Saying that COVID-19 has put a damper on things is a gross understatement.
Not only has it put businesses down due to lack of sales, it drastically changed our way of life. Nowadays, it’s best to just stay safe at home to avoid any threat that could put you in harm’s way.
But despite being cooped up in your place, there’s an opportunity for you to turn lemons into lemonades.
And that opportunity comes in the form of a niche site.
Building one has become more important than ever. It allows you to put your earnings potential in your hands. This way, you don’t have to depend on clients to provide for your income.
Most importantly, you can earn recurring income on top of your current job. So, even if you’re not working for clients now, you have your niche site to fall back on.
Back then, owning a niche site is more of a luxury than anything else. It’s possible to live life day by day because tomorrow is another chance for you to try again and make money.
But the pandemic changes all that. Tomorrow may not provide you with the same opportunities that you have at the moment.
Therefore, instead of waiting for things to get worse, it’s time to act on it by setting up your niche site now.
In this post, I’ll discuss how you can build a profitable website by first talking about finding a niche that’s right for you. This way, you have all the ideas to choose from and start your website the right way.
Look Around You
For starters, you can look around your home for niche ideas. Little did you know that you can monetize from the things you always use and take for granted.
For example, check your bathroom for the products that you use. Check for toiletries like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and others that you’ve been using all these years. The fact that you stuck with them this long means that they work.
Also, skincare and grooming have a market size valued at 134.8 billion in 2018 globally. Starting a site in this niche means you’ll get a slice of the proverbial pie if you do things right. So, aside from the products above, you can check out the face creams and body lotions you’ve used or are using now.
Or visit your kitchen to find inspiration. If you have a passion for cooking, then you should know that consumers spend an average of $1 trillion annually for food in the USA, which comprises 10% of the country’s GNP. If you decide to throw your hat in the ring, you can get even more money from building a successful food site than a skincare site.
These are just examples of how to find potential niches for your upcoming site. Collect as many ideas as you can and don’t think whether or not they’re bad. Later on, you’ll filter them out using the following exercises below.
Physical Product Search
From looking at the stuff you own, you should be able to come up with a few niches you want to tackle on your site.
However, if you want to brainstorm for more niche website ideas, you can go straight to online marketplaces that offer such products.
The key to search for products on sites is whether they have an affiliate program or not.
The program enables you to get a commission for every transaction coming from your site. So, if a user clicked on your affiliate link and purchased the product from the website, then you earn money off it.
From these online marketplaces with affiliate programs, you can search their catalog of products that you want to promote on your site, if not build a niche website around it.
Below are some of the most popular ones:
When it comes to eCommerce sites, nothing comes bigger and better than Amazon. You can attribute its popularity to its collection of products available for purchase.
This alone makes the site a great place to find niche ideas for your website.
Visit the site and click on the menu icon on the upper left corner of the screen. It will show you the different categories of products on the site.
The great thing here is you can narrow down your search into subcategories. For example, clicking on Beauty and Personal Care will show you different groups of products under it.
This is a great way to scale down on a more specific niche instead of taking a general topic. The more specific your niche website is, the fewer competitors you will have to face.
Once you’ve chosen a group, you will see its available products. On the left side, you can filter the settings to show you items on sale that meet your criteria.
From here, you can list down products you want to promote on your site from the niche.
For starters, filter the results to only show those with an average customer review of four stars and above. Promoting products with a low rating tends to convert poorly as well. Plus, it’s easier to sell items that other users love since you can use the reviews as social proof to help convince visitors.
Another thing you must consider is the price. It’s normal to go after the highest-priced items so you can get a lion’s share of the sale. However, products over $100 are much harder to convert compared to those between $25-50.
Also, even if lower-priced items won’t generate higher commissions, you can combat that by converting sales in volume. It’s possible, therefore, to earn more from more affordable products as opposed to top-of-the-line items.
That said, don’t hop on the Amazon bandwagon just yet. The marketplace is notorious for lowering the affiliate commission rate through to the years. This year, Amazon decreased the rate across all boards again.
The changes mean you have to work thrice as hard with your affiliate site to make the same amount of earnings as you did prior to the drop in rates.
Therefore, you don’t want to be tied up with Amazon regarding your niche website. While it offers the best products possible and arguably has the higher conversion rates, you live in uncertainty, knowing that Amazon will eventually drop its prices again soon.
Thankfully, Amazon isn’t the only game in town. Other online marketplaces like eBay not only have much better affiliate rates but also offer different types of products available.
In this case, eBay specializes in hard-to-find and specialty items in their collection. Promoting them instead of the cookie-cutter Amazon products could give your site an edge in the market.
Also, the site has the same process of finding niche ideas for your site. Click on the menu and sift through the different categories to help you narrow down your selection.
Digital Product Search
Another place you should also search for niche website ideas if your mobile device or computer.
You’re probably using software that you have loved for years. Maybe there’s a way to monetize and write about it on your site.
For instance, you’ve been subscribed to the same antivirus or VPN program. To see if you can turn any of them into a profitable website, hop on to Google search and type [product] affiliate program. Replace [product] with the software you’re using.
The goal here is to determine which among the digital products you have in mind offer affiliate programs.
It’s also possible to type in the product category in place of [product]. In this case, here are the results for “antivirus software affiliate programs.”
Some of the results show the affiliate programs of the antivirus programs. Others, however, are pages containing a list of antivirus software with an affiliate program.
These should be enough to help you find additional ideas for your niche website project.
Also, you may have taken an online course or read an ebook before that helped you in life. Maybe they have affiliate programs that you can join so you can promote them and earn for every successful sale.
Unlike the affiliate programs from online retailers like Amazon, affiliate programs from software are much more profitable. It’s common for them to have more than 10% per sale – it can go as high as 50%.
That’s why it’s best to look for niche ideas in this space so you can maximize your site’s potential earnings.
Online courses are great examples of digital products. And if you searched for courses to take during this pandemic, then you’ve most likely come across courses from Udemy. It’s one of the most popular websites that offer online courses from a variety of niches.
The site is an affiliate marketer’s dream. Just a quick look at the categories and its subgroups will give you tons of niche ideas for your site.
From the subgroup, you can filter the available courses to your liking.
From the attributes, Ratings arguably hold the most weight. If people who took the course gave it a perfect course, then it has to be really good compared to the rest. That gives you an incentive to promote it on your site if you do choose this niche.
Using the filters, find a subcategory with lots of highly-rated courses. This way, you have a variety of courses to promote on your site, each one covering different topics under the same category.
Similar to courses, ebooks are products that let you find niche ideas for your site.
And while ebooks may not be as popular as before, the great thing about them is you can save as many as you want in your reader and access them if you have time to spare. There’s no need for you to find a space in your home to keep physical copies only for them to gather dust.
One of the best providers of a vast library of ebooks is Ebooks.com. You can probably find every fiction or nonfiction title you have in mind from the site.
From its homepage, you can immediately see the different genres to choose from.
Clicking on any one of the genres would show you the different subgenres under it.
On ebooks.com, you should not only find additional niche ideas to choose from for your site. You will also find ebooks to promote on your site once you launch it.
Affiliate Network Search
If you can’t find products or software to turn into a profitable website, then you can go straight to affiliate networks and search for ideas there.
Affiliate networks is a place where advertisers get help from publishers to promote and sell their physical and digital products from the latter’s websites. Publishers will then get a portion of the amount from every successful transaction.
However, since you don’t have a website yet, you can use this opportunity to find niche ideas.
For this part, I’ll use ClickBank as an example of an affiliate network.
One of the longest-running affiliate networks around, ClickBank has something for everyone. It can offer products with commissions of up to 90%. You’re essentially raking in almost all the profits from each sale!
Another great thing about ClickBank is you can get an idea of the niches with products in their marketplace. From the homepage, click on Shop from the menu to see the different categories with products for sale on the platform.
Click on the category to see the available products. You can even drill down the results into subcategories to help you find what you’re looking for.
However, what you’ll see here are just a few of the available products. To view all of them, you need to sign up for an account.
Once you have, log in and go to the Marketplace. On the side of the page, you will see the different categories available. Click on any one of them to see the products under it.
Upon clicking on the categories, you will also see the subcategories under it. Choose the subgroup of the products that you’re most interested or passionate about. This narrows down the products to a specific group.
Once you’ve chosen which among the niches from the marketplace to include as part of your ideas, you should also check out the products available in each. Part of the reason for deciding on a niche idea is because of the available items you can promote on your site. If it has lots of products you can sell, then it’s a niche idea that you should consider turning into a website.
More important than the number of items you can choose to promote on ClickBank is the quality of each. Thankfully, there’s a filter option on the page to help you limit the results to those that meet your requirements.
Below are factors that you need to consider filtering on ClickBank to help you find the best items to market:
Gravity Score – Calculates the number of affiliates who have successfully sold the product within the past three months.
Initial $/Sale – This shows how much an affiliate can earn from each sale of the item.
Required Billing Type – Determines if the item is a one-time or recurring payment. Ideally, you want to promote the latter so you can keep earning from your sale until the user cancels the subscription.
Take these attributes into account when searching for potential products to promote from the platform.
As mentioned, there are other affiliate networks where you can find more suggestions for your upcoming niche website. Browse through the other platforms to help you find ideas and products to promote for each.
An underrated method of brainstorming your niche ideas is by searching for websites sold on Flippa, a marketplace for online businesses.
The site got its name from the term “website flipping,” which describes the process of building a website from scratch for the purpose of selling it to someone else.
The majority of the sites sold on platforms like Flippa are niche websites that are making money from different affiliate programs. While you may not have any intention to sell your site if it succeeds, the sites sold on Flippa should inspire you to find more niche ideas.
The fact that people bought websites there means there is a demand for its niche. Also, its previous site owners developed the site the right way that paved the way for it to be sold.
Therefore, the sites listed on these marketplaces should give you an idea of how to build a site for a particular niche.
Once you’re on the site, hover over the Website and click on Featured from the drop-down menu.
From here, you can filter the results down to your preferred attributes. Ideally, scroll down on the filters until you see Status. Uncheck Open and click on the Recently Sold box to show you sites that users purchased a while back.
The purpose of looking at sold websites is to emulate their success on your own.
You can even take it one step further by filter the price to show results of sites sold for at least $10,000. Not only do you want to see websites that are sold, but view those sold at a very high price. This means the website is very valuable
From here, you should have a list of sites that you can use as inspiration for your niche site. You can see information about each site such as its type, monetization methods, net profits, and others.
If you want to view the site, enter its domain URLs on your browser and see if it’s something that you can do on your own. However, some of the sites don’t load anymore after purchase. If that’s the case, go to Wayback Machine to check the cached pages of the domain so you can still view its content.
In the example above, I searched for the domain name on the Wayback Machine of one of the sold sites. The niche of the site is medieval accessories, which is probably something you won’t find in your living room! Nonetheless, using this method helps you unearth interesting and out-of-the-box niche ideas.
This approach in choosing your niche site is perfect especially if your goal is to profit from the website. You can simply outsource the writing to someone, monitor the site’s performance, and make the necessary change to continue growing it.
Q&A and Forum Search
Once you have niche ideas in mind, it’s time to validate them with the help of Q&A and forum websites.
Your ideas won’t amount to anything unless there is an audience for each of them. An online community such as a forum or an online bulletin board is further proof that there is interest about your niche idea. The more communities you can find, the better.
To do this, open Google and type “[niche] forum.” Replace [niche] with your desired niche. It would be better if the niche is a subcategory to help you refine your search.
Using “headphones forum,” Google found over 80 million pages matching the search phases.
Granted, not all of these are forums and bulletin boards. But you should be able to find more than enough forum sites to prove that niche has a loyal online following at the very least.
Also, if you visit one of the forums, you should be able to see subtopics of your niche within the site.
You can drill down on these subtopics and see if they are dedicated forums for each. The more narrowed your niche site is, the likelier you’ll attract more traffic (more on this later).
Now, if you open the subtopics, you will see different threads where users share and discuss ideas about the niche. In particular, focus on threads with the most messages – these are topics within the niche that you can write about on your planned niche site.
You want to launch a site in a niche where the community is vibrant and active in discussing it online. This way, you can use their threads as article topics for your website. This way, you can engage your target audience with content that resonates with their interests.
Aside from forums, Q&A sites like Quora is another place where you can determine the audience and the topics discussed in a niche.
Once you’re signed in, type the niche on the search bar to show autosuggestions.
But if you want to search for the niche you typed in the search bar, please Enter. The site will show you questions, answers, posts, and topics about the niche.
From here, you should be able to view topic discussions you can write about on your site. Ideally, choose questions with lots of answers because it shows there is interest in them.
Also, you can filter the results to the topic under By Type. The page will show you topics that Quora users follow on the platform.
Choose topics with lots of followers. From here, you will see the different questions asked by users about the topic.
Using Quora, you can find topics with lots of followers. Then decide which niche to choose for your website depending on the questions asked about the topic.
We’ve come to our last method in this post. It’s also the most important one.
SEO will be your niche site’s best friend. Your goal is to rank your content on top of organic search.
However, you can’t create content even with topics researched using the methods above and expect to rake in traffic from organic search. Even if you publish well-written content, it won’t even rank on Google because you didn’t optimize it for a keyword.
This reason is precisely why keyword research is the most crucial factor in the process of building your niche site.
Researching for the “best possible” keywords has lots of layers to it.
It starts with monthly search volume. This refers to the number of times users search a phrase using Google. Ideally, the higher its search volume, the more reason for you to use the keyword for your niche site.
At the same time, there’s also keyword difficulty. It alludes to how easy or hard it is to rank your content on top of search engine result pages (SERPs). In this case, you should search for keywords that have low difficulty scores so you can shoot up to the first page of organic results.
Using both these factors, you can validate your niche ideas. If one of your ideas has keywords with lots of monthly searches and low difficulty, then it’s an idea worth exploring further.
Conversely, if your idea doesn’t have enough low-hanging fruit keywords, then it’s best to scrap it. You don’t want to waste your time jockeying for a position with ultra-competitive keywords against more established websites than yours.
Now, there are lots of tools to help you find both factors with a few clicks of a button. Arguably, two of the very best are Ahrefs and KWFinder.
If you’ve been in SEO for a long time, then you should be no stranger to Ahrefs. It provides users with loads of backlink data to help them find link building opportunities.
However, its keyword research feature is no slouch either. Using Keywords Explorer, you not only see the search volume and difficulty of the keyword. You can also view how many clicks it gets on SERPs.
This adds another layer to your keyword research because you determine which keywords generate lots of clicks on organic results. This increases the chances of people clicking on your page once it starts ranking on the first page of Google search.
Equally important, you can find hundreds of ideas and suggestions to target your niche if you scroll down.
If you view all the questions keywords, you will see each broken down into different factors aside from the search volume and keyword difficulty (KD).
From here, you can filter the results to only show you keywords with KD scores from 0-5.
You can filter other factors such as search volume and word count to help you find the keyword you should optimize for your niche site.
Just like Ahrefs, KWFinder is a very good keyword research tool that does the same things that the tool above can do.
However, KWFinder is a much more affordable tool and offers a 10-day free trial so you can take it for a spin and decide whether to use it for the long term.
Upon entering the niche idea on the search bar, you will see the search volume and keyword difficulty. You will also see ideas and suggestions from your seed keyword and the results from the first page of Google search on the same page.
You can filter the results to only see low-hanging fruit keywords to write for your niche site.
To further narrow your search, click on the Questions tab to show you keywords where you can provide a clear answer for content. Then apply the necessary filters so you can find the best keywords.
From here, you’ll see that some keywords have a magnifying glass icon under KD. That means the tool doesn’t have the keyword data yet. By clicking on the icon, KWFinder will check and analyze the SERPs for the pages ranking for it to show you its KD.
Another type of keyword research you must perform is the competitor research approach.
The previous method required you to enter your niche idea in the search bar to extract keyword ideas. This time, you must determine your competitor's website and find keywords that it’s ranking for.
Because of this reason, most would say that competitor keyword research is a much better approach than the traditional way.
Since a website has a content ranking for it on SERPs, you have a basis on how to get your content ranking for the same keyword. Just check on the page of your competitor optimized for the keyword and create a much better version of it on your site.
You can perform this using Ahrefs and KWFinder as well.
Using Ahrefs, the first step is to determine who your competitors are. You can do this by going to Keywords Explorer, typing in your niche keyword, and going to Traffic share > By domains.
This will show you domains that are ranking for the keyword you entered and its related search phrases.
For the term “skincare,” the results are dominated by authoritative domains and eCommerce sites. Therefore, you’d want to eliminate them from your search.
What you want to identify here are niche website examples or affiliate websites that earn a commission from skincare products featured on their site. In this case, you’ll have to manually scan through the results to help you find niche website examples that you want to pattern your site with.
A sign of an affiliate website is when you see a disclaimer on the homepage like this one:
Once you have found a website, go to Site Explorer and enter the domain URL. Next, go to Organic search > Organic keywords to see the terms it’s ranking for on Google.
From here, you will see the page and its position on organic search. Similar to the traditional keyword research route, you can filter the result to help you find the best possible keywords you can use for your initial content campaign.
As of writing, there are over 10,000 keywords the domain is ranking for on Google US with the filters turned on. Choose which keywords to target here wisely.
Using KWFinder, finding your search competitors is less straightforward.
The best way you can do this is by going to SERPChecker and entering your keyword there. It shows you the SERPs for the keyword with each result broken down into different factors such as Domain Authority (DA), Flow Metrics (TF and CF), and others.
However, none of the metrics matter as you have to manually shift through the sites to see if any one of them are niche sites.
You can try narrowing down your search by entering long-tail keywords from your research earlier. From there, it should show you a couple of affiliate sites that are your direct competitors.
Coincidentally, I stumbled upon the same domain from my Ahrefs research here while analyzing the SERPs of a long-tail keyword related to skincare.
From here, go back to KWFinder, click on the domain tab, and enter the domain URL of your search competitor here.
Use the filters to help you find long-tail keywords with low KD scores that the domain is ranking for.
There are so many ways for you to find niche ideas for your website as seen above. That said, you simply have no excuse to delay your plans from building another revenue stream to complement your income.
Keep in mind that building a profitable and successful website takes time. Even if you follow the methods above, you still have to worry about publishing quality content on your site at a consistent rate.
However, you just need to remain patient with your plans for the website. Even if your site isn’t panning out the way you expected, you just have to persevere and keep going. Especially during this pandemic, you need to step up and do whatever it takes to grow your income so you can prepare yourself in the future.
If you do things correctly, you’ll see your website skyrocket to the top of SERPs. From here, it’ll be much easier to convert visitors into customers and earn your long overdue commission.