Niche Site Update: 2 Big Mistakes I Made

Well if you’ve been reading the comments on the most recent article of my series How To Build a Niche Site, you might have heard me talk about a few mistakes I’ve made.  In fact these few mistakes have cost me time and money and has lead me to the conclusion that I have picked a bad niche.

So in this article I’m going to first off reveal my niche,  secondly I’m going share the mistakes I’ve made with this site,  and finally share what I’m doing fix this mistake and move on from here.  On top of that I’m going to keep things as detailed as possible and hopefully help all of you who are building niche sites avoid these disasters.

So let’s get started.

My Niche

First off, the niche I picked was Life Insurance Training.  The reason I chose this niche was based on a few factors.  One being that I was a life insurance agent at one time, and two I know about the issues life insurance agents go through to get licensed.

I felt with this niche I could share my expertise and help people get it done a lot faster.  However as you’re about to see the niche looked very promising at first but once I dug into the finer details of the site I realized this isn’t a good niche after all.

In fact, as you can see below I currently rank 6th for the keyword Life Insurance Training, all without doing any back linking of any sorts.  At this point I was pretty ecstatic for the little work I’ve done, and you might even be wonder what’s the problem.

life_insurance_training_SERPs

 

Mistake 1: Traffic and Earnings

The first mistake I made was that I did not consider the amount of traffic and earnings that this keyword had.  When it comes to a niche site I want at least a 1000 visitors a month and a $1.00 cost per click or ore.  Below is a screen shot of the keyword I chose.

LIT_Keyword_Tool

 

At first glance the niche I selected looked like a clear winner.  It gets right around 1900 search visitors a month and $6.20 cost per click.  However the problem came when I failed to do an exact match search instead of a broad match search.

The difference between the two can be staggering if you don’t do this right.  For those that don’t know what an exact match search is, it’s the results that shows you only the exact amount of people who are searching for that particular term.  A broad match term will include other variations within that term.  Below is an example list of examples.

  • Cheap Life Insurance Training
  • Ohio Life Insurance Training
  • Life Insurance Training in Ohio

Now let’s look at our same search term but as an exact match rather than a broad match.

LIT_Exact_Match

 

As you can see the exact match of this same term gave us totally different results. Instead of 1900 potential visitors their are only around 91 people searching for this exact term on a monthly basis.  However, one other thing to take note of is that the CPC went up to $9.50 which is great but with the low amount of traffic it could very hard to make little if any money with this topic.

When it comes down to it ranking for a term with a low exact match search volume is not  a good idea, instead stick to terms at least a 1000 or better.  Now having good traffic and a good CPC are just one factor when picking a niche topic but competition is also another you need to consider.

Mistake 2: Competition

The second issue I also did not consider before I started build my niche site was the competition.  Now obviously, ranking for the term life insurance training is not that difficult but ranking to easy for something was kind of the first sign to me that something was up, and that’s when I began to really start digging into things.

If I’m ranking 6th for Life Insurance Training I should be be getting some sort of decent traffic even with 1900 possible visitors a month however I’ve only manage to bring in 7 or 8 visitors through search from this term, so something was definitely wrong.

Now my goal wasn’t to just rank for one term but to rank for a bunch of different terms and since my site is about life insurance training my plan was to create a page for each state life insurance requirements.  Then after some serious research I started to notice a trend.  See if you can notice it below.

OLILR_SERPs_

 

By looking at the first 10 results for the term Ohio Life Insurance Requirement they seem to be not that competitive, however the first few results to almost ever page were .gov results.  The problem with this is that if you are trying to rank for Ohio Life Insurance Requirements or California Life Insurance Requirements it’s going to be next to impossible to rank  number one for these terms.

Going Forward

So what do I plan to do going forward?  For now I plan to just hang tight for a bit and monitor the site.  On top of that I plan to add a few links to the site to see what happens.  If I see some  increases in search traffic I may put more of an effort towards this site.

However if I don’t see much of anything from this site I may just let it sit for a while and test a few different ideas towards the site to see what happens.  One thing is for sure though and that is that this site is not dead in the water.  Even if the site ranks enough for me to make $10 or $20 a month it’s worth it, and maybe I’ll be able to earn a little bit of the money back I stuck into the site over time.

What I Learned

So what did I learn from this experience?  Look I wasn’t even sure if I would earn any money from this site in the first place, that was a given.  Being my first site and all it probably wasn’t very likely so if you are in the same situation don’t feel bad, just pick out the things you learned and move on.  Life is way to short to worry about one little website that didn’t work out.

As a result here all the things I’ve learned from this experience.

  • Look For Higher Traffic Keywords.  Obviously, I need to pick higher traffic keywords.
  • Research the Competition Better.  Secondly, I need to do a better job at researching the competition for my main keyword.  You want something that is fairly easy to rank for but not to competitive.
  • It’s Not Tough To Rank.  Third, I learned it’s really not as tough as we make out to be to rank for a term, you just have to stay focused and give it time.  In fact I feel that is the real secret to success here,  just doing the right things long  enough to get the given result that you want.
  • I Went and Did It.  Finally, I feel just taking action made all the difference.  Before I started this site I sat for months contemplating whether I should start a niche site and then one day I asked myself what am I so worried about, that this site won’t work out.  Think of it like this, most baseball players only ever make it on base 2 or 3 times, out of ever 10 times they come up to bat.  That means 70% to 80% of the time they are striking out.  For most of us 20% or 30% seems like a complete failure but for baseball players who can hit that kind of record make it in the hall of fame.  So what does that tell us about what we can do?

 What I’m Doing Now

So what am I doing now?  My plan is to build a new niche site but I’m not exactly in a hurry this time around.  This time I’m planning to take my time and do the proper research to pick a good niche.  So right now I’m going through all kinds of different niche ideas and considering the earnings potential, traffic, and competition.

Below is a spreadsheet of what I’ve done so far.

Niche_Ideas

 

If you’re having a little trouble understanding my chart below is a list of things to help you out.

  • Green – Good Keyword /Low Competition 
  • Yellow  Moderate Keyword/ Medium Competition
  • Red- Hard Keyword / Tough Competition
  • Traffic Column – Amount of Traffic in a month
  • CPC Column – The amount of money the top advertiser will pay for one click in Google Adsense
  • Top 10 Page Rank Column – Tells you how competitive each page of the top 10 rankings is.  0 is less competitive, and 10 is the most competitive.
  • ED % Column – Tells how many pages in the top 10 pages have the exact keyword in the domain name of their site.
  • Title % Column – Tells you how many of the top 10 pages have the exact keyword in the title of the article.

 

As you can see I did not include the keywords I’m  looking at but anything that is a green is a possible topic and their are a couple of them I’m pretty excited about.  Look at the 3rd keyword from the top is has 33,100 visitors and the cost per click is in the $9 range which is great.

On top of that the top 10 pages for this keyword have two PR 0 pages and one page that is not ranked, which means their is some room for me in this niche.  However one of the downsides is that their is one exact match domain in this spot which could be hard to beat but I also take that as a sign that their is some great money to be earned in this niche.

Final Thoughts…

As a final thought building my next niche site seems to be in great timing with Pat Flynn as he is planning to build his next Niche Site in the Niche Site Dual 2.0.  What’s great about this is he is interviewing a lot of great people right now about SEO and what he should and should not be doing when he builds his next niche site.

As a result I will be following along with Pat when I build my next niche site and I will also be sharing all the details as I did before but I will not be sharing the keyword or topic I choose.  So if you would like to learn more about this and follow along with Pat as well you can check out his first interview here.

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13 Comments

  1. Thanks for the update Chris. This is what happens in the niche website arena. It all depends on the research, but sorry to hear about the mistake you made with regard to exact match. Many people forget about this little hidden gem. Good luck with the new site and hopefully the life insurance site will pick up.

  2. You are exactly right their Grayson, research is where it all is and I’ve been doing a lot more of it this time around. Also I checked the life insurance training site again and I seen it was ranking in 3rd now for it’s main keyword but it still isn’t driving any traffic. All I can say is I definitely learned my lesson and plan start a new site soon.

  3. Sorry to hear about the issue you ran into. The key is that you learned from your mistake and will be able to choose a better niche next time around.

    Thanks for letting me know about Pat’s niche site duel 2.0. I’ll have to follow along!

  4. No worries Chris. I think nearly ALL niche siters made the exact same mistake when starting out. I know I purchased my first couple of domains based on Broad instead of Exact. Luckily for me, one of them worked out and still had a decent number of Exact searches… and is earning pretty well even today.

    At least you’ve learned your lesson and corrected the mistake for the next go-around. As you know, I have a Fiverr gig out there offering to run keywords through Long Tail Pro for people who don’t want to buy the software. I wouldn’t mind doing one or two keywords for you for free, just to help you out, because you’ve been so supportive of my efforts over the past couple of months. (confidentially, of course) Just let me know… and good luck with the next site!

  5. Thanks Jon, I think I’ve definitely learned my lesson, I spent $80 on getting that site up and running with graphics and a domain name. As for Pat Flynns new niche site duel I’m interested to see where he goes with his site this time around and what he plans to do link wise as well.

  6. Thanks for the offer Matthew however I’m planning to buy Long Tail Pro here shortly to help me out with not only picking my niches but also helping me determine what keywords and titles I should be using for my articles when I write them. It would be nice to see how much competition I am up against before I write an article. However if I do need the help I will definitely let you know.

  7. Thank you for outlining your successes and failures. You gave me motivation to look into niche sites a little closer. It sounds like a fun research project with ongoing rewards at the end. Looking forward to seeing how your next venture pans out.

  8. Thanks FMM. Starting a niche site has been a lot of fun so far. I think once I get a handle on picking the niches better I’ll get a site that actually ranks for something that will make a little money. As a result I’ve been contemplating what niche to go with and I think whatever niche I pick it won’t be dealing with personal finance because most of those terms are way to competitive.

  9. They are toughies and the more important thing is learning from these mistakes. It’s difficult to di, I know but we try and we try. Thanks for this and I have learned something.

  10. I’m glad this is helping out Laurie. I’ve been putting in a lot more time towards researching my niche this time around and plan to start my next site soon. Once I pick my next niche I will be updating everyone on what I picked.

  11. I think the key point is that you did it. Many people talk and give advice to others, but you honestly don’t know until you give it a shot. I bet your mistakes will lead to success down the road.

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