Tag: seo

niche site progress report

Niche Site Income Report 1 – One Month On

We’re already 1 month on from when I first started my niche site ‘Pizza Oven Hub’.

It feels like much more time has passed since I was first researching and trying to find the right niche for my site – so much has happened this past 4 weeks (and I was ill for one of the 4, so it’s more like 3 weeks in terms of weeks spent out of bed!).

Since then I found my niche, bought my domain, designed and built content for my entire site, and have managed to secure at least 2 high-quality, highly-relevant backlinks – and it’s already starting to show the impact of this in our search engine rankings.

That’s on-top of my regular commitments with Vitalife Group – where I’ve been sourcing some new store locations for one of our businesses, progressing things with the drawn-out warehouse purchase, coordinating and planning a new video ad for Vitalife Health, negotiating on some new stock bundles, chipping-in on customer service, and introducing quite a few changes and new, exciting features to the websites.

Plus I got to spend some good quality time with my lovely Wife and Daughter this month in Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight, and we’ve been out to eat quite a few times trying some newly discovered restaurants on the Island (The Pointer Inn in Newchurch do THE NICEST pie I’ve ever eaten – the Newchurch Pie – check it out if you’re ever on the Island).

Not to mention posting on here!


It’s been a very busy, challenging but enjoyable month.

Cut to the Chase . . . How much Income has it Delivered?

Drum roll please . . .

Over the past 4 weeks, since I started my niche site, it has earned a grand total of:


And don’t laugh – I’m actually quite proud of this figure. It’s a success as far as I’m concerned.

Here’s my Adsense account snapshot (if you can’t believe your eyes!):

adsense snapshot

It barely pays for a cup of coffee, but it’s still a success.


Because 1, the only costs associated with setting the site up were the domain purchase (3 years at £27.12) and ebook cover/logo design (around £7 after currency conversion on Fiverr), so I’m already a whopping 5-6% towards reaching break-even on the project, and 2, more importantly (and seriously), niche sites have a compounding effect as your traffic builds – meaning they typically earn very little or nothing in the early stages, and as traffic grows, so does the income from the site.

Plus, your involvement and investment of time/energy tends to follow the opposite trend – so whilst I’ve invested a lot of time at the outset in getting things setup, as I get more backlinks and more SEO visibility for the site, my time and involvement should fall, just as income from the site rises.

This eventually leads to a situation where you are earning income from your niche site without any involvement whatsoever – which is the holy grail for everyone right? Fully automated income.

I actually added this site to my existing Hostgator hosting account that permits unlimited domains – so no ongoing hosting costs are incurred either.

Search Engine Performance

Whilst ranking for the (slightly more competitive than I realised) primary keyword of ‘pizza oven’ is still proving to be elusive, the site is ranking for a lot of derivative keywords like ‘Igneus Pizza Oven’ (position 14) which is a popular pizza oven model, ‘buy pizza oven online’ (position 83 now, following a position of 44 last week – which I’m guessing is down to the ‘Google Dance’), and many more.

All of these have delivered 14 sessions over the past 2 weeks from organic traffic, and it only started ranking for these derivative words from the moment the first backlink was placed.

Before this, the site didn’t rank at all – for anything – for the first couple of weeks.

Proving the importance of backlinks when it comes to SEO.

See the organic traffic pattern below:

organic traffic

This is just based on 2 do-follow links on high-authority, relevant sites, and a few social shares.

The rest of the traffic has come from the social shares we’ve had and a few visits from referrals from the backlinking sites.

I’m still convinced we can get the site to page 1 for the primary keyword ‘pizza oven’ with more quality backlinks.

If you want to learn how I gained the first 2 backlinks and how I plan to gain more, read my (more effective) backlink strategy here.

As you can see, organic traffic is still minimal, and in its first month, the full traffic figure came to a grand total of 215 sessions from 160 users.

So, again, next-to-nothing.

Which is reassuring, and gives me even more confidence of the site’s earning potential, because if the site is generating revenue of £1.95 against 215 visits, then if we do eventually land the first page of Google for ‘Pizza Oven’ with 22,000 searches per month, on a relative basis, this should generate £198.90 per month.

Plus, add in all the derivative keywords that will deliver a good deal of traffic too, and consider that the £1.95 figure only came from one of the site’s revenue channels – Adsense, and no consideration given for the earning potential from our Amazon affiliate store, then total earning potential could easily exceed £1,000 per month with the right level of traffic.

And for no involvement from me by that point, that truly would be passive income.

How to Make Your Adsense Ads Effective

One thing I have learned throughout this niche site process is you can go two ways with your Adsense ads – make them obvious, or subtly work them into your site content.

I’ve found that the latter is far, far more effective than the former.

My clickthrough rates on banner/graphical type ads have been much lower than my clickthrough on link-based or text-based ads.

People just don’t seem to click on ads when they’re very obviously . . . ads.

The best-performing ad groups I’ve seen have been link-based, where they mimic a navigation menu or something similar – you can see how I worked a set in on a screenshot of my niche site below:

Niche site screenshot showing adsense ads

This actually looks like part of the website navigation, and is also one of the first things the visitor sees, so is therefore the best performing ad group for me.

Some people might consider this underhand and sneaky – and whilst I’d agree that it does encourage people to click on paid ads, I’m still comfortable with this tactic because:

  1. It still delivers content that the visitor clicks on and expresses an interest in, so it isn’t misleading in the content it delivers
  2. It still makes it clear to visitors that these are ad-based links since the ‘Ad Choices’ link  is placed to the side of them
  3. It ultimately delivers my goal as the website owner – to get visitors off the site, via an ad. And it’s very effective at it too

So, there you have it – my month 1 update on my niche site progress and income report.

Whilst I’m not quite making a fortune with it, things are looking promising and I’m really confident and excited about the future of this website and where it will go with a few more backlinks.

If you’re also going through your own niche site journey, please share your progress and income in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.


Niche Site Step 3.1: My (More Effective) Backlink Strategy

So, it’s been all of 1 week since I posted my backlink strategy for my niche site pizzaovenhub.com and . . . sorry guys, I’ve changed it all up already.

Sorry to rock the boat!

I’ve never professed to be an expert in this field, and that’s what this journey is all about – learning what works and what doesn’t, so I can teach my readers, and be the crash-test dummy of backlinking and SEO.

The broken link approach that I mentioned in my last post only seemed to work for social sharing, and quickly started to lose the initial momentum and conversion rate I mentioned in my previous post.

It also became fairly obvious, rather quickly, that well-ranked blogs and websites are wise to the templates high-profile bloggers like Neil Patel provide you with, and they are sick of them! So to get a link from the guys that matter – it’s going to take a lot more than good content and a template outreach email.

So I changed my strategy, and now I have something that works – and I’m already seeing the impact in rankings on derivative keywords from just one powerful backlink placed under this new strategy.

So, here it is . . .

My (Effective) Backlink Strategy

A step by step graphic about how to backlink effectively

My effective backlink strategy ultimately comprises 4 parts (with a bit of thought in-between – hence the 5 steps above), just as my previous strategy did – except the approach is much different:

  1. Find relevant links
  2. Outreach, but in a different way (see below)
  3. Develop and post agreed content
  4. Get your link

So here’s the 4 steps in more detail:

1. Find Relevant Links

Forget resource pages and links pages this time – we’re delivering much more value to the link target than ‘useful information’ for their readers, so we don’t just need to hit the sites that actively link out on resource/links pages.

Plus, this new approach is going to get you high-quality contextual links (embedded within the link-target’s site content) – just the sort that Brian Dean from Backlinko says you should be aiming for.

To find my relevant links, I started with a brainstorm – I brainstormed all related keyword terms, derivative (including your primary phrase but not exclusively your primary phrase, so for me, things like ‘wood fired pizza oven training’ and so on) and semantic (not including your keyword phrase but linked to it in some way, so for me, things like ‘firewood’ and ‘outdoor cooking’) keywords.

Then, when you have a list of derivative and semantic keywords, do some Googling on these terms to see what sort of websites come up.

Now, before you jump into step 2 and contact them, you need to think about what sort of value you could add to their site and their business.

Tune in to WI FM (What’s In it For Me), from the website owner’s perspective. What can you deliver to them that helps them meet their business/website/blog’s objectives.

And I’m not talking vague things like ‘providing a valuable link to show their visitors’ – these website owners really don’t care about this. They’re either selling something, trying to raise their profile with potential customers, or communicating a particular message to their audience, or all three.

You need to therefore deliver something to them that will help them sell their products/services, raise their profile, or communicate their message.

And to do that effectively, you’re going to need to develop your content after you know who you’re trying to get a link from – so you can customise the content down to actually mentioning them in the piece.

This is where running other ecommerce businesses through my position at Vitalife Group came in useful – it gave me perspective of how I’d feel about bloggers contacting my companies for backlinks by using the broken link and ‘valuable content’ approach.

To be honest, I’d probably fix the link and not bother sharing the content – because I’m wise to the approach now, and I know their primary motivation for getting in-touch is not to help me by finding broken links, it’s to help themselves by getting a backlink from my site.

And the same applies to authoritative websites and blogs – they’ll receive tons of these emails, and they’ll be wise to your motivations for contacting them, so even before they’ve started reading the content of your email, the barriers are up.

So instead, once you’ve found a few ‘link targets’ by searching Google for your derivative and semantic keywords, you need to take the following approach . . .

2. Outreach, but in a Different Way

Don’t use templates for your outreach! Start every point of communication with link targets from scratch.

I know, I know. It’s laborious, and takes a lot of time.

BUT, if you are focusing on highly authoritative, relevant sites, attaining just one quality link like this can rocket you up the rankings (as I’ve already experienced this early on – but more on this later in the post) – so don’t worry about this process taking time.

Backlinking is about quality, not quantity.

Put all of your efforts into attaining each link you outreach for – it should never be a case of copy/paste, hit send and repeat. Do this, and you lose the whole impact of this highly-effective strategy.

So, start with your first link target, make sure they are ranking well for either a derivative or semantic keyword in your field, and think carefully about what they want.

I did this, and my first target was a pizza oven retailer.

They had an exclusive, slick-looking pizza oven for sale – and it was available only from them. This meant, if I wrote a feature about it, it would only ever benefit them in terms of the awareness it generates – which would deliver a high level of value to them.

So, I went ahead and dreamed-up a new concept of announcing our ‘Pizza Oven of the Month’ on the blog. It was the 1st November, so seemed the perfect time to start something like this.

I wrote a very flattering piece about the oven, covering its features, and what I ultimately thought of it and why it was November’s Pizza Oven of the Month (which was all actually truthful – by the end I did want one of them myself!).

I then contacted the website and told them about the review and the fact that one of their exclusive models had made our Pizza Oven of the Month award. To which they shared socially, and also placed a contextual link to my niche site on their HOME PAGE of all places!

That’s a 100% conversion rate right there. This was the first target I’d approached under this strategy, they were ranked highly for my primary keyword and other derivative keywords, and I’d just attained a juicy backlink from them on their most important page of all.

The impact of this link was immediately apparent, in a few days it made my site rank for lots of derivative keywords (although, strangely, it’s still not showing for my primary keyword ‘pizza oven’ – but a few more links like this and I’m sure it will).

From not ranking on anything other than ‘Pizza Oven Hub’ – which is ultimately my domain name, and noone ever uses this as a search term – to ranking at the following places for these words:

Buy Pizza Oven Online – Rank 44 Worldwide

Pizza Oven Recipes – Rank 127 Worldwide

Outdoor Pizza Oven Recipes – Rank 153 Worldwide

How do I know this?

I use a combination of my Google Webmaster account for my niche site, which tells you what search terms your site is showing for, then I run these search terms through SERPs.com’s Rank Checker Tool, to find the precise rank at any given time.

The above data is interesting, not just because I wasn’t ranking at all prior to this single backlink, but it’s also interesting that the best ranking keyword is related to buying pizza ovens online – which is the primary focus of the site providing the backlink, to sell Pizza Ovens online.

Although I have an Amazon affiliate store on my niche site and a ‘Buy Pizza Ovens Online’ page, this is certainly not where my textual content is focused – it’s more around the types of pizza oven available, and also quite a lot of keywords focused around building your own pizza oven. So it’s definitely not my on-site content that’s guided this ranking.

Now, as I said before, I’m no SEO expert – I’m just crash-testing theories – but perhaps this suggests that Google takes the relevance of sites that are backlinking to yours not only seriously, but it also guides your ranking in searches based on your backlinking site’s content (perhaps even more so than your own on-site content?).

Or perhaps it’s simply because competition is less fierce in this long-tail term? And I haven’t surfaced that well elsewhere because the other terms are more competitive?

I dunno.

I just found this a very interesting point.

I think, in truth, Google’s algorithm is probably so complex, with so many layers and variables, that even the boffins that built it and maintain it couldn’t explain specifically what single part of the algorithm leads, primarily, to ranking for a particular term.

I also heard they were using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to allow the algorithm to adapt to new search terms never used before and so on.

That’s all a little bit too complex for me – I’m just trying to get my little Pizza Oven niche site ranked well – and the common consensus, and my own data, show that quality, relevant backlinks are the general direction you need to head in to achieve this.

I digress . . .

Back to the strategy.

So, in my example I kind of did things backwards to what I prescribe in my 4 step guidance, I created the content prior to contacting the link  target – but I thought in that particular instance (and probably in many others) it would add more credibility to build the content and publish before discussing it with the link target.

It’s more credible to say, ‘hey, I just featured your product on my blog and it won our Monthly award’, than to say, ‘hey, if you provide me a link on your site, I’ll say one of your products won our Monthly award’.

It all depends on your particular approach and the type of custom content you’re building – it’s a judgement call you have to make on every link target before you approach them. Is it more credible, and therefore more likely to get shared, if I build the content THEN share this with the target, or is it safer to contact them first and build a feature with their involvement/awareness of it, to better guarantee a link placement once published.

I’ve used both techniques, and both are proving to be effective.

3. Develop and Post Your Agreed Content

So, if you’ve approached your link target at this point, and they have agreed to link to your feature if you build something around their product/service – you’re now in a position to type out your content and give them something worth sharing.

When writing your actual content, remain mindful of what your link target wants from the piece (to sell more products/services, to raise awareness of something, etc) and ensure you get this across effectively, but also remember that the target will not want the piece to sound as though you are affiliated with them, as it then loses credibility for sharing amongst their readership and visitors, so try to keep it sounding independent and unbiased.

4. Get Your Link

When you’re happy with the content, it’s often a good idea, provided you have contacted your link target beforehand and they are aware of the feature being built, to get their input before publishing.

Ensure it meets their needs and get their stamp of approval before you send it live.

Then all you have to do from here is let them know it’s gone live, provide the link, and kindly ask that they link through to the piece from their website as agreed.


You’ve got your high-quality, relevant link.

Plus, you’ve just built yourself some relevant, unique, fresh content for your site at the same time – it’s a win-win.

The approach not only wins more backlinks at an incredible conversion rate, but it also commits you to continually developing new content for your site – which is often hard to keep up when you have other commitments beyond your niche site.

And that’s that!

Give it a go, and let me know what success rate you have with it by sharing your story in the comment section below.

Good luck! And remember, this is a time-consuming approach, but a very rewarding one.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend an hour or two building custom content and pretty much guaranteeing a quality backlink than spend an hour or two sending template outreach emails to ‘hopefully’ get one or two responses and maybe a backlink from someone.

This is a high-quality, high-impact approach that works – it adds genuine value to your link prospect’s sites, and also to your own.

Let me know how things go.

a backlink strategy for a niche website

Niche Site Step 3: My Backlink Strategy (and an early progress report)

In this post I’m going to divulge my backlink strategy for my niche site.

If you’ve been following my niche site challenge this far, you’ll know that I am not using any paid advertising methods to bring traffic to my niche site – this is pretty much the only rule of the challenge.

So, SEO is the main focus for my niche site, with an aim to get on the first page of Google for my primary keywords ‘pizza oven’ (for those just dropping-in on this post, my niche site is pizzaovenhub.com).

And as everyone knows, aside from on-site content optimisation, the key to good Google rankings is ultimately down to gaining quality, relevant links from other websites.

To do this properly, in a way that won’t lead to penalties from Google (like blog comment and forum spamming), it takes great content, a carefully thought-out strategy, and a lot of time spent putting that strategy in-place.

So, my last post discussed my content strategy and how I built some awesome, engaging, and relevant content for my niche site, and how I optimised this for search engines.

In this post, I’m going to discuss my backlink strategy for the niche site, and how I get this content noticed, shared, and linked-to by relevant websites.

Here goes . . .

My Backlink Strategy

My backlink strategy ultimately comprises 4 parts:

  1. Find relevant links
  2. Outreach, to gain those relevant links I’ve found
  3. Follow-up on outreach to maximise conversion
  4. Consistently repeat

So here’s the 4 steps in more detail:

1. Find Relevant Links

The easiest way to get links is to look for resource or links pages on relevant sites.

These are pages set-up purely with the intention of the website owner pointing his/her visitors to other useful websites. So it shows the openness of the website owner to sharing external resources, and it provides a perfect pitch for your own link to go here.

Brian Dean from Backlinko states in his SEO guide that contextual links are the best (links within posts and regular pages) – but these come more naturally from relationships and awareness of you and your brand. The resource and links pages are the quick wins to focus on when you’re starting-out.

During my research I’ve seen a lot of long-winded and fancy ways to find these sort of links.

But I just went with a very basic approach – I Googled various keywords related to pizza ovens plus ‘resources’ or ‘links’ at the end. So for example:

Pizza resources

Pizza links

Firewood resources

Firewood links

And so on . . .

After all, you’re ultimately looking for high-quality, relevant links in Google’s eyes – so what better way to verify that sites are high-quality and relevant to your field than running some Google searches on your keywords, and outreaching to those that show on the first page of results.

It pretty much guarantees both relevancy and quality in Google’s eyes – otherwise those sites wouldn’t show in the first page of results.

I did try using the -inurl: search technique for resources and links pages, so for example, searching:

pizza -inurl: resources

This is ultimately telling Google ‘I want you to show me all websites related to pizza, that have the word resources in the URL’ – with an aim to just drawing-back only resource pages (rather than sites that contain phrases like ‘the number 1 pizza resource’ and so on).

But it tended not to bring back anywhere near as many relevant results as just searching ‘pizza resources’. Maybe my niche just isn’t suited to this type of search. Anyone else have trouble with this? Please share your experience in the comments below.

Top Tip: Make sure you use an incognito browser window, and sign-out of any Google accounts when you’re searching for backlink opportunities. This ensures the search results aren’t skewed by your previous browsing history or preferences, and Google bases results purely on relevance and site quality.

As a general rule, for the results on each related keyword, I’d run down all relevant websites on the first page only, and contact them all one-by-one.

Here’s how I did it:

2. Outreach, to gain those relevant links I’ve found

UPDATE (04-11-16): Tom Watts from Blog Traffic Builder got in-touch after reading this post and recommended a software to make outreach (and following-up outreach leads) much quicker and easier. The software is called Ninja Outreach, and you can see how it works in my video review here.

You’ll see from this that the software is great for some things, and worth checking out, but for other things, like the ‘broken link’ technique, it’s a little more difficult to use. So it’s still worth taking a look at the more manual method I adopted below.

Another tip I learned from Brian Dean’s SEO guide was to use the ‘broken link’ technique when doing outreach to websites – this delivers a much greater conversion than simply begging for a link to be placed on their site.

What is the ‘broken link technique’?

So, in summary, the broken link technique involves visiting a site’s resources or links page (the page where you are most likely to be able to gain a link), and checking to see which links on that page are broken.

When you find a broken link, you contact the owner of the site, and you now have something productive and useful for them to listen to (alongside your pitch for a link) – you’ve just identified an improvement that can be made on their website.

First things first then – how do you find out if a link is broken without tediously clicking on each link to test?

Well, there’s an awesome free extension for the Google Chrome browser that automatically runs down all the links on a page and generates a quick report on which ones are okay and which ones are broken.

It highlights broken links in red, so you can copy the link and send in an email to the website owner.

Here’s the link to the free extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/check-my-links

And here’s what a check looks like once complete:

a screenshot showing how broken links look using the Chrome extension

So once you’ve found your broken link on a relevant site’s resources or links page, you’ve got your ‘in’ and it’s time to approach the site owner with what you’ve found (and a pitch for your own link to go on there).

The reason the broken link method is so effective is that it’s harder for someone to ignore a broken link on their site than it is to ignore a begging email asking for a link. If they care anything about their website and their own Google rankings (which they should, if they are showing up on the first page of results for your searches), then they will just have to access their content management system, or contact their developers, to correct it.

And while they’re already in there correcting the link, it becomes 100x easier for them to either replace the broken link with the link you have proposed to them, or to just drop your link on the page somewhere relevant (just as a thank you for spotting the broken link!).

So, here’s the template email I used to contact the site owners about their broken links. I pitched an article to my prospects, but I would imagine tools/calculators (if you have any of these on your site) would work great for resources/links pages too:

Hi (name, if you can find it on the site)
I stumbled on your awesome (genre of website) resource page today. Great work!

Just wanted you to know that I found a couple of dead links:

(Provide links here)

Also, I actually just finished my new article over at (URL of your article on your niche site) that contains some great information on how to (what the article is about).

It might make a nice addition to your resources page or a share elsewhere on your site.

Either way, keep up the great work you’re doing with the site.


(Your name)

With this template I hit a conversion of between 7-10% across the sites I found through my keyword searches – which I think is pretty respectable. So for every full page of 10 Google results, I’m just about getting 1 link at the moment.
And to get this conversion up further, I do this . . .

3. Follow-up on outreach to maximise conversion

Sounds simple, but if you’re hitting the outreach hard, it can be difficult to remember who you’ve contacted and who you haven’t – so that you can make follow-ups to your prospects.

This becomes especially difficult if you’re using a mix of both on-site contact forms and emails via your own email client – as then you don’t have one centralised point to pick-up on all the emails you’ve sent.

The way I manage this is by dropping the web address or email address of each site into a spreadsheet – a simple spreadsheet, and just one field for each contact.

When I was a lot younger, consulting for a business, I remember they used a follow-up system for customers and leads, and it was so clunky and unnecessarily complex that it just didn’t warrant the time invested entering all the data, just so follow-ups could take place.

So, now I avoid any software or complex solutions when it comes to follow-ups – your time should be spent on the outreach and follow-up itself, not on unnecessary data entry to try to facilitate these things.

If you get a positive response and a backlink from your lead/contact, then highlight their field in green, so you know not to chase them any longer.

The only other useful field would be a date to show the date you last contacted the prospect – so you aren’t bombarding them with requests every day, or alternatively, you aren’t leaving it too long to follow-up to the point where they have forgotten about your original outreach email.

Here’s my email template for follow-ups to your backlink prospects (though I haven’t used this myself yet as it has been less than a week since I sent the initial emails out – I’m planning to leave at least 1-2 weeks between emails to the same prospect):

 Hey (name)
I just wanted to follow-up on my last email to you about the broken link on your site.
Did you manage to get this fixed?
It tends to have a negative effect on your search engine rankings when you have broken links on your site – and I found your site really useful, so am keen to help you stay visible for other people like me to find you.
Also, did you check out my link? Here it is again if you missed it: (URL of article on your niche site). It shows you how to (what the article is about).
Feel free to drop this in your resources/links page when you go in to correct your broken link, if you find it helpful.
Keep up the great work – I keep on coming back to your site.
(Your name)

This message uses a mix of fear and flattery to help provoke the website owner to take action on the broken link, and to consider your link for their site.

You can repeat this email a few times over if you hear nothing back over the course of a few weeks.

Backlinking is a rather laborious numbers game, so persistence and consistency are key. Which leads me to the 4th and final part of my backlinking strategy . . .

4. Consistently repeat
Repeat the above 3 techniques as many times as possible.

Think semantic (those that are similar to, but don’t include your primary keyword) and derivative (those that include your primary keyword) keywords when searching for relevant sites, and that should give you a nice diverse set of websites to approach for links.

For me, with pizzaovenhub.com a semantic keyword could be ‘firewood’ and a derivative keyword could be ‘wood fired pizza oven’.

With backlinking, there comes a time where your website will have enough search engine visibility and awareness that you’ll naturally gain backlinks from this – it’s a self-reinforcing principle, backlinks gain rankings, which in-turn raise awareness and this attracts more backlinks naturally.

But we’re right at the beginning of this principle, where no awareness or rankings currently exist, so we have to ‘force’ backlinks with outreach initially to get ranked, and then things should naturally reinforce from here forwards.

It is tedious, and there are other things I’d rather be doing, but the fact is, if you don’t encourage backlinks, you’ll never get ranked well, and you’ll therefore never get substantial traffic and revenue from your niche site.

This is a point in your niche site’s progress where consistency and persistence are absolutely key to success – so keep at it, and the results will come. I’ll be documenting my progress as I go so you can see how this hard work pays off eventually.

If you are building your own niche site, there’s plenty to be getting on with in terms of using the ‘broken link’ outreach technique.

If you have any other tips and tricks when it comes to outreach, please share them in the comments below.

Here’s a (slightly premature) progress report on my niche site pizzovenhub.com . . .

An Early Progress Report

It’s only been a couple of days since I started my outreach, and I have already gained 2 Twitter/Facebook shares.

I do have 3 solid leads from this too, who are willing to share future content should they see fit on their sites. These are people I can share new blog posts with, and also present guest post opportunities down the line when I start exploring this technique too.

My rank for ‘pizza oven hub’ has also jumped from no 8 to no 3 on Google – so I must be doing something right with the things I’ve been introducing, although still no ranking to show for my target keywords ‘pizza oven’ – some solid backlinks should change this.

I’ll post a full progress report 1 month from now to show you what has changed with my niche site – and I’ll hopefully be able to accompany these with income reports from the site, who knows!

Stay tuned for more.

My Niche Site Content Strategy

Niche Site Step 2: My Content Strategy

So, last week I discovered my niche for my niche site project – pizza ovens!

And the past week has pretty much been dominated by research and typing-up content for the site.

There’s so much to know about them, I really didn’t think there was so much to learn about pizza ovens. Who knew!

But aside from becoming a pizza oven expert, I now have a fully-developed niche site on the subject – all in under 8 days!

What’s more, the site has already been indexed in Google and shows on the first page for the words in the domain name (which isn’t a million miles from my primary target keyword), so I’m super-pleased about that.

Often, with new websites, you will experience something called ‘The Google Dance’ where your rankings bounce around for several weeks before they settle down and you start to see some stability in your rankings.

I’m not sure whether showing on the first page for these terms is part of this dance, or because the variation on the primary keyword (which you’ll see later in this post when I show you the domain I chose) makes it quite obscure for a search term, and there is so little competition that this is our long-term placement.

Either way, my main focus is on ranking for the primary keyword term ‘pizza oven’ – which gets over 22,000 searches per month via Google alone – because then I should start to see a good percentage of this traffic hitting the site and generating revenue.

All that remains to get to this stage is to promote the site with some smart backlinking and outreach work. I’ll go over my backlinking strategy in my next post.

For now, I’m going to announce my niche site domain, and I’m going to tell you all about how I developed the content for the site and my thinking behind it.

My Domain Name

With my chosen primary keyword being ‘pizza oven’ I wanted to get this term right at the start of my domain.


Because I know from experience that this can influence your ranking for the keyword quite massively.

I co-own a website called storagepricecomparison.co.uk. This was a niche site I set-up back in 2012 when I had very little knowledge of SEO, and I haven’t touched it since it was first established.

Any SEO techniques I implemented at this time (apart from the longstanding effect of the domain name containing keywords and on-site optimisation for those same keywords) will now be way out-of-date anyway.

So ultimately, the only SEO it currently employs that is effective in today’s organic search environment is having keywords in the domain and keywords in the site content. That’s about it!

Yet this site still ranks no 1 spot in Google for the term ‘storage price comparison’.

This isn’t a highly searched term. Only 40 searches per month in fact. But the paid search environment for this term is highly competitive, with the average bid (according to Google’s Keyword Planner at the time of writing this) being around £10.41 per click! That’s pricey!

It also ranks well for other derivative keywords, so gets a decent bit of traffic – enough to charge storage companies to list their storage sites on there and earn an income from Adsense – it generates around £200pm, which isn’t too bad for a site with very little SEO work and no ongoing maintenance or costs associated with it.

I expect my Pizza Oven niche site to do much better than this given the things I now know about SEO that I didn’t when I started storagepricecomparison, and also the fact that this niche gets much more searches every month, so should deliver much more traffic and revenue potential.

So, back to the point about my domain name – I think it’s really important with niche sites to include the primary keyword in the domain name. It has worked for me in the past, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t help with this site too.

My domain name is therefore:


Why the ‘hub’?

Well, as expected pizzoven.com was already taken, and as were most of the other TLDs (Top Level Domains ie .net, .org, .co.uk, and so on).

So I had to do a little brainstorming to figure out a slightly longer, but still memorable, domain.

Google likes a brand. They don’t particularly like a domain name that’s artificially stuffed with keywords.

So I wanted to avoid names like ‘thepizzaoven.com’ and so on, because it didn’t feel like it was representing a brand.

I used an awesome tool over on namemesh.com to view alternative, available domain names.

I like this tool because it has an SEO results box that shows you alternative .com domains that still show your full primary keyword, plus another small, relevant word either before or after this term.

content strategy

It was in these results that I found the name ‘pizzaovenhub.com’ – I liked the fact that it represented what I wanted the site to be, a hub for everything and anything to do with pizza ovens, and I also liked that the word ‘hub’ represents the middle of a wheel and pizzas look kind of wheel-like.

The second choice was ‘pizzaovenboss.com’ which gave me ideas for branding with a mafia-boss type character, but aside from this being pretty cheesy (excuse the pizza pun), I just preferred pizzaovenhub.com because of its relevance to the concept.

So there you go! That’s where my new niche site lives.

Over the past week I’ve bulked it out with content, a logo, an ebook, some ads, and a few important plugins/functions in the backend. More on this in the next couple of sections.

Before you write any content on your site . . .

If you have never set up a site before, but want to start a niche website business by following me through this entire process, then a great place to start would be my How to Build a Website in One Day video – which covers the basics of buying your domain, hosting, and setting-up your website using WordPress.

This video is just 1/28th of my full Udemy course, and it may be worthwhile taking a look at the full course before you start your own niche website business so you cover the basics of running a business, and get prepared ahead of setting-up your site. You can find the full course and enroll here.

Once you’re up-and-running with your WordPress website and hosting, and you have your initial theme in-place, there’s a couple of things to do before you write a single word of content for your niche site.

This involves installing and activating several plugins on your new WordPress site. Here’s my list of essential plugins:

  • All-in-One SEO Pack
  • Contact Form by Supsystic
  • Google Analytics
  • Google XML Sitemaps
  • Mailchimp for WordPress

And here’s why I install these on almost every site I set-up.

All-in-One SEO Pack

This is a great SEO plugin that ensures all your pages and posts are properly geared for the search engines – providing an opportunity to enter a meta title, meta description, and other important bits of information for every piece of content you are about to write.

I accidentally forgot to install this ahead of writing the content for the Pizza Oven Hub site, so I had to go back through every page entering this additional info afterwards – so make sure you install this ahead of your content to save yourself this time.

This plugin also enables you to turn robots.txt on for certain pages at the click of a button (for instance terms and privacy pages that you don’t want indexing by Google), introduce nofollow attributes to links on a page, and plenty of other cool features that would otherwise take a little time to introduce – All in One SEO pack makes all options available when you’re creating your content.

Contact form by Supsystic

There’s a few contact form plugins out there but this is the one I choose to use because it’s free and has tons of customization options to make the form suit your site.

It’s quick and easy to use too!

Google Analytics

Perhaps the simplest of all plugins to set-up. All this does is provide one field via the ‘settings’ menu on ‘Google Analytics’, and this is where you enter your Analytics account reference number.

By doing this, you avoid having to manually paste your analytics code into all pages, or into your header page. It’s much easier and quicker to do it using this plugin, and it ensures it’s done properly and placed between the correct tags.

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin automatically generates a sitemap for your site, making it much easier for search engines to crawl and index all pages.

This is something I install at the start, but I don’t look at it or get my sitemap link until I’ve created all my initial content for the site.

I then take the sitemap link, and drop this into my Google Webmaster Tools account for the website. I did this just yesterday and today I noticed my site indexed with Google and ranking for the term in my domain ‘pizza oven hub’ – and I think submitting the sitemap had something to do with this.

Mailchimp for WordPress

No matter what your monetisation strategy is, I always believe that lead capture should play a role in your overall marketing.

You don’t even need to be capturing email addresses to pitch a product or service to people in order to achieve direct sales. You could just collect addresses so you can keep people up-to-date with new content you post on your site, or news you’d like to share with them – it creates lifetime value from a single visit, and is always worth implementing.

So, starting by installing this plugin enables you to link directly to your Mailchimp account and set-up a form (just a single form, if you want more than this you’ll have to upgrade to the paid version of the plugin), that funnels that data entry (names and email addresses) directly into your Mailchimp lists.

Now all you need to do is think about your lead capture strategy ie what offer will you provide people with in order to get them to enter their details?

More on this in the next section.

Now for the content . . .

I’m going to admit that I cheated slightly with this.

Not by copying and pasting any content, of course – this would be a big NO-NO as far as the search engines are concerned. They only want to see unique, fresh content in order to rank you highly.


Instead, I cheated because I copied the content principles of Pat’s securityguardtraininghq site by right clicking on his homepage content and hitting ‘inspect’ – so I could see exactly what header tags, picture titles, and other techniques, that aren’t completely easy to see on the face of the site, he had used.

Pat’s always very transparent when it comes to his projects and business ventures, but he just didn’t cover his niche site into the level of detail as to cover things like header tags and other on-site optimisation techniques.

So I scratched beneath the surface so I didn’t have to re-invent the wheel when it came to understanding the right level of keyword density and other on-site optimisation.

In terms of what I copied from Pat’s niche site, here’s some basic principles I learnt that I applied to my niche site content, and that you can apply to yours too:

  • Only use H1 tags once on your site. Use them on your homepage, and make sure you include your primary keyword in them
  • Use H2 tags for the remaining headers throughout your site, and try to include a good mix of derivative keywords in these for variety
  • In your opening home page paragraph, include your primary keyword, and use <strong> tags to show emphasis on this term
  • Label all image files by your primary keyword or keyword derivatives, and use alt tags with the same keywords
  • Use no more than 2 primary keyword mentions in your home page meta title, and your home page meta description – otherwise it will start to look too unnatural

You don’t need to rigidly stick to the above rules, they are just what I discovered by looking at Pat’s niche site code. And I’m sure Google won’t be penalizing sites for using the H1 tag on other subpages on a site for instance, but as I said earlier, I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel with these techniques – Pat has shown massive success in the rankings for his niche, so I chose to replicate his exact formula in terms of tags and keyword density/placement.

In terms of the content direction and strategy, I came up with this from scratch.

My chosen niche is a million miles from Pat’s anyway, so copying his entire direction with content wouldn’t have made sense.

I decided to focus my static content around the types of pizza oven available. During my research I discovered that there are 4 main types of pizza oven that people can buy – so I set out to explain the pros and cons of each type of oven in relation to one another, so that people researching which type to buy or build had all the information they need to make a decision.

Beyond this, I also created a free ebook that shows people how they can build their own pizza oven – this is my lead capture tool that links into my Mailchimp plugin.

I discovered, during my keyword research for the site, that ‘build a pizza oven’ and other similar phrases were hitting almost 1,000 searches per month – not a massive amount, but it is something that requires a lot of information and there isn’t that much good content out there to show you how to build your own (just Youtube videos with several hundred thousand views, but that fail to mention any measurements or materials used).

So this was the perfect opportunity to hit on this related niche, and provide a piece of useful content in exchange for the visitor’s email address.

I can then use this email list to remarket pizza oven accessories to via an Amazon affiliate link, perhaps upsell other information products around pizza ovens or pizza recipes (either my own content or become an affiliate for someone elses) – whatever. The possibilities are endless once you have accumulated a large list, and you know exactly what your list are interested in.

Then I went on to create a blog page, where it will show a whole range of posts that I will continue to add to over the coming weeks (currently it only has 3 – so it needs more content in this area) centered around semantic keywords (similar, but not including my primary keyword term, like ‘pizza cooker’) and derivative keywords (ones containing my primary keyword phrase but amongst others, like ‘how to build your own pizza oven’ or ‘DIY pizza oven’).

Plus an About page, Contact page, Pizza Oven Recipes section – with recipes displayed on separate pages (to show off the amazing food you can cook in a pizza oven)*, a ‘Buy a Pizza Oven’ Amazon affiliate store, and a Privacy policy page.

*I used a great free plugin to build the recipe page structure called Ziplist Recipe Plugin – well worth a look if you’re looking to build a niche site that incorporates or is centered around recipes and food.

And that’s that!

If you are following this series of posts around my niche site development because you’re also going through your own niche site development journey, then please don’t be shy – drop a comment below and share your journey with us. I’d love to hear your techniques too, and if you think I could have done anything better with my own niche site.

I look forward to hearing from you.