Niche Site Duel Part 1 – Selecting A Niche: My Strategy

Although the term passive income conjures up fantastic images of swinging from a hammock beach-side sipping Piña Coladas; truth be told, setting up any campaign takes a lot of work and patience. To make matters worse, not every campaign is a winner. When setting up a Niche Site I agree with Pat, it helps if you have some interest in the topic. Nothing can be worse than writing about something you hate, even in a seemingly profitable niche. If you hate the subject matter and you are doing it just for the money, it will show in your writing and will impact your ability to convince your audience to buy whatever product you are trying to sell.

Selecting A Niche

There are many ways to select a niche. You could look for items that are hot and create your niche site around that. Or you could have a topic that you are passionate about first and find relevant products to promote second. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg is irrelevant. What is important is that whichever way you decide to go you have a good strategy and clearly laid out plan.

Normally I would do some research to see what is in demand at the moment and then pick something from that list that I have an interest in that can also be monetized. For the purposes of this duel, I already have a topic and product in mind so I am going to describe my process from that approach.

For me the plan is as follows:

Note, I was going to cover all of this here but the post has gotten painfully long so I have decided to talk about the first three here, and the second three in a future post. You will thank me later.

Find A Product To Promote

If you are like many, you probably own many products you are passionate about or subscribe to services that you can’t live without. However just because you like a product or service, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is in great demand. If you are building a niche site as a hobby then it really doesn’t matter what you do from here. Pick what you love and have fun.

On the other hand if your goal is to make money, then a little research is necessary to improve your chances at finding a potentially profitable niche.

In a perfect world you would peer into your crystal ball and see what people are buying and then build a site around that. But alas, that kind of information is unavailable to mere mortals… Or is it? Surprisingly enough, all the information you will ever need is available freely online.

The Amazon Best Sellers List

One of the best places to ascertain the demand for a particular product is on Amazon. Specifically their Best Sellers list. Here you can find out what has been selling the best in any given category. What makes the Amazon Best Sellers list so powerful is that the data not only shows current buying trends (which is updated hourly), but also historic data and customer reviews.

In the above snapshot you can see the #3 item in the “Camera & Photo” category is the Flip UltraHD Video Camera.

You can also see that it has been listed in the top 100 in this category for th last 487 days.

The green arrow indicates that it is moving up in position but I wouldn’t put too much stock into that fact because hourly sales ranks are extremely volatile and can fluctuate wildly.

In any event, it should be clear that if you were looking for ideas on products to promote this would be a good place to start as it gives you a clear indication as to what is actually selling.

Ebay Pulse


Another free site you can use to analyze product demand is Ebay Pulse. With it you can perform global or categorical searches to determine what people have been buying or “watching”.
According to the above snapshot, ipods, the XBox 360, P90X (Pat), etc. are all in high demand right now and would probably make for a good niche site.

Select A Niche

So lets see how we can use this information as a Litmus test for my niche site. As stated previously I am already leaning heavily toward a particular niche. That niche being “juicing”. No, not that kind of juicing… Raw food juicing.

Juicing is something my wife and I have taken to recently. Earlier this year we transitioned to organic foods, and more recently into juicing. We have always loved fruit smoothies but like many, struggled to incorporate vegetables into our diet. By combining fruits with raw vegetables we are able to create extremely healthy and surprisingly tasty drinks; and have seen a marked improvement in our health.

This is a direct result of educating ourselves and making the appropriate dietary changes. Changes we didn’t even realize we needed to make.

In any event, I am super excited about the positive health changes that have occurred as a result of our organic diet and the amount and variety of vegetables that make it into our bodies on a daily basis.

So for the purposes of this Niche Site Duel I intend to create a site that is an authoritative repository of information related to juicing. The site will include juicing tips, juicer reviews, recipes and videos.

So How Can I Monetize This Passion?

Selling juice machines. There… I said it. I know, it sounds super lame. I was hoping I could find words that would make it sound more exciting and adventurous but i’m afraid that’s not possible. The truth of the matter is, a niche is a niche. If there is targeted traffic that you can capture and convert it doesn’t matter what you are selling.

Verify the Product is in Demand

So now that we have a niche in mind lets see if it makes sense. Specifically lets answer the question “Are juice machines even in demand?”

Amazon Check

A quick check of Amazon’s Best Sellers List in the Small Appliances Category reveals the following;

Position Product Days in Top 100
11 Breville-BJE200XL 1094
44 Breville 800JEXL 797
80 Jack Lalanne’s JLSS Power Juicer Deluxe 487

Of the higher-end juicers that Amazon sells these are the three that have been sitting in the top 100 for a significant length of time. I would like to see the juice machine that I own on the list (the Vitamix 5200) but its not available through Amazon so I am going to have to look elsewhere for validation.

Market Samurai Check

You could use Google’s Keyword Research Tool to perform this research, but since I have and use Market Samurai I am going to show you my analysis through it.

For what it’s worth there is a free 12 day trial (affiliate link) and even if you decide that it’s not for you, you still get to use the “Keyword Research Module” free (which is the part I am using in this analysis). If memory serves, you can start the trial and have access to it with a simple name and email submit. No credit card required. I mention this because it is one of my favorite tools and when you have something good you want to share it with everyone. Trust me, if it sucked I wouldn’t suggest it. No affiliate income is worth a hit to your reputation.

OK, back to business. So the word I would love to optimize my site for is “Vitamix 5200″. The philosophy being that if you are searching for a make and model number you are probably ready to buy. Let’s dig a little deeper into this.

There are three phases to the “New Purchase Decision Making Process”. They are the:

  1. Exploratory Phase
  2. Research Phase
  3. Purchase Phase

Let’s take a look at each.

Exploratory Phase

Think about your own decision-making workflow as you contemplate a new purchase. First you might think:

“I would love to get a new flat panel”.

As a result you might start your Google search with the words or phrases:

  • “Flat Panel”
  • “Flat Screen”

This is a very broad and vague research term indicative of a user who is just starting his/her research. They are not sure about the technology or how much they cost. I call this the Exploratory Phase.

Research Phase

Upon doing some basic research you might learn that there are different types of Flat Panels. There are 720P, 1080P, 3D, plasma, LCD, OLED etc. Quite frankly there is a staggering variety of features and technologies to choose from. I call this the Research Phase and the people here are tire kickers – not quite ready to buy.

People in this phase might use search terms like:

  • “720P vs 1080P”
  • “Which is better LCD or OLED”

Purchase Phase

People in this phase know what they want. They have done their research, they know makes, models and prices and are ready to pull the trigger. These are the people ready to convert on an offer and the ones you need to be in front of when their search is performed. If you have to buy clicks or optimize your website for anything it’s these people; who can be identified by the search terms they use.

Their searches are typically much more precise. For example:

  • “Sony BRAVIA KDL-46XBR9″
  • “Best Price KDL-46XBR9″

So now that we understand the phases of the Purchase Decision Thought Process it should be clear why I wanted that specific search phrase Vitamix 5200. Now the bad news. I don’t even need to get into the IP Scrub portion of my analysis to know that Vitamix is a protected trademark. Rest assured most brands are. I will talk more about how to do an Intellectual Property scrub in a future post, but for now know that it is, and you don’t ever want to violate someone’s trademark. It will most certainly get you into personal legal trouble and you will lose so just don’t do it.

For the purpose of understanding demand however I will plug “Vitamix 5200″ into Market Samurai and see what it spits out.

From here we can see that “Vitamix 5200″ gets 1,627 searches a day 1,088 from exact searches (not shown). And the term “Vitamix” gets 14,795 daily searches 4,438 exact searches (not shown). So there is good traffic. Enough to make me want to move forward.

In my next Niche Site Duel update I will continue this journey out loud as I:

8 Comments

  1. Posted September 21, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Hey there,

    Are you sure those are “daily” search numbers? I’m pretty sure those are monthly. Correct me if I’m wrong though. Interesting niche. I hope it works out well for you.

  2. Posted September 21, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Hi Alex,

    Good question. According to the folks at Noble Samurai (the makers of Market Samurai) those are indeed daily numbers.

    Mark

  3. LB
    Posted October 2, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Hey Mark,

    When can we expect an update for part deux?

    • Posted October 2, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      LB, thanks for asking. Will have it up by Monday 10/4. Got back from a long overdue vacation with the family this week. Catching up with a variety of projects, hence the delay. Excited to pick up where I left off and develop my niche.

      • roberto
        Posted October 5, 2010 at 6:31 am | Permalink

        Mark, I am looking forward to your part 2 of the “selecting your niche” article. When will it be forthcoming, thanks? Robert of the Playas.

        • Posted October 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          Awesome! I like how you guys are keeping me accountable. Went on vacation and have been digging myself out from under all the email. Just published the new post now. Check it out and let me know what you think. :)

          Niche Site Duel Part 2 – Keyword Research

  4. Posted November 11, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Mark, I really like that you’ve included the differences between the types of searches in here – I had a discussion last nite with a fellow blogger about how a lot of people doing niche sites are leaning toward heavy information type searches instead of ‘buy’ keywords – I think that really sets it apart.

    Sure, you can try to monetize a visitor based on information alone but when you know they land on your page looking to buy – you’ve got some really nice targeted traffic. Additionally, if you write your copy like “are you looking to buy X” – bam, you caught their attention.

    • Posted November 11, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Murlu,

      Thanks. You will notice as you read further that although I make that distinction, and it’s something I strive for. I did not ultimately follow my own advice here with the domain name I selected. I was struggling to come up with something good for the niche I had my heart set on and ultimately caved because I wanted to keep this niche site duel example moving along. Hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. ;)

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