In the last episode of the Internet Marketing Minute, we talked about the big picture for affiliate marketing. I that discussion, I explained that you must find your niche as your first task.

In this episode, I explain three simple tests that will help you determine if your nice is a good one. You need to determine if there are searchers, if there are keywords that you can win in the search engines, and if there are products you can sell.

In Episode 8 of the Internet Marketing Minute I gave you an overview of affiliate marketing. Remember, that’s my favorite kind of internet marketing, especially for those who are just getting started.

The overview of affiliate marketing went something like this. First you pick a niche, an area that you want to work in. You create a website with amazing content about whatever it is that you’re wanting to talk about. There need to be products in that niche that you can talk about and recommend or sometimes, more importantly, recommend that people not buy. Then you’ll spend some time building traffic to that website. That traffic will visit your site and those visitors will end up buying those products and you’ll get a commission for that.

We’ll talk about all of those things in later episodes. We also discuss the fact that once you have this basic website property then you can grow your business by building an email list, increasing your social media presence, and so on. That very first step – finding a niche – that’s the one that really paralyzes and scares a lot of people. After all, what in the world should you work on?

I often recommend to people who are just getting started that for your very first website you should pick a niche in which you’re kind of interested. Let’s face it, this is going to be hard work. If you’re like me and working late at night, you need something that is going to hold your interest, otherwise it’s going to make it too easy to give up.

The question is what topics make good niche website topics and what topics make poor ones? That’s really the first thing you need to figure out. I have three simple tests that you can use to help you make that determination.

The first test is that you need to ask yourself whether or not there are people looking to buy in the niche that you’re in.

For example, if you’re talking about dog products, we know that there are billions of dog owners out there on the planet. At least millions, maybe tens of millions or hundreds of millions of people who have dogs, they’re very passionate about their dogs, and they’re looking to buy dog products. So we know that people are looking to buy information about dog training, they’re looking to buy collars and leashes, special dog food and gourmet dog food, all manner of things that you could possibly imagine. We know people are looking to buy.

How do we know this? One way we can test this is simply go to Google and put in the search terms that a person might use if they were searching for information in our area of interest. For example if you put “dog training collar” into Google what you’ll see is that along the top of the search engine listing and along the right hand side there will be advertisements for products in that niche.

We know that there are buyers in that niche because the only way advertisers could afford to place those ads is if they were actually making money. If you put in a search term where no one is making money – say worm food, there’s no competition for ads in the worm food industry – then you know that’s probably not a good niche for you. So test number one is are people searching for products to buy in that niche.

The second test is are there good keywords available  in the niche that you actually have a chance of winning and competing for and getting search engine traffic for.

Going back to the dog training example, dog training is a very competitive niche. The question you have to ask yourself is are there searchers in this niche that are actually searching in Google and other search engines for the keywords that you’re interested in targeting? I think for all dog training products the answer is going to be yes.

The second question you have to ask is do you have a chance of ranking for those keywords? This second topic is a more complicated issue called keyword research and competition analysis. That’s something we’ll discuss in later episodes. You get the idea that probably if you’re going after a search term and it’s dominated by CNN, WebMD, and other authority sites that you’ve heard of before, that’s probably a complicated difficult to win keyword phrase.

Don’t worry, there are lots of tactics we can use and lots of tools we can use to search for good keywords, but one thing you’re going to need for this kind of affiliate marketing is the availability of keywords that you can actually win.

Then the third test is are there actually good affiliate offers that you can connect people with. There’s one thing for there to be products in the niche, there’s another thing for there to be searchers in the niche, the last thing you need are good affiliates where if those buyers buy products because you sent them there will you get a commission, and is the info structure set up for that.

You may be surprised to learn that there are an enormous amount of affiliate programs out there that you can take advantage of. A lot of major online retailers that you’ve already heard about like Amazon.com and Target.com have affiliate programs. There are just more than you can imagine of specialized affiliate programs out there.

Still, the third test is can you find an affiliate program for products in your niche. Usually you can find those by Googling the product type that you’re looking for, like dog collar, and then affiliate or affiliate program, “dog collar affiliate program.”

Those three simple tests will help you determine if the niche you’re considering, something that you care about, something that you’re interested in creating a website for, actually has a commercial viability that you can take advantage of.

Want to read more about how to find your niche? Check out this niche-finding article that is part of my affiliate marketing overview series.

Want more Internet Marketing Minute? Check out the episodes below…

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