Well here we are into week 3 of my how to build a niche site series and in the last to parts of this series you should have accepted the challenge, and picked the niche you plan to build your site around. In this weeks article I’m going to show you how to put together your site plan.
A site plan is the blueprint to building your site and it does a couple very important key functions for us. The first thing is it does is it tells us everything we plan to do with the site and second it also serves as a reference if we want to change something later on and we need to know something about the site.
I should also stress this is one huge and important step. One big pitfall a lot of people fall into once they’ve decided to build their niche site is to load up WordPress, and start writing content. The problem with this is that we lack direction and with a little preplanning it can make all the difference to your niche site.
With that said their are 5 major areas you need to plan, your team, the sitemap, the cost involved, add-on’s, and finally the steps of operation. In this article we will be covering the first 4 of the 5 steps. So open a word document or grab a sheet of paper and let’s get started.
The first thing you will want to do as you’re getting started is figure out the major roles involved in building and running your site on an ongoing basis. This doesn’t mean you have to higher people to handle all of these various jobs but rather to know who is handling what task.
On top of that this also makes a great reference if your not sure what graphics artist you’ve used on the site or content author you are using. You can also update this as you go if you hire some one new to manage the site or a specific task.
Below is a list of the different roles.
- Project Manager – This is the person who overseas the entire project. This could be you or even a hired virtual assistant known as a VA who is in charge of assigning task and keeping things going.
- Programmer – This person can preform many different task from setting up the site for you, uploading the graphics, updating WordPress to creating some special functionality for your site.
- Graphics Design – A graphics designer has a key and important role to design anything from a header graphic, local design to creating graphics for your twitter and Facebook pages.
Before I go any further you should know that you can take all of these task on yourself or you can hire people out to do certain ones if necessary, it’s totally up to you. In my case I hired out my graphics and plan to do everything else myself for now.
However once my site does start to generate a small income I plan to reinvest some of the money to higher a content author. I’ll discuss more of this in a later part of the series, for now just assign the person you want to handle those roles.
Designing Your Site Plan
Once you’ve decide who should take on which roles toward building out your niche site we need to put together a basic site plan. Depending on the type of site you are building this could vary in a lot of different ways. Below is a list of basic pages you will want to have for your site but you may have other pages you want to add as well.
- Home Page – this is one of the most important pages to the site because you want this page to rank for your main keyword. So if your keyword is replace iPhone screen, you want to rank your home page for this keyword. You will have somewhat of an advantage to this if you’ve picked the proper domain name such as ReplaceMyiPhoneScreen.com something similar. On top of that your home page should be more of a static page, which means it will stay the same and not change much. I’ll go into this more as the series progresses.
- About Page – Your about page is also a very necessary page as well. This page should cover what your site is about and why people should go to your site.
- Blog Page – This Page is were people can find the latest information, tips, and ideas on your niche.
- Contact Page – If people want to get a hold of you this is the best way to do it.
- Affiliate Disclosure – If you plan to sell affiliate products at any point you’ll need this page as well. Again this page can be auto generated.
Those are the basic pages for your site but I’m also going to include some extra pages you may want to consider as well.
- Advertise Here Page – If you plan to do your own advertising this a great page to have as well.
- Job Board – One thing I plan to do with my niche site is include a Job Board with it.
- Classifieds – Another option to consider is classified ads. For example, with the iPhone screen repair business we might be able to add a classified section at some point for those who want to sell their old iPhone’s.
- Reviews – Another thing you might want to do is set up a reviews page and cover different products or services in your niche.
- How To Page – Finally, the how to page is a great page if your niche is more of a do it yourself thing. For example, you might do a DIY on how to repair your own iPhone screen.
These are just a few of the ideas of different pages I came up with but don’t be afraid to experiment here. Maybe you have an idea for great tool. For example, on Stumble Forward I have a Debt Plan page were people can learn how to get out of debt waling them through a step by step process. The ideas here are unlimited so brainstorm some different ideas, and remember you don’t have to do it all now you can always add it in later.
Now that you got an idea of the different pages involved with your niche site we need to consider what kind of cost are going to be dealing with as well. Now as I mentioned earlier if you can’t perform all the task it takes to get this site up and running don’t worry their are a ton of people who you can outsource these things to and at a cost that can be very cheap.
I’ll be covering more on how to do outsourcing in a later part of the series but for now we just want to get an idea of what kind cost we might be dealing with. Below is a list of some of the cost involved.
- Theme – There are a ton of great themes out there. I looked at several different themes from the responsive theme, to Pagelines, to Thesis, to Studiopress. On top of that their are a ton of free themes to choose from, so start looking into different theme ideas and write them down.
- Banner Graphics or Logo – One thing I definitely suggest getting is either a banner graphic or a logo done for your site. These can usually be done for $40 to $75 depending on what you get. A good graphic can go a long way to impressing people and building brand for your site.
- Aweber – Another cost to consider is an email program such as Aweber. You can get Awber for around $20 a month starting out.
- Domain Name – At this point you probably have already bought your domain name which will cost around $10 to $12 depending on where you got it.
- Hosting – If you already have a blog you can typically use the same hosting account to set up your niche site which won’t cost you a penny more. The cost for typical host providers run between $5 and $10 a month. I personally use Hostgator but I’ve heard Blue Host has better customer services so you may want to check both services out.
- Plug Ins – Another cost you may want to consider is any premium plugins you want. A plugin is basicly an extra extention for your website. For example, if you want a plugin for maintaing your advertising you can do that. Most plugins don’t cost anything but some will. The job board plugin I’m looking into cost around $97 which might sound like a lot but if I had to pay a developer to do all these things it would get very expensive, so $97 isn’t so bad after all.
- Service Providers – Finally, if you plan to hire people to write content, do any programming these things can all add up, but in most cases you should be able to do this yourself.
So take your time now write down any cost that may be involved with your site.
Finally we will want to consider any plugins that you may want to use for your site. As I mentioned earlier in this article plugins are basic extensions that can save you tons of time in programming with your website. Below is a basic list of plugins I’m using for my niche site.
- Akismet – Help prevent and block spam.
- Easy Adsense – Simple plugin that allows you to control adsense on your site
- Facebook Widget – Allows you to add your Facebook group to the sidebbar on your website
- Fast secure contact form – An easy to use contact form so people can email you.
- Google XML Sitemaps – A sitemap plugin that will help with indexing on your site.
- Log in lock down – Simple plugin that will lock down you admin log in page if someone enters the wrong log in details.
- Subscribe to comments – Adds a simple check box under your comments section so people can get an email when someone responds to their comment.
- W3 Total Cache – This plugin works to help speed up your site and improve page load time.
- Yoast WordPress SEO – The plug in helps you improve your on page SEO abilities and help you rank better in the search engines.
- WP Socializer – Adds social buttons to every one of your pages so people can share your content.
Take some time and write down the plugins you want use on your site.
The Next Step
Now that you’ve determined who your team is, designed your site plan, determined the cost involved, and figured out what kind of plugin you plan to use the last step is to determine the step of operation, and in the next article we will write down exactly what you need to do to get your site up and running .
Feel free to share any ideas, comments, or questions you have about your site below.