AdSense Micro-Niche Site Public Case Study – Setup, Configuration, & Design (Part 3)

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.

Installing WordPress

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:

For AdSense-focused micro-niche sites, I actually think the very simple (i.e. somewhat ugly) themes work best.  Here’s the one I’ve selected:

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.

Conclusion

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.

If you found this article helpful, I’d greatly appreciate a share on Facebook or a retweet!  To make sure you don’t miss any future updates, subscribe to my RSS feed.  Thanks!

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22 Responses to “AdSense Micro-Niche Site Public Case Study – Setup, Configuration, & Design (Part 3)”

  1. Looks like it’s going to be a great case study. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

    I’m always interested to how other people set up their sites – especially with Adsense.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Nathan!

    [Reply]

  2. Thanks for sharing. I am a fan of Bluehost. Whenever I have had a problem (usually my fault – oops) they have always been able to help.

    Look forward to the next chapter.

    Victoria.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Victoria. I am liking Bluehost a lot so far.

    [Reply]

    Greg Reply:

    II have found the same thing with BlueHost Victoria. They’re very helpful and I don’t go anywhere else now. Really good support, which is needed for newbies like myself!
    Greg recently posted… Why are links to a website important?

    [Reply]

  3. looking forward in your next topic. About hosting, I am planning to get my hosting in Ipower which i am comfortable with. Is it that ok?
    Ruel recently posted… What Is Adrenaline Rush And How to Use It For a Max Lift Attempt

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    If you’re comfortable with it, then go for it. There are a lot of good hosting providers out there I’m sure – I just happen to only have experience with two of them, so those are the ones I can recommend.

    [Reply]

  4. Hey Eric,
    Thanks for sharing all this info – it must take a while to put together. I am sure there are people like me trying to find current blogs with niche site processes being explained. I hope alot of people find you here,
    Thanks again, David

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment David! Let me know if you have any questions or anything I can help with.

    [Reply]

  5. I look forward to following this study. I am currently doing the same thing, but also using other methods or monetization not just adsense. The only real goal I have for my 1st site is to make top 5 in google for my keywords.

    As you mentioned you will be using “The backlink strategy that works” from the niche site duel challenge. I am in the process of doing this for my site, however will not have the luxury of using unique article wizard. Do you have any recommendations for something to replace this in the strategy??

    Thanks a lot

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Basically, UAW gives your site a high volume of lower quality backlinks, which is why they are good for backlinking your Web 2.0. sites. If you’re looking to save money, you can find people on Fiverr.com who will do a similar “blast” of links to your Web 2.0 properties. In fact, I would search on Fiverr for Unique Article Wizard and I’m betting you’ll find what you need.

    [Reply]

  6. Ralph | Thanksgiving Sale is on Reply November 23, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    One of my favorite themes is this one: http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/primepress

    Easy to change the whole header in the cpanel section and just looks clean.

    The copyblogger.com theme is also now available for download (see my name how it looks like) which you can download here: http://www.copyblogger.com/copyblogger-theme-wordpress/

    Which has always been one of my favorite looking themes :)

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Cool, thanks for the links! I’ll keep these ones in mind for future niche sites (I like to constantly vary the themes that I use).

    [Reply]

    Kent @ Make Extra Money Online Reply:

    Ralph, thanks for introducing primepress! I love to check it out.

    [Reply]

  7. As for Adsense,

    I’ve tried various themes and most “luck” is with the DoshDosh adsense theme. Ugly as hell but does seem to convert quite well..

    Free download here: http://thewrongadvices.com/2007/05/18/prosense-an-adsense-ready-seo-wordpress-theme/

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I’ve tried that one before too – it’s effective from what I’ve seen. Thanks for the link.

    [Reply]

  8. I’ve heard theme is important after google panda, is it true?

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    For AdSense niche sites, I don’t think theme is as important as you might think. What I think IS important is that you don’t have 50 sites all with the same theme. To me, this creates a risk of Google viewing your batch of sites as simply “made for AdSense.”

    Also, as with most other things in life, it’s good to diversify. You might find things that work better by experimenting with different themes. It’s of course important to work with a theme that’s easy to modify and allows you place ads where you want them to be.

    Now for authority sites, I think theme is a lot more important. If you’re relying on people to share your content and return to your site regularly, you want it to look appealing to a certain extent.

    [Reply]

  9. Hey Eric,
    I’m building my first niche site right now and the design template is an issue for me because the header image is so huge, but not using an image in the header is plain and ugly. So my question: How big is the header area for the template you’re using?
    Thanks!
    Christina @ Hair Loss in Women 101 recently posted… Common Hair Loss Treatments for Women: 4 Widely-Used Medications that Stop Hair Loss and Encourage Hair Growth

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hey Christina,

    Thanks for the comment. On this niche site, I’m honestly not too sure about the header area – it may appear like I have a header image, but this is actually just a function of the theme. It takes whatever the blog title is and converts it into text that almost looks like an image. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful, but feel free to ask any follow up questions!

    [Reply]

  10. Great article! Do you guys have any experience with weebly websites regarding SEO because (without inteding to destroy your affiliate links^^) this allows to create niche sites at no cost…..

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment Jon – I haven’t try Weebly at all, but I’ll have to look into it.

    [Reply]

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