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After deciding on our new niches and buying domain names it was time for my favourite step – setting up the new niche sites!
I’m guessing some of you dread this step. Dealing with hosts, installing WordPress etc etc. I know it can seem daunting to people who don’t feel technical. You really shouldn’t worry though! It’s quite straight forward to set up a new website and I honestly love it.
I love that it only takes about an hour and I can have a brand new site sitting there on the internet. It is much more fulfilling to me than spending hours doing keyword research. So please, don’t put off doing this step yourself. Just put aside an hour, sit down and do it!
If you have never set up a site before, please don’t feel overwhelmed. It’s easy as long as you take it one step at a time. I suggest you open up my tutorial to how to start a site and step through it in conjunction with this article. It has many videos to show you how to do each step.
Step 3: Buy hosting and set up a new site
There are lots of choices for hosting and it can be quite overwhelming.
This is not something where you can be cheap – a good host can make the difference to success.
Downtime and load speeds do affect Google rankings, and really, who needs the stress of constantly dealing with their hosts.
I also highly recommend that you set up the site with a SSL certificate as Google moves to make life difficult for sites without it.
Read step by step instructions on how to set up a SSL certificate (and why you should want one) here.
Thankfull good hosting is great value. The two I recommend most are:
- SiteGround – currently AUD$3.95 a month. You can read and watch our guide to setting up WordPress hosting on SiteGround here. One of the big benefits of SiteGround is that SSL certificates are free. I am having to pay extra for them on my other hosts.
- BlueHost – currently $3.95 a month
You only need the cheapest plan.
If you are building more than one niche site, I recommend you put them on different hosts. I will talk far more about this when I get to link building, but basically you want to hide links between your sites from others. If you are absolutely sure you are only going to use white hat link building then this is less important, but my advice is that its better to keep everything separate.
This also means that if you currently have a blog or another site, I don’t recommend you host your niche site at the same spot unless you get a new account and can get a guarantee that you will get a new IP.
For my latest niche sites, I set up my hosting on Hostgator and HostPapa which are also $3.95 a month. I did this because my current niche sites are in SiteGround and Blue Host and I want the diversity. So far I am very happy with them but it has not been long.
For people who need a cheaper option, I am also using iPage hosting which starts at only $2 a month. Again, it has not been long so I don’t feel I am able to give a full review yet.
The main thing is to sign up with a host that has a cpanel. It is so easy to install WordPress and get started when there is a cpanel. If it all makes you nervous, I do have a youtube video in this post with me showing you step by step how to set up hosting.
I also have a tutorial dedicated to how to set up a new site. It’s very detailed with lots of videos and I especially recommend it if you have never set up a WordPress site before. It’s a great go-to guide if you get stuck with anything. You can read it here.
Setting up the niche site
Once I had WordPress set up for my niche sites, Nathan set up the backbone of the sites.
- Installing a theme
- Installing essential plugins
- Publishing essential pages
That might sound like a lot but it doesn’t take more than a couple of hours if you are organised. Lucky for you, I will give you everything you need to know right here!
Installing a theme
This is probably the least important step as you can always come back to it later. However, I like to have things right from the start!
My favourite theme for niche sites is Splash from My Theme Shop as it has nice built in functionality for reviews, it never gives me any problems and it’s cheap. I also use Socially Viral from My Theme Shop and just bought a few more too. You can see current prices here.
I would never use a free theme for a money site. In my experience, they have only given me problems and they have been more time consumming to set up and problem shoot. However, if you need to cut back on costs, this is the area to cut back. Use a free one and come back to a better theme once your site is making money if you don’t have the budget now.
These are some plugins I recommend to get started:
- Yoast SEO – handy SEO plugin
- Contact Form 7 – to create a contact page
- Easy Table – to create comparison charts
- Duplicator – to do easy backups
- EasyAzon – essential plugin to maximise Amazon revenue
- WP Limit Login Attempts – this will help protect your site from hackers
EasyAzon is the only one of those plugins that has a cost associated. Again, if money is tight then you can buy it later when you are making money from your niche site. However, if at all possible, get it now!
I would not wait because EasyAzon makes it very easy to add links, images and ads to your posts direct from Amazon. If you set up your links any other way then when you buy it later, you will have to go back and redo all of them.
The main selling point of EasyAzon for me is that it localises your links. This means that if someone visits your site from the US, they get a US link, if they are in Canada, a Canadian one, etc etc.
I have it set up for USA, Canada, UK, Germany and France on my sites and I currently make an extra 400 Euros and 400 Canadian dollars a month on top of my American earnings just by using this plugin – this is on top of the US$5300 a month I reported in my first niche site case study update that I make in the US Amazon.
The plugin is cheap and can be used on multiple sites. See the latest price here.
Publishing essential pages
The final step is to publish a few essential pages and basically give your site a backbone. I recommend starting off with some or all of these pages:
- Contact – use contact form 7 plugin and this will take moments
- About – come up with a character for your website. It can be you. I like my niche sites not to be associated with me so I make someone up and give them a story. Also think about your target country. If you are targetting the US, like us, then our about page is about an American.
- Work with us – use contact form 7 plugin
Basically, you want it to look like a legitimate site so include pages you are used to seeing. You can look at other sites to get ideas.
I also like to publish the page for my main keyword so it can start aging, even if it has no content.
To do this, just create a new page, call it “best <whatever your product name is>” and put these words in the URL as well. You can write “coming soon” in the text.
I’d also create a menu at this point with this page listed and some of the other pages.
And that’s it! Do all that and you’re the proud owner of a new niche site (or 2!)
If you are feeling lost at this point, please don’t feel overwhelmed. It’s easy as long as you take it one step at a time. I suggest you open up my tutorial to how to start a site and step through it in conjunction with this article. It has many videos to show you how to do each step.
You can read more about making sure your niche site looks trustworthy here.
Our niche sites
We are ahead with our niche sites compared to this case study – the first stage was finished about a month ago. By first stage, I mean everything above plus the main article published, a home page and some reviews. We have started link building but not as fast as I did for my previous niche sites as Nathan has been on leave and I have constant time constraints.
So how are they going a month in? All information below is about the last month.
Ranking for: 145 keywords
Main keyword is ranking: 45 on average, currently 27.
Sessions from organic search: 51
Ranking for: 25 keywords
Main keyword is ranking: 155 on average, currently 123.
Sessions from organic search: 25
Site 1 was finished about two weeks before Site 2 and has had more links built to it.
No sales yet, but I am hopeful that will change this month!
Time and money spent on step 3
Time Spent: 2 hours per site
Money: US$150 per site (you could spend only AUD$47)
I only spent money on hosting which was about US$150 per site. Please note, that I paid for three years of hosting up front and I also did not pay for the cheapest plan. If you sign up with SiteGround, this is only AUD$47.40 for a year of hosting up front (and I imagine it turns into an equivalent amount from other countries).
I did not need to buy a theme or EasyAzon since I already owned them, but you can expect this to cost another US$70-100.
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