Niche Research – A Step-By-Step Approach To Creating A Niche Website
Here's another guest blog post by my bud, Susanne Myers the Link Building Queen Check Out Her Link Building Course Here. It's Good.
There's a picture of us together from earlier this year. ->
I'm the closer one and she's the one further away. We're both thinking hard, getting smarter. 🙂
Well, I'll step down and let Susanne take the stage and shine. Here she is…
A Step-By-Step Approach To Creating A Niche Website
by Susanne Myers
I spent the past weekend with Nicole at NAMS (Niche Affiliate Marketing Workshop) in Atlanta where I spent a good bit of my time helping out in the beginner room.
The first stumbling block for many beginning Internet Marketers seems to be choosing a niche that they will then build a website or blog in.
Over the years I've done quite a bit of niche research. Here's my process I go through every time I am considering going into a new niche.
First of All, What IS A Niche?
Let's start by talking about what exactly a niche is.
According to Wikipedia, a niche is
“the subset of the market on which a specific product is focusing; therefore the market niche defines the specific product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intended to impact”.
For Internet marketing in particular they have the following to say:
By appealing to smaller segments of larger markets, referred to as niches, a website can be developed and promoted quickly to uniquely serve a targeted and usually loyal customer base, giving the affiliate a small but regular income stream.
Let's look at an example. Health and Wellness is a large market, weightloss is a subset of that market. We can then “niche” it even further down by choosing “weightloss for new moms” as our niche.
Is It a Profitable Niche?
Next I like to take a look at the profit potential of a niche. Some things to consider are:
- Is it popular?
- Does it solve a problem or entertain?
- Is there a magazine (or even better several magazines) out there that target your niche market?
- For ecommerce sites, if you can't find the product at large stores like Wall-Mart, you have a pretty good chance of being able to sell it online.
- Do others buy google adwords ads for products in this niche?
If you can answer several of these questions with a definite yes, your niche has quite a bit of profit potential and it is usually worth spending a little time putting together a website to test the niche further.
Who's My Target Market for this Niche?
My next step is to put myself into my customer's shoes. Get as much information about your target market as you can. Who are they? What kinds of problems do they have that you can help with. What questions do they have that you can answer. Great places to research your target market are niche forums and sites like yahoo answers.
Are There Products I Can Sell?
Before you start building your new site, I want you to check on one more thing… Are there any products (eletronic or physical) that you can sell to this market? I like to start by looking at affiliate products. Later on I might consider developing my own products, but for now let's focus on affiliate products. If you have several options, move on to the next step.
If there are no good products out there, it may be time to move to another niche. Please do not skip this step. I have spent hours and hours developing a site in the past only to notice a week or two into the project that there was really no good way to monetize the site.
Time For Keyword Research
I mostly get free traffic via search engines to my niche sites and the way to do this is to do some keyword research and then optimize content for these terms.
Pick your favorite keyword research tool. I personally use the paid version of wordtracker, but even the free wordtracker keyword tool or the google adwords keyword tool will do.
Spend a little time figuring out what terms are searched for in your market. Put them in a spreadsheet so you can refer to them easily when you start to create your content plan.
I like to sort my keywords into 3 different segments. The first is my main term. This will be the keyword with the highest search volume, but it will also be very hard to rank for. That keyword becomes my main focus for the home page of my website. Next I like to choose 5 to 10 keywords that are very general, but a little easier to rank for than the main one. Those become my category pages. All other keywords will be used in individual articles blog posts. This sorting is the first step toward creating a content plan. Let's talk about that a little more.
But first, if you want to learn a bit more about keyword research, listen to this panel discussion I was involved in along with SEO experts Karon Thackston, Lynn Terry and Dan Morris. It's $17, but I think you'll find it well worth the small investment.
Creating A Content Plan
I like to take those “sorted” keywords and come up with a content plan for my new website or blog. It helps me get things up quickly when I'm ready. A great way to organize the keywords is to use a mindmap. You can see a very simple example in the image below:
Of course you would add quite a few more long-tail keywords for the individual article pages (shown here in green). As your site grows you can expand by adding more and more keyword targeted articles.
Of course you can also do the same on paper if you are not comfortable with mindmapping.
Building Your Site
With your plan in hand, it's time to build your niche site. You will need a domain name, website hosting and some sort of content management program. While there are quite a few good ones out there and you could even build a static html page, I prefer using the free wordpress blogging software (www.wordpress.org) to build my niche sites. (If you've never installed a blog, ReliableWebs.com will set one up for you.)
Use your mindmap or content plan to lay out your categories, then start writing your content using the long-tail keywords. I like to get about 10 or so posts in to begin with and then work on adding a few more each week.
Content Promotion Strategies
The last step is to go out and actively promote your new site and the individual articles on it. It's a little outside of the scope of this blog post to cover content promotion in detail, but here are a few ideas to get your started:
- Tweet about your new site and new articles as you add them.
- Do some article marketing.
- Participate on popular niche forums and include a link to your site in your forum signature.
- Comment on other popular blogs in the niche.
- Write some guest blog posts on other blogs.
- Build some backlinks to each page of your site to get it ranking well in the search engines.
I hope you found this step-by-step approach to niche research helpful. Yes, there is quite a bit of work involved, but it's also a fun process to go through once you get a hang of it.
Of if you prefer, I'll do all of the research for you. I create niche research packs that include all sorts of other important niche info at your finger tips to help you enter a new niche or dominate one that you're already in.
Check them out at NicheResearchPacks.com
I hope this was helpful!
Please let us know if you have questions by commenting below. We’re happy to keep answering questions as long as you keep asking.
Have a great day!
I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.
LauraAugust 27, 2010 at 12:42 pm
I found your site through Pat Flynn. Can’t wait to keep looking through your posts. I’ve just started working on a niche site and look forward to reading your tips. Thank you.
Susanne MyersAugust 28, 2010 at 10:24 am
Glad you enjoyed the post Pat. Nicole has a wonderful blog here and shares all sorts of good tips. You’ll enjoy reading it.
JeezyAugust 28, 2010 at 6:25 am
Thanks for the great post Susanne and Nicole. Do you think it’s a good idea to start building backlinks as soon as I put a new niche website online? or it’s best to wait for some time before doing so?
Also what do you think about very popular niches like insurance and web hosting, is there any way someone can make it in such niches with all this competition out there?
Susanne MyersAugust 28, 2010 at 10:27 am
You’re very welcome Jeezy.
Yes, you should start building links right away. Without links pointing to your site, the search engines will not be able to find it and they will have a harder time determining what it is about and what you should rank for.
With very competitive niches like insurance, webhosting etc, it may be a good idea to “subniche”. Pick a particular group within that bigger market. Instead of tackling insurance, maybe consider a site about health insurance for freelancers or webhosting for small local businesses. This will allow you to pick keywords that are not quite a competitive and will get you Search Engine traffic more quickly.
JeezyAugust 28, 2010 at 6:31 pm
I will do that. Thank you very much Susanne:)
Mary BlackburnAugust 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm
Thanks Susanne and Nicole. Great information as usual. I have to say that keyword research and mindmapping are so not my forte, but Susanne your explanations have certainly helped a little to clarify my “mind muddle”. 🙂
Susanne MyersAugust 30, 2010 at 7:33 am
Hi Mary, I’m glad you got something out of the post.
I wasn’t big on mindmapping either until a little over a week ago. I just couldn’t quite figure out the software and didn’t get the point of how it’s supposed to help organize your thoughts.
“Bob The Teacher” gave an excellent presentation about mindmapping at NAMS and I got a chance to play with it a bit during the workshop session. Since then not a day has gone by when I’m not working on one of my mindmaps. It’s just a matter of jumping in with a little bit of direction and “playing” with it.
I think keyword research works in much the same way. You sort of have to try it and get used to the process. Give this a try… When you are ready to share one of your fabulous gluten-free recipes on your site, do a little keyword research first. You can use something as simple as the free wordtracker keyword tool. Find out exactly how people search for the recipe you are about to share. Then use that keyword as your title. Write your content as usual, being sure to include the keyword again in the first 100 words or so of your post.
Then build a few links to that post, using the keyword in the anchor text. To build the links you may want to do some bookmarking and write an article or two with the anchor text link in the resource box.
MaryAugust 30, 2010 at 10:37 am
Thanks again Susanne,
That really helped clarify a little more about keyword research.
The MomAugust 30, 2010 at 10:49 am
You two ladies are fantastic! Thanks Nicole and Susanne for sharing your knowledge with this humble blogger.
I must say, I am often more interested in writing my blog than in marketing my blog. I know the two are NOT exclusive of one another, and I know I should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, but…
Narrowing my niche has been my problem right along. I’ve wrapped my arms around my ENTIRE market – that being the over 50 age group. To pick ONE niche out of all that is difficult. But, I’m patient and know that if I keep reading your stuff, Susanne and Nicole, that I will see my way clear to let go and pick a niche.
Thanks again for sharing!
p.s. Nicole, are you snoozing in that picture, or just resting your eyes. 😉
MichaelSeptember 2, 2010 at 9:46 am
A lovely post – I find these sort of posts really invigorating (and when I say these sort, I mean that I’ve read one or two – including yours – today) as I am hoping to get a project on the go in a similar way. The enthusiasm that creeps up as you read through them, thinking “I’m doing that!” is exciting.
SusanneSeptember 7, 2010 at 10:00 am
Thanks Michael, I’m glad you enjoyed it and I hope it motivated to do some of this stuff.
Sarah MooreSeptember 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm
A great post, I really like the way you have simplified the whole process into step by step manageable chunks. The only thing that I would add is that it is often worth doing keyword research earlier, when checking out how profitable a niche is. Through assessing how many people are actually searching for a term you can get a better indication of whether or not there will be some interest in it. I know this is implied by the Adwords assessment but I think homing down keyword phrases alongside this would be of significant benefit.
SusanneSeptember 7, 2010 at 10:02 am
Thank you Sarah and you definitely bring up a good point. It’s always a good idea to look at search volume for keywords in your new niche to make sure there is enough SEO traffic out there that you can grab.
Another important point is to look at the types of searches and to make sure that at least some of the keywords indicate that someone is trying to buy something and not just looking for free information.
KimJanuary 12, 2011 at 11:17 pm
Susanne and Nicole, Thanks for great post.
Been doing research on several niche as well as strategies for finding hot niches. People use alot of tools that you never even think of. People uses hot selling products on eBay to decide niche, Google checkout trends (not to mess with google trend), Paid keywordspy tool are just few of them.
Amber-Lee DibbleJune 17, 2011 at 6:43 pm
Boy, am I glad I found you and this one! Niche and figuring out mine is…. well, it’s the biggest wall I have yet to figure out how to bring down. Your post is very easy to follow, so thanks for answering tons of the questions I have had for months (!) and keep shoving out of my way! So, thank you. For the post, the list and sharing your own experiences doing exactly the same things! (maybe, just maybe, it’ll save some mistakes on this end!) Have an awesome day.