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Looking at the top ten sites I'm pretty sure I can rank in the top 5 in quality and quantity, maybe number 2 or 3.
Is it worth trying this in such a small niche?
If I do build a site that is better then the top ranked how long do you think it would take google to see and rank me?
If I find a niche that I think can make $5 or $10 a day that isn't going to be time intensive, I build a site for it. Write some articles, or have them written, and get it up. It doesn't cost much to have a site these days, so I figure it's a cheap gamble for the potential profit. If it doesn't work, it's not like you're out a ton of cash.
When I'm checking out the potential competition, I look to see if they're a site with true content, or just a directory type page. You might not be able to beat a directory type site in the SERPS right now, but I think people will be more likely to actually spend time on your pages (if they're content) and click your money making links. If I think they're decent sites, I do check out their incoming links, mostly to see if I'd be able to get links there as well.
Google might be the most popular search engine, but it isn't the only one. I have 2 sites that I put up less than a month ago. Google is mostly ignoring them for now, but I'm getting several hits a day from MSN and Yahoo, and it's brining in a dollar or two a day. Not great, but it more than pays for the hosting while I'm moving up in position.
only you can determine if it is too small for you. I have to say that it does seem pretty small, but if the products are expensive and you think you can sell a good number of them, go for it.
I personaly like to look for topics that have no less than 50,000 monthly searches (for say top 5 keywords) and that way I know that I have a decent chance to compete for traffic and sales.
I'm assuming you have little competition as far as number of sites competing for the keywords? Anything less than 300K sites in the results is usualy EASY to get top 3 ranking for.
Build the site for your visitors and high conversion rates, that is a MUST because you will have such little traffic.
Build as many inbound links as you can with good anchor text, that's the key to SE rankings (esspecially for small competition)... and don't forget internal linking, it's important. Make sure you have well organized navigation links with anchor text!