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Welcome to a new series where I share the ups and downs of creating a new niche site and then updating you monthly on the progress I am making, plus including a blog income report.
I thought this would be interesting if you are thinking about setting up a blog, and it’s a great way to keep me accountable. There probably won’t be a great deal of income to report in the early days, and not every site becomes a success, so we will just have to see. However, I will do my best and, if nothing else, the process should help you see what’s involved if you want to get started yourself.
Ok, so let’s dive in with the detail.
The Niche Blog
The blog I am creating is in the lifestyle niche. I’m not going to share the actual domain, as that could make things difficult for me if people try to copy what I am doing. I also think that by keeping it anonymous, it gives me a little more freedom to be completely honest – a little like writing under a nom de plume.
The content I will be writing will focus on home living, so product reviews, ways to save money, tips to help you be more sustainable, plus crafts, recipes, and everything that falls under our home life. It’s a pretty wide niche so that may work against me, but I will try to keep things fairly focused category wise.
Why am I documenting this process? I absolutely love reading a blog income report and what goes into the running of the site. I’ve been building sites since 2009 and yet Ive never documented the process. I thought it was about time.
The Tech Detail
The domain itself is just a standard one I purchased for the $20 mark (as I also opt for privacy). I looked for a name for quite a while that fit well with what I want to do and I happened on this one and liked it, so away I went. It has a .com extension.
If you are choosing a domain, you will need to choose between quite a broad one or a title that focuses much more clearly on your keywords. The decision will rest on how much bandwidth you would like in the future to broaden your topic out.
As an example, imagine you bought a domain about cat toys. That’s nicely focused on the keyword, but it’s going to confine you pretty much to that topic. A wider one would be cat care, as that covers a lot of different topics related to cats. Even wider would be pet care, and then the world would be your oyster in terms of what you want to write about in the pet niche.
You may think then that the latter choice is the best, as it gives you the most scope. However, you might actually find that a more defined topic will help you rank easier in the search engines – all other things, like competition, keyword choice, etc. – being equal.
I’ll be honest, I don’t think there is a simple solution to this. You just have to go with what you feel is best and what you want to write about. More important, I feel, is the keyword research you do for each blog post. And we will talk more about that in the coming weeks.
I purchased the domain I chose in August 2021, so it has a little age on it, although that won’t make a tremendous difference to how it ranks.
I purchased the domain and hosting through Siteground, and that’s where I host all my sites.
I have used a number of hosting companies over the years, but I love Siteground for the speed, security, easy access to tools, great support, and daily backups that you get, and that email accounts and SSL certificates are included for free.
The Site’s Theme
I have opted for a theme I haven’t used before for this site. I chose it because it is meant to be very fast and for the short-term I just want something I can add and run with.
The theme is GeneratePress and for the moment I am using the free version. I will upgrade to the Pro when I have more content on the site. I’m actually not worrying too much about the look of this site at the moment. It looks clean, with plenty of whitespace and it’s easy to navigate. Those are my priorities right now. I will add all the bells and whistles later.
I only started with the site about a week ago and so far I have added four blog posts. My aim going forward is to add at least two per week, more if I can find the time!
I always choose a target keyword for the blog posts and to do my research I use Keysearch. While not having all the functionality of the big players like Ahrefs, I find it has what I need at a great price. (If you want to try it yourself, click here for more info and then use code KSDISC at checkout to get 20% off.)
The main way I want to build traffic to the site is SEO, so targeting keywords.
Another important element will be Pinterest, as I find that to be a great traffic source. I also have a Facebook page and Instagram profile. I will need to build those up over time.
My intention is to build an email list for this site from the start – on other sites I have delayed building a list and that was a mistake.
I am using Convertkit as my email provider and I have added an opt-in to my newsletter already. I will also create some lead magnets to grow the subscribers but I haven’t started on that yet – I’ll keep you posted.
Blog Income Report – Monetization
So let’s turn now to the blog income report. Initially, any monetization will be through
I haven’t added monetization through an ad network to a blog before, but this may be something I consider as traffic grows. I am thinking particularly here of networks like Ezoic and Mediavine. It’s too early to say right now, but that might be a potential avenue I explore later on.
Expenses Vs Income
Right now there is no income unfortunately, but I thought I would add my expenses below so we can keep track.
Domain & Hosting: $9 per month (This is an approx calculation as my hosting is split across multiple sites, but we will go with this as it’s pretty close).
Theme & Plugins: $0 currently, as using a free theme.
Email Provider: Again, this is split between multiple sites so we are going to round it off at $5.
Blog Posts: $0 as currently all content is being written by me. If I start to outsource, that will be added as an expense later.
So that is pretty much it for the initial introduction to this project. I will add a monthly update letting you know what traffic has arrived at the site and from where. I have added Google Analytics for this, but on a day to day basis for ease of use I am going to be using Clicky.
I’ll also let you know how many blog posts I’ve published and if there have been any affiliate sales. Each month there will be a blog income report where I walk through incoming and outgoings.
I’ll also update you on any promotion I’ve done and how I think it’s going. It’s very early days, but I want to keep a record so I can look back on any mistakes, and on my progress.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section. I hope you find this a useful exercise and let me know if you are going to follow along.