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Create a Blog – Researching Your Keyword and Niche

Posted by on 23rd Jan 2013 | 12 comments

Before we even get started and think about creating our blog and buying a domain and web hosting, it’s more important that we take some time to decide what we are going to be blogging about.

You can blog about virtually anything, but without the proper research your blog may be at a dead end before it ever starts.

Here are a few things you will need to think about when choosing your next blogging niche.

  • What is the purpose of my blog? (hobby / profit)
  • How competitive is the niche I’m looking at?
  • What is the long term value and monetization plan?
  • Will there be enough content for me to write about?
  • How can you build links and buzz for your site?

All of these questions are important, but the overall monetization down the road and the immediate competition are what should be your main concerns right now.

I spent a few days thinking about the niche I was going to use for this create a blog case study and I actually went through a bunch of different ideas. Several times I thought I had come across an interesting niche, but I came to the conclusion on a few of them that I might not have as many monetization methods or content ideas to build them out down the road.

Coming up with your basic topic is one of the hardest parts in itself. If you want to get some ideas on what people are search for (hot trends) right now, you can visit Google Trends or now.MSN.com to get a few ideas.

Originally I was looking at choosing a niche in the “education” and “work place” area. For ideas I was browsing through a bunch of the articles on Money.com that focused on the Gen Y audience and their college degrees and what are the most sought after jobs when coming out of school. Their site has some great “Top Lists” for stuff like that. However after using Long Tail Pro (click here for full review), I was seeing some highly competitive niches that were looking good in the average local search and average cpc department, but were monsters in the average Keyword Competition area.

Long Tail Platinum - Gen Y Niches

You can see in the screen shot above that many of the keywords were in the 50-60 range. This is very competitive keyword, and while you could break the keywords down even further, I continued to see much of the same competition levels.

So I continued to think about new niches and ideas I could create a blog on. Again, I wanted to pick something completely out of my realm that wasn’t “make money online” or “blogging” related. Eventually I saw an ad somewhere for solar power and I figured I’d throw that word into Long Tail Platinum and see the results.

Not too bad… the search volume is decent and the average cpc is much lower than the education niche, but it seems like a good keyword and niche to start a site with.

Long Tail Platinum - Find a Niche

For a couple days I thought about the “solar” niche and thought it was a good concept, but after writing down some pros/cons about the topic, I found I really wasn’t interested in the topic at all. If you can go after the keyword from the right angles you can definitely make good money and rank in the search results. There is a ton of money flowing in the solar space right now, which was one of my main reasons for looking into this niche. Your main competition would be local “solar installation” type of companies, but you could do fairly well if you were to build up a solid resource site around the topic.

With all of that said, I still had the education and jobs niche markets in the back of my mind and was continually opening up Long Tail Pro to try and find some new ideas.

Once again I was looking through news articles on Google about college students and jobs they are looking for when coming out of college. One of them was for “campus IT tech”, which was a bit competitive, but eventually helped me find “tech support jobs”.

You can see the screenshot below from running a report on “tech support jobs”. The average keyword competition is a 32 and the local searches come in around 33,100. While “tech support jobs” isn’t the main keyword I was going to focus on, I thought it would be best to build a new site around the topic as a whole and categorize the site into smaller long tail keywords.

Long Tail Pro Tech Jobs

It wasn’t easy to pick a niche to jump into, especially since I’m making this a public blog case study for people to follow me step through step on the process. The last thing I want to do is pick a niche and then say “oh well, that didn’t work”… hence why it can take a lot of time and research to finally pick a solid niche and keyword focus.

Now that I have chosen my niche and keywords, it’s important to make sure there is actual life to this niche and that it’s worth the time and effort we are going to put into it.

Why “tech support jobs” as a niche?

Tech Support Jobs Anyone?There are plenty of reasons why I am happy to get into the tech support jobs niche with this new web site. Just a few of the reasons are that the employment rate is horrible right now and people are going to be looking for information on how to get a job or work from home. There is currently a decent amount of search results for “tech support” terms related to working from home.

Another reason I like this niche is because it’s both job and education related. There is always going to be big money in these niches because businesses spend money to hire new employees and colleges spend money to advertise to people who are interested in getting higher education or a new job.

Lastly, there is a lot we can talk about in the tech support niche. Whether it’s how to become a tech support person or how to report complaints against tech support from other companies.

What’s the plan for this tech support jobs niche site?

The best way to answer this question is to actually think in terms of someone who is searching for “tech support jobs” related information online. Obviously they are looking for information on the topic and how they can become a support person or learn more about the profession… so that will be the main focus of the site.

The goal is to rank this blog for several long tail keywords (and eventually some generic keywords) in the search engines by creating quality content and information that people are looking for and find value in. The last thing we want is to put all of this effort into a site to only have it be another trashy “thin” content site. Remember, we want to make an AUTHORITY resource site, which means you are providing value.

Monetization and ideas down the road?

Tech Job SearchThis was definitely something that I had to think about when choosing the “tech support jobs” niche. Through Long Tail Pro we could see that “tech support jobs” related keywords are costing in the several dollar range per click, which means it could make some good money through Google Adsense, but we also don’t want to build a business that is reliant on only one revenue source.

Fortunately there are plenty of other ways to make money with a jobs related site, which includes affiliate marketing (lead gen), how to guides (product sales) and there will definitely be a potential to sell the site once it’s fully established. In addition to driving leads through other sources, the potential is also there to build out our own mailing lists and products relating to the niche.

Monetization is our last focus right now, as we will need to create our site, build content, generate backlinks and buzz and monitor the overall growth and rankings for the site.

If you are going to be selecting a niche for a new blog, make sure you consider all of the questions above and if they fall in your favor. It’s way to easy to jump into a new project and get too excited, buy a domain and setup a blog then lose interest in a few days. The last thing you want to do is spread yourself too thin with garbage projects or keywords/niches that have way too much competition or little monetization/return down the road.

Next step… now the fun starts and we will soon be setting up the blog and first pages of content.

*** Join in on the create a blog case study –> Click here to start your blog!


Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

12 comments - Leave a reply
  • Posted by yecruzsulla.com on 23rd Jan 2013

    great post zac…
    i usually use google adword tool to find a long tail keyword
    because its free :)
    but if i have a some cash, i want try this longtailpro :)

  • Posted by Frank Steiner on 24th Jan 2013

    I just subscribed to your RSS feed to follow your niche blog case study. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. It is a great project for those that plan to build niche sites. I am particularly interested in tools you use to get backlinks. Can’t wait for those posts.
    Frank Steiner recently posted..Vintage WordPress ThemesMy Profile

    • Posted by Zac Johnson on 24th Jan 2013

      Thanks, glad to hear. I will be making updates on a weekly/bi-weekly basis depending on the stage and reporting.
      Zac Johnson recently posted..10 Useful Social Media Marketing and Promotion Tips for BloggersMy Profile

      • Posted by Rollie on 24th Jan 2013

        Hi, nice idea with sharing your brain with us. I also tried subscribing to your RSS feed (from your social button) but it leads to http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogging-tips which seems to be a different site (last update in 2008). When I add your site by hand, it seems to come up as yours, but this blog post is missing…the last one showing that was posted in your name was the one about the stock photo site. Perhaps it takes a few days for the feed to be populating? I’m using Google Reader.
        Cheers.
        Rollie

  • Posted by Bonnie on 24th Jan 2013

    Thank u so much with this article. In the past, finding the right keywords and niche theme are the most important things to me. It drives me crazy!!! I will try as what you tell us at the next time when i need to pick up keywords and niche.
    Bonnie recently posted..Thermos Insulated Travel MugMy Profile

  • Posted by Rinkesh on 25th Jan 2013

    The 5 points you mentioned at the beginning of this posts are must read points for every blogger. most of the times we start blogs and later on realize that we don’t have enough interest and material to write on such a topic. Its better to evaluate your interest earlier itself to avoid last minute hiccups.
    Rinkesh recently posted..About UsMy Profile

  • Posted by Emmanuel Obarhua on 25th Jan 2013

    Hi Zac, the information you’ve shared is a great strategy for success. I’ll write down the questions and try and answer them before starting my niche site (blog). Big thanks cos you got me informed. I’ve been using Adwords for keyword research. May be i’ll start using the longtailpro chiefly because of the competition analysis which is what Adwords is lacking. I learnt that the competition available on Adwords is not for websites owner but for advertisers. Thanks one more time.
    Emmanuel Obarhua recently posted..Google Tips For Maximizing Adsense Revenue – Get the Tips that Work [ Part 1 ]My Profile

  • Posted by Sameer on 25th Jan 2013

    Points mentioned at the top are damn good. One must have clear answers regarding those questions before proceeding to create a blog.

  • Posted by Travis on 3rd Feb 2013

    Zac, I am assuming that you are broad match results when doing your keyword research?

    I plugged Tech Support Job into the Google Keyword Tool using exact match results and it only said 36 local monthly searches??

    What is the benefit of using Broad search results?

    • Posted by Zac Johnson on 4th Feb 2013

      There are 33,100 global searches for “33,100” per month, but we will also be going for long tail keywords off “tech support jobs” as well, though it would be a target keyword for the site to rank on.
      Zac Johnson recently posted..Finding Inspiration in Dull SEO AssignmentsMy Profile