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Choosing my niche
knights1




msg:356623
 3:26 am on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm looking at deciding the opic for my 3rd website that I hope to launch befor ethe new year. I'm having trouble deciding between these two options:

1) Topic I enjy a lot, would be easy to write content every day, but there aren't a ton of advertisers for this, the main keywords feature 10-50 advertisers. Also, the PPC is only about 3-10c avg. (estimate)

2) Topic I have not much interest in, barely at all. Writing content would mean doing alot of reasearch before writing articles, but the PPC is 1.00-2.00 (I know)

What would you go with? Also, topic 1 is alot less competitive.

Derek

 

ann




msg:356624
 3:56 am on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I would shoot for topic 2. Hey, don't be lazy :-) just think of all that pretty green money and what you can do with it. LOL

Ann

martinibuster




msg:356625
 6:20 am on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>>double post
Means her message posted twice.

I don't care about the topic, all topics bore me. Even writing about something I like bores me. So it's all the same to me because the act of writing article after article is boring.

So in my case the choice is clear: outsource the writing and don't worry about the topic.

Another way to think about it is, is this a job, or am I creating a thing of beauty, something artistic? Is it for the beauty or cleverness of it, or commerce?

My answer is that this is a job. It's not art. Nobody is going to fete me for building websites. The only reward is that the bills get paid, etc. It's a job. Your answer might be different.

But it's not all dry. There is some artfulness to it regardless of the topic, and I guess that is where I find the fun. Choosing a good domain name, clever layout, integrating content with adsense/affiliate ads, hustling links, etc. There's fun and artfulness in that regardless of the topic. That's my experience, yours may differ.

Jane_Doe




msg:356626
 6:33 am on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

If it were me, I would not do either your option 1 or 2. I'd find another topic that I was interested in to write about and that paid more than 10 cents a click.

Swebbie




msg:356627
 7:10 am on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

this is a job. It's not art. Nobody is going to fete me for building websites.

I think this gets to the heart of the problem that many would-be webmasters encounter. Namely, they've gotten it into their heads that they should only build sites around topics they love/know about/have an interest in (take your pick or choose all three). This is your LIVELIHOOD! If you have a job now or have had them in the past, think about that time in your life. Did you do cartwheels every workday? If you did, you probably never even thought about doing anything else like building websites. If you're "normal," then you had days when you really hated having to drag yourself in and put in your 8 hours, right? Nothing is different about being a webmaster. It's a J-O-B.

My advice to the OP is simply to think of this business as a job. Get over the mindset that it should always be fun or casual or something you do when you feel like it. I apologize if that's not you, but it is for many who express your sentiments. I know because I was one of them! So I'm not throwing stones in your glass house here. Once I got my head on straight that this work was what put a roof over my family's heads and paid my mortgage, all thoughts of "hmm, do I want to do a site on ________ when I really don't know much about it and I don't want to be bored or write articles I don't wanna write?" went write out the window. You gotta practice tough love on your psyche sometimes. Life's like that. Good luck! Don't let anything limit you on site topics. Dig in and get it done. Look back in a year and you'll be making a lot more than you are today. That's the bottom line.

moneyraker




msg:356628
 1:45 pm on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

On the other hand, doing a job that you like will make it so painless that you can put long hours into it without difficulty, thus earning you more money. I enjoy writing only if I like what I write about, so I never really write anything about something I'm not fascinated with.

ken_b




msg:356629
 1:58 pm on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Part of the answer has to be traffic, which topic you have the best chance of developing a sufficent level of traffic?

knights1




msg:356630
 3:35 pm on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well,

after using overture's keyword selector tool to get an idea of how many searches each topic gets, topic 2, although more competitive gets way more searches per month, like 25x more, so I'm thinking topic 2, for now, like you guys said, this is a job, and then once I'm ready to start another one maybe topic one.

Derek

longen




msg:356631
 3:55 pm on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Have you considered Topic 3?

knights1




msg:356632
 4:00 pm on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't have one right now. I haven't been able to find a topic I liked that also pays very well. I suppose I could keep loking though right?

Derek

longen




msg:356633
 4:13 pm on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, i've been looking to graduate above 10cents recently.

Swebbie




msg:356634
 4:44 pm on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have 11 sites - each on a completely different topic, only a couple of which I really have a strong interest in. The one site that really rakes in a lot of money is one I really didn't have a natural interest in, BUT as some of you have noted, it gets a lot of searches. It's also just about my smallest site in terms of # of pages. So there's another possibility to consider as you choose another niche to build a site around. You might have to write 300 pages to make any decent money from a site about something you like... but it may only take 100 pages to make even more money from a site about a topic it's hard to write about. Same amount of time invested, but more money from the latter.

martinibuster




msg:356635
 7:05 pm on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Looking for topics then purchasing corresponding domains is part of my daily routine. When I need something to work on I just take a look at my domain name portfolio and get cracking. I have several hundred domain names right now, and they're either in lucrative niches or in an area that may become lucrative as soon as the niche reaches critical mass.

[edited by: martinibuster at 7:24 pm (utc) on Sep. 11, 2005]

rkhare




msg:356636
 7:13 pm on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

if you decide on topic 1 ...... send me topic 2 ...... i wont mind doing research for content .... just kidding ..... i think my advice is clear. do what brings more honey.

bbd2000




msg:356637
 7:19 pm on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

It’s amazing this topic came up today. I have been working on a site I truly enjoy for about six months and it is making pennies a day. Earlier this morning I decided to “go for the money” because I want make at least a little money. I found a topic that I can write about that I will not enjoy as much but I’m going to give it a try. It receives many times the searches and the clicks are worth more. I think I will spend the next coupe on months developing it and seeing what happens.

aeiouy




msg:356638
 7:25 pm on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I always go with doing topics I have an interest and knowledge in...

While you may get higher value per click, it makes it too much like real work.

Why do real work when you do something you enjoy and have an interest in and still make money?

uhwebs




msg:356639
 9:25 pm on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)


My site is a niche site that pays OK.... probably 11-16c a click.

And it's a topic that I LOVE. Since I know about it already, and it's part of my life it makes it a lot easier to write GOOD content.

When you truly understand a topic you can write more about it, write about more specialized compartments of it, etc.
I think you can write more interesting things because you have a real understanding of it. When you don't understand the topic well, your readers who do will be able to tell.

I will be starting another site in a different niche that pays much better. Thankfully, it's also a subject I know about and will be able to write about.

The third option is, I suppose, for you to find a niche-- or niches-- that pay well and become involved in them. Sometimes as you read more about something and learn more, you become more interested in it.

limitup




msg:356640
 5:05 am on Sep 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

It seems like a lot of people are missing an important tidbit here. If you are doing this to make money, in the most efficient way possible, you shouldn't be writing any articles at all. Get other people to do that. If you were to write 100s of articles yourselves methinks you'd be too busy to make any real money.

dibbern2




msg:356641
 5:38 am on Sep 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Pay the rent by writing for the market, and stop wondering "is it fun?". Go to work and produce something that people who want information value, even if it isn't your favorite subject.

When that works, you can take a little time to play with the fun stuff; but you won't want to. You'll see you can do more than paying the rent.

Just an opinion.

david_uk




msg:356642
 5:57 am on Sep 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

So what would people pay to have a high quality article written by someone else?

martinibuster




msg:356643
 6:35 am on Sep 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>>So what would people pay

It's not about the price, it's about reliability and trustworthiness.

I need to be confident that the writer is giving me guaranteed original content and will not rip off my ideas or talk about my business or ideas with other people or in a public forum. Privacy is of the essence.

ronburk




msg:356644
 7:52 am on Sep 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

What the hell, it's the weekend...

Here's a third option:

Five men work at identical jobs on a shop floor. Four of the men attest to the work's absolute drudgery. They have trouble getting to work on time in the morning, find every excuse to take a break or leave early, and dream of the weekend. The fifth man is absorbed by the work, is constantly getting better at it, and leaves at the end of the day happy, with a feeling of accomplishment. This scene is repeated in many different fields of work, all across the world.

When the work to be done is the same, how can some people find it drudgery and others find it fulfilling? Obviously, the difference is not in the work, but in the head of the person doing the work. Which leads to the conclusion that, if you can change your mind, you may be able to make the uninteresting topic as fun and fulfilling as the one you currently enjoy.

This change is not a matter of willpower, but a matter of how you view the work, how you structure the work, and how you direct your attention. If you reflect in detail on how it is that writing about the "fun" topic is enjoyable, you may see opportunities to make the topic of your choice enjoyable.

There are three principle obstacles to making a task an enjoyable one: too little challenge, too much challenge, and poor feedback.

Too Much Challenge
Writing about a different topic could be unpleasant because it's unfamiliar, and it's more enjoyable to stick to an area where you already have considerable expertise. One approach to simply be aware of that problem and structure your work as a learning project. For example, when you are learning a new topic, you are in a unique position that experts in the field have lost -- you understand exactly what things newcomers are likely to find confusing and misleading. You're in a great position to write tutorials and introductions and "how I learned about X" pieces.

In effect, for any unfamilar topic area, you are already an expert at one aspect of that topic: the problem of learning that topic. This can help reduce the challenge of tackling new subjects to enjoyable levels.

Too Little Challenge
Writing about a different topic could be unpleasant because it is too simple, involves no learning at all, is fairly mechanical writing, etc. In this case, it is possible to introduce challenge by redirecting your attention to other nuances of the work to be performed. For example, you may be able to structure the boring material in a unique way, or spend more time devising graphical aids. Or, you might focus on devising techniques for completing the work more quickly, or focus on how the writing can better support the overall SEO.

Is the topic boring? Then why are people searching for it? Do your writing with an internal focus on discovering why some people find it interesting. Subscribe to the Wall Street Journal for a while and you'll see that they write about all manner of obscure human activities -- and they find what's interesting about them. A basic curiosity about other human beings can translate into an interest in the wide variety of things that they inexplicably are drawn to.

Feedback
Highly enjoyable tasks always involve some kind of feedback, information that tells you how you're doing, so you know how to change your performance for the better.

One reason people become "hooked" on the SEO game is that they have systems that give them detailed feedback on how they're doing. They make changes, then they watch a complex picture of how their changes affected their SERPs, perhaps even for hundreds of keywords. There are opportunities to make this game endlessly detailed and nuanced, especially since a key player in the game, Google, is always changing the game.

But it is also possible to construct feedback systems designed to make the writing of content equally absorbing. Picking a few keywords and writing some articles about them is a common approach, but much more is possible. For example, you can take boring topic A and map out an initial universe of a couple of hundred search terms, and begin defining work items for each of these terms (e.g., creation of new pages, enhancement of existing pages). Instead of "I have to write about X", turn it into the construction of detailed strategy and tactics for building content that takes over the complex keyword space (much of it lying undiscovered, initially) that topic X represents.

If you believe that Google penalizes a sudden burst of content in one keyword area, you can have your system parcel out these work items such that work progresses incrementally across a variety of URLs and keyword areas (even though the research of what to do was quite "bursty" in particular areas). Dividing the work to be done in different ways can have large effects on its enjoyability (e.g., "mornings I do research and define work items, afternoons I build content to check off work items, and the last half-hour of the day is studying traffic trends.").

You can make a system that lets you quickly see, for a given URL, all the Google search terms that have hit that URL in its lifetime. This can generate a need for new content, a need to tweak the existing content of that URL, etc. You can make a system that shows you how your "volume" of work relates to the "volume" of traffic that results, and what the lag between the two is (and what keyword areas have the best payoff in this regard -- and anything else you can think of that interests you :-).

You can make a system that records time spent building particular content and (for example) tries to measure AdSense income for that content and relate the two. Is it worth making a page for that 4-word search term that probably will only provide a couple hits per day? Let's look at how some other perhaps similar terms are paying off. Etc.

Your system can let you see, for a given search term, all the Google queries that contained that search term, and all the URLs that those queries hit. Your system can show you how this day's/week's/month's traffic for a given search term or URL compared to the previous day/week/month (and indicate whether that change was statistically significant). Your system can show you whether any given new/changed URL was indexed by Googlebot since your last change or not, and what the typical lag is).

The ability to surf your website's keyword/traffic space in a variety of ways can make constructing even the most boring content interesting -- it becomes a means to a more interesting end. There are as many opportunities for feedback systems (with colors, and charts, and graphs, etc.) for content construction as there are for SEO; indeed, they are highly related activities.

The point is not that you need the most complex support system in the world, but that if you find ways to construct feedback systems for your writing, you'll likely find the task of writing more enjoyable, even for areas that are not implicitly interesting to you.

------------

The starting point is simply realizing that what defines "play" versus "work" is almost completely in your head, and is under your control should you choose to exercise it.

shafaki




msg:356645
 8:44 am on Sep 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

KUDOZ!

spaceylacie




msg:356646
 9:05 am on Sep 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Excellent post, ron.

Personally, I like learning new things then writing about them, from a beginner's perspective. Explain what has already been explained 100 times, but this time, write it in layman's terms. Go read a tutorial written by an expert... on a subject you know nothing about... can you understand it? Probably not. How many people "out there" are more like you and less like the expert who wrote the article?

humblebeginnings




msg:356647
 11:03 am on Sep 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ronburk,

What the ...?
You some kind of philo-flo-filoso, ya know whot I mean. If you keep posting these kind of messages, folks here are gonna steal them and put them on an AS page! Before you know it, WW will pay ya to put posts in her!

bts111




msg:356648
 11:19 am on Sep 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ronburk,

One of the best posts I have read in here.

Very Nice!

ronburk




msg:356649
 5:57 am on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Before you know it, WW will pay ya

Have commenced holding my breath... :-)

webwright




msg:356650
 5:43 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Totally depends on your motivation. Are you out to have fun or make money?

Also consider:

If you enjoy it and write 3 articles per day versus hating it and writing 1 article per week-- You'll still make more money with what you enjoy because you have a ton more content...

Sooooo, I'd say ONLY do the high PPC option if you have money as a primary goal and have the discipline to write a lot. ;-)

monkeythumpa




msg:356651
 9:45 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Do both, I would have had the site up and running by the time I finished this thread and been readyt to start the second site after lunch.

janethuggard




msg:356652
 9:57 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I love counting money and spending it. Any topic that allows me to do that is worth doing content for.

It is all about the visitors. Is the topic worthwhile to others? What would be the traffic level compared to other topics? That is the bottom line. It is not what you like, don't like, or the ppc. It is what will bring traffic in droves. 10,000 people a day clicking on ads that earn you a nickle commission is a nice $15K monthly living. Forget ppc. Go for the traffic generators.

Focus on the big picture young grasshopper. Tunnel vision can cause a collision.

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