Hopefully by now you’ve found a decent niche and you’re ready to create your new niche site. If you’re not that far, check out the first niche site challenge post. When you create your site you have to make a few decisions, so I’ll run through each and tell you which ones I made.
If you did it right, you should have done some domain name research using Market Samurai and found a domain name that’s either an exact match TLD (.com, .net, or .org), or a .com with a high keyword density (i.e. keywordhq.com, mykeyword.com, ekeyword.com). I’ve talked to many consultants & read a fair amount of research indicating that exact match domains have by far the most ranking power out of any metric, so if you can get an exact match TLD, jump on that ASAP. I managed to get an exact match for “BPO Industry” with the domain bpoindustry.net.
There are many options on the web to register your domain name. I used Go Daddy for this domain just because I already had an account there and I wanted to get hosting at Go Daddy too, meaning the hosting set up would be easier. Recently I came across 1and1.com, a domain registrar that offers .com domains at $0.99 for the first year ($10 every year after). Go Daddy is usually around $12/year, but in my opinion it’s worth paying for and having all my domains on my same account. I’d also like to point out if your site gets banned from Google, it might have a negative effect on your other domains you are associated with (i.e. if all your domains are registered at Go Daddy, Google might penalize you for having one that’s banned). I’m not 100% sure this is true, but I’ve read a few posts suspecting this.
As I said above, I did Go Daddy for hosting, and in my opinion it’s one of the cheapest out there. There are tons of coupon codes all over the web for Go Daddy, so find one that suits you and use it when getting a domain name/hosting package. I got a 20% total order coupon, which ended up making my site cost around $6.00 a month for both domain & hosting.
Go Daddy isn’t the only option though. I’ve heard great stuff about both Bluehost and Host Gator. Bluehost is known for setting up WordPress (which we’ll get to below) in just one click and in less than 5 minutes. This is great if you’re ready to get started ASAP.
To make your life easier, just use a free CMS to run your website. This makes it extremely easy to modify your theme, content, and links on your site. The most popular option is WordPress, just because of all of the plugins & customization, but if you’re someone who wants to be able to modify the HTML coding, you can use the Blogger CMS. I’ve also heard great things about Joomla.
For my website I used WordPress, and I highly recommend it. There are a ton of easy to install free themes all over the web, and no other CMS can compete with the WordPress plugins directory. I’m a huge WordPress fan, and if you’ve noticed, my blog runs on it. I could write an entire 2,000+ word post on why I love WordPress, but because I don’t have the time, take my word for it and just use it. For most hosting services you should be able to set up WordPress through them. If not, go to WordPress.org and download the software, then upload it through your FTP.
Because I used WordPress, I’ll show you everything I did to set it up and make it what it is now (you can check out the site at bpoindustry.net to see what it looks like). I went through a long arduous process to find a theme, so I hope this helps.
This was by far my toughest challenge. I went through theme after theme looking for one that I liked, and for the longest time I only came across one that I wanted, which was the Simplefolio theme. The only problem – the download link was from a page that was down, so no matter how much I wanted it, there was no way to get it. After probably 2 days of switching themes, I finally came across the Presswork theme. The theme is great – easy to customize & an HTML5 framework. Ever since I got it I’ve been extremely happy with it (plus it’s free!).
If you’re wondering what the theme is of this blog, it’s the Fast Blog theme from Themeforest.com. It cost me $25, and I haven’t been particularly happy with it. I’m considering switching to the Thesis theme in the future, mostly because it’s the best SEO ready theme on the web.
There are literally thousands to choose from, but I’ll breakdown each of the ones I have on my niche site.
All in One SEO Pack – personally this is my favorite SEO plugin. It’s as simple as it gets for writing Meta tags & titles. There are a few other options to consider if you don’t want this one – I recommend either HeadSpace or Yoast SEO.
Contact Form 7 – Best contact form plugin in my opinion.
Google XML Sitemaps – The best & only legitimate sitemaps plugin. If you were to only have tow plugins, it would be this one & the All in One SEO Pack.
Jetpack by WordPress.com – I only use this for the site visitors feature. I also use Google Analytics, which is what you should be doing, but Google Analytics isn’t real time. Jetpack isn’t the most accurate traffic analysis tool, but it’s easy to set up and doesn’t slow down your site.
Widget Context – This helps create different widget sidebars for different pages. I haven’t used it yet, but what I have it for is to create a different sidebar for my blog page (I only want my blog pages to have archives & popular posts in the sidebar).
Google Analytics Dashboard – displays Google Analytics numbers in the WordPress dashboard.
The last thing I’d like to say is to customize your website as much as possible. Try not to pick the same theme as everyone else (i.e. Simplefolio is a very popular theme), but if you do, make it as different as possible. There have been studies (sorry I can’t reference them, but take my word they’re legitimate!) that show people are more willing to click back to the search results page if they find a site with a layout they’ve seen multiple times, meaning they don’t want to see just another cloned WordPress site.
In my next post I’ll go over content creation and how to organize content on your site. Check out the links below to see the other posts in the series.
Thanks for reading!! PLEASE comment below, I’m dying to hear what you guys have to say about this process. If you have any tips or suggestions, tell me!
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Niche Site Challenge #2 – Creating Your Niche Site