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$1,000 Challenge: Update 3

Another week, another update.

We are at about 165 entries so far.  I am still aiming for about 250 unique entries, so hopefully the word continues to spread as there’s only three days left to join.

If you have yet to join, you can do so here:

*The Entry Period for This Contest has Closed

Ready for part 3? If so, keep on reading.

Time to Build a Foundation

In the previous update ​I bought content, purchased a domain, chose and paid for my hosting, and ordered some early link building content.

That ran me a total of $441 dollars leaving me with $559 for the rest of the project. I’m going to use a little more of that remaining money now.

I need to be careful of my overall budget though as I still need to worry about link building.

My main goals at this time are:

  • Pick and buy a WordPress theme
  • Set up some 2.0 sites for early link building
  • Set up the bones of my site

As usual, let’s take a look at these one at a time.

Picking Out a WordPress Theme​

I have no idea why, but I actually feel this part is fun. I am kind of a nerd when it comes to WordPress themes. ​

​There are tons of options out there. I used Genesis a lot in the past, and this site is built using Thrive Themes.

However, for this new site, I kind of want to use a one-off theme and not a full theme suite. For one reason, I don’t currently have a developer’s license for Thrive, so I don’t want to break their TOS. Additionally, I honestly just want to mess around with a different theme.

I made sure to leave a little room in my $1,000 budget to buy a new theme. Unfortunately, I only had a little under $40 ​to allocate. That will let me get a new theme, but it will cut down on my options significantly.

Due to my budget, my first choice for theme shopping is​ ThemeForest.

They have a ton of one-off themes that fit right into my budget.

I wasn’t completely sure what I was looking for, ​but I headed to the blog/magazine section under WordPress as that seemed like a logical place to start.

themeforest blog themes

There’s also a filter on the left that let’s you narrow down the selections by price, which is exactly what I needed.

themeforest price

At this point, it’s just about taking some time and poking around to see what looks interesting.

​When buying this type of one-off theme, I like to make sure there has been at least one sale, which ThemeForest will show you. It also helps if the devs appear to be active with updates and bug fixes.

I already had an idea of a site structure I wanted to work with, and I saw a theme that fit perfectly with what I want to try. ​I’ll go over the site architecture in another post, but the theme I decided to go with is called: Sweety

It’s card based, meaning the homepage will just be small little blurbs about each post. It’s kind of like a Pinterest style page for blog posts instead of images. ​

If fit right into my budget at $29, so I figured it’s worth a try.​

​Now that the theme is sorted, it’s time for some 2.0 work.

Setting Up 2.0 Sites

​I found a writer to do my basic 2.0 link building content for my desired budget of eight articles for $35 on Upwork.

The trick here was 2-fold:

  1. batch the order so one writer gets the entire project thus making the job worth their time
  2. provide the titles and keep the ideas of each piece simple so their is little to no research required on their part​

As this is money site content, I am not looking for perfection. But, I was still able to get a native English speaker for the work.

​I would normally pay a VA to set up some 2.0 sites while I wait for the content to get written, but sadly I had to do this myself. I don’t really have enough wiggle room in my planned budget for outsourcing it, and I will be really bummed if I have to pass on better links later down the road because I spent money on this instead.

​With the eight articles I made five different sites: three 2-page sites and two 1-page sites.

The 2.0 sites I used are:

  • WordPress.com​
  • Strikingly.com
  • Joomla.com
  • Yolasite.com
  • Zohosites.com

All of these offer follow links as of the time I am writing this. I could mix in some nofollow sites to keeps things balanced, but I plan on using a press release in a bit which would take care of that.

​One thing to note is that when I first build these, I do not link to my money site. I want them to stew a bit until they are indexed and my money site’s main content is indexed.

Only then will I link out from these 2.0 sites to the money site.​

I also find the need to tier these sites with extra links or they very rarely index. This is one of the rare times I’ll use a Fiverr or Konker gig. Again, this is mostly for getting the 2.0 sites indexed, not to pound them with tens of thousands of links and juice them up with spam.

​Setting Up the Niche Site Infrastructure

Up to this point I have done a lot of the ground floor work.

To date I have:

​Instead of sitting around and waiting for all of the ordered content, this is a perfect time to get the foundation of my site put together.

​If you have ever done this from scratch before, then you know what to expect. If you have not, here are the basic steps that I usually follow:

  1. Change the DNS on the domain registrar to match that of my hosting server​
  2. Install WordPress from the installer in the hosting cPanel
  3. Clean up the standard install (I remove all but one of the stock WordPress themes), and install my premium theme
  4. Clean up all the stock plugins I don’t want and install the basic plugins that I do want
  5. Delete the sample post and page
  6. Fix the URL structure
  7. Add a logo
  8. Add About, Contact, and Privacy Policy pages and a Sitemap
  9. If you want to set up a Google Search Console account, I might do that here too, but for this site, I’m not going to bother with that at this time
  10. Tinker with the site to get it functioning how I like before I start adding the money content

​I don’t go overboard here. I just want to get the site looking OK and functioning well. I can worry about the fine styling later after it’s getting some traffic.

  • Pro Tip: If you have a site on Squarespace, or have a friend who has a site on Squarespace, use their free logo builder to save yourself some set up costs. You can always pay for an improved version later on after the site starts showing some promise.

In Summary​

We’ve got a basic site put together waiting for its money content. And, we have some 2.0 sites for link building waiting for content and aging.

The Good – ​Progress is moving right along and we haven’t blown our budget yet.

The Bad – I still wish I could have ordered more content both for the site and the 2.0 sites, but I am pleased overall with how things are moving along.

Money Spent – We didn’t spend a whole lot this week.

  • During the work done on Update 2 we spent: $441
  • We bought the Sweety WordPress theme from ThemeForest for $29 (plus a $2 transaction fee) for a total of: $31

To date that means to spend has been $472, which leaves a remaining budget of $528.

Time Spent – I had to spend more time than I would have liked since I could not outsource the 2.0 site account creation. That took me about an hour although it should have taken me less. I was just not motivated and a bit distracted while doing it.

Additionally, I spent about 15 minutes poking around on ThemeForest. I already had an idea of what I wanted, so this might take you more time if you’re going in with no idea of you’re looking for.

Lastly, I spent about an hour getting the domain and hosting set up and the theme uploaded, etc. Again, this might take you a little less time or a little more time depending on your motivation and experience.

That sets the current total time put in to about 9 hours and 15 minutes to date.

Next Step – I think the 2.0 content will be done before the money site content, so I’ll need to get that all published. I’ll also need to tier the 2.0 sites.

After that, I need my money site content so I can start styling it and get it published. That will most likely be the next major update I write, but I might put something up about the website architecture I use for niche sites while I wait for the content.

If that’s something you would be interested in, please let me know below. Thanks!