One of the first steps en route to making money online is to find your niche market or area. This is not as complex as it might sound, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
The first question most people wonder is: do I have to pick a niche I’m passionate about?
No, you don’t. It helps to be passionate about your niche, but you can earn residual income either way. What’s important is to be passionate about providing value. In other words, helping people!
Niche definition: a distinct segment of a market.
If you can find a way to help people, fill a need, solve a problem – then it won’t be much harder to earn money online.
Now, you need to pick a keyword (or phrase) as a starting point for your search to find your niche. Once we have our keyword, we’ll register a web domain in that niche (more on that below). I’m not going to tell you what to choose, but it can be pretty much anything.
A good starting point might be something you’re interested in – sports? Or, you could just look around your room and pick anything you see! I love lamp? Perfect! As an example, I’ll use “lamp”.
One of the best ways to find out what people need is to figure out what they’re Googling. And that’s easier than you might think! Just open the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. If you already have a Google account you’ll need to sign in, otherwise create one.
Now, in Keyword Planner, click “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”. Under “Your product or service”, enter your keyword. Now, click “Get ideas”.
A tab called “Keyword ideas” will load. At the top it will show your keyword, and “Avg. monthly searches” – the average number of searches for this keyword and its close variants. You don’t need to worry about the additional columns, like “Competition” or “Suggested bid”.
Now, if you chose something generic, like lamp, the Avg. monthly searches will be a large range – for me, it says “100K – 1M”. That’s great! However, we’re looking for a more specific phrase to hone in on. After all, lamp.com is taken!
We’re looking for “long-tail keywords”, which are more specific – and longer – keywords or phrases where, while there may be less broad interest, there’s also – quite importantly – less competition. That is, competition both on Google itself, as well as in the arena of domain names.
Ideally, we want to find a keyword with the highest amount of traffic, which also has an available domain name in a desirable “TLD”. TLD stands for top-level domain, which you can think of as the domain’s “extension” – .com, .net, .org, or newer extensions like .co.
Okay, back to Keyword Planner. Below your keyword, you’ll find a long list of related keywords. Click the “Avg. monthly searches” column header to sort the list from most to least. Scan this list from the top down, and find a keyword that a) seems relevant, b) has enough monthly searches (I recommend 10K – 100K or more), & c) seems like it might have a chance of being available as a domain name.
If you don’t see any good options at this point, you might want to start over with a new keyword. I’m going to try “modern floor lamps”. It has 10K – 100K searches, and seems absolutely thrilling! 😉
Domain Name Search
It’s time to visit the domain name registrar (in a new browser tab/window if possible). We recommend:
Now, copy/paste (or type) your keyword in the domain search box (you can leave any spaces) then hit search. If you’re in luck, your desired domain is available. Congrats, snatch it up!
(I recommend getting only your domain name, and not hosting, at this time. We’ll cover hosting options shortly.)
The .com TLD is generally considered the best, because it’s the most memorable. However – depending on your niche – .net, .org, and .co can also be good options, and other TLDs are growing in popularity.
Sadly for me, modernfloorlamps.com is not available. However, one of the recommended alternatives – modernfloorlamp.com (without the “s”) – is available! There’s one more thing I should to do before pulling the trigger.
Switch back over to Keyword Planner, and search the alternative keyword, which is now “modern floor lamp”. The top result provided once again shows me “modern floor lamps” – 10K – 100K. This is because Google considers “modern floor lamps” (with the “s”) and “modern floor lamp” (without the “s”) to be equivalent phrases.
Yay! This domain meets our standards. Buy, buy, buy!
If, on the other hand, you didn’t find a suitable domain and there were no good alternatives, simply go back to your Keyword Planner list and try again. If you try all the potential long-tail keywords and nothing fits, you might want to restart at the beginning with a brand new starting keyword.
You were able to find your niche, and your shiny new domain name. At this point, I recommend registering social media accounts to protect your brand name, just to make sure no one else snatches them up first. I always register a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, & Pinterest, using a username for your brand (@ModernFloorLamp? Exhilarating!).
It’s not a bad idea to grab matching Google+/YouTube & Reddit accounts too.
Now it’s time to take your side hustle to the next step.
It’s time to create your website (aka blog). Blogging for money is easier than you think… you can do it in minutes!
Or, maybe you want to know how to create your own email domain free (coming soon) first.
Questions? Other ideas? Let me know in the comments below!
Questions? Hit me up on Twitter or in the comments below, & I’ll get at you ASAP!
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