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:
- Pick a niche
- Build a website for the niche, focusing on search-engine-optimization (SEO) strategies
- 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?