I Am Kicking Off 2016 With A Niche Site Challenge? Are You In?

niche site challenge 2016

I think the first time I ever heard of a niche site challenge or paid attention to it was when Pat Flynn of smartpassiveincome.com announced in August 2010 that he was starting a niche site duel with Tyrone Shum. Tyrone had read from Pat’s recent income report then that he was exploring with niche sites and he was at the time doing the same so he proposed a friendly challenge to Pat and Pat accepted. The goal of the challenge was to create a niche site from scratch, rank the site for its main keyword in Google, monetize the site immediately and start making money from it. And as they go along, document their process and progress with the challenge on their blogs to keep them accountable. The updates were to include every step of starting a niche site and growing it to profit; selecting a potential profitable niche, setting up the site, creating content, generating search traffic and monetizing the site.

Pat especially did a good job of documenting his process and progress. His niche site duel series has become a popular resource online for starting and growing a niche site.

When he announced the challenge I thought it was a great idea but I couldn’t join in because I wasn’t looking to set up a new site at the time.

Why Start a Niche Site Now?

Pat and Tyrone’s challenge came out successful. In two months of Pat starting his site, the site ranked on the first page of Google for the site’s main keyword. He then monetized the site with Google Adsense and started to make money from it in October of 2010. Pat later got 2 different offers for the site, $10,000 and $15,000 respectively but he chose not to sell. He has since improved on the site to make it a one of a kind authority site in its niche.

Following Pat’s success with the niche site challenge, niche sites, aka build, rank and profit business model became popular; but not as much today. A lot has changed in the last few years as regards to how search engines, Google especially, rank sites in search results. Google launched some major algorithm updates in recent years and that greatly affected the success of most of these sites.

So why am I bothering to start a niche site challenge now?

Honestly when the business was booming I wasn’t interested especially because of the definition the pioneers had for it then. They considered and treated them as low quality sites; they create and publish 5-10 short posts on the blog, then send massive backlinks within a short time to them, rank them and start making money from them immediately through Adsense or affiliate products.

I was more interested in building authority niche sites, a go-to site or resource site that I could proudly attach my name to and be known for. But authority sites take much longer time to build successfully. You write and write long articles every day and put so much time in building relationships. And they take forever to make decent income. The reason is because most of the sites called authority sites sometimes without meaning to are targeted to free information seekers. So sometimes these sites even when they start to generate a lot of traffic, they still don’t earn as much as they should earn.

Everyone knows now that things have changed. Niche sites are no longer considered as low quality sites. In fact now most of them are authority sites in their own rights. Those who couldn’t write quality content or afford to pay others to do it for them retired from the business model long time ago. But if you don’t have problem with writing useful content or pay someone to, the business model is still very effective. You can still start a new site from scratch, build it and rank it within a few months and start to earn from it. The only difference is that now it requires more thought and more work, but very doable.

The reason I decided to start a niche site is because I have an online business friend in Nigeria who is doing very well with affiliate niche sites. And he seem to have mastered the art of set it up, fill it with lots of content at the beginning and do little if any follow up content after wards.  He has repeated the process successfully for a few sites. And that alone challenges me. One of his sites target Nigerian buyers in a hot selling niche. That’s his most successful site. The others target high end buyers, products people don’t necessarily buy every day but when they do, they pay big. His biggest ticket niche site which is 8 months old as at writing this is post gets 8000-10000 visitors a day! Most times when I do a research in the niche the site is built on; I see the site on page 1 sometimes page 2 of Google.com.ng for varying buying related keywords.

I’m honestly impressed with his success especially because this guy has a full time job and yet he’s able to create and grow these sites successfully, making himself an extra cool 6 figure income monthly (in Naira, in dollars that’s 4 figures). Since many of our local bloggers here don’t know as much as he does about keyword research and general SEO I think I have a good chance of success competing in the niches he’s in. And I hope to build something more authentic than what he has set up, especially for the hot selling niche.

I plan to build 3 niche sites from scratch and grow them to a good income by the end of 2016. And this challenge kicks off the first one!

The Challenge

I honestly struggled with the decision of whether I should build these niche sites in 2016 quietly, not let anyone know what I am doing or to document the process.

I had two issues with documenting the process:

  1. Revealing the name of the sites.
  2. The time it will take from me to write down these long articles of my exact process. Setting up this blog, writing the home page and then writing this post took two days from me. I keep thinking these hours can be put into actually working on my niche site project.

Obviously I decided to document the process that’s why we’re here. I choose to document my process and progress with the niche sites I’ll create because I have previously written a few articles on Affiliate marketing on one of my blogs where I mentioned that creating a niche site was the easiest way for a newbie just starting online or someone without good traffic or following to make money quickly online. So I decided it would be helpful to document my process and have it as a step by step guide to help newbies starting with affiliate niche site; and that include you too. But also I’m doing this to confirm for myself that the business model of build rank and profit or set it up and forget can be duplicated and show proof of it.

As for revealing the name of the sites I’ll build, I’m sorry, I decided against that. I will not be publicly revealing the name of the site I am working on at any giving point in this challenge. It’s not about being shady or selfish, it is protecting my hard work and business. Unfortunately we have many people in the world that will intentionally plan for the down fall of innocent people including those who give their time freely to help others.

The Adsense account of a business friend of mine was hacked by one of his followers that he teaches how to make money quickly with Google Adsense. Then Lewis who put hours into writing detailed process of how he builds his niche websites to help people like you and I was blackmailed. Like me, when he started his niche website challenge he chose not to reveal the name of his site to readers. But someone somehow discovered the site and threatened to reveal the site and or cause harm to his sites so that they can’t achieve their goal if he didn’t give him money. That’s how wicked the world is.

Plus aside all that I just don’t want the competition; and word for word copying of my work (common among lazy wanna-be Nigerian bloggers).

If you happen to somehow discover the site(s) whether intentionally or unintentionally I hope you respect my decision to keep it private and not try to blackmail me 🙂

What is the challenge here?

I challenge myself to start a niche site from scratch, build it up and get it to generate FREE search engine traffic and start making me money from affiliate product sales within 90 days of launching the site. That is the challenge. But I am really hoping that I can get the site to start getting some search engine traffic and start making money within 60 days of launching the site.

The Plan

I will start my keyword research tomorrow (January 31th 2015) and conclude January 2nd 2016. Then January 3rd I will set up the site, and in the meantime password the whole site so that search engines can’t crawl and index it. January 4th I will start writing content for the site. I will focus on writing and publishing the content on the blog for all of January 2016, hopefully doing 3 posts a day for as many days of the month as possible for me.

It’s very likely things won’t work out perfectly as described above. I’m sure there will be days I won’t be able to finish a task and move it to the next day; and maybe a day or two I won’t feel like working at all. Putting this into consideration, I’m giving myself a deadline of February 8th 2016 to launch the blog. By launch I mean I will remove the password from the site and open it up to be indexed by the search engines.

I have decided to try this strategy because I recently read somewhere, can’t remember where exactly but it was from a post on one of the popular SEO blogs maybe MOZ, Search Engine Land or Search Engine Journal, not sure, but I read that if you want to rank a new site quickly the secret is to write a lot of content and while you’re writing and uploading you don’t let the search engines crawl the site. Only open it up for crawling when you’re ready for visitors to see the site.
After the bulk of content in the beginning keep adding one or two posts a day to the site and continue that for sometime.

For my first niche site I have decided to use that strategy. To deal with the challenge of having to publish new content right after publishing the bulk content, I would upload 80% of my posts and publish them immediately. Then schedule 20% to publish automatically, two posts a day. That would allow me have a space of a few days to regroup myself and write a few more content to publish.

I think that the follow up post will ensure that your site isn’t flagged but instead jump to the first page of Google; and if it does fall, it won’t hit the ground too hard. Google loves a lot of fresh quality content and that’s what I keep hearing we need to give them in other to get on their first page quickly.

I’m venturing into a new business territory and this is my first one of the 3 that is to come. So it’s testing and adjusting as I go.

I’ll be updating you as I go. It makes sense to subscribe to my list to be notified of follow up updates.

What say you? Joining me in the challenge for niche site success in 2016?

If you’re as motivated as I am and would be joining in, state that in the comment section. And when you start, document your process and progress on your blog. Send me the link. And later I’ll compile the updates of all those who participated in this challenge on this blog.

In two days we welcome another year. With a new year comes new hopes. There’s no better way to start the year than working as a group on a goal together.

Read update #01: Starting Your First Niche Site – Finding The Right Niche Market And Keywords

About Karo Itoje

My content writing started as a columnist for a local Newspaper in Nigeria. In 2009 I was fired unexpectedly from where I worked as a Audit Assistant for a meager salary. I decided then I would never work for anyone again in my life. I brought my writing online determined to create a full time income working from home. I have a few sites to by name. Visit karoitoje.com/about if you wish to read more.

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