This is my personal blog, I type stuff as it comes into my head to keep myself moving in the right direction. Forgive the rambling, but I had to put everything (I think I know) into a format for someone with a better head for this to look over. If you guys would not mind, can you tell me if I am heading down the wrong path with the assumptions? Your time is appreciated. Start with the money. Without way to monetize the traffic you are starting off behind the eight-ball. Buying a domain that sounds cool, while sometimes useful, is not the way to go unless you have a plan in mind for it. I keep hearing that word in my head "plan" Unless you are driving traffic as an exercise for your own amusement, or you are driving traffic for something related to some moral ideal, then "How am I going to turn this visitor into cash" should be the very first thought in your head. The main things to consider are advertising or affiliate conversions. Still struggling with this one, as sales does not come naturally to me. Find your Niche. Keyword research took me a while to get the hang of. How to outhink the thousand of other assholes who all have access to the same tools I do, and have a leg up as far as experience goes. http://www.google.com/insights/search/#date=today%207-d&cmpt=geo coupled with the free keyword suggestions from http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/ is my usual method. There are tools that make this much easier, but as I am just learning, I can not justify the expense. I run a bunch of RSS feeds that I read while I am at my day job, and I jot down news items that seem to indicate a trend. I plug all of those terms into the Google adwords tool, pull the synonyms and start searching from there. I also hit Ebay and see what is selling there. If nothing that looks good comes up from those two, I try combinations of the two until I hit something with between 20-40 searches per day and go with it. I am not yet at the level where I feel I could succeed in competing for the larger niches, but I can already see the patterns that delineate what is achievable for here and now, and what will have to wait until I hone my skills. Whatever you think you can make money with, run with it. I guess there will be failures in this path, as I mentioned before, I am not a salesman. I have trouble getting past the mental block that pops up "I think it sucks, so everyone must think it sucks, and no one would spend money on that shit" I don't know how many projects / campaigns it will take to get it right, but I know how many I am going to use! Select your platform I am comfortable with both Joomla and Wordpress, as well as the good old fashioned static pages. I have been doing this, at least on a personal level, for nearly 15 years. I just never had a desire to capitalize on the knowledge. Joomla has some very nice capabilities, but it is a bit much for smaller sites. Wordpress seems to be the de facto standard for SEO optimized small niche sites. Joomla can be a bit overwhelming, even for advanced users. Wordpress is "install and go" pretty much. I chose Joomla for some test sites I am currently running, Wordpress for another two test domains, and Wordpress-MU for a test autoblog. So far, it seems that Wordpress is winning the fight in my mind. I feel I can only make the most out of one platform, and at this point it looks to be Wordpress. Optimize your platform Out of the box, most solutions just plain suck for SEO, the URLs are not SEO friendly, and there is a ton of junk you need to remove for the search engines to be able to tag your site correctly. Wordpress again wins in this area. For Wordpress: Kill all the existing content before you even think about going live. All post, links, categories, the meta section and everything else you see in the settings. Your site has to be unique. Do not make everything the same name, your categories should relate your your keyword, but not step on your keyword. Use the LSI tools to find related keywords. Change the default links section from "blogroll" to something related to keyword, but again, not the keyword itself. If you have less than 30 pages, don't bother with categories. And never put a post into more than one category if you do use them. Having a flat structure looks good to search engines, and having post in multiple categories will flag as duplicate content. (still testing that one, will update my notes if proven or not) Change the structure of your permalinks so that you end up with something like this. http://www.bogusdomain/confessions-you-should-live-so-long.php I use the %postname%.php as the default, as it seems to make the cleanest links. I will experiment with others as I have time, and I would like to end up with the sitename being tagged to each post permalink as well. Change your category base to be your overall keyword target, and the tag base is the same for the niche. I need to find a guru to ask what looks better to the search engines, as I am just "seat of the pants" flying with what I have. I have seen it recommended that the start page be set to static on Wordpress, but until someone can offer me a compelling reason for this, mine is set to dynamic. Decide how you will promote your site Blackhat or Whitehat? I don't have any reservations about doing whatever works, but this choice is beyond my capability to make an informed descision currently. I do not have enough information to feel correct in choosing either at this time. I will have to find a more experienced brain to pick. This choice drives everything else related to promotion, I don't even need to write down backlinking strategies, they are so simple the notes would not do them justice. Keep it simple. I have been using 15 site linkwheels that branch off into a single deep link for each test site. The 15 sites all link the hub site and to each other, and then I build another link wheel off of each of the feeder sites linking to a deeper page in the wheel sites. From my understanding, shitty links can bring you up a little bit, but they do not bring you down. My strategy is to feed the outer tier of the wheel with low end webs, and work up to the hub site, increasing in quality with each step. So in short, I have 15 feeder sites deep linked into 15 wheel sites. The wheel sites do not backlink to the feeders, only up to the main site. This gives me a total of around 250 one way links to the primary site, and nothing going out of the primary site. Conclusions I need a few things clarified in all of this. How does Googles LSI handle hypens? Is it worth it to go over to the Darkside? I have been building all these sites and links by hand. I don't have a problem with this, but it seems that to make real money at this game, I will run out of time and resources if I have to do each niche this way. Quality or quanity? I can spam out crappy little webs in very short order, but I fall flat when it comes to content. I can rewrite just about anything with just Ultraedit, vocabulary and sematic content are not the issue, creativity is. I can sit down and stare at a blank screen for hours, and nothing will come that is original. How do you motiviate yourself for ad copy? Out of the tools I see mentioned most often, SEO Elite seems to score highly, and I have read several good reviews on it. Searching for a trial/loaner version of it to give it a shot. Paying for software is no problem, but this field is rife with scam artist, and my budget is tight enough without getting a decent amount of "Bang!" for my buck. Any classes, ebooks, videos that are recommended? I need to find those and make the time to absorb, flying blind is no good. Any all all opinions are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for your time. Edited for formatting errors.