September 5th, 2006
When I look at some of my projects I quietly smile. At this point in time I think I am a more experienced online entrepreneur than 18 months back, but I am not good enough to boast of really great projects that made me a fortune and are well known on the Internet. I guess every person thinks and hopes that his best project is still to come.
Now and then I am tempted to start a new project (though I hardly cope with the current load of the work) hoping to apply all my experience and make it outstanding. I dream to make an innovation project that will take minimum maintenance time and achieve a certain degree of visibility online. One day.
Thinking about new projects I realize that I need an algorithm that will make the entire process less painful and in some way more secure. Those issues that I take into account thinking about new projects can be short:
- Overture Search Term suggestion tool (niche volume)
- Overture bids (how much money is in the niche)
- Google (competition research checking the amount of pages with the exact keyword phrase I the titles; then checking the quality of competition – 2-3 search page results)
That’s it – you have an idea about the niche potential, market demand and supply, competition. I guess it is a good way to start a network of made-for-AdSense websites or websites when you own a number of domains and need to put some pages online.
If you are thinking a project of your life or at least a project with a long-term strategy then you should turn to the extended analysis (I prefer the latter). The essence of the process is the same – check the demand and supply, explore your competition and your prospect audience, get ideas about originality of your project, define the mission or USP (unique selling proposition). The difference – it considers much more factors, takes much more time and unfortunately does not guarantee the result. Sometimes pure guess projects are more profitable and with a better potential than well thought and analyzed ones.
Nonetheless I prefer the second approach. What aspects do I consider when planning a new project?
· Twist, innovation
· Web 2.0 features (read O’Reilly description)
· AssociatePrograms.com: check new programs
· Stats available
· Websites for sale: topics, traffic & revenue details
· WordTracker free reports: what people search. It is also a good idea to buy a subscription
· Check forum sections: need services/ will buy
· 7Search top paying keywords
· Future: emerging products and services
· Study high paying keyword lists
· Amazon: hot selling products (topics)
· Check signatures in webmaster forums
· API applications
· Find niche forums: explore FAQ
· Magazine stores
· SourceForge.net – open source software, browse their Top Projects
· Blog Buzz Index (search for stories rapidly spreading through blogs):
· Technorati top blogs: what and how people write
The above will give you a long list of ideas to look deeper into. But it is the start – you need to explore the demand and supply:
- Overture bid tool (money in the niche)
- Google/ NicheBot (supply)
- WordTracker: any actual demand? Any free niches?
- Google Top 10 (allintitle): level of competition. Also check: BL, PR, # of indexed pages, domain age
- Seomoz.org keyword difficulty tool (competition)
- Check: are there any ads (for AdSense site: use DigitlPoint AdSense sandbox tool)
- Before you start working at the website: test the niche. Put some PPC ads and see the demand
- Go deep into Google for a specific keyword until you see the crap. It is the place you can easily gain
Now it is good to have a deeper look at the competition:
Now your list of ideas is much shorter. Take your time and make your final decision. Now domain names and hosting are much cheaper and you can start a few websites with one hosting account. Put a few pages for each project and observe the progress. If it makes sense try to run a few new projects – hire some help.
It is the description of my process. I am not the one who invented it from zero – you will find most things in the links I provide at the bottom of the post. My way is neither the only one nor 100% error free.
Here is a collection of resources that will help you:
Research Guide to Online Niche-Finding: Methodology and Software
Affiliate Masters Course
Entire niche selection and site creation process
Profitable niches in under 10 minutes
How to Choose a Product for eCommerce
Abstract niche discovery approaches
Trending and Tracking the Blogosphere and Newsosphere
Starting a professional blog – choosing a niche
Where to get ideas for a niche website
My system for finding workable ideas
Finding good affiliate niches
Summary: Extended approach to a niche selection process takes time, much of it. But you will learn many extra things in addition to a selection of your new niche. For instance, you will discover new design, coding, website functionality features. You will get a wider look at where Internet is now and where it is heading for.
When you decide on the niche to follow you will have enough data to develop and position your website within a relatively short period of time as you will know the target audience, the key niche players (websites, blogs, forums) and you will have ideas how to make your website different from your competition.
[tags]niche selection, niche marketing, online business models, freelance jobs, how to get a job, telecommuting, networking, online communities, forums, web forums, traffic, links bait, social bookmarking, web 2.0, domain names, text-link-ads, links buying, myspace, seo, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, blogs, content generation, google, make money online, work from home, home based job, duplicate content, earn your living online[/tags]