How To Build A Niche Site Series Part 4: Content Plan – Graphics – Set Up

Well here we are into part 4 on my series How To Build A Niche Site and in this weeks article I’m going to cover how to set up your first 10 blog post, along with all the extra pages, along with ordering your graphics, and setting up your site.  This article might be a bit long but by the end of it you will have a great looking site ready to start ranking in the search engines with fresh content.

Niche Update

I also wanted to give a quick update on my niche site before I get started.  My site is up and running and I’ve already added 22 pages of content to it.  So I’m off to a great start and on top of that I’m currently already ranking 8th for my main keyword, which is actually up one position from the first update I gave in part 2 and I’ve yet to build any sort of back links to anything.

Which brings me to my next point.  One of the big misconceptions about building niche sites is that you can just write a bunch of content and you’ll end up ranking well in the search engines, and make tons of money.  The truth is content isn’t king, it should be high quality great content is king.

With the new Google algorithm updates, Google has been getting better and better at spotting weak content that is supported on nothing more than a bunch of phony links.  I know this from first hand experience.  So create content that isn’t just content but awesome content.

With that out of the way lets get started.

Creating Your First 10 Articles

The next thing we want to do is brainstorm some article ideas and get the content written.  Before we dive into setting up your site and having no content to post, I feel it’s a lot easier to write content beforehand and then post it when we set up the site.

To do this we need to consider some basic on page SEO tips.  On page SEO is basically the things you can do to your page that will help it rank better in the search engines.  Google and other search engines put a ton of emphasis on certain criteria for every page of content you publish on your site.  Here are a few below that you need to consider.

  • URL. Is your keyword located in your URL of your page
  • Title Tag.  Is your keyword located in the title of your article.
  • Article Body.  Is your keyword located in a few places in the article.
  • Images.  Is their an image in the content and is your keyword included in the tag of that photo.
  • Header.  Is your keyword used in a H2 tag.

This may sound like a lot of stuff to optimize your site for but it’s actually very simple.  To help you out here is an article I wrote a while back called, Excellent Credit Score – 8 Factors That Make Up A Great Score.   If we look at the page below we can see how I’ve incorporated all of these features into the one article to help it rank better in the search engines.

excellent_credit_score_stumble_forward

As you can see I have the keyword excellent credit score in the title of the article, the URL, in the H2 title, in the first paragraph of the article, and even in the image on this page.  This is exactly how you want every blog article on your site to be optimized.

On top of that you want the title of the article you write to really pop out when people ready it.  Having a really plain title on an article will only discourage people from clicking on a link to read your article hence making you less money, so have fun with things.

Coming Up With Blog Post Ideas

When it comes down to it their are a ton ways to come up with content for your niche site.  Below are a few diffident types of articles you could write.

  • The How To Article
  • Product Review
  • 10 Tips article
  • What is it
  • How Does It Work
  • Comparison article

The way I like to come up with article ideas is to use the Google Keyword tool.  This way we can gauge just how many possible visitors we could get from the keyword.  Simply input your main keyword and start drilling down to find related keywords that could make great articles.  Blow is a search I did for repair iPhone screen.

repair_iphne_screed_keywords

If you look at the picture above here are few keywords that I liked.

  • How To Repair an iPhone 4 Screen
  • how much to repair iPhone Screen
  • iPhone Screen Repair Houson
  • iPhone Screen Repair NYC

Now that we have our first group of keywords lets generate a few titles for them.  Here are a few ideas to consider.

  • How To Repair An iPhone 4 Screen in 3 Easy Steps
  • How Much is it to Repair Your iPhone Screen

Now as for the last two keywords these keywords would make great keywords for a directory listing page we could have on the site.  What’s great about this is that it’s obvous people are looking for people in their local area to fix their iPhone Screen, so why not create a simple easy to use directory on your site.

For this I like to use a createaclickablemap.com to build out a simple directory on my site.  It’s on these pages we could list potential advertisers and affiliate programs to earn money from.  With create a clickable map you could create a page of advertisers for each state and link them to the map.

create_a_clickable_map

 

Also you can check out this site which utilizes the idea of a directory very well.  On top of that it can make your site stand out from all the others.   So check it out here.

Now that we have a couple pages picked out create your 10 blog post now for you niche site.

Basic Pages For Your Site

Now that you have your first 10 blog post created and maybe even fully written you will also want to create the other basic pages for your site that we discussed in the part 3 of series on how to build a niche site.  This would include your about page, contact page, privacy policy, terms of service, and affiliate disclosure.

  • About Page.  For your about page you goal is two things, it’s to tell everyone what is your site about and secondly, why they should come to you?
  • Contact Page. On this page you will want to add all forms and methods people can use to get a hold of you, whether it be through a contact form, phone number, or even through social sites like Facebook, or Twitter.
  • Privacy Policy. A privacy policy is a basic document used to inform people that you will not sell or abuse their personal information.  To create your privacy page you can do that here.  I should also mention that if you plan to participate in programs like Adsense, affiliate promotions, or direct advertising you will need these and the other required forms.
  • Disclaimer.  This form tells people that you cannot be held liable for any loss or damages due to use of your website.  You can check out mine here and use that if you prefer.
  • FTC Disclosure.  Finally this page should inform people that you do earn money from your site when you sell a product or click on an ad.  This page is required if you plan to earn money from your site by the FTC.  You can use the form here to generate you page.

Header Graphics

Now that we have the content squared away I want to take a minute and talk about graphics.  I use to believe having someone design graphics for your website was to costly and a waste of money.  Then I had a friend show me how easy it was to get decent graphics created for a fairly cheap price using Elance.

If you’ve never used Elance it’s pretty simple and I think at the very least creating either a header graphic or a logo can go a long way to building a brand and helping promote you website.  Just consider the header graphics I had created for Stumble Forward and my other blog My Debt Relief Options.  Check them out below.

MDRO_Header

SF_Header

 

Before you upload your work order to Elance here are a few things to consider.

  • Size.  How big should the graphic be.  Typically this is down in pixel sizes, for example my header graphic is 952 X 150. 
  • Logo.  What are you looking for in a logo.
  • Tagline.  What do you want your tagline to be.
  • Picture & Name.  Include your picture and name.  You may want to include your picture and name in the header as well.  This isn’t requirement but it puts a name with a face which is always helpful.
  • Colors.  What colors do you want them to use.

Once you’ve determined these things you are ready to create your work order for Elance.  To help you out here is a sample work order I placed for my niche site you can copy this to have put it out on Elance as well.

Hi it’s Chris Holdheide here.

I need a header graphic made up.

I am looking for a professional to develop graphics for a new website. These graphics include:

1.) header graphic

Work Order

I would like the graphic to carry the same “look” to give them a branded feel. They should work together and have a coordinated look.

I am using the “Blue” Fashionista theme from StudioPress.com (shown on the link below). You will see the color of the theme we’ve selected. I assume you can also grab a quick measurement to be able to determine the size of the header graphic there as well.

Add a link to the theme you plan to use.

Header Graphic

In the “header graphic” I would like you to include the following:

1) a simple logo and the name of the website entitled MyWebsiteHere.com, Justified to the left.
2) Add the tagline (add your tagline here)  below the logo. I would like the tagline to go full-width of the logo.
3) add my picture to the graphic justified to the right.

I would also prefer to see 3 sample header designs this way I can pick the one I like the most.

I will rely on you and our professional abilities to come up with a textured background or image that works well with the color of the theme for the header. The header image needs to be 952 X 150.

I would also like the graphics to have a complimentary accent color that works well with the “Blue” Fashionista theme.

I am looking to have everything completed by (Name your date here)

I look forward to hearing from you.

Chris

If you’ve never outsourced anything before it can seem a bit overwhelming and believe me it was the first time I did it but it was well worth it, because now I have complete access to tons of people who can help me do all kinds of things for my website.

To help you out here are a few tips to follow when outsourcing on Elance.

  • Job Amounts.  Go with someone who has done at least 15 or more jobs.  
  • Cheapest bids. Don’t go with the cheapest bid.  If someone gives you a cheap bid and has no experiences that is a red flag to me that they are brand new and may not have much experience   I’m usually looking for some one who has been around for a while.
  • Read Reviews.  Next read the reviews of the people you are considering.  Reviews can tell you if they are good or not. If they seem to have a lot of negative reviews you may want to stay away from them. Also make sure all the reviews are not by the same person as they my be trying to make themselves look good.
  • Build a team.  Once you find someone you like don’t be afraid to use them again and add them to your team so when you need another graphic created you know exactly who you have to talk to.
  • Cost.  For a header graphic or logo it should cost you around $40 to $75.  I also suggest you go with a fixed price amount instead of an hourly rate.
  • Use Milestones.  Use milestones when you set up the job this way you can pay as the task is being completed.  For example, for your header graphic I would set up two milestones, one as a beginning down payment and the second to be paid when the job is complete.
  • Use Escrow.  Once your ready to set up the job use escrow and pay a small portion of the job up front and once the job is complete and you are satisfied you can pay the final amount.
  • Stay Local.  I prefer to stay within the US, Canada, or UK, when it comes to using Elance.  This especially holds true if you are order content for your website, because a lot of the people who live outside the US are not native English speaking.
  • Get What You Want.  Finally, one of the great things I like about using Elance is you can work with your service provider until you get what you want.

Setting Up Your Niche Site

Now that you have your content ready, and  your graphics done, you are now ready to set up your site with WordPress   My suggestion for a hosting provider is either Hostgator or Bluehost.  Now rather than go into a long discussion about how to set your site up on either of these hosting providers I felt it would be much simpler for you to just watch a video on how this is done.

How to Set WordPress Up With Hostgator

How To Set WordPress Up With Blue Host

Once you have WordPress installed you can install your theme, plugins, upload your header graphic, and even start publishing content on your site.  Following these basic steps this will allow you to get your site up and running right away so when visitors land on your website they won’t have to see a basic plan website.

Final Thoughts…

As I am wrapping this part of the series up I would like to hear your thoughts.  How are things going with your niche site right now.  I know this session was a long one and may even take you some time to get things down.  That’s alright, their is no need to rush things.

I’d rather see you take the time now to put a quality site together than rush it only to find out later that you have to go back and redo a bunch of stuff.  Also since this step in the series takes a considerable amount of time I’m going to hold off for a week or so to publish the next part so everyone can catch up.

Till then keep working at it, and if you have any questions let me know in the comments below.

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17 Comments

  1. Very thorough & helpful post Chris! How much time would you say you’re putting into the niche site each week? I am not looking at doing one right now, but might consider it in the future.

  2. Good question John. I actually haven’t done to much with my niche site in the last week or so, but I would say 2 to 3 hours a week depending on how much content you want the site to have. In my case I plan to post once per week.

  3. There are a lot of great tips in here. I have used oDesk and Guru in the past. I agree that I do not just take the lowest bid unless they have completed some previous jobs and have good feedback. Keep up the great work.

  4. I’ve never used anything but Elance but I’m sure they all work pretty much the same. I can tell you from my experience it really pays to research who you higher to do a job for you. I’ve hired a few people in the past that didn’t hold up to their end of the bargain and I had to ask for my money back. This is why I recommend using escrow to hold the funds till you are completely satisfied with the job, otherwise it could be a lot harder to get your money back. Thanks for the comment Alan.

  5. Great post Chris, I had never heard of Elance, I am actually looking to change my header, so I am going to look into it. I too have my hosting with hostgator and am very happy. Used to have it with Dreamhost, but had way too many interruptions. BTW, I like your other site too.

  6. I’m glad I could help you out Grayson. Elance is such a great tool to have on your side. Elance has a lot of talented people to choose from. I’d also be interested in seeing what your new logo looks like once it’s done.

  7. I’m glad I could help you out Jim, graphics design isn’t my specialty either and for the small fee they charge to make a professional graphic it’s well worth it. I should also mention the more graphics you order the better deal you can get. So if you need a Facebook or twitter graphic order them altogether and you can save a lot that way.

    I think Hostgator is an pretty good hosting company but I’ve heard their customer support isn’t so good. Thankfully, I have never needed to do that yet though. However I’ve heard Bluehost has really good support and I’ve actually considered switching at some point.

    As far as my other blog goes it been around since 2009 but I haven’t done much to update it. I plan to add more to it as I pay off my credit card debt and so forth.

  8. I did exactly the same thing for a long time and all I can say is do it when your ready, no sense in rushing into things if your busy with a lot of other stuff. This only cause mistakes down the road. Thanks for stopping by Holly.

  9. Wow did you really pack a lot of information into this post! Nice work already being on the first SERP. I’m still barely on page 2 for mine, but I’m holding on. I think the biggest place where I went wrong was 1) not doing the right competitive search ahead of time and 2) not having enough content ready to go before hand. My domain authority would probably be a lot higher than it is now if I had worked my articles ahead of the launch and then let them age.

  10. Wow I had no idea you were in the middle of a series on this!! I’m definitely going to read them all. John and I are really interested in building a niche site this summer. I would love to hear more on how your’s is going.

    I’m concerned that 1) it’ll be really hard to get ranked, and B) how many people will really convert into revenue. Are you planning on doing affiliate sells or just advertising?

  11. Thanks MMD. You bring up a great point that having content ready before you launch your niche site it very important. This way you can not only have something your visitors to read right off the bat but more important so Google and other search engines have something to index as well.

  12. Sounds great Todd, I think their are tons of great opportunities to rank well on the web you just have to know where to look. In fact lately I’ve been using a tool called Long Tail Pro to determine what is a great niche and what is not. As far as the monetization goes I’m planning to use Adsense and an affiliate program that will work very well for the niche I’ve selected. I also have a few other ways I plan to monetize the site but I’ll be covering that more in detail in few weeks.

  13. Great post – there’s lot of good details in there. I’ve contemplated setting up a niche site before… but it’s always the inertia of getting started that bogs me down. Especially with the job lately – not much time left for fiddling around with websites.

  14. That was one of my big hanging points as well CF. With all the stuff I have going on right now I almost decided not to do it, but then I thought if I don’t do it now when will I. I also have to agree getting things set up is half the battle but once the site is up and running and has a little content on it, it’s not tough to manage. Once I get the bulk of content I want on the site I plan to just add one article per week and work on promotion.

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