With the Soccer European Championships almost upon us, many affiliates are focusing on building websites dedicated to Euro 2012. I am one of those affiliates, with my website BetEuro2012.org.
Time-limited niche sites are one of the toughest challenges an affiliate can face. There’s no learning phase. There’s no messing about. You need to get it right, because you only have one chance. Soon, the competition will be over and you’ll be left with what is essentially a useless website.
Of course, if you get it right – it can work out amazingly well. You can see great profits and not just in the short-term – if you are on revenue share you can really set yourself up well for the long-term as well. If you are focusing on a sports betting website, then you will be able to capture many people who have never bet before. This is huge, because many people will stay with the first sportsbook they sign up with, meaning you have these punters under you for life.
I’ve built MANY time-limited niche websites over the years, and I wanted to share some tips I have learnt from my experiences with these sites. First, let’s quickly define:
What Is A Time Limited Niche Website?
A Time Limited Niche website is a website that is focused on one specific event for one specific time. A website about “Betting on the Superbowl” wouldn’t be considered Time Limited because it is a website you can use again and again, year after year. A website about Superbowl 45, or Superbowl XLV, is generally considered time limited because it is most likely only going to be used for that specific event.
Other Time Limited Niche Websites would be websites focused on the Grand National 2012, or the Kentucky Derby 2012. While you could create a brandable website that would cover all future events, most people prefer to go for an exact match domain utilizing that specific year, to get whatever exact match domain bonus the search engines give these days.
So Time Limited Niche Websites would be websites like BetonSuperbowl45.com, NHLPlayoffs2011Betting.com etc – that sort of thing. While there may be some value in the websites after the event is over that value is generally very low.
Now, to the tips…
#1: Time is of the Essence
It really is. To me, there are two key “times” when you want to launch one of these websites. The first is something that 99.9% of people won’t do but it bears mentioning – build way in advance. I’m talking 1, 2, 3 or even 4 years in advance. World Cup 2018? Start building a website for it in 2014. Focus on building a very quality website, so that by the time World Cup 2018 rolls around you have a top-notch and respected website that the search engines can’t ignore.
Most people won’t do that though. So if it’s within six months of the tournament or event starting, when should you build the website? Some people may think “right away” – but in my experience, have everything ready to roll and launch the website about a month before the event starts.
I’ve always found that when any website is launched, as long as it looks to be of a certain quality to the search engine algorithms, it starts with almost a “clean slate” in the search engines and may get an initial boost in rankings. This boost is used to get information on bounce rates, length of time spent on site and other metrics that help the search engines with their rankings. That’s why I like to build the website about a month before the tournament starts.
Even if my boost theory is complete hogwash – by launching the site a month before the event begins, you will start to see visitors trickle in. People will be searching for “Euro 2012 Betting Odds” and related keywords weeks before the event actually starts. When you start to see results early on, it encourages you to really put a lot more work into the site. Compare this to a Superbowl 45 website built 6 months before the event actually starts. You’re going to get no hits, have no motivation, and not really feel inspired to work on the site.
At the very least, a few weeks before the event starts will allow you to get some traffic, and really get you motivated to continue to work on the site.
#2: Quality Content is Key
This should go without saying, but so many people still don’t really get this. You only have one chance to impress the search engines and impress your visitors. You only have one chance to convert these visitors before the event is past, and the website has hit its expiry date. Therefore, you really need quality content more than ever.
I’m guilty of adding weak content on websites at times. Most of us are. We get tired of working on a website, so we half-ass it on the “rules of craps” article or the “mobile betting on Blackberry” article, with the plan to revisit the content at a later date and make it better. And you know what? If your website is littered with quality content, and the website is going to be in it for the long-term, then that’s okay. But with these time-limited niche sites we don’t have that advantage.
You need to write the best possible content straight off the bat.
Quantity of Content is important too. Long-Tail Keywords can be a difference maker(more about that in a second) and the more articles, the better chance you have of bringing in that traffic. Plus, one thing you REALLY want to do is let the search engines know that you are an authority in this niche – and a great way to do that is to have a content rich site, both in terms of quantity and quality.
#3: Long-Tail Keywords are the Difference Maker
This is one thing I have always found with these type of sites – long-tail keywords really ARE the difference maker. I’ve had time-limited niche sites that rank well for the primary and secondary keywords. But the long-tail keywords, of which there can be many, are where I can see the biggest boost and the biggest surprises in terms of traffic and conversions.
I’ve also had websites that fail dramatically for their primary and secondary keywords. I remember one website which literally three days before the event, took a huge plunge in the rankings. I had invested a fair bit of time and money in that website so that was extremely frustrating. However it didn’t work out too bad at all, because I still managed to rank for various long-tail keywords, which helped save me a bit.
Targeting the long-tail keywords, building and expanding your “money” pages to go after these keywords, is a must.
#4: Design Is Not Important
Okay, that’s not really true. However there’s one thing you need to know about time limited niche sites: many of them fail. You have to tread carefully with everything, you have to work very hard and very fast to get the websites running, and it’s possible you will invest a lot of time and money for little to no payoff, with no possibly for a long-term turnaround.
Therefore, the last thing you need to do is spend hours working on a design, or wasting money on a unique design for a website that’s only being used once. If you plan on building lots of time-limited niche sites then you should look at getting a default template built that you can use over and over again – I have a couple of these where the only changes I make design wise is a new logo, and a few colour changes within the site to match the logo.
If you are just wanting to experiment with a time-limited niche site, just use one of the default WordPress themes like TwentyEleven. These are SEO-friendly themes which do a good job, and are easy to manage. Most importantly they allow you to stop being distracted about design elements, and focus on the most important thing which is building a quality website.
#5: Create a Shareable Website
Focusing too much on the search engines, especially in this day and age, is a big mistake. If you risk everything you have on a time-limited niche website on search engine rankings, you’re in trouble. You’re putting yourself at the mercy of the search engines, and that’s not something that is wise.
These sort of websites are perfect for creating pages that people will share.
Infographics are the current hot shareable item, and a great example. If you have a Grand National or Kentucky Derby website, you could create a sick infographic on the history of the event, or even just the history of the betting market and winners. Have a Superbowl website? Get an infographic going on about the teams involved – create something that people want to share.
Sometimes, even just general articles are enough to be shared. Every time the Superbowl comes around, I create articles listing the “Craziest Prop Bets” and that always does great in the social media. I also have an article on the Superbowl Coin Toss history which ranks #1-#3 in Google for the main phrases. Every year that brings in tens of thousands of visitors, and I see links for it on Twitter, Facebook, Forums etc.
Think of something that YOU would be interested in reading in…then create it, and share it.
I don’t have any general tips or advice on backlinks when it comes to these sort of websites – however I wanted to comment on them and offer my opinion at least. There was a time where you could simply unleash the “GoogleBomb. 2-3 days before the event, you could grab yourself 5,000 completely spammy comment backlinks, and get an immediate boost in the search engines. By the time the search engines have hit you with the penalty, the event has come and gone and you’ve moved on to bigger and better things.
The chances of something like this working these days however is extremely low. I personally, don’t like to overdo it in links. I like to get a few links, ideally of the best quality possible. I don’t do anything that the search engines don’t like. I won’t buy links. I won’t add comments or forum posts just for the sake of getting a backlink – nothing like that. If I write an article for a website, I’ll make the link clear, rather than try and keyword stuff it and mask it within the article.
Be careful when it comes to building backlinks for these types of sites. The last thing you want to do is raise any sort of flag or cause a penalty 2-3 days before the event, losing all of your hard work. I know one webmaster who had a Superbowl website – he put an incredible amount of work into it. He also worked on a lot of backlinks – the majority of which were quality – but unfortunately all his hard work went to waste when the site plummeted in rankings 3 days before the Superbowl. From previous and later experiences, he concluded that despite the quality links, he got too many in too fast a period of time. That’s why you need to be careful with backlinks.
#7: It Won’t Always Be A Success
These types of websites can be GREAT – if it all works out they can be EASY money. But they won’t always be a success. Actually far from it – I’d say they are more likely to fail than succeed(at least the initial sites you build – once you get better at them, the success rate soars). You really need to know that and understand that going in, and not get demotivated.
It can be a crappy feeling. The event passes and you log into all the affiliate program stats, all excited. Then you go through each program noticing a bunch of clicks, a couple of signups, and zero depositors. All that work put to waste. So you need to know that this isn’t some great “Make Money Online” endeavour – it can fail miserably.
On that note…
I don’t know about you, but I value my time over money. If I was to build a time limited niche website and it was a failure – I would be much happier knowing that I wasted $800 on it, rather than wasting countless hours on it.
The reason is that you can’t put a dollar value on your time. All you can do is sit back and think of the wasted potential. How you spent 40 hours writing content for that website, and made $0. How all that work and effort is down the toilet. How you could have been spending that time on different things. Bigger things. Better things. Things with a lot more long-term potential.
That’s why I always recommend outsourcing for these types of websites.
#9: Get an Exact Match Domain
First let me clarify something – I’m not someone who is big on the whole “must be an exact match domain” deal. It can be nice – but in general I much prefer building brandable websites. However in this sort of situation – why wouldn’t you? These small niche are usually untapped in terms of domains. You SHOULD be able to get an exact match domain for registration fee. And search engines STILL seem to give exact match domains a slight bonus. Even if they don’t – at the very least, it’s not going to hurt – only help.
#10: Mailing List is #1 Priority
One thing you really need to focus on with these types of websites is building a mailing list. The reasoning is simple: it’s the only way you can add longevity to these types of websites. When Euro 2012 is over the audience isn’t going to visit my website anymore – but they’re still going to be around. They’re still going to be people who like to bet. When the Superbowl is over, they’re not going to be googling “bet on the superbowl” but they ARE going to have sportsbook accounts, and ARE going to still be interested in football and betting.
By building a mailing list with that audience, it allows you to turn these websites into a slight form of long term marketing. You have an audience that you can promote to for years after the event is over. And when the event comes around again? You can get a head start by promoting to the same punters that were interested in the event previously.
In summary, Time Limited Niche Sites rate quite high on the risk/reward factor. But they are a fantastic learning experience, and something every affiliate marketer should try at least once.
If you found this article helpful, feel free to give me a link to BetEuro2012.org on your websites