The first step to creating an online business is to choose what kind of online business you want to create. This starts by choosing a niche – what is the subject matter you will be dealing with? In this article, you will learn how to do this, and you will see how this initial decision goes on to influence every other step.
What is a Niche and Why Does it Matter?
Every site should have a niche which describes the kind of thing that you will be writing about and the people you will be writing it for.
Your site might be a ‘general’ site or a personal blog that doesn’t stick to any particular topic, but even then there will be at least a ‘theme’ or a feel tying it together. You might write about books, coffee and the city, but that’s still a niche in its way and it’s one that will attract a very specific type of person.
And knowing and understanding your niche is incredibly important if you hope to be able to make a success of your site. Unfortunately, too many webmasters do not really fully understand their niche and their sites tend to suffer as a result. Essentially you should know what your niche is. For most site owners or bloggers this will be an incredibly easy question to answer: the site will probably be about ‘football’ or ‘technology’ and that’s fairly easy to define.
If your site is more general though, then make a list of all the topics that you write about regularly and then think about
a) what ties them together, and b) what kind of person will read them.
You’ve probably created a new niche for yourself, but as long as your future content meets those same criteria then you will be on the money.
The niche you pick should primarily be determined by your own interests. If you’re going to be living and breathing your blog for the next 10 years, then this NEEDS to be something you’re keen to learn and write about.
What’s more, is that you won’t be able to deliver really unique and valuable content if you don’t know anything about the topic! And hiring professional writers won’t guarantee that you’ll find someone who has a real passion and interest for the topic. While that’s true, you also need to consider the viability of the niche choice.
How competitive is it?
Do you stand a chance against the biggest sites?
How profitable and monetizable is it?
We’ll get onto this more in future articles, but the subject you choose should be something that people are willing to spend money on and that has lots of opportunities for informational products.
Finance is the very best niche in this regard because there is so much money to be made on that subject. But likewise, you’ll find that you can make a lot of money writing about dating, fitness, or other topics that speak to a fundamental human need in this way.
Why You Should Get More Specific When Choosing Your Niche
But in order to really succeed – and to gain an edge over the competition – you need to go a little deeper.
Sure, your site might be a technology website, but what kind of technology do your write about?
Who are you writing for?
And what is the purpose of your site?
For instance, you might write about all kinds of technology but find that you seem to stick more to technology that’s just around the corner. Perhaps you write lots of big previews for technology that’s coming. And perhaps you write in a very technical way that is clearly aimed at people who know their stuff? This is a very different niche from a site that reviews basic commercial technology in a style that can appeal to the average customer.
Again then, you will have created your own niche that should be completely unique.
You might make a football site sure, but is it a dry site that deals with a detailed overview of football for real fanatics? Or is it a more gossip filled site that’s aimed at the typical ‘bloke’?
Again, these are slightly different niches and it’s important to recognise the difference. If you can be consistent with your precise niche, then you will find that your site offers something that not every other site does. You will have a specific audience and people who particularly like the way you approach the topic. Stick to your guns and you can make your site highly successful as a result.
The Power of Creating Your Own Niche
That said though, there are few niches left that have a good number of people interested but that nevertheless don’t have too much overcrowding in the marketplace. This is particularly difficult when you consider how important it also is that you actually be interested in the niche that you’re going to be dealing with so regularly from now on and that you actually know a thing or two about it too.
So how do you standout without limiting your appeal or writing about something dull? Well one solution is to come up with your own niche and to create a website that will be unlike any other. Here we will look at how you can potentially accomplish that.
Sites That Don’t Fit Nicely Into Boxes
When you browse the web for inspiration on niches for your website, you will often find lists of categories such as ‘fitness’, ‘making money’, ‘football’, ‘film’ and others like these. Not every site though has to fit neatly into a category like this – it is possible to come up with a completely unique angle and to create a niche that wasn’t there before.
Take http://www.lifehacker.com for instance and http://www.lifehack.org.
These sites exist in the same niche but go back a decade and that niche wouldn’t have existed. These sites tie together lots of themes using a ‘way of life’ or ‘attitude’ to gel it all together. In this case that attitude is the ‘hacker’ attitude – where DIY applies to everything from selfimprovement to making money; but you could just as easily build a site around any other central idea like this. Bringing Various Concepts Together If you can’t find a new theme to link the items on your site though, then another option is to simply combine multiple existing niches that you think will go well together.
This way you have your built in audience – because you’ll get visitors from both of those existing niches – but at the same time you will have your own unique USP and be able to offer something that’s different from everything else. Examples might include ‘bodybuilding and self improvement’, ‘making money online and city living’, ‘travel and art’ or ‘cafes, coffee and books’.
Alternatively, just taking a broader approach with your stories can help to give your site more meat and put your niche more in context with other topics. This strategy is also effective because it creates a number of simple marketing options that you can use to reach a new audience.
For instance, if you have a website based around bodybuilding and self-improvement, then you will be able to promote your site on self-improvement forums without being directly in competition with those sites.
Going More Niche In contrast to broadening your niche, another option is to get even more specific by finding a category within a category.
Again, this will allow you to market on sites that would otherwise see you as competition and will help make SEO easier by focussing your aim. An example might be to target a particular kind of film such as ’80s action films’, a particular era of music, or perhaps a particular kind of exercise such as bodyweight training alone.
Trailblazing Finally, if you have the resources, then you can even consider creating a niche before you create your website. For example then, if you run a software company and you release a new piece of software or a new computer game, then you will likely find that this generates interest and fans.
By creating a website focussing on the software you have released, you can then provide an official website for that interest and create an almost symbiotic relationship between your software and your website where the success of one helps the success of the other. This works for every kind of product and service that will catch the public’s attention.
Though not every webmaster will have a product to promote, it’s important that businesses and entrepreneurs don’t miss this opportunity when it does present itself.