5 Essential Steps to Validate Your Niche Website Idea
Do these 5 things before starting a new online business.
When you have a niche website idea, getting started can feel like a huge endeavor.
There's a long checklist of tasks you need to accomplish once you have the concept for a new website and decide you're ready to get started. However, not enough is said about how to validate your website idea, to make sure you're not going to spend a large amount of time creating something that nobody genuinely wants.
Niche websites can be incredibly lucrative online businesses, once you establish yourself as an authority within a particular space. When coming up with website ideas, I always advocate for choosing smaller niche topics to start with, as opposed to jumping in and trying to compete with established competitors.
Here's an example of why choosing a niche will help you build a better business.
One of the tools I'm fond of for selling ebooks and other digital content, is Selz. They originally started out as a payment processing company for website owners, to help them sell their digital content without needing to jump over to PayPal or other clunky payment platforms. They started with this very small niche audience of website owners who would be willing to drop PayPal and come use Selz for the benefit of no longer sending their buyers to outside websites to complete payment.
From there, they gradually expanded out of their small niche industry and into that of providing a full suite of online tools for website owners to build websites, sell many different types of content, and give detailed insights as to how your users are going through your content.
In essence, they started with a small niche and grew into a wider product offering once they got traction in their space.
As a starting point, it's a whole lot easier to launch a niche website that's focused simply on a combination of regular blog content, small digital product offerings, and ad revenue, rather than jumping head first into a more complicated online product business.
Because I've personally created multiple products and online businesses in the past, that next to nobody actually wanted, I now have a rigorous process for validating each new website idea, online business concept, and product opportunity I come across - before fully diving in and investing my limited time & resources. In fact, here are the 6 websites I use to validate my business ideas.
Now, here's my 5-step process to validating a niche website idea.
1. Check if there's online demand for content in your niche.
First and foremost, do people actually want to consume the content you're considering creating?
To quickly answer this question, use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to check out the monthly search volume on various different keyword phrases related to the niche website idea you're considering.
If your new website idea is to create a blog that's dedicated to teaching very health-conscious pet owners how to safely go vegan with their dogs, you'll want to check out the average monthly search volume on phrases like, "vegan dog food" and "vegan dog." This will give you an idea of how many people are seeking advice, recommendations, and content on this topic.
Right away, you'll see that there's a combined average of 3,400 searches per month on just those two keyword phrases.
While that's not a super high volume of potential search traffic, it's still a great opportunity because of how incredibly niche this topic is. If you can own the search results on this niche topic by creating content that people love, you'll be poised to start monetizing your audience.
2. Learn about the people you're targeting with this website idea.
Already, we know that only very health conscious pet owners (who are likely vegans, themselves) would be interested in getting more information about how to ensure their dogs are vegan too. That alone tells us a lot about the type of person who'd be coming across this website from a Google search.
It's safe to assume that the demographic of the majority of these website visitors will likely be on the younger side, probably physically active, eating healthy (and vegan), living near the two coasts in the US, and of course very invested in their dogs.
It's crucial that your audience be very well-defined, and the more closely targeted they are, the more likely you'll be to make a meaningful connection with them and serve their needs.
3. Ask if you're qualified to engage with this audience.
It's a very small win to simply identify an opportunity. It's an entirely different challenge to focus on only allowing yourself to pursue opportunities that are well-aligned with who you are as a person and who you want to be in the future.
If you regularly eat fast food and had to Google what being vegan is, you're probably not going to be qualified, let alone interested in doing all the research and getting as into animal veganism as you'd need to be, in order to build authentic connections with this potential audience.
4. Determine whether or not you can become an expert in this niche.
I don't know about you, but I can very easily identify someone who's not truly an expert at something, within a short time frame.
If you aren't already an expert in transitioning dogs over to an all-vegan diet, and you don't have previous knowledge in how that'll impact their lives, then you'll need to devote a lot of time and resources (including getting a dog) in order to become the expert. When people seek advice online, they want recommendations from someone who's well-versed on a topic, not just someone trying to make a quick buck.
5. Learn which questions are asked within your niche.
If you've created a massive blog post on the "37 Health Benefits of Transitioning Your Dog to Vegan Dog Food," and have done a good job of promoting it online, it'll likely rise to the top of organic search results because there's very little competition on the search term, "vegan dog food."
After publishing your first big post about the benefits of transitioning your pup to vegan dog food, start building relationships with other bloggers, publishers and online authorities that could use your expertise in the form of a guest post on their websites. Pitch these website owners and editors on why they need to share your insights with their readers and what benefits you'll be able to bring them.
Then, within your guest posts, link back to your more extensive guide over on your blog. Building your portfolio of authoritative links from more established websites will help signal to search engines that your website should be trusted—and your original post will begin to rise in search engine rankings. This puts you in a great position to start capturing a significant portion of those 3,400 monthly searchers, and bring them into your community.
Once you've gone through the process of addressing these 5 essential questions to validating a niche website idea, you'll be much better prepared to succeed once you launch.