Earlier in 2013, I took a challenge to start up a niche website. What is a niche website you ask? It’s simply a website that is focused on a specific topic, or niche that you create to earn money from. The idea behind it gets a little more involved. You can’t simply pick any topic – well you can, but that would defeat the purpose of earning money.
More specifically, you are looking for topics that are highly searched upon, but don’t have a lot of competition from other websites. How do you go about researching, picking a site and generating income? That is where this guide comes into play. Be sure to read through all of my topic posts below, listed in order.
Guide To Niche Blogging
- Intro to Building My Niche Site
- Building My Niche Site: Part 2
- Building My Niche Site: Part 3 – Creating Content and Finding Traffic
- Building My Niche Site: Part 4 – Gaining Traffic and Backlinking
- Building My Niche Site: Part 5 – Monetizing Your Site
- Building My Niche Site: Part 6 – Long Term Update
Once you’ve read through these posts and pick your topic, you are ready to buy a domain and get to work. The following is a complete list of services that I use. Note that the links are referral links, meaning that I earn a small amount of money if you click on the link and purchase the product. Thanks in advance to those that go this route.
When it comes to web hosting, there are a ton of options for you to choose from. As someone starting out, you are going to weigh the overall monthly price heavily. Don’t worry, we all do (or did when we were starting out). But understand this: the cheapest plan is not always the best plan. You get what you pay for.
I found this out the hard way. I initially signed up with Site Ground to host my sites. All was good for a while. But then I started getting warning messages that I was using too many resources on the shared server. This confused me because my sites were not very popular at the time.
It turns out, Site Ground gives you a very small piece of the shared server you are on. At first their customer service was helpful. But then it just turned into them trying to sell me on a dedicated server or a cloud server, neither of which I needed (or even need now).
As a reference, me buying a dedicated server plan is like me buying a Ferrari when I turn 16….it’s too much. As a result, I moved my sites to Liquid Web, where I am still on a shared server, I pay a little bit more per month, but have zero issues.
The point is, cut corners where you can when starting out but not on the big stuff. Hosting falls into the big stuff category.
When I first started to blog, I used the free themes that WordPress offers. However, I quickly wanted something more custom, so I purchased Thesis. I don’t regret it for one minute and still recommend the theme.
For my niche site, I started out using the Genesis theme. I have since switched over to Thesis with this site as well. I switched simply because I wanted to get the site up ASAP and I know Thesis like the back of my hand. From what I saw playing around with Genesis, it is a great theme.
[Update: I have since switched all my sites over to Genesis. I still highly recommend Thesis but I was interested in trying something different. Genesis was so easy to learn and use, that I started to use it exclusively.]
When I first began keyword research, all of my research of my niche site was done through Google Adwords, which is free. I’ve since moved on to Long Tail Pro. It’s easy to use and is super powerful. If you click on the link above, you can try it out for free for 10 days. The amazing support and videos allows anyone to use the software.
Another tool I use for social bookmarking is Social ADR. It’s a low cost service that helps to get you some easy backlinks to your site. The great part is they continuously offer 50% deals for extra credits. Note that there is a free version that you can use, but the paid version is easy to work with as it takes less time in terms of getting credits.
One final tool I use is my email signup form. Originally I only had the signup form at the end of my posts. But I’ve now added a lightbox as well. (A lightbox signup form is when you are on the page and that annoying pop-up shows up asking you to sign up.) I personally don’t like it, but hey, it works!
I use Aweber for my email lists. You might be wondering why I use a lightbox if I don’t like it. As I said, it works to get people to sign up. Once signed up, I can send them my email updates and newsletters which can have products inside that I get a commission on.