This niche site case study update is going to be my most important one – it’s going to describe how to choose a niche.
This step should not be rushed. In fact, choosing a niche is by far and away the most important step in this whole process. Do it right and we will have ongoing passive income. Do it wrong and we’ll make nothing.
In this update, I will describe how we did this, some information about the niches we chose and some facts that will help you decide and plan for your own niche site – this being how much time this process took and how much money it cost.
Why are we building two niche sites?
I mentioned last time that I would be mentoring my new employee, Nathan, to build two niche sites. So why two?
In an ideal world with an unlimited number of resources this number would be a lot higher. But I had five weeks of Nathan working part time before he went on holidays in Europe and two seemed like a realistic number of niche sites that he could build in that time (and it was). We will definitely be building more when he gets back to work again.
I recommend that if you are going to take this journey that you start with 2 or 3 as well.
This is because sometimes stuff goes wrong. No matter how hard and smart you work, you don’t know what will happen. If you followed my first niche site case study, you will know I started with three sites and one was de-indexed early on in the process. Unfortunately, this can happen.
If I had started with just one site and it was de-indexed, I think it’s incredibly likely that I would have given up.
I don’t want you to give up!
I also think it’s not much more work to build two at once than build one. It’s maybe 50% more work as you can do the tasks for the second site much quicker when it’s all fresh in your mind.
If you are wondering why you might even want to build a niche site, read my last post.
Step 1: Choose a Niche
The first thing we had to do after deciding to build new niche sites is the most important – deciding the niche.
Many people have said to me they are going to build a site about x or y because they think it will make money or they love the topic. As someone who started as a travel blogger, I can completely understand this motivation.
However, as a niche site builder, the most important motivation should be that you know that the site can rank well for that specific niche in great buying words. If you aren’t sure about that then look for another niche.
If you can rank well for a good buying keyword then you will make money. I promise!
Having an interest in the niche is an extra bonus especially if you already have knowledge in that area and I would definitely recommend starting your niche search with these areas. However, if it can’t rank easily then walk away.
How to pick the best niche
We did the following steps:
- We went into Amazon for product ideas. We started with a category and went through each product type in that category that had an average price over $50 and did some quick keyword research.
Note: If you want to rank in a country where that region’s Amazon is using a commission structure based on category (the US switched to this in March 2017) then I recommend looking only in categories which have a commission level of 6%+. You can read more about it here and see the commission levels for the US here. Note that the levels are different in different countries so check out the Amazon where you see your site making the most income.
- To work out if the product was any good, we would firstly look at the search volume for “best <product name>”. eg “best juicers”. As a minimum, this needs to be over 1000.
- If it was over 1000, we would look at the top 10 results in Google US for this best keyword. We did this in Long Tail Pro as it was before the Keyword Planner update, but I recommend you use KeySearch. More about how to do that here. We are basically looking at this to see what the competition is like for this keyword and if we think we can rank. These are the specifics of what we looked for:
- Sites ranking with low Domain Authority (DA)
- A low average Page Authority (PA) across the top 10.
- Other niche sites ranking – you can tell this by clicking on the links and looking at the site. You will quickly learn to recognise a niche site in a split second
- Sites ranking which either don’t really discuss the topic of the keyword or are very low quality.
- If you use KeySearch, then also look for a low competitiveness ranking. Less than 40 ideally. If you are using KeySearch then ignore any keywords that are higher than 45 and don’t even bother looking at the top 10
- We made a list of all keywords that had low competition in the top 10 and had a search volume over 1000.
- We then picked niches that looked easy to rank for and had a high search volume. It’s a balancing act between these things.
I especially liked it when he could find some related products that all looked easy to rank. For example, perhaps you find that “best dining sets” is a great keyword, as is “best plates” and “best glasses”. I would combine all of these into one niche sites. In fact, both niches we chose had some related buying keywords which were also great.
It was very beneficial for me to have someone else do this process for a change as Nathan looked in completely different areas than I usually do and managed to come up with some great options very quickly. We then picked the two best.
In my article about using KeySearch that I link to above, I recommend getting the Starter package for KeySearch. However, for the process of finding a new niche, you are going to burn through the daily allowed searches in this package very quickly and I recommend the Pro level – you can always just get this package for a month and then go back to starter.
Our niches are in the sporting niche and the home niche.
We have a main keyword based on a product (ie “best <product name>”) for each site that we want to rank for and some other products we also hope to rank for.
Here’s some of the stats of each keyword:
Site 1: Search Volume: 2,600. Difficulty Ranking: 31 (this is from KeySearch)
Site 2: Search Volume: 8,400. Difficulty Ranking: 42 (this is from KeySearch)
Remember we will add many many more keywords to these sites, not just the main one we are finding here. This means the possible search volume will be a lot higher.
Time and money spent in finding a niche
Time spent: 3 hours
Money: $27.20 for KeySearch Pro plan for a month with coupon code: KSDISC
Nathan spent about three hours. He found the niches we went with in the first thirty minutes. I don’t think this step should be rushed and even if you find good ones, I think it’s important to spend as much time as possible to find the best ones.
To this end, I had planned for him to spend another day looking for niches but then the Keyword Planner problem happened, Long Tail Pro became useless and we moved on with what we had.
I have put above the cost for KeySearch as this is an easy way to find out all the information you need about the difficulty of each keyword and it’s what I would use now. A keyword research tool is essential in the process of building a new niche site.
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So now it’s your turn. Go ahead, brainstorm products you could write about, look at Amazon for inspiration, check out the search volume and the top 10 and choose a niche!
I would love to hear from you below if you have done/are doing this process!
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