What Is A Niche?
A niche is another word for the topic of your website. For the rest of the book I’ll be using the word ‘niche’, so you can become familiar with internet marketing jargon.
A niche is just a group of people that you can categorize in some way. Golf, cooking, fitness, and tech are broad industries, and not what we’re looking for. What specific subcategories of people can you think of in each of those industries? Here are some random niches I thought of off the top of my head.
- improving your golf swing for seniors
- Golf equipment for kids
- paleo cooking & recipes for families
- how to cook for college students
- indoor exercise equipment (people that live far away from gyms or are too busy to go)
- muscle building for women
- fitness gadgets and wearables (people looking for this type of technology)
- Learning games for kids
See how each of those submarkets targets a much more specific audience? There are many ways to drill down from a broad industry to a targeted niche. There are hundreds of niches within the fitness industry alone, and finding one that makes money is simply a matter of finding one interesting enough to you that you follow through with creating the business.
Some possible ways of defining your niche are simply filling in the blanks: [People] who want to ____. The following examples correspond to the examples above.
- Seniors who want to improve their golf swing
- Kids who want to learn how to play golf (Or parents that who want to teach their kids golf)
- Families who want to eat a paleo diet
- College students who want to cook good food on a budget
- People who want to be fit can’t make it to the gym
- People with disabilities who want to stay in shape but need special training equipment
- People who like to exercise but live in cold climates and can’t exercise outdoors all year
- Women who want to gain muscle
- Fitness enthusiasts interested in technology, data tracking
- Parents who want smart kids
Which ones make the most money? ANY niche can make money! Many training courses I’ve seen have you do a bunch of research before picking a topic for your website, but this is now how I am going to teach you. Yeah, niche research can be useful, but it can also be confusing to newbies, meaning lots of people quit right in the beginning because they’re unable to find the perfect idea and get it right the first time around.
Picking that ‘golden ticket’ niche to make you rich is not what we’re shooting for at this point. We just want to find something that works for you, as a beginner. If you can make your first dollar in a niche you really enjoy, you can then use the skills you learned from building that business to start another website later on. By then you will have the skills to do research, test the market, and direct your business with more intent and foresight.
This is exactly what I did. I mentioned that I started out promoting VPNs. It’s something I had decent knowledge about and enjoyed writing about. But I also saw the huge potential in the “make money online” industry, and most recently started a website in that category.
Using what I learned building my previous sites, I was able to grow my new business faster, more efficiently, and more professionally than before. What may have taken me two years before took me one year this time around.
Please don’t stress about whether or not your niche will make money. It will. Any website with traffic can make money!.
Why Do We Need A Niche?
Why not create an “Everything about golf” website instead of targeting something more specific? More topics = more traffic = more money, right?
Yes and no.
Sites like Mashable, Buzzfeed and Lifehacker cover a huge range of topics and rake in the cash because their “shotgun” strategy. But they have big budgets to hire website developers, writers, and social media managers. These articles are not written by experts, and published just to meet a deadline. The readers are savvy to this, as demonstrated by some recent articles I read about craft beer on Buzzfeed and Business Insider.
I’m a homebrewer and know quite a bit about craft beer. After reading these articles, I immediately knew that they was not written by someone who knew what they were talking about, and comments on the post reflected my own feelings.
Buzzfeed and Business insider got what they wanted – their money comes from ad revenue so they just want views, and don’t care if readers like what they see or not. If I hate it and share it with my friends to tell them how stupid it was, these guys still make money!
This is NOT the way to build a trusted brand. I would never buy a ‘how to brew beer at home’ guide from these websites. They need tens of thousands of views to make money from ad revenue on those cheesy articles. As affiliate marketers promoting specific products to a targeted audience, we can make money much more efficiently than the big guys.
The point is, we pick a niche is so that we can develop specialized knowledge on a very specific topic. Knowing a lot about one thing is much better than knowing a little bit about everything. By becoming an expert, or trusted source of information, people will buy stuff through our site based on our recommendations.
Another reason is simply to pare away the competition. You are starting at ground zero here, with nothing on your website. You’ll also be doing all the work yourself. How can you expect to compete with a website that’s been around for a decade and has 1000’s of articles and loyal fans? You can’t.
So we target a very small audience to make our job more manageable. The extremely specific articles we write make it easier to rank in search engines, and build traffic slowly over time. Once we start gaining traffic from those low traffic, low competition articles, we can begin to expand into broader topics.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to focus on a specific group of people is so we know who we are talking to!
Let’s look at bodybuilding for example. Though you might think of this as a single group of people, there are actually competing subgroups within this arena.
Some guys want to build muscle mass. They love being the biggest guy at the gym and want nothing but ‘gains’ (slang for gaining muscle mass).
There are other guys that want a ‘cut’ physique, and could care less about size. They want to look good in a tank top and be beach-ready all year long. They don’t care about gains, as long as they get the girls.
If you create a website about bodybuilding, who are you talking to? If you write an article about how to gain weight fast, the beach body guys won’t care. If you write an article about how to lose body fat fast, the muscle dudes will worry about loss of muscle mass.
You could even break it down further to ‘natty’ (natural) or ‘juicing’ (steroids) techniques. Include men vs women, and now we have several possible audiences to target our website to.
- natural bodybuilding gains for men
- safe steroid use for bodybuilding women
- lifting techniques to improve physique
- bodybuilding for strength
How targeted you get depends on your level of interest or expertise in a topic, as well as how big of project you want to take on. It’s also nice to leave yourself some elbow room for growth. Doing something like “freeweight gym exercises for women over 50 to gain strength” might be limiting if you run out of exercise routines to talk about.
But ‘strength training for women over 50’ leaves you possible room to include topics like home gym equipment, supplements, human biology, exercise mentality, and so on.
My Stance On Competition
When deciding on a niche for their business, most people will start to look around at similar websites to see what others are doing. They soon realize that these awesome looking, established websites are going to be their competition, and the fear starts to set it.
“How am I ever going to compete with that?!”
I agree, it’s pretty hard to imagine that you, someone starting with pretty much zero internet marketing skills could outrank and outsell some of the big boys, whether it be Amazon.com or The Huffington Post.
The easiest answer to explain at this point is that you have to start somewhere! If you don’t start now, at zero, you’ll never get started. The established players may have a lead on you, but remember, they too started out from scratch some years in the past, and grew to what we see today. In a few years time you will have a head start on some other newbies just getting started, and probably be happy that they have to work hard to achieve what you have.
The growth process isn’t obvious, but it happens to everyone in every business. No one starts out on top.
The other portion of that answer is that no one stays in the lead forever. Many things can happen in the next few years. There are always things happening that shake up the business world, and new opportunities may open up that you never considered before.
One last thing I also want to help you understand is that it doesn’t take that much work to be in the Top 10. To be #1? Yeah, it takes true dedication. But to be just “very good” is achievable just by being consistent over a period of time. If you are careful about the steps you take and focus on creating high quality content that delivers value to your visitors, you will easily outrank 90% of the competition. The vast majority of people in every industry get lazy or complacent at some point, and that provides an opportunity for hard workers just like you!
No, it’s not always as easy as having the answers written on the wall saying, “Hey, Business X didn’t see this opportunity so now it’s time for you to take advantage of it!”. But the opportunities are always there, and it’s just a matter of knowing how to identify them as they pop up. Imagine if we lived in a world where established players just never gave up their position and the new guys never had the opportunity to show them up?
Nothing would change in the world of business, ever.
The more difficult thing to explain is that you will learn tactics and become a savvier business person in the coming months. You might not see things clearly right now, but as you do your research and learn about affiliate marketing, you’ll discover places where competition is extremely low, even in very competitive niches.
For example, weight loss for women is a very competitive niche. Even weight loss for women before weddings is well known as being lucrative and has a lot of established sites to compete against.
But what if you start targeting even smaller areas that the big guys neglect? If usatoday.com is ranking for “how to lose weight before a wedding”, what stones have they left unturned? How about these:
how to lose 10 pounds before my wedding
how to lose weight fast for a wedding for someone with high blood pressure
how to lose weight 2 weeks before a wedding
how to buy a wedding dress if I plan to lose 15 pounds
It just wouldn’t make sense for a site like USA Today to just write these types of articles over and over again. So they write a generalized 500 word pop article that their audience reads and forgets about. The real meat of research and help for people that actually need to lose that weight can be done by you and put on your site loseweightbeforeawedding.com.
No, you won’t get those big fat juicy rankings right away, but you can build up to that. We start with the scraps, but our day is coming!
One article can bring you 100 visits a day, or 10 articles with 10 visits each for a total 100 visits a day. Same deal.
So I mean to make these points clear.
Growth and competitiveness takes time. You’ve got to start somewhere.
There are plenty of ways to squeeze your way into any competitive market if you put in the effort.
Plesae let me know your thought in the comment section !
Thank you, Stay safe and healthy!