According to the predictions, there will be 2 billion websites online by 2015. This makes the web a hell of a crowded space with one website per 3.5 human being.
Because the web is getting crowded, it is important that you chose where you put your effort.
By now, every “big” niche has well established authorities.
These authorities are willing to put up a bit of a fight if you come on their territories to challenge them.
And trust me, you will rarely win in the long term.
Because of that, you will need to narrow down your niche.
This is the #1 mistake I see a lot of people make online: going too broad. I did that mistake myself when I started Health Ambition.
The site is now profitable and almost completely passive. However, it took me a lot of time and effort to reach a mediocre level of profitability.
There’s a simple reason for that: I targeted “health” as a niche. As a result, my visitors come of the site with a variety of different concerns.
This makes it difficult to write something that’s relevant to all of them and connect. And that despite providing high quality content.
This was a tough lesson to learn but now the site is on track and growing day by day.
This is why when I started this site. I’ve decided to focus on helping people building authority sites. Not a general online marketing blog.
This choice is going to brush some people off but I hope that those believing in this particular business model will stick around.
This is the same for you, you need to pick a sub niche of your main niche that you can realistically own and be the “go to” person for. This is the best way to gain loyal followers that will trust your advice and make your time worthwhile.
Finding your unique angle
Now in order to find your angle or “sub niche”, it is very important to ask yourself the following questions:
- What can I bring to this niche, is there something I’m specifically good at?
- What is the competition not doing that is in demand and I could do?
- What can I do better than the competition?
The real challenge here is to make sure your side is not drawn into a sea of look alike competitors and that you have a real point of difference.
If you fail to find a way to be different, things will be much harder for you. Your only way to stand out will be to outdo your competitors that often have more resources than you.
The natural ways to have more energy would be niche enough, yet a lot of people are suffering from low energy and fibromyalgia.
Most of them are not willing to waste their bodies with coffee and energy drinks.
Perfect! If I can add value in that sub niche let’s jump into it! You can always broaden the spectrum of the site later when you have an audience.
Will it make money?
Now the main reason most of you are interested in starting authority sites is to make a side income or a full time living.
That’s why you will have to do a thorough monetisation research before you invest all your time and/or money into a project.
There are several ways you can monetise the information your produce. Here is a short list:
- Contextual ads such as Adsense.
- Sell advertising space directly or through a network such as BuySellAds.
- Promote downloadable and info products from places like Clickbank.
- Promote physical products from places like Shareasale or Amazon.
- Joining individual affiliate programs
- Creating your own products.
Uncovering the commercial potential of your niche
The first question you want to answer when reaching this part of the process is: Do other people make money with this niche?
If others can make money, so can you, remember, there’s nothing new on the internet.
There’s several ways to answer this question and they’re all very easy:
- Google it and see if ads appear on top and on the right. If ads appear, people are willing to pay for traffic interested in that niche (this means you can sell ads)
- Are there affiliate offers and/or products in that niche? I suggest using Odigger, it’s an affiliate program search engine. Simply type your topics in and see what it comes up with.
- Still on Google, look for less known / niche related sites and observe the way they monetise. Hint: it’s probably one of the solutions above.
Here are some offers I found using Odigger as well for the “more energy” niche:
- Adrenal fatigue formula
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Solution
- How To Beat Fibromyalgia And Chronic Fatigue Syndrome In 40 Days
Once you’ve gone through all these checks, you should have a pretty good idea of wether you can make money from your idea or not.
You will also have a much clearer idea of HOW you can make money.
Is the market a fad or does it have a future?
One thing you want to be really careful about is market trends and seasonality.
It would suck to spend a lot of time and effort to build a site and realise that the interest was just a fad.
Picking evergreen niches is probably the best choice for this kind of business model.
I personally set myself the objective that every site I build will still be relevant (and making me money) in 10 years.
But how do you assess the longevity and trends of a niche? Well thanks to Google, there is a tool for that. It’s called Google trends.
In order to use it simply enter broad keywords related to the niche you’re about to enter.
Here’s an example in my “more energy” niche. It clearly looks like the interest in the topic is growing and this would be a great space to enter before it’s too crowded.
Evaluating your competition
Now that you know the niche has growing interest and can be monetised, it’s time to see how hard it is going to be to beat the competition.
It’s also important to evaluate what kind of traffic you can expect from a successful site in this niche.
If you remember well, the authority model mostly relies on free sources of traffic like:
- Social media
- Referral traffic
Therefore, I rely heavily on google and social media to find my competitors. By Googling around, I found several competitors.
Mostly the health giants are on top of search. However, the following 3 sites seem to be built on the authority model and show up as well :
In order to assess their level of traffic, I recommend using SEMrush. The free account is enough for this but you should register to get more data.
When you input the URL of the website, you’ll be able to see roughly how much traffic they pull from search.
You will also be able to see the keywords running traffic and if they run ads.
This is what the dashboard looks like and where to find the important information:
After considering what you’re going to learn on this website and with the stats we got from that competitor.
It feels safe to say that achieving 15,000 visits/month for a site about fibromyalgia / chronic fatigue / getting more energy is doable.
Evaluating search competition
Because search is going to be a major source of targeted traffic, it’s important to understand how competitive the search landscape in your chosen niche is.
Prior to reading this section if you haven’t, I suggest you learn a bit about SEO by reading the Beginner’s guide to SEO from Moz.
There’s no perfect free way to do this for free. However I recommend using the Moz Chrome extension.
You can then Google around for keywords you saw your competitors rank for in SEMrush.
The plugin will add an overlay with interesting metrics as shown on this screenshot:
To learn more about what these numbers mean check out the pages about domain authority, page authority and external links on Moz.com.
But overall, the higher the numbers, the more competitive the niche. If a site has a domain authority (DA) of over 40 along with a decent page authority (PA), it will take some time to outrank it usually.
Making your final decision
So after you’ve collected all that data, how do you decide if the sub niche you’ve chosen is worth your while?
Well to be honest it depends and it’s hard to give some hard numbers.
The best way to go about this is to get back to the mind map up there and list all the sub niches where you can add value. Then run that full analysis on each of them.
When you compare them side by side, there will be clear winners and clear losers. I suggest giving them a score of viability out of 10.
Although, even if I can’t give you hard numbers, I can give you priorities:
Value adding ability > Monetisation > Trends > Competition
Ultimately it comes down to this:
- If you can add a ton of value then creating your own products shouldn’t be a problem and you’ll make a ton of money.
- If the trends go downwards but there is a ton of money to be made then you’re still good to go.
- If the trends competition is fierce but you can add value and the growth of the market is exploding then you should go in anyway.
In the case of the fibromyalgia example, the main keywords are saturated with the big guys. It would be extremely tough to grab those.
However, the long tail more specialised keywords are pretty much a free grab. I’d give this niche a 6.5/10 if I was to personally pursue it.
I hope this post has will be helpful to you when it comes down to choosing a niche and sub niche. If you have any question let me know in the comment section bellow and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Resources in this post
All these tools are free to use