NICHE EMPIRE PROJECT
Inside what it takes to build a profitable online property.
NICHE EMPIRE PROJECT
Inside what it takes to create an online property: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
About this project
I’ve worked for many years now in the IT industry, working online with a rare mix of development (coding) experience combined with digital marketing having run my own agency for many years.
However, I’ve always worked on behalf of a business, even if my own, with a website already in place that wants more traffic and more leads from their online assets.
It’s hard to be totally transparent about these projects because we’re working on behalf of a client who understandably expects a certain amount of confidentiality and often we can’t always do everything we know needs doing either because there is a shortage of budget or no commitment by our client.
Therefore, I wanted to start a project which can fully demonstrate what we can do in a totally transparent way sharing wins and losses along the way, showing our audience and customers just how we achieve the results that we do.
Enter ‘Niche Empire Project’.
Niche Empire Project will primarily be about driving traffic. Once you have traffic to a website there are a million and one way you could monetize it.
I’ve decided to do this through affiliate marketing initially using the Amazon Associates program and through running Ads once I have enough traffic to make it worth it. Further down the road, we’ll also look at other monetization strategies such as creating our own products too.
…and so it begins.
- Pull ‘free’ sustainable organic traffic to the website through the creation of SEO optimized content.
- Increase this traffic month on month and reach traffic goals over time
- Monetize the traffic (initially through affiliate marketing and advertising and evolving the strategy over time)
We’re starting from nothing. I have a brand new domain that has never been registered before. This is the lowest possible starting point. With this project, I want to show that with the correct amount of focused effort you can still achieve great results in a relatively short period of time.
As a consequence, I do not expect Google to trust the website for at least 6-9 months. This is known in the industry as the Google sandbox. Google neither admits or denies that such a concept exists but from experience, I can tell you that traffic/rankings to a brand new site on a brand new domain are throttled until your site has aged and become trusted after a few months. Once you are released from the sandbox and the brakes are off you should see a nice increase in traffic.
However, it’s my personal opinion that sites still experience some kind of throttling for up to two years. Organic traffic is not something you can turn on overnight but it’s very sustainable once you have it.
I’ll use only ‘free’ methods to get traffic to the site. Here’s a basic plan:
- Build a good looking website on WordPress using a premium theme. Even though I have a development background, I have no real experience with WordPress but the number of plugins for affiliate marketing makes it an obvious choice. I’ll work it out! 🙂
- Create lots of original quality content on keywords in my niche
- Initially target keywords that are easier to rank for to get traction more quickly
- Monetize the traffic to the website by primarily using Amazon Associates, display ads and other affiliate programs.
- Employ white hat link building strategies to improve the sites authority and further increase rankings.
- Use social media, in particular, Pinterest to drive more traffic to the site.
- Build an email list over time to further monetize the audience possibly with my own niche products
The Niche Idea
I’ve carried out some SEO research to identify a good niche to target where there will be enough traffic to go after but where the competition is not too challenging. There are a number of ways of trying to come up with niches but in this instance, I took a look through some of the categories on Amazon and plugged them in to my keyword research tool. (see below)
However, I won’t be revealing my website and niche. Having carried out some research in this space, it seems that it’s standard for people to keep their affiliate niches under wraps for fear of ‘coptcat’ sites or negative SEO attacks.
Following other peoples wisdom, I’ve decided to do the same.
Resources I’m using to build the site
- LongTail Pro – For Keywords Research (PAID)
- SEMRush – For Keyword Research, Competitor Analysis, Keyword Rank Tracking, Site Audits and Backlink Auditing. (PAID)
- AAWP – Amazon Affiliate WordPress Plugin (PAID)
- Divi – WordPress theme and page builder (PAID)
- Bluehost – For hosting
- Names Cheap – Domain Name Registration (Chosen for free privacy protection)
- SEO Rambler for Competitor Analysis (FREE)
- Answer the Public (FREE)
- Mailchimp (FREE until I have subscribers)
- Convert kit (Once we have subscribers and can leverage these more beneficial features)
To get to the point of launching the website, this is what I have done.
- Selected a domain and registered it
- Setup a website using the Divi theme (1 day)
- Created simple a logo using Canva
- Not knowing much about WordPress hosting I selected Bluehost to host the website. It’s cheap and recommended by many successful entrepreneurs.
- I spent a significant about of time in Longtail Pro, Answer the public and SEO Rambler identifying low competition, high volume keywords to target in the first instance. (1-2 days)
- Hired writers on UpWork. This took about 3 weeks from the point of advertising, getting a few people to write a paid trial article and then hiring them. There is no need to hire writers, however. This is something that you can do yourself if you have the time and passion for writing.
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I haven’t heard of SEO Rambler before, tried to look at it and use it but kept giving a 500 error, is it still working or you and do you still use it if it does?
Yes, it’s very flaky. It’s always up and down. It’s not working for me at the moment either but I recommend keep trying. It always seems to come back. That’s the problem with a free tool I guess!