Niche Site Step-By-Step 003: How to Setup a Niche Site

I have setup many different websites in the past.  Sometimes I would use hand coded html and other times I would use some type of content management system.  Over time I have simplified my system and will be sharing it here with you.  This is the method I used to setup movingacrosscountry.org.  The only difference is movingacrosscountry.org is hosted on a VPS that I use for some of my large sites.  I recommend you use Bluehost.com to host your site.  I use Bluehost.com to host passiveincometeacher.com and I like the service a lot.

How to Setup the Blog

The simplest, yet most powerful solution I have found for setting up a niche site is WordPress.  I had used WordPress on a few sights for running a blog on those sites years ago.  I had set them up and never really updated them.  Because a lot of my sites are built using custom code, it never dawned on me to look at WordPress again as a content management system.

It was actually my journey of researching domaining and seo that lead me to start movingacrosscountry.org.  It was also during this time of reading that I noticed many of the blogs I was reading were talking about using WordPress to build niche sites.  I was blown away by the power and control that I could get right out the box with WordPress.  And then the way the developers designed the plugin and theme features sealed the deal for me.

With WordPress you can literally have a working content management site in a few minutes.  What this means is you get a common layout and theme that runs throughout the entire site.  You also get the ability to add pages, post, image, music, and video.  You can determine when and how you will publish the content.  The are to many features to name here.

The plugin and theme features allow you or another party to write code that can modify the functionality of the default installation.  There are 1000’s of free and paid plugins and themes available and are installed by simply clicking a button.

The great thing is it’s free if you put it on your own hosting account.  With Bluehost.com you get a one button WordPress install feature.  You literally click a button, fill out a few form fields, and submit.  The entire blog, including the database, is installed for you.  90% of everything I build from here on out will be built with WordPress.  I am even beginning to change some of my custom coded sites over to using WordPress.

Plugins

There are a few plugins that I use all of the time.  I think these plugins are essential to setting up the site the right way.  The essential plugins that I use are free.

WordPress Seo by Yoast
Wordpress Analytics by Yoast
Related Post
WordPress Seo sets up the blog so that it will be liked by search engines.  It also provides sitemaps which you submit to the major search engines like Google and Bing through their (the search engines) webmaster tools.  There are many other features that this plugin provides.  You will be able to figure a lot out by just looking at it after it has been installed.

WordPress Analytics by Yoast  is used to configure Google Analytics in your site.  You have to setup a Google Analytics account before you can use the plugin.  I always give the Google Analytics account id to the plugin and leave all of the other settings set to their default values.

Related Post is a plugin that allows you to place the related post at the end of each post.  You can tell the plugin to relate by category or tags.  You can also tell it how many related  post you would like to display.  I think this is a really good plugin and so do many others if you judge by its rating.  One of the goals you have with your website is to keep people flowing through your website, which in turn keeps them on it longer.  This plugin helps to direct them to other post that are related to what they have just read.

Theme

The theme is the underlying framework of the look and feel of the whole site.  In WordPress you can change the theme fairly easily. You just find a theme by searching through the WordPress.org free theme section or if you want a premium them you can buy one from a site like WooThemes.

After you have found the theme you want, you can usually install it by clicking install on the theme page of your WordPress administration panel. Some themes may have to be downloaded first.  You can change your theme anytime you want, but you have to be careful with plugins conflicting with certain themes.  Also, some features may not be available in all themes.

On movingacrosscountry.org  used a free theme called Blue Grace.  I customized it a little bit by getting rid of the slide show and menu in the header.

Monetization

I want to briefly touch on monetization in this post.  I will do a post that is dedicated to monetization, but would like to say a few things.  When you setup the blog, you should be thinking about how you are going to monetize it.  You don’t necessarily have to it all figured out, but you should have a sense for where you are going to place sign up forms and ads.  This will help you make good design decisions in the beginning.

I specifically set out to monetize this site with Google Adsense.  I will discuss the details in the monetization post.

Content

I will discuss the content in a separate thread also.  I will talk about how I chose to write what I wrote.  I will also talk about what technique I use to keep the readers reading longer.  I also will talk about the problems I had with writing some of the content and how I have tried to keep the user experience in mind when creating the content.

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