Welcome to the first instalment of the free “Fat Stacks Niche Academy” course, which is a free course and published entirely online.
At the end of each post in this course is a link to the next post.
Why am I offering this free course?
That’s what Fatstacksblog.com is about. To date I’ve published posts that tackle more advanced website publishing techniques. It was time to get down to offering something comprehensive and well organized for people just starting out.
Also, I offer coaching services so this course is essentially content marketing. Perhaps you like the course, get a website going but then want to take things to the next level and consider joining one of my coaching programs.
Anyway, let’s get rolling. Here are the details on how to actually get a blog or website live on the Internet.
Blogging and niche site publishing is a great business to start. I’ve done it full time for several years. I publish a few sites and while it can be a lot of work, it’s the best “job” I’ve ever had.
The best part is you can blog about or start a website about any topic(s) that interest you. I’m passionate about interior design and landscaping. I’m also into fitness. So these are topics I cover (on separate sites). The few websites I publish earns enough for a very good living. I’m not wealthy, but I earn a living doing what I enjoy. I really can’t ask for much more than that.
But if you’re into sewing, camping, fishing, DIY, woodworking, parenting, cars, fashion, hairstyles, personal finance… anything, you have the foundation for your own website/blog.
Every big website started small, including mine. When Google launched, nobody knew about it. Same with Tumblr, Facebook, Houzz, etc.
Table of Contents
Choosing a niche (i.e. website topic)
The first step is coming up with website topic ideas.
- What do you enjoy?
- What are good at?
- What do you know a lot about?
- You can choose a niche by what you think will make a lot of money. Many people succeed this way and if you’re highly motivated, it can work.
Other niche selection considerations
Broad vs. narrow: I prefer broader niches that can cover plenty of topics. An example is “Outdoor Life” – this is very broad. A narrow niche would be “Back Country Camping”. Both types of sites can work. If you plan to monetize with ads and affiliate offers on the site, going broad works great. If, however, you plan to focus on building an email list and marketing to that email list, typically narrower niches are better (results in a more responsive email list).
Potential traffic: I think it’s a good idea to do some preliminary keyword research with the free SEO Book keyword research tool or if you have some funds, Ahrefs. This will give you an idea if there’s decent traffic potential for your niche, especially if monetizing with display ads. In order to make decent money with display ads, you will ultimately need a lot of traffic.
What is a lot of traffic? If the main keyword in your niche gets 50,000 monthly searches, that’s a good indicator for plenty of potential traffic in the niche. The thing is most niches, especially broader niches, have a lot of long tail keywords so the total amount of traffic can quickly climb to a couple of million monthly visits for niches with a seed keyword that has 50,000 or more monthly searches.
The second step is to get familiar with the main blogging models. I’ll help with that below by setting out the main ways you can generate revenue from a website.
How to make money with your site (the monetization model)
1. Ad revenue
One way to make money is with ads on your site. This is the easiest way to generate revenue, but you need a lot of traffic to generate half-decent revenue. One big reason I like using ads is they are often the only way to generate revenue for certain types of articles (i.e. non-promotional content).
2. Affiliate revenue
This may be a new term for you. Affiliate marketing is when merchants provide you a tracking code to use for links on your website or in an email newsletter or on a social media channel. When a visitor clicks a link and buys something, you get a commission.
Amazon, for example, has an affiliate program. Once your site is up and running, you can apply to Amazon to become an associate (same as an affiliate). You’ll then be able to create affiliate links to pretty much any Amazon product. If someone clicks a link and buys something on Amazon, you earn a percentage.
These days, there are thousands of merchants who have affiliate programs.
For example, if you start a sewing site, you can link to your favorite sewing machines on Amazon.
If you start a camping site, you can do the same for camping gear.
Amazon isn’t the only option. There are other huge “affiliate networks” that offer affiliate opportunities with hundreds of leading merchants such as Walmart, Target, various software products… pretty much any type of product you can imagine.
3. Sell products
If you make the effort to establish wholesaling deals with manufacturers or create your own product, you can sell them directly from your blog and social media channels.
4. Do all 3
I do all 3 in some form or fashion across my websites. They all work well.
At this stage of the game, you merely need be familiar with your options. First, you must settle on a topic, name and then get the site launched.
Technical Details on Setting Up a Website
You have many options.
My preferred option is WordPress.org. It’s free, but you need to pay for website hosting (which costs $5 per month or so). WordPress.org is the most popular website platform in the world (by far).
FYI, WordPress.com offers hosted websites but I would avoid that option. While totally free, you technically do not own the website; WordPress does. Instead, register your own domain name and get your own low-cost hosting. While there’s a bit of a learning curve, you’ll be happy you did because you retain control. Moreover, you can sell your website down the road. They sell for 10 to 50 times monthly income. So if your site earns $200 per month, you would sell that for a lower multiple – let’s say 15 times $200 = $3,000.
Here’s a quick and easy way to go about it (this is exactly how I got started).
Step 1: Come up with a site topic (i.e. niche). Again, consider what you enjoy, are good at and/or know a lot about.
Step 2: Think up and then research a domain name. A domain name is the website address. Fatstacksblog.com is a domain name. You can see if a domain name is available at Godaddy.com. A few suggested guidelines:
- Your domain name is your site’s brand – so get something unique and brandable.
- I would personally avoid any dashes in the domain.
- The shorter the better.
- Come up with something that resonates and makes sense for the topic, but don’t get a domain that’s just a keyword. For example, if your site is about camping, a domain (hence site name) could be “Campingking.com”. If you’re starting with a narrow niche, you might choose a domain that’s a bit broader so that in the even you wish to expand the niche topically in the future, you’re not hedged in with the keyword you choose.
Step 3: Get Bluehost hosting and register your domain at the same time with Bluehost. It’s a very low cost hosting service. You can register a domain name (your-site-name.com) and get WordPress installed – all in a few clicks. Bluehost offers good support and video tutorials. It doesn’t get easier.
Step 4: Follow my video tutorials on how to set up your WordPress website: Once your hosting and WordPress website is set up, check out my 20 free video tutorials on setting up your website’s basics. Click here for the free video tutorials.
At this point you have a live site.