KeyWords: NICHE, AFFILIATE, GOOGLE, PUBLISHER, JV,
Finding A Niche For Your Blog (And Why It Is Critically Important)
Your niche when properly chosen will provide you with a good deal of organic search traffic. That is traffic from internet searches. Before I go into the nuts and bolts of picking a niche I think I need to have a brief discussion about this niche business model vs a JV model. (pure affiliate promotion – maybe no niche)
Do you want a niche business model?
Now if you’ve done any searching around on the web you know that obtaining organic search is a bone of contention among some internet marketers. Some very prominent marketing gurus will say that the organic search method is a waste of time, while some other very high powered marketing experts say this is the only way to go.
Usually, the marketing experts who have been around for a while are the ones who talk about organic search. These are the folks who seem to have had the staying power in the internet marketing business and they are the ones who have chosen a niche based publishing business. There are others like Todd Gross who have a new hustle every week and that is a different business model which I’ll discuss in the future.
The internet marketers who don’t believe in filling a website with content are quick to point out that the problems with publishing mass content, is that you are at the mercy of Google and you may never rank on page one. There is some truth to that. Not every article will make it to page one on Google. That’s why picking a niche is so important.
The Publisher Business Model
And in the other corner are the “publishers” (I’ll call them from now on) who state that if you have the best content you will rank through organic search traffic on page one for at least some of your articles and that interlinking will provide you with a greater number of page views and therefore provide a measure of income security in the long run.
Let’s talk about Google and their algorithm updates for just a minute. You and I both use Google to search the web. What do we want when we search? We want quality information. Plain and simple. We want the best search results. Do you really want what was considered a search 15 yrs ago? Not me. I don’t want to see every spammy marketer’s garbage offer before I get to the information I really need. I don’t want to go to page 20 on Google to find the first decent article. I want the best information right in front of me.
So when I write an article for the web I want to think about my reader and that means writing the best article I am capable of writing. It has to cover all of the bases, I need to talk about pros and cons, and I need to have an adequately long discussion about these topics to make the article complete with little left out.
So when you’re preparing a blog post for the web keep this in mind. Do the best job for your reader you can and in the long run, you will be rewarded.
Should Google be a Consideration when writing your blog?
So quality long-form content is what you as a reader wants and that is what Google has gotten good at finding as well. You see if you are going to try run your publishing business as a spammy marketer you don’t deserve to be on page one do you? But if you have well-crafted articles with adequate content Google over time will start promoting your content over content with lower quality.
So don’t write to please Google, write to please your reader. Don’t keyword stuff your article, don’t write short incomplete articles and try not to write fluff just to pad out your article to make it long. This will attract organic search. Have some serious discussions in your article. Remember, the folks at Google are all highly educated and in many cases, they have written huge doctoral thesis’. A 500-word article doesn’t even make up the abstract (summary) for many of their writings. You need to write adequately long content to be in the game for the top spot.
Neil Patel states that all of his content is 4000 words plus and that his blog now gets well over 2,500,000 visitors per month. (that’s 2.5 million) As a result, Neil Patel is considered an authority in the web traffic industry. Now before you get discouraged and say I can never reach that level just remember that Neil Patel has a staff that writes or contributes to many of his articles. He didn’t get there overnight. And what you and I see on his website is a culmination of years of hard work.
What does all of this have to do with picking a niche? The niche you choose needs to have adequate information and resources that you will be able to write long-form posts on a regular basis.
The idea of a publisher model is to be a go-to website for your readers and as such you will be able to attract advertisers it will assess in helping you meet your monthly goals of income.
Your personal considerations to determining what niche site you will start
Before you choose a niche I think you need to reflect a bit on what will drive you to be the best writer that you can be so you can write a number of good articles in long-form content and have those discussions with your reader as though you were sitting around the kitchen table.
Try to remember that there has to be a balance between popularity and scarcity. The subject of your niche needs to be somewhat popular but there should be limited resources on the web for people to go to.
This doesn’t mean that when you type your topic into Google the page has to come back blank. What it means is that the first page of Google is showing pages that you think you could easily beat for rankings.
I recently started a website with my daughter and the search term we wanted came back with some lightweight magazine-style articles and one or two credible websites. There is lots of room for competition in a reasonably active category (a subset of veganism)
Some questions to ask yourself:
- What am I truly interested in and I have or could have as a hobby?
- What are my personal skills that relate to this niche?
- What skills are lacking in me and can I overcome these weaknesses?
- What interests do I have where I know I could create a marketable business?
- What problems can I solve for my reader?
- What are my readers pain points?
- Is there an adequate need for your customers to look for this niche?
Narrowing your Niche Focus with the Four Layer Method and gain more readers
One of the most important things you can do after determining the niche is determining the specific focus of your niche. I’ve heard it called niche down and then niche down again. You will get lost in the millions of websites on the net if you make your niche too wide.
Let’s say you are in the boating niche. Are you on the ocean or rivers, luxury yachts, or runabouts or canoes, kayaks, adventure kayaking. Or how about sailboats. What about wooden boats, or speed boats or pontoon boats. Catamarans maybe? How about trawlers, or tug boats.
I just did a search on Google for types of catamarans and came up with an article on the 40 best multi-hulled boats which includes daysailing catamarans and cabin cruiser style cats. Then there are trimarans, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
OK before I get going I think I’ve made my point about niches.
Forbes Magazine published a “4 layer method” To finding your niche. So with this method, you start wide and continue to narrow the focus.
The example that Kavon K (the author) gives is that of a personal trainer who narrows his focus to say that the focus in women and then narrows the focus again to women who want to lose weight and then narrows the focus again to “women who want to lose weight post-pregnancy”
Another way to look at this example:
- Level 1 – Personal Trainer
- Level 2 – Personal Trainer who works with women
- Level 3 – Personal Trainer who works with women wanting to lose weight
- Level 4 – Personal Trainer who works with women wanting to lose weight post pregnancy
So this is the concept of narrowing your niche focus. Over half of the people searching weight loss no longer type in “lose weight” into a Google search bar. These days with Google voice search your customers are asking complete sentences like “How do I lose weight after having a baby?”
Picking an evergreen Niche
An evergreen niche is a niche that will be popular and not need much maintenance for the foreseeable future. So a website about tech gadgets (which will change day by day) will always need upgrading and maintaining but a website about Yellowstone National Park will always have interest and there much less updating – say, only when new discoveries or activities are noted.
This means much less work for you as a blogger. Do you really want to update your website every time a new cell phone or game comes out? You will always be playing catch up and always wondering how much traffic and income you lost because blog “X” beat you to the punch. You could live your life in a state of constant anxiety
Some evergreen blogs are:
Fitness – For instance, lifting weights doesn’t change and from time to time you hear about some new ideas but the upkeep on a blog like this is much less than keeping up with an ever-changing niche. Now it’s just not weight lifting but just about every sport you can think of. There are also tons of products to sell, books to market and Amazon links to get.
Health – Provided you’re not getting into serious health topics like signs and symptoms of a heart attack which Google will send searchers to a medical website like Web MD or American Heart Association. You can do well. Benefits of herbs and spices come to mind, vegan cooking, weight loss, are some good ones.
Wealth -The need for money will never go away in our lifetimes. You can build sites in the money management niche making money online niche, how to make money in traditional methods, and many other sorts of personal finance. Additionally, there is the investment niche where you could inform people about various commodities and trading if you have specialized knowledge in these areas.
If you are giving serious advice Google will not promote your site unless you have credentials that prove you know what you are talking about. But if you are running a site say, about couponing, you should not be affected negatively by Google because couponing does not require a degree or certification.
Personal development niche – personal development is a very popular niche because there are so many ways for us to improve ourselves whether it be attitude, appearance or relationships there are many niches and sub-niches within the personal development field. Some sub-niches that come to mind in the personal development niche are leadership skills, Communications, confidence, and overcoming procrastination.
How To Determine If Your Niche Is Profitable
There are a number of ways to determine if your niche is profitable and you’ll find that many affiliate advisers will tell you to do an initial keyword search. Well, I don’t disagree with this has an initial way to determine profitability based on experience I can tell you that the search volumes in the Google keyword tool are way off. You may be thinking about a good niche but the keyword search tool will say that there are 0 searches in that niche. Your normal reaction would be to eliminate that from your list. Well, don’t eliminate it yet.
I would start by developing a short list of keywords, maybe 15 to 20 keywords and then just type them into Google. What do Google results say? If there are ads on the search results page there is likely a market for your sub-niche.
While you are on the search results page see how many websites are actually relevant to the search. Are you finding relevant searches on the second page of Google or do low quality basic articles come up that are five or six hundred words? If you can go to page 10 or 20 of the Google results and still find many relevant websites and you determine you would have a hard time competing with these articles, this is not the niche for you. You want a niche where there are one or two or maybe even up to 5 pages of relevant search results because you will be able to out blog most of those publishers.
So in short, my criteria we’re choosing a niche is that other people are actually advertising in that niche, and there is a relatively small number of good websites that are in the search results pages.
After you’ve gone that far it is good to take a look at who is offering to pay you as an affiliate in that niche. There is always Amazon who will pay from 1% to 8% on most sales. I would be looking further than just Amazon because in my opinion the commission’s are relatively low and the cookie duration is extremely short.
Now, if you expect that you will be able to get hundreds of thousands of page views per month and you make one sale per thousand page views you could do okay with some Amazon products but I would consider Amazon only one small piece of the affiliate puzzle.
Look for affiliate offers but pay better than 10% and maybe even as high as 50% in your niche. In another article, I’ll talk about finding affiliate offers but for now, sign up ClickBank as a publisher and see what offers are available in your niche.
What does it all mean?
So we discussed the importance of finding a topic your interested in and how narrowing the scope of your website can actually improve your search rankings. Longtail keywords in a narrowly focused niche with quality long-form content will likely get you close to the top in Google.
When you have well thought-out niche blog posts, you can build a mailing list site visitors and this list will be responsive to your high-value low-cost offerings.
Even though you might be just starting out with your blog, by developing your blogging business overtime you can become a leading expert in your niche.
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Let’s keep the discussion going on finding profitable niches in the comments!