MMWNS Episode #8: Interview With Spencer Haws

Listen in iTunes

The Niche Site U Podcast

Spencer HawsIn this episode of the How To Make Money With Niche Sites Podcast, I interview Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits.

Among other things, we discuss his Long Tail Pro software and his niche sites business.

Transcript Below:

Hey everybody. Welcome to Episode # 8 of the Make Money With Niche Site Podcast. Thanks for joining me today. Couple of things I want to get into, but the first and foremost that I want to let you know that’s gonna be a longer than normal podcast. I did an interview with Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits and I believe it was a fantastic interview but I wanted to make sure that you could stick around for this. So please enjoy.

But before we get into that I wanted to thank a couple listeners that took the time out of their days to leave reviews for me on itunes. The first one is from DM Franks. “It’s a great listen, 5 stars. I like it. This podcast is specific and puts its focus on one specific aspect of Internet marketing rather than some of the other podcasts that try to do a little of everything. I’d like to see some guest interviews”, which I’m doing today, “on the podcasts in the future to add some insights but have no completes about these episodes so far.” Thank you DM Franks.

The next one is talk about transparent and to the point from Gumbi blank but apologize for the language there but that’s the name of the person leaving the review. So there’s 5 stars on this one. Says, “I have only listened to one epi but I am hooked. Please never stop making podcasts.” Hopefully, you’ve heard # 7 already. You continue to stay hooked but if you’re a newbie in need of the real deal with no bs, plus someone that can break it down without an air of being better than you, try this podcast. Thanks for that one Gumbi. And finally we have “not a typical Internet marketing bs”. You people like to use the word bs, I see. by John the hoff sohoff. “Adam is a real dude making real niche sites. He is not intending to be an Internet marketing guru. This is just good practical info, not bs. Keep it up Adam, but put out more episodes.” So I’m trying john.

I appreciate all the comments. I’m trying to get these out as fast as I can, trying to create more episodes, trying to create more podcasts. We will continue to try to get more interviews. I do have a couple more slated for the future but understand that on top of building niche sites and doing this podcast, I should do a full time business that I try to focus on as well. So I am trying to make sure that I can teach as much as I can to the people listening, and most importantly, again I thank you for your time. I thank you for your interest and I thank you for the comments. I have seen a ton of downloads. I think we’re no 1 for niche site if you go in the iTunes, which is just fantastic. So I thank you for that.

The only thing I want to ask you (audience) for is more comments on the blog at makemoneywithniche sites.com. Give me your feedback. Tell me what you like. Tell me what you don’t like. Tell me what you want me to talk about. That’s the feedback I’m looking for, but so far from what I’ve seen, everybody seems to be pretty happy which is really fantastic to me. So, without going any deeper, I’d like to get started with the interviews. So I hope you enjoy it. I’ll be back afterwards to close this off.

Interview with Spencer Haws:

We’re going to thank Spencer Haws for joining us from Niche Pursuits. You guys probably don’t know this, but a couple of weeks ago, I had actually recorded an interview with Spencer and had some technical difficulties, I’d call it, where my recording didn’t work. But Spencer has been kind enough to grant me a second interview so I want to welcome Spencer to the show.

Spencer : Hey thanks. It’s good to be back on the show, you know. Maybe it’s good that we didn’t get the recording for the first time. These answers will gonna be so much better.

Adam: I’m looking forward to it and I appreciate you taking the time. I don’t think it has changed since that last actual interview that we did so there’s about some changes on the front that I think will be able to help the listeners a little bit better. But let’s start by talking a little bit about you. Tell us a little bit about you, where you grew up, where you live now, whether you are married or have kids, a little bit about you.

Spencer: Yeah, so I am. I’m a family man and I’ve got a wife and three kids and they’re a huge part of my life. Absolutely love spending time with them which is a great benefit of being able to work from home, which I do, which I’ve been doing for the past couple of years. But before that, I grew up in Mesa, Arizona. I was born and raised there and have lots of relatives there still and I grew up in a large family as well. But  I decided to go into business when I went into college primarily because my dad had actually had started a business around the same time I started deciding which degree I would go  into and business intrigued me at the time. I went into business finance, worked in the corporate world for about eight years doing either personal finance or business finance and then started dabbling around with internet businesses which led me to quitting my job in 2011 and here I am now.

Adam: What type of business were you in. I know you mentioned business finance and personal finance. Were there any particular areas of that that you focused on that led you into doing what you’re doing now or was it a complete jump?

Spencer: You know, it’s pretty like a complete jump. I don’t see a lot of correlation. I worked at Merrill Lynch for two and a half years, you know, with high end clients, high networth clients doing their stocks and things. I was just a junior on the team. I was the small guy right out of college but were there some very wealthy people there. But then I went over to Wells Fargo and was in business banking. And nothing that I did really translated into the internet business, but while at Wells Fargo, I did talk with a lot of business owners which just always got me fired up. As to these guys can do it, it think I’m as smart as these guys. I can do this, you know, start a business and in fact towards the end of my stint there at Wells Fargo, more and more Internet business owners started to have a (counseling) we’re doing well and I actually worked with several Internet entrepreneurs one on one. And you know doing their business accounts and things and that just motivated me more and more because I could see the money in their account, they were doing well. And so I started dabbling, building websites on the side for a few years before I learned and eventually did quite well. So it really was a jump but talking with business owners always motivated me along the way.

Adam: Got no question about that. I’m familiar with that type of story. I actually worked for an advertising agency as a sales guy and I would be the one out there talking with business owners all the time and like you said, you see these people having success and you know that you’re just as capable as they are. So it certainly built a fire in your heart to want that job to do it yourself.

Spencer: Exactly, absolutely.

Adam: So as you were building these website projects, were any of the initial projects midsize or were you doing others types of sites while working for Wells Fargo?

Spencer: Well, when I first started, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I started a website more as a hobby. I initially didn’t see it as a business idea. I was just intrigued with the ability to get something online and around 2005 was when I built my first site and it was actually a personal finance blog because that was related to what I was doing and so I felt like I had some knowledge there. But I didn’t really know how to blog or how to get traffic or totally didn’t know what search engine optimization was for sure. And so I didn’t do well, didn’t get much traffic and, you know, like I said, it was more of a hobby at the beginning. But over that year or so when I tried to start this blog, I started to learn more about how search engines worked and that led me later on to go into niche sites. So I really didn’t build my first niche site until almost 3 years after I built my very first website. So I spent three years kind of trying to build bigger sites, you know, targeting bigger keywords, larger blogs that didn’t work out.

Adam: When you started with these projects and with your niche sites, did you ever set goals? I’m a guy that loves to set goals and try to manage near the process and see how I’m doing compared to my goals.  Just (for curiosity), if you set goals and if you didn’t,  that’s absolutely great. But, you know. Do you set goals generally when you create your projects?

Adam: Ya. I usually do have some sort of goal and in particular talking about my history, when I, okay… So I usually don’t set too many hard goals until I know there’s some sort of potential for success. I do like to plan. I usually pull up a spreadsheet and project, you know, what could be. But I wouldn’t call it a goal until I see that first taste of success. So when I first decided, you know what? I should target small keywords that I know I can rank for that are easy and build these small niche sites around, you know, late 2008, early 2009, something like that, and I started to see some success. Then, I said you know what, I’m gonna set a goal to build, you know, I don’t know what the number was, but X number of websites every month. And by doing that, I hope to make X number of dollars. So certainly, I do like to set goals. I like to try and reach for those goals. It helps motivate and keep you on track as well.

Adam: For people listening that may not follow your blog, I know that very recently, you put together a nice post with a spreadsheet that could be downloaded for people that try and track their goals and plans for building niche sites which I thought was a very useful tool in just laying out the whole big picture, kind of a blueprint on making sure that you’re tracking what you’re doing. I thought that was an excellent post.

Spencer: Ya, thank you very. So I use that spreadsheet kind of as an overall look as to what is (potentially), you know. Is there something feasible here to make some money. And now when I do my projects as I did with my public niche site, my blog, I do strive to set more specific goals. As far as, you know, for the site I built, I wanted to get it to a point where I made 500 dollars a month after the first, you know, four, five months of existence. So I tried to set some goals like that.

Adam: And I heard you came very, very close in one of your recent posts.

Spencer: Ya, that’s as close as you can get. I was at 476 dollars. My goals is 500 dollars a month. So hey, I missed it but I’m very happy.

Adam: I’m confident that you’ll get there. So one thing I want to ask you. As you’ve grown, you know, from doing the personal financing and business finance, just dabbling in some websites to being really one of the premier niche sites out there. Tell me a bit about failure. Do you, you know…I believe you have to fail a lot to learn anything especially with niche sites. What is your theory on failure and what has been the biggest failure you have had so far?

Spencer: Ya, so failure is never fun. But if you have the right attitude, it’s a huge learning experience. I have failed probably more than anybody else and I most certainly was not successful with my first site or even my first half dozen sites. It’s a big learning curve and you learn better as you try things. And many times when you try these things you fail. I learned early on before I started building niche sites. Maybe this isn’t exactly what people are looking for out there, but one of my biggest failures was a website project that I built early on where I invested a few thousand dollars actually. And I haven’t told the story a lot. But it was after I tried the personal finance blog, if you will, I decided to try and build a clone of the website cashcrate.com. It’s basically a website where people fill out surveys or fill in offers and can get a kickback. I saw that it was doing well. I thought, you know, why not. Let’s do that. And so I hired a, you know, custom developer to build the site and do all sorts of things. And you know, it was only maybe 3000 dollars, but that was a lot of money for me at that time and, you know, still it’s a lot of money but, you know, money that I probably didn’t have to invest. So I was risking a lot and it was a total flop. I just did not understand how to get people to the website. I didn’t really think about marketing. I thought, hey if I build this awesome website, people come to it and they’re gonna love it. But that wasn’t the case, you know. Marketing is such a huge part of any business and, you know, search engine marketing targeting free traffic from search engines is now what I do. But I didn’t know that or how to do that when I built that initial site. And so it wasn’t search engine optimized, you know. I didn’t get any traffic from search engines and that’s probably perhaps the trigger for how can I market my business to get people to come to my websites for free. And that, you know, then led me on this journey of researching as (Yeo) and how to rank in Google. And then finally, you know, how important low competition keywords are and the fact that you can rank quickly and can get this great free traffic from Google if you know what you’re doing. And so it was a huge failure. I lost, you know, a few thousand dollars. I didn’t make very much money at all. As far as, you know, I got a few people to sign up for that, you know, cloned website, if you will, and I had them fill (up) like a couple of surveys but I lost almost everything I invested. But it’s led me on to this journey now that has been much more successful.

Adam: Well, that’s a perfect segway in both talking about learning from failure and the talking about, you know, having success here.  Anybody not familiar with Long Tail Pro absolutely needs to be at one of the things I promote on my blog and on this podcast. Anybody familiar with Niche Site Tool which is a very big buzz right now (Kathleen) talks about this and is promoting it very,  very well based on this most recent income report. Tell me a little bit about why you built Long Tail Pro and how it can help people.

Spencer: Ya, absolutely. So I sort of building lots of these niche websites and so I started doing more and more research because I think I found out that keyword research really was the most important part of building niche sites because if you find a low competition keyword, the rest is almost details in a way. If you can find something that is easy to rank for and there’s not much of a market, you could have, you know, a winner on your hands. And so as I did more and more keyword research, I became less and less satisfied with the existing tools out there. I used Market Samurai and the free Google Adwords keyword tool which are great, but if you want to do a lot of research quickly, they just didn’t meet my particular needs. And so, I decided to build my own keyword tool. And I did this not because I’m a programmer, because I’m not, but because I knew that it would help me but I also knew that there was a market out there. I looked at all these other people building sites and I just knew from how actively I was doing keyword research that other people must be having the same problems and as I researched in, was active in forums and on blogs. I could see that that a lot of people weren’t satisfied with other tools that were out there. So I hired a programmer and, you know, it’s a long sort of a story, but, you know, where we are today we have this great keyword research tool that works the way that I wanted it to work and based on the feedback and other changes that we’ve made, works how other people want it to work. And so that’s, you know, a quick rundown of why I created it was to meet my own needs but also to satisfy a market that I knew was out there as well.

Adam: One of the things I love most about this tool is the competitor analysis tool. Obviously, keyword research is great, but once you actually find what keywords that you want to go after you need to make sure that the swimming pool isn’t too full, if you will. And I love to utilize this tool to kind of check out what the competition is, you know, see what kind of page rank they have, how long their site has been around, the pages are the _______that you pull using as you must and you know, you can use other tools but nothing really provides an old one like Long Tail Pro does. That’s one of the things I can get enough using the competitor analysis tool.

Spencer: Ya, absolutely, and that is such a critical factor to research in keywords, is knowing who ranks on the first page of Google because that’s where you want to be if you’re a website. And so those are the sites that you should look at. Those are the only websites that I look at, one, deciding whether or not ____your keywords. So, ya, the competitor analysis function in Long Tail Pro does just that. It pulls the top 10 sites and then pulls in all the relevant statistics that you mentioned either from SEO Moss as far as, you know, page authority, Moss rank, you know, Juice Page links and all these things that you should be looking at to very quickly see whether or not you have a good keyword.

Adam: Now tell me a little bit about the difference between just the regular version versus the final version, the Platinum Plan of Long Tail Pro. What’s the benefit?

Spencer: Ya, so there’s a couple of different benefits to having the Platinum Version and what I’m finding is the primary reason that people like the Platinum Version and why they stick around and keep using it is because of the keyword competitiveness calculation that’s available and that’s a part of the competitor analysis module that we just talked about. In the Pro Version, you can pull in all the top 10 sites and get all of those stats that are provided by SEO Moss, you know, the page rank that we talked about. But the Platinum Version takes it one step further because with the Pro Version wall, everything is there for you to look at and analyze. It does take a little bit of education and know-how to understand, you know, what you should be looking at, what page rank is good, what another page rank’s so good. So you know, those types of things. But the Platinum Version, there’s this keyword competitiveness function that’s added, a calculation that’s added that is essentially a formula that I use through my research to determine whether or not the overall top 10 are easy or difficult to rank for and so, you get essentially one number between 0 and 100 that tells you how harder it would be to outrank these top 10 sites. And so it just makes it a little bit easier to see if the keyword is easy or not based on, you know, all these relevant SEO factors. And so there’s that…there’s a couple of different ways that you can use that calculation. You can use it very quickly on a keyword research tab just clicking up button to get that one number very quickly on each keyword. There’s a way to…another function that’s part of the Platinum is to upload up to 10,000 of your own keywords and then to quickly pull in all of the search found in the CPC advertiser competition all of that for all of those keywords. And then there’s a couple of other more minor functions of the Platinum Version but those are at least a couple of the distinguishing factors that people really like.

Adam: Keyword competition goal …get a target number for the users that are familiar, that have been, you know, trying it out. Where do you want to be. Imagine that, you know, you can be anywhere from one to (higher). What’s the target when you’re doing your research?  Where do you like to see the keyword competition goal fall in?

Spencer: I like to see keywords that have under 35.

Adam: Okay.

Spencer: Ah, that’s sort of my threshold, that they’re above 35. I usually don’t look at them too closely. But if they are below 35, I will take a look. If they’re below 30, I get pretty excited and will take a real close look and usually like those keywords. And it’s also important to understand that as the number gets higher, it gets in…it’s on an algorithmic scale, just meaning that it gets more and more difficult. So the difference between a 35 and a 40 is a bigger jump than the difference between a 30 and a 35. So it’s not just the difference of 5. It’s increasingly more difficult. So as you get keywords that are, you know, 50 or 60, I mean you can see these are hugely, hugely competitive. Ah, so I just throw that after. But 35, ah, is what I like to see. Under 30 is awesome.

Adam: Terrific, terrific. And ah excuse me, as one of the things that, you know, when you’re doing your keyword research you find that, hey look I’ve got a, you know, a keyword that I think is going to fit with the 35, under 35 target (about) keyword competition, are there any other things that you think, you know, obviously work when you’re doing this research you wanna look at more? You open the tools that’ll most work for you, but do you like to look at pages targeting goals after seeing that…that…that keyword competition number and use page lengths to ______target or does that keyword competition number really put it all on the perspective for it that you know you can go after it?

Spencer: Ah, that one number definitely puts it in perspective, but I double check everything. So and this is what you can do with the Pro Version as well. So there’s ah, perhaps three things that I would focus on, you know. There’s anything anybody out there listening wants to know what I look at. Page authority, definitely I like to see at least a couple of results that have page authority under 30, preferably. Then I look at Juice Page links. I like to see at least a couple of results that have less than around 30 Juice Page links point to that page. Ah and then, you can look at either, you know, Moss rank or page rank, if you’re looking at page rank and this is less important perhaps than the other two I mentioned. You know, page rank of, you know, 1 or 0, couple of results is good to see. And then I guess also another thing that I look at is the relevancy of the keywords. So if the keyword is ‘best survival knife’, are the top 10 results using that exact phrase in their page title, and you can see that in Long Tail Pro. If they’re not using ‘best survival knife’, that’s a sign of weakness there. So those are the few things that I look at to verify those numbers.

Adam: Great. Well I recommend everybody check out Long Tail Pro and I’m gonna talk about another thing that you launched recently, longtailclassroom.com. But before we jump into that, you just brought up something that I want to get into real quick is your public niche site which is best survival knives and how you just got beaten out. You did all the homework, you did all the things right and you’re number one. And now you’ve easily dropped to number 2 and I think maybe..maybe it’s the Youtube video that might even bogged you for number 3 on my search results the other day. But tell me a little bit about that. And now that you just did some post but tell my audience a little bit about how that happened, why you think it happened and why you think you’re not worried about being number one again?

Spencer: That’s right. And ya, so this is pretty interesting. I’ve got a little twist for you Adam here that will be just for your audience here. So ah, ya, so I reached number one. I did a public niche site targeting the keyword ‘best survival knife’ and I reached number one in Google after about 2 months. And so the sight was doing great and then lo and behold, just last week, about a week ago, I noticed suddenly I’m ranked number 2. I had a competitor outrank me. And as I looked at this competitor, it became quite obvious that this was a copycat. This is somebody that was reading my blog and basically took my exact idea, even used the exact shopping comparison chart that I had built, put it on his website and, you know, so through his own methods, he got to number one. And then there was also a YouTube video in there that…so I was, you know, bouncing between number 2 or number 3 even. Ah and so ya, it’s depressing to not see yourself in number one for sure. But as you said, I don’t let things like these worry me too much because as I looked at my statistics, it became quite clear that, I mean not all of my traffic is coming from this one keyword, ‘best survival knife’. Ya it’s my biggest keyword but as it turns out, because I’ve written lots of great content, targeting other keywords, I happen to be getting search traffic from, it was just over 1200 different keywords. And so even though I’m ranking, you know,  2 or 3 or 4 from my primary keyword, I’m still getting traffic from 1200 different keywords.

Adam: That’s an asset,

Spencer: Yes, so that you know, that’s why it doesn’t worry me a lot and so as I looked at the overall traffic, you know, it may have brought me down, I think I have figured it was like 5 or 6%. Ah not a huge deal, nothing to tear my hair out about. Now here’s the twist, Adam.  Late last night, I was up late and I just…it was about midnight and I decided, you know, I wanna check to see where I rank today. Well, I’m back in number one.

Adam: Fantastic.

Spencer: So if, and maybe you can verify this on my end. I’m number one. If you want to check in Google right now to see if it looks like I’m number one, you can do that. Ah but I notice my competitor, my copycat site, has since dropped to the second page ah you know, 13 or 14 or 15, ah something like that. And so it looks like I’m back in number one and my competitor was short lived there. So hopefully I’m there to stay.

Adam: Well, I’ll tell you this. I did do the search and your competitor is long gone, I will tell you that. And I will say something though that I want to bring out which is actually good move towards this conversation.

Spencer: Okay.

Adam: There is a new number one on my search. Now this can be _________is at news.discovery.com or ____ about the top survival knives. Now one thing that I want to point out and this is what where I want to be going. This person has a Google Plus account attached to it. So you talked about seeing yourself at number one. This has…this person has a picture of themselves with their…with their main _____ one thing that I know you’ve been talking about at your blog as attaching your site to your Google Plus account and whether or not you think that will have any effect. So when you get your perspective on that real quick, do you think that it’s going to be worthwhile to attach your Google Plus account to this best survivalknifeguide.com, or do you think it’s something that it’s not worth the aggravation of having potentially other…other content that you put out there exposed?

Spencer: Ah you know, usually I don’t link my Google Plus account to any of my niche sites. You know, ah…I just…I used to be…am not public about my niche sites which is the reason I haven’t done it. This one on the other hand, I’ve hardly been very public about my niche site. Ah so, there’s no real good reason that I couldn’t link my Google Plus account other than the one fact that I wanted to make this project something big, everybody can replicate easily on their own.

Adam: Well hopefully not copy like (Paul Knife) did, but to replicate it…

Spencer: Right, exactly in their own niche, hopefully using their own data, you know. Ah but I have a fairly healthy Google Plus account, you know. I’ve got lots of people that have added me to their circles. Ah and so I’ve been hesitant because I know that it could have an effect. If anybody is listening, yes I would advise you if you want to attach your Google Plus account, please do it. It probably could help a little bit. I’m trying to do it just because…I’m trying to rank without it just because I want it to make it easier for everybody out there. And so ah you’re right. It looks like I am number one. So…or number 2, you know, Google counts us around a lot.

Adam: Now let me say. This is my ____ Google there. Let’s Just try to figure out where you need to base also.

Spencer: Ya, you know an hour after we record this, I could be back in number 1 or I could be back in number 3, ah you know, or number 2. Who knows. But it looks like my competitor is gone, the one that looked like he had copied a lot of myself. That discovery side has been around for a long time.

Adam: 2011 it looks like that they got _______has got 2074 Google Plus circles. So that there’s certainly some _____ (curve) there, but I think the takeaway for me and for my listeners should be that this, your site came out like a rocket. You rank number one within like 63 days or something like that ah and more importantly you made…almost made your goal within three months of 500 dollars a month which is to most people listening, a huge success that most people would dream building websites like that. So as I say first of, congratulations as that’s just fantastic and I know it’s not your biggest site or anything like that. You’ve built a lot of sites like that. But I know that you also just launch a Long Tail Classroom, longtailclassroom.com to kind of walk through the process a little differently with another site. So tell me how people can benefit from joining that classroom.

Spencer: Ya so exactly, Long Tail Classroom is a video training course where I go through all of the staffs from building a niche website from scratch. And so I, from the very beginning brainstormed for keywords, did keyword research, found a great keyword and then built a website on that keyword and I did these all on video live in front of, you know, everybody. So you can watch those and see the entire step and then I, you know, took that to number one in Google as well. And so it’s ah, it’s something that I provide a little bit more detail in Long Tail Classroom than I do on my blog because I did everything on video and so you can see everything ah that, you know, the backend of my website looks like I do a lot of keyword research videos in there so you can see what’s a good keyword, what’s a bad keyword. I give a lot of bad examples of keywords that I didn’t go after and I give the reasons why. So if you wanna understand what’s going through my head when I look at keywords and why I think it’s good or bad and eventually, you know, the keyword that I did pick that was good, this video training course will be very valuable to you because that’s exactly what it is. Since I’m talking through these videos, I’m sharing my thoughts and what has worked for me over the years for building successful websites. So I think that it is valuable and a lot of people have said as much that there is a lot of value there. Ah so if people are interested, they can check that out.

Adam: One of the things I’m very active in now that I just recently started doing was Google Plus which we just talked about. There’s a couple communities about niche sites which I’ve gotten into. And what I felt was a lot of people are very (tentative) to get started with because they fear that they don’t have enough, you know, I guess the computer skills to get into building niche sites. They don’t know any of the details about how to buy a domain, how it’s set up, hosting rate, something like that. Do people require a lot of skill to follow Long Tail Classroom for entry level people as well?

Spencer: Ah you know, entry level people can certainly benefit from this. And you know, I don’t want to give a caveat, you know, that there is a learning curve here. Ah you know, for some people that perhaps have either built a website before or familiar with blogging and you know, in particular young people that sort of grow up on the Internet, they have all the skills they need. Okay, but for some other people that, you know, aren’t really familiar with how websites work or search engines, it’s gonna take a lot of time for them to really get it and to understand it. So the course if certainly for beginners but the caveat is that, you know, the definition of a beginner may be different for certain people. So you need to have some computer skills, understand how the Internet works. If you’ve built a website before, you probably have all the skills that you need.

Adam: So I know that one of the things that I love to do is reading and we’ll gonna let you up _____and I’ve taken a lot of your time already and I do appreciate it. Ah tell me little bit, you’ve been doing book reviews on your website. Tell me what your favorite business book if you have one or if you’ve a couple. What do you like to read, what have you read lately that has made an impact on your business?

Spencer: So I have been trying to read at least a book a month. Ah and I’ve been reading business books because I do enjoy reading about the success of others, other entrepreneurs, sort of light a fire under me to, you know, try to achieve bigger and better things. Ah one that I read recently, just a few months ago but…that I really enjoyed was ‘Delivering Happiness’ by Tony Hsieh. He’s the founder of Zappos.com. It goes through his whole story of few different businesses he started and, you know, he just sounds like a great guy. He tells some great stories of his days early on and just motivating book overall. And I’ve read a few others but one book that also I recommend for people that haven’t read it is the ‘E-Myth’ by Michael Gerber. It’s a great book for any entrepreneur out there. Just great for developing systems in your business and other things. So those are a couple that I really enjoy.

Adam: Terrific. One thing I think that a lot of people in niche building and in business in any sort really need is a role model. So I know that a lot of people are looking up to you as a role model in this type of business and I know _____  widely successful and people looking to him as a role model and I know that you two collaborate to help with this niche site dual2.0. Tell me who’s your role model and then why you look up to that?

Spencer: Ya so as far as the role model, you know, I don’t know that I have an online, you know, other blogger or other sort of business owners for such concern. But I do look up to my father a lot as a role model and more of course, in particular, what he was able to do with his business. As I mentioned early on, he had big impact on me, it led me to getting a degree in business because I saw what he was able to do with his company. And I still of course consult with him and he, you know, advises me and I bounce ideas off to him and so I certainly look to him as a role model and consult him, if you will, you know, for my own business.

Adam: Terrific and I know mostly the answers already because we had the interview alright, but tell me a little bit about how you like to get involved in the community _____. I know that you said you’re a big runner and, you know. What do you like to do to try and get back outside of doing things online?

Spencer: Ya so I am a big runner. I’m involved, you know, in a lot of community running events and often these are, you know, the proceeds are going to charity and things like that. So, that always feels good not only to go out and run a half marathon but to know the proceeds are going to, you know, a children’s hospital or something like that. So I am very involved in running. I’m also very active in my church ah, you know, in that community and so I do a lot there with my wife and kids and those sorts of things. So you have to learn a couple of areas outside business. I like to be involved in either community events or, you know, things with my church. They keep us active.

Adam: The no brainer tip for the day is gonna be to get Long Tail Pro to help themselves with researching their niche sites. But what’s the best technique that you can ____to the audience that has helped you or you think would be worthwhile for anybody getting into this business?

Spencer: Ya piece of advice that I always give to any business owners out there, people hoping to get into any kind of business is to try to do things on your own. Try not to copy people too much. In other words, try to be unique. So find what’s unique about you or find what’s unique about your business angle and go with that. So even though perhaps you want to go into building niche websites, just like me you can learn from me, you can, you know, replicate a lot of the things that I do but you’re gonna be even more successful if you look at the entire process, develop a strategy that’s perhaps a little bit different than mine, or perhaps ways that you do things because as you think about things on your own, you’re gonna become better educated, you’re gonna do things that make sense to you and perhaps you’ll uncover an opportunity that I didn’t uncover. So my advice is to be unique, do things your own way and that’s how you’re gonna stand out the most.

Adam: That’s a terrific tip. I don’t think there’s too many millionaires or billionaires out there that will tell you, “Hey I read it on online, you know, how to get rich or, you know, buy an e-book.” It’s ___ all the ways how to make ____

Spencer: Exactly, totally, hundred % exactly.

Adam: So I couldn’t agree more. Well thank you so much ah, you know. I can stay here and talk to you for hours and I’m sure my audience will love every minute of it. Where could we find out more about you and what’s going on with your projects?

Spencer: Ya so the best place is definitely in my blog at nichepursuits.com. That’s where I write pretty much everything that’s going on with my business and so I have a pretty active community there so if you will leave a comment on one of the blog posts either I will respond or other people will respond. I do have a contact form on my blog that people can get in touch with me. The other place is on Twitter and my Twitter handle is @nichepursuits.

Adam: Perfect and let me ____ a question because you mentioned Twitter. Have you got and taken up with this buying thing where everybody is doing their (sex act) in videos or _____ what they’re doing. Tell me what you think of them.

Spencer: I have not looked into it yet. You know I am not really familiar with that. I will be honest that I’m on Twitter but I’m not super active on Twitter. It’s just one of those things that haven’t clicked with me, so I do tweet a little bit but it’s almost more responding to other people tweeting to me.

Adam: I was reading an article recently in Forbes about garry _______and that’s his new big thing is to ____videos getting 300, 400,000 young followers ____ in three days is something ridiculous.

Spencer: Interesting.

Adam: But, alright, so hey, thanks so much for your time. Hopefully, you know, in a couple of months we’ll have you back on here to talk about some more exciting projects that you’re working on and, you know, just checking to see how things are going. Well I can’t thank you enough for the time that you spent with us today.

Spencer: Absolutely. I appreciate it. It’s always good to be on and talk about business with anybody. So I enjoyed doing it, I appreciate your time very much and hopefully the audience’s. Got some good takeaways from this. Thanks a lot.

Adam: Thanks so much Spencer.

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed that interview and I just want to thank you again for investing so much of your time for me this week. I plan to get some show notes and links up as soon as possible but I want to get the audio up as soon as I could before I worry about transcription or anything like that. So thanks as always for listening and be sure to check out makemoneywithnichesites.com for more. Have a great one.

 

Important Links from this show:

Pat Flynn’s “Passive Income” Is Amazing, But Not Passive!

Listen in iTunes

The Niche Site U Podcast

passive incomeLet me be very clear with you… Pat Flynn is a stud.  If you aren’t familiar with Pat, you should be.  He runs a website called Smart Passive Income, which talks about how he makes money, the lifestyle he promotes, and tips and tricks for his readers and listeners of his podcast.  Again, he is extremely successful, and has the income reports to prove it.

However, I feel that the name of his website “Smart Passive Income” may be a bit deceiving to his audience.  Pat works ridiculously hard, and while he is making a ton of money, very little of it is passive.  As a matter of fact, over the past 3 years I bet he has worked harder than anyone reading this post.  He not only has his blog, which he is pretty active on with really lengthy posts and interviews… he also has a podcast with 68+ episodes which are each about an hour in length (not to mention editing and prep time).  He has written at least 2 books that we know about, built multiple apps, and has had multiple speaking engagements.  This all helps him bring in lots of money, but that is not the definition of passive.

Is Pat’s Income Passive?

Well, the answer is yes and no.  If you look at the majority of his income, it is coming from affiliate income, primarily from one hosting company… about 2/3 of his income typically.  About 90% of his overall income is coming from affiliate income to be honest… which in reality can be considered a passive income stream.  However, this all comes from the hard work he puts into his blog, and people that are hoping to learn the secrets of building passive income streams like Pat.  So what is Pat demonstrating exactly?  Pat has laid out a blueprint for making money, lots of money!  Unfortunately, the process to make this money requires you to work extremely hard!  Pat’s tagline is working hard now so you can reap the benefits later.  A good one, because that is hopefully what he is doing.  Pat is not being passive though, and the income he is generating right now is not passive because he works really hard to bring it in.  If, and it is a big if… Pat decided to quit today or in the near future… you would have to wonder how much of that “passive income” would be recurring after 6 months, or a year of no activity from Pat.

Lets Dig Deeper Into Why His Passive Income Streams Might Not Work.

As you may or may not know, Pat gets a ton of his traffic from the search engines and from his podcast.  Both require frequent updates to get significant traffic.  If Pat were to quit today… that would mean that google and apple wouldn’t get the updates they like, and perhaps would lower his ranking positions for search terms in both google and itunes.  If this happens, he gets less traffic to his blog about making passive income, which again, is where all his passive income is coming from. Unfortunately, once the plunge begins, it continues and continues to spiral down.  The good thing for Pat is, he has a lot of excellent content and what seems to be ridiculously loyal readers… so his traffic might not disappear.

My point is, don’t be misguided by the concept of “Passive Income”.  I like to say that there is a difference between “automated income” and “passive income”.  Passive income is a myth in my eyes, as it wont happen for most of you/us.  Automated income can be generated by putting together systems to make sure that your traffic supply never runs out and that way your monetization method always has a supply of new prospects.  Passive income comes from a set it and forget it system… which barely ever happens outside of the stock market and real estate.

Why Pat’s System Won’t Work For You

I’m not trying to say you can’t learn from Pat.  You can, you can learn a ton.  I have learned plenty from him.  If you only learn from his work effort, you will most likely improve your chances for success.  But I need to point out once again, that most of his money comes from his blog, not from his actual “Passive Income” activities.  If he didn’t have his blog bringing in all that money, he wouldn’t be as successful.  He would still be making good money, and many people would love to emulate that kind of success and income, I just don’t think most of his readers realize that Pat has been extremely lucky and his “passive” efforts are mostly benefited by the readers of his blog.  For instance, Pat’s “niche site duel” website project was able to be successful partly because so many people visited it and linked to it.  For the average Joe/Jane, you wouldn’t get this benefit when building your niche website and thus wouldn’t stand a chance of following his system and getting the same results.

So What Now?

Pat may try to change all that.  With his Niche Site Duel 2.0, Pat is promising that he has systems in place to make sure that his blog and brand traffic can’t assist his new niche site project.  This may be the best test yet of Pat’s ability to actually make passive income.  I personally can’t wait to see the results.  I will be rooting for him to succeed!

Please, please, please, don’t think for a second that I am trying to belittle what Pat has accomplished, or tell you he isn’t awesome in any way, or that he is intentionally trying to mislead people.  Pat is a great guy, who from the beginning (I have been following him for years) has only been trying to help people and show them the most efficient and effective ways that he knows of to make more money.  That said, just be careful when trying to follow in his footsteps… he is wearing a completely different set of shoes and yours won’t fit the same way in the tracks he is leaving.

Please follow his NSD 2.0, it should be good.   I am also planning on launching a new niche website which I am sharing with this Niche Site community on Google+, so you can follow along on a few different public niche site case studies there too.

What do you think of Pat?  Leave a comment on whether you agree or disagree below.

PS- I apologize for the delay in podcast updates.  I did an Interview with Spencer Haws of NichePursuits.com and somehow the recording of the interview turned into a pumpkin on me.  I am waiting on Spencer to re-record his answers and will get that up soon.  New podcast is here now with an added bonus just for podcast listeners.

Show Notes:

 

Make Money With Niche Sites Podcast Episode #6

Listen in iTunes

The Niche Site U Podcast

In this episode, we discuss how to build niche sites focused on one time events, and how to monetize them for the future.  I also share some niche site secrets just for my podcast listeners.

For some reason the player isn’t showing properly… so please use this link:

 

Thanks

The #1 Secret to Having Success With Niche Sites

Listen in iTunes

The Niche Site U Podcast

secret to niche sites success

I know, I know!  There are thousands of secrets to success… in life, in business, in making money online, and most importantly in niche sites.  I am not focused on every single secret, just on the #1 secret to having success.

 

You see, there are countless numbers of people out there that will tell you about this secret or that, or this challenge or that which will keep you from success.  In reality, none of those people matter, and quite frankly, neither do I.

The Secret

Before I share this secret, I want to share with you a couple stories.  I read a ton of books, and one of the hottest authors around right now is Tim Ferris.  If you don’t know who Tim is, you need to find out.  His book the 4-Hour Workweek is a game changer in my opinion.  I actually bought the audiobook, and the reading by Ray Porter of Blackstone Audio is just spot on.  Anyway, this book is genius because it makes you think.  It makes you think about concepts to simplify your life and your business.  Don’t expect to reach a 4 hour workweek… but his concepts can certainly take you from 60 down to 40 easily.

The reason I bring up Tim Ferris is because he is part of the secret.  No, the secret isn’t to read his book.  Did you know that Tim’s book got turned down by 25 different publishers?  According to Wikipedia, his book has currently sold over 1,350,000 copies and has spent nearly 4 years on the New York Times bestseller list.  Oh, and he has written a few other books which have been huge successes as well.

The secret: Taking Action, And Continuing After Failure!

It’s really two parts cleverly wrapped into one.  Most people never take action because they are afraid of failure, and the rest usually stop once they have failed.  The people that take that initial action, fail, and then keep pushing no matter how often they fail… they are few, and they are successful.

The funny part is, this secret is in your core already.  Everyone learns to walk and talk when they are kids.  Nobody, not a single human, ever was born walking and talking.  And nobody, has ever walked or talked on their first try.  But for some reason, that gift of perseverance disappears for most people as they become smarter.  Imagine that, the more you know, the less likely you are to let yourself fail and thus become successful.

How the secret applies to niche sites

It almost seems too simple right?  You have heard it all your life, get back up when you fall.  Keep pushing yourself no matter what.  Everyone hears it and yet nobody is willing to fail 1,000 in an effort to be successful.  Thankfully, guys like Thomas Edison were willing to fail, otherwise we might be sitting in the dark.  Now, applying this same theory to niche sites… you must take action, and continue after you fail.  You will most likely fail on your first niche site.  I’m sorry, it is the truth.  But then what?  Will you try again?

If you talk to anyone that builds niche sites for a living, or even as a hobby, they will tell you that they aren’t all winners.  Many of the biggest names in internet marketing fail 50x more often than they succeed.  Some will tell you the truth, and others won’t.  I have built a ton of failures!  Some of those sites were really good ideas that for one reason or another just didn’t get indexed, keep traffic coming back, or weren’t monetized well.  I have an example of a failed site that I built a few years ago that has great content, and yet for some reason just never made me tons of money.  I have considered selling it but I am just very reluctant to give it up.  You can check out the site about Nut Free Diets using that link.

The key is, I didn’t give up after that site was built.  I kept building and building and have had plenty of success.  I have built sites that are better, and I have built sites that are far worse and even though they are worse, they are more successful than that one.  But the reason I was successful was I didn’t listen to my inner self that questioned why it failed, I just kept pushing to prove to myself that I would be successful.

I know that this seems like to simple of a secret, and that you have heard thousands of other secrets about success.  I promise you this… if you live by those words and take action when you are afraid of failing, and when you continue after failing, you will be a success.

I would love to hear some of your stories of pushing past failure, or other secrets you have.  Please leave a comment below.  Thanks! Adam

 

Latent Semantic Indexing – What Is It, And Why Its Important To Niche Sites

Listen in iTunes

The Niche Site U Podcast

Latent Semantic Indexing Formula

What is Latent Semantic Indexing?

Let’s start with what it is.  For those that are looking for a definition of Latent Semantic Indexing, click the link and see what Wikipedia has to say about it.  For our purposes here, LSI is the process of finding search queries or concept searches that are found from a group of text that are similar to a specific search.  So what that means is, it is a way for you to find similar search terms based on a keyword that you specify.  LSI lets search engines determine what a page is all about, “outside” of the specific keywords.

I’m sure you are all familiar with the term “long tail keywords” by now, and it can be very useful.  LSI is very similar in concept to long tail keywords because it generates keywords that are relevant and possibly less competitive so that you can rank for more terms.

Why is LSI important to niche sites?

When building niche sites, you want to make sure you rank in search engines.  This is clearly goal number 1, as without organic traffic, you can’t possibly hope to make any money long term… at least not passive income.  Using LSI helps you with your writing.  It allows you to write about the topic, without having to use the exact same keyword 100 times throughout your article.  This is important for 2 reasons.  First, anyone familiar with your niche topic will likely be familiar with other terms surrounding the niche.  Second, the search engines will be crawling your content to make sure you are using LSI keywords also!

Lets look at an example.  If you wanted to create a niche site about muscle cars and were writing an article, it would help you to call muscle cars other things like: autos, automobiles, vehicles hot rods, cars, etc.  After all, calling them muscle cars 50 times in an article is not only annoying to readers, but it would look like keyword stuffing to search engines, which is bad seo!

It is also beneficial to be familiar with LSI keywords because it will give you ideas for other article topics.  A great website to help you with this process is lsikeywords.com.  All you have to do is type in a keyword and it will search the top 5 results in big G.  It then produces a listing of search queries that are similar to your keyword.  It is also nice because it offers up 1 word, 2 word and 3 word queries so you have plenty of variations.  Now, obviously this is just an idea starter… most of these queries are found from text on other websites, and it doesn’t automatically make it relevant.  As always, use your best judgement.

Another great benefit is the ability to use this with your anchor text when link building.  The last thing you want to do is use the same anchor text for all your links.  Having other keywords that are similar for your niche will be beneficial to use in your links.  It also provides an alternative to using exact match domains if you want.

As always, thanks for reading.  Hope you found this to be helpful.  Please leave a comment below about what helps you with the writing process.

Is It Too Late To Start Building Niche Sites? Podcast Episode #3

Listen in iTunes

The Niche Site U Podcast

Is It Too Late To Start Building Niche SitesAre All The Good Niches Taken?

Of course it’s not too late to start!! There are plenty of people, not just me, that are making money in this industry.

People have been building niche sites, chasing the passive income dream for well over 8 years now, and have filled up the web with a ton of junk.  The main reason it is not too late to start building niche sites is that Big G has used Panda and Penguin to actually clear away all the useless content sites out there and made it even easier for you to rank for quality content.

Please note what I said there… easy to rank for quality content.  If you are like me, then you know the best and easiest way to make money from your website is for you to produce something of value.  Only sites with value will outlast the cleansing that G is doing right now… and those that are just spewing out sites with broken sentences and that barely cover the topic aside from jamming the keywords into the content, well, they will be like Jersey Shore.  Did well, but gone now!

I know there are a lot of people out there that hate niches site building, because they feel that we are filling up the web with useless websites just to make money.  Not true!  Yes, we obviously want to make money for what we are doing, but I wouldn’t say we are anywhere nearly as bad as what tv producers did with jersey shore and those knuckle heads.  They were a mess, and yes, they were funny… but they did nothing of true value.  And eventually, that gets old.  So does bad content.  Just make sure you create win win situations for you and your readers.  And it’s very easy to get started building sites.

How Can I Make Sure My Sites Stay Ranked?

If you want your site to make money now, and keep making money 5 years from now, you are going to need to give it some love and attention.  Don’t just put out 5 articles that aren’t important and call it a day.  The key to success for those that survived the P&P updates and that will continue to survive through the zombie apocalypse are sites that were built to last.

A good quality niche website should have a minimum of 15 articles.  15 articles of true value.  Not 15 articles that can be used by people today as well as tomorrow.  And it shouldn’t stop there.  Obviously if you aren’t making any money, then by all means, set the website free.  Pull the plug and let it wither away.  But if you are beginning to make money from your website, or getting a ton of traffic from it, then why wouldn’t you want to keep adding to it?

If you look at the most successful authority sites out there, they almost all started as a niche site at some point.  Eventually they created their own brand that surrounded them.  Even Apple Computer began as a “niche” industry that many people had no interest in and thought wouldn’t last.

Bottom line, to make sure you stay in the SERP’s, you need to play by G’s rules right now… and the best way to do that is to provide value.  If you only have time or money for 15 articles now, thats fine.  But next week or month, try to write another article.  Invest your time in your niche.  Visit other sites in your niches community and create a presence for yourself and your site.  Trust me, people will eventually take interest if your content is worthwhile.  And the search engines pay attention to what websites people are spending time with.

Do you think its too late?