|7 Steps to an AdSense Supported Niche Site
The concept of a niche site is relatively simple. Find a niche that isn't jam-packed with content, build a site that targets that niche, place AdSense ads on that site, market it a bit, and then let it run on autopilot.
You might be wondering, "Do niche sites make any money?" Generally, they don't make much. If you do your research, optimize your site, and are diligent to market it, you can typically expect to earn $2-3 a day. For a site that only takes two weeks to set up and market, that's pretty good. The strength of this approach comes when you continue to add niche sites. For example, if you added a site every two weeks for the next 50 weeks, you would have 26 niche sites making $75 a month on average by the end of the year. That's $23,400 per year. Best of all, each one is generating passive income while requiring little to no maintenance. Interested? All you have to do is find the right niche and fill it.
Note: Most of the articles on this site are here as guides for the beginner. They provide concise information on many of the topics that beginners have questions about but don't offer much about how I do what I do. For this particular article I decided to provide you with a peek into my process. There will be one exception, as I don't want folks creating competition for me. As such, I'm going to refer to my site as ChocolateChipCookiesCrazy.com with the keyword phrase "chocolate chip cookies".
Step 1: Identifying a Keyword Phrase
Niche sites are sites that target one keyword phrase - at least this single keyword phrase should be the primary focus of the niche site. My first goal was to find a keyword phrase that would work. I knew that I wanted my site to be about "chocolate chip cookies" so I headed to my favorite keyword tool - the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.
Visit Google Adwords Keyword Tool
This tool will help you identify how many times a keyword phrase is searched for each month and what the competition is like for that particular phrase. I found that the keyword phrase "chocolate chip cookies" was a phrase with low competition and 1,000,000 global monthly searches. Perfect!
I wanted to do a little more research with an amazing marketing tool called Market Samari. This tool will provide you with keyword analysis research in minutes where other methods may take you hours.
Download Market Samurai | Trial Version
I had never used Market Samurai before so I watched this video to help me to understand how to make the most of this tool.
Watch Selecting a Niche Market on YouTube.com
By the time I completed my keyword research, the keyword phrase "chocolate chip cookies" was looking pretty good. I decided to purchase the domain and hosting for ChocolateChipCookiesCrazy.com. You might be wondering, "Is it okay to add a word before or after your keyword phrase?" The answer is, "Yep!" Just don't break it up.
When you are ready to purchase your domain name and hosting, I recommend GoDaddy. When you call them, tell them which domain name you would like and then ask them to spell it back to you. Next, ask them for economy hosting with a Linux operating system. They'll think you are super smart!
Step 2: Developing an Outline
The next thing that you need to do is create your content. I began by typing my keyword phrase into Google search box to see what suggestions it might offer. I began typing "chocolate chip cookies a", "chocolate chip cookies b", "chocolate chip cookies c". Each letter provided me with more ideas about what people might be looking for. The idea is to find topics that people will find useful - and include your keyword phrase.
Step 3: Generating Content
Armed with ideas for articles, I began to create content. The great thing about niche sites is that they don't need to be really big to be really effective. A five to ten page site will work just fine. My niche site includes eleven pages of content about "chocolate chip cookies", three pages of information about the site, and a XML-sitemap.
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Cookies without Brown Sugar
- Chocolate Chip Cookies with Applesauce
- Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut
- Site Map
Each article should be about 400-700 words in length and should contain the keyword phrase "chocolate chip cookies" several times within each article.
Step 4: Building My Niche Site
With the keyword phrase selected and content written, I was ready to build the site. It's quite common to build a niche site with a Wordpress blog, though I elected to build a website as I understand how they work which allows me to enjoy the freedom to design the website with very few restrictions.
If you would like to keep things as close to free as possible, you can download a free website template, or ask GoDaddy.com to install a free Wordpress blog when you set up your hosting. Here are a few suggestions:
- Your theme should offer navigation in text, rather than buttons
- Your theme should allow you the ability to place AdSense ads after the title but before the content, after the content, and to the right of the content.
- Your theme should offer left column navigation. Placement of a link unit above the navigation is ideal.
Step 5: Building and Optimizing Pages
With my website designed and launched, I was ready to add my content. If you have never created a website before you will need to download an FTP client. Two terrific free FTP clients are:
FileZilla (PC and MAC)
You will load the files containing the code for your website with this software. To edit your files I recommend:
Title Tags, Meta Descriptions and Meta Keywords
Title tags, meta descriptions and meta keywords, are elements you will have to consider when you are creating your pages. The title tags and meta descriptions are stuff search engine visitors will see in the search results. Meta keywords are keyword phrases which are used by search engines to help them identify what your content is all about.
- Title Tag - The title tag of each page can be 70 characters, should vary from page to page, and should contain your keyword phrase. If you have room to repeat your keyword phrase, and do it in a sensible way, all the better.
- Meta Description - The meta description can be 165 characters, should be an amplified version of the title, and should define what a visitor will find on your site.
- Meta Keywords - The meta keywords should be the keywords used in the content and other similar variations. Limit your keyword phrases to 10 phrases. If you add more, your site could be penalized for keyword stuffing.
After your site is completely built you will want to add an XML-sitemap. Here's a link to a XML-sitemap generator that will work great.
After the site generates the code, open a new text file and name it sitemap.xml and save it. Next, place your cursor at the top left corner, paste the code into the file window and save it. Add it to your site with your FTP client and link to it.
Lastly, you may want to include a few photos on your niche site. Photos make your site more appealing for the visitor and they increase your chances of being found as you will be providing Google with photos for their image search.
You can find free images in many places. One of my favorites is Wikipedia.org. Find a photo that you like and click on it. If it's in the public domian use it. You're the public. If you can't find what you want there, try iStockPhoto.com. They offer an impressive collection of stock photos at a reasonable price.
Step 6: AdSense Ad/Link Formats and Placement
AdSense ad optimization is next on the menu. Because every website is different, the following tips should be viewed as a guide, and not as an absolute in optimizing the effectiveness of each AdSense unit.
The following article will discuss the how's and why's of AdSense Ad optimization:
Cracking the AdSense Code | Insider Tips
If you want to cut to the chase, do what I do on this very page:
- Place a "Medium Rectangle" at the top, after the title and before the text
- Place a "Medium Rectangle" at the bottom, after the text
- Place a "Wide Skyscraper" to the right of the text
- If your navigation is on the left, place a small "120x90px Link Unit above the navigation links
- Pick hex colors for the link and text that will make the link a blue that will work with your design, and make the small text and advertiser URL a medium gray
Step 7: Marketing
My site was up and I couldn't wait to show my wife. Once I did, two people knew about it. That was it! If I expected to make a profit, I was going to have to share it with someone else. My goal is to get my site on page one of the Google search results for "chocolate chip cookies". Anything less wouldn't make my efforts worthwhile.
||Cornell University Study
In a study conducted at Cornell University, Laura A. Granka found that 79.63% of all visitor traffic click on the top three search engine results. The next seven results share 19.27% of the visitor traffic for that keyword phrase. The rest of the competition share 1.1%. That's all that is left over.
My plan included the following:
- Link from my websites/blogs
- Link from article directories
- Comment on blogs
- Launch images to Flickr.com and link back to my site
- Pin interesting pictures to my Pinterest.com account, and then edit pin, exchanging link with a link to one of my pages
If you are interested in marketing your niche site with article directories, here is a list of many of the most popular directories, along with their page rank (PR). PR is an indication of the strength of the site. The higher the number, the stronger the site. Whenever you add an article to an article directory, they are essentially sharing their page rank with you to boost your page rank. This list also provides you with directories that offer "dofollow" links. "Do follow" links in your author box are effective in strengthening your site for your chosen keyword phrase/phrases. (The alternate attribute is "nofollow", which will provide only backlink and page rank value. EzineArticles.com is a "nofollow" directory.) I've included this article directory because of their high PR.
Interested in checking the PR of other directories or keeping tabs on the progress you're making with you own niche site?
The power of the article directory is in the author box. Many people miss the mark when creating the text for this box. Their hope is that visitors will click the link to visit their site. The truth is that most of the articles created for article directories are never seen by human eyes. They are lost in the abyss as soon as they are posted. So, if you are interested in tapping the power of these directories, add your article to a "dofollow" directory and include a link with your keyword phrase in the anchor text in your author box.
The first benefit of this method is in the backlink itself. The second benefit is in the credit that your website receives for the use of a keyword phrase. There are links and there are quality links. The example that I have provided is a quality link. It has keyword phrase benefit for your website.
Further optimization efforts can be gained by publishing only one article per directory. The reason being, Google counts links from unique domains. That means if you write twenty articles for EzineArticles.com, it will still only count as one link - one vote for your site. If you do write other articles for EzineArticles.com, make sure to change your anchor text to a new keyword phrase and maybe consider deep linking to other pages.
If you chose to use blog commenting as your primary source of building backlinks, you should:
- Comment only on blogs that allow you to add your website URL
- Make supportive, useful, and interesting comments
- Include your website in the name box (Ex. Andy@ChocolateChipCookiesCrazy.com) Most blogs offer "no follow" links so you most likely won't be building strength for your keyword phrase but people will see your site all the same, and commenting is so fast and so easy!
My Progress So Far...
I've launched two niche sites and I have spent some time marketing them using methods described above. Both sites cost me $21 to set up. Below are the results of my efforts:
Site #1 (MAE)
- January 9, 2012 - Launched
- January 10 - Indexed on Google/Page 7
- January 22 - Google/Page 2 - 103 blogs comments and 1 directory article, and links from my websites and blogs.
- January 28 - Here's a little bit of transparency for you. I over marketed a bit with my blog commenting, and I think I'm in the "Google sandbox". From what I read, I should come back stronger very soon. Lesson learned: Be patient.
- February 9 - Back in the game, and ranking #9 on page one of Google search results. Also established a PR3 ranking after only 31 days.
- March 11 - Ranked #5 on page one, and traffic almost doubled.
- March 30 - Ranked #4 on page one for my primary keyword phrase and #16 for another keyword phrase
Adsense Revenue: I'm seeing $56 a month after only 3 months. Woo Hoo!
Site #2 (WIS)
- January 31, 2012 - Launched
- February 2 - Indexed on Google/Page 3
- February 7 - Ranking #5 on page one of Google search results
- February 9 - PR2 after only 10 days
- April 4 - Ranking #3 on page one of Google search results
Adsense Revenue: I'm seeing $6 a month after about 2.5 months. My traffic building campaign paid off, and traffic is about the same as the other site, though ads are paying far less.
I'll continue updating this article as my ranking improves and my sites begin to show real profits.
*Switched four of my small sites to a Deluxe hosting account in March to maximize profits. After the first $10, everything else is profit.
I wish you the best as you build and market your own niche site.
by Andrew Fling
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