Niche? Notch? What?

One of the things that you'll hear over and over (and over) again when you're first starting out in SEM/affiliate marketing is that you need to find a niche. Problem is, not many people even know what the f#@% that is. Dictionary.com defines niche as

a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing: to find one's niche in the business world.

Thats a great definition, but what does it mean for you? You keep hearing over and over that you need to find a niche, but how?

Well, you've probably also read that you need to focus on something you like. Trust me, this is true. When I first started doing SEM, I jumped in head first and started buying domains on high paying keywords, thinking I'd start making money quickly. But there are several problems with this approach:

  • Everyone else is doing the same thing, so competition is beyond what a n00b can ever handle.
  • It will take forever to rank for one of these terms, and chances are you never will.
  • Your site won't have any content. And if you get content from free article sites, you've already penalized yourself by offering duplicate content. Building a quality site with original content takes forever.

Most likely, on top of that, you're probably not interested in Lemon Laws in Alaska anyway. So the chances of you keeping interest in a topic like that are probably slim.

So where do you find a niche that you can make decent money at, and that you are interested in?

Start by making a list. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil (remember those?). Write down things you're interested in.

  • Hobbies.
  • Games you like to play.
  • Careers that you'd like to have or did have.
  • Things you find interesting.

Now lets do one more thing. Take a look at your "Favorites" in your Internet browser. What types of sites does it show that you visit often? Entertainment news? Clothing/Fashion? Camping in the mountains? Whatever it is, add that to the list. Obviously you're interested in that or you wouldn't have it there.

Last, if you visit the library and check out real books, what genres do you normally get? Vampire novels? Western non-fiction? Cookbooks? Write those down.

Now take that list and narrow it down to one field that you're really interested in. Make sure its something that you won't lose interest in a month from now.

Also, while we're at this decision-making stage, don't make the decision based on the amount of money it might make you. Doing that could possibly sway your decision towards something that you're kinda interested in but it probably isn't your best choice.

Alright, so now you've got a niche. Well, maybe. We need to look at how specific or non-specific it is. If it's obviously generic, you're gonna have to focus it in.

Examples of generic niches would be (but not limited to):

  • Finance
  • Medical
  • Automotive
  • Computing
  • Entertainment
  • You get the idea (I hope)

If you fall into one of these generics, look back at your list. Perhaps you can combine two of your favorites.

  • Interested in Entertainment and camping? How about a site on Celebrities who "rough it"? How do celebrities go camping as compared to "the rest of us"?
  • Interested in the medical field and love coffee? How about a site on caffeine, or a site on the effects of sugar vs. aspartame vs. NutraSweet?
  • Interested in finance and spend some time as a dirt track race car driver? Perhaps a website that hooks up fledgeling race car drivers with sponsors.

The amount of niches are endless. And nearly all of them are profitable in some way. Find one that you like and start there. You'll be glad you did. Start building content and writing original articles about your passion. Find a forum or two that is related to your niche and post some helpful information in them. Be part of the community, and provide a link back to your site.

Lastly, make sure you sign up for a few affiliate accounts around the web. My favorites are:

These affiliates (and many others) have endless campaigns. Certainly one will fit in with your site and help you start generating some income. Don't expect it to come quick, but patience and persistence will reward you in the future.

About 

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.

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