First I want to say that I am a subscriber to Caroline Middlebrook’s blog, and have been for quite some time. I don’t normally review ebooks, because to be quite frank, I have only found a few that are actually worth my time to read. Caroline’s ebook entitled “How to Develop Money-Making Niche Sites with WordPress” has both good and bad points, but it does have something for most people that are interested or are new to installing and using WordPress.
The best part about Caroline’s book is the sections on how to setup WordPress. She walks through setting up WordPress using Fantastico De Luxe that is available from most web hosts that offer the cPanel web hosting control panel. Once WordPress is setup she shows you how to change your permalink structure, add a new theme, add some plugins like the WordPress Database Backup plugin, All in One SEO Pack, and how to activate the Akismet Spam Filtering plugin. These are all pretty straight forward and good advice for people just getting started with WordPress.
The ebook walks you through setting a niche website, so instead of creating posts, you create pages. This is essentially the same as creating an old fashioned static website that you will add content to and then let it sit. Why do this? According to Caroline:
Why would you want to? Because one of the most common ways to make money on the Internet today is to pick a popular topic and put together a small website consisting of articles related to that topic and monetize the site with ads. The traffic comes from search engines and once the site is setup, it just runs on auto-pilot.
I have to question whether making niche websites that never get updated is still popular. Sure if you visit web master forums and check the sites for sale section you will find any number of niche websites for sale, but the money being made is not from running the websites, it is from creating them and selling them. Not to say you can’t make money from a niche website. I have the odd one and they can bring in some money, but the energy it takes to promote them and rank them high in the search engines to make decent money can be difficult depending on the niche.
For you to make more than enough for coffee on a daily basis you could build ten of them or a hundred and just let them sit, but then you could just go and use a free service such as Blogger to create the sites. Your development time would be less and you would not have to cover any hosting or domain name costs. Some people would consider Caroline’s method to be just another way of creating spam blogs, or splogs.
Caroline has done some good work on the ebook, and I believe the sections on installing WordPress and WordPress plugins would be helpful to people just starting out with WordPress or for those that just want a handy reference of things that they need to do when they install WordPress again. I have to question the overall value of creating a niche site the way she describes. At the very least if you do create a site similar to this one I would highly recommend you consider adding a blog portion to the site that you update. This will help provide more value to your readers and hopefully draw them back to your site.
As a side note Caroline also recommends using BlueHost for your niche site. I have used BlueHost in the past and did not have a very good experience with their service. Perhaps it has improved since I had an account with them, but I would recommend you explore another web host. I like Hostgator, which is where Epiblogger is hosted currently. Rhett has been using MidPhase lately and appears to be happy with their service. Two other possibilities for you to consider.
Edit: Opps I was wrong about Rhett’s web host. The nameservers said midPhase but the actual host is AN Hosting.