My personal Niche Site Challenge is moving a long a lot faster than I thought it would. Remember that I am still working full time in a corporate job (that I hate), so the only time I have to actually work on this is on the weekends, evenings, and lunch breaks. Still, I accomplished quite a bit over the past week and I’d like to share some of that progress (and process) with you now.
My niche site is live!
You may recall from my last update that I found two really great (unrelated) keywords thanks to Market Samurai, but due to time constraints, I’m only going to focus on one for now. I’ve decided to start with the keyword that I know more about and have more interest in, because that is really going to speed things along and I won’t be struggling to write content for it. So now that I have a plan, I’m ready to get started.
Step 1: Purchasing a domain name
The first thing I did was to purchase a domain name from register.com that is pretty darn close to my target keyword. It’s not an exact match, but it’s close enough and should do ok. The reason why I say that is because I have two other websites (that I built a long time ago) with generic domain names that don’t match the keywords and they both seem to do ok in the search rankings. So I’m not too worried about it. Besides, it’s pretty common knowledge that Google is focusing less on SEO these days, and prefers websites that have good quality content instead.
I should also take a moment to discuss my rationale for choosing register.com as my registrar. I have had a love/hate relationship with them over the past several years, but overall, their service is good and I find their interface much more friendly compared to GoDaddy.com. I tried GoDaddy once and vowed never to use again due to how unorganized (and busy) their web interface is, so despite how aggressive and pushy register.com can be at times, I’ve stuck with them for sake of simplicity. I should also note that I prefer to keep all my domains in one place, and since I’ve been using register.com for years, they are my go-to choice.
Step 2: Setting up the website
Once the domain name was purchased, I created an account for it on my existing HostGator VPS. I’ve tried a lot of web hosts over the years, and HostGator is the best (for me anyway) primarily due to their outstanding support team. I’ve never had to wait more than 24 hours for them to respond to my support tickets, and they always solve my problems quickly. The best part is that if the solution to my problem is complex, they will take care of it for me. That’s the kind of service and support I like!
For this niche site, I’m going to use WordPress. I’ll come right out and admit it – I’m a WordPress junkie and I may never build a hand-coded PHP site again as long as they exist. Using a pre-built platform such as this is an incredible time-saver, which means that I can focus solely on content generation instead of having to mess around with my web template. Remember – the key to success is to work smarter, and not harder!
Even though I am using a copy of WordPress installed directly on my server, an even easier way of doing it is to create an account on WordPress.com and let them host your site for you. All you have to do in that case is just sign up and start blogging. There are no domains to buy and servers to configure, so this is a perfect choice for first-time website owners.
Step 3: Getting my niche site ready for content
Now that I have WordPress installed on my server and the domain name working, the site is live and ready for me to start adding content. But before I do that, there are some important plugins to install in order to make my niche site easy to manage and search-engine friendly:
- Google XML Sitemaps – this is a crucial plugin, primarily because it will help Google understand the structure of your niche site and all the content it contains. It’s important to note that websites without XML sitemaps tend to rank lower in search results.
- SEO for WordPress – I already mentioned above that Google is placing less emphasis on SEO these days, but it’s still extremely important to have your site structure organized in a way that the search engines like. Although very basic, I’ve had good results with this plugin in the past and I’d recommend it to anyone for it’s simplicity.
- Share Buttons Simple Use – Allowing your readers the ability to quickly share your content on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google + is very necessary, and it will really help spread the word about the site if you are writing good content that readers want to share.
Ready, set, go!
So that’s where I’m at right now. I’ve got the domain, website, and template all set to go, and I’m ready to start filling it with content.
Other posts in the Niche Site Challenge series:
- Niche Site Challenge: The beginning (April 7, 2013)
- Niche Site Challenge 002: How I figured out my target keyword(s) for my niche site (April 9, 2013)
- Niche Site Challenge 003: The process for setting up my niche site (April 13, 2013)
- Niche Site Challenge 004: Two year progress report (April 9, 2015)