The Niche Website Challenge: Introduction

Niche Website Challenge IntroductionMy Niche Website Challenge: Introduction

I first started out on my Internet Marketing journey in August 2011 when I created my very first monetised website. The website was a local fitness directory and made money through Google AdSense. Now, I will be the first to admit that as far as first attempts go, this was a terrible website which was laced with some seriously basic errors…Determined to make this website successful, I spent the next 18 months learning about SEO and Internet Marketing from some of the Internet’s finest (Pat Flynn and Spencer Haws to name but a few) it took a lot of time, hard work and dedication to start seeing results but I finally got my first payout from Google AdSense (£69.20) many months later and it felt great!

Fast forward several months and I feel I have made huge leaps forward in Internet Marketing, I am still in full time employment but can now see how I may be able to carve out a career in Internet Marketing and start living life on my terms.

The SEO Experiment has been running for over a year now and I have seen some extremely positive results with the niche sites I have built over the last 12 months but the internet is changing…In 2012, Google made some pretty high impact changes to their algorithms and left many Internet Marketers in need of a serious strategy rethink. From a personal perspective, I had several niche sites lose up to 75% of its traffic within just a few days. Once I had dissected the analytics and dusted off my tarnished pride, I realised that the sites I was creating were simply not good enough! - I was failing to provide value to my readers and I was failing to create great content. The following diagram shows the methods I was using to create content and create backlinks for my niche websites:

How I used to build Niche Websites


The diagram above is a pretty basic representation of the system I was using to create content and backlinks to my niche sites. The system worked for a brief period but has now since proved to be somewhat outdated. If I take a step back from my process I am able to make the following observations and ultimately, reasons for failure:

  • The system is completely link driven to the point where there is no confidence in the quality of the content.
  • Links were used in an attempt to game the system.
  • Competitor analysis was minimal and went along the lines of – “I want more links than you…”
  • Keyword research was minimal to absent. I was happy to keep feeding the system with poor content and hoping that Google would welcome me with open arms.
  • I hate to admit it but a lot of my content was outsourced to the cheapest source possible. This strategy provides value to no one.

One thing that I have learned from Internet Marketing is that there is no room for rose tinted goggles, you have got to be prepared to look at your work and be prepared to criticise yourself. I can see that my original methodology was created in an attempt to fool search engines…what I should have been doing, is focusing on reader value and quality content

How I want to build my new Niche Website

When I first started building monetised websites, I had a simple mentality…If I had 1 website which earned me £1 per day, I would £356 per year. If I had 100 of these websites, I would earn…and I’m sure you can see where this is going. As Google continues to clean up the internet – and rightly so, it is becoming harder for low quality sites to make money; of course there is still an opportunity to do so but it is getting harder and keyword research (which I will cover in greater detail in a future post) is becoming even more important in this process.

My new train of thought is to begin creating authority websites which can become a beacon for my chosen subject matter. No matter what the subject of the site is, when people think about it, I want them to know that my site is the only place to be and a place where they can spend hours reading and researching my quality content - Earn while they learn!

In order for this to happen, there has got to be an enormous amount of time and effort spent creating excellent content which stands out from the crowd. The following diagram outlines the process I will be using to populate my site and build links to it:


As you can see, there has been a huge shift away from link creation and more of an emphasis placed on content creation. Sure there is still an element of link building but it will be more controlled and whenever possible, the links will be self controlled and originate from contextually relevant sites - Once again, I plan to write out a more detailed post purely dedicated to link building for this project in the near future.

The goal of this process is to produce useful, high quality content which is searched for on a regular basis – it sounds stupid saying this but there are lots of people out there (myself included at times) that create fantastic resources which are hidden from the world because of poor keyword research.

Why is my Niche Website challenge any different?

I mentioned earlier that I have been an enthusiastic follower of several Internet Marketers and their public niche projects. Even as I write this, Spencer Haws has a niche project in full flow and Pat Flynn is set shortly to begin his Niche Site Duel , NSD 2.0 – something which I am extremely excited to see in operation…

You are quite within your rights to ask, “Why should I listen to you when there are more successful people doing this” and you are dead right…they are better at this than me and have probably forgotten more than I know about Internet Marketing. So before you rush off to their sites, and by the way…I strongly suggest that you do because they are both extremely talented marketers and you will learn a lot (Spencer’s Challenge / Pat’s Challenge if you are interested…) I just want to make a few comments about how my niche website challenge differs from some of the more popular ones:

  • All content on my project will be created be me – Outsourcing content creation is a very time effective strategy but will not be used on this project. I remember when I used to watch art programs (for those in the UK, I am talking about Art Attack) when I was younger…I would follow along with the project to the point where the presenter would say, “so now we need some PVA glue” and it was game over – I never had any PVA glue so I stopped following along. This is the same feeling I get when following someone’s advice and they start talking about outsourcing. I want to prove that I can do this on my own – sure it will take longer but I am in no rush to make money…if I was then I would not be doing this :)
  • I do not have a huge following – When it comes to Internet Marketing, I am a nobody and I accept that. I will have to prove myself in order to change this but everyone has got to start from somewhere. One advantage I feel that this gives me is that all of my results will be authentic. If I fail, it’s on me…but equally, if I succeed, that’s all me too.
  • All good things comes to those who wait – I am entering this project safe in the knowledge that it is not going to be an overnight success. It will take months and hopefully years if it all goes to plan. I am not going to rush promotion or force the issue to get results ahead of schedule.
  • I will not hide a thing - The aim of this project is to demonstrate how to carry out this process from beginning to end. I will not even build a link to my site without documenting it on The SEO Experiment

The Next Step of the Niche Website Challenge

Over the next few days I will be carrying out some keyword research along with a method I use to determine the subject matter of my niche website challenge. I strongly believe that this decision is the most important step of the entire process when it comes to longevity within niche sites.

I am extremely excited about this project and hope that I can share my success with you along the way, Thank You for taking the time to read this post and I will be in touch soon!

Check out my next post in the Niche Website Challenge where I will be looking at the methods I use when Choosing a Niche


  • Nathan says:

    Looking forward to following along! You’re a good writer, which can only help in your pursuit of great content.

    May 22, 2013 at 12:21 am
    • Paul Hill says:

      Hi Nathan and many thanks for your comment, Great to have you on board!

      May 22, 2013 at 7:15 am
  • Phillip says:

    Hi Paul readers posters and like-minded marketers one n all – I’m in the same or very similar promotional mind-set mode as you :idea: – it seems online marketing SEO tactics are many and come and go like the UK weather –

    I’ve been learning how to implement website promotion for more years than I would like to admit – But as I get to grips with on format that gets some results – another format appears – so I usually take that on-board to –

    My online work-load mantra – has to be 75% promotional auto pilot 8) – and lately there has been some very good auto promo tools come my way – so yet again I’m inside one big learning curve studying how to operate these tools to get the best results without being banned –

    One thing I keep thinking about when – going down this road I’ve chosen IS? – social networking with-in the right niche (without the use of automation tools)- has to be the best way to get the best 1st page rankings in the major search engines… especially Google – But its so time takingly slow (and Boring) :( especially if you have more than one niche and website to cover – like I have and many others with the same mind-set as myself!

    Anyway enough said – let’s see how you get on with your new journey

    All my best :wink:

    May 22, 2013 at 11:16 am
    • Paul Hill says:

      Hi Phillip and Thank you for taking the time to comment!

      First and foremost, the less said about UK weather the better, the only consolation is that all this rain makes me spend more time on my laptop!

      I think your spot on about constantly changing SEO tactics and that is why will try and avoid many of them in this challenge. One thing which has been a consistent positive factor throughout various search engine algorithm changes is unique quality content. Sure, delivery methods have evolved and there is more emphasis on content marketing (latest buzz word around the internet :) but essentially it all starts with the good keyword research and valuable content.

      I will be outlining my marketing strategy in the near future but I can safely say that it is not going to be agressive and will remain driven by quality content.

      Thanks again for the comment…

      May 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm
  • Sudarshan says:

    I am new here (but not new to IM), took time to read all your posts and I must say that you spend good amount of time providing some kick ass content to the readers. I have subscribed to your Niche challenge (reached your blog from

    I agree with your completely on building niche sites that provides value to the users, I am sure that there is still a large market for such websites and once we start providing some value to the users no algorithm will stop us from getting traffic(in turn making money). I am a full time IM from India doing reasonably well(I don’t offer those cheap SEO services :D ) I am planning on creating a case-study too to show people that we can make good money from third world country like India and IM can be made as a full time career :)

    May 23, 2013 at 11:45 am
    • Paul Hill says:

      Hi Sudarshan,

      Thanks for the comments and for taking the time to have a look around the site. Interesting to hear that full time IMs are opting for reader value and quality content. Best of luck with your case study and drop me a link to it when you do…


      May 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm
  • Benji Walklet says:

    Awesome intro post, Paul! I look forward to following along.

    Are you going to join along with NSD 2.0 via Pat Flynn? It would be awesome to be in his mastermind group huh?

    Good luck!

    May 23, 2013 at 4:37 pm
    • Paul Hill says:

      Thanks Benji,

      It would be very cool to be in the NSD2.0 mastermind group and I will be following it every step of the way – I still want to carry on with this challenge on my own just to see how I get on but would jump at the chance to work in Pat’s mastermind group. Pat Flynn has an excellent blog over at SPI and it has helped me a great deal over the years.

      Best of luck with your own challenge and I hope it goes well for you!

      May 23, 2013 at 9:44 pm
  • Robbie says:

    Hi Paul,

    Just a quick question regarding your old and new link building strategies. Did you use automated tools to set up that tiered linking structure? And if so then what makes you think that those tactics don’t work anymore. I hear of many people still adopting this approach and doing just fine. I have also followed Spencers case study andd he used to build the majority of links for him. I took a look at their website and it seems that they adopt a tired linking strategy themselves.

    I am interested to know what your approach will be to link building in this experiment.

    June 11, 2013 at 9:40 am
    • Paul Hill says:

      Hi Robbie,

      It is not that I do not think they work anymore because they clearly do – as you have said, many people are “doing just fine”. My problem with this approach is that I find myself leaning towards quantity rather than quality when it comes to links. Spencer will have used that service as a time saving measure – he could have easily created all of those link sources himself and probably to a much higher standard. I was put off by the fact they are still showing Squidoo as a dofollow link source, not a major mistake but enough to make me think they are either promoting false information or behind the curve…

      As far as link building for this project goes, I am going to do very little…Social Media, a few select Web 2.0 properties and video marketing (all created by me and full of value). I am hoping to prove that quality content beats link building hands down!

      Thanks for the comment – I have now chosen my subject matter and will be releasing a post shortly to announce it…

      June 11, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *