Niche selection is the first and most vital decision you are forced to make for your business. If you mess this up, you can get the fanciest domain, your business will go nowhere.
What is a Successful Niche?
The first myth that you get told most often is that you need stay away from high competition niches. The explanation tells you that you have no chance. Instead, you get told to find the “low hanging fruit”, obscure micro-niches that no one ever heard of, etc. Let me explain why this is not true.
I yet have to find a niche on the internet that no one has thought of. And if you do find one, it means there is probably not much profit in it, as there are no products to promote, no affiliate programs, little information, no buyers. You would need to develop the subject yourself, create your own products and services.
Competition shows there is profit there to make. You just need to know how to get around competition and utilize it to your advantage.
Also, “competition” usually means Google competition, however Google is not the only way to get your traffic.
The second myth is that you need to be a pro in your niche. You don’t need to be a pro. You should have some kind of a passion for the subject or at least strong interest, as that helps to keep you going. But you do not need to be a pro.
You can always lock yourself into your room with your internet connection and spend the next week researching your subject. Look at all the websites, sign up for all mailing lists, read everything, try all free software, read all the emails. After 7 days you will have a much higher level of understanding than the average reader that does a Google search, especially if you really tried to use the data.
Difficulty Equals Opportunity
The niche you choose needs to have some kind of a problem connected to it that is difficult to resolve. Does it look easy? Stay away from it. Such problems can take you some hard work to figure out and resolve, BUT this is exactly what presents the opportunity. Chances are other people who search will have a similar problem they don’t have the time to resolve.
You can spend your 7 days full time figuring out the problem and once you have done so, you will have enough content ideas for your website, product ideas, you will know all the main websites of the niche and the affiliate products you can promote. You will also have enough material for your free e-book that you will use as a lead magnet.
Your niche of choice should have enough monthly searches. I arbitrarily say it should have at least 5-10,000 searches per month. Do not go for an obscure micro-niche with 50 searches per month.
Sales are a numbers game, they involve conversion, and conversion percentages could be anywhere from 1 percent to let’s say 40 percent in the case of your lead magnet. Just do the math, If you get 5,000 visitors a month, and your conversion rate is 5 percent, that is only 25 new subscribers a month. Of course you can and should target many long-tail keywords from one of your articles, and they add up, but that is not your main niche!
At the same time search volume is just a number that shows interest and it is a Google number. Do not concentrate on it too much and miss the main thing – it represents ACTUAL PEOPLE. It represents DEMAND. Don’t forget that there are also other platforms where you can judge interest, and especially if your site is new, these will be much more important than Google search volume. E.g. a Facebook group with its posts and reactions, a YouTube video with its likes, a forum with its comments, all these represent demand and interest for a niche.
There is even a niche selection method where all you do is go to ClickBank, eBay or Amazon and just see what sells and figure out what that product is being used for. The sales number itself validates that niche, no further research is needed.
Here is another important point to consider: When they buy a product in your niche, are they going to buy a certain well-known brand? If so, stay away from it. Large brands are very picky about their distributors, which makes it very difficult to get into such a niche. Just think about wanting to sell iPhones or be an affiliate for them. There are no suppliers or affiliate programs.
Therefore when you pick your profitable niche, pick one that has no brand loyalty. Of you sell pillow cases, no one is going to care much what bran they will buy, they just want a pillow case with certain features.
While I don’t recommend building your site solely on SEO, as it takes long to get results, there is a simple way to judge SEO competition. Just search Google with your keyword and look at the results.
If a the listings contain lots of low-quality content that doesn’t deliver answers, it should be easy to rank.
Also look at the authority (DA) and backlinks of the sites on the first page. Is there low DA about 20-30? Do they contain the keyword? Is it their main subject, or is it just a blog article on a minor page?
Of course there is no way to tell without trying, but this will give you the idea. See what it took those sites to rank.
Your chosen niche should also have enough connected niches that you can lead your audience over for further profit. This is how you can expand. Real profits come from returning customers that buy higher ticket items. E. g. Domain names have web hosting, site traffic as related niches.
The same domain name can embrace different niches just by changing your byline. My site’s byline used to be about expired domains at an affordable price, which then I changed to starting a $5K site on an expired domain. The second one incorporates more related niches, even though the domain name is the same.
Can You Monetize The Niche?
Many people put a lot of emphasis on keyword research, however they don’t do a market research about their niche. Is there enough paying demand in it? Paying is important, as you can have a site about tricks on how to live on a shoestring budget, $25 a week, but those people are not going to be buying anything.
You could start a blog about the best Xmas quotes, but, other than advertising and affiliate referrals, this could be difficult to monetize, as people would browse it, but quotes themselves don’t have a related product. Also, it is a highly seasonal niche.
You should mostly avoid niches that have “free” in their title, as you do not want freebie seekers that will never buy anything from you. The only exception is if you get paid a commission for signing people up for a free product or trial.
Avoid niches that cannot be monetized (no products, no affiliate programs). Usually such niches have no Google ads and have very low PPC value listed.
Pick a niche where people are willing to send money to solve their problem.
Pick a niche where you can sell your own product(s), even if it is information products or memberships. These give you more freedom in determining your price and you get all of the profits.
Identifying your target audience also helps, as you can estimate their income bracket. Avoid niches that have a low-income target audience: they are unable to pay for the product, but even if they do buy, they require an excessive amount of customer service. They will waste your valuable time and you will end up the highest amount of returns from these people.
If you sell your own products, you have two choices to be profitable: either sell a smaller number of higher-priced items or a large number of lower-priced items.
In an affiliate model, the smaller the commissions are in the niche, the more visitors you will need to get a livable income in it. Getting 5 percent commission on a $10 product will take you a lot of effort to make money out of it. (You may need such products though to build your list.)
Getting Niche Ideas
There are several ways you can get niche ideas.
Keep your eyes open as you live your day. This way you will notice possible niche ideas.
Something you search on the internet but you don’t find any actionable information on.
You can review Amazon, eBay and Clickbank top sales, categories.
See what knowledge you have that would benefit a large amount of people.
There is an awesome list of over 1100 profitable niche ideas you can get started with on NicheHacks. (You need to scroll down the page to see the list.)
Another strategy is to review domain auction sites. Look for keyword-rich domain names and check their link count, search volume, the competition, etc. These are names that someone already did some research on, especially the ones that have lots of backlinks (like thousands, ten thousands). Such domains usually got dropped because of the Panda or Penguin penalty made them unprofitable, however the fact that someone spent the time to build that many backlinks shows that the niche has profitability in it.
A Niche Research Tool
Niche Laboratory is a great site for helping with your niche research. You can find the following on this site:
- Your niche’s Keywords/phrases
- Forums of your niche
- Related niches
- News stories
- Article title suggestion tool
You can actually take the list from NicheHacks, drill down and feed the data into Niche Laboratory and find your niche that way.
So much for the theory, let me give you a (made up) example.
Let’s say you want to do something in website building. That is a good subject, there are tons of people building new websites every single day. You can utilize this demand for your advantage. What you will do is pick a smaller segment of this market and find something that has an unresolved problem, confusion connected to it that you cannot simply resolve. You don’t do this as an esoteric exercise, you do this by living your life and keeping your eyes open.
Let’s say you decide you want to get into WordPress, a sub-niche of website building. You observed that there are lots of WordPress blogs and sites out there. Every fourth website created is on WP. You are looking at the back office of your blog and you see that a blog needs to be set up for SEO, needs themes, plugins, etc. All these areas are confusing enough for the Average Joe who dabbles in this, never built a blog before or just used the default stuff. You should look at all these problems as opportunities.
So then you could decide on your niche: WordPress plugins. You could round up all existing plugins, free and paid, and give a quality description of all, with a link to where you can download them. You could pick a nice brandable name, like WP Plugin Central, buy an expired domain, and you are off to the races! Yes, there is already a plug-in section on WordPress.com, however the descriptions are usually very generic, lacking people’s actual involvement.
You can start building an authority site in this niche, and you can promote all kinds of related subjects, such as WordPress themes, traffic building, social media marketing, lead pages – chances are your visitors will need such services as they are building their website and at one point or other they will need to solve such a problem.
Selecting A Great Niche Is Not Enough
I am in the “expired domains” niche, I research domains that someone else used and they still have backlinks. These domains can also be mentioned all over the internet. The new owner will need to do that much less link building and promotion.
Picking the right niche does not guarantee that your business will be successful and you will make money. The cemetery is loaded with dead websites and dead businesses.
All these below are websites from the “expired domains” niche that didn’t make it, and the list is not even complete. At the time of writing, there are a total of 170 listed on Expireddomains.net, most of them deleted.
In order to be profitable, you will also need to get into the following subjects:
- sales funnel
- traffic generation
- Lead magnets
- Squeeze pages (lead pages)
- list building
- email marketing
- link building
- social media marketing
- affiliate marketing
I hope the above is helpful you. Please share it.