My 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 The system worked for a brief period but has now since proved to be somewhat outdated.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