Basically the exercise I had in mind was nothing fancy, find some keywords, evaluate the competition, find some matching offers and build a site to promote the offer.
A number of people joined me on this and some went through the process with a few emails and PDFs from myself giving guidance. We have our own Skype Group to share ideas and a little forum to answer questions – this is something I would like to build up over time but the priority for now is to get my own sites sorted out.
The problem with the Christmas Challenge was that because of the learning curve involved, the fact that I work full time with a young family and Christmas was coming up, I don’t think we gave ourselves long enough to get the whole thing put together. Its one thing getting the site up and running, I can do that in a few hours, anyone that runs sites will know that adding content is time consuming, going through the SERPs can take months.
Sure there are way of driving traffic to a new site but for it to get indexed and progress naturaly does in reality take a few months.
With modern CPanels you can setup a wordpress site in a few minutes, optimize it in a couple of hours then you have all the exciting things like the content that needs to be produced. All this before you even start thinking about Off Page SEO, Backlinking, Social Media, Directory submissions, Press Releases, Video….. the list is endless.
What Have I Learned?
The biggest thing I have learned is that its an awful lot of work and perhaps I should have tackled each site one at a time rather than trying to do so many in such a short period.
Unfortunately thats me all over, I want everything done now working and up and running – not the most patient guy in the world.
This is a game where there are so many pieces to the puzzle that getting one job done is probably wise before moving onto the next one.
What I will say is that it is simple once you are clear on where you should prioritize your efforts – by its still Not Easy.
Whats Does This Experience Tell Me?
The biggest thing thats been re inforced for me is that any project you undertake is no different to any other project, be it in the work place or building a house.
You must plan ahead and have control points for each task and you must keep track of your progress. I find that simply recording what I have achieved each day gives me a lot to reflect on so I can remond myself where I have come.
Now I have an UBER huge spreadsheet that I use to record everything I have done, including the written down plans. Its a pain in the butt, at least I can keep track of where I’m at and measure progress.
The reason for Internet Marketing tooling is that it is there to save you time and effort, this is why we have the IM Niche.
The trouble with the IM Niche for me (Ive said this before) is that it is flooded with too many of the same people selling the same stuff not to mention there are too many products with bold claims that are in some cases clones of things already out there, or do not work like they used to.
Basically all I am trying to do is build sites, build the offers and make the whole thing look professional. After all, any niche site you build is a shop window that you want your customers to have a good look around and perhaps purchase something.
Ingredients Of A Niche Site
For me, key ingredients of an offer are a combination of the process of keyword research, content creation, site buillding and SEO optimization. They are basically a mixture of tasks carried out by me supported at some stages with software and services.
Anything I have linked to (unless stated) are products I have purchased and can recommend.
The Key Steps for me to make this thing work are the following:
Keyword Research – Use the Google Adwords Keywords tool, Traffic Travis and Micro Niche Finder. Another great product option could be Market Samurai. Follow this link for a thorough Market Samurai Review from Alex Whalley, this guy really knows his stuff.
Content Creation – There are plenty of people in the Warrior Forum that will write decent original articles for $3-$5 a shot, otherwise test a few people out on Fiverr.com and when you find someone that does the business, hang on to them.
Video Creation – Videos can be created for as little as $5 each from Fiverr.com and can be distributed by Tube Mogul (once you sign up to all the accounts) for free. You will have to demonstrate to Tube Mogul your video content before they will unlock many of your accounts. Another good source is You Tube, there is software which you can help you rank your videos which in turn if linked to your site correctly will generate decent traffic. Tube Toolbox is a market leader in this regard, its an automated You Tube Friend adder that wont get you banned if used correctly – though I must confess I havent started using it yet.
Video Hosting Software Not used this much yet but its all set up ready to go. Easy Video Player is the one for this. You host your videos on Amazon and add in any links or Social Media buttons you want into the video – a true revelation!
Graphics – I have found a person that does header graphics for $5 each or in return for me doing some work in return.
Backlinking – I wont go into this too much, but once a site has been around for over a month you need to find a way of building backlinks to your sites. Hint, hint – there are some good offers on the Warrior Forum.
Indexing Your Backlinks – Its one thing having loads of backlinks, another getting the Google bots to crawl them. This is where Backlink Energizer comes in. Its basically a wordpress plugin that creates a control panel for your Backlinks and sends them to a hub of Web 20 sites that attract the bots and get your links crawled. Quite frankly Ive never seen anything like this and its highly recommended – I have 10 site clusters at the moment that are working similar to Link Wheels and I think its a must have.
Press Releases – There is a service that does Press Releases Subashseo that will send a Press Release to 28 sites for $7
WordPress Theme – I am ok at WordPress but have never been to much good with coding, I have finally found a theme I am now content with called Flexsqueeze. Here is an example of a site I have recently built with this theme though not complete yet – buykaspersuits. The guy that runs it offers a great level of support through his forum and the things you can do with this theme are quite amazing. The Flex theme itself is free but Flexsqueeze takes the thing to a whole new level.
Masking Links - I dont think this is such an issue outside IM Land, where everyone knows what an affiliate link is and how to by pass it but I thought it would be good practice to have some sort of control over your affiliate links. One feature i like is that you can send traffic straight to the sales process with some payment processors rather than to what might be yet another dreary sales page. Of course it depends on the offer and your site – if you are pre selling the sales page may be appropriate, if on the other had your article has done enough to ‘sell’ then why not send to the sales processing page. Samurai Stealth Cloaker or Ninja Link Cloaker are the two that stood out for me.
Directory Submissions – There are several directories which I havent really tackled yet but the one that should be done is DMOZ.
Social Media – I believe that every Niche site should have an associated Twitter, Facebook and Digg Account Linked to it in addition to a Facebook fan page. This is itself is a lot of work and expense which I will do later but their management has to be either outsourced or assisted with software. Watch this space, I’ll cover this later.
Site Management – I like the fact that you can post to and manage several sites through a single interface, this makes ramping up numbers without breaking your back too much work. I found Auto Blog Samurai great for this although I wasn’t so keen on the customary upsells, downsells, sidesells etc. I also wasn’t too keen on the fact that they advocate publishing other peoples content onto auto blog – after all theres a thing called the Google Sandbox that will de list these sort of low quality sites with duplicate content. What I saw was the posssiblity of if you can get original articles produced of drip feeding them into multiple sites.
Finding Offers – There are many places out there which you can apply to become an affiliate. Obviously we in the IM Niche are familiar with Clickbank, Paydotcom, etc but what about the likes of Amazon, Plimus, Linkshare, Commission junction who can link you into thousands of vendors? I found that with Amazon you can build a tailored shop which you can then link back to your own site which is cool. Here is a good example Kasper Store so you can see what I mean.
Not only that, although Amazon pays a low percentage if you can drive traffic to them they have a high conversion rate and you will get paid for anything they purchase on a site even if is a totally different product to the link that sent them there in the first place. So If I send someone there from my Toy Story site and they buy a lawn mower, I get a percentage of the sale for the lawn mower, how cool is that?
Not everything I have described above are mandatory, they are just my own take on what has to be done to achieve the pillars of a Niche Site – The Site, The Content, The Offer and The SEO.
When you add up total costs they can be quite eye watering so if funds are an issue I would start off with the minimum basic site and build you inventory up step by step. Perhaps build a site, flip it and use those funds to buy sofware etc. The market is flooded with offers but the crucial thing is to spend on things that will help you, not because another marketer has told you ‘there are only 10 copies left’.
Another point to note is that you dont see results straight off, they do take time hence the importance of keeping track and recording what you have done, so you can go back in a number of weeks and check results.
Backlinks are a must as is the need to have a variety of them, so links from Blogs, Forums, Video Sites, Social Media Sites and Press Release Sites are what I think are the 5 components that should form the bulk of your backlinking strategy.
The whole thing is a relatively simple process but the tools and services needed can really make the whole thing quite expensive and time consuming. You either pay someone to do some of the work for you or you purchase software and services to help you along.
When I get time I will evaluate each product I purchase and use on the IM Product Review site but for now Ive got tonnes to do.
If anyone has any questions or would like more information on any of these products by all means PM me through the blog, on skype (daviesp856) or email peter at interactive-blogger.com and I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.