Choosing the right affiliate marketing niche can make the difference between success and failure in an Internet marketing business. Whether you’re promoting someone else’s products as an affiliate or creating and selling your own, it’s critical that you trade in a niche where there’s profit potential.

How To Choose A Niche

There are many different views and opinions about how to select a niche to market to. Here are some of the possibilities.

1) A niche with a massive market. You don’t have to be an Internet marketing expert to know that subjects like gambling, dating, making money and losing weight appeal to millions of people. If you use any kind of keyword research tool you’ll see that search terms related to these are used thousands of times a day.

2) A niche you have expertise and interest in. Selling ebooks and courses on playing poker may be a proven way to make money, but is it a subject you have any knowledge of or interest in? Marketing on the Internet involves creating and distributing content like articles and blog posts. You can research most subjects very easily, but it can be very time-consuming. Is there a subject you have a passion for which you could use as a basis for an Internet business?

3) A niche with high profits per sale. Any online venture has to make a profit, so why not choose a niche where you can make hundreds of dollars a sale? It might take the same amount of work to sell a ten dollar ebook as to sell a thousand dollar course. If you’re building a website to sell products as an Amazon affiliate, it makes sense to promote items with high commission levels.

4) A narrow niche you have a chance of dominating. Realistically, you’re never going to dominate a niche like losing weight. However, if you narrow it down to something very specific you may be able to get to page one on the major search engines. For example, a website on losing weight on a diet of Chinese green tea would face fairly low levels of competition.

The Benefits Of A Broad Niche

Going for the broad niche option has a number of benefits. There’s no reason why a broad niche can’t also be a subject you’re interested in and one you know has high profit potential too. In my case, I started my Internet ventures in the subject of photography. I knew there were millions of people interested in taking pictures, and I knew that cameras and other photographic equipment I could promote sold for thousands of dollars. If you choose a broad niche you don’t have expertise in, there’s generally plenty of content online you can adapt for your own use.

The Problem With A Broad Niche

The problem with a broad niche is of course the level of competition. Using the Google keyword research tool today, I can see that there are over 34,000 searches a month for the term ‘digital camera review.’ Getting a site to rank well for this search term would be extremely difficult. If I modify the search to ‘pink Canon digital camera’ there are less than a hundred searches a month. Having checked that there are a number of pink Canon cameras I can promote as an affiliate I can see this as a good online marketing opportunity.

Google Algorithm Updates Are Changing The Game

Thanks to recent updates to Google’s algorithm, it isn’t as hard as it was a couple of years ago to get a good quality site to rank well. Search engines reward sites which play by their rules and which offer a good user experience with good quality content. So-called ‘exact match domains’ don’t have the weight they used to, so you don’t need photography.com to stand a chance of ranking on page one of a search engine.

If you start with a broad niche you have the option to go in a more specific direction over time. Doing it the other way round is very difficult. I started out with a domain with the words ‘creative photography tips.’ I believed that most of the traffic would come from people looking for tips about portrait and landscape photography. Over time I realized that I was picking up traffic for searches related to photographic filters and different types of lenses, so I focussed my content on these subjects. If I’d started out with something like ‘landscape-photography-tips.com’ it would have been very difficult to change my approach.

The Dangers of A Very Broad Niche

There are plenty of good reasons for keeping your niche broad, but there’s a tipping point where your Internet business can suffer if it’s too broad. It can help if you define your target market and write down what your website is really about. If you struggle to do this and find yourself using too many words, that could be a sign your niche is too broad.

In my case I have an interest in photography, and I also enjoy walking and bird watching. If I tried to create a website covering all of these subjects I could end up going in too many directions and achieving very little. I could combine the interests into a website about photographing wild birds, but that could restrict me too much. A better alternative might be to build three separate websites around each of my interests.

My advice is to pick a core subject and stick to this. Your website and online marketing activities can focus on sub-niches over time, but you should always be clear what your main subject is.

Google Isn’t The Only Traffic Source

One of the main arguments against a broad niche is the potential difficulty of ranking a site in a competitive market. Remember that Google and the search engines aren’t the only source of traffic. It’s possible to attract thousands of visitors using social media sites and to build a list of subscribers. I now get more traffic from Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram than from Google. If you’re online marketing doesn’t rely on search engines there’s no need to worry about building followers in a broad niche.