Finding your perfect niche can be tough…
You don’t know where to start and there’s a lot to consider.
Thankfully, my niche-finding formula will ease that out for you and show you how to find a profitable niche in just three straightforward steps.
- The importance of choosing the right niche
- 6 methods of brainstorming for niche ideas
- Which markets are the most profitable
- How to gauge your niche’s potential profitability
- And much more
Let’s get started.
There’s an audio version — an actual podcast episode — of this article, too, if you prefer listening to this piece of content instead of reading it.
Just hit ‘Play’ on the player below or download the MP3 file (right-click and “Save as”) to your computer or device for later listening.
How to Find a Profitable Niche (for Affiliate Marketing or Other Online Business Model)
In order to find a profitable niche for affiliate marketing or any other online business model, I’ve devised a simple — yet effective — 3-step formula.
Here’s a quick overview:
- Start by brainstorming for niche ideas and picking out your favorite ones.
- Match your favorite picks with their respective parent markets so you can get a clearer sense of how profitable they can be.
- Further gauge your chosen niches’ potential profitability through market and keyword research.
We’ll expand on each stage (or step, however you want to call it) of the process in greater detail next, but for now it’s important to understand what we’re doing here and why.
How Important Is It to Choose the Right Niche?
Choosing the right niche is the most important part of them all, whether you’re building an affiliate niche website or aiming to explore other type of online business.
Get it right, and all the pieces of the puzzle going forward will end up fitting together nicely, even if you make some mistakes along the way.
Get it wrong, and no matter how hard you try, it’ll be very tough to progress and extremely difficult to reach your desired outcome, even if you do everything else 100% perfect.
How well this choice is made may very well turn out to be the difference between a profitable niche site / online business and one that struggles every day to generate any kind of positive result, income- or traffic-wise.
It can literally mean the difference between success and failure.
Product-Picking VS Niche-Finding
When you go out searching for a niche, you’re not necessarily hunting down for products to promote.
As I explained in my What Is a Niche Website article, a niche is a group of people who share a common interest or problem. (I also like to call it a topic, theme or subject but…)
Essentially, a niche is an audience.
And that’s what you should be looking for…
An audience you can serve.
There are determinant reasons as to why:
Regardless of how profitable a product might be, audiences stick around for much longer than products or, sometimes, even companies do.
Plus, once you fully understand the ins and outs of your niche, you’ll be able to see which products better serve your audience’s needs — which opens the doors to a broader set of money-making opportunities.
What You Need to Consider When Picking Out a Niche
A critical aspect to remember is that, when you’re picking out a niche, you shouldn’t just rush into it, grab the first niche you lay your eyes on and build a website (or start an online business) around it.
I know that successful people say it all the time:
«Don’t think twice!»
«Go for it!»
«Take action right away!»
They’re true, they’re true, but… wait a second right there!
You cannot take that advice literally for everything under the sun.
Some things need to be thought over before actually taking the plunge and going after them. That’s the case for finding a niche for your website.
That being said, there are many factors to consider and some questions you need to ask yourself before anything else.
As far as Competition is related:
- How much competition is there in this niche?
- Does it have any competition at all?
- Is it too competitive?
As what concerns Interest over time:
- Is it an evergreen niche, a seasonal one or just a passing trend?
In what’s related to Profitability:
- Is there a high enough demand for niche-related products?
- Are there people looking online for products in this niche?
- What’s the average price point of this niche’s products?
- Is there money to be made in this niche or not really?
- Will it be hard to make any money?
- How much or how little can I earn?
Finally, you need to think about your Personal interest, as well:
- Will I feel comfortable creating content for this niche?
- Do I really want to serve this niche?
- Do I even like it?
Put simply, you should do your homework beforehand.
And, more importantly, you shouldn’t take this particular niche-finding process lightly.
This stuff can literally make or break your niche website/online business.
With that out of the way, let’s explore each step more in-depth.
Brainstorming for Niche Website Ideas
Your quest for the perfect niche starts with brainstorming for niche ideas.
How do you brainstorm for niche ideas?
Simply use one, some or all of the methods listed next.
Method #1: The 777 List
Pat Flynn, of the Smart Passive Income blog, has a great way to brainstorm for niche ideas.
He uses the “The 777 List” method.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Come up and write down three separate lists of 7 items: 7 passions, 7 problems and 7 fears of yours.
- Then, from your list of 21 items, select your top-ten favorite ones.
Method #2: ClickBank’s Best Sellers
This brainstorming method leverages the use of ClickBank’s database and stats.
Despite its simplicity, it comes with proven results.
You’ll learn why in a second.
Here’s how you go about it:
- Head over to clickbank.com and click on the “Affiliate Marketplace” link that you can find in the top right menu.
- In the left sidebar of the “Affiliate Marketplace” page, pick one of the categories and then select one of its sub-categories.
- Sort the list of results by “Gravity” and order them from “High to low”.
Any product with a “Gravity” score equal to or higher than 20 is a good choice.
ClickBank’s “Gravity” is a score that represents the number of times a product has been sold by a unique affiliate within a week’s time frame.
A score of 130 means that 130 different affiliates sold at least one unit of that product in the last seven days.
For example, if I had made 15 sales of product XYZ on ClickBank on Monday and 15 sales Tuesday that would only represent 1 point being added to the overall weekly “Gravity” score.
The higher the “Gravity”, the more the product is selling.
In other words, there are people looking for it and best of all — buying it.
That’s the proof you need to be confident that you’ll also be able to make some sales and earn some affiliate commissions — because there’s actually a demand for that specific product.
Method #3: Look Around You
Al Pacino’s motivational speech on the “Any Given Sunday” movie always comes to mind when I use the “Look Around You” method.
«Life is a game of inches (…)
Those inches are everywhere around you.
Everything you need is right here — in front of you!»
So… just open your eyes and take a look around. 🙂
Go about your normal life and, as you do your stuff, note down whatever catches your attention, even the smallest ordinary things.
In fact, everyday activities (like those listed next) can be a great source of inspiration for topic ideas:
- Reading a book.
- Listening to the news.
- Listening to a podcast.
- Listening to some music.
- Attending a seminar or a webinar.
- Watching a movie or seeing a play.
- Talking to the cabman, to the cleaning lady, to a friend. Just starting a conversation with someone.
- Reading a magazine or a newspaper.
- Reading blog post comments.
- Going through the list of product categories on Amazon, eBay, ClickBank and JVZoo.
- Going shopping, traveling, commuting or taking a walk.
- Checking out Google Trends and using Google Instant.
- Reading forums or social media groups in your area of interest.
- Understanding what others are doing with their niche websites.
- Going to the library or browsing Wikipedia.
- Looking at online ads or offline advertising.
- Things you do on your spare time. Your hobbies and passions.
- Topics you usually talk about with your relatives or friends (politics, football, weather, etc.).
- Things you think could be improved (with a new invention, a scientific breakthrough, etc.)
Essentially, all you need to do is to live life… and write down what you see around you.
Method #4: Leverage Your Knowledge & Skills
How about putting your knowledge and skills to a different use other than your job or hobbies?
Maybe you have worked as a doctor for thirty years and now you have a lot you can share; maybe you’re an expert nutritionist or maybe, even, you’re a great tennis or pool player…
How about your computer programming skills?
Do you know how to paint? Sing? Play the piano?
That could help.
Why not start a niche site where you teach people what you know and are experienced at, thus leveraging your skills and knowledge to offer lots of insightful and helpful information?
Think about it!
Method #5: Niche Hacks’ List of Profitable Niche Ideas
I’ve already talked about it before, but I’ll just mention it again.
Look for potential niche ideas on NicheHacks.com.
Stuart Walker and his team have listed thousands of profitable niche markets around which you can build niche websites and online businesses.
Just give it a look and see if you can find something that suits or inspires you over there.
Method #6: Following Expert Advice
Understanding and — not necessarily copying, but — being inspired by what other people in a similar situation do or have done is always a great move and, definitely, a good learning opportunity.
As such, for this kind of mini expert roundup that follows, I invited some expert bloggers, SEOs and SEO companies to share what they do in regards to finding a niche.
I asked them:
«What’s your best way for coming up with new and exciting topics for a brand new niche website?»
Here’s what they told me:
SEO Services Dublin
«I find entrepreneurial magazines can be a great way to get an idea of the sort of thing that’s on the cusp of becoming popular.
The likes of Wired can be a great way to get ahead of the curve when it comes to trends and the next big thing.»
«My best ideas actually come when I am brainstorming for other people on MBU.
I find a variation of every brainstorm contribution can work for my own site. I find that my brain moves along new paths when I am working on someone else’s problem and it opens up new possibilities.
Giving (for me) helps me get ideas.»
Phil Turner believes it is possible for anyone to find an online niche and to make money from it. However earnings depend on establishing a reputation in that niche as a helpful individual who will share his knowledge with anyone who needs it. He founded MaXXers.com as a community of people who are all working separately to spread their unique knowledge using the Internet.
«If you’re going to produce regular content, it’s easier to do it when you’re writing about something you know a lot about or you want to learn about (so it doesn’t turn into a chore).
So here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re brainstorming.
- What’s on your bookshelf?
- What can you talk about forever?
- What are the last 5 courses/programs you’ve bought about?
- When you’re with your friends, what do you find yourself most often talking about?»
«My favorite way to find niches is to check out Trend Hunter, an amazing site that has been around for years.
I have no affiliation with the site — in fact, I don’t even understand how it could have what seems like a thriving business, but there is an amazing variety of content all focused on what is brand new and what is gaining traction.
It’s very nicely categorized, and if you put a broad niche keyword into their search box, I’m pretty sure you will come up with a ton of offbeat and trendy products, apps and business ideas to match.»
«I have tried various ways to find niches to launch sites around and after testing different methods, I have devised one of my own.
I list down my comfort areas, not necessarily my hobbies or interests, but a broader perspective of stuff I’m comfortable talking or researching about.
With this list in hand, I go through Amazon to find products that are worth promoting.
Products with a decent ticket price and market size are my choice — with the aim of balancing out the money-earning potential of my niche with my comfort in promoting it.»
Shashank Gupta believes that anyone can earn a living via the Internet. It requires persistence and the right approach.
He talks about his money-making ventures and techniques on his blog ShashankGupta.net
Matching Your Chosen Niches with Their Respective Parent Markets
Now that you have your list of niche ideas, this next step is all about understanding to which markets they belong.
This will give you a clearer view as to how profitable your niche… might… or might not be.
The thing is:
Different types of markets have different inner workings and different consumer behaviors.
Some markets are naturally more profitable than others.
Let’s learn more about them, so you can then identify your niche idea’s parent market.
There are three major markets that are known for their evergreen profitability:
Together they represent about 95% of the most profitable markets both online and offline and are guaranteed sources of income and success, as long — it goes without saying — as long as you properly explore their niches and sub-niches.
The Health Market
Health goes beyond being just a need; it’s more of a crucial requirement.
We all want to feel young, be fit and look beautiful, right?
Every one of us aims to live long and happy lives and we want the same for our loved ones, for our pets and friends.
It’s no wonder, therefore, that there are a ton of people out there willing and (unfortunately) having to spend a lot of money in the Health market — which opens the doors to a panoply of profitable niches.
A few examples of sub-niches in the Health market are:
- Weight loss
- Muscle gain
- Natural healing
- Sleep disorders
- Paleo diet recipes
- Getting rid of acne
- Stress management
The Wealth Market
Who doesn’t want to be rich?
Or, at a very least, have some money in their pockets?
I mean we all need to pay our bills, make a living and have enough money to live a comfortable life with everything we need for ourselves and our family and our pets.
As such, the Wealth market is filled with great business opportunities, because people are always looking for ways to save more, pay their debts, improve their careers and increase their income.
Here are some examples of sub-niches in the Wealth market:
- Gold Trading
- Cryptocoin Mining
- Saving for college
- Mortgage refinance
- Facebook advertising
- Small business advice
- Self-publishing your book
The Relationships Market
Ah… Love, exciting and new…
We all want to feel loved, be attractive, have a wonderful relationship with our better half, be accepted by our peers, welcomed by those who matter most to us and recognized in our community.
Unsurprisingly, we’re definitely willing to invest some cash to achieve all of that.
Examples of sub-niches in the Relationships market are:
- Baby car seats
- Maternity clothing
- Relationship advice
- Birthday party ideas
- Getting your ex back
- How to make friends
- Wedding party dresses
Why are these three markets so powerful and strong?
So the question that pops up is…
Why are these three markets so profitable?
Because they represent our basic human needs.
Those basic human needs were perfectly depicted in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
I don’t mean to bother you with psychology here, but the truth is:
Marketing is all about understanding people.
Really quickly then, just so you can understand…
The Hierarchy of Needs was developed by Abraham Maslow (1908-1970), an American psychologist.
For Maslow, people’s motivation is directly connected with the fulfilment of needs.
The American psychologist came up with a concept called Maslow’s Pyramid that sorts human needs in an ascending order (from our primary needs up to our secondary needs).
At the bottom of the pyramid, he listed our primary needs: the satisfaction of physiological basic needs like breathing, eating and drinking.
On the above segments, our secondary needs are listed like so: safety, love/belonging, self-esteem and personal fulfillment.
What Are the Most Profitable Niches (for Affiliate Marketing or other type of online business)?
Here’s what you need to know:
People spend more money when they’re not thinking.
People are willing to spend money in these evergreen markets, because they are triggered by emotion — their needs — rather than reason.
Chances are they’ll never be satisfied with the products they buy and they’ll keep on spending money on the next big thing, the latest best solution.
So, if you’re still wondering…
What are the most profitable niches?
The answer is:
Those niches that belong to one of the top-3 evergreen markets: Health, Wealth and Relationships.
As long as you make sure your niche falls into one of these three major markets, you really can’t go wrong.
The Fourth Element
The remaining 5% of the evergreen markets are represented by the General Interest market.
This particular market is composed of that kind of activities that make people feel well, like hobbies and leisure, because they’re based on their passions.
Examples of sub-niches in the General Interest market are:
- Pet care
- Aquarium supplies
- Adventure holidays
- Auto repair at home
- Acoustic guitar lessons
Market & Keyword Research
The final stage of my niche-finding system involves market and keyword research.
You need both of these types of research to better know and understand your audience, their problems, the language they’re using, what keyword terms they are typing into the search engines and how many monthly searches those specific terms have.
Let’s begin with market research.
Here’s what you need to do:
First, get to know your audience better.
Look through forums, Q&A sites, groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and Slack, how-to websites, blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels in the niche you’re researching to find out more about your audience.
Try and understand your niche’s problems, needs, desires, challenges, pain points, ambitions and aspirations.
Second, find out which products already exist and check out people’s thoughts about them.
Search your chosen niche for products people are already buying and using and try to grasp how useful and helpful they are or aren’t.
Third, truly understand the problems your audience members are facing.
Understand what your audience really wants in the solutions that promise to solve their problems. Figure out what’s working and what’s not working in the products that already exist and are being used.
Learn how your audience describe their ideal solution, the language, the terms and the jargon they use.
You’ll need to be able to speak your niche’s language fluently in order to use it in your content, marketing and advertising campaigns and in your keyword research, too.
Keyword research is the missing ingredient to all of the brainstorming methods I described earlier.
Now that you have a bunch of niche ideas and niche-related terms that you have found in your market research, you need to type them into your keyword research tool of choice and look for promising related keywords. By that I mean low-competition, high-traffic keywords.
* Make sure you understand which problem your chosen product is promising to solve.
As you’re doing your keyword research, visit the SERPs for the keywords that denote a buyer’s intent.
I’m talking about key phrases that include prefixes or suffixes like “best”, “review”, “purchase”, “VS”, “for the money”, “discount”, etc.
Check Google’s SERPs for those commercial-type of keywords and see if there are any ads and other affiliate niche sites.
If there are, that’s a good sign.
There’s money to be made in that niche. That’s why there are companies investing in paid advertising and other affiliate marketers trying to explore it.
My Public Niche Site Project Keyword Research Criteria
Okay, the main topic of this article — which was updated in 2019 and is part of my Niche Site Project series — is already taken care of.
Now, it’s time for me to share my keyword research criteria and tell you how my niche website is getting along.
Keyword Research Criteria
It makes perfect sense to set a keyword research criteria right from the start.
Here’s the one I decided to follow.
My Ideal Primary Keyword
- 5,000+ exact-match local monthly searches*. Or,
- A minimum 1,500 exact-match local monthly searches with lots of good related long-tail keywords to target.
- Low competition in the first page of Google.
- Google’s top-ten results not crowded by e-commerce sites.
* “Local” here refers to the United States of America. Together with Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, the USA is one of the tier-one countries which are known for their high online consumer habits.
A niche website needs to drive a decent amount of organic traffic to its “money” pages (those that target commercial-intent keywords) in order to generate a reasonable number of sales/affiliate commissions each month.
That’s why I wanted my primary keyword to ideally have 5,000 plus exact-match local searches a month.
Alternatively, I will have to find a primary keyword with around 1,500+ exact-match monthly searches and lots of secondary long-tail keywords with a good amount of searches per month (from 200 to 800).
Their search volume might not be as high as that of keyphrases with fewer words but, if you publish lots of posts each one targeting a different long-tail keyword, your organic traffic will add up over time.
I’m hoping to find a good keyword that fits these criteria. If not, I’ll move on to the next niche idea on my list.
As I referred in previous posts, I’m following Spencer Haws’ niche site blueprint and I’ll be using Long Tail Pro as my keyword research tool, which is definitely the best of its kind.
Doing keyword research to find a profitable niche (and related long-tail keywords) is as important as choosing the right niche and a crucial component of the entire niche website building process.
Don’t worry if you can’t quite understand everything about my keyword research criteria here. I’ll cover keyword research in greater detail in the next update of the series.
Niche Site Project Update
It’s time for the latest Public Niche Site Project update.
I’ve already compiled a list of niche ideas after following one of above brainstorming methods.
Those will act as the seed keywords that’ll run through my keyword research tool to find related high-traffic, low-competition long-tail keywords.
I usually follow “The 777 List” method, but this time I ended up using the “Look Around You” one.
Here’s what I found around me:
- Pet fish food
- Walking the dog
- Riding my bicycle
- Training your pet
- Drawing cartoons
- Food truck business
- Running the marathon
- Computer programming
- Ask someone for directions
- Guy starting a conversation with a hottie at the coffee shop
I must say I found a great niche idea when I was taking a look at the newspaper.
One of its news said that a particular kind of event was increasing more and more in popularity in the United States in recent years..
I know I’m truly passionate about the topic, though it does not fall into one of the three major evergreen markets — it’s actually a sub-niche of the General Interest market.
No worries, though, I think it will work nevertheless.
I’m actually feeling really excited about checking it out on Long Tail Pro!
Something tells me that I’ll find a good primary keyword to build a niche website around.
Hopefully this article has taught you how to find a profitable niche.
You understood how decisive your niche selection process is in the overall success of a niche website or online business.
By treating it with the proper importance and attention it requires, all of the following steps and decisions will become much easier and logical to you.
I shared a few brainstorming methods that you can use for finding niche ideas and I also told you about the most profitable markets.
As long as you do it correctly, exploring a sub-niche of the three major evergreen markets or of the General Interest one will increase your chances of success dramatically.
Regardless, if you’d rather explore a passion or a hobby of yours or some other niche topic that falls inside the General Interest market, you can still achieve success and make money online, but you’ll need to add an extra layer of attention and effort.
Leave a Comment & Share this Piece of Content
If you have any doubts, feel free to ask me by leaving a comment below.
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I need all the help to make this a successful journey.
See you soon!
All the best and much success,