This is step one of a multi-part series on How to Find a Niche For Your Lifestyle Business in 60 Minutes.
Finding a niche is the first step in creating your lifestyle business. This article will show you how to find a niche in 60 minutes.
In essence, you want to find a niche that fulfills all of the following criteria:
- Decent Demand
- Low Competition
- Monetization Potential
The following four steps will help you hone in on the niche to focus on.
- Step One: Brainstorm Keywords and Niches (15 minutes)
- Step Two: Keyword Research (25 minutes)
- Step Three: Evaluate Monetization Potential (10 minutes)
- Step Four: Decision Time (10 minutes)
Let’s delve deep into each of these steps.
Step One: Brainstorm Keywords and Niches (15 minutes)
It is often easier to start a lifestyle business around a topic you are interested in. Here are a few easy ways to figure this out.
1. Start with what you like
List all your hobbies, interests and areas of expertise
2. Next, what you dislike
List all your pet peeves, frustrations, things you find yourself complaining about – because chances are, someone else is, too
3. Go through your life experiences – anything noteworthy?
Examples include passing the CFA, traveling around the world on a shoestring budget, trying out the Atkins diet
4. Brainstorm related niches
Most people when doing keyword research will type their seed keyword into Google Keyword Planner and see what comes out. The problem with this is that this is only vertical brainstorming. Google will only give you a long list of keywords that already contain your keyword – that is, more of the same thing. To get a fuller range of ideas, you need to do a lateral brainstorm.
For example, here is a related niche cloud thought chain. None of the subsequent keywords would have showed up on Google Keyword Planner:
- Personal Finance
- –> Get Out of Debt
- –> How to Save Money
- –> Budgeting Tools
- –> Best Credit Cards
- –> How to Invest
By the end of this initial brainstorm, aim to have at least 20-25 substantial keyword niches.
Step Two: Keyword Research (25 minutes)
Keyword Research is step two of a multi-part series on How to Find a Niche in 60 Minutes.
If you have completed step one, you should now have at least 20-25 substantial keyword niches. The next step is to dig deep into each of these niches and find the keywords with the best competitive dynamics. You want keywords that are (i) Decent Demand (high monthly searches) and (ii) Low Competition (easy to rank for).
1. Decent Demand
The easiest way to figure out whether there is enough demand for your proposed keyword is to use data from Google. Since Google accounts for more than 80% of total search volume, this is the most important source of organic traffic for your lifestyle business.
First, register for an account at Google Keyword Planner.
Next, enter your keyword – for example, ‘get out of debt’:
Google will show you ideas in two categories: ‘Ad Group Ideas’ and ‘Keyword Ideas’. As mentioned earlier these are usually not too helpful. For now we just want to find out search demand for our target keywords. Click on ‘get out of debt’ and look at how many ‘average monthly searches’ there are for this keyword. In this case there are ‘5,400’ average monthly searches for ‘get out of debt’.
The other column to take note of is ‘Suggested Bid’. As this tool is meant for use by advertisers, this is the estimated cost per click advertisers would have to bid in order to get their ads for that keyword listed. At ‘$15.34’, we can see that this keyword has high monetization potential via Adsense. More on this in Section 3.
Repeat this process for all your keywords.
2. Low Competition
Now that we have a sense of demand for our keywords, the next metric to figure out is how competitive the keyword is. You may have seen some keywords with more than 20,000 monthly searches, but chances are they are also very competitive and hard to rank for.
The best way to do this is to type our target keyword into Google and to figure out what pages are currently ranking in the Top 10 for our target keyword. There are three main tools on the market for this – Market Samurai, Long Tail Pro and SEM Rush. Each has their pros and cons, and are good for different purposes. I find myself using all three at times.
How to Use Market Samurai
Market Samurai is a nifty tool that I use on a daily basis to scout out new keywords quickly and efficiently. Some users complain that Market Samurai may be slow, but they are probably using an old version of Market Samurai. As of the latest update in Nov 2014, this issue has been fixed.
There is a lot the tool can do, but the single most useful module I have found is the ‘SEO Competition’ module. This very quickly gives you an overview of the sites that currently rank in the Top 10 on Google for your target keyword, and gives you a sense of whether it is possible to outrank them.
Take for example our ‘get out of debt’ keyword. Typing this into Market Samurai tells us right away how our competition looks:
We can tell that this keyword may actually be possible rank for, as there are 5 PR 0 pages in the top 10, several of which trust flow and citation flow are less than 30. 3 of the top 10 results do not even have the keyword in the title, URL, description, or HTML head, suggesting that these pages were not created to specifically target this keyword.
Where to Get Market Samurai
Buy Now: Market Samurai. Trust me, this tool will save you A LOT of time. I wish I started using this right from the start.
Market Samurai vs Long Tail Pro
Most pro Internet Marketers I know get both Market Samurai and Long Tail Pro. On the surface, they seem similar, but they actually each have respective strengths.
I think to think of it this way. Market Samurai has a wider array of features in its keyword research, content finder, competition analysis, monetization and promotion modules, but Long Tail Pro specializes in one specific area: finding long tail keywords.
Long Tail Pro is faster than Market Samurai if you want to just find long tail keywords. You can enter multiple seed keywords at once, and generate keyword ideas simultaneously.
Upon generating the keyword ideas, Long Tail Pro has two other big timesavers:
- Ability to pre-filter your keywords – so your shortlist contains only keywords that contain your desired search volume, CPC and other search factors
- Ability to search for exact match domains quickly – instead of having to try variations one at a time, Long Tail Pro has a function that automates this process
Where to get Long Tail Pro
Long Tail Pro starts at $97 as a one-time purchase (which I find sufficient). You can pay an additional $17 a month for platinum, which gives access to a few advanced services.
The third keyword research tool in my toolkit is SEMRush. I use SEMRush primarily to get a sense of what keywords my competitors are ranking for.
Using SEMRush is easy: go to semrush.com and type in your keyword or competitor’s URL. If you type a keyword, SEMRush will then show you all the sites ranking for that keyword. If you type a URL, SEMRush will show you all the keywords the URL ranks for. Suppose I want to do competitive research on moneycrashers.com.
The following search engine traffic screen shows how moneycrashers is performing in terms of its search engine traffic. I see a sharp spike recently that may be worth investigating. Any new backlinks or new pages that the site put up recently? Anything that I can clone on my own site?
The keyword positions screen shows all the keywords the site is currently ranking for on Google. I can easily see the keywords ranking in the top 5, rank 6-10, and 11+ on Google. Similar trend here – I will want to dig in to see what are the keywords the site started ranking for recently.
The keyword details screen shows details on the keywords the site ranks for, and the percentage contribution to total search traffic to the site. This screen shows me how diversified the site is.
Interestingly, this shows that results for the keyword ‘craigslist.org’ is the top organic traffic generator for moneycrashers.com. Typing in this keyword reveals the following highly popular article:
This is a potential keyword idea we can investigate – we could potentially create a pillar article that is even more detailed than this in order to rank even better than this article on Google.
There are a few other keyword research tools also worth considering, but for most purposes I find Market Samurai, Long Tail Pro and SEMRush sufficient.
Here is a list of the key metrics to pay attention to:
Domain Authority and Page Authority
This reflects the authority of the domain itself. Domains with high domain authority will be able to pass more pagerank to its pages (thereby increasing their page authority). Generally, when analyzing the top 10 search results for any keyword, you want to compete with webpages ranking in the top 10 based on high domain authority but low page authority. This means that if you create a highly relevant site focused on the niche, you will be more likely to outrank the page that was ranking highly simply because it had high domain authority. For Google, relevancy is the most important ranking factor.
Still relevant, but probably less important now. This is more of a negative indicator. If you see a page with Pagerank 0 that is ranking in the top 10, this is generally a good sign that the niche is not too competitive.
This shows when the domain was first registered and is a Google SERP ranking factor. Generally, the older the domain, the more ‘authoritative’ the site is seen in Google’s eyes.
Step Three: Evaluate Monetization Potential (10 minutes)
This is step three of a multi-part series on How to Find a Niche in 60 Minutes.
Some people spend a lot of time fussing over this step, but it should actually be quite straightforward assuming you did the first two steps correctly.
Contextual advertising is the easiest way to monetize your site. You get paid per click, anywhere from 1 cent a click to up to $10 a click, depending on how competitive the keyword is. All you need to make money with contextual advertising is traffic – as you as you have eyeballs to your site, you will be able to generate money with contextual advertising.
This is the easiest way to monetize your site. Simply paste in the Google Adsense code, and get paid each time a user clicks on an ad shown on your webpage.
How to Get an Adsense Account
It is easy to sign up – simply head over to Google Adsense and fill in the two page web form. There will be a two-step adsense review process.
How to Get Past the Two Step Adsense Review Process
Ensure that your site:
- Contains original content
- Has at least 15 content pages
- Domain registered for more than 6 months
If you are unable to get your site approved for Google Adsense or got banned, fear not – there are many Adsense alternatives out there:
This is a major source of income for most people. Instead of getting paid per click, get paid per sale. This can potentially generate even more revenue than contextual advertising if you generate a loyal following. With these networks, you can paid as a percentage of each sale. For example, if you sell a computer for $799 on Amazon.com, you get paid 4% of the selling price – or $32 per sale!
The best thing is that once you refer users to a large network such as Amazon, the tracking cookie ensures that you get paid for any sales within a certain timeframe (24 hours in the case of Amazon). For example, I recently earned $50 for selling a $699 gauge tuner, even though my niche site was completely unrelated to gauge tuners or automobiles.
Here are the most popular affiliate marketing networks:
- Amazon Associates
- Commission Junction
Sell Your Own Products
Once you develop enough expertise in your niche, you can think about creating your own e-products. Be it an ebook, training program, or private label merchandize, this can be a very effective way to generate substantial income online.
Sell Ad Space
Instead of using contextual advertising programs, you can also sell ad space or text links on your website for a fixed charge per month.
Step Four: Decision Time (10 minutes)
This is step four of a multi-part series on How to Find a Niche in 60 Minutes.
Now that you have completed steps 1 to 3, it is finally decision time. Create a scoring matrix similar to the below, and rank each factor on a scale from 1 to 10:
|Keyword Idea||Passion||Decent Demand||Low Competition||Monetization Potential||Total|
Score each of your keyword ideas according to each category, and pick the highest scoring one to commit to. Remember: you will be far more successful creating one high income site than multiple sites that each generate meager earnings. So once you have picked an idea, stick to it and devote everything towards making it a success!