Heads up…Perrin is the author here…
First, I want to say thank you for all of your awesome comments, feedback, and questions in the Niche Site Project 3.0 Facebook group! I’ve been having a blast jumping in and chatting with you guys. We’ve already had some amazing discussions, and I’ve certainly learned a few things myself.
Even cooler, though, was the thing we were really hoping would happen: the NSP Facebook community is really banding together to help each other. It’s tough to express how cool this is to me. This is one of the few places where we can simply link to a page, and an awesomely vibrant sub-community of smart people springs up and starts working together. Maybe after we build some sites, we should try saving the world, eh?
If you remember from last week…
Colleen and I kicked of our project with data-driven market research. The basic idea was to find some markets that met a few basic criteria:
- Had lots of products to promote (either physical or digital, but looking toward Amazon, since it’s what I—ol’ Perrin—know best)
- Had lots of low-authority blogs (blogs with a low DA) that were earning high traffic
- Would be fun for Collen to write and learn about
Colleen stepped back and a took a huge swing at it. And…
It was a total whiff!
…and this is not a bad thing. Remember my first attempt at finding keywords? I completely failed. So on a scale of zero to Internet marketing master, Colleen pulled a Perrin.
Here were some of Colleen’s misses (markets I considered a poor choice for this project):
- Corporate living
- Life hacks
- Tall people stuff
- “Mrs. Fixit”
These are all cool ideas. And they’re all real problems—and every problem should have a blog. And some of these could be super successful, I think; for example, I think a corporate living blog could pretty easily some high-end solutions.
But, I just don’t know how to do that stuff. That’s a problem. I’m the coach, and while these markets could be stellar in the right hands, I want to have Colleen to have the highest chances of success possible, which means sticking to things in my wheelhouse: AdSense + Amazon Associates.
My gut tells me the above ideas won’t work too well for an AdSense- and Amazon-focused site.
First, a couple of these are just too narrow (I think, anyway… we didn’t do detailed research on these); a blog on tall people might struggle to come up with enough content, even though it could be fun. Corporate living might be similarly limited.
Most of these blogs also don’t have many products to promote. For example, life hacks is a really cool niche, and it’d be super fun to have a blog in that market, but there’s no life hack products—not specifically. Sure, you might be able to point people to amazon for random knick-knacks when you’re teaching them how to use baking soda to clean their shower drain, but in general, there’s not a core of stuff you can buy. In fact, most life hacks are created to keep people from having to buy stuff.
The one I like most on this list is “Mrs. Fixit”: Colleens idea for a home improvement blog that tackles things from a woman’s point of view. I love this idea, and I think there’d be tons of stuff to write about, but, again, I don’t think there are many products out there aside from basic tools.
So really, it’s not even that these are total failures (they’re not), it’s more that they’re not optimal.
So we pivoted.
Instead of focusing only on cool ideas, we decided to look for cool ideas that were also in (1) big markets with (2) lots of physical products. We decided to give ourselves bonus points if the products were over, say, $25 on average (higher commissions)—but the main focus was still in finding a good market.
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And with that, I sent Colleen off into the market-research abyss…
…and she came back with a few dents in her armor, triumphant, having slayed a few dragons.
Not really. But she did find some strong contenders.
Colleen’s second round of research produced what I think were some very good results. She found roughly seven different markets in which I think we could build strong digital assets. For each market idea, she found 5 model blogs to help us get a good bird’s eye view of what was happening with the blogs at our level.
Here’s an example of the type of data Colleen compiled:
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Honestly, I think they were all great choices (and no: you can’t see them… yet). They’re all good markets with lots of products. And with this many great choices, we had to somehow narrow it down.
We ended up cutting about half the markets we had. There were a lot of reasons (we had a pretty lengthy look-see and discussion about these before giving them the axe), but here were the main ones:
- Some of the markets were seasonal. Seasonable blogs can actually really be really great; it’s fun to rake in tons of money over the course of three or four months and focus on other stuff during the year, but… it wouldn’t be the most exciting for this specific case study. I’m sure you guys (and Colleen) want to see more money sooner and more consistently.
- In some markets, it was tough to find low-DA blogs with high traffic. If you’re doing research, and you really want to get into a market like this, don’t freak out: it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in a market. It usually just means you’ll have to do a little more marketing before you’ll see substantial traffic and revenue.
- Some low-DA blogs had tons of pages. This isn’t something we’d talked about in our first call, but it’s important. If you find a low-DA blog that has excellent traffic but also has 36,000 indexed pages, it might be a red flag. Sure, they’re ranking for stuff, but it’s difficult to tell how much of their long-tail traffic is coming from their ridiculous library of content. Again, not a death sentence, but not
- Some just didn’t seem fun to ol’ Colleen. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: it’s so much more fun to run a blog you enjoy. Sure—maybe “best air dehumidifier for asthma” looks like a great keyword. Maybe you could make a bit of money. But hot Christmas… I can’t imagine anything more boring to write about. If you’re going to be working on something for 5 years, at least shoot for something you think is even a tiny bit cool.
In the end, we narrowed it down to 3-4 final markets (and Colleen surprised me on the call by telling me she’d pretty much already chosen one). Now we just have to pick one…
What’s the next step?
We’re not going to do too much more in the way of market research. We want to move quickly. But we are going to do what Spencer calls “keyword sampling.”
Colleen’s going to take a look at keywords in each of the final markets to gauge out easy or tough they are. She’s going to use both Long tail Pro and SEM Rush. We’re also going to some additional market research to really hunker down and find a winner.
Here’s what we want to see in our final market:
- Easy, easy, easy product keywords (low KC score in Long Tail Pro)
- Lots of wonderful informational stuff we can write about that low-DA blogs are already ranking for
- Easy to find 10+ low-DA blogs (we’re not just gong to stop at the 5 we found; we want LOTS of competitors to work with)
And how will we do THAT?…
You’ll just have to watch the video! Or if you would rather just listen to the audio, you can listen in right here.