How to Evaluate a Niche Market

google keyword tool

What is a Niche Market?

One of my 2010 goals is to make at least $500 in supplemental income. While there a million and one ways to do this, I thought it would be an interesting (and ultimately beneficial?) experiment to focus on online niche marketing.

The core idea, from what I’ve come to understand, is a three-stage process:

  1. Pick a niche
  2. Build a website for the niche, focusing on search-engine-optimization (SEO) strategies
  3. Monetize the website

Matt Kepnes (of nomadicmatt.com) and Kirsty Henderson (of nerdynomad.com) are good examples of people who have made this system work. By creating highly specific, keyword-optimized sites, both Matt and Kirsty generate enough money each month to sustain their world travels. Pretty remarkable, when you think about it. Oh, another thing. Once the site is set up, little to no maintenance is required. It’s a textbook example of passive income.

To give you an idea of what a niche site looks like, check out How To Teach English Overseas. It’s simple, mostly text-based and brimming with relevant information. Throughout the pages you’ll find Google Ads, but on the home page you can also see a small affiliate banner. One website, two different sources of monthly income–good work.

Picking and Evaluating a Niche

No one can tell you how to pick the right niche. There are several different strategies. That being said, the following steps should help get you started.

Step 1: pick keywords
Choose too broad of a niche and your site won’t stand out in the search engine’s algorithm. An example: “water bottle.” Type it into Google and you’ll see 22,800,000 competing sites. Yikes. Think about keywords that are smaller in scope. Instead of “water bottle,” try “thermos flask.” Or “stainless steel flask.” You’ll see why this matters in steps two and three. Of course, if you choose too narrow of a niche you won’t get any traffic!

Step 2: evaluate keyword metrics
Check out Google AdWords: Keyword Tool. Type your keywords into the search box and you’ll see a ton of information. Concentrate on the Global Monthly Search Volume. That tells you how many people are searching for those keywords in Google, around the world, each month. Write that number down.

Step 3: determine competition
Go to Google.com and type in your keywords. In the upper right part of the screen, do you see where it says Results 1-10 of about…? That tells you how many sites are competing for the same keyword set. Write that number down as well.

The key, you might have realized, is to find a set of keywords with high monthly search volume and low competing pages. If you’ve done that, you already have a huge advantage. Of course, there are several other elements to consider, but these are the basics.

At the moment, I’m working on building content for two sites of my own. Here are the statistics for both keyword sets.

Keywords 1: 22,200 global monthly searches / 291,000 competing sites

Keywords 2: 40,500 global monthly searches / 98,400 competing sites

Once I finalize my content (at least the first stage of content), I will show you both sites and walk you through my efforts at SEO, marketing and monetization.

Have you had any experience with niche marketing? Any tips you could provide? Did this post even make sense?

18 thoughts on “How to Evaluate a Niche Market”

  1. I wonder how much money a site like HowToTeachEnglishOverseas.com would make?

    The content is limited and not particularly unique. There is no information about the author of the site and no way to connect on social media sites. Also, the information on Japan (that is the only one I checked) is dated and incorrect. When I come across sites like this I just click away because I know how unreliable the information is going to be.

    Do sites like this really make money?
    .-= John Bardos – JetSetCitizen´s last blog ..Interview with World Travelers, Uncornered Market =-.

  2. Good question John.

    You’re absolutely right – the nature of the site is limiting…on all accounts.

    Ideally, niche marketing sites are dynamic and up-to-date. In reality, of course, many of them are one-offs. Static sites set up with the sole purpose of passive income. I tend to click away as well…

    Yes – they do make money. I wish I could find more specifics (anyone willing to disclose some figures?)–one example I found is Kirsty, mentioned above in the post. Here is a link to her monthly earnings reports: nerdynomad.com/category/income-report.

    Once I get my two sites up and running, I’ll do the same thing. Assuming they generate money, of course ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. All good advice. This is a great way to make some, and potentially a lot, of money online. Once I’m done creating two info products that I’m currently working on I will begin making niche sites in the exact way you just described.

    About the point that John brought up, I don’t think that niche sites are meant to be a community site (like connecting with the author via social media etc.). They are meant to give quick information and then direct the visitor to either click on another article or on an advertisement.

    I’ve actually heard of people purposely making sites with boring/poorly written content with ads placed strategically at the beginning of the content, in hopes that the visitor will be disgusted with the site and leave via a quick and enticingly written advertisement. The point is to get the readers attention off the actual content and onto the surrounding ads. Tricky tricky.
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..reclaim your weekend =-.

  4. Actually, you’ve given some nice piece of advice here. May I add that building a website around are niche should be heavily prepared. Most failed in blogging because they are not prepared. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hi,

    Good post. I am inthe middle of a series of tests to generate a passive revenue.

    As you know ad revenue if a function of display the right ad in front of the right people at the right time x nb of visitors.

    Traffic-wise, I just build great-iphone-aps.com and write one article per day. the backend is wordpress with a dozen of plug-ins to make it SEO friendly. Let’s see if traffic takes off by fopllowing the book an if I make the same amount of money that Nerdy Nomad. I think I will but when? as you may have notice Nerdfy Nomad has been blogging since 2007.

    Another test that I will run next week is auto-blogging. There are some plugin available that allows you to pull info from other sites such as Yahoo Answers for example.

    This is duplicated content for sure and google is supposed to ban this site very quickly. However, with all the new socuial features that I see on many websites (such as re-tweet) getting ban by google because of duplicated content may be a myth in 2010.

    If auto-blogging works, well I will produce 10 websites and may generate 10 x 200 USD = 2000 USD.

    will keep u posted.
    feel free to comment the above.
    cheers,
    fred

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and article. I rarely post comment…

    If I want to get a hold of you, what would be the best way to get in touch? I’d love to run some ideas by you one of these days…related to the acn marketing & sales video phone project I am working on. Thanks a lot and I look forward to your reply.

    Regards,
    Eugene Gregorio

  7. $500 in supplemental income as a goal for 2010, did you steal that from my 2010 shortlist or do great minds think alike? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Niche marketing seems to be the best way to go for a sideincome, looking into that one myself and found a small niche that doesn’t seem to be tapped at the moment. One-offing is the biggest downside. YOu set something up and it works, but will it work in a year, let alone 5 to 10 years?

    That really made me think, aside from the savings guys like Leo, Darren and Glen must have by now, how will they be faring in a decade. Will there still be the posibility of online income for us “little people” or is it in the hands of huge corporations making millions with us down here not standing a chance to compete anymore.

    Time is ticking, better get to it right now and reach that goal by the end of 2010 and keep developing new niches until we reach the cross-over point.

    Please keep us informed, looking forward to the developments.

    1. @Christiaan: I may have, now that I think about it ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re right–niche marketing, at least the way I described it, is mostly a short-term solution. That being said, people who take it seriously tend to hedge themselves by setting up multiple sites. Perhaps a few of these will, in fact, generate money long and far down the road. There’s only one way to find out!

  8. I’m really focussing on this sort of thing too now. The only advice I think I can give is that the number of sites a keyword search returns isn’t really a good indication of competition. If “water bottle” has 300k low quality results and “thermos flask” has just 25k with plenty of high quality results it will probably be best to target “water bottle” as you will find it easier to get a higher ranking.

    I follow the method laid out at the Keyword Academy which evaluates how likely you will be able to rank for keywords with a really solid formula. Having seen a few different formulas theirs is the best I have come across.

    Drop me an email if you want to chat more about it, would be happy to help you out.
    .-= Dan´s last blog ..2009 and 2010 in Brief =-.

  9. @Dan: Have heard good things about the Keyword Academy–I’ll check that out. Will get in touch soon after a bit more research. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Alan,

    My first time here and I’m glad I found your blog. I have a similar article on my site and will be going through a product testing phase very soon. In fact, I just started a series and published part 2 of it today (putting together a product website). I’ll be reading through more of your content.

    Check it out if you have a moment. Thanks!
    .-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..Product Marketing and Testing Seriesโ€“Part II: Hacking The Technical โ€œStuffโ€ When Creating Product Website =-.

  11. I can tell you for a fact that niche blogging – and marketing – can do a lot more than make you money. In the past two years, I’ve built up a following based on genuine articles, a dedication to writing in said niche, and reaching out to people outside of the niche.

    The niche? Living and traveling in South Korea. I can’t say it’s the sexiest sounding niche, but it’s one that anyone in the world can check out and relate to – even live vicariously through.

    There’s something to be said about perks – getting in to a rocking concert for free, or being sent an excellent book to review. Just writing a sparse blog doesn’t get you the real-world benefits. Food for thought.

    Time to check out something different – check out life in Korea.

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