I think I just got over the writers block last week and I think I have some 10 posts in future timestamp for this month already. I have not been posting regularly since the start of last month. But all that is set to change this month. I am planning on some really solid posts and some of them are already in schedule.

I have been thinking of a way to inspire myself back into blogging at TheAnand, helping people out and teaching the world how to blog :) Blogging Idol hosted by Daniel is a great opportunity for me to try to challenge myself a bit. I went ahead and enrolled myself to it. I do not really care about winning, but it will be a race against time to try out all possible means to increase my reach out into the blogosphere.

Check the other competitors and the live scoreboards here.

If you are not a subscriber of this blog yet, please help me out by subscribing to my feeds and telling your friends, co-workers and your grandmother about this blog and make them subscribe to my feeds or subscribe by email.

I will be completing 2 ebooks/video tutorials this month set to release for free exclusively for my feed readers. If you do not subscribe by this week, you are going to miss the first tutorial I am currently making.

Some of the cool reading stuff you will get by subscribing to my blog are:

I might hold a ultra cool contest if I manage to get around doing it, but I will be concentrating on free options mostly to push myself to the limits. So, do remember to tell your grandmother and her dog to subscribe! I would really appreciate it.

It is really simple to create the style of theme you want with wordpress that you can do a wordpress magazine style homepage and theme like my homepage with almost no expertise in wordpress theming!

Until recently my hompage was a php page with only page! I did not really bother with converting my homepage into wordpress since I did not have much of a content to post there anyways. But my tastes keep changing all the time and individual php files were of no use if I had to change the design. So I posted that exact php into a wordpress theme in less than 60 seconds. How?

Introducing the is_home() tag:

The design I wanted to use was my previous theme and hence the only thing I wanted to change the way the homepage looked. Hence I add this peice of code in the top of index.php file of my theme:

?<?php

if (is_home()) { ?>

Paste the source of my static php/html page.

<?php }
else
{ ?>

leave the real index.php content here. untouched.

<?php
} ?>

What is_home does is to check if the page currently req. page is the homepage of the blog. If it is, it serves the php/html page I want to show as homepage. Else it serves the theme code! Simple.

With this you can have even your old html page as the homepage! Or better, rename it to php and put in codes to show recent posts, recent comments or even posts from your sub domain blog as I did with my TheAnand home. Hope this helps! If you are looknig for a way to learn what a wordpress theme is all about check this heirarchy by Sajith. He has a excellent post to help you get started with creating a wordpress theme.

This post is the second post in the series of posts I plan to do on creating a niche blog.

I have been making niche blogs for about 3 years now and with each site I make, I learn a ton about making money online with niche blogs. Each site takes a different monetization approach once it hits a resonable traffic. I have been mainly monetizing my sites with Adsense and Chitika and very recently with MarketLeverage and Pepperjam.

I just finished putting my little health niche blog online and have been taking notes for the process so that I can share it with you guys.

Step 1: Domain Name and WordPress

No brainer. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out a perfect name. It is important to get the right name for your niche blog. I learnt this when I created my first niche site on Chikungunya. I went with name chikungunia for that niche site. But unfortunatly that was the wrong keyword to target and hence the site makes cents now. :) So, get the right keywords in your domain name. Mani Kartik has done a great comparison about keywords in domain name.

Usually most keyword dotcom’s are usually taken, so you have to settle for some other tld or add popular prefixes like iniche.com or eniche.com or some suffixes like nicheonline, nicheguide, nicheinfo, nichetips or in my health niche case, nichetreatment, nichecare, nicheremoval and the like. If you so totally suck at guessing domain names use NameBoy. They give you some resonable names.

I stick with niche-suffix for some reason. A personal preference maybe?

Then I put up wordpress CMS (not justified in calling it a blogging platform), again if you are lazy like me, use the built-in Cpanel feature called Fantastico.

Step 2: WordPress Tweaks, Plugins and Themes

First thing after logging into the fresh wordpress installation is to tweak a few things to make it perfect as a CMS. I usually do the following:

  • Settings -> General: Add www to the domain name. I like it that way. There used to be SEO benefits. :)
  • Settings -> Reading: Change Feed display to summary. In case people do subscribe to your niche site, you want them in your site to read so that they click and make you some money. Here the motive is to make money, not exactly look at user convenience.
  • Settings -> Discussions: Uncheck nust have a previously approved comment box. I would rather have a few spam comments than have a genuine comment in moderation
  • Settings -> Permalinks: Change to %postname% or %category%/%postname% if the site is big.

All sparky! Next to plugins.

I have a folder of plugins which I bulk upload when a new site is being being created. The majority of plugins I use are already known to you, but maybe you will find some you did not know about.

  • All In One SEO – Every wordpress users favourite!
  • Akismet – Built In, but I have the key safe in a text file to instant activation.
  • XML Sitemap – This is a raw XML sitemap, If you want something more pleasing on the eyes use this google sitmap generator. Decent apart from their big ad on top. But it does the work without trouble. (Ads are not adsense or so, but a big self promotion text on top.)
  • Photo Dropper – Finds Flickr images based on the keyword you input. Perfect for niche blogs where you have no idea what a silicon implant looks like!
  • Subscribe To Comments – Regardless of niche blog or not, everyone should install this plugin to get more comments. It makes people know what other people think about your comment or the post itself.
  • WordPress Automatic Upgrade – This a boon! Trust me, when you have 70 niche sites to keep secure from stalkers.
  • Related Posts – Keep the visitor browsing your site and maybe click on a affiliate product or an ad.
  • Simple Tags – Another tagging plugin, but I love it for the simple reason that it picks up tag phrases from yahoo. These tags can bring traffic to that page too.
  • Link-a-dink – Replaces all occourances of a word with a link. I use it to link the keyword to the homepage. Internal links are good 😉

Any plugins I missed? Do share your gems with me!

To the front-end now. Themes!

I experiment a lot with themes and hence I am totally lost whenever I want a new theme! For this site, I am currently using a SEO’d Theme by CourtneyTuttle. Mainly cause I am not interested in adsense based themes now as it will get next to nothing traffic for the first 2-3 months.

Then I change the sidebar to something more functional. My typical sidebar has:

  • Subscribe to newsletter: Use Feedburner. Build a list. Email Marketing in the long run.
  • Recent Posts: 7-10 recent posts. 7 is a lucky number for me. :)
  • Recent Comments – Helps in modifying all pages each time a new comments. SE advantage? Maybe.
  • Categories
  • Tags

I usually monetize sites only after some 6 months. I have noticed that Google places better trust on these non monetized sites. But more on that later!

Next week, we will do some keyword research to get ready to start defeating my challenger. Nomar, you are so dead! muhahaha :)

Today a friend of mine Nomar pinged me up on chat and challenged me to do a competition to create a low mantainance niche blog on a topic and make money off it with adsense. Though I see some good money with affiliates, adsense has been my favourite way of earning. It is low work, consistant returns and long term money maker.

I get a lot of questions about making money with adsense and online in general and SEO and stuff. So, I thought I would take a clue and build a site with you guys and show you first hand on how it is done.

The Goal:

To build a niche adsense site making about $30-$60 in 3 months with minimal effort. My competition is with Nomar of MonetizePRO, who is also my long time online friend and my first freelance employer. :)

He challenged me that he can do better than me at adsense and we decided that we hold a challenge to create a site in a common niche and after 3 months, that is in the month of January, whoever makes more money with adsense, wins.

The Plan:

I want to do this purely low mantainance so that I am involving my team of writers into this. I am thinking of about putting up about 15-20 articles a month till january and maybe 5 a month later on depending on the statistics.

We both selected the niche on saturday evening night, registered the domain and installed wordpress. I will make a detailed post on wordpress basic SEO soon so that you can get an idea of what I do.

The niche we selected is in health. We decided not to tell each other the domain name to keep things more interesting and hence I cannot tell you more on it. We are doing a site on a health releated sub niche is all that I can share now 😀

Join Me and Follow the Process:

If you would like to follow our little competition, subscribe to my RSS feeds as I post updates on the topic, or if you want you can join in with me as I do this site with your own site so that you get hands on experience. If you want to join in with me, hands on, get in touch so that we can work something out too.

I would to clarify that I have not been doing any experiments about the relation in context of blogs, thir traffic metrics and not posting. 😉 Just that I was busy trying to figure out where the Indian stock market is heading to. :(

I would like to welcome all my 595 Feed readers to TheAnand 😉 I crossed the 500 subscribers mark last week and hope I can touch the 1000 readers by the end of November. Thanks for adding me to your readers people, I am humbled and it makes me all the more responsible about what I blog! The instant I hit publish, I am reaching out to 500+ people!!! It makes me very picky about what I want to blog too!!!

For the readers, if there is any topics specifically you would like me to blog about, leave a comment or ping the hell off me on Yahoo! 😉

Also for the sponsors out there, the advertising rates for this blog stays the same in case anyone wants to share their services with my readers.

For other bloggers in the sphere, if you are looking for spots to guest blog at, TheAnand now accepts guest bloggers too.

Usually advice and technology news blogs are galore all over the internet but its difficult to get a name for yourself in this niche. The market is usually lead by the biggies like TechCrunch or Gizmodo or others. But then, I do not subscribe to these sites, mainly cuz they have at least 10-30 posts a day and its usually everything about technology in hardware, software and gadgets.

But here is a site that claims to post only the best of the best in tech news. GadgetAdvisor – Cutting through the cutting egde. Inlike the big blogs in the niche, the Gadget Advisor aims to post news that are significant, useful or particularly cool. Their list of interesting news include:

Drop by the Gadget Advisor and check if they are worthy of an addition to your RSS reader.

Yahoo! MakeoversI wish I had some cash to buy Yahoo! Stocks now! They have been seriously busy since they launched the all new Yahoo! Mail beta sometime back. I track Yahoo! very religiously since I love Yahoo! as a responsible corporation. I was one of those who did not want to see a Micro-hoo! 😉

Recently Yahoo! started off its makeover spree with the all new Yahoo! homepage. It is only being phased into for international users yet, so your next bet at a perfect homepage is My Yahoo! which also recently went through a facelift. I fell in love at first look with the ability to add tabs and page tabs to organize your stuff.

Then they comeout with the all new Yahoo! Messenger 9. Which is all about communication online. It lists my recent updates from Yahoo! Buzz, Mybloglog, and Twitter updates, and has a new feature called the pingbox and more! It has a sleek interface with cues taken from Gtalk, but made more pleasing on the eyes and it has purple skins too 😉

Then they turn their attention to their massive news portal which gets more than 44 million pageviews a month, the Yahoo! News now gets a. . .you guessed it right, a makeover! It was a refreshing change for the geeks like us who are lazy to even watch TV for the news :) It helped me scan the latest in news and get back to blogging.

I was recently looking for a way to syncronize my calender when Yahoo! listened to me with their all new Calender tool. Yea, I am using this word a bit too much! Last week Yahoo! Calenders got a facelift with new features like mobile device sync and more.

So, makeovers and rebranding of the Index Tools to Yahoo! Web Analytics. And finally today the old pointless, useless and everything else of Yahoo!, the profiles get a makeover too. Yahoo! Profiles were perhaps the most unused feature of Yahoo! Now they have a snazzy profile page and a snazzy Yahoo 360 page too.

I wonder if Yahoo! is pulling itself together for the new age of users and they have been successful with their Answers too. So, which services of Yahoo! do you use? I always wondered if its right to keep all your data with Google one company alone, maybe it helps in data shared applications, but having my adsense and orkut with Google is like letting them know everything about me?

Will you move your data to Yahoo! ?