Written by Andrew Hansen from FirePow
Step 1 – Niche Research
The first key to the success of a blog or mini site is that it has to target a group of people (a niche) who are hungry for information of a specific nature. In other words, I’m talking about the selection of your niche.
The group of people that your blog or mini site targets has to be a group of people who have problems. Problems in the sense that they are looking for a solution to something, looking to improve something. Furthermore, in a great niche, that SOMETHING, is something that causes pain. Financial pain, physical pain, emotional pain, some sort of pain, for the simple reason that people who have pain are the people who will want to buy solutions to that pain, and hopefully from your website.
If that sounds a bit sick, trying to exploit people with pain, it’s not. It’s called marketing. You’ve had marketers doing it to you your whole life and you probably never even knew about it, why can’t you do it too? And what’s more, you’re actually going to provide these people with a real solution, so you’re being helpful!
Anyhow moving on.
So you’re looking for a group of people with a problem, but that’s not all.
Your next concern has to be whether there are enough of these people searching for solutions to their problems on the internet. How many is enough you ask? It’s a good question. With certain kinds of sites, all you need is 10 visitors to your site a day and you can turn a nice monthly profit. Other niches and products that you promote you might need thousands per day. It all depends on what you sell, and who to, AND how much commission you make when you sell to them.
The things you should do are look at the search volume, as indicated by a tool like Wordtracker. Here you’re simply looking at how many searches per day a particular keyphrase gets in the search engines. Then after that, you want to look at whether there are other sites or blogs that are competing in the same niche.
Contrary to what alot of people think, NO competition isn’t necessarily a good thing. NO competition could and often does mean that it’s not a profitable niche. What you actually want is SOME competition, but CRAPPY competition that you can DESTROY by making a better site, providing better content and in a better way.
The final piece of the puzzle of finding a good niche, is whether the niche has a quality product for you to promote. You need something to sell to these people, that is high quality, has great marketing material (sales letter etc, so it will convert your traffic well) and pays a decent commission.
This is of course assuming you’re looking at the affiliate marketing model of making money with your blog – which I suggest if you’re looking to retire from your job and earn a full time passive income, you SHOULD be. There are other ways to make money where you might think about some different factors in your niche selection.
So if you can combine all of the above factors when selecting your niche, you’ll be giving yourself and your new blog the best possible chance of success. I hope you’ve found this valuable.
Step 2 – Site CreationOnce your niche is selected, you obviously need to create a website to capitalize on it.
Blogs in particular have become such a popular choice for niche marketers because of their extreme ease of use, ease in maintaining, and ease in updating. Not to mention that the structure of a blog is generally by nature, search engine friendly. AND furthermore, where it isn’t, there is always a third party plugin to make it so.
There are many ways to create a successful blog, and the one you choose should reflect an understanding of your target market. What we’ll look at here is an example of one such method, that focuses on the generation of free traffic, and the promotion of an affiliate program for monetization.
The first thing you need to do is create a blog that’s visually or aesthetically sound. A visually sound blog, other than just looking pretty, is arranged in a way that maximizes all the content you create, by maintaining your readers attention, and drawing the most attention to your affiliate program.
There are a few ways you want to do this:
1. Choose a blog theme with a predominantly white background and with black text. Simple advice, but often ignored. Black on white is the easiest for the eyes to read. Other colour schemes can quickly tire the eyes and make it hard to maintain concentration.
2. Choose a clean and neat theme. You don’t want too much going on. It should be very clear where your content is located, very clear where your sidebar and navigation is located, where your other categories can be viewed and so forth. If a reader comes from a search engine, they should know exactly where they have to click to get the information they want. Generally I say the less options the better in terms of other features on your blog.
There are more factors but for the sake of this article not being 9000 words, we’ll move on.
Once you have an aesthetically pleasing blog, you need some reader pleasing content.
We’re going to assume here that you have a product selected. Of course the next step after picking your niche (sometimes these tasks are one and the same) is to select a product that you’ll promote to the niche. This is where you’ll earn your cash.
So once you’ve got a product selected, and the base of a good blog created as above, your job is to create some content that the people in your niche will find valuable and use that content to drive your website’s visitors to the merchant’s page and earn an affiliate commission.
At this point, you should have your niche’s keywords researched – by that I mean you should have some idea of what might be a good place to attack the niche from. Ideally you’d have some keyphrase related to your niche that are uncompetitive in terms of the number of pages optimized for them in the search engines.
Where you’d ideally start your content creation is by writing an article on this uncompetitive term, posting it on your site and getting it ranked in the search engines. From here, you can develop as much content on search phrases from your niche, as you desire (remember you got those phrases from a tool like the Wordtracker keyword tool) in order to increase traffic to your site.
Some factors we didn’t get to mention in this article are things like On page optimization, making your pages of content rank well in the search engines – and monetization – the art of getting the highest percentage of visitors to your site actually making you money. But for a basic overview, I think we’ve done alright.
Step 3 – Traffic GenerationLets look at how to drive traffic to your blog or mini site – the element of online marketing that most people get stuck at.
Here we’ll look at the primary ways of driving quality traffic to your niche site. Keep in mind that the phrase QUALITY traffic is important – we only the want the visitors who might buy our products and make us money – we don’t want freebie seekers in this business model.
The first and best way to generate traffic is to do as I’ve described in the previous article, which is to produce content based on long tail keywords from your niche. After optimizing your page well for this term, and using the in built pinging fucntion to notify other websites of your new content – you can be ranking and getting traffic for uncompetitive terms within the first few days of your site’s existence.
After this, there are many ways to approach your traffic generation.
1. Article Marketing: This is essentially (though often misunderstood) the process of having articles you’ve written, published on websites other than your own, for the purpose of including a link back to your site and funneling traffic from their site to yours. You can do this with article directories or with other blogs and websites by contacting the site author. Either way, the extra exposure from these sites can drive through important relevant visitors to your pages.
2. Ongoing Keyword research and SEO: The reason I believe in having a big focus on SEO is that the people who have a specific problem and are looking for a solution, tend to gravitate toward a search engine. Yes there are millions of web viewers who don’t go near a search engine but they can be harder to target and can represent not as high a quality traffic. In other words they don’t tend to make you as much money.
Continually finding new keywords that represent relevant traffic for your products, and continually creating content to target those visitors is about as smart as you can be with ongoing traffic generation.
3. Link Building: This is both for the purpose of boosting your search engine rankings and increasing exposure to your website. You have probably heard that links back to your site from relevant websites indicate your site is more trust worthy and worthy of better SE rankings. At the same time, a link on a relevant website, whether in a piece of content on a sidebar, can increase visitors to your website. You should make it a point to continually do activities that motivate similar sites in your niche to link to you – or even if not in your niche, site’s that could send you relevant visitors.
4. Using Social Networks: Using the myriad social networks like Digg, Mysapce, Facebook, Stumbleupon etc can be another great way to increase traffic to your website. Just by submitting all the posts you make to your blog to site’s like Digg and Stumbleupon, you can earn yourself extra backlinks, and the potential to have your content seen and then shared by new members of your target audience. As is becoming clear, almost EVERYONE online hangs out at some social network for some reason, and if you can find where your target market is hanging out and leverage that, your traffic can increase exponentially.
Finally, remember that when trying to generate traffic to your blog, you should consider your niche before deciding which methods to utilize. As I’ve said before, using a social network might be great, but certain niches might be too technically unadvanced to know about social networks, and they only use Google. Some niches might be more easily approached by use of visual media like video rather than article content. The bottom line of traffic generation is where are my target market hanging out, and how can I get my site in front of them in a way that contributes value to their lives.
I hope you’ve found this traffic generation article helpful. Next we’ll look at the management of a successful blog.
Step 4 – ManagementThe final step in the process of having a successful and profitable niche blog is the management of your site.
Here I’m talking about management in terms of keeping your site running, monitoring what’s working and what’s not, and monitoring the success of your site so you know how much effort to commit to it on a continual basis.
Here are some of the elements involved in the management area of a successful blog.
1. You need to manage and track your search engine statistics. Here I mean two things. 1. is the doings of your search competition and 2 is the rankings and traffic from various pages of your site.
In 1. You need to be always checking up on your search competition. Just by knowing what sites link to your competitor site can allow you a way to gain new backlinks. You contact the same people and get the same links PLUS keep doing all the good SEO you’re already doing, you can steal their spot.
in 2. You need to monitor your own search rankings to see what search terms are bringing you traffic. At this point you can either choose to focus more of your content on those terms, giving readers coming from those terms more to look at and more opportunities to get pushed to your affiliate link OR you can look harder at the monetization of those pages. This might include testing different affiliate link positionings, changing the text, and more.
Following on from that, something else that needs to be tracked on your blog, is how successful your content is at converting visitors to sales.
This has traditionally been tough on a blogs because the way they are set doesn’t generally allow for any form of split testing. However, a new blogging software called Firepow has made this possible. What you can do is test which content your audience responds best to. You can use variations of two different posts, have them alternate for each new user to the blog, and see which version of the post generated the most affiliate link clicks.
Optimizing your content like this may be the easiest way to increase your bottom line. After all think about this: If you want to double your profits from a site, you can either double your site traffic, or you can double your conversion rate… what’s easier? In a lot of cases, it’s doubling your conversion rate.
Finally, something that needs to be managed on your blog is the updating of your content. The most successful blogs and mini sites always have something new for their readers all the time, and when you’re running more than one blog, this can be an ongoing challenge. The best thing you can do here is get yourself the help of some software like the above mentioned Firepow, which can help you manage a number of blog’s content from one control panel. Something like this will give you the ability to post content on schedules, get notified of when a blog needs updating, and offer you options of how to get relevant content on to your site without your effort.
Combined with all the elements we’ve talked about in previous articles, managing your blog will put the profit icing on your blogging/mini site cake. I trust that you’ve found this series informative and helpful.