Archive

Archive for the ‘Adsense Challenge’ Category

Exploring the earning power of a niche site

May 15th, 2009

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

So I have been talking a lot about creating niche sites recently, and how to use them to earn money online.  Well I was checking my Adsense stats today and came across something that so beautifully illustrated how choosing the right niche can really help you land on your feet.

The image below is a partial screenshot of my Adsense earnings yesterday (for just two of my sites) . Site 1 gets a lot of hits and clicks, but doesn’t earn that much as it is in a low paying niche, Site 2 is a site that I haven’t promoted much and so only gets 50 hits a day and 3 clicks a day, but earnt $3.50 which is a massive difference to Site 1!

Earnings 14/May/2009

If Site 2 had as much traffic as Site 1 then I would be laughing all the way to the bank, sadly it doesn’t and probably never will.  But the point still holds true, choosing a well paying niche is paramount to your earning success!

Chris Adsense, Adsense Challenge, Make money online, Uncategorized

End of week round up

May 1st, 2009

It has been a while since I posted, this has been because I’ve been frantically working on a few projects of mine.  I heard this saying once, the people who actually make money don’t tell anyone, namely because they are too busy making money! Obviously the’re is a few exceptions to this, such as John Chow and Darren Rowse, who makes a lot of their money from being public figures.

So here is a quick round up of what is going on at the moment…

Adsense Challenge
I have my domain bought, my design up, and I have written 4 articles.  I have also been looking into the link building techniques I will use to promote the site.  I’ll post the techniques I used when I’ve finished writing the articles.

Adsblacklist – Does it work?
I saw an instant increase in earnings after doing this, and have had very good earnings since, I’ll hold off posting real data until the end of the trial week is up, but it seems to work pretty well!

Adsense Notifier
My adsense notifier program is written, I just have to put a nice interface on it, tie up some loose ends and add some polish; it should be ready soon.  I have enlisted the help of a friend of mine to do the interface as [a] im too busy with web stuff to do it [b] his recent stuff has been good!

How is everyone else getting on with their projects?

Chris About me, Adsense Challenge

Starting your niche site

April 27th, 2009

So you have your niche picked out, you have a decent domain name and some web hosting.  Now you have to actually get the thing built.  A lot of people, including myself, think ugly designs are actually better for adsense revenue as they distract less from the ads.  With this in mind I went ahead and found a free website template from a template site on google, a quick query brings up many sites to pick and choose from.  Pick one you like and download it.

Now here you have to make a decision on how you want to build your site, if you know PHP you can quickly write some code that will allow you to wrap the design around your content, which will most likely be stored in a database.  If you don’t know PHP not to worry, it’s not too hard to just copy the template for each new page you make and just edit the information – it just becomes harder to maintain if you add a lot of pages or make changes later on.  I would suggest that everyone learns a little PHP to make this step easier.

The way I do basic templating in PHP is like so:

  1. Split up the design into logic top and bottom sections, put them both in their own file
  2. Each new page you create, add <? include_once ‘templatetop.php’; ?> at the top of the file, and a similar one for your templatebottom.php
  3. This will add the template around the content contained in the new page
  4. You can make it more advanced by setting variables like $pagetitle = “My Page Title”; before the include which you can then use to alter the title of each page.
  5. It requires very little code but makes your entire site much more maintainable
  6. Personally I do this for a few static pages, then create the rest of the pages using databases

You must make sure that however you create your pages, you use unique titles and unique H1 tags as this is very important for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), we will cover SEO in more depth later as it is a massive topic that requires it’s own post, hell, it requires many posts but starting with basic on site SEO is a good place to begin.

Creating content
So you have your template ready and know how you are going to create new pages, the next step is obviously to create those pages and put some content in.  Many people say that content is king when it comes to ranking, personally I believe links are king, content is queen, but either way content matters – a lot!

From your keyword research when choosing your niche you should have a number of related keyword phrases that get searched for.  You should use these as the basis of your articles.  Writing the articles themselves is usually a case of research, research and more research! The more unique the articles the better, you should not just copy them, it isn’t fair on the web master who made the original article and google can tell!  But drawing on a number of websites for inspiration and information is a great thing.  I usually combine information off a number of sites as well as my own personal touch in order to make my articles.  Your articles should be about 500 words or more in length and be of good quality.  You want to make 10-20 for your site.

This will take a fair amount of time to do but stick with it.  Content generation is usually one of the hardest parts of starting a new site but is totally essential, without it your site probably won’t get off the ground.

Chris Adsense Challenge, Resources

Choosing your domain

April 26th, 2009

Now you have your niche picked and a good set of keywords and keyphrases to target you need to figure out what domain you want to get.  The domain you pick can play a big part in getting links and traffic.

There are a few things to look at when getting a domain, and for our purposes we only need to look at one – keywords! You need to try and get a domain that closely matches your main keyword phrase.  This is the one that will bring in the most traffic.  For example, if your niche is Holidays in Rome then the best domain for you to get would be www.holidaysinrome.com, the reason behind this is that Google tends to believe that your URL is your company brand, and makes it easier for that domain to rank for those keywords.  If this domain is taken you could opt for hyphens, which work almost as well, but are less readable and less brandable i.e. holidays-in-rome.com.  Choosing a domain rich in keywords has other benefits too.  When people link back to your site, they will naturally use your domain name, which will be your keywords!

Quite often these will be taken so you will have to look at other domain names, the easiest is to look at different top level domains, i.e. .net, .org, .info etc.  I always tend to shy away from .org as, to me personally, it reads as “non profit organisation” although there are no rules governing this.  .info domains are also a last resort as they appear to have less weight when ranking.  I think this may be due to their use as spam domains as they are cheap to acquire.

Another top tip is to use words preceeding or following your main keywords, for example myholidaysinrome.com, or yourholidaysinrome.com.  If your still struggling you will have to rely on a bit of research and some lateral thinking.  If you require any more help feel free to leave a comment and I’ll help you as best I can.

Chris Adsense Challenge, Web Hosting

Choosing your niche and keywords

April 21st, 2009

So if you have decided to join us on the challenge then we need to take our first step which is to actually pick a niche, find some keywords to target, and then selecting a decent domain name.  Your first and most important step is deciding on your niche and keywords and this can be quite a tricky step.  A good niche and keyword selection is what is going to bring in the money and choosing badly can make things a lot harder for you.

The basic premise is this:

You need to find a niche with high paying keywords but with low competition

What this means is that you are looking for keywords / phrases with a high CPC that will earn a good amount everytime someone clicks on of your adverts.  Finding such a niche with low competition should make it easier to rank your site for, which in turn will result in traffic!

What I did to pick my niche was to start with one of the following, typically high paying niches.

  • Medical
  • Holidays and Tourism
  • Legal
  • Financial

Obviously these are massive areas so you have to try and whittle them down to a more specific topic.  To do this you can, again, try think of the first thing that comes to mind, its better if you can relate this to you somehow.  For example if we look at Holidays and Tourism, I instantly remember my last holiday which was to Rome, so I could then try and look up Rome related keywords and see what that brings back.

Finding your keywords
Now you need to narrow your search down further, but there are some tools that can help.  What I tend to usually do is head straight to the google keyword tool and put my top level term in and search.  What you can do though is goto a site like kwbrowse first and put your keyword in there for more ideas to put into the google keyword tool.

When you search on the google keyword tool it will come up with a list of related searches (make sure “Use Synonyms” is ticked).  Your first port of call is to Show Estimated Avg CPC and you do this by clicking the dropdown that says “Choose columns to be displayed”, this will then show what an Adwords publisher would be likely to pay to show an advert on a page with those keywords.  You now want to order your searches by volume of traffic, I usually do this on average traffic rather than monthly.  Finally change match type from Broad to Exact as this will show you more accurate numbers.

So now what we want to do is find keywords with high CPC (try get it above $1 or £1) and with a relatively high number of searches.  Ideally you would like to find a number of related ones then base a site around that.  If you find a contender (I tend to stick about 10,000 searches) then you want to find out what the competition is like.

Note down all keywords and phrases that match this criteria.

Now we need to check competition
The easiest way to do this is with FireFox and the SEO For Firefox addon by Aaron Wall.  When installed any searches you do on Google or Yahoo will now show SEO information about each site.  PageRank is listed as PR under the SEO addon for FireFox, and the number of backlinks are shown next to “Y! Links”.  You want to look at the top 10 results for each keyword and phrase you noted down and try find out what the competition is like.  You will usually come up against 3 types of results.

  1. Pages that belong to a much larger site, such as Wikipedia
  2. Sites dedicated to the keyword / phrase with high PageRank and lots of backlinks
  3. Sites based on the keyword / phrase with low PageRank and few backlinks

You may also get a few other random pages appear.  If the top 10 is littered with more of type 3 then your in luck as you should be able to easily beat those sites with a bit of work.  Type 1 can be beaten too with a bit of work, usually Wikipedia is the hardest of these types of sites, others are easier.

So there you have it, with a bit of research you should be able to find a niche and some nice keyword phrases (long tail keywords) to target.  If you are having trouble finding one try look up things that you like to do and see where that leads you.

Don’t be off put if you find this difficult, it is one of the hardest parts of starting a website and is critical to your future site’s success!

Stay tuned for the next part in this series on choosing your domain name!

Chris Adsense Challenge

Good news and bad news

April 17th, 2009

The good news is I have chosen my niche and bought a domain for the adsense challenge but the bad news is that my hosting company have not renewed the cPanel licence on my hosting account.  What this means is that I cannot do any modifications to my account, such as setting up new domains or SQL databases.  This sucks because not only do I pay them quite well, but it has been down for a week and I have heard no response from them.  If I do not hear from them soon I guess I will have to think about alternative hosting solutions which I don’t want to do because moving hosting is always a pain, especially when you have a lot of sites.  My current hosting provider has also been pretty good to me so far so it’s a shame this has happened.

As soon as I get my cPanel back I can get my site up then release the new post in the adsense challenge series about how to pick your niche, keywords and the domain name! Until then wish me luck!

Chris Adsense, Adsense Challenge, Web Hosting

Adsense Challenge – Join me!

April 15th, 2009

A few days ago I wrote about my upcoming adsense challenge where I plan on creating and profiting off a niche site, using adsense, within just 3 months.  I think this would be a far more interesting challenge if some of my readers got involved too.  If you participate then not only will you benefit from any advice I have, but it will also help prove to others how anyone can do it! I want this to be a two way street!

What I would like to prove with this challenge is that neither skill, IQ, technique nor ability is a prohibiting factor in making money is simply effort.  Obviously having higher skill / IQ will help you achieve this faster, but without effort and motivation they are worthless.

With having a few of us do it, it should make for a more complete test as there will be more variables, more information, and more brains working!

Dont put it off!
If you are reading this then you are probably in one of the following camps…

  1. I’m going to do this with you!
  2. I want to do this, but not yet!
  3. I want to do this, but will procrastinate and probably never do it.
  4. I don’t need to do this I’m just wondering what the fuss is all about

If you are in camp 1 then great! Leave a comment and lets get this started! If you are in camp 2 or 3 then my question to you is… why wait? If you wait too long you may feel like you have missed the boat, or you will just never get round to doing anything.  One thing I have learnt in this business is that you will never make any money if you put things off. Do it now, make time for it, half an hour a day is enough, just do it! And finally, if you are in camp 4 then hello and I hope you enjoy the ride :)

Quick update to finish: I have chosen my niche and bought a domain name, I shall put together a post soon on how I chose it and what I plan on doing next.

Chris Adsense, Adsense Challenge

The challenge: Profit off niche sites with Adsense!

April 12th, 2009

Last year I decided to see if I could make money off a wordpress blog using a random niche, I chose one and got a site up within a few days and made a few bucks.  It was pretty random and not really anything to shout about.  But that was then and this is now, and right now I want to prove a few things, namely that:

  • You, anyone, can make money off the net
  • It won’t drain hours away of your life
  • It will provide recurring income

The real thing stopping most people is will and effort, as the old saying goes: You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.

So here is what I plan on doing,

  1. I am going to make a website in a niche that I am not already in
  2. I am going to aim to make at least $10 a day off it
  3. I will aim to do this within 3 months

Compared to a lot of Adsense “schemes” this is quite low key; you may ask why I am only targetting $10 a day?  Well for starters to me, $10 a day is quite a lot, and if you are not already earning off Adsense it is to you too.  Plus it is quite a realistic target.  The biggest thing I am worrying about is the time frame.  Creating a new site and getting traffic to it within 3 months is quite difficult, but this is one of the things I will have to overcome.

I will attempt to be as transparent as possible with what I am doing, and what affect they have.  I will be revealing the exact niche, the keywords I use, my traffic and my adsense earnings.  The key here is enabling you to repeat what I will do with other niches!

I will count tomorrow as day 1 though :)

Chris Adsense, Adsense Challenge