Lesson #3: Niches – Finding Your Personal Gold Mine
Alright – time to get down to the good stuff! We are now ready to begin the setup process for our website. In this lesson, you will be choosing your websiteʼs topic. I will help you find a mix between something that you enjoy and something that can make you a steady stream of profits.
Of course, you canʼt just make a website about anything, it has to be a specific topic on which you have a decent amount of knowledge and interest. Otherwise, you wonʼt know what you are talking about and it wonʼt be any fun. By the time you have completed this lesson, you will have a clear idea of what your website is going to be about.
The Basics of Choosing a Site Topic
The first step, before we can ever build our site, is to figure out what the site is actually going to be about, right? Later in this lesson we will go over the process of how you can choose the right topic for you, but here I want to discuss the basic factors we take into account when choosing our topic.
Through this course we will be creating one “niche” website. Niche is a word that refers to a small, profitable corner of a market. This means that your site will be very specific and focused on one topic. Your goal will be to dominate this “niche” or small area. Does that make sense? Let me give you an example.
You may have previously worked in law enforcement, you have an interest in this topic. Through the process outlined below, you decide that something within law enforcement is the right topic for you. You donʼt create a random website about law enforcement in general. No. You narrow it down to a very specific piece of law enforcement (a niche). Through your research (again, this is just off the top of my head), you may find that it would be best to make a website about the training process of becoming a police officer. Now, THAT is a “niche”. If you were the #1 resource on that specific topic, it would be something that could be very profitable for many years to come.
So, you may be thinking “Why should I narrow it down so much? Wouldnʼt it be better to go after the entire law enforcement industry?” If you are thinking that, I appreciate your optimism, but that just wonʼt work. Let me explain. If you do a Google search for Law Enforcement, it shows that there are 41 MILLION websites about that topic. But something like Law Enforcement Degree only has 16 million. Still a lot, but much less than Law Enforcement in general. Got that? This means that there is far less competition the more you narrow down your topic. And the less competition, the greater chance you have of dominating your topic. We will expand on this in a minute, but now letʼs figure out HOW to actually choose a topic that is right for you.
Start With Your Passions
Let me give you a quick story. When I first started in this business, I quickly found that debt consolidation, mortgages, and credit cards were very lucrative topics. So, naturally, I started building websites about these topics. I started out confident that these sites would make me billions and I could retire on a beach somewhere. But there was one problem: I had NO desire to talk about in these topics and quickly lost interest, no matter how much money they promised. Without my interest, the sites failed and I had to start over.
Donʼt let that story happen to you. I strongly recommend that you start out with your passions and work from there. If you love knitting, forget how profitable it might be and just decide that knitting is going to be your topic. Done. Fly Fishing? Fountain Pens? Anything. I guarantee you, whatever your topic is, you can make money online with a website about it and I will show you exactly how to do that.
Right now, I want you to stop reading, and take out a piece of paper (or computer word processor) and make a list of the first 5-10 passions that come up in your mind. Stop and do this now…
Okay. Now, I want you to order your passions. Just give each passion an approximate ranking from 1 to 10 – with 10 being the most passionate. If you REALLY like Nascar, that might get a 9, and reading novels might get a 6. Whatever it is for you. Do that now.
With this complete, we are going to go over the process of narrowing down your list to find an exact subject for your website. Your site topic is going to come from within this list.
Researching Supply and Demand
Donʼt let this headline scare you, it really isnʼt too difficult. Once you have your passions list, itʼs time to research which of those would make the best website. To do this, we want to figure out two simple things. First, how many people are interested in your topic and second, how many other websites talk about this topic.
There are simple, free online tools that we can use to figure all of this out.
Step 1: Finding the Demand
Okay, step number one is to see approximately how many people are searching for your topic. This gives us a rough estimate of how much demand there is for a website on this subject. Letʼs run through an example. Please do this example with me as we go..
Visit https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. This is a free tool provided by Google. It will let us know a rough approximation of how many times someone typed any topic into Google.com.
Imagine that one of your passions on the list is Knitting. Visit the website above, type in Knitting in the box and click Get Keyword Ideas. What shows up is a listing of all possible searches related to our term of Knitting. You can see those on the left side. On the right under the heading ”Local Monthly Searches” is a quick estimate of about how many times this term was typed into Google during the last month. Pretty cool, huh?
We see that there are other terms that show up related to knitting. I have found that the topics with 25,000 – 75,000 searches per month are usually best for the type of site that we will be creating. There is less competition but still plenty of visitors. So now we need to scan the list and find some potential topics.
Why are we doing this? Remember, we want a niche. Something that is not too broad, something that is focused on one specific corner of the Knitting market, for example.
I see that “beginners knitting” and “learn to knit” both fall within our range of 25,000 – 75,000 searches per month. And they are related to each other, which is even better. So far, it looks like building a site on learning how to knit for beginners could be a winner. If we were interested in knitting, we would write these terms down on a piece of paper along with the search volume numbers. Now we have a legitimate niche within the market and a vision of the possible site is starting to come together…
While you are on this webpage, spend some time playing with this tool and learning how it works. When it comes time for your homework, you will go through this process again with each of your actual passions.
Step 2: Checking the Supply
Alright, now that we know it is possible to make a site about learning how to knit, we need to check the supply (i.e. the number of webpages on the internet that already talk about this specific topic). Of course, if we find that there is 100 million sites about learning how to knit, we need to go back to square one and find a new topic.
To find this information, all we need is Google.com. Visit this site and type in our term from the example: Learn to Knit. Now you look under the search bar towards the top right of the page, where it says “about 931,000 results.” This means that there is only 931,000 web pages on this term. It may seem like a lot, but this is pretty good. Because in reality, only a handful per million are quality sites. I have confidence that our knitting site can easily beat the others.
Repeat this process with our other term that we thought might work: Beginners Knitting. We see that this one only has 680,000 pages. Even better. With a little practice, you will naturally be able to judge whether or not the supply / demand ratio is in your favor. If there are 1,000 searches and 100,000,000 pages about this topic, thatʼs not very good. But if there are 50,000 searches and 50,000 results, that is fantastic.
Again, spend a few minutes getting familiar with how to do this. Try some random searches and see how many results show up. Try “Real Estate”, “Apple”, your own name, or some obscure term and see how many/few results there are.
Note: Donʼt be shocked if there are millions of results. Google is scanning the entire internet for any page that contains your term, so obviously this is going to be a big number. However, only a fraction of these are quality sites dedicated to the topic. Those are the only ones you need to worry about.
Another Note: If the numbers you see are different than mine, donʼt be shocked. Google is always updating the number of results. So when I see 931,000 you may see more or less depending on the point in time.
Extra Credit: Determining Profitability
If everything above already makes perfect sense and you are ready for the next step, here is an extra credit assignment. I already mentioned that you can profit from virtually any topic, and you can. But some are more profitable than others and our assignment here will show you how to determine that. Again, we will be using a simple free tool to check how valuable your niche might be.
The tool is http://spyfu.com/. Visit this site and type in your main topic in the search box (you will get better results by searching the more general “knitting” instead of “learn to knit”, for example). What you are presented with is a general average of what advertisers are willing to pay for this term. I wonʼt get into the details of where this number comes from or what it means, but generally you are looking for a term that has an upper-end dollar amount above $3. At the time I did my search, knitting is only about $0.60 which is not great, but not horrible either.
Play with this tool and get familiar with it. Search for car insurance and see the huge amount, and search any other terms you can think of to get a general idea of how this tool works.
Again, I want to point out that your PASSION is far more important than whatever dollar amount is shown on SpyFu. Because without passion, you wonʼt be happy making the websites and you wonʼt succeed. Trust me.
Putting it All Together
In the next lesson we will begin to form a solid idea of our exact site topic. But in the meantime, I would like you to do the research mentioned above and narrow down your exact site topic. In a sense, you should have a solid skeleton of your site idea and in Lesson 4 we will fill out this skeleton to form a complete, solid plan for your site.
Now, take a deep breath. This was a long and in-depth lesson. If there is anything you did not understand, please take the time to read the lesson again and try out the tools in more detail. Iʼm telling you – this stuff is really easy once you get the hang of it. After learning the material presented here, you will possess the valuable skill of learning to evaluate website opportunities. This is one of the most vital skills needed for your success as an internet entrepreneur.
UPDATE: Lesson 4: Building a Plan That Profits