Ideation & Research: How to Find a Profitable Niche

One of the hardest things for anyone starting their first niche site is how to come up with niche ideas that are profitable as well as interesting enough to keep you engaged and creating content for 2-3 years without burning out.

Choosing a niche is tough for all as it requires a focus on many factors to become profitable. Find your balance of interest, profitability, trending interest, and search volume, and pair this with wanting a passive site or becoming an authority offering unique courses, memberships, or other high-value content.

Now that you understand why it can be so complicated let’s dig into what a niche is at its core and what choices and options exist to help broaden your thoughts.

Then we can dig into evaluating your niche ideas so that you can make a choice based on details that will matter to you and choose the perfect project for yourself to manage.

What Is a Niche?

A niche is a focused interest that a group of people has. This can be broad like “golf” or very specific like “left-handed golf clubs for seniors.” It is essential to remember that you are targeting real people with your niche site who have this focused interest and want to know more about the topic, how to improve their skills or purchase new gear or services.

To get started, think about some interests or hobbies you have, and then begin to brainstorm how that could be turned into a niche site. Here are some examples to help jumpstart your process:

As you can clearly see, each of these examples takes a general interest and creates a niche around it. This is what you will need to do to come up with your own ideas.

Why Niche Choice Is Key to Success

The niche you choose will play a large role in how successful your site can become.

It is important to find a balance between these two extremes. The ideal niche will be specific enough to allow you to rank in search engines and attract targeted traffic, but not so specific that it will be difficult to generate enough content or find enough products to sell.

If you want to go very broad it is possible but you need to dial back hard and focus on building content within a single sub-category for a serious amount of content before branching off and diluting your information value in the eyes of SERPs like Google.

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Niche Idea Brainstorming Methods

There are a few different ways that you can brainstorm niche ideas. The first way is to think about the interests and hobbies that you have. This is a great place to start because you will already have some knowledge about these topics.

Another way to brainstorm niche ideas is to think about the problems that you have faced in your life. These problems could be related to your work, your hobbies, or even your personal life. If you can find a way to solve these problems, then you may have found a profitable niche for your site.

You can also brainstorm niche ideas by thinking about the needs of your target audience if you are starting from a product. What are they looking for? What do they need help with? If you can answer these questions, then you may have found a niche that is both profitable and interesting.

List Out a Diverse Range of Niches Your Interested In

Using the details below you want to start building your list of niches and we have a simple Google Sheet here you can use to track this, please note for Google Sheets you much go to File -> Copy to New to be able to edit your copy of this file.

The list below is not exhaustive and I doubt that this even scratches the surface but this is intended to get you thinking and trying to find new niches and hopefully not just be a part of the “standard” niches many fall into where there is more competition.

Once you have brainstormed a few ideas, it’s time to start researching them.

Researching & Evaluating Your Niche Ideas

You need to now take all those ideas you have listed and run them through some mental evaluation and some tools, whether you want a strong paid option like SEMrush or start with free tools like Google Trends and the SERPs to see competition.

Here is a simple method on how you should evaluate each niche:

Trending

I love to start with Google Trends, I do this to gauge many things but first I look at the starting information and the search term for the niche, typically the smallest keyword I can match.

I am looking to see if there is a wave of interest from 100% peak interest and then the drop-offs as this will offer some insight, not into the volume of search but the volume of interest in searching for that word.

This information gives me the understanding as to if the niche would be more seasonal versus consistently performing, for many new sites this is the main issue people don’t account for that can be answered before ever starting.

In addition to this, you can change the timeframe for Google Trends to 5 years and even longer so you can see over a very long stretch of time if the niche is growing in search and popularity or if it is shrinking, neither should force a decision but give you data before starting into your project.

pens vs nfl as an example of how to come up with niche ideas

As you can see in the example above pens are consistently searched year round but it has less search interest than the NFL does when the NFL is in season. By contrast, the NFL season has a lot of searches but only for a specific time period so most of your visitors would tend to come in this shorter window.

I like to compare something that’s a known value for search when looking at trends, this helps me to compare as apples to apples as I can, this works though only if you know or trust search data you have received on a topic before.

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Is Your Niche Evergreen?

Coming in right on the heels of the previous topic, evergreen would be more like the example of the pen, the search is consistent year-round for pens versus the NFL which would be highly tied to the actual sports season.

Most niche site owners would prefer an evergreen topic as the search and income would be balanced out all year, with evergreen niches you can depend more on the income being stable versus a seasonal niche where it can fluctuate greatly.

Evergreen is a great target but not the only target, if you wanted to get into a seasonal niche like the NFL you could prepare for the traffic lulls by building out other evergreen topics or related content on your site that can help to supplement any loss in traffic and hopefully not income.

Do Magazines Cover the Topic

A silly but simple thing to think about is does the topic has magazines that cover it? This shows that there is intent to pay for information related to the topic, this is not a smoking gun but should be considered as another data point in your evaluation.

Just do a simple Google search like “niche + magazine” and see what comes up, for this example I did “NFL + magazine” and there are plenty of results.

Do You Have a Unique Angle?

Do you have any huge advantages that could make your site the go-to resource for a given topic? This is more common than you think, if you can brand yourself as an authority right out of the gate that can make a big difference.

Your up-and-coming competition is likely just starting out like you are so being able to get authority behind your name or website domain name can help to separate you from the pack.

Is The Niche Competitive

This is harder to evaluate for many new affiliate marketers but you can look to things like specific sites that show up in the search engine for the main keywords, do they have a lot of content, check and see if they have a YouTube channel or other social media and whats their following look like?

Being competitive doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t approach it as the more competition a niche has normally the more money opportunity there will be in it if you can find a way to get your site and your content in front of people.

Competition is not always a bad thing, I would actually prefer more competition than less in many cases but it’s how you approach the niche and how you differentiate yourself that makes all the difference.

Current Sites Monetization Methods

Here is where we start to see differences in how your sites can be monetized, you want to see more of these methods being used as it tells you how other people are making money in the niche and how you potentially could monetize content you create.

Affiliate Opportunities

The most well-known is going to be as an affiliate, this means you help to sell other people’s products or services in exchange for a commission. This could be things like Amazon Associates, Clickbank, and many others.

You can normally tell if there are good affiliate opportunities by doing a simple Google search for “niche + affiliate program”. Doing this research early on can help you to better understand how you could monetize the traffic you receive to your site.

For this, you may also want to look at what they seem to list as popular products as these would be something you may want to purchase and be able to speak to in-depth in content.

Ads

The largest passive income source online, ads have been ever-growing with larger and larger budgets being dedicated to online advertising. This is how the vast majority of sites make their money, they sell ad space on their site and get paid per view or per click.

This could be done with many ad service providers or you could also look into working with private companies and running direct ads. For anyone building their first site I would choose to skip AdSense and once you get around 1000 pageviews look to join Ezoic.

Memberships

A huge income driver and a way to have a site become a full-time job are to create a membership around the content you create. This could be done in many ways but most simply it’s asking people to pay a monthly or yearly fee for access to premium content, this could be things like video lessons, an ebook, a podcast, and more.

The key with this monetization method is delivering enough value that people are willing to pay for it but also continually offering new content or updating the content to keep your churn rate down.

Courses

Another potential method is to sell courses or ebooks, this is more common in some niches than others but if you can find a way to create a course that helps people with something in your niche it could be a great income stream for you.

This could be an ebook that you sell on Amazon Kindle or a course you host on Udemy, there are many other options as well.

Info Products

One of the lesser talked about monetization options is informational digital products like an ebook or similar PDF sellable product where you compress all your needed information into a guide or resource.

This is a great way to monetize if you are able to write well and convert a lot of information into an easy-to-read format, people love info products as they are normally shorter reads that get straight to the point.

Leads

Lead generation is little talked about but can convert even small amounts of traffic into large income opportunities that are more reliable than ads. The basic idea is that you drive traffic to a landing page and collect someone’s email or contact information in exchange for something, this could be an ebook, a course, or similar.

You then resell this information to companies looking for leads in your niche or area, the larger the niche the better as there are always going to be companies willing to buy.

Services

This could be things like consulting, coaching, or other services that relate to your niche. This is not as common as some of the others but depending on what your niche is it could be a great opportunity for you.

This is something that is going to require a little more thought on how you could provide a service related to your niche but if you can find a way to do it, it could be very lucrative.

Consulting/Coaching

If you are able to offer some sort of service or advice this can be a great monetization method, it does require more work on your part but can lead to much larger payouts.

This could be done in many ways such as offering one-on-one coaching, group coaching, or even just consulting where you give advice over the phone or through email.

Easiest Way to Find Your Niche

The simplest way to find a direction for you to go is to follow these five simple steps which will help you validate any niche ideas you have and find a profitable path forward.

Evaluate Your Passions and Skills

You want to start with something you already know and love, this will shine through in your content and make the process a lot more enjoyable for you.

If you don’t have any existing passions consider taking some time to find something that interests you, there are many ways to do this but a good place to start is by thinking about things you enjoyed as a child or what hobbies you currently enjoy.

Once you have a topic in mind, the next thing you want to do is consider what skills or knowledge you already have that could be helpful to people in that niche.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be an expert but if you have any existing experience or knowledge it will put you ahead of the competition.

Ensure You Can Solve Problems For Your Audience

Are there pain points for people within your niche you could help solve? This is going to be essential for a profitable niche as people are always looking for solutions to their problems, and putting the right product to solve this makes for easy sales.

If you can’t think of any problems your audience might have consider doing some research on forums or social media groups related to your niche, here you will find people openly talking about their struggles.

Narrow Down Your Niche Choice

Take the list you created in the steps above and cut away things that don’t fit or aren’t as profitable, you want to be left with a handful of strong ideas you can move forward with.

Check Out SERP Competition For Yourself

Now you need to do a quick search online and see how much competition there is for the niche you are considering, if there are already a lot of well-established sites it’s going to be much harder to break in.

You want to look for something that has enough competition to ensure there is money to be made but not so much you can’t rank your site.

Sleep On It

I have had many ideas for sites but in taking that overnight to relax and evaluate in the morning I have found many of them to not be as good as I first thought they would be.

You want to make sure you still feel confident in your idea after taking some time away from it, if not it’s likely best to move on and try something else.

Don’t pressure yourself into a purchase and to start, you want to take the time to carefully build this list of niches and make the choice after carefully weighing them all out.

This is how you find a profitable niche!

Now that you know how to come up with a niche site idea, it’s time to put your skills to the test. Use the tips and tricks we’ve provided in this article, and you’ll be well on your way to finding a niche that’s both profitable and interesting!

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