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We’re Starting the Epic Niche Site Battle!

“Let’s do this!” is how I responded to a LinkedIn message from Barnabas of TheDadWallet.com & SerialBoss.com.

Back in May, Barnabas reached out to Wallet Squirrel following up on all our talk about building a niche website. He’s been wanting to do the same thing and he suggested we do something like Pat Flynn’s Niche Site Duel and compete to see who could make the better niche website.

F*#k, I freaked out. This is the first time I’m going against a real blogger and sharing every step of the process. What if my ideas suck?

Although terrified, I REALLY want to do this. I want to build something awesome with everything I’ve learned the last year. So I accepted the challenge of what we’re calling the “Epic Niche Site Battle”!

Niche Site, What Is That?

In an older post, I gave 50 Examples of Amazon Affiliate Websites. Essentially a niche site is a website that caters to a particular narrow group of people with a common interest. For example, people who own large fish tanks could be a particular niche. You could totally have a website about that!

You can also monetize these niche websites and have them make money for you. I’ll admit, that’s my motivation to start this. I’m hoping to build a passive income with this new website and use that money to buy more dividend stocks.

How the Competition Works

Barnabas and I sat down (via Google Hangouts) to lay out how the competition works.

Duration: We are giving each other 1 year to build & grow our niche sites. Starting on January 1st of 2018 we’re starting our site and giving comprehensive reports quarterly on both our blogs (walletsquirrel.com & serialboss.com). We each may add additional posts, but we have to share all of our stats every three months. Whoever has better key metrics at the end of the year wins.

What We’re Competing On: We’re both building niche sites to help us grow our incomes, so making money is key but not the only factor. We are tracking 4 key metrics we both felt were vital to the success of a niche website.

Updates: We’ll share our updates quarterly with January 4th as our first post. Damn that’s soon!

  • First Update – March 29th
  • Second Update – July 5th
  • Third Update – September 7th
  • Last Update – December 6th

Rules: The only rules we came up with were:

  1. No one else can help us. I can’t have my buddy Adam helping me or hire any Virtual Assistants. The same goes for him. It’s just him and I each bootstrapping a website from scratch.
  2. Paid Advertising must be deducted from profits. I don’t plan on using a lot of Paid Advertising since I’m poor and don’t want to spend money, but I may try $50 in Facebook Ads to see/track if it helps.

That’s it. All else is fair to build the ultimate niche website!

Full Transparency: We’re sharing EVERYTHING (good times and bad) except the domain names. We want to be as transparent as possible since we want to help others build niche websites and show how it’s done, but we’ve both heard horror stories of people using similar domain names and stealing traffic from new sites after the keyword research has been done.

I may share my domain name at the end of the competition, once established, but it’s up to Barnabas to share his or not. For now, we’ll call our respective sites the Wallet Squirrel Niche Site and the Serial Boss Niche Site.

My Previous Niche Site Experience

So far my previous niche site experience leaves room for improvement. In the past I’ve built 4 unsuccessful niche websites, but each one got better.

That’s right, I’ve built 4 awful niche sites in the past. It’s time to build something awesome!

Starting when I was 24 I built my first niche site reviewing online universities, it was called Top5OnlineUniversities.com. It was awful because I wrote generic school descriptions and only made money with AdSense. I hated myself for building something so lame. So I quit after a year.

At age 25 I built a website called LanguageMindMaps.com (it’s not up anymore). I wanted to use my graphic design talent to create mind maps of typical conversations in different languages to help people visually learn new languages. It was better looking but I had no way to really monetize it and knew nothing about marketing. It failed because no one was searching for the term language mind maps.

At age 26 I built a deodorant niche website that started doing well for the keyword search, but it lacked ways to monetize the website. Plus I wasn’t exactly thrilled to tell people I had a website on deodorant. So since I wasn’t excited to market it, I lost interest and it died.

At age 27 Adam (of Wallet Squirrel) and I built a Halloween Costume website. This was something that looked cool, had great keyword research and did really well. However, it was just a seasonal website so the rest of the year I lacked interest in maintaining it since it only turned a profit once a year. That lack of motivation destroyed me and I game up. By the time Halloween came around again we didn’t have the keyword strength and lost tons of traffic. It’s slowly been dying.

Now! I plan to build something that’s graphically cool, that I’m excited to share with other people, has awesome keyword strength with a topic I can write about throughout the year. These are the guiding factors for my new niche site.

Strategies

It was pretty funny when we shared our initial strategies, they were very different approaches. So we’ll get to see two common strategies in action.

I wanted to go with a traditional affiliate site where the purpose is to rank high for a particular keyword then get my audience from my niche website to a product as fast as possible. When people use my tracking codes, I get a portion of the sale if they buy anything. So my strategy is to gain traffic through keyword targeting and quickly get them to a product site quickly. The idea being the more people I get to a product site, the more products that will sell.

Barnabas with SerialBoss has a bit different strategy. He plans to make most his income from Google AdSense rather than affiliate sales. So he is focusing on ranking highly in Google in a particular niche and gain revenue through visual AdSense ads.

Overall: I anticipate I may make more money first, but he is playing the long game by trying to become the premier expert in a particular niche field. If he can rank highly for one particular keyword, it’s easier to start expanding into other similar keywords and significantly grow his traffic.

So It Begins

I’m currently in the pregame phase. I’ve built a few niche sites in the past, but none have been overly successful. I really have no idea what I’m going to do. I know I’m going to build an affiliate niche website and it’s going to follow rules I stated above from past lessons learned, but I don’t know exactly what it will be yet. I don’t even have a domain name in mind.

So I’m currently rapidly typing domain names into GoDaddy.com to see what’s available and sounds good. Rapidly strategizing in my head because on January 1st we’re going fulling speed!

Does anyone want to join?

The main Epic Niche Site Battle is between Barnabas and I, but anyone is welcome to join in. Does anyone want to join us building a completely new niche website in January? Sign up for my email newsletter below to follow the action!

The Perfect Blog Post Photo Size for Sharing on Social Media

Oh my goodness, blog post photo sizes were SO confusing before I wrote this post. If you look through our older posts, they were all over the place because we made what looked pretty at any size. Now we have the data on the perfect blog post photo size for sharing on social media.

The Perfect Blog Post Image Size

Forget burying the lead, the new dimensions we’re using for our future blog posts are:

  • Horizontal – 1,024 x 512 px
  • Vertical – 800 x 1,200 px

Quick article right? Keep reading if you want to know how we came to this perfect ratio of social media and blog magic.

Apparently, this is a pretty popular ratio that many social media companies (like Buffer) and social media agencies came to through their research. I’m focusing on the ideal image size for sharing articles and photos, but if you want the ideal image size for every social media photo spot like profile photos and cover images, check out Omnicore Agency’s infographic.

 

We Did the Math: Ideal Image Size by Social Platform

I’m focusing on the 4 major social media channels, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest. Yes, there are Instagram, Google+, Tumbler, etc. Yet most bloggers don’t use these because they’re not great platforms for sharing articles, images and posts. So we’ll focus on the big 4.

No matter what size you actually upload to any of these platforms, it’ll automatically be scaled to whatever social media platform you’re using. Here is what they scale to.

Facebook Shared Link – 1,200 x 628 px

Whenever you add a URL to Facebook, it will create a “shared link” post. This will add your message in the text box above and below use the URL you submitted to automatically a Facebook article that uses your featured image as the post image. It’ll look like this:

To get the most out image size (bigger is better) out of your shared article link, you’ll want your Facebook photos to be 1,200 x 628 px. If most people find you via Facebook, maybe it’s worth making all your blog post images this size to get the most image dimensions and Facebook real estate.

Twitter Shared Link – 1,024 x 576

Twitter has over 313 Million active users a month. If you’re not on twitter you likely don’t exist. So if you want to exist on Twitter, you REALLY need to use images to convey your ideas and share your articles. Tweets with images get 2x more engagement than those without.

If your adding images to your tweets you want to use the right sized images to get the most real estate for your tweets because a regular tweet only last 18 minutes. Twitter uses a 2:1 ratio and 1,024 x 576 px is ideal. This is what the photo will look like when it’s selected otherwise, Twitter will minimize it to 506 x 253 px in the Twitter stream looking like this:

LinkedIn Shared Link – 552 x 368 px

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn will only allow you to add one image per post. So you can get creative having one image made up of multiple images or use one good image. Either way the ideal ratio for LinkedIn according to a moderator on LinkedIn’s help forum, the ideal size for image uploads is 522 x 368 px.

Anything larger than that will be automatically cropped for the image preview to fit their maximum width and height. Your actual image won’t be cropped if selected for full view, but most people only look at the image preview.

Pinterest Shared Link – 600 x 900 px

People are regularly raving how great Pinterest is for driving traffic to their website. I’m hoping to try this as stated in my recent income report because 90% of Pinterest pages are external links to people’s websites.

Pinterest has said that the best aspect ratio are images with a 2:3 ratio. This could be 600 pixels wide by 900 pixels tall or 800 pixels wide by 1,200 pixels tall. You get the idea. However, the actual Pinterest feed on the main page and on boards shows pins with a width of 236 px and adjustable height.

Conclusion

We’re going to start using the perfect blog post image size to help us get more real estate from social sharing, what image size do you use for your blog post images?

Web Marketing – How to Increase Website Traffic Now!

Web Marketing – How to Increase Website Traffic Now!

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE BELOW FOR MORE INFO.

Over the past few months, Andrew and I have been working very hard to increase website traffic to Wallet Squirrel. I can successfully say that we have accomplished that with our web marketing strategy! We are nowhere near some of the bigger bloggers but our traffic growth is aggressively pointing upward with a 65% gain between June and July! Overall, we have increased our viewership by 545% since changing our strategy in February.

In my latest SEO post, I suggested that I would be coming out with a marketing guide. Well, here it is! I am going to lay it all out here to help you gain more traffic now!

The Goal of Web Marketing

Overall, you want web marketing to increase the exposure of your content and website. The more you can share your content with others on various platforms, the more likely you are to reach new people. These new visitors are the people that could turn into loyal followers.

You also want to make sure the platforms that you are sharing on are worth your time and effort. Marketing takes a lot of time and effort which most people do not have. I know I do not have that much time with a little eight-month-old crawling all around the house. This is why I have come with this guide, to save you the time as well as the effort of guessing and checking based on what Andrew and I have already gone through.

Here you will find the techniques that we find the most useful and gain the most traffic from.

Social Media

Using social media to increase website traffic is a no-brainer. Being persistent and dedicated to social media can really expand your contents reach. The challenge with social media it is tough to stay consistent with posting every day. This is why we recently purchased CoSchedule to help us post on all of the social media platforms. CoSchedule allows you to create templates for Tweets, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn then it will automatically post them on a particular schedule.

Another thing to remember about social media is that it is not only about sending out these automated posts. Social media is also about creating conversations. I try to get on Twitter several times a day to see if I can create a conversation with someone. These conversations create a more memorable moment for people versus a traditional tweet.

Check out Andrew’s review of Coschedule and how we use it for our social media web marketing.

CoSchedule

Syndication

Andrew has had a lot of success with getting our articles syndicated on some major publications such as the AOL Finance Collective and Seeking Alpha. We continue to search for new places to get our articles hosted somewhere else. Using syndication for web marketing increases the footprint of every article written which in turn increases website traffic. It is like we are borrowing their audience.

The trick with syndication is that every article must be written with extra care. Really you should do this for every article if you want to be taken as a professional (no one is perfect though). But since you are publishing this article on a high-end professional publication it needs to look like your best work. Take some extra time to review the content. Maybe even download the Grammarly application to help you find hidden mistakes in your writing. I know this application has really helped me find some boneheaded mistakes!

Social Platforms

We have had good success using Quora to gain some more exposure around the internet. Quora is only one of several social platforms I want to play with. Others include Slideshare, Reddit, and Blogger. I’m particularly excited to try out Slideshare which allows you to create a presentation on any topic you would like.

With any social platform you will want to find trending topics then conquer that topic with a mind-blowing presentation (Slideshare) or answer (Quora). You might ask, “How do you find these trending topics?” That is a great question! Well, Quora makes it super easy as you can see the analytics of questions. For other platforms, I use social media to help me with that. With Twitter, you can easily see what people are talking about and how rigorous that conversation is.

web marketing with Quora to increase website traffic

Strong Headlines

Creating strong headlines to catch the eyes of potential viewers is very important to marketing any post. If the headline does not create some sort of intrigue then no one will want to click on the link. Through CoSchedule, I use their headline analyzer to help determine if my headlines are strong or not. This analyzer will tell you if the headline has a good balance of words within it or not. It also gives the headline an overall grade, the higher the grade the better the headline is. Creating a catchy and intriguing headline is one of the simplest web marketing techniques and an easy way to increase website traffic to your blog.

Finding a Pain Point

To increase website traffic, you need to find a reason for people to visit your website. This web marketing technique requires you to find a pain point for your new visitors.  A pain point is something that the visitor must need to make their life better such as “How to market their website properly”. These pain points are subjects that can be cultural trends (Pokemon Go last summer) or a pain point that is always there such as website performance. If you can find the right pain point then apply strong marketing and SEO strategies, you will see an increase in website traffic.

So What’s Next for Wallet Squirrel?

There are some areas that we need to increase focus on. We really have not gotten to these yet because they are lower on the priority list as we have worked on incorporating the above tasks into our routine. As I have said in many other articles such as in my Getting Rid of Distractions post. Do not just stack the whole pile of tasks on your to-do list at once. We have been working on one task at a time, incorporating it into our routine, then adding another one on top of it once complete. Taking everything on all at once is a dangerous move because it increases the chances of failure and burning you out.

Infographics

Infographics keep growing in popularity as a form of web marketing. They are easy for others to share the story they want to tell. Creating relevant infographics can take a little time but in its self is your whole article portrayed as an image. This allows your viewer to easily summarize your article just by sharing one image. Every time that image is shared so is your brand. As you can see in the example below that Andrew made for his What Happens to Debt When You Die article, the Wallet Squirrel brand is clearly displayed.

We need to continue to create more infographics as well as make them easy to share. I believe this form of web marketing will increase the spread of the Wallet Squirrel brand around the internet. In turn, this will increase website traffic for Wallet Squirrel.

 

Guest Posting

We have been so focused on other things we have not made that much time for guest posting. In fact, Andrew has had to turn down several opportunities because time has slipped away. Guest posting is a very similar technique to syndication. Really the only difference is that you are posting on a fellow bloggers website instead of a publication. You gain viewership from guest posting because you are letting that blog’s visitors know you exist.

SEO is still crucial

All of this goes without saying that you cannot have web marketing without good SEO. Good SEO practices are just as important as a good web marketing strategy. We gain about half of our traffic because of good SEO and the other half because of our web marketing efforts.

Now that you have the web marketing half. Go read my two posts on SEO. The Ultimate SEO Strategy for 2017 and An SEO Strategy – What Works and What Does Not.  Within these posts, I talk about how to increase the SEO of your entire website as well as each blog post you publish.

 

Below you will find an infographic summarizing our Web Marketing strategy plus our SEO strategy. Feel free to love, like, share, post, tweet, or whatever else floats your boat. If you can, just give us credit by linking back.

Web Marketing Inforgraphic