In honor of the birthday of one of the most famous Internet millionaires, Mook-Jon, I’m going to try to cover something that he says is one of the keys to his success — researching a niche for your website. BTW, Mook-Jon now writes for WebsitePublisher.net. He has written a birthday blog entry ruminating on success, drive and his life. Happy Birthday, Jon.
Meanwhile I’m still out there working hard for you, the reader. I’ve been speaking via email, IM and even phone with people who are making good money online. They are all reluctant to talk, but I’ve managed to coax information out of them. My first observation was the importance of viral marketing to their success, which I’ve covered in other posts.
I’m a fan of the content-rich site. I think providing information to your prospective customers is what will make them customers. Google agrees with me, and is moving its pageranking system to reward so-called authority pages, meaning information rich pages that link to other sites and have other sites linking to them.
Most good websites exploit a niche - that is an area of focus for your content-rich site. Coming up with that niche is probably the most difficult and most important part of your Internet Marketing strategy.
You need two things: A subject and an angle. We’ll work on subject first.
As I have said countless times, most people just need a little push to get started, then everything starts flowing. You should always be in niche-hunting mode. I keep a small, spiral bound notebook next to my laptop and I write down ideas as they come to me. When you are looking for something on the Internet and can’t find it, that something needs to go in the book once it passes this simple test:
Will someone pay a reasonable amount for that product, service, or idea?
If the answer is even probably, it needs to go on the page. I always start with broad, general categories and drill down later.
Why not start with yourself? Take a moment right now and list your interests. What do you search for on the web? Put that on the list. Think about all of the things that fill your day at work or at home. While you are living your life run stuff through the niche filter in your mind — there’s always something that you can add to the list. If you don’t have something to write it down on, call yourself and leave a voice mail. I’ve done it many times. Everyone says I wish there was a [insert something here] on the Internet. Some of us say that a lot. Put it on the list.
Work with someone — I find that my wife is a great person to bounce things off. When we are going somewhere in the car we often brainstorm my latest ideas and she usually has a lot to add. In no time you should have a good-sized list.
Still drawing a blank? Here are some places to pick up some good general categories:
1. Alexa - Look over the Top 100 and the Movers and Shakers. Delve into the categories that appeal to you and see what strikes you. Write it all down, because you’ll end up clicking all over the place and will never re-create the path.
2. Sites that show you what people are searching for. Try Google Zeitgeist or The Lycos Top 50. There’s a fairly long list of such sites over at Search Engine Watch that I’ve bookmarked.
3. Google Answers. I am fascinated by Google Answers, and I sometimes spend a long time looking over what people will pay to find out. There are some great ideas here too.
You could even go to Alexa and look over the top sites trying to come up with an angle that would make them better or easier. Or you might come up with a complementary site (MySpace companion sites come to mind).
Once you get your general category ideas together it’s time to do some supply and demand research, along with what I call sanity checking.
This is the first in a three part series. The other two parts can be found at www.affiliateblog.com.