Let me tell you about my latest little experiment in webby stuff…
A few months ago I decided to start an experiment in website development called a “niche site“. I’ve been reading Pat Flynn‘s site, Smart Passive Income for a while and wanted to try out what seemed like such a successful venture for Flynn. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the concept or with Flynn’s work, a quick debriefer…
Pat Flynn – Super cool internet business guru and smart “passive” income expert. A guy who got let go from his job, made a site dedicated to helping people pass an architecture exam, added a $20 guide and Google AdSense and made just under $8000 from the first month the site was monetized.
Niche Site – A website that is specialized in one particular product, service, or area and is heavily optimized for Search Engine Optimization. The site is then monetized (makes money) through AdSense ads, affiliate links, or the sale of a digital product.
Pat Flynn’s awesome site
Building on some original content, simplicity of design, and a structure that Google will love are keys for niche sites. A niche site does not have to be huge. In fact it’s better if it’s small typically. Basically building a small website centered around one thing, adding some good affiliate linkage and ads and watching revenue come in.
I discovered Sean Ogle‘s work on Location180 and creating internet “businesses” in order to travel and to live independently, something that deeply appeals to me, and his creation of an extremely simplistic site about HDRsoftware that brought in about $500 a month. $500! All from a site that was very simple to put together and essentially runs by itself.
Now, do I want to become an internet billionaire and have three yachts and a penthouse apartment in all the fashionable cities in America? HELL NO. If you’ve read my writing on Just Live Simple, you would know that all I really want is to work on projects that are meaningful to me and to have the time to enjoy the good things in life like family, friends, and passion pursuits. I’m sick of working for other people, under other people, and doing jobs that you have to beg to get even though it underpays and no one wants to do it. There has to be more…
And that’s how I came across Pat Flynn and Sean Ogle and others. These were people who were corporate slaves like the rest of us and either got fired or quit and decided to choose themselves by using what they knew and creating value for themselves and not just for the benefit of a giant company.
A “passive” income stream like building a niche site sounded perfect for me to try and exactly what would get be closer to the path I want to be on. I know a bit about web development and WordPress, I’m a social media whore, and I love technology. Perfect fit.
Blurb on Sean.
I boned up *snicker* on Sean Ogle’s blueprint for Niche Site design and read through Pat Flynn’s exhaustive and technically complex method. After hemming and hawing on the whole idea I decided what would be good keywording to target and that I would actually enjoy learning and writing about, bought a good deal on first year hosting and started the site.
The site I made was originally created under one domain name that I thought was clever and catchy and I soon found out that was probably a dumb idea. It’s not a bad name, just bad for what I want to do. I should try and sell it for big bucks. But for Googling purposes, it’s best to create a site that contains your primary keywording in the title and makes it really easy for people to understand what you’re talking about at a glance.
That’s how I created the site, DronePhotographyCentral.com.
Am I an expert in Drone Photography? Nope, not even close. But I’ve had my hands on more than a fair share of remote-controlled vehicles in my life and I love photography. Plus Drones and Drone Photography are getting exponential interest from the public so I figured it would be an awesome place to start.
The other advantage of talking about and implementing affiliate links for remote-controlled drones and action cameras is that it fills one of the major criterias for having a successful affiliate site: referring people to purchase low volume/high cost products thereby giving you a much better chance of getting paid for your linkage.
After I created the site and wrote my first few original articles I discovered the beginner’s plateau, i.e. the “this shit is hard” period. It’s hard researching and writing articles in an area you’re not very familiar with, including sourcing images and all the while making sure you’re doing your damnedest to optimize for SEO based on the handful of articles you’ve read on the subject.
That was back in May, after a few weeks of excitement I got frustrated and my work tapered off. A month of looking at stats for a brand new site will kill anyone’s interest. Don’t do it. If you ever just make a blog, or a website, you have to ban yourself from looking at stats for a while. It will just kill your excitement level and that’s something you need to actually work on your project.
Then in August, something odd happened. Someone actually used the Contact page to submit a question. Someone had found the site, as primitive as it was, and wanted to know if I or Drone Photography Central knew of a drone photographer in the area that they could hire. That meant the site was getting picked up somewhere. I looked up some information online and sent a reply. Then, a couple days later, it happened again. Someone found the site and was looking for drone photographers. The writing was clearly on the wall, rather than just talking about drones and referring people via affiliate links, I could dedicate a portion of the site to listing drone photography businesses and the site would gain traffic that way as well.
This all bodes very well for the niche that I selected as Pat Flynn’s own SecurityGuardTrainingHQ niche site has a substantial revenue stream from private advertisers wanting to list their Security Guard Training schools on the site. We’re talking thousands a month. Now, I am no Pat Flynn, but I can see potential there.
Free guide I made for DPC.com
So I’ve been working diligently for the past two months on my niche site, writing original content (not all of which is posted yet), creating an email list and a free pdf for drone photography beginners, researching drone laws, searching for drone photography businesses, and implementing AdSense and Amazon affiliate linking on the site.
I fully expected the site to just be sitting there for a while before anything really started to happen, but lo and behold, only a day or so after adding AdSense to the site, I got a “click“.
It’s amazing what 53 cents will do to your work ethic. As the traffic has been picking up the more content I added, the more consistently I’m getting AdSense revenue. It’s nothing that I can buy that log cabin in the woods yet or anything, but that fact that I’m getting paid for ad clicks that can happen 24 hours a day with little or no supervision from me is kind of mind-blowing. I also noticed people were clicking through my Amazon Affiliate links.
The added bonus of Amazon Affiliate referrals are that you also get your commision percentage on anything else that was purchased there within 24 hours of clicking through your link. I’ve already seen this firsthand after using affiliate links to my first Kindle book, “Zodiac” as people purchased the book and then other physical products as well.
Now, niche site creation is like anything else, there are already other people doing it and while that may seem discouraging to most people, I don’t mind. There’s a lot of A LOT on the internet and most of it is done badly in my opinion. Most people seem to be building websites for robots not for people. It’s also a very big planet and a VERY big internet. I think there’s room for a bunch of us.
As of this moment, after having implemented AdSense for about 2 weeks I’ve made around $3 in revenue. I’m actually very pleased with that figure because the site currently has very low traffic and even Pat Flynn’s security guard site made about $4 in its first month and now brings in $8000 plus a month. It’s all about the long tail, creating something that slowly builds and pays in the long run. There are no quick fixes in love or push button results. This kind of project requires hard work, but the kind of work that I actually enjoy, web development and writing.
I’ll talk more about the progress of the experiment as I go and be totally honest about the results. After all, it might be a total failure, but no matter what it’ll be a learning process and that’s something we can all benefit from.
I’ll be collecting the posts on a special section of jameslcarey.com I created just for this at Niche Site Experiment.
If you’re interested in building your own niche site, I recommend reading these posts in particular to see if it’s something you want to invest your time and money into: