Finding the right niche for your website is critical. Thankfully there are many tools and tricks that you can take advantage of to see if it is a niche worth pursuing. Let’s take a deep dive into how to research for a niche site.
Some online marketers get lucky with their niches, others purposefully select the niche based on the research results. For me, it is best to have a combination of the two, let’s face it, working on a website takes a lot of work, a lot of time, research, content development, and writing – I prefer to have an avid interest in what I am spending my time on!
First Things First
The starting point is to find out if there is money in the industry. Without sounding brash, we are all in business to make money after all.
So the first thing to do is have a look in Google and do some searches for the core items in the niche. The thing to look out for is how many PPC advertisers the search words bring up. If you do not see any PPC ads for the terms (or only a few of them), this could be a red flag.
Are There Multiple Affiliate Programs For The Niche?
This may sound like a counter-productive question, one of the things we are taught is to not head into an area where the competition is too high.
In the case of Affiliate Programs, this is quite the opposite, you want to know that you have options. Allow me to explain.
You could well spend all the hours and sweat to build up your niche website and be going great guns promoting, making money, and building your online business – for one merchant.
Then the merchant shuts down its affiliate program and you are left high and dry!
Yes, this can happen. Should this happen, your site will be rendered completely useless when it comes to generating an income. However, if you have alternatives in the way of other affiliate programs offering a similar product, well, you are still in business! Makes sense, right?
So we know now that your niche has passed the money test and the options test. Let’s look at the next aspect.
It is very important to check that the niche gets enough traffic to create the opportunity to make money. It is also important to measure this against the amount of effort you will need to put in to get the attention of that traffic.
Keyword Research is Where It’s At
Keyword research is easily done, in fact, I have a FREE Keyword Research tool for you right here! This is a truly awesome gift as this Keyword Research Tool is a market leader! Have a look, it will blow your socks off!
There are other free tools like Bing’s Keyword Tool or Wordstream, you could even consider one of the paid-for options such as SEMRush or Raven Tools.
When it comes to the numbers game with your keyword research, it is important to look for a niche that generates a decent amount of total searches per month.
But you also have to keep in mind the competition. There is no point chasing after something that has 1,000,000 searches a month with equally high competition.
There should always be low-hanging fruit for you to go after, make sure you take the time to do your research and take advantage of your findings.
Search Trends – Are these a Thing?
Absolutely! It is extremely important that you have a look at whether the niches are on their way up, in a steady holding pattern, or on the decline.
Google trends can help you with that. I did a quick overview of the Keto Diet (this is not a niche I am working in but I do know that there is a lot of debate going on around it),
The findings were pretty interesting to me, and totally not what I was expecting based on some arguments I have heard!
Judging by the above research, I would say that Keto is a viable niche.
What to look out for – the niches with an upward or steady trend are the ones to focus on.
I would avoid those which indicate a decline – as you can see with the Keto results above, there was a “steadyish” line happening, then a bit of a drop and a very big rise again, which dropped off.
I suspect that the big rise had to do with new year resolutions – what happens from February onward will be worth watching. But you get the idea.
Another aspect to take into account is niches that are fads. These always run the risk of a decline.
In fact, in the weight loss niche specifically, I would be wary of fads, there seem to be so many of them out there! I am sure you know what I am referring to … the crazy diets and equally crazy training programs.
Anything that is not sustainable long term is something to be wary of.
Having a look at competitor activity is extremely helpful too.
Google trends can help you with that unless the niche is very small. If that is the case – and even if it isn’t – it is well worth checking out competitor trends by making use of my favourite keyword tool or something like Alexa or SEMRush.
Here you will be looking out for steady, or gaining traffic. If there is an indication of declines, I would question the viability of getting into the niche at all.
This is even more important when you look at the competitor rankings. Just out of interest I did a quick Google Competitor Analysis for Keto, High Protein, Paleo, and Low Carb, how interesting are the results?
The fabulous thing about these results is that they will assist you with which countries you would target, depending on which products you choose to promote.
You can see very clearly in the results below how Keto and Low Carb are dominating, and then following each other with the trends. Then you have High Protein and Paelo down at the bottom, with High Protein pipping Paleo to the post, but only by a bit.
The next few screen grabs are very telling with the research results in terms of the geographic interest when it comes to the different options available. So interesting but not only that, it assists you with planning which locations to target your campaigns to.
One of the joys of online marketing is that it does not matter where you are located, so long as your potential buyers have access to the internet, you can market to them.
Once you have had a look at the trends in the marketplace, as we have here, examine the competition too.
I’ve taken four competitors to see the comparison between them.
There is valuable information here to assist an online marketer. Not only with locations but also related searches and queries. This also provides you with so much you can write about!
Researching Your Competition – Which Companies are Ranking with Keywords?
Many of us make use of organic search and SEO, to ensure that we can continue working within that business model, it is important to research and identify who the primary competitors would be in the niche.
You need to know what you are up against to ensure that you can get into the market. If the market is highly competitive with well-entrenched and successful sites, it will be worth reconsidering your options.
For example, if your top ten competitors for the top 10 search terms (keywords) are all big brands, and they do not offer an affiliate program – would be it worth getting into? I suspect not.
It is not impossible to take on and beat big brands but it is a massive task! Perhaps you have an angle that will work in your favour and you are prepared to put in the hard yards, then go for it.
Those reasons would have to be compelling to get many online marketers into the fray though so consider it carefully.
Researching the Top Keywords
Seeing as you are looking at who is ranking, you may as well spend time looking at what is ranking too.
Have a look at the top ten results – are they all root level domains (ie. https://www.yourcompetitor.com) or are there some pages that are ranking (for example https://www.yourcompetitor.com/individualpage/)
Researching Backlinks of the Competitors
So long as the niche is not owned by the big brands, then you can take the top competition (those consistently in the top ten for the niche keywords and terms) and have a look at their backlinks.
There are a few tools that you can use to do this, the ones I have read about are paid for (Open Site Explorer, Link Research Tools, and Raven Tools).
Between you and me, I am still learning about the affiliate marketing industry, plus I am not highly technical either.
That wouldn’t stop me from trying though. If there is anything I cannot understand, my first “port of call” would be the awesome community I am a part of.
If you are also still learning about the online business world, I highly recommend that you get on board with a FREE Starter Membership and have a look around – you will not be sorry!
Looking at all the results, if the top results were the big brand guys with their root domains and thousands of backlinks, I would give this a BIG THUMBS DOWN!
However, if the top results were a mix of big brands, blogs and, niche sites, root domains, pages and there were a few hundred backlinks, then I would be very keen.
This would be a BIG THUMBS UP for me!
Find and Leverage Your USP
Even with everything above being in place, you need to find your USP (unique selling proposition).
In other words, how are you going to position your niche so that it stands out from the others? What are you going to offer or say or do that your competitors are not doing?
Ensure that your USP is also well researched, you need to know that you are really differentiating your offering and giving yourself a head start against your competitors.
How would you go about this? Examine the following:
- What content are your competitors not offering? Can you make a difference and offer that?
- Are there any features the competitors are missing out on? Can you package the features in such a way that you position yourself differently?
- Perhaps the competition has not targeted certain demographics – you could aim for those.
- What about promotions – are the competition taking advantage of all the different avenues or have they missed any that you already know how to excel in?
These are questions you can ask yourself.
It really is a study of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – you can take advantage of the open gaps. This would create the opportunity for your success!
Last but definitely not least, remember to ensure that the niche is one that will be profitable for you.
Look at what you will need to spend to create your site, get your promotions out there, well-positioned so that you stand out. What can you sell the products for? Is there a profit to be made?
Once you have taken all the above into account, you can make an educated decision.
Building an online business is exciting! It is no different from brick and mortar in the amount of time, work, and persistence, and patience it takes to get things up and running though.
If you are looking for incredible training and an awesome community to work within, I have something to share with you:
Click on the link above to take advantage of the FREE Starter Membership – you will not be sorry! Need more information before you can commit? Have a look here at my review.
Look forward to seeing you on the inside!