Leaving Work Behind

3 Ways to Choose a Niche for an Affiliate Site

Written by Alexander Cordova on August 15, 2017. 0 Comments

Multiple paint brushes.Affiliate websites are a way for anyone to pick a topic, start writing, and hopefully see a decent passive income down the line. Unfortunately, choosing the a niche without enough potential could leave you with meager results for hundreds of hours of effort.

I’ve given affiliate blogging several chances in my day, and I’ve had a moderate amount of success. Along the way, I’ve learned how to spot niches with some potential, which is a valuable skill.

In this article, I’ll walk you through three ways to choose a profitable niche, the differences between each tactic, and why they work. Time is money, so let’s get started!

What Are Affiliate Sites?

Before worrying about choosing a profitable niche, you should understand how affiliate sites make money. Affiliate sites focus on marketing products and services sold by others to earn commissions.

An affiliate agreement is when a company or an individual agrees to pay you for successful referrals. For example, Amazon has a massive affiliates program where they pay you a percentage of the sales you generate using their affiliate links. Affiliate marketing is everywhere these days. In fact, we’re able to offer our own Blogging Mentorship Program for free because Bluehost sends us money for every customer we refer.

Getting people to trust your recommendations boils down to two factors: trust and authority. The former is earned by recommending only products and services you know are good. The latter relies on you building up a library of content broad enough to make you an authority within a given field. This is called your niche.

3 Ways to Choose a Niche for an Affiliate Site

If you’re familiar with marketing, you’ve probably heard the term ‘niche’ before. It refers to a particular segment of people with particular interests. For example, here at Leaving Work Behind, our niche is freelancing and all it entails. Let’s go over some tips to help you pick yours.

1. Find Inspiration in Your Hobbies

An italian cooking blog.

The more you enjoy something, the more fun it is to write about.

You’re most likely to enjoy building an affiliate site in a niche you already enjoy, which makes your hobbies a good place to start. For example, I love cooking so I might consider building an affiliate blog promoting cookware.

The great thing about using a hobby for your niche is your existing familiarity with the topic. This means you’ll spend less time doing research, which makes the writing process less stressful. Trust me, if you pick a niche that you don’t enjoy on some level, the work will be a chore. I learned that lesson when I tried to write dozens of articles about shoes. Never again.

If choosing a hobby sounds like the right approach for you, let’s go over a few simple steps to get you started:

  1. Make a list of your hobbies. Think long and hard to answer this question: Which would you most enjoy writing about?
  2. Next up, look for affiliate programs for your chosen hobbies. Which has the most earning potential?
  3. Once you have a final list of hobbies with potential affiliate programs, do market research to see whether there is enough interest to warrant the effort.

Any niche you choose should have a decent built-in audience. One good way to find out if there is a potential audience is by seeking out other big sites in your niche. If there’s competition, the topic is probably worth your time.

2. Look for Fields With Little Competition

A dog with a tutu.

Less-known niches have smaller audiences but they’re easier to rank for.

As you can imagine, not all niches have the same level of appeal. For example, my cooking website could be a success if I chose to focus on Italian cuisine, but recipes featuring raw eggs would not be appetizing (don’t try that at home).

On the other hand, the more appealing your niche is, the harder it is to break into. If you go too competitive, you’ll never carve out your space. This is why I abandoned my shoe niche! To continue our cooking example, a quick Google search tells me there are thousands of cooking blogs out there. I would need to identify a more specific cooking niche to stand out. It’s also easier to find your audience if you write for a niche that’s not so well-known. That way, you can rise through the ranks faster with less effort.

The key to this method is identifying niches with little competition but enough traffic to make them worth your while. Here’s what works for me:

  1. Make a list of niches you think are good candidates write down search terms related to them.
  2. Use keyword research tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to take those queries and find out their search volume.
  3. Look for keywords in the 2,000 to 5,000 range of searches per month. I find these are often good candidates with low competition.

Keep in mind you’ll want to target multiple of these keywords on your website. After all, you want to maximize traffic by expanding your audience as much as possible!

3. Target a Niche With Depth

A running shoes website.

The more extensive your niche, the more topics you’ll have to write about.

Targeting a niche with little competition isn’t the only way to go. In fact, sometimes the smart move is to go for fields with as much depth as possible. That way, you’ll always have new topics and ideas to write about.

The more content you can produce, the more keywords you can rank for. Sure, it’ll probably be harder to break into the top search results for a popular niche, but the payoff can be much better. The steps, in this case, are quite simple:

  1. Make a list of niches with plenty of depth, such as cooking, or exercising.
  2. Narrow down your choices until you find a niche you feel comfortable writing and researching about.

For best results, you’ll want to consider going for a niche with depth that you enjoy. If one of your hobbies matches this description, you may have just hit the mother load.

However, do keep in mind affiliate sites aren’t a way to make money overnight. Regardless of your niche, you’re unlikely to see significant income until you have plenty of content. The more competitive your niche, the harder those first months will be, so keep your chin up!

Conclusion

Choosing a niche for your affiliate site is almost as important as the quality of its content. Without the former, your posts might never find an audience, and your efforts could be for nothing. Combine the two, and you may just have a success story on your hands (as long as you put in the time!).

Let’s recap three of the best ways to choose a niche for your next affiliate site:

  1. Find ideas for topics in your hobbies, by figuring out which of them can be monetized.
  2. Look for fields with little competition to break into the rankings faster.
  3. Target a niche with depth, so you won’t run out of topics to write about.

What questions do you have about how to choose a niche for your affiliate website? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!

Image credit: Pixabay.

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