Aside from backlinking, niche selection is probably the most extensively covered aspect of internet marketing on the planet. I dare to think how many words have been written on the subject.
And this is not a good thing.
Not only is there a fair amount of outdated information, there is also a lot of inaccurate information. Worse of all, there is a lot of conflicting information that is all in fact accurate; there is more than one way to choose a niche after all.
This causes so many people to become confused that most never even start.
I will tell you now that hands down the most important thing for success is your niche selection, and if you can get it right, you’ll be making your life a lot easier for yourself.
However, I will also tell you that I would rather you just picked a niche and got started than did nothing, every single time. What better way to learn how to succeed than to actually try and do it?
What You'll Learn In This Lesson
- How I Chose My Five Figure Niche
- The Mistakes I Made When I Did This
- How You Can Choose Your Niche
- Why You Won't Find Out Your Success Until Later
- How You Can Adjust As You Go
When it comes to how I chose the niche for my shaving site, it started out with an idea that I’d like to learn more about straight razors. That idea led to me doing some keyword research, some Amazon browsing, and the ultimate decision to dive in. I wasn't an expert at all, but I wanted to learn more about this niche.
That’s really all it took to convince me to start. I was excited to do a niche where there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of competition. While electric razors and safety razors were quite competitive, straight razors were showing some green lights in my niche research.
Back when I started, I used Jaaxy as my keyword tool of choice, and it is very beginner friendly. Unfortunately, I don’t recommend it now, and would prefer you to use LongTail Pro. While Jaaxy can be credited with helping me choose my niche, it wasn’t until I started using LTP and later Semrush, that I really turned the site around.
This just goes to show that even though I did keyword research slightly wrong in the beginning, I still stumbled across a winning site, and my ability to keep working with it is what ultimately lead me to success.
Lesson here? Don’t overthink your niche or get stuck looking into keyword metrics. See if there’s an opening for you, and jump in.
You also don't need to be an expert in your niche, you can just have an interest to learn more.
Another thing I would like to point out is that when I was doing my initial research, I couldn’t find many sites dealing exclusively with straight razors. The majority of sites I found were either straight razor vendors, or forum listings.
As I discovered years later, seeing a bunch of forums in your niche research means there are a lot of potentially weak keywords for you to target. If forums are ranking, you can rank too.
What I Did Wrong In My Niche Research
Not only was I not an expert in shaving when I started this site, I was also far from an expert at keyword research. I ended up targeting a lot of incorrect keywords, and not putting enough emphasis on the right keywords.
So what exactly did I do wrong with my keywords?
I targeted a lot of eCommerce keywords. If I had looked at page one before targeting them, I would have seen that Google was showing mostly eCommerce sites for these results and there was a tiny chance of getting an affiliate site to rank there.
Here's an example of one such keyword:
For these types of keywords (and there are a lot of them), it doesn't really matter how low the competition appears in your keyword tool, you're not going to rank your affiliate site in there.
I also didn't put enough thought into the better keywords to target, such as "Best straight razor", a keyword which would ultimately go on to earning me a lot of money when I did finally target it properly.
A Second Mistake With Keyword Research
I only thought about promoting straight razors and slamming other types. I slightly misunderstood how niche sites worked and back then thought I should only be promoting one type of product.
Therefore, I wrote articles about how straight razors were the best and it was foolish to use a safety razor or electric razor instead.
Since it is NOT foolish to use either of these razor types, the end result was that a lot of my initial content came across as patronizing and incorrect.
Back in my early days of niche content writing, I believed the best way to make money was to convince or persuade somebody to use a certain type of product. I've never been great at persuasion, so the end result wasn't fantastic.
People can tell when you are trying to persuade them about something and they can tell if you are not exactly correct as well. I made a lot more money when I realized that I could promote safety razors and electric razors alongside straight ones, and all I had to do was present the facts and talk about the pros and cons of each.
In many cases, you don't even need to tell them why they need to buy something. You can just tell them which one is the best to buy.
So there I was writing pages and pages of content along the lines of "You know what is the best type of razor? A straight razor, and here's why....bla bla bla..don't bother getting a Mach 3 anymore, switch to one of these instead".
And do you know which pages were the ones that ultimately made more money? It was the posts that targeted people who already knew they wanted a straight razor, but they had no idea which one to buy.
It's much easier to write content telling people the things they need to consider when buying a product, and then suggesting a few for them to check out.
Once you've got them to click over to Amazon in this context, Amazon will do the work converting them.
So the lesson here is to make sure you are writing content around a number of different product types in a niche, and you are helping people buy the right one. You don't need to waste time persuading them why they need something, unless it is a new product or it solves a problem that something else doesn't.
For example, I can tell you guys why you need a keyword tool, but in most cases all I need to do is tell you which one is best.
So with all this in mind, how should you choose YOUR niche?
As I said at the start of this article, more has been written about niche selection than any other affiliate marketing topic. You'd do well to read some articles on keyword research and probably pick yourself up a copy of Long Tail Pro if you don't already have one.
That said though, when I started this particular site, I didn't do my research correctly, yet I still succeeded eventually with it. Based off that, I've prepared a criteria below for things you should also consider.
Things To Consider With Niche Selection
- Pick something you are either interested in, or *could* become interested in. Don't worry about expertise
- Check to see the level of your competition
- Do your keyword research, but don't rely solely on this
- Pick something that has clear products to promote
- Pick something where products are REQUIRED for the niche to work
The last tick in the box above is important to consider. With shaving, it's impossible for someone to shave without one or more items, which makes it a great affiliate marketing niche.
Without razors, I would have been stuck promoting guides or eBooks, and might have found it more difficult.
You can still make things work in a niche where there is no clear product, but it's a lot easier when the niche is built around products, as in this case.
For further resources about keyword research view here: https://www.humanproofdesigns.com/long-tail-pro-review-keyword-research-is-easy/
Waiting For Success And Adjusting As You Go
For the final part of this post, I'd like to talk about one of the most frustrating parts of working online; waiting for success.
Sometimes, changes you make today might take weeks to demonstrate results, and you'll be left for ages wondering if you are on the right path.
This was certainly the case with my shaving site, and after six months I almost gave up and sold it.
This is another reason why in this article, I haven't been dwelling too much on keyword research for niche selection. Yes, it's a part of it, and it will definitely help you later, but I see too many people get hungup on keyword research and never start anything.
Which brings me onto my final point.
99% of the time, you can adjust things as you go and either pivot your site into a different direction, or just broaden its scope.
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I started out only promoting straight razors, and by the time I sold the site two years later, it was promoting straight razors, disposable razors, safety razors, electric razors, brushes, soaps, bowls, sharpeners, and even hair trimmers.
The same goes for the keywords you target. If you find out six months later that you made a mistake, just change things! It's not the end of the world, but if you never start, you won't find out.
You learn SO MUCH from starting a site and going through the ropes of managing and growing it, that anyone who truly commits to their site is destined to succeed sooner or later. Even if you do end up building a different site later, you'll be 1000% more likely to pick a winner that time.
So my final tip for the day is, just start, and adjust as you go.
Ready Fire Aim.