Choosing a Niche For Your Website

This article was originally published by me on Wikinut.com. As it recieved a Starpage-award I decided to share it here on Bukisa as well.  You can find the original article and other articles written by me by clicking Here.

Introduction

When you finally decided that you want to run a website or start a blog, you probably think of it because you have seen someone else run a successfull site. You noticed that this site has a huge amount of visitors, the members-databse is large and you probably already had imaginations about the amount of money you think the webmaster makes out of his site.

This is where most people get their inspiration. They see something thats doing good, and think that they have found their Holy Grail. However, most people don’t think of the fact that they will need to compete with this site, among with other site’s on the same topic.

However, this is a good way to get into web-design. You’ll probably be really ambitious and take time learning alot about web-design.This is how I got into it.

When I was ten years old I started to learn HTML. I ran my first website where I presented myself. Later on I found small javascript-games and figured that I would like to create my own game, so I learned javascript. At a later point I wanted to run a forum (So I learned PHP, not enough though) and when I wanted to run a webshop I started to learn ASP.

All theese “ideas” came from seeing others succeed with their websites. Even though theese site’s never became big hits, I learned alot on the way. My first decent website was a database of NES-games along with reviews and guides to as many games I had time to play. Unfortunately this was at a time when I had no money to spare, so I had crappy hosting, couldn’t afford a real domain and the site eventually died.

Choosing a niche

When you decide what topic you should work around, you need to take a few things in consideration.

– Will this be interesting for you in a year or will you get tired of it?

– Do you actually have any knowledge on the subject?

– Has this already been done? If so, what can be improved?

So lets get started

Will this be interesting for you in a year?
It is really important that you have a interest in what you are going to write about. This is because when you do have interest in something you enjoy working with it. You probably have knowledge in it, you probably have experience with it and once you get going you can keep going for hours. You will have fun when doing research and this will reflect in the content.You can’t base a website on something you lack interest in. You will get bored and the site will die eventually. Trust me. I tried.

Do you actually have any knowledge on the subject?
In order for a website to seem serious it is important that it isn’t full of fact-errors. If you run a anaconda-website (because you figured it would be smart) you can’t base your facts on the movie (Where they are a billion times larger than in reality). Of course people make misstakes, and perhaps you had a bad source. But you want people to believe in you, and revisit the site to look things up. If you corrected a big amount of errors between two visits it will not seem serious.
Having content is also important. People want your site to cover the subject completely, and that should be your ambition (even though you should never prioritize quantity before quality). Having knowledge in the chosen subject will allow you to write content faster and better. You will probably know of many sub-areas and you most likely know what will interest the visitors the most.

Has this already been done? If so, what can be improved?
When you want to make your website attractive, it is helpful if it is unique. If you want to copy someone else’s idea you need to make sure it is better than the original, or people will choose the original site in front of yours eight days a week. Perhaps you can modify the original idea and narrow down the audience?

As an example we could say you want to create your own community. As you know their are plenty of communities out there to interact with your friends. If you narrowed it down you could find people that have more things in common. So say you decide to create a community for people with phobia for dogs instead. Has this been done? Perhaps it has. In that case we could narrow it down even further. What about gathering people with a phobia for only german shepherds?

Now we are getting somewhere. A community for people with phobia for german shepherds! How many communitie’s like that have you seen? I have seen none but I bet there is enough people to fill a small community. Now this gives you all sorts of benefits. You suddenly have the possibility to share information on the specific dog. Perhaps you could get help to create some kind of guide to help people out with their phobia? The possibilities are huge.

Don’t be affraid to explore new areas

I talked alot about knowledge and interest being important. However, your first websites will most likely only be practice since it is not very easy to manage a site. So during your first projects you can feel free to write about anything that pops up in your head. It gives you a perfect opportunity to learn something new. Also you might get new ideas along the way.

Remember:
-Have fun. Don’t treat your first websites as a job since you will find alot of errors later on, get new ideas or get tired of the subject
-Don’t get discouraged when you don’t get many pageviews. My first site had zero visits…
-Practice makes perfect
-Don’t rush serious projects

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