A live case study – how I build a niche site

Sometimes the best way to motivate yourself is to share with others what you’re doing. With this in mind, I’m going to report here my progress with building a niche site. Hopefully, this will also be of interest to some readers. This case study will be reported in several installments, depending on how I’m doing. Today, it’s time for an…

Introduction

For obvious reasons, I can’t reveal the exact domain name or my main keyword. However, I will try to share as many details as possible.

About my niche:

  • It’s a sports-related product niche, with a two-word main phrase.
  • The nice thing about this niche is that it has several clearly defined, three-word subniches – perfect for making a niced, siloed website.
  • Each subniche can be sliced even further using brand names; there are 4-6 brands for each subniche.
  • The main niche has 8100 exact searches per month (globally).
  • The subniches get between 800 and 2400 exact searches per month

I believe the site could be perfectly monetized with Amazon. However, as I live outside of the US, and I don’t currently have an Amazon affiliate account, I will first try to monetize it with AdSense. In the meantime, I will apply for an Amazon affiliate account to possibly optimize my earnings.

AdSense looks quite promising actually:

  • The main, most generic keyword gets a CPC of about $1
  • However, as I go more specific, many phrases are getting CPC in the $3-4 range
  • This is confirmed by my quick scan of SERPs – the phrases indeed have a lot of ads

I already own an .org domain which is almost an exact match – with a dash between the first and second word. A full EMD would be better, but was not available. I believe this domain will be still helpful. I registered this domain in February 2011, so it is not completely fresh, but it was a single-page placeholder, and search engines were blocked with proper meta and robots.txt directives.

My immediate goals is to make this site produce about $100 per month in AdSense earnings. Obviously, based on actual results, I may correct my targets.

My first steps

This site will obviously be a WordPress blog.
I will have to select a proper theme for the site. I actually own a number of excellent WordPress themes and frameworks, but given that I want to optimize the site with AdSense, I will probably try one of the three AdSense-optimized themese. My current options include:

I’ve worked with Clickbump in the past, so I’m somewhat included to use it because I’m familiar with it. However, Heatmap Pro is a solid contender as well as far as I can tell from installing it on my localhost.

As for the CTR theme, I’m thinking that it may be overly simplistic for this particular project, but I will consider it nonetheless.
This is all for today’s introduction – I will report my progress tomorrow. What you can expect in the future installments:

  • My keyword research process
  • WordPress configuration
  • Backlinking
  • Monetization attempts

I hope this will become a good source of knowledge and inspiration for anyone looking to build their niche sites.

Please post any questions in the comments section – I would be very happy to turn this project into an interactive exercise.

About Marcin

I'm passionate about technology, especially SEO. I love how fast-paced this environment is. I also love numbers, finding hidden gems in statistics, and coming with unexpected solutions to typical problems.
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