How To Find A Niche Market

The first problem that needs answering for affiliates is how to find a niche market.  Sure, there may be plenty of affiliate programs out there, but finding a niche market, accessing it’s ability to generate revenue, and then contemplating how much traffic you can generate stems from just one thing.  Which niche market you choose.

What’s Important

Traffic is probably number one on the list of requirements for finding a niche market.  Whether you are looking for a high traffic niche or focus on building sites around a lot of low traffic niche’s, traffic is your concern and how it molds your website.  The amount of traffic you intend on receiving will dictate if you build a store, blog, forum, or combination of all.  Furthermore, depending the niche market you find, developing a thin site just might not cut the mustard.

Competition is the next point to access.  It doesn’t matter how broad the niche market is if there are thousands of competitors.  Any piece of the pie will eventually be divided up, but a low competition niche will allow you to control a bigger market share.  Of course this is assuming you know how to properly market, promote, and then convert that traffic.

Are search visitors in this specific niche looking to buy or just browse.  Some niche markets have a lot of traffic, but the majority of hits are just people looking for info on an item they will never buy.  This typically will apply to very high dollar items or products that need a lot of tire kicking before being purchased locally.  To find a profitable niche market, try to find that widget that people are actually buying online or at least stem off side products to support the primary niche.

Find A Niche Market

The first place I start when looking for a market I’d like to compete in is eBay Pulse.   eBay Pulse will provide the top 10 watched items on eBay, broken down by category.  eBay is the largest online auction website in the world, so it’s a safe consider these results relative to what people are searching for on Google and other search engines.

Next, take this information to the Google Keyword Tool, which can even be used if you don’t have an Adwords account.  Here you can enter the general popular product you found on eBay Pulse and be given a mess of similar searched phrases and keywords.  More importantly the keyword tool will also give you the estimated amount of searches done Globally for the month and even Local searches.  This is the most important tool for judging traffic.  In addition, a rough estimate is given on ad competition, which does not necessarily represent the competition in the SERPs.

I regularly utilize the Google Keyword tool to find a niche market.  Usually I’ll enter a broad niche keyword, then follow the lower searched keywords and phrases to find a market I may not have previously been aware of.  Then I give a lot of attention to searching the keywords and phrases on the actual Google search engine.  After accessing the competition on the first page of results, I see if I judge if I’ll actually be able to compete.

Usually I’ll shy away from a niche market if I don’t already have a website with some sort of authority in the field.  Not a stead fast rule, but it allows me to jump right into a niche market and start competing immediately, but building off links from my already popular website.  Of course, my portfolio of websites would never grow unless I ventured out of my comfort zone, but still provides a good starting point.

Online tools to convert the traffic you receive from your Niche Market:

Associate-O-Matic – Recently updated Amazon store builder.

eMotive Interactive – Affiliate network that focuses on CPA commissions.

Niche Site Platform – Store builder that pulls products from Commission Junction, eBay, Amazon, and more.

Things I Cannot Believe – Webmaster Edition

Digital Point is without question my forum of choice for finding the latest news for making money online.  If nothing else it helps me keep my finger on the pulse of the marketplace, giving me some new ideas to try out.  But despite all the good that comes from surfing around DP, I’m amazed at what people are still focusing on, things that just don’t matter.

This is a very opinionated list of things I cannot believe webmasters focus on or waste any time at all on.  Granted, there is some room for new user error here, but any amount of reading should clear up most misconceptions of the items listed below.

1. Alexa Ratings

It’s important to keep an eye on your statistics, but garbage in equals garbage out and that’s all Alexa ratings are, garbage.  They are extremely easy to manipulate, are not accurate traffic numbers, and at best serve as a fun figure to play virtual domain stock market with.

Unfortunately too many webmasters still rely on these figurs to help sell links, domains, and full websites.  There are actually programs out there and proxies to manipulate these numbers and scammers rely on these figures.  Beware any sale where the primary statistics come from Alexa.

2.  Search Engine Submissions

In all of my experience I still feel this is a big misconception, there is no need to submit sites to be shown in search engine results.  A few years ago, yes, it would help out, but with todays algorithm’s and the way all the major search engines operate, as long as you have at least one incoming link you will be found.

The incoming link does not even need to be that reputable, links from blogspot blogs or even in another blogs comments or forum will be sufficient with having your site indexed.  Obviously the more links you have though, the higher rankings you will receive in most cases.  But actually submitting a site to a search engine does not provide any measurable benefits.

3. PR Is The End All

Google started the craze and now they are responsible for it consuming website owners minds every time they start an SEO campaign.  New online marketers may find it easy to be swept up into the whole PR is more valuable than traffic thing, when purchasing links or advertisements, but that myth is only perpetuated by those selling who stand to profit.  Yes, I speak from experience.

For actual benefit it’s important to look at incoming links, find out what kind of traffic the site receives, and then base purchase on that information only using PR value as a last resort.  I have PR sites ranging from N/A to PR6 and I can tell you that the PR is not directly proportional to earnings or value of visitors.

4. Google Is The Only Search Engine To Focus On

This is another myth perpetuated by those who stand to profit.  Google is very clear what it’s guidelines are and those looking to sell you services attempt to provide measurable tactics to strengthen your positioning.  In my experience, while Google does provide the most visitors, the better converting visitors come from MSN and Yahoo.

There are plenty of theories of why MSN and Yahoo visitors convert better than Google and my personal feelings is because they are less web savy.  These visitors are more likely to buy at the first or second website they find rather than continue searching for the best deals, as Google visitors would.

5. Google Wants You To Succeed At Web Marketing

No, no they don’t.  Google is directly competing with you on almost every level, but mask it very well.  Anytime a web surfer searches on their search engine for a specific product, Google provides links to the highest bidder on items they(google) receives commissions on.  Go ahead, lie to yourself, convince your own instincts that they are wrong and that Google would rather buy from your thin affiliate site than from their own Shopping Network.

This is the primary reason why small niche marketing is so successful, because Google has less interest in stealing those visitors.  Keep that in mind when starting your next marketing campaign and try to figure out how to beat your biggest competitor, Google.

Conclusion

This is a quick 5 part list that I’ve used today after reading threads over at Digital Point.  I intend on continuing this feature of ‘Things I cannot Believe’ anytime I’m flabergasted by posters who just don’t know any better.  Although this returning feature may not always cover webmaster topics, if you are looking for my views on Affiliate Marketing please view my DeadMan Blog.