How to build a profitable niche website in 2019 – Project journal
More time has passed since the last update than I’d like to admit. I’ve been busy with other commitments and we just got a dog! While exciting, it’s definitely not progressing my internet business.
I’ve actually been trying to publish this update for two weeks already and I keep changing the date constantly as I never seem to have the time and energy to finish what I started.
I haven’t managed to create new content for the niche website, so I’m going to keep this update short. I have not been procrastinating completely though. I overhauled the layout of the site and updated every single post with some SEO stuff I’ll explain shortly. I managed to create some content for this site as well.
I also fixed a big mistake that was detrimental for my content getting ranked. I had forgotten to submit my site to Google Search Console. I wrote a whole post about it, that you should probably read if you’re not familiar with Search Console.
I got the SEO tips and the reminder to submit my sitemap to Search Console from this great training at Wealthy Affiliate. I actually did every single step pointed out in that training to all posts on my niche website. More about that later on.
I think I mentioned before the site was looking very rough with essentially just written content and not much thought put in to the layout. I just focused getting content on the site. Layout is more important to user experience than getting indexed.
That’s why I think it’s important to focus more on the content in the beginning of a new site and focus on the appearance once you start receiving traffic. Search engine spiders don’t care if your site is ugly if everything is working correctly otherwise.
Not that much has changed compared to the previous layout really, but I changed the theme to something even more basic and got rid of the extremely amateur header graphics.
I also got rid of all redundant menus and widgets. The layout is now very simplistic, which I prefer. Simple themes load fast, work well with mobile devices and look modern. I think the whole Internet has shifted towards more content centered layouts. When you browse a site with your smart phone, all out see is the content text after all.
You don’t need fancy backgrounds or animations if your content is interesting. Things like pictures, diagrams and videos are important but they need to be clear cut and sit well with the content.
More and more users are using the Internet on smart phones and usually the mobile layouts won’t even show animations or all menus and widgets. So the less stuff you have on the screen outside of your content the better I think. This makes the desktop and mobile experience similar and you can be sure your mobile visitors won’t miss anything important.
Since Google is giving more importance to mobile device experience these days I think a simple design is the way to go. I personally hate sites with too much distracting information on the screen
So as I told you in the introduction I did some SEO optimization on all my posts. I read about these tips in this training at Wealthy Affiliate. If you are not a Wealthy Affiliate member you can create a trial account without even registering a credit card. I’m not 100% sure if you can access the training with a trial account though.
I definitely recommend you check the free trial and Wealthy Affiliate out anyway. You can read my review of the service here. I would appreciate you drop a comment if you can’t access the training, so I can provide correct information to other readers.
In case you can’t access the training, it’s about ranking your new content as fast as possible. The training is called “21 minute ranking method” as a reference how fast content got ranked in Google after indexing on the example site. The results will vary a lot depending on the age, rank and authority of your site but the principles will be the same.
Here are the main SEO points of the training, that affect the ranking of your post or page in Google after indexing:
- Include keyword in the meta title
- Include keyword in the meta description
- Mention the exact keyword in content at least once
- Mention the keyword in one image alt tag
- Include related internal links to your other posts/pages
- Include related external links to authority sites
- Embed a related YouTube video
Once you have included those everything on the list on your content you should share the content in Google+ using the meta title and description. Google likes it when you use their services.
After that you should resubmit your sitemap in Google Search Console to signal Google you have fresh content that needs to get indexed.
The last tip is to get some interaction on your site in the form of comments. You can accomplish this by leveraging social media or using Wealthy Affiliates comments services if you don’t have a solid reader base already. Google appreciates reader engagement and comments add to the word count of your post/page.
That’s about all the details I can give you. For more details you have to check out the training yourself, it’s definitely worth a watch.
I have also done some keyword research and I have one great keyword lined up for the airsoft niche site. I plan on writing a post on it as soon as I get this update wrapped up.
I’m not sure how long it takes to post another update. 3 weeks is starting to seem like a realistic time window. I hope that some time in the near future I will have some traffic data to share.
Currently many of niche website posts are ranking in Google somewhere around page 5 or so, so it’s going to take some time to get those rankings up. Wish me luck!
As a closing I would like to share this KGR related keyword research video tutorial by Doug Cunnington:
Till the next time!
So having a full time day job, chores, hobbies and other commitments AND trying to write two different blogs and doing research has turned out to be quite a handful. Who would have thought… I can’t even skimp on sleep because I become totally useless when sleep deprived.
I had to deal with reality and accept the fact that I need some downtime as well. I can’t be doing something productive CONSTANTLY. As I just started to finish up this post, I realized two weeks have passed since I last had the time and will to work on it. Oh well, that’s life I guess.
I know there are a lot of people pitching constant productivity as something you should strive for in life. But I say fuck that, you have to live a little every now and then!
The bad thing is that I can’t fully enjoy my down time (watching Netflix, going for a beer with friends etc.) when I know there are things to be done. Fortunately I have made some progress and I apologize for this random rant. Just had to get it off my chest somewhere and this is my site after all, you know? But let’s get to the point!
So it’s taken me a bit more time to get new content on my niche project site than I anticipated. The good news is that I found some good KGR terms! And what’s even better is that most terms are so called “buyers keywords” and I found good products to market. One problem is that everything isn’t from Amazon and at least one of the vendors doesn’t seem to have an affiliate program. Might have to contact them separately and see if there are any options.
Since my last update I’ve manged to release three posts. I was planning to write couple posts, get some comments going and make this update well over two weeks ago, but it seems time is working against me.
In my defense the first post is over 3000 words and the two other around 2000 words and all took quite a bit of research. It really slows the writing process when you have bounce between Wikipedia and Amazon pages and try to come up with your reworded version of the information.
All-in-all I’m at my goal of one post / week. Someone might think this seems low, someone else might think it’s a lot. To me it’s just realism. If I can’t make this whole affiliate marketing thing work at this rate, It might not be the thing for me. I plan on keeping a steady pace however, as I figure long term consistency is the key, just like with everything else worth pursuing in life.
New posts on the niche site
So as I said before I found couple great KGR terms. I will share them with you in a second but would like to ask you something in return. Please don’t copy my information and try to rank for the same keywords.
I know this might be pointless to ask this on the internet but please take into count that I’m not making any real money yet. I’m sharing this to help others out.
The other reason why I ask this is that I don’t know if this KGR stuff really works and if many people start compete for the same term it might skew the results. So please keep this in mind as you read on and start doing your own keyword research.
So let’s get to the keywords and posts.
Best WW1 Airsoft Guns
I found the keyword for this using the Google autofill once again. I can’t remember where I got the idea to check for different eras in my airsoft niche. E.g. Vietnam war airsoft, ww2 airsoft, ww1 airsoft etc.
From those examples everything else was pretty competitive but to my surprise the term WW1 Airsoft guns had 90 local searches / month according to Keywords Everywhere. The allintitle results showed over 106 exact matches, so it wasn’t a KGR term.
However autofill suggested the term best WW1 airsoft guns which had zero monthly searches on Keywords Everywhere and Jaaxy but the fact remains that if Google suggests it, someone is looking for it.
The allintitle results showed three results, all easily outrankable. I also checked out the top results for the term WW1 airsoft guns and realized there were a lot of forum posts and I figured I could probably outrank most of them with decent amount of work. A quick recap of results is shown in the picture below. The funny looking language is Finnish in case you are wondering.
So I created the post titled Best WW1 airsoft guns. The post ended up being around 3000 words long with several product suggestions and affiliate links. LSIGraph didn’t return that much useful LSI keywords so I just wrote naturally and I trust that Google will see the relevance of my keywords within the post.
It turned out a bit hard to find products to promote. I want to promote only products I know are high quality but WW1 replica airsoft guns are kinda rare to come by. I managed to find couple decent models from Amazon but everything else is from retailers that don’t have direct affiliate programs.
So I don’t really know how I might monetize the post better but I plan to worry about that only if the post starts to produce content. At this point it’s about pushing out fresh content on the KGR term to start getting rankings.
American made airsoft guns
The next term I wrote a post about was American made airsoft guns. It had zero local monthly searches on Keywords Everywhere but showed an Avg of 48 on Jaaxy. The term was once again brought up by Google auto-fill. The allintitle results turned out to be 4 results, all from forum posts. Should be easy to rank then.
I’m not sure how well the KG ratio works when using Jaaxys Avg monthly searches with the allintitle results. With the 48 Avg and 4 allintitle results the ratio is 0.083 which is well below the 0.250 upper limit so I might as well try, especially since the competition doesn’t seem that tough.
Ended up writing a 2000 word post with several Amazon affiliate product links.
Blank guns for under $100
The next keyword was a bit different. I ventured out from my main niche to things that might be related somehow to the niche. After some random tries is stumbled upon a term blank guns for under 100. It showed average monthly search results of 140 in Keywords Everywhere and 32 Avg in Jaaxy.
By the way, I’m noticing a big discrepancy between Jaaxy and KE here. Just goes to show that keyword research tools give educated guesses, not absolute facts. They all have different ways of determining the search amounts so combining several sources is always a good idea.
The allintitle results showed 7 matches, that once again didn’t seem that tough to compete with. With the Keywords Everywhere monthly volume of 140 the ratio is 0.057.
In case you don’t remember, anything below 0.250 is good to go. So this was pretty golden. A KGR term with actual traffic. That’s why I decided to make the article a bit longer from the get go. I plan on adding a lot of stuff if I start receiving traffic.
The initial article is around 2000 words but I faced the same problem as with the WW1 replica guns. I didn’t find any affiliate programs for blank guns since Amazon doesn’t sell them. If I start receiving traffic I have to try to figure something out. Now the products I recommend are legit but not through an affiliate program.
The other problem is that it’s not really a part of my main niche, which is airsoft. But I figured replica guns is a close enough term that Google might not see my site completely irrelevant. We’ll find out later on I guess. This keyword had the best KGR ratio and traffic so far, so I couldn’t pass the opportunity really.
That’s it for now! Stay tuned for updates. I really haven’t had the time (oh damn you time, damn you) to catch up on research and education so I plan on focusing a bit more on that side for the next couple of weeks. I still aim to produce at least one KGR post on the niche website, but it might take a while to update here.
So no good links and resources to share this time, but I’ll try to dig up something juicy for the next update. I promise! 😉
Please drop a comment if you have any questions or suggestions. I would also love to hear if you like this type of content. I would also love to hear it if you think this is the worst piece of content since the birth of the Internet. All feedback is welcome! Any tips and ideas from more experienced marketers are also more than welcome!
All right folks is time for part 2 in my niche site project journal! I have done some more research and created my first piece of content centered around the keyword golden ratio by Doug Cunnington I talked about in the first part of this series.
I have chosen the niche and have researched for some keywords and as promised I will share the process with you.
So without further ado let’s get to the point!
Choosing the niche
After some initial research I have decided to use my existing airsoft niche site at BestAirsoftGuns.net. I started creating the site as a part of the Wealthy Affiliate online entrepreneur certificate training. I pretty soon decided I wanted to focus more on the work from home / make money online niche and focused more on creating IHateWorking.net.
I also realized airsoft guns is a surprisingly small niche with some tough competition, even though my initial research suggested otherwise. The keyword research method using only Jaaxy they teach at Wealthy Affiliate doesn’t really give all the necessary information you need to asses the competition.
I have found seemingly great keywords with Jaaxy with the QSR <30 and SEO over 90. Yet a simple manual Google search shows that the first page is filled with authority sites and niche sites targeting that exact term. Most of them have several thousand words of content and tons of comments. To make outranking them even harder the domains are several years old and have a ton of back links. That’s why I think it’s important to do more keyword research than they teach at WA.
Before reading about the keyword golden ratio I thought it would be very hard to rank for any posts in the airsoft niche with reasonable amount of work and pretty much forgot about the site for few months.
The thing is, search engines take into account domain and site age and that’s the biggest reason I decided to keep using it. My content should rank a bit faster than with a completely new domain. I also know a lot about the sport so it’s easy to create content.
My current research has not shown that great possibilities for traffic so I’m treating this project as more of a proof-of-concept. If I can bring in traffic with very low competition terms in few months, I know I can replicate this with other niches.
I already have couple other niches brewing up that seem to have a lot more potential. I just don’t want to invest time and money in creating even more sites before I’m certain about my approach.
Finding KGR terms is not that easy. I decided to focus on zero competition terms suggested by Google autofill. This might mean I shouldn’t expect too much traffic but I have read that sometimes even keywords that have seemingly low monthly search volumes can rank for many unexpected keyword combinations. That can add up and bring surprising amounts of traffic.
So if I find a term related to airsoft that Google autofill suggests and the allintitle: results for that term are zero, I’ll go for it. SOMEONE is looking for the term and it might rank for other terms as well.
I also try to implement as much LSI, or latent semantic keywords in the content as possible. You can find great free tools for researching LSI keywords here.
Just remember to write naturally. Don’t go stuffing LSI or any other kind of keywords into the content if it doesn’t sit there naturally.
First KGR post
So the first post where I am applying these KGR ideas is about biodegradable airsoft BBs. This is a term that both Keywords Everywhere and Jaaxy show less than 10 searches for month.
On the other hand the allintitle: search returned zero matches, so it should be fairly simple process to rank for it.
The term of course was suggested by Google. There would be no point to try to rank for a term I just came up with and potentially zero traffic. Now I at least know that someone, somewhere has looked for the topic in the past.
I used the LSIgraph free service to come up with a bunch of LSI keyword that I mainly used as headings. Some are included in the text as well. Here’s a screenshot of some of the results:
I didn’t spend too much time on the content creation. I aimed for around 1500 words with the LSI keywords included and at the end included an Amazon link to a product I recommend.
I’m not worrying about conversions at this point as I can hone the posts if they start producing traffic. At this point my main priority is finding keywords, create content around them and get them online and indexed.
As you can see the site is very crude. I simply haven’t had time to make the layout better and more professional looking. And I have no intentions to invest too much time to that side until/if I start receiving organic traffic. I’m also pretty much a complete newb when it comes to web design and I have no artistic vision. I’m an engineer for f***s sake 🙂
Fortunately your site doesn’t have to be pretty to rank in Google. It has to function well however. That’s why I’ll be making sure it complies with Googles mobile friendly guidelines and loads fast and correctly with all devices.
Once I had the initial content published I set up the all-in-one SEO details in WordPress. I just put the main keyword as the title and included it in the description.
I shared the content in my Google+ (feel free to follow me, I will return the favor) and asked for comments at Wealthy Affiliate to increase the likelihood of search engines to take note of my new post.
I’ve also kept up with my research for new ideas. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by checking out these two posts:
Wrapping it up
That’s it for now. My next step is to create at least couple more KGR posts before I will post another project journal update.
I’d love to hear any thoughts from you so please drop a comment if you have questions or anything to share.
I would love to hear some critique as well if you think/know I’m doing it all wrong. I’m doing this as a shared learning project, so any insight from more experienced marketers is always welcome!
The beginning 05/09/2018
Recently I have been doing some research in niche websites and have decided to focus my online efforts in creating a successful niche website. So if you are interested in learning how to build a profitable niche website in 2018 you might want to stick around and follow my progress.
I will be focusing on the niche site for a while and have decided to keep a project journal here at IHateWorking.net. This serves two purposes really. It keeps me accountable to myself for getting things done and provides valuable information to anyone interested in creating a niche site.
So, for the foreseeable future I will be mainly focusing in journal style updates on the progression of my niche site. I plan to share all the information about how I do SEO, select post topics and products, create content and get traffic and conversion. If I succeed – and I have all the intention to do so – this journal will become a pretty honest step-by-step guide to creating a niche website in 2018.
For the foundation of my niche site I will mainly follow the instructions shown in the Wealthy Affiliate Online Entrepreneur Certification training.
What is a niche site?
If you are a complete novice in the online marketing world, you might not be familiar with the niche site concept. In essence, it just means a website that is built around a certain topic, a niche if you will.
Since competition online is though these days, search engines look for relevance of blog posts with the rest of the website. That´s why it’s important to narrow the niche down enough to be able to rank the site in Google with decent amount of work.
So for example your niche might be tennis gear and apparel. The competition is probably pretty tough for that so you could narrow it down to tennis rackets or even composite tennis rackets or what not. You get the point.
How do you earn money with a niche website?
So what is the point of creating a niche website? In all honesty it’s making money. Some might be sites created by enthusiasts from the passion to the hobby but most are made for marketing purposes.
Probably the most common type of niche website is one created for marketing physical products from Amazon. Niche websites utilize the affiliate marketing model.
Essentially you refer customers through your niche website reviews to Amazon or any other vendor with an affiliate program. If the referred customer makes a purchase, you receive a piece of the pie. It’s that simple really.
Affiliate marketing is very profitable for the companies since the basically outsource their marketing in a very effective way. It’s even more profitable for the marketer, since you don’t need large investment to start making profit as an affiliate marketer.
It’s actually possible to make money without any investment (except for time of course). Something that really isn’t achievable with typical business models.
Can the niche be anything?
Well yes and no. Yes, if you don’t care about making money with the site. No, if you wish to create some sales and income.
Despite what some gurus and places like Wealthy Affiliate say about it being possible to create a successful niche website in just about any niche, it really isn’t true these days. This is one of the very few things I don’t like about Wealthy Affiliate by the way. I don’t think they stress it enough how important choosing the right niche is.
Sure, it can be more fun to write about stuff you know about and it makes content creation a lot easier. But would you start a regular brick and mortar business based on something you just happen to like without doing any market research? Yeah, I wouldn’t either. It’s no different with niche sites.
You need to do your research and choose a niche that has the potential to generate traffic and sales. Generally this requires a few things. Firstly the competition for the niche has to be low or at least decent for a new site to stand a chance.
Secondly, there has to be a profitable market and a decent amount of products to choose from. The products should also be in a price point that is likely to convert in to sales that produce decent affiliate fees. So something not too expensive but not too cheap either as you would be earning literally pennies from a sale.
Thirdly the products need to be something people generally buy online. Sure if it’s in Amazons inventory, someone will probably buy it online no matter what the merchandise. But it would be much better if the products were something most people are comfortable buying online. In general people buy big appliances and things like furniture from their local stores and small appliances and tech online from the best deal. There are exceptions of course but you probably won’t achieve many conversions marketing sofas.
What is Keyword Golden Ratio
The Keyword Golden Ratio or KGR for short is a metric used to evaluate the competition of a low search volume keyword. It was developed by Doug Cunnington after combining some ideas from “some very smart people” as he puts it himself. You can read all the details from Dougs post that I linked in the beginning of this post.
In short the Keyword Golden Ratio must be below 0.25 and it is the ratio of Google allintitle: results divided by the local monthly search volume. The local monthly search volume also needs to be below 250.
In essence KGR terms are keywords that are being searched for in Google but don’t have enough matching search results.
This of course means the competition for such terms is not very tough and creating content around that term will get you ranked in Google almost instantly. That is the theory at least, we will see about the facts later on.
Generally speaking KGR terms are always long tail keywords. There are certain formats that work the best for niche marketing like Doug outlines in this video.
So I will be mainly targeting keyword phrases in the following format:
(what is) the best [product name] for a [specific task or user type]
So using our previous example: What is the best tennis racket for intermediate players
The thing about KGR terms is they won’t produce huge amount of traffic. This is obvious when you look at the formula. It dictates the local monthly search volume needs to be below 250.
The little research I’ve done already suggests it’s very hard to find KGR terms with even 100 monthly searches.
But there lies the magic. They are easy to rank terms that convert well. Receiving organic traffic to high competition keywords requires tons of work and site trust. It’s next to impossible (apparently) with a new site with little content.
The competition won’t be as tough either as most marketers are greedy and go for higher volume keywords. But it’s pointless if you can’t beat the competition.
How I plan to do keyword research
My main keyword tool will be Googles own auto fill. As shown by Doug Cunnington in the Keyword Golden Ratio masterclass, Google will happily show you what people are searching for if you give it a change.
You don’t necessarily need expensive research tools if you are willing to do a bit of manual work. Some folks would rather automate this process but I actually enjoy keyword research more than content creation and plan to do it mainly manually.
This means looking for ideas for long tail KGR terms in the Google auto fill results or in Googles related searches.
For faster analysis of Google results, I will be using the Keywords Everywhere free browser plug-in, that shows average monthly search results right away.
For the time being I won’t probably utilize AHrefs and SEMRush that Doug highly recommends for doing some more advanced keyword research. They are both rather highly priced and I might decide to use them later on, but for the time being I will try to achieve results with the tools I have available right now.
That’s about it for the day folks! Keep tuned for updates on my progress. I promise to share all the little secrets I learn along the way. I have dedicated almost a month for pure research and it’s time to take that knowledge and put it in to use.
If you decide follow my journey I promise you I won’t disappoint you. If I fail after giving it my best I will be completely honest about that as well. This way you’ll be able to learn about my mistakes with me. I hope. No. I KNOW it won’t come to this however! I’m determined to succeed with this.
That’s it for now. I will probably post my first real journal update later this week once I find the time. I have actually already started doing my keyword research and I will be using a niche website I started building a few months ago, but gave up on. It’s easier to rank sites that have already been online some time and indexed by Google. But more about that in the next post.