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Niche Site Challenge #2 – Creating Your Niche Site

by Jon Cooper
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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.

 

Domain name

 

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.

 

Hosting

 

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.

 

Content Management Systems

 

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.

 

WordPress Customization

 

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.

 

Themes

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.

 

Plugins

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.

 

Easy Privacy Policy – This plugin helps you put up a quick privacy policy page that complies with Google Adsense. I can’t seem to find it in the WordPress Plugin directory, so you might have to hunt around for it on the web.

 

W3 Total Cache – This will help speed up your website. The only other Cache plugin I would recommend is WP Super Cache.

 

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 #1 – The Saga Begins

Niche Site Challenge #2 – Creating Your Niche Site

Niche Site Challenge #3 – Content Creation & Organization

Niche Site Challenge #4 – Rankings Update

Niche Site Challenge #5 – My Highly Effective Link Building Strategy

This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 119 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper+ is an SEO consultant based out of Gainesville, FL who specializes in link building. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter.

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13 Comments
  1. Jon Turner says:

    Hi Jon,

    I usually get my domains from Namecheap, they are slightly more expensive than GoDaddy (I think) however they provide 1 years ‘who is’ protection, which I like. I didn’t know of 1and1.com, so thanks for that!
    I’ve got only good things to say about Hostgator. My site (only got 1 up at the moment) has never been down and their customer service is helpful, fast & they explain things very clearly. Like you, I’ve heard good things about Bluehost too.
    As I mentioned in my last post, WordPress is by far my favourite CMS, just for the fact you can do so much with it and Google love it. It so funny, because it took me AGES to find a theme I liked for my first site and to be honest, I still haven’t really found one that I can say does everything I want it too! The FlexSqueeze theme looks good but I have noticed that it’s used on a lot of other sites. Thesis is a bit pricey for me right now – it could be an option in the future. There are a few decent review themes around I may try, however I’m a firm believer in getting as much written content ‘above the fold’ on my sites so they need to allow me to do this. It’s probably possible in these themes but I tend to struggle a bit with finding out how to do it!
    The main plugins I use include: Platinum SEO, Google XML Sitemap, SEO Pressor, WP DB back Up plus a few more. I tend to avoid Google Analytics because I’m always paranoid about letting Google find out all about what I do (although it is a fantastic plugin which you really do need) – I will have to find an alternative.

    I always wonder if it’s best to write your main content as posts or pages. I haven’t totally decided yet. What do you think about this Jon?
    Hope I haven’t gone on too much!! Looking forward to your next installment as usual.

    Jon

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Jon,

      Great stuff. I just learned something from one of my readers, which is what I love to do. I have not yet checked out the flexsqueeze theme, but I will when I get the chance.

      Can you tell me why you use Platinum SEO & SEO Pressor? I’m not familiar with those two, and I’d like to hear some feedback from you on those.

      In my next post I will be talking about setting up your content (which is where my niche site challenge starts getting a little more unique than others), and on that post I will go over the posts/pages dilemma. But at the same time, I don’t want to keep you hanging – I use pages for a few reasons. The main one is that I want to have a blog page on my site too, and if I were to make all my content on posts, it would show up on the blog page (which I don’t want). The next post will talk about the other reasons.

      Thanks again Jon for the feedback!! :)

  2. Jon Turner says:

    Sure Jon. Platinum SEO (free) is very similar to All In One SEO, the only difference I know of is that it 301 redirects any permalink changes you may need to make.
    SEO Pressor ($97 for unlimited sites) is a plugin that helps you maximise your on-page SEO and saves you a lot of time. It analyses all the important on-page factors and will give you an SEO score percentage. The closer to 100% the better. It works well for me.
    I tend to agree with the pages/posts thing. I think I will devote each page to 1 product review (aswell as my about us, privacy policy etc) and have a page for just my blog posts. I quite like the way a marketer called Mike Liebnar structures his sites. He places his main content on seperate pages and uses his blog posts to ‘announce’ these pages. A technique that works really well for him. Here is one of his #1 ranking niche sites: http://www.dogallergytreatments.com.
    Onwards and upwards!

    Jon

    P.S Interested to hear your ‘unique’ ideas :)

    • Jon Turner says:

      Sorry Jon – just tested the link I placed in my last comment and it doesn’t seem to work. Any ideas why this isn’t working?

      Jon

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Thanks for the tips on those two plugins! I always see SEO Pressor but never knew what it did.

      About Mike’s content organization – this is a great idea. I might start doing this myself. Obviously, this increases blog posts which means an increase in indexed pages, which is a huge plus. Thanks for advice!

  3. Jenni says:

    Great post Jon, I’m definitely bookmarking your blog. The only thing I would say is that I use Fast Secure Contact Form rather than Contact Form 7. The problem with Contact Form 7 is that it doesn’t clear the text after the user hits send, and so I was getting loads of rubbish from time-wasters filling out the form with random text and hitting ‘Send’ a load of times.

    • Jon Cooper says:

      I’m glad you like my blog :). Thanks for the advice Jenni! I’ll look into that plugin and see if I feel the same way. Currently I haven’t had any problems with Contact Form 7, but if I run into some in the future, I might make the switch.

  4. Ok. So now I am hooked in to this “niche” site building challenge after reading your first two posts. I’m about ready to start doing the same thing, but I first need to reel in someone who wants to write some content. :-)

    On a side note, I dropped All In One SEO Pack from my WordPress plugin faves. Yoast SEO is what I have enjoyed using lately and I am glad you did mention that plugin as an alternative.

    Can’t wait for #3!!!

  5. Devine Power says:

    Hey I think you are heading in right direction for your niche site!
    I hope I can do the same thing.

  6. Chris says:

    How did you install your wordpress theme and plugins on godaddy? Thank you.

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