I started a niche site project to mark my birthday in 2021. The first piece of content did not go on the website till late May/ early June, which gives us about a 7-month timeframe between then and now to measure results.
As of the time of this writing, this website has pulled in almost 16,000 all-time clicks and more than 14,000 pageviews in the past 3 months (90 days) alone.
That’s not even the best part – and we will get to all of that soon.
In this piece, I will show you everything I did to make that happen, laying it out in such a way that you can follow the templates to gain organic traffic to your websites, landing pages, offers, copy and content anywhere on the web.
Enough talk. Let’s get right in.
First, The “Money” Shot
Why should I be teaching you how to get thousands and tens of thousands of organic clicks to your websites and other web properties if I haven’t done it myself? Yeah, valid question.
So, before we continue, how about some screenshots to get you excited?
Now that we have established social proof, let’s get to the business of the day.
PS I have taken the time to explain some concepts here which might be new to some readers. Since this is not a tutorial piece (again, it is a case study), I can’t go into the full details of all of these concepts. In subsequent blog posts, when I do have the time, I would explain better.
For now, you can reach out to me to ask about anything that you don’t understand:
What Kind of Website Is This?
I would not be revealing the niche and address of this website for obvious reasons.
The risk from content scrapers, Blackhat SEOs sending spammy links, and bot traffic, among other things, is high these days. If you have a high-performing website, I would recommend that you keep the niche to yourself too.
That said, this is an information-based website on a fresh domain without any backlinks built to it. The niche is considered saturated but with any good niche, there will always be chances to explore. If you know what you are looking for, that is.
The website’s content has a mix of commercial intent content too (reviews, best of, vs, etc) but that makes up less than 15% of the entire content on the website.
How Did I Find My Keywords?
Finding the keywords to write about is the second most important thing in content publishing. The first, of course, is creating good content.
You need to find what your prospects are typing into search engines so that you can optimize for them. That is how to ensure you are seen when they enter such queries into Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, or any other search engines that they use.
There are several ways to do this. I’ll only outline the keyword tools that I have tried since I can discuss them better:
- AnswerThePublic (free) – I love using ATP to find those questions that my target audience is asking around my topics. Most of the questions you get will turn up with zero search volumes (remember this term for later) but that doesn’t mean you should not go for them. I also use ATP to build out the FAQ section of my articles. More on that in the writing section.
- Keyword Revealer (paid) – I would admit that I don’t use this tool anymore. I have used it for two websites now and while it is somewhat decent at finding the “money” keywords, it is not great for the informational intent side which I am leaning towards these days.
- Keyword Finder (paid) – I bought this tool as an alternative to Keyword Revealer when I was starting a second site. It’s slightly more powerful and offers a range of extra perks that you could use if you’re getting deeper into SEO. A good price for the money.
- AHRefs (paid) – If you are just starting, AHRefs might be a little out of your reach right now. The cheapest monthly plan is about $99/ month (NGN54,000 monthly). When you scale up, you might want to get this tool.
- Keyword Chef (free trial & paid) – Keyword Chef is one of the best tools to find low competition keywords out there today. There’s a focus on informational intent but you would find some buyer and commercial intent keywords in there too. I recommend using the free trial (gives you 1,000 credits) first to see how fine a tool it is.
Once I get all of my keywords, I arrange them neatly into a sheet as you’ll see below:
Don’t let the various cells intimidate you. I like to collect more data than I need sometimes, and I color-code things to make them more visually appealing to me.
You don’t need anything fancy like that. A keyword sheet like the one below is what you’ll get once you export from these tools and it’s highly simple too.
Validating the Keywords
Before I write any article at all, I do manual Search Engine Results Page (SERP) research to see if the keyword is truly low difficulty.
Keyword tools will assign a difficulty level to a keyword which is supposed to show you how easy or hard that keyword is to rank for.
On Keyword Revealer, for example, keyword difficulty (KD) between 0-20 is easy to rank for. On AHRefs, 0-10 is the sweet spot, and up to 20 is still considered easy to rank.
The problem with that approach is that an easy keyword in one keyword tool can be estimated hard in another tool. These tools have different ways of estimating the difficulty. So, if you don’t do a manual search by yourself, you might end up not ranking at all.
PS I have tried it before with a niche site I created, trusting just the KD. That site bombed.
So, here’s how to validate your keywords:
- Step 1 – Get your keywords from any of the tools I mentioned, or other tools that you like better.
- Step 2 – If you are not targeting a local audience, get a VPN. I always write for the US audience so I have to use a VPN since I am not based in the USA. I use a free VPN and it works great.
- Step 3 – Connect your VPN to the location of your audience. In my case, I would connect to the US servers.
- Step 4 – Launch Google in Incognito Mode in your browser. It is important that you either use a device that you are not signed in on, or go with Incognito Mode.
- Step 5 – Enter each one of your keywords in Google search.
If the search results show you any combination of:
- Two or more forums ranking in the top 10;
- Non-exact match results (that are not exactly in line with the query);
- Poor content sites ranking in the top 10;
- Thin content sites ranking in the top 10; and
- Non-niche sites ranking in the top 10…
… you are good to go. Otherwise, you might have to hold on with that keyword till your website gets a bit more authority.
Writing the Content
This is where it gets dicey for most people.
Even if you got the easiest keywords in the world, they might not move the needle for you if you don’t know how to create good content.
I am not talking about writing content that will win you a #1 bestselling author award or something that would land you the Pulitzer Prize. I am talking about content that is decent enough for your readers to want to read.
We have all had our fair share of visiting websites with poorly written content, so you don’t want to be that guy (or lady) writing such trash.
I have a background that spans over five (5) years in content writing so this doesn’t come as a challenge to me. The only challenge is finding time to write for my niche websites between client projects.
When you are just starting, you can choose to:
- Write the content yourself – The interesting thing is that you get better with every piece you write, provided you truly put your heart to it. Keep writing and you’ll soon become an authority in your niche.
- Outsource the content – I know a few content publishers who don’t want to bother with writing so they only hire others to do it for them. If you can find good writers (trust me, they are hard to find), hire them and pay them to write.
- Do both – There are a series of reasons why doing both is also great. I plan on hiring extra hands with some of my niche sites soon but I’ll still keep writing. They’ll hold the fort for me when I am busy on client projects. You can also choose to have writers create content alongside you to speed up the process while you keep learning to write too.
No matter what you do, make sure you are getting the best content for your money or effort.
Current Site Outlook and Future Predictions
One of the reasons why I am excited about this website is because of what milestones the content is reaching already.
I did not mention this earlier (so I don’t scare you away) but I have 128 posts published, as of the time of this writing. Now, here’s why that is interesting.
May 2021 is just about eight (8) months ago. Any SEO will tell you that the average time it takes for a piece of content to rank, and start bringing in its highest level of traffic, is about eight (8) months to a year from the time you hit publish.
So, if you published an article in January on a fresh domain like this one, you should expect to see the maximum impact from around September to October.
That said, let me show you a breakdown of the articles on the website before I continue:
|Month||No. of articles published|
|February 2022||7 (so far)|
If you look at that table, with the explanation that I just gave, only the articles published in May and June 2021 have had time to rank and they are the ones bringing in this traffic. That is just 31 out of 128 articles (less than 25%!!!).
Imagine what happens when the rest of the articles (75%+) cross the 8-month mark.
Massive, right? It gets better.
You don’t get that traffic in one month and it stops. This is recurring traffic which means you write the article once and you keep getting hundreds to thousands of page views per month, without doing anything more.
You can almost leave the website/ web property there and it keeps making you money/ generating leads for your business on autopilot while you go do other things.
Traffic Monetization on The Website
I have not started monetizing the website traffic properly yet.
I know I’m losing money this way (ha-ha) but I have a bet with myself to grow the site to a certain traffic threshold before monetizing at all. That way, I am more motivated to keep working on the site the right way.
If you achieved such traffic level, you could decide to monetize by:
- Selling a product directly: If you sell a $100 product/ service and get 15,000 organic clicks/ month, at a 1% conversion rate, that’s easily $15,000 (NGN8,250,000)/ month in revenue. The revenue keeps growing as your traffic grows – of which it will.
- Putting ads on the website: If you want to earn passively, you can slap some ads on the website. The data from a channel I follow pegs average ad revenue at about $30/ 1,000 pageviews. 15,000 clicks will result in more pageviews, but even at that level alone, you’re getting an extra $450 (NGN247,000)/ month.
- Throw in some affiliate links: If you know how to craft high-quality buyer intent content, and you rank them well too, you can make up to $5,000 (NGN2,750,000) (and more) per month. Depending on the product price and affiliate commission rate, as well.
The best part is that you can do everything. No rule says you cannot monetize your website in all of those ways.
Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Niche Site
One of the reasons why I start these niche sites is to find content writing, SEO, and copywriting mistakes that might hurt my clients so I can avoid those mistakes on their websites.
Of course, I love the idea of passive income that they bring too, but they help me do a low-risk strategy test to see what works and what doesn’t.
Some of the mistakes that I made with an earlier niche site that I avoided here include:
- Over-optimizing: You can over-optimize for keywords and Google sees that as spam, leading to poor rankings. You don’t have to repeat your keywords multiple times within the content to rank. Google is now better at understanding search intent so the algorithm would rank a well-written article around your keyword anyway.
- Using all generic images: There is nothing bad with using stock images that you can find on the internet. I have found, in the case of this site, that original images work best. I am currently reaching out to friends (special thanks to AY, Solexy, TR, Habeeb, and Sydney) regarding images for another niche site I plan on starting soon. When you can, take images/ videos of the products/ things you are talking about and use them in your content.
- Focusing on too many things: In the early days of one of my older sites, I was doing everything else but content. I was focusing on the logo, layout, etc. At the end of the day, it is the quality and depth of your content that matters.
- Monetizing like crazy: Who doesn’t want to earn money from their website traffic? But then, you have to focus on delivering a great user experience first, and the dollars will roll in. Focus on the money alone and you might not get the traffic to back it up, eventually frustrating you.
- Trusting keyword tools blindly: There was a time when I would take the data from keyword tools and run with it. Today, I maintain that your brain is the best tool and every other SEO tool out there is secondary. Make final judgments from your research, not what a tool tells you.
- Ignoring zero search volume (ZSV) KWs: Keyword tools can be so inaccurate that they sometimes return a query as having zero searches in search engines. I’ll show the inaccuracies of that in an updated case study to this one.
- Estimating the perfect word count: There is nothing like the perfect word count. I write my articles without looking at the word counter these days so that I can create the best piece of in-depth content. While there are some general content length guides that you can use, I prefer that you keep writing till you have covered the topic in-depth instead.
These are not all the mistakes I avoided but they represent some of the core ones.
What I’m Going to Do Next
Since more than 70% of the content on the site is yet to age, and I’m getting such decent traffic levels already, I’ve decided to leave the site for a few months.
In these few months, the rest of the articles age, I get more important data in my Google Search Console (a free analytics tool that you should get if you’re serious about organic traffic) and I can double down on creating more of the content that works.
While I update relevant articles and keep an eye on the metrics, I am also setting up a new niche site in another interesting sub-niche. It will be a little bit challenging since I’m handling client projects on the side but I’ll make it work.
I’m sure that by the time I have another update for you, on any of these niche sites, it would be even more massive than this.
If you’ve got any questions to ask me, comments to share or you just want to say hi, please follow the links below to reach out:
You can also follow me on LinkedIn where I share insightful content daily.