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Finding A Profitable Website Niche - Part 1

Dec 18, 2007
In order to become a successful business blogger you need to research a profitable website niche idea before attempting to build a blog. Your goal should be to build up your blog in such a way that you can dominate that niche, or at least grab a large chunk of that niche market. I call this "niche domination". This article is intended to get you started with finding a profitable website niche by explaining how to get started with your market research.

Selecting a niche idea requires a lot of market research, so if you are doing this for the first time it can be quite time consuming and repetitive. Like all things though, it does get easier the more you do it. There are also some great tools out there that can make your market research much easier, which I write about on my website. For the purpose of this article I use only Google to do my initial market research.

Getting Started

So what interests you? It's much easier to research things that interest you, so get a pen and paper and write down some of your favourite subjects. Look around you now, and have quick wander around your office or home and make notes of any items that you notice.

To give you a quick example, I'm writing this on my Dell PC. I have 2 LCD monitors connected to my PC via a dual display graphics card. Also connected is my Microsoft trackball mouse, a wireless keyboard, a set of desktop speakers, and a Skype video phone. I'm also connected to the internet via my broadband modem/router. Plugged into the front of my PC is a USB memory stick and a cable connecting my iPod to my iTunes library.

If I extend my search and look around my home, there are hundreds of things I could add to my list. Many of these things are something that I may be interested in, because at some point I've bought them. If you check your email you will normally find receipts and information about products and services that you are interested in. You get the idea...there are many items around you that you could write about, so keep an open mind and don't rule anything out until you've performed some market research. It's also important to remember that you really only need to build this initial list once and just add to it once in a while.

Create a shortlist

Of all the items listed, you will need to make a shortlist of the ones you want to research further. I use a Spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel to add the items I want to research. I create the spreadsheet with the following columns:

Subject / Google results / Google Ads / All in title / All in anchor

The purpose of this next exercise is to find (and eliminate) a product or topic that you've already short-listed. Also, keep in mind that a niche can be anything related to the topic(s) you've chosen. In part 2 of this article I will cover the next steps of researching related keywords for your chosen topic(s), but first let's use a real (and completely random) example:

Earlier I listed a few things around my office that were connected to my computer. From this list I will use "wireless keyboard" for my example. I will add this phrase to the "subject" column of my spreadsheet. Next I will fill in the spreadsheet step-by-step to see if the subject could be something worth considering for my niche domination.

Step 1 - Check Google Results

* Go to www.google.com and search the web for "wireless keyboard" (without the quotes).

* On the top right of the page I get 16,100,000 Google results, which immediately tells me this is a very popular subject.

* Add the results figure to the "Google results" column in the spreadsheet.

Step 2 - Check Google Adwords Ads

On the same Google search results page from the step above you will see "Sponsored Links" by Google on the right of the page. These are pay-per-click (PPC) adverts of your potential competitors. You need to count how many there are. If there are more than one screen's worth of ads then you will need to click the link to "show all sponsored links" to view all of them.

* If there are no Adwords ads then the market is relatively undiscovered, or more likely is not profitable as there is not much interest in it from advertisers.

* If there are many pages of ads (e.g. 4+) then the market is extremely competitive.

For the search I've just completed I have 10 Google Adword results. Add this result to your "Google Ads" column.

Step 3 - Check Google "allinanchor:" Results

If you prefix your search term with "allinanchor:" then Google with show only results where the search term is in a URL. To do this:

* Go to www.google.com and search the web for "allinanchor:wireless keyboard" (without the quotes).

* On the top right of the page I get 165,000 Google results.

* Add the results figure to the "allinanchor" column in the spreadsheet.

The results of 165,000 initially tells me that this is way to high for that search phrase to be a profitable niche. Basically, you would need to beat 165,000 other websites that link to the phrase "Wireless Keyboard". There's no need to worry at this point though, we will do our advance keyword research in Part 2 for much better phrases (long tail search phrases). For example, "allinanchor:wireless multimedia keyboard" brings back only 17,800 results. As a general rule, the lower the results the easier it is for you to dominate that niche, providing the traffic is there to be captured.

Step 4 - Check Google "allintitle:" Results

If you prefix your search term with "allintitle:" then Google with show only results where the search term is in the title of a page. To do this:

* Go to www.google.com and search the web for "allinanchor:wireless keyboard" (without the quotes).

* On the top right of the page I get 148,000 Google results.

* Add the results figure to the "allintitle" column in the spreadsheet.

148,000 is again way to high for me to consider that search term as the title of my blog, however "allintitle:wireless multimedia keyboard" brings me back 620 results which is excellent!

Already, I've built up a basic picture of the market that I'm considering creating my business blog for, with the idea of making an income from pay-per-click adverts and affiliate links.

Once you've completed this initial research for your short-listed topics, you may find that you already have a good idea of the subject that you want pursue for your website niche domination. All you need to do now is perform some advanced keyword research for the topics you want to look at in more detail. I will cover this in the Part 2.
About the Author
The Web Review Center provides information and training on how to make money blogging online. The site will help you build a successful blog that will earn money. We publish reviews on all the tools and memberships that have helped make my blogs successful.
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