Evaluating A Site’s Product Potential

This tutorial is part of an email course I’m developing on creating niche websites. So if it seems like it’s a tutorial out of the blue, that’s why. It makes more sense in the context of the email course, but I thought that my readers might get some use out of it even without the course itself.

While advertising is one part of monetizing a niche site, product sales are another. You can sell your own products, or you can sell other people’s products.

Right now, we’re not so interested in picking products to sell, as in simply evaluating whether it looks like the niche is one that has the potential to profit from product sales. Remember, we’re trying to pick the best niche to pursue out of our top three. We’ve already evaluated the potential for selling advertising on the site. Product potential is just one more aspect of evaluating the total potential of a niche topic.

So how do we decide if a particular niche topic has good product potential?

One simple way is to see if there are a good number of products already existing for the niche. The thinking goes, that existing products show a market demand for those products, especially if there are a large number of products.

We’re going to focus on other people’s products right now. You may actually sell your own product on your site, but making sure other people have products in the same niche tells us that there’s some existing market demand for products in that niche. The easiest place to check a niche is on the ClickBank Marketplace. ClickBank is a place for people to sell digital products (e.g. ebooks and software).

One of the reasons we use ClickBank as a first place to check for products is that it’s easy to search and, later, it’s easy to get a ClickBank account. Commission Junction is another marketplace for products and services, but you need an established website to get an account there, so we’ll wait on that until later in the process.

I’ll start with the keyword “golf swing”, to see what products are available. In the list that comes up, I see 7 or 8 good possibilities in the first page of results. Not every product that comes back will be a good match, but there are quite a few.

When I try “board games”, I see no good products on any of the results pages. This is not surprising, since the nature of the niche is that suitable products are not digital. We’ll search for non-digital possibilities later.

Trying “sewing patterns” at ClickBank, I get a couple of good possibilities in the first page.

So in terms of digital products, “golf swing” is the easiest niche to monetize with products. To find non-digital products, we’re going to search for affiliate programs offered by individual companies. We’ll use a site called Affiliate Scout to search for these programs.

At Affiliate Scout, “golf swing” returns 3 programs, “board games” returns 3 programs, and “sewing patterns” returns 0 programs. So a bit better for board games on direct affiliate programs.

Big sites like Amazon.com and Ebay.com also have their own affiliate programs, so you could search them for the topic keywords to see what sorts of products are available. Typically, every topic has a good number of results at both.

So in terms of basic product potential, I’d pick “golf swing” as the best of the niche topics, with “board games” coming in second.

We’ll see a bit later how to come to a final conclusion about which niche topic to go with, by combining the results of our various researches.

See you in the course!

Evaluating A Site’s Advertising Potential

This tutorial is part of an email course I’m developing on creating niche websites. So if it seems like it’s a tutorial out of the blue, that’s why. It makes more sense in the context of the email course, but I thought that my readers might get some use out of it even without the course itself.

Part of picking a topic for a niche website is making sure we’ll be able to profit from the site. We’ve already seen that one way to profit is by selling ads.

In the early days of a niche website, the easiest way to sell advertising space is through Google Adsense. If you don’t have an Adsense account, don’t worry…it’s far too early in the process to actually place ads on your site, and you’ll need to have a site up before applying to Adsense. A later lesson will talk about the right time for getting signed up to Adsense.

We can pretty easily check the amount that we would be paid per click for Adsense ads, by using the Google Traffic Estimator tool. That link opens in a new window so you can follow along here.

You’ll end up at a fairly complex screen. In the topmost box, enter all of your main topic keywords.

Down at the bottom, click the “Add” button to add “All Countries and Territories”, then click the “Continue>>” button. For the three main topic keywords I’ve been using as examples in these tutorials, what shows is this:

What I can see from this is the average amount of money that an advertiser will spend to get a single person to click on an Adsense ad. The “golf swing” topic seems to be the most profitable, given the same search volume and conversion rate, with “board games” being next, then “sewing patterns”.

This isn’t to say that board games and sewing patterns couldn’t be profitable topics! Adsense is only one way of monetizing a site. So it’s one indicator of a site’s profitability. We’ll look at other indicators as we go along, to come up with an overall sense of which topic would be most profitable.

For my own sites, I would want the main site keyword to command at least $1 Adsense clicks to conclude that Adsense is a viable means of profiting from the site. So as I continue to look at these niches, I’d want to see some other monetization options for board games and sewing patterns.

Next time around we’ll look at evaluating the product potential for the same site topics.

Keyword Research Tutorial

This tutorial is part of an email course I’m developing on creating niche websites. So if it seems like it’s a tutorial out of the blue, that’s why. It makes more sense in the context of the email course, but I thought that my readers might get some use out of it even without the course itself.

The point of keyword research is to identify existing online markets. These are people who are already looking for the information you have to offer. While Google’s keyword tool isn’t the best option for making a final choice of topic for a niche website, it is great at narrowing down a list of choices to the top two or three, and eliminating the obviously poor choices.

You can get to the keyword tool here. This will open in a new tab or window, so you can continue to follow along with the tutorial.

You’ll leave all the radio buttons and check boxes just like they are. The first thing to do is to take care of the test to make sure you’re a human. It’ll look like this:

Just type in the word that you see in the box below it.

Then, type the first of your topics into the keyword box, and click “Get Keyword Ideas”. You want a topic that is between one and three words. Two word topics are best.

What you’ll end up with is a listing something like this. I used the topic “golf swings” as an example.

The column labeled Advertiser Competition is intended to show people thinking about advertising sites like this how many other people are already doing it. We don’t really care about that column, except to note that having a lot of advertising competition means that when we start selling ads on our niche website, there will be plenty of people to buy ad space.

The columns labeled December Search Volume (and Avg Search Volume, not shown in my screenshot), are more important. These show actual amounts of people who are searching Google using specific keywords. Since Google is offering this information for free, we don’t get actual numbers, but rather a general idea of how large the search volume is.

How full the bar is represents how much search traffic that keyword gets. A nearly empty bar means that it gets practically no search traffic. A nearly full bar means it gets a lot of search traffic. “No Data” means that it hasn’t gotten any search traffic for the period shown.

The average search volume shows how much search traffic the term has received over time. This is important to contrast with the last month’s search volume, because some keywords are seasonal. They might get more searches at different times of the year. If we create a niche website on a seasonal term, we need to understand the season so we know when to expect traffic.

The first way to use Google’s keyword tool is to sort by the average search volume column (by clicking on Avg Search Volume). This shows you the highest traffic keywords first. When I do that with “golf swings”, I get the following:

From this, I can tell that the term “golf swing” is searched more often than “golf swings”. Further, I can see that “super swing golf” is either seasonal, since it had no search volume in December, or it was a fad that came and went. I’d stay away from that unless I knew more about why the search volume is so inconsistent.

On the other hand, the top searches mostly deal with people wanting help with golf swings. The top keyword, “golf swing”, has about the right search volume for the main topic of my site (that full of a bar usually means about 400 people a day are searching on that term). The other, related keywords, I’ll target with individual pages in my site (more on this later in the course).

The other way I can use Google’s keyword tool is once I have identified the main topic of my site for each of the possible topics I’ve identified, I can compare those main topics to see which is best. Let’s say that I have identified the possible niche topics, “golf swing”, “board games”, and “sewing patterns”.

I can type all three of those into the keyword box, like this:

Then I click “Get Keyword Ideas”, and when the list comes up I click on the Filter My Results link. It’ll show this expanded set of options:

Click on the checkbox that says, “Don’t show ideas for new keywords.”, and then click the “Apply Changes” button. The display should now look something like this:

From this, I can easily compare the search volume for the main topic keywords. I can see that the average search volume for each is good, and about the same. There might be some actual difference that Google’s tool doesn’t show, but I’d need to switch to professional keyword research tools to narrow it down farther.

I can also see that “board games” was higher in December, so obviously there’s a slight seasonal surge during the Christmas season.

So using a free keyword research tool, I’ve identified three possible topics for a niche website. There are lots of other factors involved, too, that we’ll deal with later in the course, such as the amount of competition (not advertiser competition, which is good for us, but other niche sites trying to attract the same organic search traffic), and how well each topic could be monetized.

But for now we’ve made significant progress! And your goal at this stage is to simply get your three best topic ideas identified.

See you at the next lesson!

Big Dog Heavy Hitters Review

One of our own commentors here, Rick Katz, has a free report he’s giving away.

The report is available at BigDogHeavyHitters.com. It promises to show you how to market like the “big dogs”, and without going broke.

The report is quite well done, and favors substance over presentation. The report follows the trend of some of the latest Internet Marketing techniques, which basically say to market your primary opportunity only to those who have invested some time already, such as by purchasing a less expensive report or by downloading a free report. Only market your primary opportunity once you’ve built some trust. (As a side note, while this sort of approach is recently a fad in Internet Marketing circles, it’s been the recommended way of doing things all along at SBI!).

The report then also breaks down the qualities needed by any marketing campaign in order to successfully implement the techniques he talks about.

And true to his own advice, Rick offers a solution to all of the above at the end of the report. I’m currently testing out the solution, so will have more to say about it after I’ve seen what results it gives.

In the meantime, head over to BigDogHeavyHitters.com and get your free copy of Rick’s report. It’s good stuff!