Growing A Niche Website With SEO

Lasse Rosendahl Ravn

Published July 5th, 2022

At the beginning of 2022, I started using some of my free time on building a small niche website and experiment with search engine optimization (SEO). Here’s how it’s going.

I’ve added a small FAQ at the bottom of this post that answers some of the questions I’ve been asked about this small project before and after I started writing about it.

January 2022

This was the month I began working on the site. There was very little article publishing and a lot of playing around with layouts, colors, and other non-value-adding work. I even began playing around with a design system in Figma, but quickly realized that was a huge waste of time.

Eventually, I got the site live and started writing some of the first posts. This month I managed to publish 3 posts.

niche website visitors statistics january 2022

February 2022

Site architecture

This month I continued to work on the design and architecture of the site. You’d be surprised how many times I changed the CMS structure, how things should relate to each other, and what the URLs should look like.

Content

Eventually, I managed to write and publish another 3 posts, just like in January. This month was also the first month that articles were given impressions on Google. The “Users” and “Sessions” numbers were probably all me since I didn’t set up any tracking filters to exclude my own IP. This was also fixed here.

niche website visitors statistics february 2022

March 2022

Site architecture

This month I did another refactor of the structure of the site and actually ended up completely redoing all URLs. Not a fun thing to do for an SEO project, and it was pretty clear that a lot of the new URLs took some to get properly indexed in Google, even though I had set up correct redirects on all of them.

Keyword research

Before I built the site, I did some basic keyword research to try and figure out how people searched for the main topic of the site. One takeaway I got from this during March, is that keyword research tools are way off.

The good thing is that they almost always show too small numbers in terms of total traffic potential. Seeing which posts started getting impressions (and clicks) gave me a pretty good idea of which direction to move forward in. This was also what made me redo the site architecture once again.

Content

I managed to publish 5 articles this month. Some were longer and some were very short.

niche website visitors statistics march 2022

One useful takeaway here is to start out by publishing short, medium-quality articles with different topics. Then wait, observe and see which gets impressions. Then optimize accordingly.

April 2022

Site architecture

This month I didn’t do a complete refactor of the site structure (wow!) but instead added small features to it, such as putting posts in correct hierarchies and making sure they had FAQs added as a schema in the head tag and a few other changes.

Content

This was also a month when I didn’t do much work on the site at all. Not because I lost interest, but the time just wasn’t there. This is a site I have fun with during my free time. If I’m doing other stuff, this likely gets neglected.

niche website visitors statistics april 2022

One takeaway here is to notice the power of time when working with SEO. Impressions and clicks still increased despite spending less time on the site, and this was likely due to the work i did in March.

May 2022

Tracking

This month I added a small dashboard to track the performance of the site. I know creating more content helps it grow, but visualizing it this way really motivates me to keep working at least just a little bit on it.

niche website visitors dashboard may 2022

Initially, I actually automated everything, so that the dashboard pulled data from the CMS, Google Analytics, and Search Console. But I remembered the power of actually writing down what I’d done throughout the month, so now it’s just pulling numbers from the spreadsheet I’m also showing each month.

Graphs always look nice when they’re starting from 0, but my point here was to show both leading and lagging metrics for the site. Again, to highlight the point of continuing to work on it.

Content

May was the month I published most amount of my articles to date, but it wasn’t until the end of the month that I started writing them. It may be the dashboard (and the nice increase in performance) that spiked a little more motivation to keep going.

niche website visitors statistics may 2022

I managed to publish 7 articles, but again, most of them were at the beginning or the end of the month, cause that was where I felt like it.

June 2022

Site architecture

Believe it or not, in June I decided to change the site architecture (again). I spotted some difficulties with some things I wanted to try out, so I decided to spend (too much) time figuring out how to restructure it and solve that issue.

I ended up creating entirely new content models in Contentful which took quite some time, but being on the other side of it now, I still feel like it was worth it. But it came at a cost…

Content

This month I only managed to publish 3 articles, as a clear result of spending too much time on the technical stuff. But Google (and the other search engines) were good to me and the site still grew nicely.

niche website visitors statistics june 2022

Results

As you can see, the metrics moved in the right direction, so despite my limited efforts in adding more content, it still turned out to be a great month.

niche website visitors dashboard june 2022

July 2022

July was a good month where I managed to focus on publishing substantial amounts of content and do a little refactoring of the site.

I implemented TailwindCSS (both on the niche site and my personal site) which has a big win for me. I love the framework after having tried it in another project and it makes things SO much easier.

If you've ever considered trying it yourself, I can only recommend doing so.

Content

In July I published 7 new posts which I was pretty happy about (wait until you read next month's update).

July 2022 niche site content publishing stats

Results

Looking at the results, this was also the month with the biggest uptick in search impressions and clicks from Google. All things I'm happy out.

Niche SEO site July 2022 results

August 2022

August was vacation time and I really didn't do much on this project during my vacation.

Content

As you can see, no content was added to the site during this month. I added a few small sections to existing posts and added a few links from older content to newer content.

August 2022 niche seo site stats

Results

As you can see here, impressions and clicks still increased quite nicely during August. But things like the click-through rate in Google are not performing that well. This is something I will focus more on later.

August 2022 Niche SEO Site stats

I'll try and continue to update this post every month, but feel free to ping me on LinkedIn if I'm falling behind (thanks to the person who did this!).

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve been asked a couple of questions by friends and visitors of the site, so I decided to share them here for others to read (and who knows, someone might ask a similar question on Google someday).

Which tech stack do you use to run the niche website SEO project?

I’ve built the site around a set of free tools (some of them running usage-based freemium plans) that include:

What is the end goal of the website?

For now, there is none. Initially, I was just testing frameworks like Gatsby and how they work with Contentful. Now I just enjoy playing around and seeing numbers go up ;).

Are you doing any link building to the site?

For now, I’m not. I might in the future, but I also know that you can go a long way without doing so. As an experiment, I might have someone help me build a few links someday, but it’s not a focus at the moment.

Get new posts in your inbox

I rarely post new stuff around here, but when I do, I let a selected few know. If you'd like to be one of them, enter your email below.

No spam and you can unsubscribe anytime you want.