What you will learn
Niche Research Mistakes
Niche research is arguably one of the most important steps when starting a new authority site. The likelihood of creating a successful site depends heavily on your ability to choose a niche that ticks all the right boxes.
One of the biggest mistakes we see with niche research is what’s known as ‘paralysis by analysis’. Spending so much time on the research phase that you start experiencing information overload and can no longer make a logical decision.
On the other hand, we also see people who are too lazy to put in an adequate amount of research. As a result, they’re usually too quick to choose niche and end up with something that will probably fail.
It’s important to strike the right balance. Finding the right niche does require a lot of work, but at the same time, you need to enable yourself to make a decision when you’ve finally gathered all the facts.
Note: To give you some kind of benchmark, the niche we used in The Authority Site System took us about a week (~2 hours/day) to finally settle on.
What To Look For When Choosing a Niche
Niche research is essentially about looking at different markets and making comparisons. Specifically, these are some of the niche criteria we use:
How difficult it would be to rank for niche related keywords (including keywords with commercial intent).
Finding keywords with commercial/buyer intent means you can create content that targets people further along the buying process (resulting in much higher conversions).
What products and services are being sold in that niche and how you could potentially offer those too. Things like affiliate programs, training courses, physical product, etc.
Whether or not you yourself have some level of interest in that niche. Though not essential, we recommend having some personal interest in the topic because it makes it a lot easier to stick at it long-term.
Mass market niches (like phones and laptops) should always be AVOIDED. Not only are they super-competitive, but they also offer very low commissions.
The 3 Niche Categories
Although there are countless niches to choose from, they can all be grouped into 3 main categories:
Niches that people are obsessed with (almost like hobbies on steroids).
- Horse riding
- Model trains
Niches that people identify with (how they would describe themselves).
Niches that offer a direct solution to a specific problem or pain point.
- Weight loss
Which Is The Best Niche Category?
Though you can always find a successful niche in either category, they’re not all created equal.
For example, passion and lifestyle niches have an edge because they inherently have a strong community, which is a marketing opportunity that can be leveraged on social media platforms.
Additionally, you’ll find tend to find less “experts” and more “bloggers” in these categories, which makes outreach (and link building) so much easier.
Actionable Steps For Finding a Niche
Let’s move away from the theory and give you some actionable steps when it comes to actually choosing your fist niche.
Step 1) Make a List
Write down a list of niches that take your fancy using websites/directories such as Dmoz, Alltop and Reddit. At this stage, the only factor you should consider is whether you have an interest in that niche.
Step 2) Eliminate Niches
Run your list through the niche criteria above (what to look for in a niche) and cross off any that aren’t aligned.
Step 3) Research
For the remaining niches, you need to actually go out and research the the criteria above. That means looking at keywords, evaluating commercial, and identifying monetization opportunities.
An Example Of A “Good” Niche
Now we’ve broken down the process, let’s put it into context by looking at a niche that does tick all the boxes… The outdoors niche.
First of all, it’s a passion/lifestyle niche so we know it’s one that people get excited about. It’s a market that has an endless amount of products to sell, whether that’s through Amazon or private affiliate programs.
A good chunk of those products are also high-ticket items (like tents and kayaks), so you can expect a healthy commission on sales.
It’s a fairly broad niche with a huge number of topics and plenty of low difficulty keywords to target, which also makes content creation and link building a breeze.
To top it off, our research also revealed a TON of other outdoors sites, so we know it works.
For further reading, be sure to check out the advanced podcast on choosing a niche.