Last week I covered how to go about setting up a facebook page for your business. Besides the obvious reason to set one up to grow a following on facebook, it’s also a good idea to test out ideas for different niches.
That begs the question though, how do you come up with an idea for a niche in the first place? In this post I’ll show you a few methods I have used to varying success.
My history with niche sites and doing Keyword Research
I have known about making a niche site for some time before actually going through with it. At the time, SEO was changing rapidly, and techniques that worked one month would sometimes not work at all the next month.
This has a huge impact on what niche to go after because unlike a blog, a niche site is more focused on search engine traffic. That’s not a hard and fast rule, but generally a blog is more focused on an audience you build up and a niche site is more focused around search engine traffic looking to buy something.
Some time around 2011 I decided to look more into a niche site because I wanted a way to make money online. I stumbled across something called The Keyword Academy. I paid around $30 bucks for their courses and digested what they had to say. The formula was pretty much find low competition keywords, with x amount of traffic, build site, and start writing articles geared towards ranking for “long tail” keywords associated with your main keyword.
This led me down a path of doing keyword research for different terms based on their formula. I came up with a huge list of potential niches, but one distinctly stood out in my mind: professional house cleaners.
I never did anything with this niche and you should feel free to steal it. Although the particulars of the keyword academy formula have changed, the method of using keyword research to find potential niches remains a great avenue for finding ideas.
As a side note, if you try to find keyword academy now, you’ll have a hard time doing so. I think their site got deindexed and specifically targeted by the spam wizard himself-Matt Cutts. This should be a warning that you should actually work on your sites for long term sustainability instead of doing SEO sorcery for a quick fix.
For keyword research, I used Long Tail Pro. Then I stopped caring about paying for keyword software and just used my google adwords tool. Long Tail Pro will save you time if you are looking at different parameters like keywords that are only three words long, but you don’t have to use it. If you just throw your idea into google adwords, you can get a clue of what kind of traffic your keywords are getting. Then just open an incognito window in chrome and do a search for your keyword. Look at the top sites on that page and put those sites into open site explorer to get an idea of how hard it would be to out rank them.
Do this enough and you’ll start to get better at it and be able to tell how good a keyword is by instinct. Looking at google results for a specific keyword will reveal stuff other mortals won’t be able to tell.
I know this sounds really dumb, but it needs to be stated that sometimes all you need is to just sit down and let your creativity flow. A lot of profitable niche sites I know of were started by people who were passionate about something and just decided to make a site about it. Somewhere down the line they made money off it and boom, it dawned on them they had a niche site.
Pat Flynn has a pretty good system of writing down 7 problems, 7 passions, and 7 fears. Then take that list and start a site based on one or more of them.
What is it that you do in your daily activities? For example, I used to do karate. Using this idea, I could think of a niche site based around comparing martial arts equipment. The good thing about this method is that stuff that you are into you are most likely very knowledgable about. So it wouldn’t take much research to come up with a bunch of articles based around your niche.
I came up with my own system called the “360 degree list”. Essentially just take a look around where you are right now, and look at different items in your field of vision. This should give you a bunch of ideas. I’ll give you an example: A niche site based around top end coffee machines, a niche site based on picture frames, or a niche site based around track lighting.
This is my favorite method because after doing this for a while, I have gotten into the habit of finding different niche ideas everywhere I look.
High Ticket Items
This method of coming up with a niche is based solely on getting money. Ideally your niche should focus on items that are high in cost. The reason for this is that if you are relying on commissions that are 7-10% of the sale, the higher price the item the less work you would have to do.
For example, if you have a site selling books that cost around $16, each sale will give you around $1.00. Let’s say you had a site built around what is better between xbox one and PS4. Each one runs $400, which would give you around $30 per sale.
If you have some ideas floating around for a site, take a moment to consider the cost of the items associated with the niche. Before you jump into building a site, it may be more beneficial to build a different site that has higher cost items.
This can also lead to ideas as well. Maybe you’re shopping for something and it’s more expensive than you expected. Maybe there’s an opportunity there to build a site around it.
Go on amazon and search for products that are expensive, and it could yield a lot of really good ideas.
Back in August of 2014, something called Gamergate happened on the internet. This was a huge event that I really don’t feel like going into other than to say a lot of people were talking about it. Some enterprising people could have used this buzz to generate traffic to their site geared around the topic.
Just off the top of my head, you could create a video game review site that caters to people of gamergate who believe there’s no ethics in game journalism. Somehow convince them that you actually have ethics and will give honest reviews. There were a few sites that popped up like this after the fallout of gamergate. One of which is Roosh’s Reaxxion.
Another example of using a trend is releasing something in preparation of a trend happening. An example of this is the website eventhubs. This is a site related to all things fighting games. It was started in late 2007 and surged in popularity with the release of Street Fighter 4 in 2008.
If you go back and look, it started as a simple wordpress site. As far as I can tell, the webmaster just took stories about fighting games from other sites and repackaged it as his own articles. Obviously not the most ethical practice, but it is a good case of predicting a trend and capitalizing. Today the site has grown into a huge site and has made the owner a lot of money through ads.
Not coming up with anything? That’s ok, I have a system for you here that not only will give you a multitude of ideas, but will also guarantee they are profitable ones. I call this the “piggyback plan”.
I haven’t heard anyone talk about this when they talk about making a niche site and it’s one of the simplest methods you can do. This takes all of the guess work out of coming up with an idea.
Here’s what you do: Go find some profitable e-commerce sites, and make a niche site about them. A lot of the time, those e-commerce sites have their own built in affiliate programs that will offer you a higher percentage than what amazon will give you. If you know that those e-commerce sites are successful, you also know that there’s a built in audience, good traffic, and most importantly a demand.
I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about. There’s a gentleman by the name of Tom Nardone who has a number of successful e-commerce sites. I found this gentleman through our mutual love of carving pumpkins. After looking through his pumpkin site I found that he has a store selling dildos. Instantly the ideas started forming in my mind of making a niche site around dildos and other private stuff like that.
We know there’s an audience there who love buying shit, and with 50 shades of grey hitting theaters soon, there will be a huge surge of traffic for that kind of material.
But wait, isn’t this stealing someone’s idea? Not if you come up with a niche site and direct all your traffic towards someone’s e-commerce store. There’s a reason that these stores have affiliate programs in the first place, it’s a win-win for both of you. They get more customers and you get paid.
Hopefully I’ve given enough for you to work with here. This should start the wheels turning for some really great niche ideas for you.
Next week I’ll talk about how to go about setting up a niche site and what philosophy to take with them. Stay tuned.
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