So, you’ve probably heard that you can make money with affiliate marketing or something like that. Now that you know that it’s possible, I am going to be teaching you (in-depth) how to build a niche site in 2019 (from start to finish).
What is a Niche?
For those who’ve never heard of niche marketing, a niche is a subcategory of a broader category.
An example of this could be Dog Training.
Dog Training is a subcategory to Pet Training (which is a subcategory to Animal training).
Let’s visualize it.
Not all animal trainers are looking to trainer their pet, and not all pet trainers are looking to train a dog.
That’s why it’s essential to understand how to choose a niche.
Choosing a Niche (Understanding What Topics You’ll Be Blogging About)
The first step you need to take before building a website is choosing the niche of your website.
It doesn’t matter how awesome your site is, if it doesn’t cover an interesting topic then nobody will care.
Doug Cunnington said: “Every single part of the process is dependent on choosing a niche that targets a group of willing buyers.”
Whether you’re building an affiliate brand or launching a startup company, creating a business around the wrong group will kill your business before it started.
Since I mostly focus on affiliate marketing, I’ll be building a website through that perspective.
However, you can use this guide no matter what business you’re building.
So, as an affiliate, how do you choose a niche?
Looking Through Amazon for Ideas (The Main Way I Find Niches)
Amazon is the biggest online realtor ever.
They sell anything.
The best part is we can use that to our advantage when choosing our niche.
The first thing you’ll want to do is surf through the Amazon Directory and look for things that stand out.
Since I have started a podcast, microphones are something that I have been interested in lately.
Microphones are a great niche to go into for these reasons:
- There are a lot of them (meaning more content).
- Microphones are used for many things (Streaming, Podcasting, Music).
- Each microphone has a lot of reviews (meaning that people purchase them).
- The number of problems people face with microphones (again meaning more content).
- There are a lot of accessories you can buy with microphones (upselling potential).
So, for this example, I will be going with that niche.
Anthony Says: Even though I am going with the microphone niche, I didn’t use a domain name that most people would use going into that niche. Don’t worry about that; the guide will still be the same.
What to Do When You’re Having Trouble Finding a Niche
As you can see, I managed to find a niche with ease.
That’s because I have been doing niche research for over three years. For you, however, that might not be the case, and you may struggle to find the niche that you want to build your site around.
So, when you’re struggling to find a niche, what are some things you can do to choose one?
Brainstorm Topics That You Know A lot About
The easiest way to get started is to brainstorm topics that pique your interest.
The main reason that I am telling you this is because you’ll be creating content around this topic for a long time.
Sure, you can choose a niche that you know nothing about and learn as time goes on, but it’s simpler to pick something you’re knowledgeable in already.
Here’s how I brainstorm topics.
First, I head over to Answer The Public.
All you need to do is search for a general topic.
In this case, I’ll use football (European Football).
Answer The Public will spit out a bunch of topic ideas that you can use to visualize the content that you’ll create.
Looking at the image above, you can see some questions, prepositions, and comparisons.
You can either save them as images or download them as a CSV file.
Another place you can use to brainstorm topic ideas quickly is Keyword Shitter 2.
For this one, you’d need to put in a keyword, and it will “shit out” longtailed keywords for you.
Using Google Trends to Narrow Down Your Niche
Google Trends is underrated in my opinion.
To put it shortly, you type in a topic, and it will give you data on how popular that topic is within a specific country.
For example, our niche (microphones) is generally a popular topic on Google.
It’s recently started to go up in search popularity.
Where Google Trends becomes powerful is when you combine the data of popularity with the related queries.
At the bottom of the page, you’ll find the “Related Queries” section.
You can look at related searches, download them as a CSV file and even sort them out based on rising popularity or all-time popularity.
Though it’s not as good as a keyword tool, just using Google Trends with Amazon is enough to get a better understanding of whether you should build a site around that niche.
Anthony Says: That’s how to pick a niche! Remember that when you’re looking to choose a niche, you want to make sure that there is a balance between the profitability of the niche and your interest in it as well.
Choosing a niche just for the money will only demotivate you after you’ve been working for nine months with no results.
And by choosing a niche solely because you have interest in it might not be the right decision.
Some niches out there are just not profitable (or they’re too competitive).
The Difference Between WordPress.org and .com
Right, now that we’ve chosen our niche, it’s time to start looking into building your blog.
There are many CMS (Content Management Systems) out there.
However, I think that WordPress is the best way to go.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is the most straightforward way to build a website (or in our case, a blog).
Just like Google dominates the search market, WordPress dominates the website market (as a CMS) with over 33% of all websites using WordPress.
To put that into perspective, Joomla (the 2nd most popular CMS) only populates about 3% of all websites.
Though they started as a blogging platform, WordPress is a lot more technical now and have become an open-source CMS licensed under GPLv2.
Which allows us to use and modify it for free.
Now, we can build any website using WordPress.
Just take a look at one of the most famous rappers of all time (Snoop Dogg).
His website was built using WordPress (though he should probably switch over to https://)
However, there’s just one issue.
Which WordPress CMS should you use?
Why WordPress.org is Better Than WordPress.com
Believe it or not, there is more than one version of WordPress.
Anthony Says: The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is that Automattic (the creators of WordPress) hosts and runs your website for you.
Whereas, with WordPress.org, you’ll have to find a hosting service and download the self-hosted version of WordPress to your website.
So, you may be wondering “Well, what’s the point of using WordPress.org?”
The short answer would be full control.
See, with the self-hosted version of WordPress, you’re not as limited with what you can and can’t do.
Check out what WPBeginner had to say on the matter.
- They place ads on all free websites. So your users will see ads, and you don’t make money from it. If you don’t want your users to see their ads, then you can upgrade to a paid plan (starting from $36 per year).
- You are NOT allowed to sell ads on your website. If you run a high traffic site, then you can apply for their advertising program called WordAds where you share revenue with them. Premium and Business plan users can use WordAds right away.
- You cannot upload plugins. Free plan users get built-in JetPack features pre-activated. Business plan users can install from a selection of compatible plugins ($299 / year). WordPress.com VIP program lets you install plugins, and it starts from $5000 per month.
- You cannot upload custom themes. Free plan users can only install from the limited free themes collection. Premium and business plan users can also select premium themes. There are limited customization options for the free version. Premium and Business plan users can use custom CSS.
- You are restricted to their stats. You cannot add Google Analytics or install any other powerful tracking platform. Business plan users can install Google Analytics.
- They can delete your site at any time if they think it violates their Terms of Service.
- Your site will display a powered by WordPress.com link. It can be removed by upgrading to the Business plan.
- WordPress.com does not offer any eCommerce features or integrated payment gateways.
- You cannot build membership websites with WordPress.com.
As you can see, it’s better to use the self-hosted version of WordPress over Automattic’s hosted version.
According to WPBeginner, the only benefit of using WordPress.com is that you don’t need to worry about updates and backups (which in my opinion isn’t worth the limitations).
Alternative Content Management Systems
Though I think that using WordPress is a no brainer for website development, there are still some other content management systems out there that are quite good.
So, to give you options, here is a list of alternative CMS you can use.
Drupal is an open-source CMS software (similar to WordPress.org), and it’s been used to host websites by huge corporations like:
- The White House
Drupal has a lot of features which helps the software be more flexible for your needs right out of the box.
Though it’s not as flexible as WordPress, it’s still a decent option to consider.
Weebly is another popular CMS among marketing agencies.
The reason for that is because Weebly is quite simple and more friendly to non-technical people.
Seen as a basic drag and drop CMS, Weebly allows you to choose from many different templates and enables you to edit all of the basic stuff (like text, images, & video).
Similarly to all of the other CMSs that I will be talking about here, it’s excellent, however, with WordPress’s recent update to Gutenburg, it doesn’t cut it for me.
Wix is known for being a WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get).
Like Weebly, Wix focuses on being a user-friendly software geared towards people who aren’t that technical with website building.
Anthony Says: Though I do want to mention that with the rise of WordPress page/theme builders (like Elementor. Which is FREE to use). Sites that are built with Wix has always seemed “Outdated,” to me.
Though, Wix does have a lot of perks for eCommerce websites.
In addition to that, they’ve also started focusing on making SEO easier for people using their software.
This entry will be short because I haven’t used Squarespace at all.
So, to be honest, I don’t know a lot about it.
Regardless of that, Squarespace is popular because of its impressive interface (allowing you to build beautiful websites easier) and for managing updates for you.
So, here are some benefits I found online:
- Easily-Made Websites
- All-in-One Platform
- Speed, Data, and Security Export
- Live Chat Support
Take away what you want from that.
Now, that you’ve chosen a content management system, it’s time to move onto step 3.
Deciding Your Hosting Platform & Brand Name
Assuming that you’ve chosen WordPress.org to build your website, you’ll need to decide where you’ll host your website and also choose your brand name at the same time.
First off, let’s look at which hosting platform you should use.
Best WordPress Hosting for Beginners
There are tons of hosting platforms, and many of them specifically target WordPress users.
So, how do you know which one to choose?
I am going to list three hosting services and tell you the reason that I am recommending them.
Honestly, these platforms aren’t that different so pick the one that sticks out to you first.
WPX Hosting is where I am currently hosting my websites. Their speeds are incredible, and their support is even better.
Edit: Since writing this guide, I have moved to Cloudways. A managed cloud-based hosting provider that gives you a lot more control over your sites.
Though they are the most expensive hosting out of the three (at $24.99/mo), the speed you get from their support, and their servers outdo other providers that cost $100s/mo.
Here are some promoted features from WPX Hosting (only the features that you need to know):
Business Plan (at $24.99/mo)
- 5 Websites
- 10GB of Storage
- 100GB of Bandwidth
- WPX Cloud CDN
ALL Websites Include
- Unlimited SSL
- Staging Area
- Domain Email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Manual Backups
- 99.95% Uptime
- 1-Click WordPress Install
- USA/UK Hosting Locations
For those of you wondering “do they offer site migration?”
They do, in fact, they offer free unlimited migrations.
However, since most of you are reading this guide hasn’t even built a site before, you won’t be needing that feature yet.
Bluehost is one of the most popular hosting platforms out there.
You’ve probably heard of BlueHost before.
The image above is from a comparison test that I have been doing between BlueHost and WPX Hosting.
Though BlueHost is cheaper that WPX Hosting (at $3.95/mo), you have to pay for 12 months hosting in advance (something they don’t tell you on their pricing page).
Here’s what you get with Bluehost (again only the stuff you need to know).
- 1 Website
- Free SSL
- 50GB SSD Storage
- 25 Subdomains
They don’t say if they offer site migration (again most of you reading won’t need this feature).
At the time of writing this, I haven’t had a chance to test the support team for Bluehost thoroughly.
Once I have, you’ll see an edited section below here telling you my thoughts.
If any hosting platforms get mentioned more than Bluehost, it will be SiteGround.
The first thing you may notice with SiteGround is that you get a lot more freedom with what you can do to your site than with WPX or Bluehost.
What I mean by that is you get to take full advantage of cPanel.
The bad side to that is that it’s easier to break your website.
Similarly to BlueHost, SiteGround offer cheaper hosting (at £2.95/mo); however, unlike WPX Hosting, they don’t offer monthly payment.
Now, here are some features that SiteGround promote.
- 1 Website
- 10GB of Web Space
- Up to 10,000/mo Visitors (I don’t like this limitation)
Essential WordPress Features:
- WP Install
- CloudFlare CDN
- Daily Backups
- 24/7 WP Support
One thing I would like to mention is that each of their plans only allows a certain amount of monthly traffic.
However, they also say that you get unmetered traffic.
I am slightly confused by that, but take it as you will.
Bluehost and WPX Hosting don’t mention a traffic limit on their packages (meaning that the limit is probably quite high since most packages will have some sort of limit).
One thing you might notice once you’ve chosen where to host your website is that you can purchase a domain with your hosting package.
So let’s talk about domain names and how to choose one.
What Are Domain Names?
A domain name is the URL address that you type in to access a website.
For example, to get to YouTube, you’d need to type in www.youtube.com.
My website’s domain is bloggerxl.com.
Domain names are used for identifying computers on the internet. You may have heard of IP addresses?
Well, computers use them to identify which server your website is on.
However, since remembering numbers can be hard for humans, we developed domain names to remember them easily.
Did you notice that with YouTube, they used (www.) whereas, with my site, I left it out?
That’s because you get to chose whether or not your domain name includes the World Wide Web (www.) in the name.
You can read more about that in my WordPress SEO Settings guide.
So, how do I choose the right domain name for me?
How to Choose Your Domain Name
Okay, so I have talked about what a domain name is, but how thoroughly should you think about your domain?
The quick answer is quite thoroughly.
See, your domain name can quite literally make or break your online presences.
For example, if my domain name was (blogger-xl.uk), would you remember that over (bloggerxl.com)?
Here are a few things you need to think about:
- Domain names affect SEO. (Okay, EMDs (Exact Match Domains) can still work, however, is it better to go with an EMD or to use a more brandable name?)
- Your domain defines your brand. (Think of google.com or facebook.com, having a brandable domain (especially in the internet age) can help increase your brand’s exposure. So much so that Sam Ovens spent a lot of money getting the domain consulting.com.)
- People judge anything. (First impressions are important because people will judge you and your brand for anything. Having a bad domain (like the example above) can send visitors running for the hills.)
Now that we have that out of the way, here are the most important things you need to check off when choosing your domain name (in my opinion).
Brandable Over Generic/EMD
You’ve probably heard it before, so to save you the trouble, brandability > generic.
For example, I have a small niche site that I use to test out some SEO strategies and instead of going with something like (howtogroomyourface.com), I went with something more brandable (groomingwarriors.com).
Edit: groomingwarriors.com was a small project that I ran, however, it’s no longer active.
To prove that brandable domains work, take a look at my Search Console.
As you can see, my brand name (Grooming Warrior) brings in the most traffic to that website.
Avoid Making Your Domain Name Really Long
Sometimes, having a longer domain name can’t be helped.
Like Dom Well’s humanproofdesigns.com or Pat Flynn’s smartpassiveincome.com; however, if you can keep your domain short, do it.
Let’s look at some popular domains.
What do all of those domains have in common?
They are all short and rememberable.
On the other hand, take a look at this domain (onemorecupof-coffee.com).
If you wanted to find that website, would you remember that domain?
That site belongs to somebody that I looked up to when I got started with affiliate marketing, and he has a very successful business.
However, I can’t help but think that his business would be twice as successful if he had a better domain.
Avoid Using Hyphens and Numbers
Using both the example I just gave you and the example using my domain, you can lose a lot of potential traffic by using numbers and hyphens in your domain name.
Let’s use a real-world example.
If you and I were to meet in a cafe and we were talking about our businesses, and you said to me “So, what’s your website, I’ll check it out?”
And my response was “bloggerxl.com.”
Once you searched for my site, would you think to type in blogger-xl.com?
Of course not, nobody would.
Don’t assume that since YOU know how to type your domain name in that others will as well.
Think About The Long Game
This next tip is great because I completely messed this up myself (meaning you get a live example of what not to do.)
When choosing your domain name, you’ll want to think about the long game.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Can I scale my business with this domain?
- Will this domain hold me back from doing what I want?
Here’s my live example of what not to do.
I thought that you said affiliatetriggers.com is the type of domain we should purchasing?
I did, however, when choosing this name for myself, I never thought that the type of content that I wanted to create and who I wanted to create it for would change.
Now, I am stuck in a position where it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for me to create content targeted towards small business owners (since my brand name literally says affiliate in it.)
I can’t scale my content to more people.
Luckily, I realized that quickly, and I am working on change the Affiliate Triggers brand, but I am telling you this experience so that you don’t make the same mistake.
Anthony Says: So, that’s all I have to say about domain names and how to choose yours.If you have any ideas on what you want your domain name to be, go down to the comment section and leave a comment and I will let you know if you’re going in the right direction.
Now, let’s move on to building your website.
Building Your Website (Using 1-Click Installs)
Okay, this next step will be the easiest step out of everything you’ll be doing to build your website (which is actually making the site).
Now, all you need to do is click a single button and enter some details.
Since I use WPX Hosting, I am going to be showing you use them.
However, any hosting service that offers 1-click installs will have a similar process.
Once you’ve purchased your domain name, you’ll need to head over to “My Services,” and click on WordPress hosting.
Then you’ll click on (Business (UK/USA): Your Domain Name) and head over to Websites/SSL.
There you should see the domain names that you have added to WPX’s servers.
If you don’t see any, click on the orange “Add New Website” button.
Should see this pop up afterward.
Leave the Top Level Domain section and type in your domain name below.
Once, you’ve added your domain name; you’ll see your domain with four options.
- Install WP
Click on the Install WP button and wait until you see this popup.
Click the “Install WordPress on Website” link and enter in what you want your login details to be (you can use the image below as a guide on how to fill out the information.)
You’ve Officially Built Your First WordPress Site!
Once, WordPress is finished installing onto the domain, type in yourdomain.com/wp-login.php/ to head over to your login page.
Anthony Says: Make sure that you have your login details saved somewhere safe. I like to use LastPass to save all of my passwords and login details for my accounts.
Next, it’s time to change the basic settings on your newly installed WordPress website.
Setting Up Your WordPress Site (The Basics)
Okay, so now you have this.
(If you don’t then, please contact the support team from your hosting service).
Our next step is setting our newly built website up.
The first things we are going to look at is some of the basic settings on WordPress.
Changing The Basic Settings in WordPress
The first page is the “General” page.
Here you can change the name of your site, add a tagline, change how your website URL looks to users, and some other stuff.
As you can see, I have my URL set up like this (https://staging.bloggerxl.com).
There isn’t any SEO benefit to doing this; it’s personal preference.
Anthony Says: Decide whether or not you want to have www. in your URL and then never change it (trust me).
It’s something that nobody except you cares about, and it can cause a lot of ranking issues later on if you change it incorrectly.
Most of the changes on this page are simple and straightforward, so I don’t need to explain it to you.
However, if you’re not sure what to have for each option, here is what I have, make sure it’s changed for your preferences.
Writing & Reading
The main reason why I am combining these two setting pages is that there’s nothing for you to change in the writing section.
The reading section has some importance on the other hand.
Since WordPress was initially built with personal blogging in mind, when you create your site, it will show your blogroll by default.
However, if you want to have a static page (similar to my homepage) instead of a blogroll, then you can change the option to Static Page.
Anthony Says: You’ll need to make sure that you already have a page built before you change it to a static page.
Some people don’t plan on having a blog, but most of us do, so make sure to create a blog page and then change the setting here to that page.
Next is how many blog posts your blog page displays before continuing to a new page.
If you were to have five blogs on a single page, here’s what your URLs would look like past post 5.
It’s totally up to you how many blog posts you want to display on each page. Some people have 5, others 10, some even have 20 on a single page.
Next, is whether or not your blog posts on the blog feed show a summary of the article or the full blog post.
I wouldn’t recommend using full text for any reason.
Just leave it on summary (or change it to “summary” if it’s on “full text”).
Lastly, is Search Engine Visibility.
Never check this box, unless you’re in the beginning stages of building your website and you don’t want search engines indexing it yet.
I decided to skip a few pages because there isn’t anything crucial that you need to change.
However, here are images of each page I skipped so that you can see what I have.
The permalinks page is probably the most important page out of all of your setting pages.
Whenever you look at blog posts, you may see URLs like this:
These are all permalink structures that you can change in the permalink section.
Anthony Says: When changing your permalink structure, make sure that you know what you want and how you want it.
The reason for that is Google, and other search engines treat every URL as a separate URL.
What I mean by that is that even (http://yourdomain) and (http://www.yourdomain.com) are treated as different websites.
It’s highly recommended NOT to change your permalink structure once your website goes live unless you know what you’re doing (even then it’s still not recommended).
To keep things simple, I would recommend choosing one of the three examples I gave above.
Before I move on, there is one more setting you’re likely to see on a fresh WordPress install (which is the new “Privacy settings” page).
It’s pretty straightforward, and they give you a good description of what you’re supposed to do so I won’t be mentioning it here.
Now onto themes!
Installing The Best Theme for You
Okay, so your themes are how your website looks.
At BloggerXL, I use the Astra theme.
Not to be confused with some of my static pages which are built using a page builder called Thrive Architect.
Themes are essential, but not as important as you may think, so I recommend writing down a list of needs you have for your website and choosing a theme that best fits those needs.
Edit: I will soon be adding in a PDF download of all the best themes (in my opinion) to use for your blog.
Installing The Essential Plugins for Your Website
Themes are important because it helps with your UX (User Experience).
However, plugins are even more important and can be a little bit more complicated than themes.
WordPress plugins help add functionality to your website.
Remember how I said this:
“Not to be confused with some of my static pages which are built using a page builder called Thrive Architect.”
Well, Thrive Architect is a WordPress plugin that allows me to create beautiful landing pages.
Another example is at the bottom of the screen — the social sharing buttons.
They are there because I have a social sharing plugin on my site.
Anthony says: Huge warning here. Similar to themes, there are 1,000s – 10,000s of different plugins that do a wide range of different things.
Don’t get caught up in different plugins.
Sure, you can use plugins not on this list if they help your website and don’t slow it down. However, most of you will only need a few extra plugins on top of what’s listed here.
I will be adding some optional plugins for those who may want those features.
So, what are the essential plugins that every WordPress install needs?
Yoast SEO is one of the most downloaded plugins on WordPress with over 5 million active installs.
It’s a simple plugin that helps set up your website for SEO with colored indicators letting you know how optimized your webpage is for your target keyword.
As you can see above, you add a keyword in, and then Yoast will give you recommendations on how to improve that page.
You also get a bunch of different settings such as to make sure that your website is set up correctly:
- XML Sitemap
- Search Console Integration
- Knowledge Graph & Schema.org
- .htaccess file and robots.txt
- & More
If you need extra features, they do offer a premium version of the plugin, but you shouldn’t need it to be honest.
SEOPress is another SEO plugin, and though it only has 1% of the active installs that Yoast SEO has, it’s still just as good as its competitor.
Since they both do the same thing, I am only going to talk about the price difference for the premium versions.
Firstly, Yoast SEO.
Yoast SEO premium is £79 ($103) for a single license.
You can purchase multiple licenses for multiple websites which will save you 5 – 15% depending on how many licenses you get.
What makes the premium version of SEOPress a lot better for me is the pricing.
Though it’s a yearly subscription (instead of a one-time-payment like Yoast), it’s $39 (£30) a year, for everything you see above.
In addition to that, you get unlimited licenses (meaning you don’t need to pay extra for having more than one website).
Sucuri is a WordPress security plugin that keeps your site safe from hackers.
It does that by creating multiple layers of safety and blocks any malware attack or DDoS attack.
There’s not much else to say about it if you want to keep your website safe, use it.
WPS Hide Login
Note: This plugin is an optional one.
This WordPress plugin is pretty neat.
Using Sucuri to protect your website is one thing. However, you can stop most attacks from even taking place using WPS Hide Login.
What this plugin does is allow you to change the URL that WordPress uses to log you in.
So instead of using this URL to login (http://example.com/wp-login.php), you can use a stronger URL like this (http://example.com/hHo39_Jfl6De).
Or even this (http://example.com/my-login-page).
WP Security Audit Log
I have heard a lot about this plugin. However, I haven’t used it myself. So, instead of giving you some watered down comment on it, here’s what an expert has to say.
Robert Abela from WPBuffs.
“WordPress security is an ever-evolving process and not a one-time fix.
As a WordPress administrator, you should first implement robust security measures on your website, then continuously monitor, test and improve from there.”
If you are looking for a comprehensive audit log, because you need to know precisely what has changed in a blog post, rather than just knowing that it has changed, or because of some compliance requirements, I recommend WP Security Audit Log.
This plugin is built as a security solution, so it is the most comprehensive audit log solution you’ll find for WordPress.
WP Security Audit Log also has several premium add-ons which you can use to configure automated email alerts, generate reports, etc.
Okay, so I realized that if I continue to talk about all of the WordPress plugins that you need, we’ll be here forever.
So, you can click here, to head over to my 20 Essential (and Optional) WordPress Plugins guide to check out the rest.
Edit: Until that blog post goes public, here’s another article you can look at.
Making The Essential Pages (Disclaimer, About, Contact Pages)
On to the next step, creating your foundational pages (for example, the about, contact and disclaimer pages).
Since we are going to be building these pages, I am going to make this section very short and include a video of me creating those pages.
Watch the video below if you want to build these pages along with me.
Thinking About What Type of Content You Want to Produce
Okay, so you now have a basic website (with 2 – 5 pages).
Congrats, even getting this far is an achievement considering you didn’t have a clue on how to build a website before reading this guide.
Now that you’ve done that, it’s time to get into the challenging work (yes, what you’ve done up until now was the easy stuff).
How to Decide What Type of Content You Want to Publish
Something to always remember when building your website is that the type of content that you produce will depend on who your audience is.
I am going to discuss different types of content and who they’re best for, it’s up to you to choose which kind of content you create.
When it comes to content creation, how-tos/tutorial-based content is the default type.
It’s obvious why to.
Everybody has something that they can’t do, and quickly learning from others on the internet is the best way to overcome their issue.
Tutorials can be on anything as well; for example, this complete guide that you’re reading is just an in-depth tutorial.
As I mentioned, tutorials are the default type when it comes to content creation.
Meaning that it works no matter the niche.
Anthony Says: Here are some tips to think about, always make sure to be as thorough as possible with your tutorials.
However, you also want to make sure that you explain it like you were teaching a 10-year-old.
Most people who are new to something won’t understand most of the slang used within a niche; that’s why it’s important to have a child in mind when creating these tutorials.
You’ll naturally use words that are easier to understand using this method (which people will thank you for).
Everybody loves list posts.
Buzzfeed wouldn’t be half the size they are now without list posts.
There easy to read and even easier to create.
Similarly to tutorials, everybody can benefit from a list post. For example, knowing what the 10 best SEO tools are can be just as helpful as knowing 5 ways to improve your SEO.
Darren Rowse is one of the marketing gods, and luckily for us, he has an article on how to craft the perfect list post.
Read that if you plan on making some list posts (which most of you will).
Reviews are great.
Before purchasing a product/service, hearing what other people think of it can be the difference between pulling out your credit card and leaving the website for the rest of time.
Having a website that only has reviews on it isn’t wise.
However, they can work.
I’ve only seen them work in the technology and marketing SaaS (Software as a Service) niches.
For example, Jerry (from Smart Affiliate Success) has review probably over 100 different affiliate marketing programs.
He built his business of reviewing products, and now reached his goal of making $100,000 in a single week.
When it comes to audio content, there aren’t that many options.
However, one of the best options is podcasting.
Podcasting is huge right now.
When I was planning out my podcast (The BloggerXL Podcast), it seemed that everybody had a podcast of some kind.
The best thing about podcasts is that you can talk about anything you want (it’s your podcast after all).
I highly recommend checking out Colin Gray (aka The Podcast Host) if you want to learn how to launch your podcast.
I recently published an eBook about using content to improve affiliate sales.
Though eBooks are great, similarly to podcasts being better to consume than blog posts, audiobooks are more straightforward to consume than eBooks.
A great example of this is Gary Vee’s Crushing It.
At the time of writing this guide, 87% of 714 reviews were five stars for his book, and there were a lot of people who consumed that book through audio (including me!).
Now, I understand that publishing audiobooks aren’t something you can often do; Which is why I would highly recommend only creating one or two and using those to build your email list.
When it comes to video, most of the content you’ll create is similar to your blog posts.
Most people usually repurpose their blog posts into videos and vice versa.
So, instead of giving you different types of content to produce, here are some tips that I have gathered from socialmediaexaminer.com.
- Commit to Posting to YouTube Multiple Times Per Week.
- Develop a Sustainable Video Production Workflow.
- Keep Titles and Opening Credits Short.
- Add End Screens to Promote Your Videos, Channel, or Website.
- Design Video Thumbnails YouTube Users Want to Click.
Researching The Keywords for Your Articles
Okay, it’s been a long journey so far, but trust me when I say it’s worth the effort.
Next, we’ll be briefly looking into keywords and how to find the best keywords.
Whenever you type something into Google (for example “Best microphones in 2019.”), you’re using a keyword (or keyphrase) to find content that answers your question.
Keyword research is the first (and most important) step in your SEO campaigns.
Get this wrong, and you will have failed before you even began.
So, here is how to accurately find keywords that will benefit you and your business.
Anthony Says: I will talk about this later on in this section.
However, it’s essential for you to know that domains can be given a “rating.”
The best way to get started is to find keywords with an average difficulty that is similar to your domain rating.
For example, if you’re domain rating is 35, then you could rank for most keywords with an average difficulty of 60 or less.
How to Do Keyword Research (The Basics)
Keywords are the essence of SEO.
By using keywords or phrases, you’re telling search engines and their users the topic of your content.
ahrefs made a great point about keywords.
So, how do you find the right keywords to target?
First off, before you start looking for keywords, there are some things you need to understand.
Firstly, there are two main types of keywords (body keywords and longtail keywords).
Longtail keywords are search terms that are less competitive (and by extension of how people use search engines, longer).
An example of a longtail keyword would be “What is the best SEO tool for growing your business?”
Body keywords are more competitive terms.
These type of keywords get loads of monthly searches. An example of body keywords would be “Online Marketing,” or “Injury Lawyers.”
Next, you’ll want to make sure that you check the top ranking pages for every keyword you want to target.
The reason for that is search intent.
Search intent is what users are thinking when searching for a keyword.
Your goal is to model your pages similar to the pages already ranking at the top.
Lastly, as I mentioned before, you’ll want to only target keywords that your website can (and will benefit from) rank for.
An example of this would be an older post that I did about Neil Patel (which isn’t on BloggerXL anymore).
As you can see from the image above, after getting one of my articles shared on Neil’s twitter, I started appearing for many variations of Neil Patel (as keywords).
However, nobody who searches for Neil Patel wants to see my content.
They want to see Neil’s content.
So, it’s not good keywords for me to rank for.
Right, now let’s get back to finding keywords.
Step 1: Use Answer The Public
Answer The Public is a tool that you can use to get different ideas for blog posts for your niche.
All you need to do is type in your niche, and you’ll get questions, prepositions, comparisons, and related queries.
Once, you have those; you can download a CSV file and plug them into a keyword tool to find out how many searches those search terms get every month.
Step 2: Use Keyword Tools
To find the data you need for each keyword, you’ll need to use a keyword tool.
Keyword tools give you data such as:
- Search Volume
Some tools do give you more data.
However, the search volume and competitiveness will be all that most of us need.
Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest (which is the only free tool out of those mentioned) is becoming better and better as well.
Step 3: Make Sure You Have a Mix of Keywords
Now that you have a bunch of different keywords (with data), you’ll want to make sure that you have a good mix of keywords.
A good SEO campaign will have a balance between body and longtail keywords.
Having short-term and long-term accomplishments is a good thing.
A problem that many SEOs face is trying to rank for difficult keywords to soon.
All you need to do is separate your body keywords from your longtail ones.
You should be able to tell what type of keyword belongs in what list easily, but if you don’t then look at these examples.
- How to build a website with WordPress for beginners
- Start a blog
Sure, the second one looks more attractive (and will have more search traffic).
However, the first keyword will generally be more consistent for traffic.
Anthony Says: Think about it like this. Imagine if keyword #1 got 1,000 monthly searches and you were ranking at the top of page 1 (which on average would give you a 33% click-through rate).
That’s 330 visitors from that single keyword.
Now, image keyword #2 got 5,000 monthly searches.
However, you ranked at the bottom of page 1 (which may give you about a 1% CTR).
That’s only 50 visitors for a keyword with more searches.
That’s why it’s good to have a balance.
Step 4: Filter Those Keywords Based on What Topics Fit Your Brand
Not all keywords are great keywords.
For example, your main competitor could be ranking for a search term that is amazing for them.
However, it wouldn’t benefit you in the slightest.
Let’s take a look at somebody who I would consider to be a future competitor (Ankit Singla).
He currently has a blog post that is targeting the keyword “Godaddy Transfer Domain.”
I wouldn’t benefit from ranking for that keyword because:
- I don’t use Godaddy.
- And I never plan on recommending Godaddy to my students.
Another example would be if you did Client SEO for local websites (people who do SEO for other businesses).
If one of your main competitors were ranking for locations in Glasgow, but you only took on clients from London, then it wouldn’t benefit you ranking for “Glasgow SEO” for example.
Step 5: Look at Search Intent
After that, you will need to do some manual research (I know it sucks, but it has to be done).
What I mean is you will need to find out what intent is behind your target keyword.
For example, the keyword “aherfs pricing” has a different search intent than “How to use ahrefs?”
When it comes to search intent, there are four main types, and it’s essential to know those types.
The four intents are:
I am going to write a guide covering search intent more deeply, however, to quickly give you an idea of how it can affect the users you receive, here’s a quote.
Anthony Says: I may forget to write this content (even though it’s in my list). So if you still don’t see a link above to my search intent guide. Contact me and force me to write it.
“Most of the content online is educational content. To effectively produce content for the right people, you need to ask yourself questions about the topic. By asking (and answering) those questions, you figure out the intent behind the content (which helps you steer that piece towards those looking for that content.”
Tips for Finding Keywords Worth Targeting
Alright, so you know the basics of keyword research (or at least how to do it).
I want to give you a couple of actionable tips you can use to find keywords worth targeting.
You may have heard these tips before, however, here’s how to apply them to your research.
The KGR Technique
The KGR technique is one of my favorites for finding low-hanging fruit keywords for small blog posts (or smaller websites in general).
The term was first used (by my knowledge) by Doug Cunnington.
The bare minimum of this technique (quoting from Doug himself) is that “The Keyword Golden Ratio must be less than 0.25.”
What that means is that the number of Google results that have the keyword phrase in the title divided by the local monthly search volume, where the monthly searches are less than 250.
‘Let’s create a made-up example.
Let’s say that you want to rank for the search term “How to create a WordPress blog in 5 minutes.”
And that search term got 200 searches per month.
What you’d do is type this search string into Google (allintitle: How to create a WordPress blog in 5 minutes).
As you can see, Google found 99 different results that have the keyword (in that specific order) in the title.
The next step is to divide 99 by 150 (which is 0.49).
So, our example ‘doesn’t fit the core model of the KGR technique.
Anthony Says: Doug has stated that it’s fine to go for keywords with a KGR of about 0.5 or less. So it’s up to you whether or not you feel confident enough as a beginner to do that.
Have you used Google before?
I’m kidding, of course, you have, what I mean by that is, have you ever searched for something in Google and see this?
That’s Google telling you related search terms to the one that you’re currently typing.
The two main reasons why this is a great way to find keywords is because:
- Google Suggests Only spits out keywords that people have used.
- It’s free.
Here’s how I used Google Suggests to find keywords.
First off, I would type in something basic.
Then, I would add a space after the keyword to have Google Suggest give me a bunch of ideas.
After that, I would also scroll down to the bottom of the page to see if they’re any other suggestions.
Anthony Says: By the way if you’re wondering what the numbers after the search terms are. It’s a Google extension called Keywords Everywhere.
You can use it to amplify the Google Suggest process.
Write, Edit, and Publish Your First Articles
Wow, it takes a lot to start a blog.
Trust me when I say that all of this effort is worth it.
The next step is to write, edit and publish your first blog posts. Now, we get to my favorite part of the process (clearly I am a nerd).
Anthony Says: Before I get into writing and editing articles, I did want to mention that if you’re not confident doing that, you can outsource it.
You can check Doug’s post on scaling content (you can apply it to your new website as well).
How to Write Articles for People
Notice the header for this section?
I said “for people” and not for search engines.
That’s because writing for search engines (and not your potential readers) will hurt you in the long run.
Think about it.
Search engines primary consumers are… people.
So, why would they want you to write for them and not the people who will be reading your content via those search engines?
Let’s get into some FAQs for writing content.
How Often Should You Be Posting Content?
This is a question that circles the marketing community, and there are many different opinions, from publishing multiple times a day to focusing on quality over quantity.
Here’s my opinion on how often you should be posting.
At The Beginning
When starting, publish content as much as possible. What I say next may confuse you but let me explain.
Don’t focus on quality (while also trying your best).
The reason I say that is because when starting, you’ll suck at producing content.
Even I haven’t stuck to a single process for creating content (and I have been writing content for 4 years).
Unless you’re naturally gifted at writing content, you will need to practice.
Writing is a skill (like basketball or art), and it’s something that you need to practice to get better.
Sadly, you can’t see my first articles, but take a look at my YouTube videos from years ago.
Or go back to the first blog post on popular blogs (like Smart Passive Income).
It will take a while to find somebody who had the same quality content from day 1 to now.
Once Your Skills Have Grown
After some time, you’ll notice the process and quality of your content will improve.
At this point, I would suggest publishing content as much as possible (WITHOUT LOSING QUALITY).
Nathan Gotch mentioned that he could take weeks (or even months) to finish a single article.
In addition to that, you need to make sure that your content satisfies the intent behind the search.
No, I don’t just mean that you need to check whether or not the keyword has an informational intent.
What I mean this time is understanding what you can currently learn from the articles ranking on the first page and how you can add more value to that.
Anthony Says: Usually, there are two ways you can add more value to your content. Firstly, by being different (as long as you write everything through your personal experience, it’s different).
Lastly, by covering a topic more than any other post out there (for example, if you’re in the animal training niche) don’t just talk about tips on training your pet.
Talk about how you can implement those tips into everyday life (since every pet is different).
How Often Should You Rewrite Your Blog Posts?
Content can quickly become outdated (especially if it’s a seasonal post), so how often should you rewrite your content to keep it up-to-date?
First off, I wouldn’t recommend writing content that’s “seasonal” because it would only be valuable for a portion of the year.
For example, if I wrote an article on the “Best gifts for your girlfriend at Christmas,” then that post would only have any form of value during that period of the year.
I would recommend writing evergreen content.
Once you’ve started creating that type of content, I would say to update it as regular as it needs.
I update my content once or twice a year.
For some blog posts (mainly in-depth guides like this one), I’d probably add more value to it over time.
How to Create Engaging Content?
I have written a 24-page eBook on this topic (which you download by clicking here).
It is aimed at affiliate marketers. However, it applies to everybody.
The main point that I will take away from that book is that to create “engaging” content; you’ll need to understand what your intended audience are looking for when they land on your page.
Let’s have an expert SEO as an example.
A person who has been doing SEO for years isn’t going to want to read about keyword placement or how to set up analytics.
Whereas, a newbie (like yourself) would want to know those basic things.
What are The Best Techniques for Writing Content
I’m not going to go into detail about this (because I have already made a small list). So, if you want to learn some essential content writing tips, click here.
Growing Your Blog (The Next Steps)
Initially, I was going to have a section where I gave you a step-by-step guide on how to set up Google Search Console & Analytics.
However, I am going to skip that because I’ve already made a guide on how to set up Google Search Console, and I plan to write one for Google Analytics as well.
Finally, at this point, you have a website and have content that has either already been published or will be soon.
Now, let’s talk about the next step.
Growing and monetizing your blog.
Growing a Blog
Skipping all the fluff, here is how I (and others) have generally gotten visitors to read our content.
Search Engine Optimization
Okay, so we have talked about SEO a lot throughout this guide. However, that’s because it’s the best way to get long-term growth.
I would suggest creating content clusters.
Content clusters are where you create a central piece of content with other blog posts that cover similar topics.
For example, if you’re a dog trainer, you could create an ultimate guide on dog training.
Afterward, you’d publish smaller posts that cover a question or product that is related to dog training.
P.S. The examples below are just random. I’m pretty clueless about dogs (even though I have one).
- How Content Clusters Look from a Bird’s Eye View
- Main Piece of Content: Ultimate Guide to Training Your Puppy
- Supplementary Post #1: 20 Techniques to Stop Your Dog from Attacking Other Dogs
- Supplementary Post #2: How a Raw Diet Changed My Dog’s Behaviour
- Supplementary Post #3: 5 Awesome Potty Training Products on Amazon
Guest Blogging has been a super popular way to get more visitors.
However, is growing your blog as easy as posting on other blogs?
First off, the process of finding a blog that would benefit from your content can be stressful enough.
Think about it; you have to convince somebody else to post a blog on their site.
Sounds easy, until you realize that they are also marketers (meaning that they know WHY you want to post on their blog).
I learned that the hard way when I sent hundreds of emails and didn’t get a single response.
Tim Soulo has a similar opinion.
Even if you find blogs to guest post on, it’s not likely to get a lot of traffic from it (unless you commit to guest blogging for the long-term).
In Tim’s post, Dominic Tennant said this:
“I’d say it very much depends on how much guest posting you do, and how much traffic you need.
One post won’t have a huge effect. But posts on a dozen different blogs will start to add up — especially if you can keep producing new content, since there is always a small trickle from each post, and over the long term these can combine into a decent stream.”
A great example of this is Brian Dean.
He has gotten thousands of visitors from guest blogging.
But if you look at his guide on guest blogging, he clearly states that he has written over 200 guest posts.
My Recommendation: Only use guest blogging if you’re looking to build more authority in your space.
At The Beginning Target a Small Audience
People are greedy.
In a lot of cases, I’m no different.
However, when it comes to the beginning stages of your blog, it’s better to target a small audience.
Using dog training as our example again, most people would think to target all dogs from the get-go.
By doing that, you’re jumping into a competition with those with years experience.
To put that into comparison, it would be like somebody with no prior experience beating Usain Bolt in a 100M race.
So, what would I do?
Target a small portion of that audience instead of targeting all dogs, target aggressive staffies.
It’s big enough because many people have staffies (including me!), yet small enough to build a loyal audience quickly (compared to a bigger audience).
Anthony Says: The best way to dig down into a niche is by using all the methods I have already talked about in the keyword research section.
Building Relationships with Others
I have been watching YouTube videos since 2006 (yes that long).
If there’s one thing I have noticed in the past 13 years, it’s that building relationships with other creators is one of the best ways to grow.
Take a look at The Sidemen.
All of these guys were just individual creators doing their own thing.
But in 2013, they came together to create The Sidemen.
If their numbers 6 years later doesn’t indicate anything I don’t know what will.
Anthony Says: One thing I am focusing on when it comes to relationship building is how much I can help the other person.
Remember this is a two-way street, to build long-lasting relationships, you need to put just as much value in as you expect them to.
Monetizing Your Blog (What Options Do You Have?)
Yes, the best part of online marketing (for most people).
Let’s skip a year or so to the point where you’re getting some decent traffic.
How do you start monetizing that traffic?
Well, instead of giving you every option out there, I am only going to talk about the ones I like (and why I like them).
This method of monetizing is probably the most popular out there (not including the next monetization method).
If you want an Affiliate Marketing for Dummies guide, I have written one, so check that out.
Affiliate Marketing is the act of promoting a product/service that isn’t your own.
For example, selling a $500 PC would require you to handle the inventory and ship them (which can cost a lot).
Affiliate marketers don’t need to worry about any of that.
All they need to do is help sell the product/service.
In return, they will get a commission.
I like affiliate marketing because it can free up your life a little bit (since you only have to worry about selling).
It also allows you to create content on something you’re passionate about (for example, affiliates in the technology niche can talk about tech all day and get paid to do it).
Lastly, the upfront costs for starting an affiliate business is mainly all the stuff we’ve talked about today.
An example of a blog doing amazingly well with affiliate marketing is smartpassiveincome.com (Pat Fylnn made over $167,000 in December of 2017).
Selling Your Own Products/Services (Mainly Digital)
I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain this method much.
Selling your own products or services is the most know method of monetizing anything.
From selling your own merch to creating courses, it gives you the advantage of making the most money (since you get to keep all of it).
Digital products (like courses) are even better than affiliate marketing.
You are doing the same thing except instead of getting a 20% commission for each sale; you get 100% of the money.
The only difference is that since it’s your product, YOU have to create it and maintain it.
However, you can outsource all of that.
An example of a blog doing amazingly well selling their own products/services is humanproofdesigns.com (Dom reportedly made over $1,000,000 in gross revenue in 2018).
If you can grow your blog into an authority blog, Google Adsense is a great way to monetize the blog.
All you need to do is place ads on your website, and you’ll make money from them.
Usually, you make money in two ways:
- Based on Impressions
- Based on Clicks
According to Jon from FatStacksBlog, Chris from RankXL makes $20,000/mo from Adsense.
I haven’t used Adsense myself. However, it’s an excellent secondary method for monetizing your blog if you have the traffic (in my opinion).
As I have mentioned before, building a website is easy. To a certain extent, writing your first few posts is quite easy as well.
However, the problematic part (that causes most to quit) is growing and monetizing a well-established blog.
I am a living example when it comes to quitting too early and setting myself back by years (yes YEARS).
However, everything you’ve read in this guide is how I have built (and will continue to grow) websites.
The best advice I can give you is to follow a set plan and be consistent with it. That is the only way to succeed in business.
There isn’t any shortcuts or hacks.
To finish this guide off, I want to ask you a question (and answer some frequently asked questions).
My question to you is what niche do you plan on building a website around?
You can leave your answers below.
Next, the FAQs.
There are so many websites, how can I hope to compete?
Let me be blunt here.
Most people don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to building a business.
It can take one mishap to fail completely.
My biggest reason for not being more successful than I currently am is consistency.
It doesn’t matter how many websites are out there. If you follow a set plan and work at it, you will surpass the majority of sites in your space.
How long does it take to make money?
I wouldn’t ask this question if I were you. Sure, everybody needs money, but if you’re building a business for the money, your business will suffer.
To give you some expectation.
However, I would say anywhere from 9 – 24 months.
I made my first sale after 3 months, but I just got lucky with that.
To make a consistent income, it could take years of work.
Can I really build a beautiful website without knowing how to code?
I only know basic HTML and CSS yet look at my site (not to brag of course).
With page builders, themes, and other plugins, you can build a fully functioning website quickly.
Have Any Other Questions?
If you have anything else to say, then feel free to send me an email by using my contact page.
Otherwise, feel free to share this guide with anybody who may be looking to build a website of their own.