Now that I’ve gone through the introduction and discussed how to research your niche site’s target keyword, we’re going to dig into some more detail with regards to how to set up and configure your site. This is an area where there are many options and many right ways of doing it.
It’s important that you don’t get too caught up in any one particular detail – I know I’ve spent hours trying to tinker with one element of a site’s design, when ultimately, it’s not where I should initially focus my time. There will be plenty of time to tweak the details once you’re up and running, and receiving real traffic (which is the right time to worry about little details).
Anyway, let’s dive in!
My Preferred Website/Blog Software: WordPress
Note: If you’re already familiar with WordPress, you can skip this section.
It’s easy to see why WordPress is one of the most widely used platforms for creating blogs and websites today – it’s ridiculously easy to set up and configure (once you get the hang of it). Like anything else, there’s at least a slight learning curve depending on how computer-savvy you are, but I can assure you that it’s probably a lot easier than the alternatives, when it comes to creating a well-designed website.
It’s worth noting that I’ll be using the WordPress.org platform – that is, I’ll be hosting my own installation of WordPress (Bluehost and most other hosting providers make this easy to do). This can easily be confused with WordPress.com, which doesn’t require you to have your own host, but does have some pretty significant limitations (like not being able to use your own themes, or upload plugins).
In the next section, I’ll show you how easy it is to install WordPress on your own host.
Setting up the Framework for Your Niche Site
We’ll take this step by step…Everything you see in my screenshots below will be from Bluehost, so if you use a different host, things may appear different.
Adding the Domain to Your Hosting Provider
Note: If you purchased a Bluehost hosting package for the first time, you can skip this step, as the domain should have been included free with your purchase.
I purchased my domain through GoDaddy, and as you may recall, I set up the domain (at the time I purchased it) so that it would point toward my hosting account, thus enabling me to add the domain to the hosting account. Now, we need to actually add this domain to the hosting account. To do this, you’ll need to go to the Domain Manager tab within your Bluehost control panel (“cPanel”) and click on Assign a domain to your cPanel Account.
Next, you’ll need to input your domain and follow through the steps shown on the page. You can see what I’ve input/selected in the screenshot below.
Here’s the part where you let your hosting provider do all the behind-the-scenes installation magic. From the cPanel, you can click on the WordPress icon under SimpleScripts Installations.
From there, you want to select Install for a brand new version of WordPress.
Next, you will be prompted to select where you’d like WordPress to be installed (i.e. your domain), along with some other options. Some of these can be done to your preference, but you’ll see what I’ve selected below:
And we’re done with installing WordPress! That was easy, right? You can see how hosts such as Bluehost make this easy. At this step, you may want to bookmark the login URL if you’re not familiar with how to get to your admin page on WordPress (see screenshot below).
Configuring WordPress Settings
After you log into your admin page, it’s time to actually start configuring the new niche site. Rather than fill this post with very large screenshots, I’ve provided links below to the screenshots of each of the Settings pages, so you can see how I’ve configured my site. Keep in mind, there are different ways you can have your settings – don’t feel like you have to copy mine exactly (but feel free to if you’re unsure). For some items, I didn’t change the default settings. If you have questions about any of my settings, please ask them in the comments.
Settings (screenshot for each page):
Installing WordPress Plugins
There are a lot of great plugins out there that allow you to do many different things with your site. There’s no way I can even begin to scratch the surface on what’s out there, but what I will do is show you what I am initially installing (note: Jetpack was automatically included with my installation of WordPress, and I’ve decided to keep it for now). I may add more later, but this is my starting point. See the screenshot below for all the detail (click to enlarge image).
Design: Pick Your Theme!
One of the great things about WordPress is that you have virtually unlimited options when it comes to selecting a theme for your site. I tend to spend way too much time in this area, but it’s important that you make a good pick. It’s okay if you change your mind later and switch themes (I won’t be surprised if this happens with me), however things go much more smoothly when you pick a theme and stick with it.
There are so many good free themes out there, that it probably isn’t necessary to pay for a premium one. If you do want to look at premium themes, I recommend WooThemes (which I use for this blog). Last year I purchased their unlimited theme option and was able to download every theme they have, so now I always have the option to use a WooTheme for any of my sites. On its face, it wasn’t cheap (I believe I spent $125), but I now I have a collection of 100+ great themes that I can use.
Here are some free WordPress theme sites/collections that I’ve explored in the past:
Right now, this theme doesn’t look all that appealing, but I think once I add content and include the AdSense ads, it’ll make sense.
That’s it for now! If you’ve built niche sites before, this part of the case study was probably just a review for you, but I wanted to make sure that I cover almost everything in this case study. Although I initially planned on discussing ad placement in this section, I’ve decided to wait until after I have content produced. Fortunately, content creation will be the next part in this series. What are your thoughts on the setup so far? More importantly, if you have any questions about what I’ve written here, please ask them in the comments and I’ll be happy to help.
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- AdSense Micro-Niche Site Public Case Study – Research & Initial Setup (Part 2)
- AdSense Micro-Niche Site Public Case Study – Content & Ad Placement (Part 4)
- AdSense Micro-Niche Site Public Case Study – SEO / Backlinking (Part 5)