A couple of years ago, before I really took niche marketing seriously, I joined an online challenge with about ten other digital entrepreneurs that involved a niche site challenge.
The challenge was rather simple…research some potential niches and find one that you wanted to focus on. Then, run the gauntlet of building up a niche specific site (blog, store, whatever…) and have the site ranked as high as possible in Google within three months.
I didn’t do as well as I had expected given the situation I was in at the time – I was looking for a distraction to get my head out of the despair of divorce. However, I learned a LOT about internet marketing as I tried to throw everything I could into the project.
Introducing Niche Site Odyssey
Since the end of 2014, I’ve built about 20 extremely specific niche sites that are now part of my overall business portfolio. The goal is to always go with evergreen topics as they are the ones that perform very well and remain self-sustaining as time goes on.
I spend about two hours a week maintaining all of the sites – not only are they evergreen, but they are all automated so any intervention from me is practically optional and typically consists of my efforts going toward advertising and exposure for new traffic.
The Niche Site Odyssey is a challenge that is something similar to what I participated back in 2014, and although I invite any and all that may be interested to doing this challenge with me, it’s more of an accountability tactic. The more I expose, the more I serve, the more value you receive from me.
What is the Niche Site Odyssey?
I’ve run successful blogs in the past, but niche sites are a completely different beast altogether. Unlike a blog, niche sites are driven to rank very high in the search engines and to generate passive income.
The main components of building niche sites include keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO), which has always been a bit of a struggle for me, but sit as the core of a niche site strategy.
Although building niche sites is no longer new to me, I thought it would be awesome to document the entire process from start to finish – so that’s what I’m doing. From keyword research and selecting a niche all the way to building the website and monetizing it, I will document each and every step along the way, including all of the mistakes I make so that you can learn from them and avoid them if you decide to go this route.
How does the Niche Site Odyssey Work?
Starting today, I’ll begin searching for a potential niche to serve. I already have a general niche in mind (modern style), but sub-niches are sometimes a better way to go. I’ll be using specific research criteria to make my selection, which is based on a number of things including Google search volume, SEO competition, the Grandma test, earning potential, content potential, and buyer intent potential.
After finding this niche, I’ll then create a website to serve that space and begin publishing content on it. I’ll be using selective techniques to increase it’s ‘find-ability’ – its search engine rankings as well as awareness in the niche itself. Then, we’ll see what we can do to earn an income, since it will be an eCommerce based property.
I will document the entire process right from the start, publishing detailed updates whenever I reach any key milestones or anything important happens that you need to know – good or bad.
My goal with Niche Site Odyssey (NSO) is to not only create a successful, long-term niche website that serves a particular audience, ranks high in Google and starts to earn an income, but the case study is also here to share as much as information as possible throughout the entire process so that you have something to use as a starting point and a guide for your own online journey.
Whether you decide to follow along and participate in NSO, wait until the case study reaches a point where you’re confident this is something you can (or want) do on your own, or even if you already have an established online business and are just looking for updated tips and strategies in the context of a site that’s actually using those techniques, this is definitely going to be fun and exciting – especially because who knows exactly what’s going to happen!
What to Expect?
Before we get into how you can participate in NSO, I want to first talk about what we can expect from this case study.
I want you to remember that I’m not an expert at this stuff – that’s why I’m doing it. I never claimed to be awesome at SEO or even building websites. I am good at doing and learning as I go, and I happen to be good at sharing what I learn along the way, too. This means that you’re not only going to get an over-the-shoulder look at what I do and what seems to be working, but you’re going to get an over-the-shoulder look at what is not.
I love to lead by example instead of just preach things I don’t even do. It’s called show and tell, not just tell
I will make some mistakes. I could even completely fall flat on my face. This is all part of the process. I don’t try to fail, but when I do, I welcome it because that’s how I learn.
All this to say – expect it all. I don’t plan on hiding anything during this process.
As far as timing is concerned, building a successful website takes time. Patience and time.
This is a marathon, not a sprint. Higher quality and care have higher priority than speed and quantity. That said, I’m not going to waste time either. You’ll get a good idea of the pace once things start moving, although depending on what stage we’re at, the frequency of updates will differ.
For example, I’m starting with the keyword research phase. In my experience coaching people in the past, keyword research can take some people several weeks before they land on a keyword that meets the criteria. This makes sense because it’s the most important phase, so it might take me a couple of weeks to find one that works, or I might get lucky and find one on the first day.
We’ll see, but the updates will come as things happen.
How Can You Participate?
For those of you looking to join the Niche Site Odyssey with me, I’m really excited because, we’re taking things to the next level.
Before anything (and this is important), if you choose to participate, you also need to consciously commit to what you’re about to do. This isn’t something that you can just say you’re going to join and then you’ll magically find a keyword and a website will appear out of nowhere. This stuff takes work. It takes time and most importantly, commitment.
As much as I’ll be here as a guide doing this along side you, this isn’t going to be easy. You’re going to meet roadblocks and encounter several hurdles along the way, but if you’re committed to learning, figuring things out and making this work – then you’re ahead of most people already.
Commit now, or forever hold your peace.
Concerns From my First Challenge
One of the major concerns coming from the first challenge I did, is that because I revealed the niche and the exact URL, that obviously led to a lot of external things that wouldn’t have happened to the site if I didn’t reveal it. Many said that the strategies wouldn’t have worked under normal circumstances because people don’t normally have a platform this big to share the progress of a new website on.
That is a fair comment, but there are a few things to consider.
Hundreds of people who did not have a platform did see results from following the experiment and the same strategies. Many have created new income streams for themselves – some large, some small. Some people even had enough success and momentum to quit their jobs and go full time with their new sites, which is awesome.
I wasn’t sure if I would publicly post the new site’s URL or name until I actually reach the first page of Google – if I hit it at all – as to keep my ranking and SEO efforts as natural as possible. When I did this in the past, the curiosity factor grew, and so did traffic from my blog that I really didn’t want to include in my ranking strategy.
Google did a stellar job at ranking the site, but the majority of the traffic that came into my niche site, had zero actual interest in what I was covering on the new site. This caused my analytics and audience geographic numbers to be off since fellow internet marketers had no real desire to certify themselves as a lifeguard. 😉
The thing is, it’s so helpful to see exactly how I chose the keyword and niche, how I decided to write the content and structure the site and then finally monetize it.
It’s like with Texas Hold’em poker on television – it only blew up and got interesting once all of us could finally see the exact cards each player holds, even before they were played or flipped over. I feel like if I hide the keyword and url from you, it would take away from the realness and excitement of this case study.
I could hide the keyword and URL until some movement has been made in Google – but then again everything that happens before SEO and monetization would be weird. Blurred out keyword research and content creation videos would be tough to make, and not very useful.
Anyway, I hope you’re as excited as I am about this. I’ll be ready soon for some hardcore keyword research in the next few days.
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