This is Part One of an eight-part series entitled Blog Life: The Ultimate Guide to Making a Living From Blogging.
Selecting an appropriate niche for your blog is an absolutely vital step in generating a reliable income from your blog. The niche you choose can make or break your business. In this article you will discover:
- Why a niche is so important
- How to choose a profitable niche for your blog, including;
If you are committed to building a profitable blog, you’ll be immersed in your niche every day for many years to come. You will literally be investing thousands of hours into this topic, writing frequent blog content, reading the articles and opinion pieces of other thought leaders in your niche, and talking to your readers and peers.
For this reason alone, choosing a niche for your blog is not a task to be taken lightly. So, how will you approach the task of choosing your niche, to ensure the thousands of hours that you invest into this topic aren’t going to go to waste? Will you;
A. Start writing and hope people eventually notice you?
B. Carefully research your niche, looking for a unique and specific angle that will allow your blog to stand out in the crowd, be frequently talked about and shared, and entice visitors back again and again?
Well let me tell you, I’ve tried both options, and it probably comes as no surprise that I recommend option B!
It’s never possible to know for sure whether people will like your content before you create it, but keyword research sure helps. You can see how many people are searching for your topic in the search engines, and you can use it to compare different topics to each other and gauge their popularity.
Why a niche is important
The world’s most successful bloggers focus on writing content related specifically to one topic. They build their authority by choosing a niche, and sticking to it. For example, Pete Cashmore the founder of Mashable.com (who takes in over $500k per MONTH!), established the blog with the intention of becoming the go-to source of tech, digital culture and entertainment content.
Want to know who 2017’s most successful niche bloggers are? Find out who is killing it in the 2017 blogosphere >>
Niches are a critical component for any successful blog for several reasons.
- Niche Blogs Are More Appealing to Readers
- Niche Blogs Are Easier To Monetise
- Niche Blogs Are Easier To Rank in Search Engines
- Niche Blogs Build Credibility and Profile
By identifying and establishing yourself as an authority on a specific niche topic via your blog, you ultimately give yourself the highest probability of blogging success. Having a niche allows you, the author, to offer laser-sharp focus on a very specific topic and thus to grow your following within a specific community, as opposed to trying to spread yourself too thin and appeal to a mass audience, which is very difficult and expensive (just ask the New York Times, Time Magazine and many of the other major publishers trying to keep afloat).
When it comes to almost all methods of making an income online, I firmly believe that the riches are in the niches, and now I will explain just how you can go about choosing the right niche to create a profitable blog in time.
How to choose a profitable niche for your blog
To decide upon an appropriate niche for your blog, there are six key considerations I encourage you to take into account:
- Your interest
- Your unique spin
Let’s delve into each of these key considerations in more detail…
1. Your Interest in the Topic
It’s likely that once you launch your blog, you’ll be heavily involved in it for many years to come. Even with the blogs I built from scratch and later sold, like TshirtAlert.com, I personally contributed to regularly for 5+ years. For this very reason, I strongly recommend that you only consider a topic for your blog that genuinely interest you.
More frequently than not, when discussing potential niches with new bloggers the question inevitably arises “…but Jake, shouldn’t I prioritise profit over passion when choosing my niche?” In other industries, outside of generating a passive income online, such as importing goods as a wholesaler or starting a retail store I may tend to agree that passion projects can be limited in profitability. But when it comes to blogging for profit, the landscape is very different.
This is because your interest will be reflected in your writing, and this is ultimately the tool that will attract a loyal audience who will either directly or indirectly contribute to the income that you generate from your blog.
Not only this, but it is your passion will continue to motivate you in the months and years to come, to help you to consistently publish captivating, entertaining and valuable niche content to keep your loyal followers engaged and coming back for more.
So when I am asked “shouldn’t I be blogging about the hottest or most profitable topics of this season?” my response is clearly and firmly “No!” because blogging is a long-term process that requires your sustained interested in the topic for years to come.
- Brainstorm a list of topics that interest you
- Write a list of at least 5 topics
- Write down your main country of focus (e.g. U.S., Australia, U.K.)
Don’t pick topics that don’t interest you, or prioritise profit over passion.
2. The Popularity of the Topic
At first glance, measuring the popularity of a topic can seem immensely difficult. A topic that may seem like the best thing since sliced bread to one person, may be the worst idea ever to the next.
Thankfully, with technology at our fingertips, we no longer have to worry about the arduous and time-consuming task of manually collecting data. No longer do we need to request the thoughts of as many individuals as possible through surveys and focus groups, in order to try and understand their opinions on specific topics. Nor do we need to wait hours, even days or weeks, until we have enough data at hand to allow us crudely estimate the popularity of specific topic or themes.
In 2017, you can simply fire up an online tool (that is free or low-cost) that will provide you with an immediate indication of the popularity of any specific topic.
In theory, these tools all work in the same way. They collect and analyse queries from search engines (yes, actual searches performed by real people) and they collate this data into a quick and easy-to-access format. I call this data the ‘collective conscience’ because it is exactly that – the thoughts, curiosities, needs, tastes and desires of the entire population of internet users. At this point in time, there is no other form of data collection that offers a more accurate view of popular topics, culture and news than aggregated search engine data.
When starting a blog, the trick is finding a topic that will remain popular for months and years to come (or even better, incrementally increase in popularity over time) to ensure a consistent stream of traffic and revenue.
There are two tools I recommend to measure the popularity of your short-listed topics:
1. Google Trends
Google Trends is a handy tool that has been made freely available to the public, based on Google Search data. The Google Trends online tool shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, for various time periods and in various languages. It also allows you to discover new or popular search-terms.
Google Trends: https://trends.google.com/trends/
A key thing to note when using Google Trends is that it doesn’t show you actual search volume (you’ll need another tool for that, which I will show in the next section!). Every Google Trends graph has a scale from 1 to 100, which shows you is the relative popularity of a term versus other terms, as well as whether each term is increasing or decreasing in popularity. Google Trends is great for gauging mindshare and awareness, so if you want to know if a keyword or brand is hot in a certain region, this is where you can find out. Not only that, but Google Trends allows you to find related and rising searches related to your query (and some crude indications of the search volume within those related phrases).
In other words, Google Trends is a great tool to get an initial indication of the popularity of your short-listed niche topics.
Below is a Google Trends graph which shows the past 5 years of search interest in ‘Fitness for seniors’. This topic a relatively consistent number of searches year after year, and also shows signs of slow and steady growth, and would thus be a niche topic worthwhile exploring further.
Another great feature of Google Trends (did I mention this entire tool is completely free!), is the Related Queries function. If you toggle between the ‘Rising’ and ‘Top’ queries in this section, you will find additional ideas for niches closely related to your original term. In this example, ‘fitness classes for seniors’ is another opportunity which is also frequently searched for by this same audience.
I added the term ‘fitness classes for seniors’ for comparison to my original term, and not surprisingly the interest in this phrase over time is considerably less, because this term is even more niche than my original phrase. Nevertheless, it’s a niche topic that is probably still worth considering at this stage as there may be very few competitors targeting this niche. So I will add it to my list and move on to the next tool for further analysis.
There are several tools available which measure the volume of monthly searches however the one I find the easiest to access and painlessly is SEMrush (Google Adwords Keyword Planner is another good option, however it requires you to go through the somewhat annoying process of signing up for an Adwords account just to use the tool, plus it has also gone through some recent changes which have reduced the granularity of reports it produces).
Using the same example as the previous section, I entered the niche term “fitness for seniors” into SEMrush. For the US market (set via the country filter), it returned a Volume (which is the average monthly volume) of 210 searches per month.
It is worth noting that when you see an average monthly search volume for a keyword in SEMrush, it is based on the amount of times the keyword was searched over the past twelve months. For seasonal and trending keywords, this number could be higher or lower than the average in some months.
Flicking across to the Phrase Match tab in SEMrush offers even more suggestions that I hadn’t even contemplated in this niche, including:
- Fitness routines for seniors
- Cross fit for seniors
- Fitness classes for seniors
While each of these related of these topics have relatively small volumes on their own, it’s re-assuring to know there are some sub-niches within the ‘fitness for seniors’ niche which may have limited competition.
- Enter your short-listed niche ideas into Google Trends, and select your main country of focus. If your search term is steadily trending downwards in Google Trends, avoid it like the plague!
- Check for any ‘Rising’ or ‘Top’ terms related to yours. You may uncover new ones you hadn’t thought of. If you do, add them to your list 🙂
- Enter the remaining short-listed niche ideas into SEMrush. If the search volume for your country of focus is under 200 searches per month, your niche may be too small to make any serious revenue from and will need to be removed from your list. (200 may sound like a small number of monthly searches, but remember there will also be a bunch of sub-niches that will sit within your niche that you can also incorporate into your blog over time)
Ok, you have now trimmed the fat a bit and removed any search terms that aren’t considered ‘popular’ enough. Now it’s time to see who else is already capitalising on these….in other words, who is your potential competition?
And how do you gauge the competition? Well, that’s the next section, so please, make yourself another cup of strong leafy tea and read on….
Wouldn’t it be hugely frustrating and disheartening to invest weeks, even years of your time, only to find out there are competitors within your field that would always remain on top, never allowing your site the chance to be noticed in Google search results and thus denying you, the blogger, the opportunity to become an authority in your chosen niche?
Taking the time to understand your competition intimately before you start your blog may save you from making a very a costly mistake.
Unfortunately in this day and age, with over 1.2 Billion websites currently live on the internet (according to Internet Live Stats http://www.internetlivestats.com/total-number-of-websites/), there are quite a few topics out there that are close to impenetrable for new bloggers just starting out. This is due to the fact that some of the most authoritative websites out there have existed for years, 20+ years in some cases, and have already amassed huge followings and strong reputations within their chosen fields. Google rewards these sites in the form of higher rankings, and visitors also trust these sites due to their long withstanding reputation. On top of this, is another sub-set of websites who are extremely difficult to compete with; those whom have invested millions of dollars in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), creating tens of thousands of backlinks to their websites, optimising every single element of their websites to the nth degree in order to ‘manipulate’ their rankings in Google results. Anyone who has experimented with SEO before will understand that it is a long game, and that any competitive SEO tactics can take months if not years to take effect (and by then, Google has usually changed their algorithm significantly!)
These hugely competitive topics are spread across a variety of lucrative topics, some of the obvious ones being ‘weight loss’, ‘car insurance’, ‘home loans’, ‘credit cards’, ‘make money online’ and the like. If you are considering any of these topics as a first-time blogger, think again! In fact, there are literally thousands of these super-competitive niches which will prove very challenging for a new blogger to crack….. but there are also millions of niches that remain ripe and ready for you to become an authority on. The art-form is deciphering which niches are not worth your time, and how can ‘niche down’ to niches which are worthwhile. For example, while ‘car insurance’ is hugely competitive (in Google Adwords, advertisers can pay up to $50 per click for this phrase), perhaps there is an opportunity in a more specific niche such as ‘classic car insurance for seniors’. The trick is finding a niche that has enough interest from the public to be profitable consistently, while also have minimal competition within this specific niche.
There are several tools available to you which can make this process of identifying the niche topic for your blog straightforward.
- The first tool you should turn to in order to understand your competition is not complicated nor costly. It’s freely accessible, and you’ve probably used it thousands of times before. It is the world’s favourite search engine, Google.com.
Typing your niche into Google will allow you to immediately understand how competitive it is, based on the volume, the quality and the number of advertisements that appear in the Google Search results. Let’s take a look at each in a little more detail.
- Volume – When you type your niche topic into Google, include it within quotation marks. This is called “phrase matching”, and allows Google to understand the exact phrase you are searching for, thus only returning relevant websites (as opposed to trying to match for variations of the phrase which may be unrelated.
Take a look at my search below for “fitness for seniors”, a topic I arrived at during a recent brainstorming session recently.
There are 294,000 results for this phrase in the world (results are skewed towards Australia, since this was the origin of this particular search). That’s quite a few websites that are writing specifically about ‘fitness for seniors’, wouldn’t you agree? I’ll write this number down and come back to it later (you should do the same for each of your short-listed niche topics).
Here’s another example for “bait pumps”, another topic I brainstormed.
There are 32,500 results for this phrase in the world (results are skewed towards Australia, since this was the origin of this particular search). In my experience, that’s pretty darn low, particularly for a short phrase containing only two words. Any term that yields under 100,000 results using phrase match, is potentially a hidden gold mine that is worth investigating further as the volume of the competition is considered relatively low.
REMEMBER! For Google searches, make sure you Go Incognito! Perform an anonymous search in your browser to ensure that you aren’t seeing search results that are customised for your specific user profile (as browsers often detect your location and your logged in accounts to try and determine which results may be more relevant to you). Incognito results show a generalised view of Search results, which is more likely to be the view that the majority of users will see as it is the ‘average set of results’ for that search term.
- Number of ads – Even for online marketing professionals, it can be difficult to discern which Google results are advertisements versus organic results. The team at Google are constantly tinkering with the colours, layouts and even images within their ad units to ensure that users continue to notice and therefore click on their ads.
The same search for “bait pumps” in Incognito mode, shows two standard text ads (for BCF and Ebay) as well as three image ads (also known as Product Listing Ads, two of which are for Ebay and one for Arnold’s Boat Shed).
This tells me two things:
- A key competitor in this field is BCF, as they are leading both the Organic and Paid search results. Aside from BCF, there are only 2 other advertisers indicating that this product is not highly competitive (some search terms will yield 10+ ads on the first page of Search results).
- That we should always check the search results in Incognito mode to ensure you are seeing the full picture (as these search results were quite different to those shown in the screenshot above, which was performed from a standard browser session while logged into my Google account)!
- Quality – Measuring the quality of websites is no easy task. Some websites look underwhelming yet have huge numbers of fans and great reputations (pertinent examples being Amazon & Booking.com in their earlier days). Sure, you can try and gauge the quality of each competitor by browsing through their website and content, which I strongly encourage you to do, but there are also tools that allow you to get an ‘apples for apples’ comparison of the quality of each site using sophisticated algorithms….plus they can save you time too. To find out what these tools are, keep reading on!
- SEM Rush is a great tool for understanding the competitive set for a specific keyword or phrase, particularly for further analysis into which websites are already ranking organically in Google Search results for specific keywords and themes.
Below is a screenshot of the amazing dashboard SEMrush provides for free for limited use (of course, like any good tool you will need to pay if you want to use it frequently).
You will see that I have entered the keyword “bait pump” and filtered the information to Australia web traffic (using the Country filter which SEMrush provides).
Once a keyword is entered, the dashboard immediately displays a nicely presented array of in-depth information related to this keyword (albeit somewhat different to the Google results mentioned in the section above, due to SEMrush’s own proprietary algorithms that span across all Search Engines including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other popular search engines).
The areas that I pay particular attention to are:
- The volume of searches – is it comparatively high or low versus the similar keywords displayed? If considerably lower, perhaps you should consider an alternative phrase with more volume?
- Related keywords – are there any related keywords which may seem more suitable to you, or have a higher volume of searches?
- Organic search results – Are there any major websites that didn’t appear when you searched for this term directly in Google? For example, BigW appears and Gumtree are both sites that didn’t appear on page 1 of my initial Google search in the previous section, however SEMrush tells us (see screenshot below) that these both appear frequently in Search results for this particular term “bait pumps”. The thing is, after visiting both of these websites (gumtree.com.au and bigw.com.au), neither of these sites is an authority in this space, one is a generic department store and the other is a generic classifieds websites, so despite their high rankings I would ignore these websites due to their limited relevance to the topic of “bait pumps”.
To paraphrase, there is still a layer of your own human logic that you need to overlay to this method, as there will be times when generic websites are scattered amongst the rankings and this is generally because there is limited competition within the niche itself, so Google tries to plug the gaps from high authority websites which are somewhat related to the topic!
(To save you some time I have provided a widget that hooks you straight up to the SEMrush dashboard. If you would like to view the organic competitors and related phrases for your niche, simply type your niche below and you will receive your very own keyword customised report).
When you have tinkered with the SEMrush keyword dashboard for long enough, and are satisfied that have arrived at a niche that offers you the right mix of popularity (search volume) versus competition, run a final search on SEMrush and write down the top 5 organic competitors you see for this keyword. You’ll need these before you move on to the next tool.
- The third piece of kit you’ll be adding to your arsenal of Competitive Measurement Tools is Moz’s Domain Authority tool. Domain Authority (DA) is concept that was developed many moons ago by Moz.com, a leading source of insight and research in the field of Search Engine Marketing. DA is essentially a rating system which algorithmically scores websites on a scale between 1 and 100 to measure their authority. In the words of Moz.com:
Domain Authority is a score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERP). … We calculate Domain Authority combining many of our other link metrics — linking root domains, number of total links, MozRank, MozTrust, etc. — into a single DA score.
This is the most trusted authority measurement metric available on the web, particularly now that Google’s Pagerank ranking system has now been decommissioned (this was a scoring system which existed up until 2015, and which ranked websites from 0 and 10 based on their perceived authority and SEO merit).
Use the Moz.com DA tool only once you have developed a list of the top 5 websites that already exist in the niche you’re considering. (Using the tools and methods I have outlined above will help you to fast-track this process). Once you have your ‘top 5 competitors’ lists, enter each of their URLs into the below tool.
Moz Domain Authority Tool: https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/
I’ve used BCF.com.au as my example, following on from the “bait pumps” niche mentioned in the previous section. You will see that BCF has a DA score of 39…not bad, but not really mind-blowing for the first result in Google for this niche either.
I also ran the numbers on the other competitors listed above, and got the following results:
- BigW 62/100
- Alvey.com.au 33/100
- Motackle.com.au 27/100
- Fishingtackle.com.au 1/100
So as it turns out, of the highest ranking websites already established within this niche, x out of x have a Domain Authority higher than 50. This means my chances of cracking this niche aren’t too bad. Why, I hear you ask? ……
Here’s a fact to think about: People rarely click on results after position #3 in Google Search.
While this is a somewhat sweeping observation given the huge number of variations in the layout Google Search results (which dramatically impact where users may click), it almost always determines whether a niche may be too competitive to.
If 3 or more of your competitors have a DA above 50, I can safely say that you almost certainly don’t stand a chance of ranking above any of these websites anytime soon.
- Do the research to find a list of the top 5 targeted competitors that already exist in your niche
- Find out the Domain Authority (DA) for each competitor. If most of them are under 50, you are on your way to being ready to roll!
If 3 or more of your competitors have a Domain Authority score over 50 your niche, it’s probably time to go back to the drawing board and come up with another niche, or to ‘niche down’ to a subset of your chosen topic.
4. Is the Topic Sustainable?
When you are looking to build a long-term income stream from a blog, you’ll need a long-term topic. Unless you are supremely confident that you can make a quick buck, avoid any of the following scenarios when considering the niche topic for your blog:
- A fad that grows hugely popular extremely quickly, either material or digital (e.g. Pokemon cards, the ‘Words with Friends’ app)
- A product release that is likely to eventually become obsolete (for example, the iPhone 4S)
- A time-based product or event (such as tickets to the 2016 Olympic Games)
While such topics may be well suited to other online business models (such as a drop-shipping store, which can successfully leverage short-term trends), a short-term trend will simply not work with a niche blog that you are aiming to steadily grow over months and years. The safest niche topics for profitable blogs are evergreen, in that their content doesn’t become quickly dated, or worse still, completely irrelevant.
One example of a product that quickly spiked in popularity only to become obsolete, despite a huge amount of media attention, was Google’s ‘Glass’ product, which connected users who wore these particular spectacles directly to the internet.
Despite being officially called ‘Google Glass’, most internet users were searching for the more obvious term ‘google glasses’ (this is an important thing to note – consumers generally determine the most popular search terms, not brands, which is why the free Search query data available at your disposal, mentioned in the previous section, is so invaluable!).
As you can see from the popularity graph below, interest in the Google’s wearable head-piece took a huge dive in late 2013, and now virtually ceases to be searched at all.
The moral of the story is, don’t choose a topic that has recently risen to fame. It will most likely just as quickly fall away into the ether, never to be spoken about again.
Choose a topic that is timeless, not one that a specific date or current trend
- Review your short-list. If any topics have spiked significantly in recent times, consider whether they are likely to be relevant in 2, 5, even 10 years. If you are dubious, scrub them off your list.
5. Is the Niche Profitable?
So you’ve worked out a short-listed list of niche topics that you are interested in that show signs of ongoing popularity to the public, aren’t scarily competitive, and you are confident that the topic is something that you can continue writing about for for the long-term. Now is where the serious talk about dollar bills comes into play – it’s time to determine whether your niche topic can generate you an acceptable income.
There are several methods I use to determine a profitable blog niche:
Cost Per Click in Google Adwords
One way to understand the profitability of a niche is to look at the average Cost Per Click (CPC) that advertisers pay on Google Adwords. CPC is the price that marketers spend for each click in Google Adwords. It’s a good indication of a profitable niche, because let’s face it, marketers generally will not spend money unless it is returning them a healthy profit.
As Google Adwords requires you to setup an account and login in order to access this data, the quickest way to access Google Adwords CPC data quickly is via SEMrush.
My suggest is to go after niches with at least a $1 CPC. This indicates that the marketers are serious about being visible for a specific topic, which in turn, indicates a strong potential for profit within this field.
There are many topics that immediately spring to mind that have proven to be profitable including ‘car insurance’ and ‘how to lose weight’. Unfortunately these markets are highly saturated with competitors, which is why it is important to filter out the highly competitive niches first, to ensure that your judgement isn’t hindered by the prospects of huge profits!
Affiliate Products that Currently Exist
There are many revenue models available to bloggers including selling ad space, referring products in exchange for a commission (affiliate marketing) and selling information products. Most bloggers adopt all three income streams in varying proportions, however one particular revenue stream is particularly indicative of your potential future profits, and this is the affiliate marketing stream.
While ad revenue (such as the revenue generated by Google Adwords, called Adsense) provides an indication of how much advertisers are willing to pay per click, it doesn’t necessarily outline how much revenue will end up in your pocket (mainly because in the instance of Google, it pockets the majority of the ad revenue and leaves you with a tiny sliver).
On the flipside, affiliate networks can tell you exactly how much you will earn for each sale you successfully secure through your blog. Check out each of the individual affiliate networks, and you will find a large variety of products you can promote related to your specific niche.
A few affiliate networks I recommend are:
- Max Bounty
- Amazon Associates
While there are hundreds, if not thousands, of affiliate networks, these are some of the best in my humble opinion (for more information about each of these networks visit this article).
If you are just want a basic indication of the potential for profit before diving into the affiliate networks, I also suggest jumping Ebay and performing a similar search. If you see a wide range of products related to your niche, this could also indicate a profitable niche.
Tip! Visit competitor’s blogs and established websites in the niche to see which affiliates they are promoting. This gives you a headstart on what’s already working in the niche.
Affiliate Commission Rates
The money you will make from your chosen niche, at least in the early years, will largely be driven by existing products and brands. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to take a good, hard look at the standard commission rates available for products in your niche.
It doesn’t take a mathematician to work out that as a blogger, you make loads more money when you strike the right ratio of the product price versus product commissions.
Here’s an example. As new blogger, your goal is to generate $500 per week from the affiliate marketing revenue stream. You look at an affiliate network and see two products that align well with your blog, and their commission is as follows:
- Product A is priced at $19 and has a 50% commission rate. So you get $9.50 in commission for each sale you generate for this merchant.
- Product B is priced at $85 and has a 45% commission rate. So you get $40 from each affiliate sale.
Comparing both Products, B has four times the earnings potential of A. In fact, you’ll need to sell 50 of Product A every week to reach your target, versus only 12 of Product B.
Of course, there are other factors that come into play such as the quality of the product, and the frequency of purchase by the consumer of Product A vs Product B, but you get my drift that it is hugely important to evaluate the earnings potential of a product by weighing up its average price versus the proposed commission. By looking at either factor in isolation you risk promoting an offer that will end up falling significantly short of your expectations, and quite frankly, it’s not worth your time to market offers that only pay a dollar or two per sale.
Are People Buying Information Products about this topic?
This is an area I feel very strongly about….information products are hugely profitable. Real money can made when you can do either of the following successfully on your blog:
- Promote existing information products via affiliate networks, or
- Write your own information products and sell them
Regardless of which avenue you pursue, you should do your research on whether your prospective niche is proven to attract people who buy information.
Sure you might want to sell the occasional gadget, but from experience I can tell you for certain that information products have huge earnings potential, mainly due to their minimal production and distribution costs, which therefore make these products hugely profitable versus physical goods.
Get started by looking at the affiliate networks I listed in my earlier article about revenue models, particularly:
Simply logon to clickbank.com and search through the product offers. If you come across any digital products there related to your niche, this is an indication that the niche could be profitable. Generally, the greater the number of products, the greater the potential for profit (as the niche is recognised by many authors as a cash cow).
Another place to look is Amazon.com. Just search for your top keywords to see if there are existing books on this topic. Obviously a large number means people buy books on this subject and are willing to buy information products.
The Point of Profitability
Lastly, while on the topic of profitability, it would be remiss of us not to acknowledge a critical factor. We’ve discussed at length how to ascertain whether a niche is potentially profitable, but how difficult is it to get to the point of profitability?
There are niches all over the spectrum in terms of profitability and difficulty. I’ve outlined all of the obvious factors to consider in the previous sections, however there are also your own personal factors to take into account.
It’s true that with enough resources and time you can generate income from virtually any niche. But that’s not why we are here. Why make life difficult if you can identify a more profitable niche from the outset.
So here are a few factors to think about:
- Your ongoing commitment
- Your own resources
- Are other people making actually money?
The first two points are obvious. You need to commit time and energy to this. If you aren’t willing to do this, then may I suggest another online business model may be more appropriate for you. If you are still committed, then here’s the real clincher…. are other people making money? I’m talking about regular, run-of-the-mill bloggers like you and me, rather than the big-dogs with multinational advertising budgets to prop up their traffic.
Once you’ve determined that people are indeed both interested in and capable of spending money on niche products, and that there is also proven money to be made, you need to ask yourself and answer with conviction – can you reach those people with a profitable offer, and do it effectively and repeatedly?
- Enter your keywords in SEMrush and note their average CPC. If it’s less than a dollar, it may not be worth the bother
- Scour the major affiliate networks and shopping portal for products in your niche – if nothing appears, you will have nothing to onsell and will either need to create your own products or move on to another niche
- Record the product prices and affiliate commission rates for the best products you see to calculate the estimated revenue per sale you will achieve. Compare them to other niches you are considering.
- Are people buying information products on this topic? It’s one thing to buy gadgets (where the margins are usually small), but are they buying digital products such as ebooks and online guides? These are where the money is, so if they aren’t, you will be hard pressed to generate large profits.
- Consider the Point of Profitability – you’ll need to commit time and energy to this niche.
6. What Else Do You Bring to the topic that You Can Leverage?
So you’ve decided on a niche. Fantastic! The thing is, no niche is new….if it was, you wouldn’t have an audience. So you need to decide what is going to make you, and your blog, stand out from the crowd of ‘standard’ bloggers.
- Why will people listen to me?
- What makes me different?
- What about these topics can I offer which is unique?
These aren’t trick questions. I can almost guarantee they won’t be easy or obvious to answer…and that is totally fine. This is where you need to back yourself, and think deep, about what it is that makes your perspective unique from everyone else. And believe me, there will be something if you give yourself the chance to acknowledge it, because like Dr Suess articulates better than pretty much any modern day motivational speaker, ‘today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is you-er than you.’
Have a think about the unique perspective you can offer to your chosen niche. For example, with this blog, I have always been very passionate about starting online businesses to create passive income however always noticed the same types of bloggers write about the topic. I realised I had a different perspective, the perspective of a surfer who constantly seeks a beach lifestyle. With this, The Freedom Chaser was born.
What’s your unique touch going to be. It could be based on your location, your expereinces, or you credentials….or a combination of all three. Challenge yourself and you will find a niche that is truly unique.