The Sexy Business of Finding a Profitable Niche to Target

JillAffiliate Marketing, The Basics41 Comments

Are you face-palming yourself, trying to figure out which industry (or niche) you want to enter? Are you racking your brain wondering who the hell would even care about a website on samurai swords, emergency response systems, natal hypnotherapy, or bleaching your…you know…unmentionables?

Don’t laugh, that’s actually a really hot niche!

Deciding which niche you are going to build a website around can stump a lot of people, especially those looking for a sure-fire moneymaker. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be downright easy if you know where to start and what to look for.

Here are my 4 quick and dirty criteria for finding a profitable niche to target and determining whether is hot or not.

Side note: Is it just me or are you now thinking of that ridiculous website hotornot.com? No? Just me? Moving on then…

Look for Competition

Say whaaat?

Yes. Competition. Stay with me now…

When you’re deciding whether or not you want to enter a particular industry, you want to make sure that industry is actually a profitable one,  and there is no better way to do this then to check if there are already other marketers in this niche selling products.

I know it sounds ass-backwards, but if there are already websites out there ranking on Google for products in that industry then it is usually a good indicator that it is a hot niche and that people are spending money.

And ultimately all you really care about is that people are spending money.

Oh, and that you can help solve their problems. You should care about that too.

Which brings me to the inevitable…

Solve Someone’s Problem

Nothing will make you money faster than helping someone solve a problem they want fixed immediately.

An easy way to figure out if your potential niche helps to solve a common problem for people is to simply run a few Google searches and see what is out there.

More often than not if you search for problems you will find forum postings, blog rants, or video reviews of people discussing their particular problem and, hopefully, what it was that helped them overcome it.

All you have to do then is read, watch, and listen to them and see if you could help them solve this issue by creating a website dedicated to fixing it.

Of course you will also want to make sure people are actually spending money on their problems…

Is There Money to be Made?

Now let’s not beat around the bush here, we all want to start a business to make money. And, ideally, lots of it!

But before you get all pumped up about your new niche you found, you need to be sure there are actually products you can promote within that niche. And not only products you can promote, but products people will pay for.

After all, there can be a bunch of products out there to build a site around, but if no one is buying them then what’s the point? Ultimately you will just end up wasting your time and effort. And that’s not what we’re about here.

So how can you figure out if there is money to be made in a niche? One simple hack we use is to hop on Amazon.com and run a search for the particular product you are considering promoting. If a product has a bunch of reviews then you can more or less assume that people are buying it.

Now to clarify, I’m not suggesting you promote your product through Amazon, this is just a quick hack to see whether or not people are buying it or not.

Generally we think it is best to promote a product through one of the big affiliate networks, such as ShareASale, OfferShot, MoreNiche, MarketHealth, or even Odigger. Or, even better, you could see if the product you are interested in promoting has it’s own affiliate program.

To find this out, simply go to the product’s official website and see whether or not they offer an affiliate program. Typically this will appear as a link either at the top of the site or at the very bottom of the website. Just have a good look around or run a search on the actual website.

Once you’ve found a profitable product to promote you need to consider the content side of things…

Do You Care to Write About It?

Before you settle on a product you need to decide whether or not you could see yourself writing at least 5 pieces of content on the subject, and the product itself.

If you don’t think you could bring yourself to write anything then you should bail before even getting started. However, if you can brainstorm a whole 5 topics—which isn’t THAT hard—then you can easily build a website around only 5 detailed posts.

Remember, it helps to be invested in the topic or product you are wanting to promote, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.

As I mentioned, you are building an affiliate marketing business here which means your true passion should lie in creating and building your network of websites. If you can re-frame your need for having a “passion” behind which products you promote, and instead focus on your passion for building a profitable business it should make it easier to write on topics you might not be totally jacked about.

Trust me, we have a bunch of niche websites (as well as bigger authority sites) that promote products that we don’t necessarily LOVE. Instead we love the process of creating this business and ultimately crafting the kind of lifestyle we are after.

That’s where our passion lies.

Your turn: Do you have a niche in mind? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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  • Daz

    I’m thinking of a site that promotes products for training youth athletes

    • Nice! Is there such a product?

      And did you run it through the system I listed above?

      • Daz

        Ya there are certifications products that I have completed for training youth athletes that also have affilate programs. You would not buy these on amazon but there is plenty of internet marketers that target fitness professionals with business devlopment products, certificaions…etc

        • Oh nice! That sounds like a wicked idea. We have a buddy who has a few sites around certification programs and he makes STUPID money off them….like, nearly 20k/month!

          • Clara

            What kind of certification programs does your buddy promotes? Sounds interesting!

          • Josh Stanton

            He’s a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) so he promotes review software that people need to buy before taking the exams. I would only recommend entering that niche if you are actually a CPA.

            Still that doesn’t mean there aren’t other certification courses out there to promote.

  • Michelle Sardinha

    Jill… I’m having trouble niche’ing (can it even be spelt like this, lol). I have created 2 websites recently, on two very different subjects, both have blogs and I just can’t find a way to narrow down products to suit them. I was thinking of using them instead of starting all over again on a particular product, or do you think it might be better to dedicate a website to the product as you have?

    • Hey Michelle, do you want to PM me and we can figure it out? Shoot me a message at Jill(AT)screwtheninetofive.com

      • Michelle Sardinha

        Thank you so much Jill, I appreciate your time. I’m on my way to email you 🙂

  • Mars

    Just found your site–I love it! When you say, “If a product has a bunch of reviews then you can more or less assume that people are buying it,” approximately how many do you mean by “a bunch?”

    • I don’t really have a concrete number…I just make a judgement call really. For sure anything over 10 though.

      Hope that helps 🙂

  • Heidi Wicks

    Ok, I have heaps of motivation, product ideas, and am essentially ready to roll! Do i need any web design experience or can a beginner manage do you think?! I’m nervous of starting to set up a web site (buying domaine name etc) and then realising i’m not tech savvy enough to see it through….

    • Josh Stanton

      Yes! The best way to get the ball rolling is to just jump right in.

      As far as setting up your website, it does require some level experience and at first it may take you a while to figure out. We rarely do our own website setups anymore, but instead pay our designer to do it for us. Web design is one of those things you want to try and outsource as quickly as possible as it is a bit of a time suck.

      We just started offering this as a service if you find it too difficult to figure out on your own. You can read more about that here – http://screwtheninetofive.com/website-setup-service/

      Otherwise, best of luck with everything and make sure to keep an eye out for next weeks episode of the Affiliate Lifestyle series. It’s all related to building and marketing these niche sites.

  • Shane

    I’m a musician and I would really like to do something with musical equipment. I recently got a new piece of equipment (Push by Ableton) that I’m obsessed with. I would love to write about it, but how do I know if I would be able to promote such a product…is it too specific?

    • Josh Stanton

      Hey Shane, okay there are 3 things you need to look at before deciding if it’s worth creating a website reviewing Push by Ableton:

      1. Is there any search volume? Check the Google Keyword Planner – http://goo.gl/RvWJ4g

      2. Next you need to check to see how competitive any of the keywords are that you can rank on page 1 for. Explained in the next up and coming video on Tuesday

      3. Finally is there an affiliate program that you can use to promote the product. You can find out by typing the following into Google – ableton push “affiliate” – I can see it is listed on Amazon so you can promote it through them for sure.

      This whole process is better explained in the 7 day escape plan if you haven’t signed up to that yet – http://screwtheninetofive.com/escape-plan

  • Simone R

    Hi Jill and Josh,
    When setting up a niche site can one stay anonymous? I have a great health coaching biz and the niche I want to test and build has nothing to do with health.

    • Josh Stanton

      Yeah for sure. There’s no reason why you can’t use a pseudonym online and use you real name for your personal brand.

      • Simone R

        Awesome. Thanks Josh 🙂

  • justine conning

    Hi Jill,
    I am a beauty and fashion fanatic and would really love to build a site around this as i know i could talk endlessly about beauty products and shoes. I would also like to earn a living from it too as i have never been the typical 9-5 person! Im going to follow your plan, but I’m a little unsure on how it works if i were to write about numerous different beauty products or should I just focus on one? If I were to write about and review different products, how would I earn a wage from it?

    Justine x

    • Hey Justine,

      I definitely think you could do a big site around beauty products and shoes….it just wouldn’t be a “small niche” site it would be more of an authority site – which is fine! You can make some really good money off authority sites…our skincare and our beauty sites are both authority sites and each make a few grand a month.

      The only thing with authority sites is they may take a bit longer to rank and make money.

      But if you start to promote it on social media and start guest blogging right off the bat you could start generating some traffic sooner than later….and therefore make money sooner than later.

      So I would say go for it, especially because you love the topic anyways and could write about it non-stop!

      Have you looked into any affiliate products for your site yet? Or figured out which products you would want to promote? I know Zappos has an affiliate program for shoes because we once started a high heel site and it wasn’t hard to find products to promote 🙂

      Hope that helps!!

  • Anna

    Hi Jill,
    I am so excited to start following your plan, but am unsure if my idea will work. I lived in Korea for a year and became obsessed with Asian skincare and makeup. When I can back to the states I noticed it is not really sold or marketed here at all. I wanted to create a site all about asian beauty products. However, I’m not sure if I can do this since the products are not generally sold on sites like Amazon or in the US at all really. They really should be though! Haha. Thanks for your help!

    Anna

    • Josh Stanton

      I’ve looked into that niche so I know what you mean. I better alternative would be skin “lightening” products as they are sold in the U.S. “skin lightening cream” gets 8100 searches a month in the U.S, which makes it a small niche but still a profitable one.

      • Francisco

        Hey Josh,
        Reg the number of searches – what would be a decent volume?
        Thanks!

        • Josh Stanton

          If you’re targeting brand name keywords like “product name review”, “buy product name”, etc, etc – you don’t need a lot of search volume to turn visitors into customers.

          However if you’re looking to target more broadly related terms, expect the conversion rate to go down a lot – normally to 1% or less.

          So if that’s the case, you would need at least 100 visitors to make a sale. I’d be pushing for 10 sales a month minimum, so that would be a search volume of 1000/month.

  • Barb Everett

    Hi! Just found your site thru your interview with Eric Gati. I really want to create an affiliate website and paid for TONS of information with no luck and no income. My problem has always been finding a product to promote. I thought about juicing, breastfeeding, baby wrapping, locs, online book club, and so on. As I was reading these responses I saw you mentioned shoes and I LOVE SHOES AND JEWELRY!!!! How can you start a niche site around those 2 topics? I am so tired of spinning my wheels and need to make some income online because working a part time job outside the home in addition to my full time job is impossible with a husband who had a crazy work schedule and 5 kids.

    • Oh my gosh I’m so sorry, Barb. I don’t know how I missed this comment!

      You can easily start a niche site around shoes – I used to have one myself!

      The only thing is, if you want to follow the model we outline in the Escape Plan you’re going to have to pick one style or one brand and focus solely on that.

      Alternatively you could create a bigger site (or, authority site) that reviews a whole bunch of shoes…but that will be a bigger undertaking.

      I guess its up to you and how much work you want to put into it 🙂

  • Raya BlissfulBelly Zane

    my sister and I started a website http://www.thebestorganicskincare.com to promote affiliate products. We were hoping that it would be just a small static web page but it has evolved into more of a blog. We worry that we are in too big of a niche and that it will be really difficult to make money with it. We enjoy doing it and will keep doing it but we are really wanting to get something else up and making money now! I love that I found your site and I want to implement your affiliate marketing model and create a micro niche site…now I just need to do the research to find one!

    • Hey Raya,

      You and your sister could easily create a niche site around one particular organic skin cream – whichever one sells best and has the highest commissions.

      Of course, you could always go outside of the skincare industry and target a different niche if you like…but skincare is just so lucrative! lol

      • Raya BlissfulBelly Zane

        hee hee yes, you guys do skincare too huh?

        • Josh Stanton

          Haha yeah we do. Anything cosmetic related sells really well online 🙂

  • zums eatery

    How do I decide if the niche i want is too competitive?

    • Josh Stanton

      One of the best tools you can use to determine how competitive keywords are is Long Tail Platinum which is the upgrade to Long Tail Pro.

      We use it for all of our keyword research as they give you a score between 1 and 100 with 1 being the least competitive and 100 being the most.

  • mark newsome

    Totally excellent advice Jill!

    I think it’s awesome that you are teaching us “how to” become (what I like to refer to as )power affiliate marketers!

    In that, you’re teaching us through self demonstration (I might add) how to systematically go about discovering a potentially profitable niche, irregardless of whether or not, we have a personal passion for it or not!

    If done correctly, we can still learn “how to” monetize the entire affiliate process!

    I this that’s great of the two of you! Also, I’ll definitely have to look into the Long Tail Platinum software, as it definitely sounds like it can help produce an endless supply of potentially viable long tail keywords! Thanks!

    • Aw thank you so much, Mark! I’m so happy it was a big help to you and you’re getting a lot out of the series 🙂

  • Hey Jill,

    Love your site and that you’re helping others find a hot niche to get into.

    I use to do a lot of this about four or five years ago but got tired of always having to find a new “hot” niche. They eventually burn themselves out or at least the ones I were in did.

    There is great money to be had though, I definitely agree.

    Love your site and I wish you all the best of luck.

    ~Adrienne

    • Thank you so much Adrienne 🙂

      Glad to have you around these parts!!

  • John Cyscon III

    Ok, im excited. I found what i believe is a profitable niche, involving teeth whitening. Payouts are good, I applied to be an affiliate and will know within 24 hours. I did the requisite research on google adwords (I haven’t bought ltp yet, I dont feel I’ve needed it but i’m sure if i used the pro version id love it). Im gonna read on now and see whats next!

    • Josh Stanton

      Great niche to get into coming into summer. Can’t wait to see how you go!

  • sonibvc

    Cheap, lame and recycled advice, that even you do not use 🙂 I can tell you tried that because you are familiar with the frustration. Eventually you have must have decided that the best niche is to sell shovels for the gold rush…telling others how it’s done 🙂 It seems like the most money is made in bashing normal jobs and getting on the “teach others how to be entrepreneurs bandwagon”! There are so many of you these days that I have difficulties find real information on Google….you have occupied all the top pages! Which is sad, considering 99% of you never succeeded at the very thing you are advising others on 🙁

  • Dianne Jewell

    I love this tips and tricks. I cant wait to get started with my affiliate based sites. Thanks guys. this is gold.

  • jitender singh

    Hii Jill ,
    Thanks for writing this wonderful article.
    I am a soft skill trainer and as person I am more saught after for relationship advice.
    Can you help me in choosing between the two ,which one is a more profitable niche,personnel development or relationships .
    Thanks,
    Jitender