Hey there! Although I notice that some people really despise the ?My Journey? sub-forum, as a beginner in IM I have found that it is by far the most useful step-by-step introduction to properly building a website. After lurking this website for a little while, I have decided to document my first venture into building a website that generates a strong cash flow. I?ll try to make my process as grassroots as I can, so that anyone else new who decides to follow along can grow with me. I will be using whitehat methods up until I need to do some serious link building, at which point I?ll probably go more grey. PLEASE CRITICIZE me as I go along. Though I've gained a basic understanding, I am no master at this! --- Tools/ software I?m using: - Market Samurai (do a little searching around the forum, there is a way to acquire the trial version of the software indefinitely) - Google Keyword Planner - Standard Microsoft Suite (Excel is always important) Part 1: Basic Keyword Research Time taken: 10 hours (yes, really!) Before you scoff at the amount of time it took me to find a strong keyword, please remember, I?m new to all of this! There are tons of guides out there about how to learn Market Samurai and Google?s Keyword Planner; for those looking to, I?d recommend searching both this forum and YouTube to learn. After finding several niches that were very profitable but too technical/ boring for me to write about, I eventually just decided that I would funnel my way down in an industry that I was actually interested in. Let?s use ?video games? as an example. In Market Samurai, I: 1. Started a new project and loaded up the ?video games? keyword 2. Generated keywords and then analyzed them 3. Set my ?bare minimum? filter of total searches more than 4000, enabled Average Adwords CPC option, and then clicked AWCPC to filter from highest to lowest. I don?t want anything with a CPC lower than $.80. 4. I chose and ?video game addiction? because it hit my criteria and were interesting to me. The next step is for me to check the SEO competition; if the front page is too difficult to beat, I have no interest in attempting. Using Market Samurai?s tool, I found these results: Which is definitely too much to handle! Back to the drawing board ^^. This is definitely a rinse and repeat process that will take a long time -- but it's the most important step. Sometimes, you'll find results that have 20,000-70,000 searches; take that, generate new keywords, and dig deeper! Also, be creative with your initial keyword, and you have a better chance of finding one that is perfect. 5. After finding my keyword, I put it in to Google Keyword Planner to check if it was high or mid-level competition; the higher, the better, because it means more advertisers are bidding on your keyword (more advertisers = more relevant ads available = more potential clicks and $$$ for you) 6. Also using Keyword Planner, I set a United States-specific filter and checked to see that the keyword still fit my criteria. Unless the keyword is country-specific and advertisers are from there, you want to try to stay in the US because that?s where most Adsense advertisers are from. 7. I generated keywords in Keyword Planner with only very similar results and looked to see if there were longtail keywords that were also profitable and high traffic. Much of search traffic and potential earnings can come from longtail traffic. 8. Using Market Samurai, I searched available domain names. An EMD (exact match domain) is best for a niche keyword like this, despite what many say; if not available though, you can do something industry-related that is attractive. MS will also recommend popular URL prefixes and suffixes for you. 8. I did a quick Google search and flipped through pages 2-3 to see if there were any other sites specifically targeting my niche. If there is nothing built around that particular phrase, my fight for the #1 spot will be even easier. --- The keyword I eventually settled on has: ~15k monthly searches -AWPCP of a little over $1 -Medium AWPCP competition -A steady search trend (not seasonal) -No competition with over 100 RDP and only 3 over PR3 (Wikipedia is one, 2 youtube vids are the others) -an EMD.net -potential for tons of longtail keywords Part 2: Domain and Content Time taken: 2 days (so far), probably + 2 more I didn't wait at all; I hopped over to NameCheap, used a coupon code, and bought my EMD. Also, I checked the .com and .org EMDs; they expire soon, so I will keep an eye on them and see if I can?t snatch them up later to 301 redirect back to my site! Because I want to do this whitehat, I decided that I do not want to buy articles. Instead, I have been researching and writing good, strong, and interlink-able content between 400-600 words in length to use as initial pages on my site. Learning from Wikipedia and regurgitating that information works well. By the end, I will have enough for about 15-20 static pages, and I will have the feeling that I am a semi-scholar on my subject. One good thing about writing stuff yourself is that you get to learn a lot in the meantime . I also set up a Facebook page, Twitter Profile, and a new Gmail account for my niche. I will use this Gmail to create and manage a G+ page once my site has launched. So for now, I?m simply reading and writing! I hope to be done tonight and begin web design soon. Please let me know any questions you have or any criticisms/ improvements you might suggest. I?ll update once I've started to construct my website locally. Thanks!