As someone that helps newbies get their first online business *off* the ground, I see that one of the most difficult things for a new internet marketer to decide is what they actually want their business to be about.
This may seem counter intuitive to many people – how can you want to start a business if you don't know what you want to sell?! But for many, including myself, this is exactly how the process goes. Folks just want to make money and they know it can be done through the internet. Now they want to know how.
Well, to make money, someone has to give it to you, so now you have to find something to give them. This is why affiliate marketing works so well for people that don't know much about business. You don't have to keep inventory, deal with customer service, or know much about how to structure a business. You need a website, some content, and a few links.
Now you're faced with the task of choosing a topic for your site, and then picking some items to promote on it. You're told to choose a topic that interests you, find something you're passionate about, and look to help people.
To a newbie, a lot of the time, using buzz words like those doesn't help much, so broken down to it's most basic form, I often ask people, “What do you like?”
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people lead extremely boring lives. I don't mean to pass judgement on you if you fit the bill, but I get a lot of the same responses from people around the world.
Video Games…Makeup & Fashion…Family
Well, if I ask a simple question, I guess I deserve a simple answer. So, I always tell folks that this is a good start, but we're going to have to refine it. The things listed above are not actually niches. They are industries, or ways to pass the time. They are just topics.
I hope I can spark some ideas for your own niche if you responded with one of these. If you find that you are creating a site that is along the lines of something I don't recommend or criticize, you have two options.
One, you can take a serious look at your site and ‘pivot' in a new direction (staying on topic but refining your niche). Two, if you really enjoy your site and have plans for it, you can ignore the advice. I'm just a guy with an opinion, and not necessarily “right”. You can succeed in anything if you believe in yourself and your choices.
Video + Computer Games
There are already millions of video game review sites so let's get that out of your head right now. Unless you have a huge budget to try all these games, and have some awesomely unique insight into certain aspects of the games, a simple review site isn't going to cut it.
You need an angle.
Strictly reviewing indie games could be a good niche, and maybe you could promote some video game promotion software. I saw a “fighting game” review site and “racing” review site that looked like they had some potential, but I wouldn't go down that path.
Indie games have cult followings and a community to back it up. You might be able to find something similar with MMORPGs, puzzle games, or video games for kids, but not many other genres have that.
One easy route would be picking a type of equipment aimed at gamers. Gaming chairs, gaming headsets, gaming mice, gaming gear – these could all be potential niches, or perhaps rolled into one if you could think of a good enough “theme” for the site (ie hardware for rich/poor gamers, girl gamer gear, etc)
Reviewing vintage consoles could be another niche worth exploring. Instructional-themed sites like hacking new consoles or building your own computer are some other ones I thought of.
Can you see what I'm doing here? The broad idea of playing a video game can be broken down into different sub-categories that appeal to only one specific type of person. The idea is not to get someone to your site so they can browse. You want someone there with a purpose, hopefully with a problem, to which you can provide a solution.
This is why within that category, you absolutely must find something to be able to promote other than the video game itself. People will buy their games from Amazon or Gamestop. But those same people will buy a guide from on how to restore an Atari or build an ultra fast PC for cheap.
Fashion & Makeup
Not to stereotype, but the gaming thing is mostly guys, and the fashion & makeup is mostly girls. Actually, I think makeup for men would be an awesome niche site, but I'm writing here from the perspective that a woman/girl/female/lady/chick (why is there no equivalent to “guy?!) would be choosing this niche.
Fashion is just impossible – you absolutely have to break this down into something more manageable. In fact, you'll probably need several qualifiers to find out exactly what type of fashion you are promoting.
Even something like plus-sized fashion or fashion for young women is way too broad. It would be extremely difficult for newbie with few writing skills, no budget, and no experience in the blogosphere to make a name for herself.
So we break it down further. How about plus-sized fashion for young college women? Or fashion for tall black women? Or shoes for sporty women with a keen fashion sense?
You don't have to have a giant logo on your site that says “Only X type of person can read this blog”, but identifying with your audience can be done subtly with pictures, social media, and just being yourself (I'm assuming that you're picking yourself as a target audience).
You can pick “sporty fashion for petite girls”, and if you are Asian, black, or white, and feature photos of yourself, your visitors will most likely be heavily weighted towards your own race. I see it all the time on those “makeup tutorial channels on YouTube.
You don't have to say “This blog is only for girls age 19-29”, but if you feature low cut tops, tattoos, and skin tight jeans, there won't be many grannies commenting asking where you got those cute booty shorts.
Discount Fashion No, DIY Makeup Yes
Try to envision how you will make money from your site. What will a person purchase from you, or what can you offer that gives someone an incentive to spend money?
Showing off your thrift store haul is fine for content, but you won't get paid when a visitor reads your blog then decides to pick up some cheap tops at their local Good Will. Budget fashion is a popular topic, but I don't recommend you make it the theme of your site unless you plan to monetize with Adsense (which I don't recommend).
DIY makeup and organic makeup seem to be quite popular right now, and immediately you have something to promote. Pick a brand and make it your #1 choice. Write some tutorials, then sell the raw materials. In fact, you could make a whole Organic Fashion website, featuring organic clothes and make up for the green woman.
Remember that you'll be writing a lot of content for this website too! Faux animal skin items might be an niche worth looking into, but how much can you really say about that before it gets old. Free, organic traffic from Google depends heavily on regular content being published to your blog, and if you run out of ideas to write about, your traffic will suffer.
Having a family takes a lot of time out of the day, and for family oriented people with jobs, that's pretty much all there's time for in the day.
Get up, go to work, come home, spend time with the family. Mix in resting, vacations, school events, etc and you haven't got time for any hobbies.
So can you monetize your family? Yes! There are tons of angles to take this niche and break it down into low-competition, helpful, and fun affiliate websites. But please don't make a website that just details the daily activities of your kids. They may seem super interesting to you, but most people won't care. Focus on specific activities or products that parents can relate to with their own families.
Actually, kids can be one of the most profitable niches out there. You may not have any time for hobbies, but it's because your time is spent nurturing the hobbies of your children. Parents love their kids, and parents with money are willing to spend it on them if it will make them smarter, healthier, happier, and more successful.
Kids and electronics always mixes well. In fact, you could pick any specialty type of kids toy or activity and turn it into a niche website
- Outdoor sports for kids
- Anti-video game activities for kids
- Family night ideas
- Themed birthday parties
- Arts & crafts for kids (based on age)
- Gardening for kids
- Raising pets (think ants, worms, fish, reptiles, etc)
But not everything has to revolve around the kids! Maybe you want to look at your relationship with your loved one (or lack of one) and turn that into a profitable website. The same goes for family activities that fit under a certain theme.
- Single mom topics
- Single dad topics
- Rekindling your relationship
- Date night ideas
- Home improvement for the family
- Health and Fitness for the family
I'm just scratching the surface here. Relating to other families is an awesome way to grow your website. If your content is good enough, it will quickly and easily disseminate through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and other social media sites. I've seen it happen.
Some Pitfalls To Watch Out For
If you say you don't have any hobbies, find something close to what could be considered an interest of yours. At this point, something is better than nothing. If you say that you have no personal interests, then you are just being difficult.
I'm sure that the vast majority of you watch some amount of TV. Even though I'm a self proclaimed hater of TV, I'm a Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones fanboy just like most of The Earth. But there's already so much coverage of this topic in entertainment new sites as well as general news like Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, etc etc, that your competition will be astronomical.
And how would you plan to monetize the site? Unless you have some very specific niche interest and LOVE it, like you are a die hard I Love Lucy fan and spend time analyzing the deeper meaning behind the shows as well as collect the merchandise, then I would choose something other than television.
TV hardware, like flat screen TVs or speakers however, could be a cool niche, as would man cave related topics.
Sports: This includes watching sports on TV or having a “team”. Unless you have vast knowledge of a specific sport, ie are/were a professional, coach, or are somehow involved in training, this is a no-go. Yes, you could make money doing this. You can make money in any niche. But it's going to be an uphill battle just having a “fan site” and selling gear with your teams logo.
This could potentially work if you had some kind of angle. If you were one of the only curling enthusiasts in Uganda, that's a unique angle to go for. A hockey fan in Canada? Let's think of some better ideas.
Do you love your job? If so, then it counts as an interest and you can use if for your site. If it's a regular 9-5 that you are trying to escape, then it doesn't count. If all you do outside of work is watch TV, then you need to man up, think real hard, and find something you can pass off as an interest so you can start your training.
There are ways to monetize religious related topics. Christian friendly [insert topic] stuff is widely available online, and there's a high demand for it. Just be sure to steer clear of most social media channels because you'll annoy people, even close friends.
Buddhism is a bit more general-audience friendly (it's not fair, I know) because people know about Yoga and it doesn't have quite the same stigma as Western religions.
The reason I recommend you avoid it is because you'll have to be comfortable knowing that you are profiting from your religion. I'm not sure if that jives with your personal philosophy. However, if you really want to help people similar to you either understand religious topics, there are plenty of things to sell related to religious topics.
Just looking at Buddhism, a meditation room could use some mini waterfalls, incense holders, ohm tapes on repeat, mood lighting, Buddha statues, etc etc.
What are some other common niche ideas that you think could use some improving?