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The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 0377: How Did You Build Your Niche Sites?

AP 0377: How Did You Build Your Niche Sites?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 377 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: Hey what’s up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 377 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Before we get to today’s question from Kedar, I do want to thank today’s sponsor which is AWeber.com, making it super easy for you to start to build your email list, so you can then sound those broadcast emails out, those auto-responder emails out, build a better relationship with your audience and get more customers buying what it is that you sell, and also for you to deliver more value and also get more traffic when you have more blog posts or podcast episodes that come out. I mean it just makes sense to have an email list, and if you don’t you need to have one and I recommend AWeber for starting out. If you go to aweber.com that a-w-e-b-e-r .com slash askpat you can get hooked up with a 30 day free trial. You can check it out 30 day free trial at AWeber.com/askpat.

All right, here’s today’s question from Kedar.

Kedar: Hi Pat. My name is Kedar. I’m from India. I wanted to ask you, how did you build a website on niches like food trucks and security guard trainings, did you know a lot about those niches already, did you write all the posts by yourself or did you dig up some other resources in case if you don’t know about these niches. So I just wanted to ask this question on how to build a website on niches that are good, but if you don’t know anything about them. Thank you.

Pat Flynn: Hey Kedar, thank you so much for this question, I really appreciate it because it is a really interesting question and, you know, a lot of people ask me this actually, “How did you start a site on security guards, you’re not a security guard.” This is true. “How did you start a site on food trucks, you’re not a food truck owner.” This is true. “How did you get started?” Well, the history behind these, both of these niches, are based on these challenges, I guess you could say, if you will.

The security guard one was done back in 2010 and this was when a friend of mine had challenged me to build a website the same time as him, in a place or niche that we didn’t know anything about to see what would happen, to see who could do better, who could get more traffic, who could generate an income—if not more income than the other person—and I decided to go into the security guard training niche, how? Because I found an amazing keyword, “security guard training,” which was searched for quite often, and was completely underserved on the search engines and that’s how I decided to dedicate a number of months to creating that site.

Well, how did I come up with the content for that site if I’m not a security guard myself? To be honest, I put in the hard work and I did the research and I literally, for this one, I called security guard training companies and I asked them, and I found out through my research that every state in the U.S. has a different set of requirements to become a security guard. There’s also a subset of security guards called unarmed security guards, who are security guards who do not have a firearm on them, a weapon, like a gun, and there are armed security guards in the U.S. and they have to take even more training. So, initially it was funny because I remember discovering this and being like “Oh man, this is gonna be a lot of work, I have to write more content for every person who comes in from a different state, this is going to be crazy” but then it was a blessing in disguise because it made it very easy to fill the site with very relevant information that nobody had.

So, I literally called 17 different states and asked different security guard companies in those states, I called about 2 or 3 in each, and just asked them, “How do I become a security guard in the state of California? How do I become a security guard in the state of Nevada? How do I become a security guard in the state of Kansas?” And they would tell me because these were companies who obviously knew what they were talking about and then I just took notes, wrote those things down, and then followed their instructions.

Now, I didn’t become a security guard, but a lot of them were like “Okay, go to this government website, go to this page, click on this, fill in this application, and do that” and I would go there and just follow the trail and then literally I would just write about that and that would be my post about how to become a security guard in that particular state, and I would outline the steps in really clear detail “Step one: Go to this website. Step two: click here. Step three: download this application. Step four: submit it here. Step five: also go to a finger place that can analyze and make sure that you don’t have a criminal record. This takes x number of days. Here’s that website. Here’s the application fees, so on and so forth.” And it just made it completely useful for people, and again, I was almost approaching it as if I was the ideal avatar for that particular website, the ideal target audience, and I was because I knew nothing about security guard training and how to start, and neither do those who visit that site for the first time.

So in just knowing a little bit more through a little bit of research, I was able to provide a ton of value to those people and the site has been doing very well for four years. Been at the top of the search engines for “security guard training” and also “armed security guard training” and it’s been making money through affiliate income but mostly through advertisement through Adsense, it’s been making about 2500 to 3000 dollars a month over the past four years.

It’s been a challenge, however, to break through to the next level. I’ve been working with some people to try and figure out if we can do our own courses, but then it’s a little bit difficult because there are different training requirements in every state, and also you know this is a serious thing, this is security guard training, it’s not like I can just make up my own quiz and that’s that. I would have to go through, if I were going to do this, make it a real quiz, I’d have to get it approved and have it go through these tests, and you know it’s a difficult process we’ve found, so that’s why I haven’t yet created my own course or anything like that, like it might be easier to do on other niches, but that’s the story behind SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com. You can find out more information about how that was started at NicheSiteDuel.com.

Now, the FoodTruckr website, it started in a very similar way back in 2013 or ’14, I can’t remember exactly. ’13 I believe. August 2013. A lot of people were like “Wow, your security guard training site was awesome, but times have changed. How do you build a website today, in today’s environment on search engines and stuff like that with a new niche that you know nothing about?” So again I was challenged. Now, nobody in particular challenged me, but I feel like I challenged myself. My audience challenged me, so I was up to the challenge and so through keyword research using tools like LongTailPro and others that I mention on NicheSiteDuel.com, I also document the journey or this website as well.

I share the entire process, and I did even more research this time, connecting with a lot more influencers in the online marketing space to see and kind of pick their brains and see how they might go about building a successful niche website today. I got a lot of great advice from people like Neil Patel, who really helped a lot because he came up with this idea of creating your 200 list; the 200 list is essentially a spreadsheet which includes a list of all the competitors and people in your space, and although you might not consider them competitors, they are other people who are serving the same people in your niche, and I found out through that research, not only who were the top players, who I could connect with, who I could potentially guest post on my site, who’s sites I could potentially guest post on, and who I could contact and just let them know who I was and feature them on my website and connect with them on social media and all those sorts of things. So, hopefully you’re already seeing the value of this 200 list. I’m also able to see that there weren’t 200. There were very little websites and resources out there helping this particular audience so it was very motivating and it just meant that I could come in and if I had the right content, it could do very well.

Now, in terms of this content, it was all done through research as well, and I actually hired a writer to do the research and publish the content for me. Now, I also published a podcast on the website as well because through a lot of research I found that a lot of the food truck owners who were listener or who were on the website just came on for a little bit and discovered that they just didn’t have time to read the content but they would prefer to listen. So that’s where the podcast came from, the podcast is called FoodTruckr School and that’s been doing very well. It doesn’t get nearly as many downloads as AskPat or Smart Passive Income but it does its job, it serves that particular audience, and it’s a much smaller audience which is another big challenge but its been doing very well, its ranking really high for key words like “How to start a food truck” “Food truck business plan” again all topics that were researched by my writer on that website.

Recently I’ve toned down the content publishing and I’m focusing on the funnels because we actually have two products on the site now. One is the Food Truck Kit and the other one is How To Start a Food Truck: The Definitive Guide, and that one actually had made over 20-30,000 dollars at this point so it’s also been doing very well. Again, that was done by hiring somebody to do the research and discovering … And a lot of this research was actually through just talking so even if I didn’t have a writer it would have been in the same way as SecurityGuardTrainingHQ. It would have been going on the field, talking and interviewing, and yes I do that on the podcast as well and I do learn a lot and a lot of what I learn in the podcasts and those interviews does determine what content should be written about or what we could highlight in different areas of the space, so that’s been working out very well.

I will say in going back to SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, after those 17 articles were written from those 17 states, now remember that because it was after 17 that I got to number 1 on google, I actually stopped producing content, which was a big mistake, I had reached my goal, my goal was to get to number one in Google, and when I got that I stopped adding content to the site which was a big mistake because it could have gone much higher, could have gotten much more traffic, and potentially making much more money back then, but I had got smart and I actually hired somebody to fill out the remaining 33 states in the U.S. by following the same process I did. By calling security guard companies and actually writing down step by step exactly how to become a security guard in that particular state and I hired this person on Elance.com.

She no longer actually does this kind of stuff anymore, actually somebody had requested her when I talked about her in a previous episode of the Smart Passive Income Podcast and I couldn’t find her anymore on Elance unfortunately, but, you can find a lot of other writers who could do the same thing, researches and writers, if that’s what you wanted to do. But, we filled out those 50 articles then and after that we had to research the armed security guard training which were different and a lot more stringent and have her do the same thing so then we filled out the site with 100 articles which you can imagine when you get 100 articles which are very specific you’re going to get a lot of long tailed traffic and that’s actually where most of my traffic comes from. It’s actually not the top keyword anymore, it’s from those long tailed keywords, “How to become a security guard in Arkansas”, “How to become a security guard in Connecticut”, “How to become an armed security guard in Michigan”, those are the ones that are working really well for me and combined they all provide a ton of traffic.

So, hopefully this inspires you and gives you an idea on how that was all started and it just shows you that you don’t need to know what you’re talking about in the beginning, but you need to know where to go and what the main goals are of your audience and you also need to do the work, put in the effort to find out that right information, and then share it in a way that’s concise but also very valuable and useful and unique and different because you want to stand out from everybody else out there like I stood out on the 200 list and find your position in that particular space.

So hopefully this helps, Kedar I appreciate the question. We’re going to send you an AskPat t-shirt all the way to India for having your question featured here in the show, you’ll hear from my assistant in the next couple days. Happy to do that for you, thank you for the question. I also want to thank all of you listeners who have submitted questions. You can ask a question over at Askpat.com if you haven’t already and I might select your question for a future episode. You can just go to Askpat.com and ask right there on that page.

I also want to thank AWeber.com, the email service provider that I have used since day one to help me build my email list and collect leads essentially, but I don’t feel like email subscribers are leads. Yes, they’re leads, yes, they lead to more sales, yes, the power of your business is directly determined by the power of your email list as Amy Porterfield would say, but you also have to remember that there are actual people on the other end, so, I use it a lot to provide a ton of value to not only give people a glimpse of what’s going on in my daily life and things like that but also to let people know when new content comes out and also to give them even more tips and advice and giveaways and lead magnets and all the stuff that people really appreciate that can help them in their business. That only helps me in my authority, in my space, and I knonw it can do the same for you. So, if you’re building an email list and you’re looking to get started, go to AWeber.com/askpat. You can go to aweber.com/askpat, you’ll get a 30 day free trial of this amazing software, so check it out.

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it, and here’s a quote to finish out the day by Sole Hiroc. He said, “If I would be in business for business, I wouldn’t be in this business.” Cheers take care and I’ll see you again in the next episode of AskPat.

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