Starting An Online Business Part Two

onlinebiz2

Now you have a few ideas on paper it’s time to put them to the test. Pull out your notes and take a look at them. Is there an interest you have that others may share? Do you have an expertise that gets called upon?

For the moment think about the idea or field, and not the product. We’ll get to the product after we figure out the niche.

I’m going to use myself for an example. I enjoy bicycle riding, am a teacher, photographer and have three dogs and two cats. I’m a baby boomer, home owner and would love to spend a summer exploring ghost towns throughout the west. OK, that’s just a few things about me which will give me a place to start.

Let’s take a look at how I can use this information to start drilling down and determining which field lends itself to niche products and will produce profitable results.

The first thing you need to understand is that people use the Internet for two main reasons:

#1 — to find information — or to find a solution to a problem #2 — shop

Armed with that knowledge you can start the research.

This second step is about ferreting out the areas on the Internet where there is a large number of people searching for a product or solution and a low number of sites supplying it. It’s referred to as the ‘competition to demand ratio.’

There are a number of tools you available to find this information. Depending on your budget, some of the tools are free and others not. Of course if you opt for the free services you should expect to spend more time researching and you may still, in the end, taking a best guess.

Free tools include: google.suggests, free keyword tracker, overture and googles adword suggestion tool.

One tool that will take you right to the source, give you suggestions and statistics on growth rate is wordtracker.com. They offer a free seven day trial subscription, that includes video tutorials and full access to the site.

When you start your search on Keyword tracker, it will show you:

  • how many searches have been done on the Internet for the word(s)
  • suggest keyword variations
  • give estimates on growth rates

Keyword Tracker also rates the keywords and shows how many competitive instances there are on the web already.

What you are looking for is a phrase that will give you very few competitive results in the search engines, and high numbers in rankings for possible growth.

While punching in keywords and looking at search phrases and their ‘long tails’ consider what sorts of product options the phrases lend themselves to. Are searchers looking for more information — as in “how to” or are they researching a product or service to buy.

If you are still not sure where to start in terms of what keywords to use — try doing a simple search of ‘how to’ and you’ll be on your way to drilling down into specifics. After several hours of punching in keywords and phrases on wordtracker I came up with two ideas that caught my fancy.

The very best score on a KEI (KEYWORD EFFECTIVENESS INDEX) analysis is 400 and the lowest is 1 — so from this search you can see the results in order of best to worst. But, that’s not the final say — you also want to look at search count and number of competing sites. You want some competition, but a number like 8,000 or more will make it harder to get top ranking on the search engines for your site. You also want to see growth in the number of searches, which is something that happens on the pre-search analysis.

For this example I choose: “Where can I make money selling my photographs” and “websites to find the selling price at online auctions.” These are by no means ‘home runs’ but if I set up an adword site or create an information product, it may mean a nice little consistent income stream.

Note that there is lot’s of competition for “selling photographs online” and more searches too. So, while I want to include those longtail phrases in my ad copy and meta tags, my main page title should be exactly as the searcher looked for it. Once I get top spot there, I may find it easier to get higher rankings for other similar search terms, where buyers are essentially looking for the same product.

The two samples I choose lend themselves more to information products rather than products purchased to resell. The long tail phrases are called “problem statements”. If I had decided on a niche that had a physical product the next step is to head over to Tereapeak.com and look at the ‘sell through rate’ for the product.