I was talking with someone the other day about online publishing and blogging. This person is interested in starting a blog which could earn some side income. Naturally the conversation touched on how to stand out online nowadays. There are an estimated 200+ million blogs and more popping up everyday. So if you want to standout from the crowd you have to find a niche. What I tell people is you shouldn't find a niche with high competition and a lot of people covering that subject but one that is WFO short for “Wide Fucking Open!” 🙂
It is best to find a niche that is WFO for a lot of reasons. The biggest reason is if you are the first person to get into a niche that nobody else has covered you have a much better chance of becoming the online authority in that topic. This makes it more difficult, but certain not impossible, for others to come in and dominate the untapped niche that you found. It also means you site will attract more specific visitors, ie more targeted traffic, and therefore advertisers.
I see a lot of webmasters and bloggers make the mistake of going into topics that are highly competitive. There is nothing wrong with this if you have a good gameplan and the skills to do it. Keep in mind a lot of companies and individuals have good SEO, link building, and social media skills from working online for several years. If you don't have any online experience while trying to start in a competitive field it is likely your website will not go down in flames… but die a tedious and slow death. I know because I've experienced this myself and it is painful to watch.
The question everyone asks themselves though is, “Where do I find a niche that hasn't been covered already?” It is pretty simple actually. When you are searching for answers to your questions in Google and don't find what you are looking for that is when you should consider starting a site to provide that information.
About 6 months ago I started a forum in a eco-niche that was what I would say was “Wide Fucking Open.” There were several blogs in the this niche and many companies that sell these eco-friendly products all around the world. What I was trying to find was a community for this product so I could learn about it more in-depth than what I currently knew. To my surprise there wasn't a community or forum for this niche even though lots of people around the world love participate in this activity. So what did I do? I decided to a community for it.
While the community is small, it is growing everyday. I am always surprised by the people that are finding the forum and engaging on it. We have several members from outside the US which includes France, Australia, and Canada. I might not make a lot of money off the forum but that doesn't matter to me. My main focus is on providing value to the web and the people on the community first. Hopefully money will come later but since the niche is WFO I assume I can attract direct advertisers at some point. (I certainly don't want to operate the forum at a loss forever.) I doubt there are many others who have the time, inclination, or skill to build another forum like this and in this eco-friendly niche. So essentially I have cornered the market for this topics, at least for the time being.
While the internet is getting more crowded everyday it is still possible to find a niche that you can dominate. I know because I still find them all the time and I am sure you can too.