Internet Marketing was plain sailing in the early 2000s. There was a time where simply buying the right domain would put you in the money. In these harder times, we have a buzz word called “niche marketing”. The art of finding topics most people don’t give a crap about and setting up shop for the small handful who do.
It can be very profitable. Building a website to satisfy a small demand is much easier than battling in a network full of bigger, better and richer competition.
Here’s the thing. Just because a niche is nowhere close to being saturated, that doesn’t mean you should be rushing to stick your dick in it with a sparkling new WordPress installation. Some niches are untapped for a reason. That reason being they suck donkey chode when it comes to making money.
The argument, one I’ve heard many times before, is that traffic is traffic. Who cares if my website reviews antique deck chairs from the 1950s? Stats are stats and if Google is sending me traffic, my site must be worth something. If it’s already drawing some Adsense clicks, all the more power to my “thinking outside the box”.
Building niche websites is the sort of game that anybody can play. Hands up if you can pinpoint an interest obscure enough to have no other presence on the web? Christ, it’s not hard. Here, let me string several niche markets together.
How about a site for divorced Jewish transvestites?
By the laws of human insanity, there’s probably at least 14 people searching for this every month. Six of them being me about 30 seconds ago. And yet I’m guessing there isn’t a niche site for it yet?
So are you going to sit down and build one…just because you can?
Unless you have some seriously hot product catering directly for the market we’re talking about, I’d take a step back and think about what you’re doing. If you see zero potential beyond Adsense and a rare Amazon book referral, you’re probably wasting your time. You niched out too far.
My point is that we can dig so deep for opportunity that we sometimes forget the actual principal of what we’re trying to do; make lots of money.
When you’re running the rule over which new niches to branch in to, ask yourself a few questions:
1. Is this a buying market?
Forget Adsense. Websites built around Adsense are clusterfuck monstrosities that have no place on the Internet. Do you have something legitimate that you can sell to the people interested in this niche? Are there web-savvy local businesses – with actual budgets – that would value your content?
2. If I don’t have a buying market, do I have a LOT of traffic?
It’s okay to not have anything obvious to sell, if you have the necessary weight of traffic to rely on numbers instead. Celebrity fan sites, current trends and big upcoming local events can often merit a website. Why? Because if you do them correctly, you can produce enormous surges of traffic that attract direct buy advertisers.
If attracting highly targeted users to a niche website is one method of making money, the reverse is to take the “niche” out of niche marketing and simply drive a ton of traffic.
Think of all those sports streaming websites out there. Many people don’t want to pay for the PPV package to watch UFC live. So if you stick a live stream up with some pretty basic gateway advertising, you can fill such a huge demand that the numbers make you money – not the concept itself.
3. What is the absolute best case scenario?
Because if your answer is “I sell 3 deck chairs in March and make enough money to pay for my dedicated server“, this is probably just a mid-life crisis you’re going through. Carefully select the Back button and filter back in to whatever pipe dream you came from.
I know it’s easy to aim too high. I mean, shit, my career is built around making people believe in that high. But if your niche website has no obvious gold tap that can be switched on, forget about it and go back to the drawing board. It’s hard enough to make money online WITH a vision of where the money’s going to come from, let alone without one.
4. What is the work vs rewards ratio for my competitors?
If you’re looking at moving in to a niche full of psychopath groupies who whittle away their every hour posting content for the reward of jack diddily, you might want to have a rethink. How serious are your competitors ? If they’re working hard for no money, you’re probably going to have to work even harder just to get the show off the ground.
Do not try to beat Justin Bieber fans at building Justin Bieber niche websites, unless you plan on outsourcing to within a community.
Actually, let me rephrase myself. If your tentative keyword research throws up anything related to Justin Bieber, empty your browser history, wash your hands with soap and think about what you just thought.
What’s wrong with you? There’s a line Internet Marketers should know not to cross.
5. Can I commit to this niche?
Most important of all! If you don’t feel capable of getting your hands dirty with a niche, it’s not going to be a winner. That doesn’t mean you have to be the poor guy sat at his desk and churning out article after article on the topic. But if you know you can’t get the quality content published, you’re only ever going to be a bum search engine traffic gamer.
People forget that simply rolling out a niche website isn’t going to be enough to dominate a market. You have to become an authority in that niche. Doing this requires actual knowledge and expertise. You’re going to have to outsource your content to an expert in the field, or a damn good researcher.
There’s a lot more to consider when launching a niche website than the sheer weight of traffic numbers on Google keyword sandbox. Focus on the potential of making money. Because without that, you’re just another pillock with a fansite.
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