Finding an idea to run with for your new niche site can be a bit tricky especially when you’ve been taught time and time again just to load up a keyword research tool. Well, let’s end this single approach to niche creation right here and now because I’m about to drop on you eight, count ‘em, eight ingenious ways to find profitable niche site ideas.
I asked my readers the ways that they find niche website ideas, I (and the community) received a lot of great feedback on a variety of ways to develop these kinds of websites. In the background, I took notes and also wanted to create a great list of methods I (and others) use to develop our own ideas (along with monetization methods) for each of the sites.
This post is a collection of those ideas but on a deeper level; dig through each of these and try to apply them to your own niche website creation process:
Method 1: The “Hobby”
The “hobby” method to approaching niche site creation is one of my favorite because of two reasons:
- You know that people need to buy some kind of item to get started
- You can aim specifically for beginners (which is a very large market)
A hobby, generally, details the use of some kind of item: you’d need a basketball to start playing…basketball, you’d need bongos to start playing…bongos; you get my point.
Not only do you get the benefit of KNOWING that people need an item but you also have the perfect item to promote through eCommerce affiliate programs.
Additionally, aiming for beginner’s within the hobby niche lets you tap into a very, very large market since we know that the majority of people will at least start the hobby; this calls for simple content creation and a small learning curve for starting within the niche.
How I’d Approach It: I personally have a hobby website which targets beginner’s; it’s one of the largest earners which I display within my income reports.
Generally, I will write a blog post specifically tailored to answer questions beginner’s have within the niche. Being apart of the hobby, myself, has helped with crafting content because I too was once a beginner so it’s just simply calling up old questions I tried to find online.
There’s a few ways I currently monetize my hobby website:
- A freebie eBook that details the items you need to get started (with affiliate links)
- Product review posts (with affiliate links)
- Tutorials which also point back to the product review pages
Depending on the hobby you choose, it can still be underground and ready to explode. If you’re a member of the niche than you can have a lot of fun creating your site, provide very valuable information and generate a decent online income.
Method 2: The “Flippa”
Have you heard of Flippa? It’s a website which allows website owners to sell their sites at auction but if you dig down a bit deeper, you’ll find many niche website ideas that are already quite profitable which you could replicate.
Taking a look through Flippa, playing around with the parameters for the auctions and looking at the websites directly, you’ll notice trends in these sites being sold – it’s a niche research goldmine.
Additionally, if you find a niche which you feel comfortable pursuing, you could always pickup a site being sold through Flippa which will give you the edge (since you wouldn’t need to do the initial blog setup and basic configuration).
How I’d Approach It: Although I haven’t bought through Flippa (yet), I will occasionally browse through the listings to see what kind of niche sites I may be in competition with in the near future.
If I know that a website is currently generating a revenue but looks like crap, I know that I have an edge because I have the resources to use great themes.
Additionally, I’ll take a look through Yahoo Site Explorer to see what kind of backlinks the already profitable website is generating – if I notice that it’s really lacking on the end of backlinks than I know, again, that I have an edge on the competition.
Even if I don’t pursue a niche which I find through Flippa, I do get to see many different monetization methods which I could use on my own blogs; it’s pure market research which can do wonders during niche site creation.
Method 3: The “Spy”
A tool that has become immensely valuable for creating Adsense ready niche sites is SpyFu. I’ve talked briefly about SpyFu (including video) about using it to find profitable niches; when you KNOW that a keyword is generating clicks and pays well, you know you’re on the right path.
Spying in on the competition with tools like SpyFu or SEOQuake can give you an inside glimpse at who you’re up against. Alex recently wrote a post about these two tools called: What Linkbuilders Aren’t Telling You. The idea is the same: You use both to dig through content and competition to see where you can find an edge and since you know Adsense will be paying well, you know you’re onto a profitable niche.
How I’d Approach It: I’ve done this one as well; for my website Laserjet4Toner.com, I took a look through how well Adsense was paying for keywords related to the printer and printing supplies.
Although I prefer Amazon, I could see that clicks for printing supplies generally pay well – about the same price for Amazon (sometimes more).
I created a rather simple website that I designed on my own (fun project), wrote a few articles and pushed it online. I haven’t touched it in over a year (pretty much) and it’s currently ranked on page 1 of Google. When I did run Adsense, it paid out pretty well because I took the time to research what advertisers were paying through SpyFu.
Method 4: The “Razors & Razor blades”
The “razors & razor blades” is the most powerful form of niche site creation because the concept goes like this:
A company sells razors for pennies on the dollar so they can get it into your hands but where they really make their money is through selling the razorblades.
See what I’m saying? There’s actually a lot of these markets out there. A lot of tech companies have been doing this recently and you see it all the time with cell phone provides (free phones) and more.
By going after a “razors & razor blades” market, you KNOW people will need to buy products in relation to the bigger item. You don’t have to worry about the one time sale because people HAVE to keep buying the supplies.
How I’d Approach It: Again, the website Laserjet4Toner that I created plays along these same lines. In order for you to print, you have to have toner for the machine – it’s not a question, you don’t pay than you don’t print.
In retrospect, however, I would have gone after a printer with a much higher demand – which can be researched through tools like SpyFu or going to an eCommerce website.
With that being said, there are still thousands upon thousands of untapped niches when you consider creating a micro niche sites about just a single product from the many, many supplies.
This niche site idea generation plays in a lot on the “hobby” method as well because if you KNOW people need an item to get started (or keep going) than you’re positioning yourself into the perfect opportunity to earn an online income. Simple, right?
Method 5: The “R&D”
The “R&D” is exactly as it sounds; you’re doing a lot of research and development in order to find profitable niches. This method is the most accepted and used of all the idea generation methods because it details using keyword research tools and gut feeling on finding those untapped niches.
The Google Keyword Tool is priceless for this operation but you can go with such tools like Market Samurai, Micro Niche Finder or a variety of other online tools like Wordtracker or Wordstream.
Plug in your main keyword and you’ll be generated a nice list of related keywords and stats to boot – take them and run with them!
How I’d Approach It: I generally shy away from paid tools because I like to go to the source which is always the Google keyword tool (most tools draw upon this anyway so why going through a loop, right?).
Once inside the keyword tool, I’ll begin plugging away items, keywords or phrases which I feel would become a great idea for a niche site.
Personally, I go a lot off of gut feeling and my own interests because if I care for a niche than I’ll be able to create content, promote products and hold conversations with the community without feeling unethical or alienated.
I’ve done this before with my website RezPls (now dead-ish), which was related to free mmorpg’s. I had been playing them quite frequently around that time and decided to create a site around it with a few friends.
Eventually it went under because it was three guys trying to cover 100’s of games but in the short stint that we had running the site, we did receive a lot of kickbacks from game companies and a ton of traffic from their promotions for our website.
Note: I’m currently writing a post specifically about this site because it contains a lot of great information which you could use for your own niche website creation.
Method 6: The “Marketplace”
Tapping into marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay or Clickbank can quickly lead you to a very profitable niche.
Knowing what people are buying and having a product to back you up will allow you to craft micro niche sites (or big ones) that tap right into the buying habits of those within the niche.
Dig through Amazon, eBay and other marketplaces to see what people enjoy buying but don’t get caught up on just the top sellers list. You can literally create a website around everything because, basically, if an eCommerce store is carrying it than you can bet that it’s selling.
How I’d Approach It: In a sense, most of the niche websites I’ve created have utilized this method not only for product promotion but for content creation as well.
Knowing what products people buy and even the related ones (usually displayed at the bottom of the page) lets you figure out exactly the buying process that people are getting into prior to the purchase; you can then craft your product review posts or entire articles around that same feeling.
Leveraging websites like Amazon that have poured millions into their sales process is pure genius.
Using the gravity within Clickbank tells you that it’s a great seller. eBay has spent millions honing its sales process as well and you can cater to those that may be a bit strapped for cash since you can display auctions within the network. There’s a lot of room to play around with when you tap into marketplaces for your niche website ideas.
Method 7: The “Trend”
Least we not forget (because everyone kept bringing it up when I asked about niche site ideas) is tapping into trends. Using trends for niche market research gives you two really awesome benefits:
- You’re finding ideas for things that are building up
- You can find if a niche is dying out (so you don’t waste your time)
There are plenty of trend tools available online but I’m sure that you’ll generally go to Google Trends for the most part. You can use other sites like Alexa which can give you daily trends (I’ve found a few niches there); if you do, read this post from Thu which details using Alexa for ideas.
How I’d Approach It: I tend to shy away from trends because they can be really hard to judge although there are some that you can always expect: holiday’s.
Recently, during Black Friday, I did a hard push to get people to check out the deals on Amazon – this lead to an additional $150 in affiliate income during the month because of the hype of the day.
You can tap into other holiday’s that happen every year (durr) so if there’s something up than you can be ready for it by creating content in advance and shifting focus in your marketing message – I plan to promote the hell out of Christmas and New Years deals.
In all, trends can be great if you can foresee what’s coming up but that’s extremely hard to do unless you’re on the inside (usually within a hobby or if you have a lot of great information). I tried to write a few posts around holiday’s but I missed it by just a liiiittle bit and nothing came about it so, in all, it’s a roll of the dice.
Method 8: The “Look Out”
The last niche website development method that I’d like to bring up is the easiest of them all because all that you’ll be doing is “looking out” for things that tickle your interest.
Every day, we see a variety of things that aren’t very apparent on the surface but can be literal goldmines if we tap into them.
It’s all basically gut feeling and drawing into what you already know about offline to online markets.
How I’d Approach It: I was driving home one day and noticed a truck which advertise a local storage facility. My immediate thought, instead of “get out of my way ya slow bastard!”, was “I wonder if I could create a niche site just about storage units?”. I dug through the idea bit deeper and landed on a few ways that I could approach this niche:
- Create a website that talks about personal self storage such as sheds and space savers
- Create a website for the same local storage company that’s highly optimized for local search
- Create a website on my own and sell the company leads for their business
Each of these options are very viable but the one that I personally took note on was becoming, essentially, the “internet landlord”. Let’s face it: business owners don’t care about what their website looks like, they just want sales. Unfortunately, these business owners will snag a website (usually for very cheap – blah) and then complain that they’re not receiving traffic or leads.
Instead of creating a website directly for the company (which they’d probably want to stiff me on in terms of pricing) and the fact that once the job is done – it’s done – the “internet landlord” approach let’s you keep the domain and simply send the business leads. A lead may cost the storage business hundreds of dollars when you factor in the “lifetime” ROI of a customer.
Conclusion & Final Thoughts
As you can see, these ideas for niche website creation go a little bit beyond what you’re used to (generally keyword research).
When you think about it, there are literally millions of niches out there that are untapped because of how much you can drill down during the creation processes.
2012 Update: I highly recommend you take a look into Chris Guthrie’s Niche Profit Course which is an excellent guide to getting started with niche websites and turning them into profitable websites – this is the model I base the majority of my work off of.
Tapping into marketplaces would be a great way to start with these types of ideas and then move onto areas such as “razors & razor blades” or trending topics.
From there, you’ll get to the point where you can spot a trend – much like being able to pick out notes within music. It’s all about training your eyes and mind to find the opportunity in everything.
I hope you enjoyed these concepts and apply them for your own niche site creation process; if you have anything to add, please feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.