Figuring out niche website ideas might be one of the earliest decisions that you have to make for a niche website, but it is actually a surprisingly tricky decision to make.
Just about everyone I’ve talked to – whether they are experienced at internet marketing or new to the field – has said that they had trouble picking their first niche.
One of the reasons is that there is such a huge number of options out there.
Realistically, you could potentially make a niche website on pretty much any topic or subtopic out there in the world.
Now, not all of those sites would be effective, but they are still options.
It can be really tricky to take this wealth of information and potential directions and use it to figure out a single direction to follow.
In fact, the number of options is so huge that people often don’t have any clue where to start at all.
So, that’s going to be my emphasis today.
Where to Look
When it comes to finding ideas for a niche website, one of the best things you can do is grab a pen and paper (or open a Word document – if you must).
Use this to start jotting down ideas.
Don’t worry if you end up with a long list, because you can narrow it down later.
There are a few different approaches you can take and I’m going to go through them here.
Focus on the Problems
All successful niche websites have one thing in common – they all solve a specific problem. Sometimes that problem might be a simple as providing information, but sometimes it might be much more complicated.
Think about yourself and about other people. What problems do you know of that don’t have good solutions? What issues do you face that are hard to find information on?
Don’t spend five minutes thinking about this, spend a day or so.
Think about it as you are going out, think about it as you are watching television, at work or sitting in class.
Odds are you will come across some ideas along the way.
For example, here are some common (and some not-so-common) problems:
- How to function with severe depression
- How to study for exams at college
- How to succeed as a writer
- How to make money online
- What’s the best rock climbing gear
- How to spot scams online
You can also consider problems that you are actually in a position to solve or help solve.
For example, you might be experienced at surfing or gardening, so might develop a niche site around this concept.
Focus on the Audience
Another way to approach finding niche ideas is to look at the audience.
What is the audience that you want to target?
Many people find it easiest to target their own age group and/or gender because this gives them a leg-up in connecting with their audience.
If this was the case for you, what problems does your audience face?
For example, people from around 18 to 30 are often highly adventurous (okay – I know that is a generalization) and might be interested in experiences.
There are a lot of niches that fit into this category.
Alternatively, people from 50 up are often looking for more time with their family and may have quieter interests, like gardening for example (a personal passion of mine).
By focusing on the audience, you find niches that uniquely suit the audience you want to target and may offer a new angle on a traditional niche.
Another way of looking at this is not to consider your audience in terms of age or gender but in terms of type. For example, there is an authority site called Nerd Fitness, which is exactly what it sounds like.
In this case, the site targets nerds as a specific group of people and focuses the entire site and all of its content on that group.
It’s actually a pretty effective approach because the fitness and weight loss niche is actually one that has very high competition, yet, this site has found a way to be unique and stand out.
When you are considering your audience for a website, have a think about areas where their needs might be met.
Personally, I’m not sure there needed to be a site combining nerds and fitness, but by creating one, the site owner is likely to appeal to any people who consider themselves nerds and are interested in fitness.
I don’t know – but I suspect there are actually a lot of people that fall into that category.
Focus on You
There are two schools of thought when it comes to picking niches.
One says to focus on where you can make the profit, and the other says look at what you are interested in.
Which you choose really depends on your own interests and dedication.
So, when I say focus on you, what I mean is that you should look at niche website ideas from the perspective of your own passions and interests.
For example, if you are a homebrewer, you might make a site around this topic.
When you pick a topic that interests you, it is much easier to continue working on it.
A lot of people find it hard to work on things they hate, and that is often the reason they look into making money online in the first place.
Personally, I could make and maintain a website about a topic that didn’t interest me, but I think it would be challenging.
Doing something I find interesting really does help me focus. This means that looking into your own interests and passions can be a really good way to work out some potential niches.
Focus on Research
Websites are actually a fantastic place to find niche website ideas.
I don’t mean that you should look at the websites of potential competitors – that’s something for later.
Instead, you should be looking at sites that give you an idea of what is popular and what people find interesting. Amazon is actually a fantastic place to start for this.
What I like about Amazon is that it has all of the different categories to look at and these are broken down into sub-categories and sub-sub-categories and so forth (like below).
You can keep going into the potential niches in more and more depth until you find something that sparks your interest.
Amazon also has the nice little feature where it will show you the bestselling products for different categories.
This is a really great way of working out where the interest and where the money is.
Tips and Tricks
One thing to avoid when choosing a niche is something known as a micro niche.
A micro niche is a very small niche site that focuses on a narrow topic area and typically has only a few pages.
For example, people commonly make this type of site when promoting a given product, and their site might contain a review, a product overview and maybe one or two more articles.
Micro niches are popular because they are very easy to make.
After all, you don’t have to make that much content, and you don’t need to regularly update them.
If you wanted to, you could make multiple of these sites per day.
The concept is that each micro niche brings in a little money each day, an approach that has the potential to be quite profitable in the long term.
If you get lucky with a micro niche, then it is possible to make a lot of money, but most of the time you won’t.
One of the major issues with micro niches is that they are hard to rank.
This is a relatively new problem, and it’s because of Google’s algorithm changes.
Nowadays, content is one of the major components of Google’s ranking algorithm and this refers to the quality of content and its content.
A micro niche site just doesn’t have much content, so it will not rank.
Furthermore, Google considers micro niches to be trying to manipulate the system and they do tend to react pretty harshly to micro niche sites.
For example, if you are trying to use Google AdSense on a micro niche site, you may well find that Google cancels your account.
You can work out whether the niche you are considering is a micro niche or not pretty easily.
What you need to look at is how easy it would be to write 50 or 100 articles in the niche.
If it would be difficult at all, chances are your niche is too narrow.
The other end of the spectrum in site type is authority sites.
In many ways, an authority site is an enlarged niche site and often people will start off with a niche site and enlarge it into an authority site.
With an authority site, you are basically trying to be the go-to source of information on a given topic and often it will be a particularly broad one.
Typically, authority sites have a large amount of content, and it isn’t unusual to see them with hundreds of different articles.
Authority sites have been growing in popularity because their profit potential is high.
Part of the reason is Google algorithms again (isn’t it always).
When Google made that change towards favoring content, it meant that sites with lots of content started to rank really well, and authority sites are top of that list.
There’s another reason too.
Authority sites build trust with their audience – because they aren’t simply sites that are trying to sell something.
Instead, an authority site will provide a lot of value to its readers, particularly through providing information.
For example, if you had an authority site in the field of weight loss, you might talk about different types of diets (or you might promote one specific diet type – like Paleo), exercises, ways to get motivated and even about growing your own food.
Everyone defines authority sites a little bit differently and some people will call a particular website an authority site while others will call it a niche site.
Ultimately though, your aim should always be to develop quality content that helps your audience.
If you do this consistently over time, then you will probably find that your niche site grows into an authority site, whether you intended it to or not.
Finding niche website ideas is really only the first step.
You will probably end up with a decent sized list of potential niches and the next step is really to narrow these down and work out if any of them are viable in terms of income.
This is the topic of another post, but in general, you want to be paying attention to the money making potential of a niche, including the willingness of potential customers to purchase, products you can promote, the amount of competition and what keywords are out there.
You can also get feedback from other people about specific niches. Often they will be able to tell you whether a given niche is too narrow or too broad, along with whether it has income potential.
But, to achieve this you need to be talking to people who understand niches and internet marketing.
A good way of doing this is through the community at Wealthy Affiliate.
Wealthy Affiliate is an internet marketing training site. It specializes in teaching people everything they need to know about creating a website and making that site successful.
However, one of the most powerful aspects of the site is its community. Wealthy Affiliate has upwards of 400,000 members and these members come from many different countries (which means that there is always someone online).
The site has a strong emphasis on support, so members support one another and offer advice and feedback. That approach can be really important when you are considering what niche to choose or when you are working on a website in general.