Market Research and Choose your Niche
The very first step before building up your blog is to choose your blog’s topic or ‘niche’.Try to choose something that is both something you’re passionate about (or at least have some interest in) and something that’s profitable (something that other people are passionate about and are willing to spend money on).
Of course, it’s really important that you have some knowledge on your niche so you know what you’re talking about when making blog posts. If you are knowledgeable on your topic, visitors to your website will perceive you as an expert and someone they can go to for advice. The information you will be providing on your blog must be helpful and informative in order for you to build credibility and make money. People will only pay for information that is genuinely useful.
However in saying this, you don’t actually have to be a qualified expert in your field, just as long as you know a bit more than the average Joe. Even if you have a few doubts whether you’re someone who can come across as being knowledgeable and credible in your niche, it’s nothing a little research won’t fix.
So the first thing you should do is think about your interests and what you are passionate about. Something that is a big industry, that has a lot of money in it such as health and fitness. Next, you will need to break this down into a sub-topic. For example, the health and fitness niche is very profitable, however it is swamped with competition, so you will want to narrow it down to a smaller sub-niche such as “raw food diets” or “yoga for pregnant mothers” etc. Even if the niche is small and obscure, it can still be extremely profitable and under-monetized with big potential. Then again, don’t go too small into sub-niches with absolutely no competition because chances are there’s not much money to make. Topics that are always popular and profitable are:
- Relationships and Dating
- Health and Fitness
- Credit and Finance
- Cooking Food & Wine
- Home & Garden
Remember: People pay for solutions to their problems. It’s really just as simple as finding out what your target market wants and giving it to them.
“Problems are nothing but opportunities to entrepreneurs willing to fix them.” – Xavier Padilla
Here’s the 3 step process:
1) Identify your target market’s problems
2) Find solutions for their problems
3) Give them your solutions to their problems.
So, the first thing we need to do is to go out into your niche and do a little research.
You should look for:
- What kind of people they mostly are?
- What are they most passionate about and why?
- What do they spend most of their time talking about (and probably thinking about) in regards to this topic?
- What are their main concerns/problems?
- What are they currently doing to solve their problems?
- What can you do to offer a solution to these problems?
The best places to go to find this information out is the places where your niche/target market hang out; forums, popular websites, social sites etc.
Find Forums In Your Niche
Do a search on Google for “((your niche here) forum)” and if your niche is popular I am sure there will be plenty of results. Sign yourself up for these forums and start interacting with your target market. Look through and study the most popular threads and research what most people are talking about. I am positive you will come across popular sub-topics. Figure out what are hot topics and problems in your niche that people are talking about. Figure out what your niche is most passionate about. This is where the money is!! If you’re still unsure, or want to cut to the chase, you could simply just straight out ask these questions on the forum and you’ll be certain to get some good ideas.
Also, another great thing about forums is just by looking through and reading people’s posts you can find out where else people in that niche hang out and what websites and resources are popular to them. You can also find out what kind of products they use and enjoy and what kind of material they read and watch. Here is an example of a forum:
Social Media/Web 2.0 Sites
Social sites and community sites are also popular places for groups of people passionate about the same thing to hang out and share ideas. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Digg, YouTube, and StumbleUpon all have plenty of people constantly discussing and sharing ideas and information on their interests, passions and problems. Of course, I’ve only mentioned just a few of the web 2.0 sites you can go to; there are literally dozens out there. Simply go to these sites and do a search for your niche or sub niche and you’ll get plenty of information and ideas!
Get Ideas From Yahoo Answers
One of the best places to find the hottest questions and answers in your niche is Yahoo Answers (http://answers.yahoo.com). Here you will find people asking all sorts of interesting (and shameless) questions on every topic you can imagine. It’s extremely popular and it is a great source for finding out what people are having trouble with and what they really want and need. Not only will you find ideas on what sub-niche you should choose, you’ll also have plenty of questions and answers you can base your blog posts around!
Google Alerts: Get Knowledge and News Automatically
Google Alerts is a great tool that’s designed to automatically alert you on information you’re interested via your Gmail account. You can request to receive alerts of the latest news and information on your niche and choose how frequently you want to receive them. It’s so handy!
First, I’d recommend you set up a new Gmail account specifically for receiving alerts on your topic. So go to http://www.googlemail.com and create a new Gmail account.
Secondly, go to http://www.google.com/alerts to set up your alerts.
For example, if I was setting up a blog on ‘raw food diets’ I’d enter it into Google Alerts as the ‘search terms’:
Third, select the type of search you want. Select ‘Everything’ because then every time your search term is mentioned in news, blogs, groups, and videos, you will receive alerts.
Fourth, select how often you want these alerts and how many results you want. I suggest selecting to receive alerts daily, but it’s up to you.
Lastly, enter your email address you want the alerts sent to. Once you’ve done some keyword research (we’ll get onto that next) you could also enter your keywords into Google Alerts to see what comes up.
Once you’ve found a popular target market that appears profitable and identified the key concerns and problems of that market, you will need to do a bit of keyword research. What we’re looking for is a list of search terms that have high search volume and low competition. You still do want some amount of healthy competition because that is a good indicator of the market’s profitability. It means there are BUYERS in that niche. The best place to start is Google’s Keyword Tool:
Now take your niche idea(s) and think about what kind of keywords people would be typing in to Google Search. Think about what words in particular have to do with problems or solutions in that niche. For example, if I was making a blog on “raw food diets” I would type in things like:
- raw food weight loss diet
- raw food diet plan
- lose weight raw food
- raw food cleanse
- raw food diet
- raw food benefits
Then, enter these into Google’s Keyword Tool:
So as you can see by the search results this is a popular niche!
However don’t worry too much about competition, because you’ve now narrowed your main niche (e.g. health and fitness) down to a sub-niche (e.g. raw food diets).
Now, make a note of the best keywords you can find that have both high search terms and are highly relevant because later on you’ll need to try and incorporate them into the titles and content of your blog posts so you can benefit from SEO.