This is part 2 in a series where I coach a person brand new to niche sites to create a site that makes $2,000 per month. It won’t be easy. But my friend Jim is up for the challenge in a very public way. (See examples of Amazon Affiliate Niche Sites get 15,000 keywords there, too.)
I didn’t mention it in the opening post for this case study, but Jim lives down the street from me. We have been meeting up once a week at the neighborhood coffeeshop, where there are dozens of other people on laptops every morning.
Jim started with niche sites around the beginning of the year, and I think one of his first resources was my Niche Site Project Management Book, 2015 edition. (It’s out of print right now…I am updating the content for 2016 and it will be available in a new format. Keep an eye out for that. You can sign up to be notified here, Five Figure Niche Site.) The point being, Jim didn’t know what he was doing but he was taking action.
Taking action is the most important thing.
So, when I pitched Jim on the idea of working on a live and very public case study, he already had a niche picked out.
He already had a WordPress site built out, and it looked pretty damn good too.
But like many first time niche site builders, his keyword research was flawed.
So, we started over.
Jim knew the mechanics of KW research so I gave him some homework to find a new niche.
Here was the assignment:
- The Goal is to ID about 3 – 5 Pillar Post Topics & about 15 other KWs that are long tails
- Input 10 or so quick seed keywords
- More specific seed keywords are better
- Consider using modifiers like: best, reviews, how to, vs, under, $xxx, for, etc
- Sort to only show “long tail” keywords (4 words or more)
- Filter based on words, like “best”, “reviews”, etc
- Look for keywords under 30 KC
- Look for weak competition
- The 3 – 5 Pillar post topics should have a larger search volume – 720+ exact monthly searches
- The other 15 KWs can have a 0+ searches. (Yes, zero is okay.) Use the ratio for allintitle/volume…
- If you find more, great! Just save them and we’ll get to them.
Let’s hear about what Jim’s been up to…
Hi, my name is Jim and I’m addicted to keyword research.
I love it…
I keep Google Adwords, an allintitle search and Long Tail Pro (LTP) open pretty much all the time because I’m always looking for the next great keyword.
This, my friends, has not always been the case.
But without the the right tools I was pretty much grasping at threads.
When I first started out I was pretty clueless as to how to go about doing all of this, especially the keyword research. I would just look around my condo and the stuff I was doing for hobbies, things I liked to do, etc. But without the the right tools I was pretty much grasping at threads.
Then I found Long Tail Pro (That’s an affiliate link & I really appreciate it if you use it) and that was a big help but I was still up in the air in terms of what would classify as a profitable niche.
I would search for some terms, see what came up and really after trying one or two modifiers I would just stall out and try something else. Now I know the whole game is deep diving into weird corners of a market you may not even know are there.
That said, my initial KW research was pretty pinball, I was bouncing from one idea to the next without a game plan.
Then I found a great way to think about approaching niches in a book I had picked up at the library.
Your choice doesn’t have to meet all of them
Now, I’m a little leery of physical media in this space because everything is happening at hyper speed but there are still things you can glean.
Here are some things I found helpful in doing not only my kw research but niche selection as well. Your choice doesn’t have to meet all of them, it’s more of just a way to purse out the bad ones.
Selection Questions to Ask
- Is there a large enough market
- Is there a lot of “pain” in the market (This is a great one to ask yourself)
- Are people irrational passionate about finding a solution
- Are people already looking for a solution
- Are people already spending money on the type of solution you want to offer
- Is there a good backend potential for other types of products (other ways to monetize)
The “Great” Keyword – Needle in a Haystack
Really what’s made KW research easiest for me was finding a niche that, topically, looked inviting e.g. low quality competition, low keyword competitiveness scores, something I liked, and on and on.
Study the market, not just from a KW standpoint, but really look at it.
Once I had decided on a niche I was taking a closer look at the market as a whole and finding oddities that I hadn’t know were there before.
Some of those weird corners have led me to looking for KWs that turned into longer tailed KWs that have now become some of my pillar posts.
Study the market, not just from a KW standpoint, but really look at it.
Find ancillary products that support your main items and you may be able to combine the terms and find great avenues into the market.
The Old, Original Niche Is Too Competitive
Before I started working with Doug I had purchased a domain, setup all the inner workings and was even writing a bit. But after doing some proper KW research it became clear it would just be way too hard to rank for some of the KWs that I would need/want to write on.
Interested in the new, step by step, niche site course? Sign up here to get notified when enrollment opens.
I had chosen a saturated market
I went back and forth over it for a while and finally decided that I wanted to start fresh and go down the right path with proper KW research and market analysis.
I’m very happy I did so.
Mainly the reason for switch is that I had chosen a saturated market. Everybody and their dog was out there trying the same stuff within that niche, and there were some BIG dogs out there.
My current niche is still one where there is competition and that’s a good thing.
Remember up above? People are spending money on it, actively looking for solutions and there are others out there who have recognized that potential.
You vet your market selection by seeing if there are others who do too.
Some Competition Is Good
The journey to my current niche was preceded by quite a few others. I tended (ok, I still do) want to buy up every cool, brandable domain that met my current speculation.
This is a dangerous thing to do as it eats up time and resources that are much better spent on one good project.
Think About It Hard But Don’t Overthink It
Really there’s nothing too wrong about having a lot of ideas in the beginning, you’re supposed to be sorting through the haystack and looking around but I fell victim to my old foe “Paralysis by Analysis”.
I waffled over every niche I was thinking about.
- Should I buy the domain?
- What would the site look like?
- How big could I grow it?
- And on, and on, and on…
Be your own consultant, keep the vision and trust your research.
You Got To Have Some Interest…
My current niche is something I’m really interested but not wholly.
It’s like this, I have a hobby, lets call it X, I do X a lot and I love it, but X by itself is pretty thin and there’s not a lot of other KW’s out there for it.
I would keel over from boredom if I had to write 2,000 word in-depth articles on them
Thankfully W, Y, and Z all go along in the same vein and they’re of interest to me. I don’t do them, but they’re interesting and who knows I might pick one up after learning all this new stuff.
Having an interest in your niche is absolutely critical!
For example, sewing machines might be an awesome niche, fit all the right criteria and so on but I would keel over from boredom if I had to write 2,000 word in-depth articles on them.
It just wouldn’t work for me.
Take Your Time With KW Research
Overall, I would say that finding your niche is all about taking off the blinders.
Don’t get frustrated right out of the gate, finding a successful niche takes time.
Find something you love, look at the surrounding arena it exists in and find other products that sound fun.
Then you can start doing a deeper analysis of the niche and see if it’s really something worth pursuing. The old adage holds true “If it were easy, everyone would do it”.