How to Structure and Write Content for Your Niche Site
Are you struggling with how to structure your written content for a niche site?
Having well-optimized and organized money pages is one of the most important factors in creating a successful niche site.
Well, as it turns out, there is one "formula" that I like to follow with all my money pages that helps me to rank high in Google and convert that traffic into clicks over to Amazon.
And in today's post, I'm going to show you what that "formula" is ... and exactly how you can use it to better optimize all of your money pages.
Better yet, I'm going to show you an actual example from a brand new niche site of mine, so that you can see for yourself.
Bonus content: Want to see a list of every WordPress plugin that I make sure to install on all of my niche sites?
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A Niche Site Builder's Biggest Challenge?
It's funny, in the six weeks or so that I've been running this blog, there are two types of topics that I have been asked about far more than any other.
One is: how do you build backlinks to your site? (Don't worry, we'll be covering that in a future post).
The other one is: how exactly do you structure your written content on your niche sites?
Let me show you an image from my Clicky account to give you an idea of what I mean.
What you're looking at is the "outgoing links" metric from my analytics account since this site has been live.
And this screenshot shows the two most clicked on outgoing links from my blog, ever.
What are they?
Well, the first one is a link to The Wirecutter from this post, when I was discussing what "template" I like to model my reviews after.
Here's a screen grab of that section of the post:
And that link led to this review from The Wirecutter, where they wrote a 13,000 word review of the "best on-ear headphones". That review has been the most clicked-on outgoing link from my blog by a wide margin!
The second most clicked-on outgoing link? Here's another screen shot:
And that link led to this post by Dom Wells about how to write a product review if you've never actually used the product.
So the two most popular outgoing links from this blog have both been about how to write content for your niche sites.
How to write content has also been a hot topic of discussion based on the questions that I receive from readers and other niche site builders.
Clearly, this is an area that a lot of people are struggling with.
Want to See One of My Sites?
I admit, it can't be much fun as a reader of this blog to try and follow along with all my tips and tactics without actually seeing a real, live example of one of my niche sites.
And so I decided to change that.
No, I'm not going to reveal any of my sites that are currently making money.
But in the past few weeks I have been building out a brand new niche site, more for the purposes of being able to illustrate my tactics to readers of this site, and less for the purposes of trying to rank and monetize it.
I mean, how can I write a blog post about how to structure the content of your niche site, without showing you an example of mine?
A lot of internet marketers are happy to simply tell you what they're doing; the goal of this site however is to show you exactly how I'm doing it.
Before I reveal the URL, I want to make one thing absolutely crystal clear:
This is not a "finished" site by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, it is ONLY the homepage (and a handle of individual product reviews) that's even set up right now, and even that is not done, either.
When the homepage is complete, there will be six individual product reviews on the page; right now, there is only one.
Got it? This site is very much a work in progress. The only reason I'm revealing it now is because I wanted to show a real-life example of how I personally structure my content.
So, with that out of the way, here is the URL: www.showerspecialists.com
Alright, let's break this thing down.
Focus on Monetizing One Page at a Time
I see niche site builders out there trying to do too much at once.
For example, they launch a new site, and they write 10 articles, targeting 10 different keywords, and each article is about 1,000 words or so.
This is not the way to build a niche site.
You need to focus on building, ranking, and monetizing ONE epic page at a time. That's it.
For my Niche Site 2, which is over a year old now and bringing in ~$700 per month on auto-pilot, how many pages do you think are responsible for that income?
Yes, just two money pages which brought in $742 in income last month. (I do have a third money page working its way up the SERPs, but it's not monetized yet).
So, yeah: starting off, it should just be one ridiculously well-written, epic resource page that you are going to focus all your time and attention trying to rank and make money with.
Take a look at my home page here for Shower Specialists: when all the individual product reviews are done, the page will end up being over 4,200 words long.
Obviously, the keywords I'm targeting are "best shower head" and "shower head reviews". And my strategy is to laser focus on the two keywords, by building out an epic home page with tons of content.
There are dozens of other keywords that I can target with additional money pages, and probably a decent amount of actually helpful informational articles that I can write about as well ... but for now, those don't matter. All that matters is ranking my home page.
Note: Of course, that doesn't mean you're going to throw up a one-page site and call it a day. You are, eventually, going to build out your site with reviews, other money pages, and non-monetized articles. But that's not the focus when you're just starting out building a new site.
Why Content is Important
A lot of "content marketers" will tell you to not worry about link building, and that if you just focus on creating "great content" then that will be enough to get you rankings and traffic.
While that may be an effective strategy for some people, it's not one that I can really recommend for niche site builders. Why not?
Well, the "content is king" mantra just does not apply if you have a niche site that, in our example, reviews shower heads, right? How much "epic content" can you write about shower heads?
... that does NOT mean that content for a niche site is unimportant.
You Write for the Google Bots
I write my niche site content with two audiences in mind, and one of them is Google.
We all know by now that Google is able to determine (best as they can; they're still an algorithm) the general quality of a site's content. This means that the days of simply throwing up a one-page, 500-word niche site are long over.
So you need to produce a niche site with decent enough content so that the Google bot will not only NOT penalize you, but will reward you in the SERPs.
Longer is Better
And that's why I like to produce money pages with tons of content on them, at least 2,500 words, and that's at an absolute minimum. These days, I always shoot for 4,000+ words on new money sites/pages.
I can't cite any supporting evidence or anything, but I strongly believe that Google loves longer content.
Just remember that Google is "reading" your site, and when you're writing content for your niche site, you must always keep this in mind.
Let me show you what I mean.
If you scroll down all the way to the bottom of my home page, you'll come across this section.
Now, you may be wondering: what is the purpose of that section? It's all the way at the bottom, so the chances of an actual visitor to my site reading it is probably less than 10%.
And the answer to that is: I write some content for the visitors to my site, and some content for Google.
The way I look at it is, sure, someone that lands on my site likely won't make it all the way down to that part of the page (hopefully by then they've already clicked over to Amazon), but the Google bot sure will.
The Google bot reads everything. So be sure to keep it fed with loads of content.
You Write for Your Visitors
While it's nice to give the Google bot 4,000+ words of great content, unfortunately the Google bot is not the one that buys shower heads on Amazon, giving you a commission.
The readers of your site do. So you also need to focus on them.
UPDATE: A follower reached out to me on Twitter and told me that including prices on your sites violates Amazon Terms of Service, so be careful. I checked sites like The Wirecutter, and they include prices in all their reviews, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
The Pricing Table
And that's where the pricing table comes in.
I'm certainly not the one who came up with the idea of the pricing table (the first I heard of it was from Spencer), all I know is that they convert ... incredibly well.
Here's the way to look at it.
I think I heard Doug say this one time, and I'm paraphrasing here: when a visitor lands on your site from a Google search, they are obviously in buying mode. All they're looking for is a little validation from a third-party source that this is the right product for them to buy.
And so your job, as quickly as possible, is to act as the middle man by sending them along to Amazon via your affiliate link.
And that's where the pricing table comes in. It's a devilishly simple little tactic.
It provides the reader with a clean, simple comparison of various products with an image, name, price, and rating, so that they can quickly scan the table and click on the product that is most appealing to them, landing them on Amazon.
And boom, Amazon affiliate cookie dropped, and your job is done.
(Again, Shower Specialists is brand new, so I don't have any affiliate links on my page or in my table yet, but the product images and names would be linked).
And so that's what I mean when I say that you have to structure your page for your readers; you want to quickly and clearly present them with buying options, right when they land on your page, and I've found no better tactic than that than the pricing table.
Individual Reviews on the Home Page
How the heck are you supposed to write 4,000+ words about shower heads?
Easy, just review 5-6 products at 500 words a pop, and instead of making those reviews individual posts, stick them all one your money page.
By "saving" some of your individual product reviews to use on the home page (instead of their own posts), you are guaranteed to be able to produce a ridiculously long money page.
How to Structure Your Actual Reviews
Alright, now that you know how to properly hide your affiliate links from Google, let's talk about how to write your product reviews.
First thing's first: there are a LOT of ways to structure your product reviews for a niche site. I'm not saying my way it better than someone else's, this is just my personal preference for writing these things. As is usually the case, your mileage may vary.
Let's take a look at this review, as an example.
It checks in at around 550 words, which is actually on the shorter end for what I like to typically target. I prefer at least 750 words, and 1,000 if you can manage it.
However, I wanted to get this niche site up and running for you as quick as possible so that I could use it as an example, so I took a little shortcut.
The other issue is the product-type that I'm reviewing: it's a shower head. How can you realistically write 1,000 words about a product like that? So, that's also something to keep in mind.
For more complicated and involved products, you can usually write more words, whereas for relatively simpler products, there's not as much you can say about them.
This is the first thing a visitor to my review post sees when they land on the page: a nice, clean, simple product snapshot, showing my "ratings", the price on Amazon, and a quick and dirty summary of the product, and two links to Amazon so that they can easily check it out over there. (Again, I don't have any affiliate links on the site yet, but the name of the shower head in the upper left, and the giant green button at the bottom would both be affiliate links).
By the way, if you're wondering how I created that nice looking template, I did it with the ridiculously awesome Thrive Content Builder.
For the next part of my reviews, I like to create 4-5 bullet points and write about the features of the product.
The thing to note here is that my "reviews" are effectively just summaries of what the product has to offer.
I'm not making any claims on this site that I have actually used the product and recommend it for x and y reasons (though I see nothing wrong with that angle), but rather: let me give you everything that's good about the product, everything that Amazon customers liked about it, and a few things they didn't, and put it all together in one easy-to-read summary that will make it easier for you to making a buying decision about the product.
So that's what I'm doing here, basically taking all of the available information from the Amazon product pages, and writing them into a narrative form.
The next part of my reviews are the "advantages" section.
Everything I wrote about above about the "features" section also applies here: you're writing 3-4 bullets basically just summarizing the "advantages" of the product, or how it will benefit the user.
As much as we want the visitors to our niche sites to click over to Amazon and buy the product, in order for your "reviews" to have any credibility, you really need to include a brief section outlining any "disadvantages" of the product.
Otherwise, you will come across as a biased cheerleader just trying to make a sale.
So, I like to include a few points that the potential customer needs to be aware of, taken from some of the negative Amazon reviews.
The Bottom Line
Here, it's time to put a wrap on our review.
I like to write a quick little summary of the product, highlighting its most important features, and then including a nice big call-to-action for the reader (assuming they've made it down this far) to click on over to Amazon.
And really, that's all there is to it. It's not rocket science, it's just about coming up with a consistent structure that you can then apply to all your products.
I will reiterate one more time: this is just how I personally like to have my reviews written. Is it definitely the best way to write product reviews? Probably not.
You can search Google for some nice buying keywords, check out a few niche sites raking on Page 1, and see what they're doing too. There are many, many different ways to structure your reviews.
How to Get Your Reviews Written
So how do you actually go about having your reviews written? You have two options.
One, you can write them yourself. If you're short on budget, have some free time, and/or are a decent enough writer, there's no reason you can't write these product reviews yourself.
This will save you on content costs, and allow you to structure your reviews exactly as you want. So that's option #1.
The other option, and this is what I do, is to pay someone else to write them for you.
I really dislike writing product reviews — I find the whole process incredibly tedious — and I also have a full-time job, so I prefer to pay a writer (or two) write them for me. It also helps that my niche sites are earning consistent income, so I have the spare cash to spend.
I've used both Textbroker and oDesk to hire writers for my content.
I pay the Textbroker guy 2.4 cents per word ($12 for a 500 word review), and a girl on oDesk 1.5 cents per word ($7.50 per 500 word review). So, it's not exactly cheap. But I value my time more, so I have no issue paying for it.
Wondering how exactly I found these writers? Well, this post is getting long enough, so I'll just direct you over to a few very helpful resources.
One is this excellent guide written by Jon Haver. Then there's Dom's recent post on this subject, which is also worth a read. There's also Steve Rendell's breakdown of iWriter vs HireWriters. Finally, there's this crazy in-depth guide by No Hat Digital that you can also take a look at.
Future Plans for Shower Specialists
So, now that I've created a brand new niche site specifically for the purposes of this blog, what do I plan to do with it?
Truth is, I really haven't decided. I haven't ordered any new content. I have placed a order for a new The Hoth package, to use as an initial layer of links, and I expect to have that review up at some point.
But other than that, I'm just going to let the site and its content marinate in Google, so to speak. The site is less than a month old, so for the next two months, I'm probably just going to leave it alone.
After that, if I start to see some movement in the SERPs, I may throw some PBN links at it and see if I can rank it.
But really, the purpose of me building that site was so that I could have a real, actual site of mine that I could use as an example to show readers of this blog how I go about my niche site building.
Any questions, let me know in the comments.