is great too!
Looking forward to next one!
I thought the podcast was great! Much better than reading the info in my opinion. I wish I could listen to your whole website on Podcast lol
Thanks Ryan…bought a new microphone… an “official” podcast may start happening…
Cool, I look forward to it if it happens..
I’m an airline pilot with hours and hours of boredom time to sit and listen to stuff with no internet access! Podcasts are just so much more personal, full of knowledge and far less boring then reading for hours on end I find. I didn’t think you ran on too long at all, I actually thought it was too short! I had 2 more hours to burn en-route to Chicago lol.
pS- How do you add photos to the comments?
Ryan – yes I can see why listening to a podcast would make sense in your case! Also, if you go to gravatar.com, you can add photos to ANY wordpress blog you comment on – not just this one.
Spencer, I enjoyed the Q&A… just what I needed to hear–and yes. Thanks or your candor and willingness to share.