Monday, October 1, 2007

The Challenge Begins Again

So today is the first day of my new challenge. I've spent the last 31 posts going into the process of the Thirty Day Challenge with the help of Ed and Dan. I started two niches and put them through the 30DC process and ended up making only one sale. I've all but given up on one of the niches and am still working on the other one with the home of building upon it over time.

But today it's all about the new niche and starting to put it through the 30DC process. This is likely to happen a bit faster than the previous niches, as I am much more familiar with the process in general - and I only have one niche to work on. I'll be keeping this niche to myself, at least until I actually make a sale (touch wood). So in the interest of simplicity when it comes to explaining what I'm doing, I'll simply be referring to my niche as "stamp collecting". I know, it's not very inventive, and doesn't have much to do with a real niche, but it works for the purposes I'll be describing later on.

As I mentioned, I will be going through a large portion of the challenge process in a faster time than the first time around. In fact, in one day alone I've already reached Day 10 of the challenge. To know what I've already done to that point feel free to read over my original 30DC blog posts. The information I have discovered for my new niche are as follows:

Initial Searches
"Stamp Collecting" has 2873 searches per day in the free Wordtracker tool
The drop off from "Stamp Collecting" to "Rare Stamp Collecting" is 2873 - 719.

Competition Analysis
Through the Thirty Day Challenge Toolbar, the first site to come up for the broad match of "Stamp Collecting" was ranked at #8 in Google. That equates to good optimization prospects for my site(s). There were only 3 sponsored links that showed up in Google through the 30DC toolbar also. Also, plenty of sites charge for "Stamp Collecting" materials, so definitely potential for sales.

Through the Google search bar, it was the #6 site to be the first to use "Stamp Collecting" as a broad match - and that was actually a subpage of another site. Only 2 sponsored links showed up and again, plenty of sites that charge for "Stamp Collecting". Clearly a mature market and great potential.

Affiliate Prospects
There are a number of affiliate options for various "Stamp Collecting" sites. Sponsored links also have general affiliate websites but none that are "Stamp" specific. Actually, I already went into Clickbank and found a product with great stats that I'll be using. I know that's going a little against the teachings of Ed but I thought it wouldn't hurt to have a look once the other stats started to shape up. Mind you, the above section is more about seeing if people are offering affiliate schemes, which equates to a niche that people pay money for, rather than seeing if there is an affiliate product for me to promote.

Google Trends
No news articles. Search trend has steadily grown since the beginning of 2004. It peaked in August 2007 and has declined slightly since but not significantly. Doesn't seem to have any major trends other than the search volume rising slightly during the US summer period. Understandable. Having just missed the US summer that will mean I won't get the traffic of a couple of months ago but it's not enough of a decline to keep me away from the niche. Search volume is still quite high throughout the year. By next summer I could have developed a great site and catch the extra traffic with it (fingers crossed).

Checking Umbrella Phrase

Apart from "Stamp Collecting" I had thought of targeting other phrases relating to my main keywords. After checking out other phrases under my keywords of "Stamp Collecting" I found that there weren't enough searches to warrant the extra work. In GTrends, "Stamp Collecting" has 1724 searches a day against a competition volume of 193,000 websites. The Thirty Day Challenge process taught us to stick to searches over 100 a day and competition of less than 30,000 pages. It is my understanding that the criteria was only for use at the beginning, and that as we became more confident with our handling of the lessons we could tackle larger niches. Well that's what I'm doing and if you look at the above stats I've got a pretty good chance if I do the work.

As I mentioned, the original criteria was 100 searches per day against no more than 30,000 sites. Here I have 193,000 competing sites which is a little over 6 times the amount I'm supposed to have. In comparison, my niche is getting 1724 searches per day which is 17 times the amount necessary. With those two put together my ration is actually much better than if I was sticking with just 100 searches a day and 30,000 competing pages. Obviously I will have my work cut out for me, but I'll also be tapping into a much larger traffic stream so the chance for success is greater.

Web 2.0 Properties
So I'm up to Day 10 of the challenge process, just like that. Day 10 is to have a look through Google after doing an exact phrase match search for my niche, and to check for results in the "Web 2.0" categories. This means sites such as Squidoo and StumbleUpon returning results in my niche. What that can mean is that someone is already optimizing their stuff for the keywords I have chosen. That could mean extra hard competition, but it doesn't necessarily mean that I should steer clear of it. If I found I wasn't getting as large amount of traffic as I expected then it could be attributed to this part of the process. Still, according to the market research I've done I should still be able to get a fair whack of the traffic if I work hard enough. After doing the exact match phrase for my keyword in Google I found that the first Web 2.0 property to appear was an Ezine article, at #17, and not for my exact phrase match anyway ("Rare Stamp Collecting" instead of just "Stamp Collecting"). So all indicators look good.

So now is the time for setting up my Bloglines account to receive "Stamp Collecting" news and blogs. From here I'll start gathering information to place in my blogs, Squidoo lenses, etc.

That also means the hard grind of writing frequently about a new niche phrase, which I've had trouble with in the past. Still, after getting through the previous two niches I worked on relatively well I think I'll be okay. It's good that "Stamp Collecting" also happens to be a subject that interests me.