How to Select a Niche for Your Blog/Website

by | Mar 1, 2015 | 2 comments

This post is a part of a series that we are doing on how we are building a niche site.  If you haven’t read the previous post, be sure to check out Announcing Our First Niche Site, which is where we describe what a niche site is and how/why we are doing this series.

In this post, we are going to discuss how to brainstorm potential topics for your niche site and how to narrow down your ideas to pick one.

Brainstorming Niche Topics

The first step in creating a niche site is to pick out what the topic/target that the niche will be about.  There are a lot of different ways you can go about this, but we will share our favorite strategy below.

One of the best things about this strategy is that you don’t need a lot in terms of materials/supplies.  When we did our brainstorming we used a few permanent markers, some different color post it notes and some different color stickers.  You probably have most of these supplies, but if not you can purchase them all for under $15.

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Once you have your supplies, get together with your spouse (or whoever is available to help you brainstorm and narrow down topics).  This activity can be done alone, but the best way to generate ideas and pick one is to have multiple perspectives.  This is especially important if you are going to partner with your spouse or someone else to create this site.

Now, pick one of the post it notes and begin writing down thoughts/ideas of things that you have knowledge about or are passionate it.  Ariana and I spent ~10 minutes and came up with 5 potential topics.  You can definitely spend more time and come up with more if needed.  Also, you don’t have to just stick to your passions.  You could think about problems that you or others face and would need help with.  Basically, we are trying to think about topics that people would go online and search for.

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Our 5 Niche Topics

  1. Wine Bottle Crafts (Ariana) – She enjoys taking empty wine bottles and making crafts for our wine store and to sell.
  2. Agile (Tom) – My day job is consulting organizations on how to transform their organization using agile principles to achieve better business agility.
  3. Dog Training (Ariana) – Ariana spent some time learning how to become a dog trainer and became certified.  She also then spent a lot of time training our dog and some of our family and friend’s dogs.
  4. Real Estate Investing (Tom) – We have a real estate investing business and have helped many people get started investing in real estate.
  5. Home Theater (Tom) – We built a home theater in our basement and truly enjoy it (and so does Elena).

Narrowing Down a Topic

Once we brainstormed a list of initial topics, we needed to narrow the list down and pick one.  To do this, we decided to look at each topic and figure out a problem/question that people would ask or be interested in searching for online.  After another 10 minutes, we came up with the following list.

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  1. Wine Bottle Crafts (Ariana) – How to Make Wine Bottle Crafts
  2. Agile (Tom) – Which Agile Certification to Get
  3. Dog Training (Ariana) – How to Become a Dog Trainer
  4. Real Estate Investing (Tom) – How to Get Started with Real Estate Investing
  5. Home Theater (Tom) – How to Build a Home Theater

What We Selected For Our Niche Site

After defining the problem that we thought would be the biggest focus for each of our 5 topics, we spent a little time doing some research.  This included the follow steps:

  • Doing a quick search for each problem on Google
  • Thinking about home many people would have the problem/be interested in a solution
  • Thinking about how competitive the space was
  • Thinking about how we could monetize each topic
  • Thinking about how many products we could potentially create related to the topic
  • Thinking about how much we already knew vs. would have to research

And The Topic That We Selected Is…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agile (Tom) – Which Agile Certification to Get

Here are the reasons that we went with this topic.

  • Google Search

    A quick search lead to a lot of websites being returned nearly 2 million.  The #1 ranking site was an article on LinkedIn.  Looking at the other sites that were returned, it was obvious that people were asking the question but there was not an authority site on the topic.  Additionally, you can immediately see that there are 3 ads at the top of the search results, which gives us some sense that advertisers are willing to pay for this search term.

    niche-site-google-agile-resized

  •  How Many People Are Interested In The Topic

    Nearly 2 million search results means that this is a popular topic.  Additionally, from working in this industry for nearly 10 years, I know that I had this question in the past and constantly get asked it from clients and people that I consult with.

  • How Competitive The Space Is

    I’ve worked in this industry nearly 10 years.  During this time, I have seen all of these companies create their own variations and certifications to compete with each other.  Additionally, with the pace of change ever increasing, nearly every business has to look at how they develop products and begin to increase their agility, meaning that this is a growing field and will be demand for many years.  With all of that said, there is not a single authority source that compiles the information together and compares each certification.

  • How to Monetize The Niche Site

    There seemed to be several options for monetization.  As I eluded to earlier, Google AdSense seems like a quick an easy option as there were 3 ads at the top of the Google search that we performed.  Going into Google Adwords to do some research.  There seem to be on average 1.5 million related searches per month, many variations on keywords or phrases and bids ranging anywhere from a few dollars to up to $40 per click.  I’ll get into more about keywords and Google AdSense later, but this is a good enough start.

    niche-site-google-adwords-keyword-research-resized
    Additionally there is the option of creating study guides for each certification to sell, or potentially finding other people who have created products and offer affiliate commissions.  Finally, Amazon is always available to sell links to agile books, to which there are plenty and some certifications recommend them.

  • Existing Knowledge

    As I’ve mentioned, I’ve worked in this business for nearly 10 years.  I’ve done much of this research in the past, hold a few of these certifications and have a pretty good idea of what is out there.  As a result, the amount of research needed to write the articles and comparisons between the certifications will be minimal, which will save me some time.

  • Domain Name Availability

    Often times it is difficult to find a good domain name that is available.  The first domain name that I search for, WhichAgileCertification.com, was available.  I will probably do some additional domain name searches, but this was a great starting point.

Next Steps

So we have the niche for our niche site.  Now, there is definitely a lot more research that I could do in terms of keywords and monetization, but given the low financial investment as well as this being a learning experience to share with you guys, we will proceed ahead at this point and see how things go.

Stay tuned for the next post in the series where we will be finding a domain name, registering the domain name, getting a hosting provider and installing WordPress.

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