Some of you may have seen my previous post about my entry into the internet marketing arena. I had planned to keep track of my progress in that thread but I got sidetracked, so here I am now.
I started my journey at the end of August. For a little over 2 months, I was working 14+ hours per day building websites, learning php/mysql, studying and learning, writing content for my sites, experimenting with content management systems, manual link-building, experimenting with paid advertising, researching and testing different niches, etc...
This past month I've slowed down to about 6-8 hours per day now that I know what efforts produce the best results. I think I've learned enough that I can explain step-by-step how someone with little experience can use a couple hours each day to build a site that will make a couple hundred dollars per month. Once you've accomplished that, the motivation to continue will be there, and expanding will come naturally.
So, I'm going to try to take everyone step-by-step through the process of building a profitable site. I'm going to post EXACTLY what I'm doing the entire way. I will give action points that I think everyone following along should complete. After each post with a call to action, I'll give a couple days for everyone to catch up, then I'll move on to the next step.
I'm going to be very transparent with my keyword research and everything here. I am a little bit afraid that someone may try to copy my exact research and become my competition, but if I can't beat someone trying to copy me, I shouldn't be in this line of business. Even still, I would appreciate it if nobody entered my niche here
Without further ado, here we go...
Step 1: Research
I've heard some people say that this is the hardest and most important part of building any site.
When it comes to research, it is important to keep several things in mind, the first being:
The late Gary Halbert used to tell a story about opening a hamburger stand. At his seminars he would ask the crowd this question:
"If you and I were both going to open a hamburger stand and you could pick any one thing to give you an advantage over me, what would you pick?"
The people from the crowd would shout back:
"A great location"
"The best-tasting hamburger"
"A clean, attractive stand"
After a while of this Gary would pause and say: "Go right ahead and take all those, but I can guarantee my stand will outsell yours, because the one advantage I'm going to pick is... A STARVING CROWD!"
But having a starving crowd isn't enough. Since you are doing this in your free time, you will not be able to compete with the big dogs going after those same starving people. You need to find things that people are searching for that aren't being targeted by the big dogs.
For example: In my research today, I was checking out "credit card" related keywords. There was a lot of traffic, and the people looking to consolidate debt were definitely starving for a solution, but all the keywords involved very common phrases "credit card consolidation" or "free instant credit report". These terms are very common and there are lots of results in the search engines for them.
This is why I love the diet niche so much. There is always some new pill or weight loss secret on the market. When a new term appears out of no-where, it puts everyone on a level playing field. There are no website built around that term, so it is much easier to rank for them. For example, go to www.google.com/insights and type in "diet pills" and look at the rising search terms. The top 3 rising searches with over 10x increase in search results in the past 3 months are about the "****" diet pill. The term "****" is very new and got a huge boost when it was featured on Oprah recently. There are very few aged sites with high pagerank and many backlinks based around this "****" term.
I was unable to find any new breakthrough term in the credit card niche, (except for maybe "prepaid credit card for teens", if someone is looking for an experiment, you might want to check that one out)so I kept searching.
The total amount of time I spent on research today was about 30 minutes. I thought about going with the **** berry, but I already have a profitable site related to that and I thought it would be cheating. After not finding anything that caught my eye in the diet pill niche, I moved to credit. I skipped that niche because of the reasons above and moved to the cancer niche. I plugged "cancer" into http://www.google.com/insights and looked at the top results and started clicking down the list, looking for some term that has been increasing in popularity recently. Nothing stood out, so I went to the keyword suggestion tool over at http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/ and http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/ and typed in "cancer" there. That's when something caught my eye.
Obviously not what I was looking for, but that's how niche research works. You get going and things just keep hacking away and you never know where you'll end up, but ideas eventually start falling into your lap.
That word looked good. There are 500 searches per day on it (this seems a bit high for such a long-tail keyword so I think it may be inaccurate) and it doesn't seem like a keyword that many sites would target. It opens up a lot of monetization possibilities too, from horoscopes to dating/relationship to penis enlargement.
I plugged the keyword into googles keyword tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal) to double-check the number of searches, and it shows up as only 200 searches per month. This made me think it was a fluke in the seobook keyword tool. I then did a search for "how to attract gemini" in wordtrackers free keyword tool (http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com) and it showed up as about 60 searches per day. I think googles tool is a bit inaccurate when it comes to long-tail keyphrases for some reason. I also think SEObooks tool over-estimates the traffic. There is a lot of estimation going on here, but it's apparent this search term does get at least SOME traffic, and you can obviously target other horoscopes like gemini, cancer, taurus, etc, to expand your reach.
I'm actually still doing research as I type this. I just plugged in "how to attract" into seobook and wordtracker. http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/...suggest=Hit+Me
That's a VERY good number of searches.
In general, I've heard that anything with 100 searches per day and less than 20k results in google when you search for the phrase in quotes is an easy niche to place on the front page for.
Look at the 3rd suggestion on the wordtracker tool for "how to attract". You'll see the phrase "how to attract a virgo female". Type that into google in quotes. There are just 407 results.
This phrase is going to be VERY easy to rank for.
Ok, I'm definitely targeting this niche. Now I have to decide what my domain name is going to be. Domain name matters VERY much in search engine rankings. On one hand, you may want a short general domain that is easy to remember. For example, with the niche I'm targeting, I may want "www.horoscopeattraction.com" and then I can target every different keyword in that niche. But, since each keyword is along the lines of "how to attract a virgo female", and none of that keyphrase is in my domain name, it will be hard to rank for. So, on the other hand, you want your domain name to be very specific to your keyphrase to make it easier to rank.
*Note: This is where I stopped writing a couple weeks ago. I ended up buying the domain howtoattract.org and put a little content on it that I copied and rewrote from other sites, and submitted it to a few social bookmarking sites just to get it indexed. I haven't done anything with it since then and it's getting about 50 visitors per day and has made $1.07 through adsense clicks.
I'm going to go ahead and stop right here and give a few "Action Steps" for anyone following along to complete.
1. Find A Niche
If you have any ideas already, look them up with with googles keyword tool https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal and SEObook's keyword suggestion tool http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/ and narrow it down to a specific keyword that is searched for often. Put the search term in google in quotes and see how many results there are. In general, you should try to find something with 300+ searches per month and under 50k results in google when searched for in quotes.
(I found the Zodiac/Dating niche)
Make sure you can make money off of the niche. One of my first mistakes was finding the "Ben 10" niche and making "watchben10online.info". Yes, I got a lot of traffic and there was little competition, but the people looking for free online tv episodes are not the kind of people to spend money, and it was very hard to monetize that site.
Do a search on www.clickbank.com www.cj.com and use a google search of "niche keyword" "affiliate program" to see if there are any affiliates programs for a product in your niche. You may also consider ebays partner network as you can find almost anything on ebay. To see how much adsense clicks pay, you can use googles adwords tool and select "Show average CPC(cost per click)" in the "Choose columns to display: " selection
(I am using adsense right now, but will soon add dating and relationship books from clickbank and paydotcom)
3. Get A Domain
I strongly suggest you buy a domain (namecheap.com or godaddy.com) and hosting (hostgator.com) rather than use a free service like blogspot. This gives you much more freedom and makes you look much more professional. Even if it's just a $1.99 .info and $7/mo basic package from hostgator, it will give you much more freedom and room to build, and if you really take action, it will be VERY hard to not make way more than your investment back.
Either way you go about it, make sure the majority of your keyword is in your comain. Try every variation of -'s and pluralities and stuff to find one that isn't taken yet.
If you choose to go with a free service like blogspot, wordpress, or squidoo, I hear blogspot ranks best in google. But you should probably register all 3 anyway.
(I am using howtoattract.org, which gives me the subdomains "howtoattract.org/a-gemini-female", etc... which is GREAT for SEO purposes for that term)
That's it for now. If anyone has any questions about a niche or how to set up a blogspot or how to register for a domain/hosting, I'm sure you will get a quick answer by posting in this thread.
I'll give everyone a couple days to complete these steps and then we'll move on to getting good content and promoting to get traffic.