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This 91 message thread spans 4 pages: 91 ( [1] 2 3 4 > >     
How would you best evaluate different categories for AdSense profit potential?

 1:02 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm a professional writer. Over the past decade I've written about 800 magazine articles on dozens of topics. With print publishing, the article appears, you get paid, and then - if you want to keep eating - you have to soon start working on the next job. It's always a hassle to find new jobs, and magazine writers don't get paid much anyway. The thing I like about AdSense is that each article can continue earning money indefinately. I'll own all of my own work, and eventually I won't have to worry about finding new jobs all the time.

Anyway, here is my question: If you were starting up a for-profit website from scratch, and if you have the ability to write about nearly any subject, what category would be the most profitable? Cancer? NASCAR? Brittney Spears?

How would you best evaluate different categories for profit potential?


Visit Thailand

 1:06 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Even as a professional writer, it is always best to write about what you feel most passionately about.

That aside there are a lot of threads here on people looking for the top paying keywords/topics.


 1:07 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

i'd pick a category i have the most knowledge in..

i write about topics in have experience in, that way i enjoy it.. writing about something you have no knowledge in will only make writing more time consuming and not so enjoyable..


 1:19 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

That bit about "do what you enjoy" is hogwash. I didn't mention that I also OWN my own magazine, and it's focused on a topic I used to feel passionate about. We've put out more than 50 issues now. But all that work and no income is no fun at all. Being poor is no fun at all. I'd much rather make a decent income and then "do what I enjoy" as just that: a hobby that I enjoy.

So please discuss my question: What is the best method for evaluating the profit potential of different categories?

With my normal research, I feel confident writing about almost anything. Refrigerators? Zen gardens? Paris Hilton? Obesity research? Which categories stand to be most profitable?


 1:19 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Britney is quite profitable, specially for widget ads.


 1:21 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Almost everything can be profitable. You just need to have the right idea(s) and a bit of luck.

If you want to earn money with AdSense then there are three factors = traffic, CTR and EPC. You can for instance create a site about a keyword with high earnings per click like cancer but only get 2 $0.50 clicks a day because there may be so much competition in this field.

Or you can put lots of efforts in creating a website which only gets about $0.05 a click but 1000 clicks a day.

Don't solely focus on high paying keywords, make sure you can get enough traffic too because without lots of traffic you won't earn much.


 1:23 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm sorry. I'm not really interested in identifying any specific categories -- What I'm interested in is finding a logical way to evaluate categories. What do you think?


 1:27 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think that you shouldn't aim for celebrities - specially since Britney Spears will be ugly in a couple of years and nobody will remember her anymore.

I would definitely aim for something that only keeps increasing. Examples are history, health, SEO, make money online, stop smoking...

you don't really have to write something you're passionate about, at least from my experience, as if you're not passionate about anything, what will you write about?

Also say you're passionate about writing jokes - cool that will bring you 0.2 cents per click... go for the gold.

As I said before, you might want to get into a health niche subject which, for me, seems to be what brings a ton of revenue. Of couse, don't try mesothelioma since there's at least a thousand scrapper sites aiming for it as well - go for something in the middle such as eye problems, etc.

If you have a disease, then you should write about it. That way it will make it profitable for you =)

You should stick to that


 1:36 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

WordTracker provides execellent data regarding traffic potential. With WordTracker you can figure out how many times any given keyword phrase is typed into Google each day. But many keyword phrases produce tons of traffic even though there might be few, if any, products for sale that are related to that keyword phrase.

So the goal would be a high-traffic category with many products for sale. But even then, the price of the product matters, too. I suspect advertisers will pay much more for ad position if their product is, in itself, expensive and profitable to them.

What do you think? How can different categories be compared in an objective and logical way?


 1:42 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

McVicker, if anyone here could answer your question--which perhaps a few can--they probably wouldn't. You're asking a queston which a string of newbies have asked, in one way or another, and which each time generates a number of non-answers. (And sorry, even though you own a magazine, you're an AdSense newbie).

I know that I can't answer your question. Maybe someone will. But I doubt it. You will need to figure it out for yourself, I think.


 1:43 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

McVicker, the above two posters are right in the 'write what you know' advice, IMHO. In addition the the twin advantages of authoritative knowlege and interest in your topic (and, no, disinterested professional writers can't really fake those either!), there's a little economic reality: If a keyword is high paying, it'll attract competition -- probably too much competition. If a keyword is relatively low paying, you'll find it far easier to rise to the top of the SERPs and get more traffic.

The essense of my argument is this: it doesn't matter that much where along the price spectrum you pick your topic. There are powerful equalizing forces at play to keep the average keywords competitive with the high-paying ones.

There is one caveat I'll add, however. Try to avoid topics where there is a large amount of passionate hobbyist interest. In those topics you will encounter competition far in excess of economic justification. (That is, forget about Britney! j/k ;) The ideal topic, IMO, would be a mid-priced area boring to almost everyone, necessary to some, where you are both interested and an expert. (good luck finding _that_ ;-)

I stumbled into an area with considerable hobbyist interest and have managed to earn a good living there. So, if your areas of expertise are populated by hobbyists, don't worry too much -- they (hobbyists) mostly don't approach the web business very thoughtfully and methodically. They are, almost by definition, too interested in the subject matter to spend much effort worrying about how to deliver the content well.

Lastly, and something you probably already know as a writer -- even a subject area that appears to have plenty of competion has lots of room between the big niches. You don't have to be the best, just different. I'm definitely not the best in any of my money-making areas, yet I probably make more money than most. Interestingly, in the area where I may actually be the best, I make no money at all but do pay hosting fees. (Yes, it's my hobby! *sigh*)


 1:48 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Look, I already know what I think. I want to know what other forum members think.

Here is the question again: What is a solid way to evaluate different categories for profit potential?

Seems like this question would be of key interest to ALL forum members, newbie or now.


 1:51 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi Jolly Roger! Thanks for the thoughtful suggestions.
- McVicker


 2:22 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

no one is going to tell u what is the most profitable.. it's like asking for the KFC recipe. use your own judgment.. only thing you'll find here is ingredients, it is up to you to come up with the recipe..


 2:27 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

The advice to create sites about topics you like and understand is common.

Many people activly seek high paying areas and then try to capitalise on this which tends to lead to spam esque pages (so you could suggest using Google to search for subject areas with the most spam sites is a good way to locate possible well paying categories) and is not the best way to go about creating a popular and long lasting website which appeals to visitors.

A quick idea of decent categories though seem to be travel, finance, legal and possibly health :)


 2:34 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't want to know what category is the most profitable. I want to discuss ways of comparing categories.

For example, is the total number of AdWord clients a good way to compare? There are about 190 different companies competing for placement for the keyword phrase "digital camera." About 70 companies are competing for "cancer." 60 advertisers are competing over the term "BMW." And more than 800 companies are competeting for placement for the keyword phrase "water gardens." Is this data useful? Is the number of competing companies relevant to EPC or the publisher's actual income?

What do you think?


 2:39 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Seems to I that those who want "spoon feeding" about what to write about should try to be less abrasive in their posting ..

Or is it desperation in the insistant stridency that strikes my ears ..

Those who know what you wish to "discuss" normally charge to "discuss" such ..as do any financial advisors /consultants ..

Experience in writing for adsense is a commodity that has its market price like any other expertise ..

"Demanding" crumbs of hard gleaned wisdom isn't usually the way one approaches such subjects ..


 2:51 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Who's being abrasive? I'm just trying to discuss something which is likely to be of interest to many:

Here's the question again: What would be the best way to evaluate a topic's potential for profit?

What do you think about the AdWords data I mentioned above? Would "water gardens" be a better category than "cancer?" Why or why not?


 3:06 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I use the
  • Overture Inventory Tool
  • an AdWords account
  • plus the Overture Bid Tool

If you want to be thorough you can always create an AdWords campaign and measure the impressions for a week, but I don't.

The Overture Inventory tool tells you what kind of traffic to expect. But it's important to look at the sub-keywords to see if all the traffic is limited to the top two-word keyword phrase, or if there is a good longtail going on with other phrases beneath it. Those are the best, imo.

The Overture bid tool tells you how much roughly to expect in revenue. It doesn't always work out, so use it as a rough guide. Matching the traffic estimates with the CPC will give you a rough idea of what to expect to earn.

AdWords comes into play when you're trying to double-verify expected traffic levels, as well as figure out whether to go for the singular or plural of a keyword phrase for the domain.

Then go to your fave registrar and reg as close a match to your top keyword phrase as you can. Plural versions will work because those seem to have an easier time ranking for singular terms than the singular has for plurals.

Other considerations to have are the type of traffic. Traffic for reviews and ratings of consumer products generally have higher CTR's. Traffic for pure information searches, like academic subjects or recipes, facts, and news, things that people can take and go, in which the searcher may not be in shopping mode, are likely to have a lower CTR.

Then consider your ability to gain links for the subject. Some topics are easier than others. I've abandoned many niches in the research phase because I realized that garnering the necessary links to rank was going to take a large investment of time/money. The ROI for my time and money was less than if I went chasing after other niches.

There are probably other considerations that I'm leaving out, like choosing a domain name, but it's Saturday night and I'm kind of busy right now.

Good luck!


 3:15 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi Martinibuster!
Thanks for the good suggestions.
- McVicker


 3:44 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I just want to clarify that the heart of the post is this:

How would you best evaluate different categories for profit potential?

He is not asking anyone to tell him what to write about. He is asking for suggestions of what methodologies are the best for digging out a niche. That is an excellent question.

It is always better to ask How do I catch a fish, than it is to simply panhandle for a fish. The OP is asking a legitimate question. It's a great question and a fantastic topic of discussion.

If you have a methodology, then let's hear it. As the old song by Foetus says, Don't hide it, provide it! ;) That's what WebmasterWorld is all about.


 3:46 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hello McV: Sometimes I refer to Britnney Spears as a sport of joke/
The fact is, she has the world'/s worst legs for a movie star or any sort of celeb.
Check any fan site and they always show her dental smiles. some boobs etc.
but never a leg shot. Why is that? Simple. Lousy legs.


[edited by: martinibuster at 4:05 am (utc) on Nov. 13, 2005]
[edit reason] TOS [/edit]


 3:49 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

He is not asking anyone to tell him what to write about. He is asking for suggestions of what methodologies are the best for digging out a niche. That is an excellent question.

I understand what he is asking and it's a naive question. For every niche there are some people who do very well, and many more who do NOT in the exact same niche.


Because succeeding has much less to do with the "niche", than how WELL one knows how to do the things to succeed.

Someone can write a hundred articles on widgets, and make absolutely nothing, while someone else can make a a fortune in the same niche.

No doubt some topics have somewhat better earning potential, but it depends on one's business model, too.

But the niche issue is just one small part of earning.


 3:55 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Having already had a site going when I started with Adsense, and not being especially interested in building another, I haven't had to do this.

But if I was starting over, I'd probably want to follow MBs outline and also check out what kind of affilaite programs were available for the topic.

If there were lots of affiliate opportunities it might indicate that there were options other than Adsense available for the site, and having options is probably a good thing.

Is that worth doing, I don't know, might be.


 4:11 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

For every niche there are some people who do very well, and many more who do NOT in the exact same niche.

Sorry but I disagree. Many niches are pure garbage, worthless, and there are many webmasters here who waste months trying to eke a living from them.

For instance, Spanish language niches that target Mexico are generally a losing proposition. No money in it because of the economic situation there, especially as it relates to consumer spending over the internet. There's generally no adsense gold in there.

Understanding that all niches are not the same, and learning how to differentiate between them is the most basic understanding of building sites for adsense.

The original poster is smart enough to realize this and he asks an excellent question. He's not asking for fish. He's asking how to fish. If you don't want to tell, then don't. If you don't know how to fish, then you really don't have anything to contribute to this thread.

Because succeeding has much less to do with the "niche", than how WELL one knows how to do the things to succeed.

So that is the secret to success? The secret of succes is to know how to be successful?

Look, if you feel that the OP should expand his question to include other factors beyond niche, then I can understand that. But please suggest what these other factors are, if you want to be helpful. That's the whole point.

[edited by: martinibuster at 5:04 am (utc) on Nov. 13, 2005]


 4:20 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

1. Get drunk (seriously), and brainstorm every possible keyword/topic you could possibly write about. For my site I wrote 2000 keywords/topics. Don't ignore any possible keyword.

2. Put list in Adword/#*$!/overture and find the suggestion/related keywords. Add these to your list

3. From these new words, brainstorm EVEN MORE keywords.

4. Repeat step 2

Now you have a mega list of keywords.

5. Now go back to Adword/wordtracker and organize the keywords by popularity. This should give you a few hundred really good keywords.

6. Stop posting on WebmasterWorld and start writing.

There you have it.


 4:38 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Your advice about researching keywords is helpful. Thanks. For that task I use WordTracker and recommend it highly.

But knowing which keyword phrases are getting traffic isn't enough. Some keyword phrases get tons of traffic, but they might not have any related products to sell. Other popular keyword phrases involve minor, inexpensive items that don't produce a lot of profit for advertisers, and thus the EPC will be very low for those keywords. It seems that keyword traffic can be deceptive if it isn't qualified.

The amount of traffic that a topic gets is only one part of the formula, I think.


 4:56 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

In my experience as a writer and print publisher, the niche that one choses can have a HUGE effect on one's bank account.

Here are 5 magazines that I have had some involvment with:

# Subscribers / Niche (subject category)
40,000 / Mag. about draft horses
25,000 / Garden Railroad magazine
10,000 / Mag. about living on boats
6,000 / Koi Magazine
1,500 / Japanese gardening

You may say that it doesn't matter whether you choose the horse niche or the fish niche, but I can assure you that it DOES make a difference when it comes to income. The founders/publishers of the draft horse magazine have been living well for several decades now. The guy publishing the Koi magazine has serious debt and is now on the verge of bankruptcy.

This is a serious question, not a naive one.


 5:09 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

McVicker, there are a few different approaches you can take, one of them being picking out your target audience - partially using who you're comfortable "talking to" naturally and easily in their own language as a criteria - and using that as a jumping-off place to start to narrow it down.

One of the invaluable tools available to the public is the Google Zeitgeist [google.com], well worth going through for trends and patterns over time. Many (if not most all) aren't viable choices, but there are always some clues to be found that are precious gems, if nothing more than for those little specifics to hone in on once a niche is chosen and carved out.


 5:14 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ok, I'll answer your question - "What is a solid way to evaluate different categories for profit potential?"

Find a topic that Other People are passionate about! Then...

1. Use wt or some other service to find trends in people's searching habits related to that topic

2. Use those words/trend data to search for competing sites

3. How crappily written are those pages?

4. Are there adsense content advertisers in the niche?

5. Now, write better info than the competing sites in a voice that makes readers more excited, seo the pages better, tweak the layout, positioning and color of your ads to boost ctr, etc.

6. Drive traffic to your site

That's what I think


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