How to Find a Niche
So you’re looking to start a new blog or niche website. The fact of the matter is there are millions of blogs and websites out there (no exaggeration). If you’re going to carve a place for yourself in the minefield of cyberspace, the first thing you’ll need is a niche, a way of targeting readers based on a set of expertise and information not readily available on the web.
The first thing to consider when looking into how to find a niche is what you’re looking to achieve. Is your blog a hobby, promotion for a project, or are you aiming to make money out of it? Whichever of these is your aim will inevitably be to gain a readership, and you’ll struggle to do so without a niche to focus on.
If you’re not looking to make any significant money out of your website, you have the luxury of being driven solely by passion. Passion for your subject is always necessary but if you’re looking to make money out of it you need to pick a profitable subject too. Not such an issue if you aren’t in the business of selling ad space or monetizing pay per click schemes. Perhaps your passion will drive you to write about your favourite sports team or the region where you live, instantly narrowing down your market and creating a niche. Less people are looking for a blog about one football team than are looking for a blog about football in general. Theoretically this will make it easier to match keywords and be relevant to your niche, bringing organic traffic from search engines.
How do you work out the target market of your niche? How many people will you be reaching? It’s all very well picking a niche such as “how to make your index finger smaller”, but there are probably only 10 people out there with freakish foam-finger style hands who need this information. You need to find the middle ground with not many people providing the information but enough people looking for it to drive traffic to your site. This is what Google’s keyword tool is for.
Above you’ll see a screenshot of Google’s Keyword Tool - for arguments sake I’ve used the topic of this very article, “how to find a niche” to help us out. The Keyword tool asks you for a keyword term, and will then provide traffic and competition figures for the term you’ve specified and others that are similar. You’ll see here that my potential market for this post is 14,800 searches a month. That’s a large number for a niche, usually too large to go for, but due to the fact that the competition is classed as “Low”, I might just be able to send a large chunk of those searches to my website. Beautiful. Beware though, there aren’t 14,800 searches a month for the exact term I’ve searched for, this represents the searches for related keywords too, so in order to have a crack at the 15,000 I will need to match keywords such as “finding a niche”, “niche marketing” and tons more to show up on the first page of Google. To see the exact number of searches for the term, you can change the “Match Types” option on the keyword tool to exact, as demonstrated below.
You’ll suddenly see a more accurate breakdown of exactly what the search terms have been.
I’m confident that this post can easily match five or six of these keywords, meaning a potential 2,000-3,000 hits a month just from these keywords. This is ignoring “Long Tail Keywords”, something I’ll talk about soon on the blog (stay tuned folks).
There’s been a lot of debate regarding how google calculates its competition for a keyword, but I tend to believe them – undeniably a website matching a low competition keyword will rank on the first page more easily than a high competition keyword. Once you’ve looked at the figures, it’s a good idea to physically google the keyword and see what the results are. Think you can make a better site? Go for it.
As I’ve already mentioned, passion is key to finding your niche. You need to write about a subject that matters to you. It’s all very well finding out that “point and shoot camera tips” has a lot of searches and low competition, but unless you care about the subject you are not going to be able to write solid information and translate your readers into fans and perhaps more importantly, buyers. Your keyword may be a great opportunity to sell ad space or make affiliate sales, but unless your knowledge comes across then there’s no point in even trying.
Finally. Steer clear of the big boys whenever you can. I’m all for being ambitious but there are certain niches where there are already loads of big boys competing for viewers. You’ll struggle to break into these keywords and its easy to get disheartened, which leads me to another point, perseverance. You won’t rank for the keyword straight away unless you’re very very lucky, prepare for the fact that the work you’re putting in now wont benefit your blog for another six months. It’s not just about finding a niche, but sticking at it.
Keep on bloggin’ folks.