How do you find topical niches? I wish I had a bit more time to just play around with stuff. I always learn so much just surfing around and looking for patterns.
Here are a few suggestions for ways to find good niches to build sites:
- just surf around...search for something and start following links
- referral logs
- check out some of the trending and tracking ideas mentioned here - tons and tons and tons of ideas there (ie: what is getting tagged, what are people writing about, what do search trends and content production trends look like)
- footer links or related suggestion links on the SEO Book Keyword Tool
- enter URLs into the Google Keyword Tool
- enterk keywords in the the Google AdWords Sandbox or the Google Keyword Tool
- clustered terms at MSN's test clustering engine (or meta search engines, etc)
- look at ads selling on popular blogs and niche publishing sites via BlogAds or AdBrite and the like - if it looks like the company buying the ad is small that is a plus
- look through directories
- look through 3rd party affiliate sites (like Commission Junction or the the Clickbank Marketplace) for top earners or top sellers
- have a general and/or niche directory that people can submit sites to. after you build it up a bit if you are no longer interested in it stop working on it...just use it to check what people are trying to market.
- have a fake blog that accepts blog spam comments
- build a good brand and take on clients for one time and small projects
- look at the domain names of expiring domains or domain names being sold at popular domain auctions
- watch or read the news. Now might be a bit late to get into the bird flu market, but there are many markets that the media will create out of thin air.
- what are people trying to market on forums and usegroups?
- oblique strategies cards - I have came up with AMAZING website names by playing with these or a deck of regular cards
The advantages of the paid ads or paid services are that they often filter out some of the lower end of the marketplace, which means your odds of finding a hit are greater than if you randomly pick from the techniques to generate ideas from the free sources.
And I saved my favorite idea for last. PostSecret - people mail in post cards with their secrets on them. Anything people like to keep secret is good stuff for the computer, because some people will be to afraid to even go to a library or buy information or products for certain things, so they will want to search for answers online. There is also a PostSecret book.
I read the book today (always easier when it is an artistic picture book, eh) and saw some pretty inspiring stuff...from an emotional perspective, and a few business gems. An example idea from the website? Breast implant removal. Look how little competition there is in Google's SERPs. PageRank 2 pages on 2002 PageRank 4 sites with few legitimate citations are ranking and there are only 8 ads right now, with many of them being arbitrage sites. In spite of showing a few thousand searches a month Overture only has 3 bidders for the phrase with only 1 above 11 cents a click. How many girls are frustrated by implants?
How easy would it be to market a site that was against breast reduction and offered girls other solutions outside of implants to improve their self image? You could attack that issue starting with ranking for the uber niched down idea of removal of implants, and then if your story and content were good you could start ranking for the general phrases as well. Either way you have a rather targeted group of people who would be easy to sell to one way or another if you wanted to.
There are a ton of identity issues and social issues examined in the PostSecret book. And most of our needs and wants are somehow covered from an exceptionally personal level that is rarely seen in print or person.
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