Program #1 – The Niche Blogger

The first program I’d signed up for was The Niche Blogger, by Amy Bass. I never really went looking for Internet Marketing information, instead, I found her by way of Dave Ramsey. This post is really long, if you’re somewhat familiar with this program, skip down to the numbered list, and take peek at my pros, cons, and how I’ve personally done with it.

I’m big into being debt free. It still hasn’t happened for me, but I know if I apply myself, I will become debt free before long. I’d read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book and was looking online to see how other people managed to get debt free. I stumbled across a blog Amy had been writing, about her becoming debt free. She and her husband had $72,900 in debt, and her goal was to find as many ways as possible to make money so they could pay it all off in 2 years or less. Through a lot of trial and error, she did it, paying of the debt earlier than the 2 years she’d set as a goal.

And that lead me to The Niche Blogger. While Amy was working on becoming debt free, she developed her system for making niche websites, and she eventually turned it into a monthly course. I waffled for probably 6 months on whether or not I’d like to sign up, and after talking it over with Pet, I bit the bullet and signed up. It’s been roughly a year since I did that, and I feel pretty confident that I can review the program, with all of it’s pros and cons.

The Niche Blogger is a 12 month course that’s currently $19.95 a month, or $197 for a lifetime membership if you pay up front. It’s divided into months, and each month has 30-31 days in it, with tasks you should be completing. It’s a self paced course though, so if you get through 4 days of content in 1 day, or take 3 months to complete the first month, no one’s breathing down your neck.

If you have niche blogging, or online marketing experience, this course is probably not for you. Amy has some great tips that I don’t see widely spread about the internet, but the course is designed for newbies. If you can already install a WordPress script on your hosting, and configure it, you’ve covered about 80% of the first month. The second month covers monetizing the blog, so if you’ve already had some experience in it, you’re going to be bored until month 3.

For the positives on The Niche Blogger, I have these 3 to mention:
1. No Experience? No Problem! You don’t need to know anything about websites, or online marketing to get this program started. She literally walks you through, step by step, how to sign up for services, set up a blog, and register a domain.
2. Affordable. At $19.95 a month, it’s one of the cheaper subscription programs out there. And, like Amy does point out, if you can afford $10 a month for hosting, and another $15 for a domain name (per year), then you can niche blog without any additional cost.
3. Great Forums. There is a forum you get access to when you sign up, and the people in it are great. If you have a problem, you can search the forum for an answer, as there’s a multitude of posts, or you can post your own question if it doesn’t seem to have been answered. There are people who’ve been there for years, and they have great knowledge.

Here are some of the negatives.
1. Lots of Work. Niche blogging requires 60-100 posts per blog, so you’re going to be putting in a lot of work to make your blog go. And that leads me to the next one,
2. Niche Research Spotty. A Niche Blog is a large investment of time and effort, and if you pick a bad niche, you’re hosed. Amy really doesn’t spend a lot of time on niche research, she has you shortlist some ideas, do a little keyword research, and do a little affiliate research. If you pick a bad market, or an over saturated market, then you’ll never rank, or never see money.
3. Upsells. An affiliate marketer’s job is to get people to buy the products they use, right? Well, in the Niche blogger course, Amy does just that. Technically, all you need is hosting, a domain name, and a subscription to her program. But, if you don’t have a lot of time to spend manually doing what she suggests, or you’re overwhelmed by some of the steps, the programs she suggests will help you. That’s a good point, but sometimes she seems to rely on these purchasable programs more than having people do it manually, and so you feel if you don’t have them, you’re behind.
4. Not All Content is Relevant. There are some things that Amy teaches that aren’t relevant to all sites. And, some of the stuff that may not be relevant is what she spends a lot of time on. Case in point: several months are spent on writing your own product, building an email list, and creating a membership site. In the case of my first niche blog, none of this was relevant.

So, you’re probably wondering what sort of website I created for The Niche Blogger. I followed Amy’s ideas of choosing niche ideas based on topics that interested me, and so I created a blog about World of Warcraft. Specifically, a site dedicated to finding the best spots to mine ore. Given that I started it in the spring, about 6 months before Cataclysm came out, that probably was not the best idea. But, I slogged along, and created my World of Warcraft Mining Guide. Go on, check it out. I’ll wait.

Back? Okay, so you checked out the site, and you can see that I pretty much abandoned it in June. At that point, I’d made virtually no income, and I was tired of hand drawing maps for it. That’s also when I got into Halloween websites, and so you see my goldfish memory in action.

How much have I made from my Warcraft Mining site? You’ll laugh at this. From February 16, 2010 to December 19, 2010 (the day I finished writing this), I have made $1.51 in Adsense. Yes, less than 2 dollars. I could buy myself something off the McDonald’s value menu for what I’ve made.

Part of my problem with the low Adsense is because the ads on my site aren’t relevant. I just opened the site, and here are the ads I have: Tech News Updates (relevent), Adword Holiday Promotion (not relevant), Free Online Strategy Game (relevant), Buy Gold for Investing (not relevant), Canadian Iron Ore (not relevant), Teeth Whitening (not relevant). So, out of 6 ads that I saw, only 2 are relevant to the website in any vague fashion. People coming to look at mining information on World of Warcraft aren’t buying teeth whitening or real life iron ore, and they’re already playing an online game, they aren’t looking for an additional one. So, the relevance means low adsense.

I will add in $22.62, but that was my money. See, I have an account with Clickbank, which allows me to be an affiliate and get a percentage of the value of a sale. And, my only affiliate link there was Zygor’s Guide. I bought a copy of it for myself, and while I love it, that $22.62 I earned has been slowly eaten away by Clickbank due to inaction and no sales on my part. So, I haven’t been counting it as a sale, since I purchased it for myself.

So, in short, if you have quite a bit of time, or are a complete newbie to setting up WordPress websites, and you want to build larger, authority based sites that will draw a lot of return visitors, The Niche Blogger is for you. If you have goldfish memory, like I do, it probably is not for you.