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Niche Research Is Mandatory.  You Will Likely End Up Spinning Your Wheels If You Decide on a Niche Without Doing Research First.

Niche research is the process by which you evaluate each of your niche ideas for viability.  Evaluate each of your selected possibilities.  Choose the one that offers the best chance of success that you are also passionate about.  You need to be interested in the niche.  But, remember, it must primarily appeal to other people.  Those people are the group you will be serving with your website/blog.

Niche Research: Keywords     Niche Research Keywords

Keywords are critical in picking the best niche.  You may already know what a keyword is.  But, in case you don't, I'll tell you.  A keyword is simply a word or phrase that is typed into a search engine in an attempt to find information on that word or phrase.

Most people type in more than one word as their "keyword" in order to refine their search and get better precision with their results.  It is important to note that a keyword is simply what is typed into the search engine.  If the search consists of one, five, or even ten words, it is still referred to as a "keyword."

There are two main ways of looking at a keyword.  First: from the website/blog creator's perspective (the marketer's perspective).  Second: from the consumer's perspective (the web surfer).  In order to get traffic and visitors to your site, they need to be very similar or even match.

For example, take my homepage.  Answer the question, "What is my entire site about?"  The answer should be readily obvious: how to make your own website.  For any individual pages, ask, "What is this page about?"  Whatever the answer is will guide your selection of keywords.

Each page within your site should revolve around a keyword.  The keyword being the topic the webpage covers.  The overarching theme or motif that ties all the individual pages together is you niche.  A niche may also be referred to as a "site concept" or "site theme."  The main index page of your site should have a keyword that reflects your niche or main theme.

All the content on every page should be centered on the keyword for that page.  This results in each content page being focused.  When this happens, you end up with keyword-centered content pages (KCCPs), with the keyword being really nothing more than the topic of the content on the page.  All the information on the page is going to be absolutely and directly about that keyword.

All of the keyword-centered content pages should revolve around the main theme of the site.  They should fit nicely within your niche.  This structure should ensure that the theme of your site will be supported by many, many content rich and keyword savvy pages.

Niche Research: Picking Good Keywords     Niche Research Picking

How do you pick a good keyword?  Well, it depends on your website/blog.  You want to evaluate several things.

First, the keyword should be specifically related to your website's niche.  If your site is about alternative medicine, pick a keyword like: Risks of Alternative Medicine, Benefits of Alternative Medicine, or Alternative Medicine Doctors.  These are all specific and related to your niche.

Second, the keyword should be in demand.  People should be searching for information regarding the topic through the specific keyword you choose.  The potential for making the website/blog profitable increases with increasing demand for the niche business.

Third, the keyword should be under-supplied.  If a billion websites or blogs are already focusing on your desired niche, you will probably have a very hard time breaking through to profitability.  It is the same reason thousands of new businesses don't jump in to compete with Wal-mart.  Is Wal-mart profitable?  You betcha.  Do they have an advantage by being the first big success in their niche?  You betcha.  That is not to say that a new business can't start with their own unique spin on the mass retail market.  It simply means that it is much easier to succeed if the niche market you want to serve isn't already served by every Joe Smith who has an internet business.

Fourth, it is ideal to match high demand and low supply.  If you can do this with your niche idea, it is a great indicator that you have found a niche, theme, motif, etc. that is likely to be profitable.  

Niche Research: Keyword Quantity     Niche Research Quantity

When researching possible niches, you must make sure that there is a sufficient number of keywords (think "topics") within the niche to allow you to fill a site with content.  In order to drive traffic to your site, you have to have a lot of options when creating your content around keywords.  If there aren't many keywords or sub-topics within the main topic of your site, it is likely too narrow a niche.


Remember that good keywords are often the initial driving force that gets visitors to your site.  If you don't have enough content-filled pages revolving around quality keywords, you probably won't get much traffic.  Without traffic, you can't serve the informational needs people have, and, therefore, your site won't be a success.


So, how do you assess a niche idea to ensure that there is sufficient keyword quantity?  It isn't too difficult.  You use a keyword tool (such as the free ones mentioned later or see our Recommended Resources) to check it out.


What you want to do is type your main niche idea into the keyword tool.  This keyword will likely have the most competition from other sites.  Then, look at the less-competitive keywords.  See if you can think of ways to write articles or content about different aspects of your niche using the keyword as the title.  If you can do this with a large quantity of keywords that contain the keyword you want to use as your main website's keyword, you likely have a winner.


For example, let's say you want to create a website or blog on Alternative Medicine.  If you were to use that as your main keyword (which would be like trying to compete with Wal-mart as it is heavily supplied), you would evaluate the results for other, more specific keywords that you could write about.  If you could write articles or content on Alternative Medicine History, Alternative Medicine Approaches, Herbal Alternative Medicine, etc., then you likely have a viable niche.

Niche Research: Knowledge Level     Niche Research Knowledge

It is one thing to be passionate about your chosen niche (a good indicator!), but, you also have to actually know a lot about it (or be able to learn quickly).  Evaluate your knowledge level regarding the possible niche.  Do you know enough to write intelligently about the topic so that others would be interested in reading it?


Will your passion and knowledge combine to produce something that will benefit others?


As you look for keywords, remember to think of them as topics.  When you see the topics, do you already have ideas popping into your head for what you could write about on the topic?  Analyze each of your 3-5 niche ideas with this in mind.  Whichever one you know the best should probably be the one you select and the one for which you begin developing actual content. 


It is ideal if the niche idea (or theme/motif) you are most passionate about is also the one you are most knowledgeable about!  If this is the case, it makes the research and work involved in keeping your website/blog current fun to do instead of a drag. 

Niche Research: Attractiveness     Niche Research Attractive

Ask yourself if your prospective niche is able to capture the attention of previously uninterested people.  In other words, if someone who was not looking for material related to your niche stumbled across your website for some reason, is the niche compelling enough to at least get them to linger or wonder what it is all about?


Try to make your niche idea one that is fun and exciting and interesting.  If you can find a niche that is naturally this way, you have an automatic winner.  Or, if your niche doesn't have the potential for universal appeal, try to present it in a way that grabs the attention of accidental or incidental visitors. 

Niche Research: Profitability Analysis     Niche Research Profitability

Of course, you also need to research the potential profitability of your niche idea.  First off, do more than one or two dozen find the niche interesting or worthwhile?  If not, it may still be a good idea and worth doing, just don't expect to make any money from the venture.


There are two main keyword tests you should apply to see if the niche may be profitable.  First, you must be able to identify several (the more the better) keywords that can serve as good sub-topics under your main niche.


Second, there should be at least several keywords with high(er) demand and low(er) supply.  The more the merrier.  If you can't identify any, you still may be able to make it work and see it become profitable, just realize that you will likely have stiff competition from the start.  It may take a long time for your site to become established.


Another area you need to evaluate to ascertain the prospects for making money through your website or blog is the monetization potential of your niche idea.  In other words, do means of making money easily integrate with your niche ideas?


If your niche is going to be "How to Live and Absolutely Never Spend a Dime," you may have a tough time seeing the site become profitable if you are going to try and sell services or products to your readers.  Or, if you want to teach people how to create profitable websites without ever having ads on them, you aren't going to want to undermine your credibility by putting ads on your own site.


Be sure to check out some of the different ways you can do Website Monetization when considering this.


One of the easiest ways to generate income is through ads of various types.  If you want to place ads on your site, does the niche idea allow for it?


Another relatively easy way to generate income is to sell information products.  Will your niche idea allow you to generate ebooks, manuals, guides, or other informational products that will provide value different aspects of the niche?  These informational products are excellent because they only require an initial time investment to create.  Once created, you can sell them forever and as many times as people want to purchase them with essentially no extra effort.


Just about any niche can be profitable.  But, you need to have ideas about how you are going to make your website/blog profitable.  Make sure you have a plan on seeing your online venture through to profitability.


In the world of the internet, finding ways to increase income through a website or blog is truly limited only by your creativity.  But, you should evaluate the following monetization options which have been used successfully by thousands of people.  Will they integrate with your niche idea?  The more ways you can generate revenue while serving the traffic that arrives at your site, the easier it will be to see your website/blog increase its profitability.


Here is a list of a few of the many options you can use to increase the profitability of your site.  Can you integrate some of them into your niche website or blog?


-  Use advertising: Google AdSense is hugely popular.  You can also sell advertising directly to businesses and/or marketers.  People will even approach you about advertising on your site once it is established and considered an authority website or blog.  You can even sell advertising to offline businesses!  Advertising is tremendously flexible also.  You and your advertising partners can agree to any arrangement that is suitable to both parties.  You can do pay-per-click, per lead, per sale, per page view, or a fee schedule that bills daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly.


-  Sell information products: create and sell various informational tools related to your niche.  Sell manuals, ebooks, guides, reports, or other downloadable products.


-  Develop affiliate relationships: find products and services that are related to your niche and earn affiliate income by representing them to your website's visitors.  Beware, however, that you don't cross any ethical lines.  Even though people will refer visitors to their website or blog to another location just to make a buck if they buy the product of service presented to them, you shouldn't do this.  Only become an affiliate of those websites or people you truly believe in.  Remember that you are in business to serve people first.  If you can only use the niche idea to trick people into buying something they probably won't benefit from and that you wouldn't buy and use yourself, reconsider the niche idea.


-  Sell hard goods: use your website to sell tangible niche-related products.


-  Sell your offline services: use your website to drive people to a physical store.  Or, use it to help people find you and use your personal services and time.  You can even supplement your offline business' sales through the online website or blog.


-  Find business partners: you may be able to form joint ventures, establish networks, and develop referral systems that are presently nonexistent.


The bottom line is this: evaluate your niche idea and make sure you can profit from it as you use it to serve the needs and desires of others.  The list above has just some of the possibilities that can help you generate income. 

Niche Research: Keyword Tools     Niche Research Tools

Keywords, keywords, keywords.  It seems to be all about keywords, right?  So, how do you actually do keyword research?


You need keyword research tools, of course.  Once you have your possible niche ideas all brainstormed and written down, you will actually need to research the keywords related to the niche to ensure their viability.  This is what we mentioned above.


Just about everyone who does keyword research eventually purchases a keyword tool.  The one I recommend is Keyword Elite 2.0.  But, if you don't want to spend the money for bells and whistles, adequate keyword research can (and should!) be done online.  See this Free Online Keyword Tools List for several that you can use to research keywords for your niche ideas.  Keyword research the critical aspect of niche research and the critical aspect of any good SEO Strategy.

Niche Research: Conclusion    Niche Research Conclusion

Evaluate your niche ideas in light of everything on this page and then nail down your best option.  Once you have your chosen niche idea, you are ready to press on.  At this point it is a good idea to consider a few other things.  Namely, should you Develop a Business Team at this point?  Not everyone can, should, or will, but you would be well-served to consider it prior to deciding.  Also, should you Create a Business Entity?  Again, maybe this isn't the right time for you to do it, but you should at least consider it.  Understanding the pros and cons can only help.


Once you have considered what is involved in developing a business team and creating a business entity for your online venture, you need to keep moving.


Click the link for some Miscellaneous Guidance that will benefit you tremendously before you move on in the processes of developing and launching your website or blog.



Copyright © 2009-2010, Issachar Knowledge, LLC: Niche Research


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