How To Make Money with Niche Sites: Week 3

JillAffiliate Marketing, Blog14 Comments

Hot damn we are flying through this case study and so far the feedback has been ah-maze-ing! We're incredibly stoked to have so many of you joining us on this challenge.

And remember, if you are joining the challenge, to keep us updated on your progress in the comment section below the posts. We love hearing how much you are hustling to make shit happen, so speak up!

Alright, let's get to biznass…

Last week I outlined our overall strategy for not just building a niche site, but our entire step-by-step process for choosing keywords, as well as our content model, our internal linking strategy, and our SEO plan.

It was a full-on information overload!

Annnnnd today is no different! Because this week we're talking about the sexy business of on-site strategy, or more specifically, what we do to keep a reader on our page once they get there.

How To Make Money with Niche Sites: Our On-Site Strategy

Locating Our Primary Keywords

For us it all begins with keyword research, meaning once we have found a potential niche the first thing we do is hit up Long Tail Pro and start running our seed keywords.

As I mentioned in last week's post, LTP (or Long Tail Pro) allows you to enter in up to 10 seed keywords at a time. Once we get our results back we (or should I say Josh…or should I say our outsourcers) cull the list of keywords down to only the most appropriate and relevant keywords.

From there we comb through the keywords and analyze the Google Title Competition, as well as the Keyword Competition.

Once we have located 4 primary keywords with a KC (keyword competition) of less than 35, we start looking for supplementary keywords—typically 3-5—that we can use to pair up with each primary keyword. We then group them together and look for keywords that could flow well together.

So, if you were to look at our list of primary and sub-keywords from week 1 you would see that each keyword group all ties into each other, making it easier to incorporate each phrase into that particular post.

Content Creation

Now, I mentioned last week that we typically stick to writing content in a friendly conversational manner, or as we like to call it, using the “friend filter”.

But what kind of content do we typically write and which do we find to be the best converting?

We tend to stick to these 3 basics styles of content:

  • Product reviews
  • How To posts
  • List posts

Generally your product reviews will be your highest converting page on your site, because it's where the most information on your product exists.

It's also a post you can use to answer a potential customer's most common questions and sway their decision to click your affiliate link and purchase the product.

So how do we structure our product reviews to make sure we have a fighting chance?

Our product reviews are structured as follows:

  • Quick introduction with a mention of a personal story, if applicable
  • What is [product]?
  • Does [product] work?
  • What I liked about [product]
  • What I didn't like about [product]
  • The best place to buy [product]
  • Call to action

Each of those sections are used as sub-headings within our reviews. We like that structure because not only does it help to break up the content into easy-to-skim paragraphs (remember: web surfers love to skim!), but it allows us to incorporate some of our sub-keywords into the post without having to jam them into the content itself.

Now I can imagine some of you wondering why the hell we would include a section on what we DIDN'T like about the product, but the reason is simple…

If you write a perfectly glowing review on a product you are promoting, it will reek of desperation. A customer, who might already be wary of buying online, will see that glowing review as a scam and most likely click off your page.

However, if they see that you are not only highlighting the positives but also calling out the negative aspects they tend to trust the review more—resulting in more sales for you!

I know it might sound a tad backwards, but trust me it works. In fact, we have a post on our skincare site reviewing an acne product (that we tested personally and hated) that is 90% negative, yet it still brings in sales.


Because it's honest.

Moral of the story? Don't sell your product, talk about it like you would to a friend.

As for the other posts we write—lists and how to posts—we try to keep those posts as entertaining, yet informative as possible.

We also make use of internal links within these posts to keep pushing the reader onto new information; gradually gaining their trust, and eventually siloing them through to either our product review page, or the merchant's website.

Remember: You want to keep your reader engaged, so the more you can “talk” to them and relate to the problem they are trying to solve, the better off your time on site and overall conversions will be.

In-Content Affiliate Links

Our process for including our affiliate links is simple: We prefer a few contextual links sprinkled throughout our content, as well as one big and obvious call to action at the bottom of each post.

With that being said, we still have one clean, square sidebar banner we use, but I'll touch on that a little further down.

So do we have a secret ratio of aff links to word count? Fuck no. We include 2-3 affiliate links within one post, with one of those being our big click-me-now CTA link at the bottom of the post and that's it. It doesn't matter how short or long our content is, we just find a way to include a couple links within the body and one below it.

Oh, and we no-follow each and every one of our affiliate links. We do this by installing a plugin called “no-follow link” which allows you to add the no-follow attribution to any link you wish.

After all, there's no point in passing pagerank to a merchant's site…they've got enough it! So keep that link juice for yourself!

Meta Tags and Description

Apart from including our keywords in our page title, URL, and a few times within our posts, the only other on-site SEO we do is filling out our SEO plugin for each and every post.

We use a plugin called “WordPress SEO by Yoast” and absolutely love it because it essentially grades your SEO efforts.

The cool thing about it is once you complete it, it gives you a full page analysis that you can then use to tweak your efforts and make sure the post is as fully optimized as you can make it.

Here's how we fill out our meta information:

  • Enter in our keyword into the “focus keyword” section, so if our post was about “how to treat cellulite” we would enter that exact keyword in
  • We create a custom title in the “SEO title” area, using our keyword as the main headline, for example: How To Treat Cellulite: 3 Simple Tricks
  • We fill out the description in the “meta description” area and typically use this structure: Question, answer, description

This is how we typically structure our meta description:

Want to know how to treat cellulite at home? Check out these 3 simple tricks you can use right now to reduce your cellulite.

Sidebar Banners

As I mentioned above, we personally prefer in-text links for our sites, but have recently started incorporating one simple sidebar banner that we create ourselves.


Because for the most part, the affiliate banners you get through each affiliate program are quite tacky and tend to really junk up a site.

The approach we take with our sidebar banner is to mimic the merchant's branding, including the style of their order button, that way the customer isn't jolted by a completely different look once they get to the merchant site.

We also find mimicking the merchant's design helps make the customer feel more comfortable making a purchase, resulting in more conversions for us.

Finally, we use the plugin “Q2W3 Fixed Widget” to enable the sidebar widget to follow the reader as they scroll down the page.

We dig this plugin because it allows us to keep the offer (and the image of the product) on top of the reader's mind, so if they do want to make a purchase they can click right then and there and get started.

And that right there is everything we do  right there to keep a reader on our page once they land on the site.

Remember, this wasn't something we discovered right away. It's been a work in progress for close to 2 years, so don't get discouraged if you have to play around with your site a little before you find what works.

The key is to just keep testing and trying new strategies.

Finally, if you are joining in on this challenge with us, but would rather skip the tedious work of finding keywords or writing your content, click here to see how you can fast-track your way through the onslaught of tasks and get started on the right foot.

Download Your Copy of the Ultimate Niche Site Breakdown”

Discover the EXACT process that we used to build & grow our first ever 6-figure online business!

  • i love this. Thanks for talking plugins, I love me a good plugin, and I love the links / water analogy from last week. This is all gold, Jill. Kudos.

    • Thanks Becky! Thrilled to hear people are digging it 🙂

  • gemma

    you don’t need to ever swear in your content…lowers your standards immediately and puts the reader off. Thanks.

    • Hey Gemma,

      We just may not be the site for you then…because that’s just who we are and how we roll.

      Totally understand if it’s not for you though!

      Take care

  • Megan Githens

    Hi guys, How did you create your side “order now” banner? Did you just use a photo editing software to create it and then use image mapping to link it? Or is there another method that you used? Thanks for your help!

    • Josh Stanton

      Yeah picmonkey is the way to go. Either that or get someone on to knock you up one.

      In day 4 of the escape plan we give you the code to put in a text widget. However check this out if you need the answer right now –

      • Megan Githens

        Fantastic! I already use picmonkey so that’s perfect! Thank you SO much for your help 🙂 I am going to try not to get so ahead of myself now and back up and re read everything again…

        • Josh Stanton

          Haha love that you’re jumping right in! Action eventually creates results!

  • Chris Dunavent

    I never really thought about it before, but you’re right. All those affiliate banners that I am using on my site(s) do, in fact, junk up my site [eye-opener]. I’m kinda diggin’ those homemade banners you guys are using in your sidebar. What plugin did you use to create them?

    • Yeah, I hate most of the banners you get from the merchants. They’re just so aesthetically unappealing…and I just think they scream desperation.

      But that’s just me 🙂

      To create our sidebar banner we use PicMonkey (for the image itself) and the the plugin “Q2W3 Fixed Widget” to make it scroll down the page.

      • Chris Dunavent

        I should have been more clear. I was digging your “Our Products”, “Real Proof”, and “More Money” banners. When i saw them, it made me think to myself that I should replace my tacky affiliate ads with CTA buttons – which I ended up doing yesterday. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • John Cyscon III

    Let me just preface this with a few things. I’m not lazy and I’m willing to work and learn.

    That being said, I’m not super patient. I have been toying around with sites and site design for a few months, but at times I seem to run in circles. I’m making progress, but its slow. I sell amazon fba so i’m not new to online money, I am just getting into sites though. I’ve just discovered your affiliate case study, and I have a few quick questions. And yes, I’m skeptical, but still. Answer me anyway lol.

    Is it still relevant, or dated already?

    Obviously you want to help me, I get that, but you also want to sell me, I get that too. Knowing that, is it worth it to buy a site from your little package I saw somewhere here (i bookmarked it lol)?

    I’m going to follow your case study step by step, if you say its still relevant. And if so, that will mean me buying LTP because to date I’ve just used google adwords tool, and I’ve heard so many people talk about LTP that I guess I gotta try it. And i’ll buy your site, if you say to, or i’ll just make my own (which i’m capable of, but i’m not the fastest). So I’m pretty much a good customer, if you tell me to. Hows that for marketing? I’ve listened to the podcast for a few months, and never checked your site out. I’m glad I did. I use the term soul sucking regularly when describing my “job” right now. Im exploring and putting into place several pieces of recurring income to be able to leave, and affiliate sites is something I’d like to add to my arsenal.

    Has my novel made clear what i’m looking for? Should i have emailed this instead of posted lol? Whatever, if it all works out you’ll get a new customer and I’m sure Im not the only one who wonders these when they see this (and any) case study.

    • Hey John!

      Sorry I’m just seeing this 🙂

      Okay so the website service we used to offer is no longer available…I thought I got all the old services links, but clearly not.

      LTP is still TOTALLY helpful and will make life so much smoother where keyword research is concerned lol.

      Finally, happy to have you around these parts…even if it did take a while to get you here 😉

  • John Cyscon III

    is this service still good and helpful?