As I work hard on my different projects to try to realise our goal of becoming digital nomads, it has left me with little time to actually write much about this process. I do want that to change. If nothing else but because I think stopping for a second and analysing what I am doing can actually help me move forward more effectively. I am also a trained educator and I naturally want to help others, so hopefully documenting this process will do exactly that.
I am working very hard on building a couple of Amazon affiliate sites at the moment, as well as a private blog network to help link build for this. I want to write more about what I am doing to try to build a successful affiliate site. This will force me to analyse the approaches I am taking and how successful (or not) they are. Since I believe most my current readers are fellow travel bloggers, I thought I would start with a definition of what all these things are.
Niche Sites and Money Sites
Niche sites are basically sites built around a certain topic. For example, you could say that my main site, WheresSharon.com, is a niche site about family travel. Generally when people are talking about niche sites in the context that I am currently, they mean sites built around a niche (generally a small specific one, but not always) that are purposefully built to earn money. Usually this income is from advertising, such as adsense, or affiliate programs, such as Amazon.
Niche sites can be many shapes and sizes. Some are ultra small, maybe only about ten pages, about a very specific niche. Others can be massive, like WheresSharon (over 1000 pages although not all are live at the moment).
Money sites refer to sites that are built to earn money. So if I build a site about moisturising creams, for example, and link out to Amazon, then this niche site (where the niche is moisturising creams) is also my money site. Not all sites are built to earn money directly.
Expired domains are domains that were used for a site but are now available to purchase. Just because a domain name expires and is no longer used does not mean that it loses all its links or authority in Google’s eyes. Many, many, many domains expire every day and many of them already have a great link profile. Also many have a spammy link profile – ensure you do some research before purchasing one. Buying an expired domain that already has a good link profile can be a good way to quickly create sites that already have great authority. These can be used for money sites, but often they are used to build a private blog network…
Private Blog Network (PBN)
A private blog network is a set of sites that have been built specifically to use to link build to a money site. These sites are usually built on expired domains. This way within a few hours you can have a site that has the potential to have great authority links without having to go build any links yourself.
The idea is to build a series of sites on expired domains, ideally with the expired domain being in a similar niche to your money site. Google attaches more link juice to relevant sites linking to your money site.
They are called private blog networks because usually a network of sites is required to produce enough link juice to help a money site rank well in google. I have been told 5-10 sites in a PBN for a single money site is ideal.
Why use a PBN? The idea is that then you have total control over your links to your money site. When you pay other people for links, you don’t know exactly what will happen. If Google changes it rules, you can easily change links on your own sites.
You could create a PBN to help give link juice to any site, it doesn’t have to be an affiliate site. I could do this process to help gives WheresSharon a boost. I don’t and I won’t though as it is already going well by itself without me doing any link building and there is some risk associated with any type of link building – if google discovers you are doing it, your site can be deindexed. For a new site, this is a risk I am happy to take. It is not a risk I want to take with my main cash cow and labour of love.
Any questions? Have you ever built a PBN or bought an expired domain?