What is a Niche Website?

It is a website or a blog with a laser focus on a topic. Some people get confused about the term ‘niche’ and they automatically associate niche websites to be something small – that is simply not true. A niche website could be big (think Food.com) or small (SYWTWFS for the Figure Skating niche). What these 2 websites have in common is that they are both laser focus on a topic, food for the first one and figure skating for the other.

The goal of a niche website is to become the expert of the topic so Google (or other search engines) will rank you favourably for all related keywords.

Where Did I Get The Idea of a Niche Website?

I was either googling about SEO (search engine optimization) or reading an article sent to my email, I somehow ended up on this post on Niche Pursuits. The author runs an extremely successful blog about SEO, website building and keyword tools. Long story short, I ran into the rabbit hole and came out with the decision that I should experiment with my own niche website.

The timing was perfect as I had been working from home for over 2 weeks at that point and was saving 3 to 4 hours per day on average for not having to get ready and commute. The time-saving was made even more evident when I started with the Monday Hour One technique (read about my experience here).

When Did I Start My Niche Website?

April 2020

It has almost been a month since the day I read the article on Niche Pursuits. I spent the first-weekend doing keyword research on a few different ideas and ultimately decided on my final choice. I also came up with a list of 16 posts that I will work on before launching the website.

What Happened During the First Month?

First Post

I wrote my first post a few days after I read the article on Niche Pursuits. It took the longest because I didn’t have a system then. However, by the 3rd post, I had a pretty good system set up for researching, planning and writing.

Timeline & Cadence

At some point in the first month, I realized that I needed a concrete timeline so I committed to 2 posts per week for the next 2 months (estimated launch: Jun). I was able to stick to this output for the first 3 weeks and am confident that I will do the same for the rest of the time period.

Domain Purchase & Website Launch (& What Went Horribly Wrong)

Originally, I told myself I can only proceed with buying the domain and hosting when I have all 16 posts ready. I wasn’t sure what got into me that Wednesday evening but I just couldn’t wait any longer. I was worried about the domain being purchased by someone else and convinced myself that as long as I continue writing 2 posts per week as committed, launching it early won’t hurt. So I did.

That was the night before the Thursday I failed to wake up early to study and forgot to buy my ETF because it went all wrong.

Jenthinks is currently hosted by Bluehost which I love and have had no problem with for the past year or so. Yet, for some dumb reasons, I decided to try Dreamhost instead. It wasn’t even that much cheaper but it was horrible! During the first 2 hours or so, I already can’t access my website a number of times. It got so bad that I wasn’t even able to preview my posts as I edited.

I knew I was able to get a refund on the hosting when I signed up so that’s what I did, however, what I was most worried about was the domain name. I tried transferring it to Bluehost but it had a 60-day lock on it (can’t transfer until the lock is lifted). For a little while, I thought my options were either to wait 60 days before I launch (bad) or come up with another domain name (worse). Good thing the Live Chat team at Dreamhost was far superior to the hosting and the agent was able to walk me through re-directing the DNS to Bluehost so I can “transfer” it for the time being.

Once I was on Bluehost, I had another little meltdown but this was completely my fault. I tried restoring the back up by uploading the file to cFile directly and “broke” the site. I wasn’t able to login to my WordPress at all (a blank page would appear) and once again, Live Chat saved the night.

The process that would have taken me only 2 hours max (including uploading the posts) ended up taking me close to 4 hours. I was hungry and tired and my eyes were dry at that point.

Lesson learned? Stick with what you know works.

Applying for Google Adsense (& more)

There are many Adsense guides on the internet advising people not to apply for Google Adsense until you have at least 10 to 15 posts. For Jenthinks, I applied and was approved when I had less than that but I did get rejected very early on (when I had less than 5 posts).

I decided to give my new site a try anyway after my 5th post went live. I did re-apply after being rejected within 10 hours as I didn’t use my existing Adsense account associated with jenthinks to apply.

Two days later, I cancelled and re-submitted my application as I felt something went wrong (no science, just gut feeling). Re-submitting is actually advised against because the clock reset (Google says the review process generally takes a few days but it can be up to 2 weeks).

Hopefully I will have something to report on the next update.

Other than Google Adsense, I also set up Google Search Console (to submit your sitemap to Google for indexing) and Google Analytics. I also started the Google Analytics for Beginners course this week too as I felt like I never really understood how it works.

What Are My Goals for Month #2?

  • continue to post twice a week
  • finish Google Analytics for Beginners course
  • work on 2 Pins for each post
  • report my progress in a month’s time (& continue every month afterwards)

Read all of the Niche Website Project posts here

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