Ready to start your very first niche site and to make money from anywhere? Follow along this step-by-step guide to get you started now.
Who is this guide for?
This guide was created for beginners starting out with their very first site. It’s going to take you step-by-step through the entire process of getting your first site started. Once finished we will jump into the secrets of how to drive free traffic and convert that traffic into money, giving you time and freedom to live how you want. Spend more time with your family, exercising, and doing the things that are important.
By the end of this guide, you’re going to understand how everything works, choose your own profitable niche topic, and have your first site up and running.
Ready to have more time for your family and job security? Let’s get started!
Follow along: This guide is designed to be interactive. To get the most out of this guide, follow along with each step and take action right away.
Table of contents:
Scroll down to start reading, or jump to a specific chapter/section by clicking one of the links below.
CHAPTER 1: WHAT ARE NICHE SITES AND HOW ARE THEY BUILT?
- How to build a niche site
- What are niche sites?
- How do niche sites work?
- Can you make money with niche sites?
CHAPTER 2: RESEARCHING YOUR NICHE
- What is a niche?
- How do you choose your niche correctly?
- Determine your own niche
CHAPTER 3: GETTING YOUR DOMAIN NAME AND HOSTING
- How do sites get published on the web?
- Deciding on your domain name
- Registering your domain and hosting
CHAPTER 4: INSTALLING WORDPRESS & ANALYTICS
- What is WordPress?
- How to install WordPress
- Choose your preferred WordPress theme
- Install 3 essential WordPress plugins
- Last step: Install analytics
CHAPTER 5: WHAT’S NEXT?
Chapter 1: What are niche sites and how are they built?
Before we start, let’s first take a look at what we’re building, and why.
How to build a niche site
Building a niche site consists of 3 main components: First, you need to set up a website with your own domain and hosting. Next, you need to publish content targeting specific keywords. Lastly, you need a reliable traffic strategy. For me, those are SEO and referral traffic.
What are niche sites?
example of authority blogNiche sites, blogs, authority sites… they’re all the same thing: websites!
More specifically, we’re building sites that solve problems through information. This information can be trending news, viral stories, evergreen how-to articles, and insights, or pure entertainment articles.
Some of the biggest blogs/niche sites on the web are The Huffington Post, Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, ESPN, etc.
Of course, these companies have hundreds or even thousands of employees writing for them.
We’re solo entrepreneurs, and for solo entrepreneurs, the best type of content are evergreen how-to articles.
What does evergreen mean? It means it stays relevant forever.
For example, content that talks about the recent soccer scores is time-sensitive news. It may be hot and trending at one moment, but once the season is over, it’s irrelevant.
Evergreen content would be something like an article that teaches you how to tie a bowtie. Something like that isn’t time-sensitive, so you can essentially write it once and continue driving traffic to it forever.
How niche sites work
So now that we know what niche sites are… let’s learn about how they work.
Here’s a quick rundown:
We’re creating an information resource. And our goal is to enter a niche and become the #1 resource for that niche.
How do we do that?
By creating high-quality articles, better than what’s already available currently on the internet.
And we use SEO to optimize our articles for keywords and to build links that boost rankings.
Over time, we’re going to drive a ton of traffic from Google, referral links, social media, and direct traffic.
SEO is our main strategy
Create awesome content, and build a lot of links. That’s pretty much what SEO boils down to.
If you can do that, over time, you’ll be able to drive a ton of traffic from Google for primary keywords + long-tail keywords.
And once we obtain this level of authority, we can start to monetize the site in various different ways.
But monetization isn’t important right now.
Since this is your first niche site, we want to first learn how to set up the site first and get it live on the web.
Can you make money with niche sites?
Niche sites are one of the best ways to build a long-term business online. If built properly with correct SEO strategies, they get stronger and stronger over time.
Your site amasses more and more traffic, and you can make money day and night.
Think passive income. The internet is running 24/7. Websites don’t close shop at 5-pm like most offline stores. That means, with the proper setup, you can make money passively without needing to be present.
The bigger your site gets, the more traffic you get. And the more traffic you get, the more money you can make.
I make a full-time living running blogs and niche sites, and they’re one of the most passive business models that exist in the world today.
Different Website Monetization models
There are various different ways to monetize your site:
1. Display advertising
2. Affiliate marketing
3. Selling products and services
The most commons ones include using Google Adsense ads, Amazon affiliate links, and affiliate links from other websites that are relevant to your site’s niche.
My personal favorites are Adsense and selling your own ebooks and courses.
Since this is your very first niche site, don’t worry too much about your revenue model. If you can build a high-traffic site, the options are all available to you.
Setting up monetization isn’t the difficult part. The difficult part is building the site out and growing traffic.
A big payoff: Eventually, you may decide to sell your site. Niche sites are like pieces of property on the web. And selling a large site can result in a massive paycheque.
Sites usually make 20-30x monthly revenue.
So if you grow a site to $10,000/month, that’s a potential $300,000 sale — or even higher, since sites that are grown to such a large revenue are usually sold for even more than 30x.
Chapter 2: How to research your niche site
The first step in building is finding your own profitable niche.
What is a niche?
A niche is your site’s topic. It can be anything, really. Bowling, fishing, sports, knitting, business, skydiving, camping, cooking, etc. You get the idea.
Why do choose a niche? Why not build a massive site that targets everything? Again, because we’re solo entrepreneurs.
To build a site about every topic in the world takes a massive amount of content around each topic. Creating great content takes a lot of time and work.
As a result, you end up building something that provides no value for any of your topics.
It’s a much better idea to build something that’s laser-targeted around one specific topic, and become the go-to resource for that industry.
Your aim is to choose one niche and become the #1 resource on the internet for that niche.
Yes, this does narrow down your potential audience a lot. But you begin to get a very narrow, targeted audience on your site.
++ A targeted audience is useful for generating more income on your site. ++
1. You can sell to them directly since they’re all interested in the same thing: your niche.
2. You can sell advertising for a much higher price — because advertisers are willing to pay extra to narrow down their targeting.
3. You can promote products as an affiliate product that each of your readers will be interested in.
4. You can release additional sites/services/software to your audience.
How do you choose the perfect niche?
We have to keep in mind that this is your first niche site.
For an experienced marketer and site builder, choosing a niche can be more about profitability than their own interests. This is because they have the experience and knowledge to build the site out correctly, and know exactly how to grow it out.
As a rule of thumb, the more profitable a niche is, the more competitive it’s going to be. Think of things like finance, stocks, real estate, business. These are all very crowded and competitive niches.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enter these niches. It just means that it’s going to take a lot more work (and expertise) to stand out from the others.
For an inexperienced marketer, this first site is going to be a learning curve. You’re going to learn a ton of things as you build it out and grow traffic. So targeting a super competitive niche might not be the best idea.
Rather thinking about the level of competition and profitability, we’re going to think about your interests instead.
That’s why your first niche should be something that:
1. You’re knowledgeable about.
2. Or you’re interested in becoming knowledgeable about.
Your niche should fall into one of these two categories.
Either you already know a ton about the topic, or you’re interested in learning a ton about the topic.
As your first site, you’re likely going to research and write all of the articles yourself (I wouldn’t recommend outsourcing anything until you learn how everything works first). As a result, over time you’re naturally going to become quite an expert on the topic you choose.
TAKE ACTION: Determine your own niche
Here’s the first “TAKE ACTION” step in this guide. so it’s time to select your own niche.
Now here’s how you’ll do it.
Step 1: What do you know?
You need to start here, so make a list of 10 things you know the best. These are just things that you know and have some experience in.
For instance, if you go camping often, and know a lot about how to set up tents, start fires, and know a lot of nifty wilderness hacks, then that’s an awesome candidate you should mark down on your list.
You don’t have to be a wilderness expert, You just know a bit more about it than the average person.
so don’t just do this in your head. I want you to really get a pen and paper and write this down.
And don’t think too hard. Just write whatever comes into your head. This should only take you 5-10 minutes max.
Here are some questions to get your brain flowing with ideas:
– What are you good at?
– What do you know a lot about?
– What do you find yourself researching and reading about for fun?
– Do people ask you for advice about anything? What is it?
– What are you the “go-to” person for?
– What were your strongest subjects in school?
– What are your accomplishments or any noteworthy achievements?
– What are you most proud of?
Don’t overthink it. When you’re done, move to step 2.
Step 2: What are you curious about?
research checklistThe next step is the same as step 1.
But instead of writing down what you know, write down your interests and curiosities.
For example, I’m very curious about personal finance. Mainly because I know it’s super important, and I suck at it.
For me, this would be the perfect example.
Blogging about a topic forces you to study about it and become an expert in it.
Here are some good questions to get your brain flowing with ideas:
– What TV shows do you watch?
– What did you want to become (as a career) when you were younger?
– When you go to the bookstore, what section do you find yourself visiting?
– What magazines do you read?
– What blogs do you read?
– What do you do for fun that you would like to become better at?
– If you could do one thing full-time for a year, and get paid for it, then what would you choose?
– What do you WANT to know more about?
Again, like in step 1, make a list of 10. Should only take you 5-10 minutes.
Step 3: Choose
Now all that’s left to do is choose from your list of 20. Base your decision on one key question:
What topic will you enjoy learning, reading, and writing about every single day?
REMEMBER: It has to be of interest to you. For example, I don’t really care about sewing. So if I started my first niche site about sewing, I would lose interest fast. The probability of me giving up is a lot higher if I have no interest in the topic.
Chapter 3: Finding Your Domain Name And Good Hosting
Time to register a URL and get your website on the web so we can start building it out.
How do sites get published on the web?
Before we get started, let’s go over a brief overview of what we’re actually doing here.
If you’ve never put a site live on the web before, it can seem like a daunting technical task without help. But it’s not! You only have to understand 2 things: Domain names and hosting.
Let’s go over each one briefly.
What Are Domain Names?
Right now, you’re on my site, mexipes.com.
Mexipes.com is my domain name. I decided on that name and registered it myself when I decided to start this blog because I I’m Canadian, my wife is Mexican, my kids are mixed, and we live in both countries. So we are all mexed up, lol.
Think of domain names as an address. To give directions to your house you would give somebody your address, right?
Well, domain names act in the same way. To get to my blog you enter in my blog address, which is mexipes.com.
That’s all you need to know about domain names right now.
What is Hosting?
A domain name is just an address. If you don’t have anything built on your site, then all visitors will see is an empty page.
To store and display your site’s files (like a site’s articles and pages) then you need to host it on a hosting account. For example, this page that you’re reading right now… I created it and stored it on my server/hosting. As a result, when you visit this page, you’re able to see the content that I created 🙂
Don’t worry if this all sounds too technical. The reason you don’t really have to worry is that we don’t actually have to do each and every technical step ourselves.
Once we register our domain name and set up our hosting, all of that is handled automatically through the back end.
All we need to do now is register a domain name for your new niche site, and set up your hosting.
TAKE ACTION: Register Your Own Domain And Hosting
Follow the steps below to register your own domain and hosting.
By the end of this step, we’ll have your site live on the web. You’ll be able to open up your browser, enter your domain name, and see your new niche website.
Follow the steps below:
Step 1: Decide on your domain name
Before we begin the registration process, you need to decide on your site’s domain name.
What makes a good domain name?
Try and make it two or three words. Include your topic, and add in one or two brandable words to it.
For example, take a look at virtualassistantcanada.ca. They have used one of their biggest keywords for their domain name, and also branded it as their company name. Now when people search for a Virtual Assistant in Canada they come up high in Google search rankings.
I think of domain names all the time for new niche sites and blogs that I’m putting up, so I became pretty good at the process. It’s not too hard.
Just think: Add in one word relevant to your niche, and another word for branding.
1. If your niche is cooking, you might want to use something like: spiceguru.com
2. If your niche is basketball, you might want to use something like: hoopsforlife.com
3. If your niche is home improvement, you might want to use something like: fixitgenius.com
4. If your niche is self improvement, you might want to use something like: efficientmonk.com
5. If your niche is travel, you might want to use something like: travelplaces.com
These are all just examples, and I have no idea if they’re already registered by somebody else or not. But I hope they’re enough to give you a good idea of what you should be aiming for.
If you’re having trouble, try out this tool: Domain Name Brain. Simply add in your niche related word, and it will give you an endless list of suggestions.
For example, if my niche was travel, I would simply add in the word “travel” and hit enter. And Domain Name Brain would give me a huge list of brandable domain name suggestions.
Not every domain will be available
A lot of domains these days are registered by other people and won’t be available.
So instead of just picking one, go through and make a list of 5-10 that you like. Just write them down on another piece of paper.
In the next step, we’re going to go ahead and check if they’re available and register your favorite one.
Step 2: Registering Your Domain & Hosting
The biggest question that you might be wondering right now is how much registering this all cost?
There are a lot of different companies out there offering domain and hosting. Not all of them are reliable. Some are stupid expensive, and they suck.
Trust me, I’ve tried a ton of different hosting companies.
And the one that I would recommend is Bluehost.
Usually, a domain name registration will cost about $10/year and hosting will cost around $100/year – so roughly $110/year.
But for readers of RankXL, you can get your hosting from Bluehost at just $3.95/month. And on top of that, you’ll also get your domain name registration free!
Click here to go to Bluehost.com and grab this deal.
Once you’re on the page, come back and follow along.
I’ll guide you step-by-step through the setup process.
Step 1: Click on the big “Get Started Now” button
Step 2: Choose the basic plan
Step 3: Enter in your domain
Remember when we made a list of preferred domain names?
Now’s the time to enter in your favorite one here.
Enter it in, and press “Next”.
Step 4: Payment
The next step is easy – just fill out all your contact details and payment information (billed annually). Make sure you use your real details so you can verify your account.
Then, make sure your package information section looks like this.
hosting registration 3
We don’t need the Site Backup or SiteLock Security features. They’re a waste of money.
After that, just click Submit at the bottom of the page, and you’ll be done!
Your domain and hosting are now registered 🙂
And that was it!
Not too hard, right?
Now you own your domain name, and you have a hosting account where you can build out your new niche site.
In the next part, we’re going to install a piece of blogging software called WordPress. This allows us to easily build out professional-looking websites without having to know any web programming language!