“Don’t aim for keywords and topics that are highly competitive, look for low competition with *some* traffic.”
Granted Yaro made this comment back in 2005, but if you look at affiliate marketing products being produced today, opinions haven’t changed much. You’re still encouraged to create affiliate websites targeting low to moderately competitive topics.
Don’t get me wrong, the idea makes sense. Create a website around something low key such as building dog houses, cordless drills or HDMI cables and write some content, build a few links and make a couple bucks. Rinse and repeat. Simple….right?
Sure, it’s simple. But I can think of more cons to building these types of websites than pros:
- Low income – Either the commissions are low or the traffic is so low that you don’t make that many sales.
- Not a long term strategy – It’ll be hard to earn trust with a thin affiliate site which will impact the number of leads or sales you generate.
- Not Google friendly – The recent Panda updates have punished sites like these — sites that have few page, or have tons of redundant pages that offer nothing of value to the reader.
So while the strategy works, I think the benefits of targeting more competitive niches far outweigh those of lesser competitive niches.
When the Pie is Bigger, It’s Easier to Get a Slice of It
The thing about targeting a competitive niche, like web hosting, is that the overall money pie is big — it’s huge. It’s dense too. What I mean by dense is that you can have a smaller slice of the web hosting niche compared to a niche like “how to build dog houses,” but because there is so much money in the hosting niche the slice is worth more.
Think of it this way: say you can generate 100 visitors to a hosting website everyday. Your site converts at 1% and each sale is worth $100 (so your site makes $100). Another blog that you own that reviews dog collars generates 500 people a day and converts at 5%. The sales, however, are only worth $1 each. Which would you rather have?
The choice should be simple. While the dog collar niche is easier for generating traffic and making sales, you still make $75 less per day than the hosting site. That small slice in the hosting niche is simply worth more.
Competition Forces You to Be Creative
Jumping into a difficult niche will force you to be creative. There were 21.4 million websites launched in 2010 — that’s nearly 30,000 new websites per day. Not all of these websites will be competition, nor will many of them live longer than a couple of months, but there will be a few sites that will put the effort in to standout. So you need to, too. Whether that’s creating all videos when other sites use plain text, or coming up with your own images or simply talking from experience, it’s got to be something. Otherwise you’ll get lost in all the other “noise.”
Easier to Come Up with Content Ideas (or Anything Else)
How many content ideas can you come up with for building dog houses or flight simulation games? Unless you’re an avid dog house builder or flight simulator junkie, probably not a lot. Worse yet, your content won’t be any different than the other guys that are following the same strategy. And how do you expect that to please Google?
Larger and more competitive niches are easier. Granted, you may know just as much about web hosting or dating as you do building dog houses (little or nothing), but there is more information on the internet about web hosting, losing weight or dating that you can learn from, and then use to come up with your own opinions (aka unique content).
There Are More Products to Promote.
Competitive niches will have more products that you can promote. Not just that, but you’ll find more opportunities too, whether it’s in the form of white label products, multiple tiers, backend sales and/or recurring income.
Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely jump into an easier niche and find a product, or even create your own. But then you have to ask yourself — is it really worthwhile? Is there even enough people interested in this kind of product?
Those are the same questions you need to ask yourself before you start a site in a non-competitive niche. In many cases I think you’ll find that for the same amount of work, you’ll go much further, and make more money, in a competitive niche.
About the author
Matt is an internet marketer and freelancer. His current project is Website Mechanics, a website that will teach you how to work on your own website. Sign up to the Website Mechanics newsletter to get post updates, website tricks and tips, and other neat stuff.