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A Theme-Based Website, Part 2- Choose A Theme And Sub-Topics

By Julie Georg
Posted Wednesday, June 30, 2004

In part 1, I said that a theme-based website is a site based
on a single theme or concept. Every page of the site
concentrates on a single topic that is related to the theme.
Each page delivers great content on it's topic. We know
this type of site scores with the search engines because
it adds value to their search results. It also scores with
visitors who are finding the valuable information they were
looking for. And it scores for the merchants you represent
because it will deliver ready to buy visitors to their
sites. And, of course, you score with big commission checks.

I'm ready to build a theme-based site. What do I do first?
Choose a theme, of course! For some, this may be very
easy. But, some of us might not have the slightest idea
what we could offer that would be of value to others.
Let's brainstorm a bit. Are you an expert in your field
with lots of information to share? Do you have a hobby
that you're passionate about? A favorite subject you love
to read about? Work experience from a current or previous
job? Think about your strengths. What do others come to
you for? Do you, or could you, offer a service? Ask your
friends and relatives. Others may see something that is
not so obvious to you. Don't make the mistake of thinking
your theme must be something "big" and "important".
Believe me, many more people are looking for information on
"fly fishing" than "rocket science"!

Once you have an idea (or two!) for a theme it's time to
think about related topics. Remember, your site is going
to consist of pages that offer content, each on a specific
topic that is related to your theme. Back to the example
of my "Italian cooking" theme. Possible topics included
"Italian chefs", "Italian specialty foods", "Italian
cooking methods", Italian cookware", etc. I want as many
related topics as I can find. I want to build a
substantial site, offering my visitors what they are
looking for, lots of valuable content. And lets not forget
the search engines. I want to be sure their spiders are
finding lots of related keywords so that I'm ranked high in
their search results.

Now, I can come up with some topics off the top of my
head. But I've only thought of a few, and how do I know if
these are topics that people will actually search for on
the Net? Luckily there are ways to discover both new ideas
for topics AND if people are going to find you by searching
for them. What I'm going to do is use a "keyword research"
tool. These can be found at some of the engines like
Overture or 7Search. Some pay-per-click advertising
providers also have a keyword search tool, like Brainfox
and Google's Adwords. If I use SiteBuildIt! to build
my site, I have the Manager which does all the keyword
searching and brainstorming for me, as well as showing
profitability for each keyword. (You can see screenshots of
the Manager in action by downloading the free SBI! Make Your
SitePresell.. ( ).

A keyword search should give me lots of ideas for related
topics for my theme. OK, it threw up some weird,
totally unrelated stuff, too, but I'll just ignore that.
What I want are keywords that suggest a topic that I can
write (or find) valuable content about. For example, my
search on "Italian cooking" brought up "lowfat cooking".
Hmm, hadn't thought of that, but a lot of Italian recipes
are low in fat, so perhaps I'll write a page on this topic.
This is called a keyword-focused page, and once I have 10
or 20 of these, I know that anyone searching for these and
related keywords is going to find my site.

Great, I've got a site based on a theme that I know about
and/or interests me. (If we're talking Italian cooking,
we're talking PASSION!) I've packed it with valuable
content on topics closely related to my theme. My visitors
are going to love it, as are the search engines. But,
well..... what about me?

Oh, did I forget? I do love Italian cooking, but I'm
building this theme-based website to earn income. So, at
least some of my pages will offer valuable content that
is also designed to presell. Presell what? Any product,
program or service that I represent as an affiliate. Of
course, the product, program or service needs to "fit" with
the content and the theme of my site. My "Italian cooking"
site will include a page on "lowfat Italian cooking".
Within my valuable content, I will recommend a favorite
cookbook on lowfat Italian cooking and provide an in-text
link to a bookseller who will then sell that book to my
visitor. Content on Italian wine will link to a merchant
where my visitor can mail-order Italian wines. Etc, etc.

How do I find the products, programs and services I want
to represent? That is the topic of Part 3 of this series.
Trouble coming up with a theme? Maybe I can help.

About the Author
Julie Georg is a consultant to individuals and small
businesses interested in establishing a web presence.
Step-by-step directions for building a theme-based site can
be found in the excellent, free Affiliate Masters course.
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