How to build a niche site – Part 3

In the third and last post of this niche site series, we’ll talk about link building and monetization.

Link building

To many, it has almost become a 5-letter word now, but backlinks still matter, a lot, what changed is the way you should get them. After the Penguin update, there are two things you need to pay extreme attention to: anchor text and relevancy. When building links, keep exact match anchor texts to the minimum, let’s say 10-15%, and vary the rest as much as possible. Use synonyms of the main keyword, long phrases, your naked URL, your own name, and maybe even a few “click here.” Also, get links from sites that talk about the same topic, as this is another authenticity signal in Google’s eyes.

How much link building will you need? In general, the more time you spent on keyword research, the more patient you were in digging up keywords with good potential, the less link building you will need to make those terms rank. When you start doing it however, take it easy during the first month, and be a bit more active afterwards, but don’t go too fast anyway. Here are a couple of tips for a basic link building strategy:

Guest posting

Its popularity as link building technique has soared a lot in the last year. Maybe you won’t be able to get attention from the top sites in your niche, but you can still find a good and relevant blog that will accept your article

Commenting on blogs

It’s still a good way to get a backlink, but make sure you use your name as anchor text, and please leave comments that can add something to the discussion

Ezine and Goarticles

These two are especially good at the beginning, to let Google know you exist and to have your site indexed more quickly

Other web directories

Go for the good ones, stay away from bad neighborhoods. A good list can be found here at SEObook.

Slideshare and Docstoc

If you can make a slideshow or a pdf out of your content, these two sites are gaining more popularity as link building resources

Press releases

One or two press releases won’t hurt the link building process, and will help spread the popularity of your site a little

If you don’t see any meaningful result in rankings after one-two months, there is a more advanced method that you can try, which involves buying an expired domain with PR 2 or 3. With a little bit of research you can find one that is not too expensive, and then populate it with content related to your niche. When this satellite site is indexed again, then you can use it to link to your main site directly or, if you want to be more sophisticated, you can reach out to a webmaster in your niche, with a good authority site, and offer a three-way linking: you will link to his site and he will link to yours.

Making money

Let’s finish where it all begun: the money. Once you’re getting traffic, you will need to experiment a little to find out the best way to monetize your site. In general however, you can follow these two principles:

What are you selling?

Programs like Adsense work better for purely informational sites, whereas if you dealing with products that you can physically buy, then Amazon, Ebay, or affiliate programs in general might be a better choice

Differentiate

Adsense is the best online advertising program in its category, but not the only one. Try with different sources of income: you might find better alternatives, and you will get familiar with different programs.

If you like the process of discovering of new keywords and the challenge of learning about a topic you don’t know yet, niche sites can be a nice source of passive income. This is all you need to know to get started.

How to build a niche site – Part 2

In the first post of this niche site series, we explained what a good keyword is, and how to find inspiration for you research.

Now that you have brainstormed any keyword you can possibly imagine, run it through your tool of choice and shortlisted the terms with the right attributes, you’re in for a (not so) surprising discovery: you have competition, meaning that other people have built pages around that keyword before. However, not all competitors are the same: some are less strong than others, and in this post we will teach you how to spot them.

Paste your candidate keyword in Google search and take note of the top ten results. A value that is normally used to evaluate the competitiveness of a keyword is the total number of pages in the SERPS (the lower the number, the better), but that really doesn’t matter: the first page is all you need to care about, because that’s where you want to be eventually.

Now that you have your list of competitors, this is what you need to check, to know how strong they are:

Title tag

Are they using the exact keyword within the title of their page? If they aren’t, that’s a good sign, as it means that, all other things being equal, you have more chances to outrank them by including the full keyword in the title

Page Authority

It’s an SEOmoz metric, which aggregates different values to indicate how likely the page will rank in Google. It can easily be checked with the MOZbar Firefox extension. A sign of weak PA would be a score of 30 or less

Backlinks

Another SEOmoz metric called Juice Page Links will be useful here. It gives the page a score based on the quality and quantity of backlinks. Again, a maximum score of 30 or – better – 20 would be a good indicator that the page can be easily outranked

Page Rank

It’s the dear old Google metric, which assigns value to a given page. It is less popular than before, but you might still want to check if any of the pages has a zero PR, as that’s a good sign too.

 

All the data above can be easily checked with tools like Market Samurai or Long Tail Pro (the latter pulls data specifically from SEOmoz), but with more time available, it can be done manually and for free.

Of course, not all the pages in the top ten will have all those weakness signals at the same time, but if you find at least two of them that are weak enough, that means the keyword is worth exploring.

Content creation

Congratulations, your search is over, now it’s time to get your hands dirty (so to speak) with the creation of the niche site. Indeed, the process of keyword selection up to this point hasn’t changed much over the years. The moment you start creating your website however, is when we need to care about quality more than before.

The code word now is: be useful. It’s very likely that the niche you found is something you know little or nothing about, but that’s no longer an excuse to pollute the internet with mediocre content. The first thing you should do is check your competition: what type of info do they offer? What do you like and what could be done better? After you have an idea of what you should offer in your own site, you need content, and here are a couple of good ways to get it:

Research

Even if you don’t know much about the topic, with little research you might still be able to produce good insightful content. If the internet is not enough, you can still try with your local library

Outsource

Places like Elance.com can offer good writers in your niche. The money you pay for the articles will be a one-time investment and will save you time

 

Aggregate information in a new, useful way. Maybe there is already a ton of information available on the topic, but it’s all scattered across different sources. Why not aggregate it and create a sort of hub for your visitors?

Also, bear in mind that the 5-post blog is gone forever. Once the site starts ranking and getting some traffic, then you can choose to leave it there and move on to the next one, but before doing that, make sure you publish at least 50 articles over time. That will also allow you to take advantage of the long(er) tail variations of the main term you’re targeting. Also, don’t forget to add pictures, a decent template, and an About page that is more than just blabbering.

How to build a niche site – Part 1

Are niche sites dead? After the recent Google updates, does it still make sense to build a site around a single specific keywords like “Halloween costumes for kids” or “post-pregnancy workout?”

In the last two years, niche sites have been heavily targeted by Google, mainly because of their low quality: ugly templates, no more than 5 spun articles of content, and tons of poor quality backlinks were common features. They were called MFAs, or made for Adsense, and many webmasters actually wanted their users to be repelled by their sites, so that they would click back via an ad.

What about now then? Niche sites are not dead and can still be a viable source of passive income, but a few things have changed. In this three-post series we’ll explain how to build a niche site and make it rank in Google in the post-Panda and Penguin world. We suggest you start with one, and then lather, rinse repeat. Here is a breakdown of the single steps:

What’s in a keyword?

A good keyword has high potential, which means (relatively) high volume of traffic with (relatively) low competition. Finding a good keyword is the first and most important step, and I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to do your homework with diligence. I’ve seen many niche site projects fail because of people being too eager to start a website first, and see what happens later.

Finding keyword ideas

Finding the right keyword is a mix of science and art. The first thing to look at is the volume of searches per month, as there is no point in ranking number one for a term that nobody is interested in.

Can it be monetized?

To find that out, the Google Adwords Keyword tool is still the best free resource you can have. If you’re willing to pay to speed up the process however, Market Samurai or Long Tail Pro are two very solid options. The first is a desktop application, the latter is an online tool, and they can pull a comprehensive list of terms from a seed keyword, complete with search volumes.

Whichever tool you decide to use, here are three basic rules to follow:

  • A minimum of 2000 exact global searches per month is what you should aim for, but you can set a higher starting number, 3000 per month for example. In doing that, you will likely make the research a bit longer but you will end up with keywords with higher potential.
  • Always go for “exact” match type, as opposed to “broad.” It’s literally just about ticking one box instead of the other, but it will make the difference between real and useless values
  • Also, keywords should be phrases of at least two or three words, as they are normally much easier to rank for than one-word terms.

The art of finding inspiration for keyword ideas. What terms should you paste in the keyword research tool? This is the point where building niche sites become a sort of art. The first go-to places would be Amazon or Ebay, where stuff is actually sold, and if you search for the best sellers in each category, you can start getting an idea of what a popular keyword is like.

Competition analysis

However, that’s just the beginning. Remember: good profitable keywords can be hidden everywhere, and the best place to hide something is often in front of your own eyes. So look around right now, and make a list of all the objects you see: your next niche site might be right there. Once you get into search mode, you’ll find yourself more aware of the things surrounding you, as they can turn out to be a good topic.

 

Monetization

Can it be monetized? Once you have found suitable candidates, you want to check if the keyword has commercial potential: is it sold online on Amazon, Ebay, or other affiliate programs? Do ads appear in the search results? It’s a quick check that can save you time and disappointment at a later stage, as there is no point in getting to number one in Google for a term, just to find out that there is no meaningful market behind.

4 Secret Weapons To Make Your Internet Business More Productive

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Running an online company is exciting, but it doesn’t come with a manual. Knowing which path to take can be difficult, especially when fighting against so much competition.

Making the most of your resources is the key to turning your business into a success. There are a number of factors that will be dictated by your individual strategy. Nonetheless, every company should take heed of the universal advice.

Understanding your assets is one of the most important lessons to learn. Here are four that could give your company a real edge in the market. Use them effectively to see your profits grow.

E-Fax

Many businesses believe that the fax machine’s days are over. While those decrees may be true with the traditional form of communication, the upgraded e-version has a key role to play in your business.

Not being able to send or receive an email because the attachment is too large can quickly eat into your company’s productivity as you search for a way to fix the problem. However, efax online fax services provide the perfect solution.

The ability to produce digital signatures, and work on the go are also huge bonuses. If you’re looking for a way to cut down on the time being spent on administrative tasks like email, then this could be your best bet.

Freelancers

It doesn’t matter how small your business is; you cannot run every single aspect by yourself. At the same time, hiring full-time staff can be daunting. The best solution is to utilise the online database of willing freelancers.

You can find freelancers to carry out pretty much any task imaginable. Web design, content writing, and online marketing can all be outsourced quickly and cost-effectively. If you aren’t capable of completing certain jobs, then this is often the best and cheapest avenue to take.

A Blog

Your online business needs high numbers of traffic to shine. Introducing a blog to your website is one of the cheapest and easiest ways of engaging an audience and encouraging new sales.

There are several factors to creating a successful business blog. Mastering this area will benefit your company hugely. It’s a great way to promote audience interaction, which could bring a huge boost to your profits.

The fact your blog can also be monetized to become its own source of revenue only enhances your productivity further.

Skype

One of the worst things about a digital company is that it’s harder to build trusting relationships. Face-to-face communication is still the best way to establish these positive vibes. However, there are a ways to achieve it, even if your existence is elusively online.

Social media platforms are a great way to gain a level of trust from your customers. But what about other businesses? This is where Skype can be a vital tool. The use of video calls makes it possible to enjoy face-to-face communication with companies from all over the world. You can even hold conference calls with people from multiple locations.
As a communication tool, it’s one of the most important in modern business. Make the most of it.

Make Money from the Gaming Community with this Awesome Guide

There are millions of gamers in the gaming community, and many of them are extremely enthusiastic about their favorite hobby. And, like any industry, there’s plenty of opportunities to make a profit by catering to their wants and needs. If you know something about gaming, and perhaps are already established in the community, you could turn your knowledge and reputation into a business. There are many ways you could turn a profit from this passionate and fast-moving sector. Perhaps you too love gaming, and you want to make it your life. Becoming a professional gamer isn’t the only way to do it. If you’re interested in setting up a company that caters to games fans, keep reading to get some inspiration on how you can do it.

Run a Blog

Running a blog is a popular way of making money over the internet, for people from a broad range of interests and industry. From mommy bloggers to foodie writers, people find lots of different ways to make money from their writing. One of the things you can do on a blog is host advertising, whether it’s through Google Adwords or hiring out your own advertising space. You can also advertise for other companies by writing reviews for their products and allowing their representatives to place sponsored posts on your site. Joining an affiliate program is another great way of bringing money in. Every purchase of a product through your links will get you a commission. You can also put donation links on your site, but you need to tell people what you want the money for, and show them the evidence when it’s done. Many fans are happy to support a blogger that they love.

 

R Pollard

Make Videos

Some lucky gamers have gained great success and Youtube fame by producing videos. Everyone finds their own thing to do, with an angle that will start bringing in followers. Once your videos start getting a certain number of views on Youtube, you can add adverts to the beginning of them and start making money. But you can also use video clips to send people toward your other money-making ventures. For example, you can mention in videos that you have a blog or an eBook for sale. For some people, producing videos can get them a lot of attention and lead to other opportunities. You might upload clips of you or others playing games, you could review products, or you could give advice.

Run Tournaments

If you have the business skills, you could run events and tournaments to start bringing in money. Of course, you’ll need some capital to start with. You need to hire a venue, and you have to have prizes too. A lot of work will need to go into this kind of event, and you won’t necessarily get it right the first time. You’ll have to be very careful to work out how to make a profit, so you don’t end up with huge losses. There are different ways you can profit from running tournaments, from charging an entry fee to selling food. You could offer products for sale, including commemorative t-shirts for the event.

Make sure that you have a firm understanding of the game that your guests will be playing. You should also ensure you have a reliable setup – the last thing you want is no one being able to play. They might be bringing their own custom laptops from chillblast.com, but you need to make sure you have everything they need to support their gameplay. If you want to give your tournament extra credibility, contact the game developer. You might be able to turn it into an official, approved event, and the developer may even offer to provide prizes.

Sell Guides

Another thing you can do is sell guides and how-to products to help gamers get better at what they do. You might write this sort of thing on a blog too, but you can take it to the next level and make webinars or eBooks that teach people how to be successful. You could do anything from an ultimate guide to a particular game to how to make money gaming.

This type of product is particularly suitable to use if you already have a blog or website with a mailing list. When people have signed up to your newsletter, you can send them information about the course that they can buy. Or you can collect people’s emails when they buy your product, so you can offer them other things later on. People love guides that teach them how to do things, which is why “how to” posts are so popular on blogs. It’s easy to turn this sort of stuff into a series too if the first one you offer is popular.

Sell Complementary Products

You can also set up a store on your website and sell products that people in the gaming industry would be interested in. For example, you could sell games themselves or merchandise relating to them. You might offer equipment, such as controllers, headphones or even mouse mats. However, you don’t have to stick very close to the games industry. There are other complementary things you could offer alongside games products. For example, you might find that your blog’s readers have a fondness for junk food. You can set up a site selling food and place ads on your blog or in your emails to steer them in the right direction.

Create a Games Website

Another way of making money from games is setting up a site where you get paid when people visit and play the games that you host. There are many small online games that you can become an affiliate for. When people visit your site and play these games or click the ads featured in them, you can make a profit. Of course, if you have the skills, you could also create your own applications for people to play. You could sell downloads or place adverts around them.