It’s third week of my quest for year 2013 is still doing good. I made a very vague plan about building a side project which would generate income for me.
As a first step, I launched a niche website today. For someone who does not know what is a niche site, it’s a mostly passive website built to collect search engine traffic. I have this feeling, that niche sites are a bit frown upon. We all have experiences where some random website opens zillions of popups and a happy blinking banner promises you millions of dollars. Basically, they waste the time of the visitor.
Luckily, not every niche website is filled with annoying banners. There are sites that provide real value and useful content for visitors. Niche website is a very loose term, I think there are various perspectives, but to me, the most visible thing on a niche site is that they make money by internet advertising and affiliate marketing.
I welcomed browser adblockers with open arms when the first ones appeared years ago. One of my first things to do, when setting up a new computer, is to install an adblocker to a browser.
I guess it’s safe to say I am not big fan of internet advertising. Most ads try to interrupt you and steal your attention. We, as internet dwelling people, have come up a very certain behaviour to make banner advertisement quite useless. It’s called Banner Blindness.
Even though I don’t like it when I’m on the receiving end of internet marketing, I want to learn internet marketing. There must be a way that best of both worlds meet. Visitors attention is not stealed without their permission and advertiser will also get something out of it too. There must be a way to do it right.
That is why I made a niche website. I want to learn to drive visitors to a website. Not just random visitors, but visitors that might find the content interesting. I will be using Google Adsense to put some advertisement on the site. Hopefully by the end of the year it has generated some income.
The good thing about that is that the ads will be targeted to the visitor, so ads will share the story with the content. The bad thing is that they are banners.
A targeted visitor will give attention to a website more likely that just a random visitor. I have lots of knowlegde how to reach the target audience. The problem is, that I haven’t done it before. That will be something I want to learn.
The whole idea behind a niche site is to built it in a way that it’s flying on autopilot. It does not need my attention on every week. It just sits on a corner of the web, hoping that somebody will end up to the site.
In theory, it means that I don’t have to tinker with the source code every week and I’m free to focus on the marketing activities.
I’m a hacker by heart. I did not just write a static website. By using Sinatra and Markdown, I have built a layout system which generates all the files for the website. I am hosting it on Amazon S3 and using their DNS services. So it has some technical stuff behind the scenes.
And the website actually has good content. I am pretty sure that the website will provide actual value for a visitor who ends up on my website through search engine.
Yet, I still feel kinda weird for launching it. Maybe it is because I’m afraid that people feel the same way how I feel when I end up on one of those banner-infested websites. Or maybe it’s because this is something I have not done before. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a good thing.
But lets not forget that I have a plan. This was just a small step, this was the easy part.