Let’s Find A Profitable Niche Together (Live Walkthrough)

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niche research

Most people will agree that finding a niche is the toughest part of building profitable sites. There are so many options available and you can get stuck in the niche research phase for months and months.

I’ve been doing a ton of niche research myself lately, and in this post I’m going to take you through my process and go over some important things you need to consider.

Let’s find one together! I’ve done no research and planning prior to writing this article. I’m just going to open up some tools and start digging into niches I haven’t analyzed before, explaining what I’m looking for live as I go through them. If you’re looking for niches, awesome. Follow along!

First, let’s talk about goals

Before you get into doing any kind of research, you first have to think about your goal with the site you’re planning to build.

For example, one goal of mine this year is to start a big project. My goal is to build the largest authority site project I’ve ever undertaken. I’m giving myself up to 5 years to (hopefully) grow it to a 7 figure valuation, and then exit at an appropriate time.

*An appropriate time is usually when scaling plateaus to a degree. For example, scaling content and link building doesn’t move the needle as much as it used to, which happens when you get to larger numbers.

Everybody’s different when it comes to their blogging goals.

Some people might just want to build a site that make a couple hundred dollars per month. Some people might want thousands per month to replace their day job.

Some people are able to go full-time on their projects, while others will only be able to spare 1-2 hours per day.

It’s important to clearly identify your blogging goals early on, so that you can find the appropriate, most suitable niches during your research phase.

Once you’re done that, we can move onto the first step.

The first step of the process

The first step is to get some ideas out. Very basic stuff.

What I like to do is just list out a bunch of topics/niches that I’m interested in.

Here’s what that would look like:

Personal Finance
Saving money
Standing desks
Work chairs
Web design
Graphic Design
Nice homes

This is very generalized and it doesn’t need to be organized, or even make sense. I’m not thinking too hard, and am just jotting whatever comes to mind. FYI: I stopped after about 30 seconds. I can (and you should too) be able to just jot dozens of ideas in under 5 minutes.

You’ll get more data to get more specific in the later stages of the process. For now, just write whatever pops up in your head. And remember… they should be things you’re at least a little bit interested in.

Next step: Estimating max traffic potential

This is one of the first things I research, and it’s a good way to ensure you meet the goals you set in the beginning.

Basically, we’re calculating the maximum level of traffic we might receive as one of the top sites in that niche. Market size can vary greatly, and you can’t really judge the size of a niche accurately based only on adding up a few big keyword search volumes.

For larger niches, traffic might be in the millions of visitors per month. For smaller ones, it might be capped at less than 100,000.

Knowing this is extremely important. If you’re entering any niche, you want to get a good idea of what a “success” will mean. (ie. What will becoming one of the biggest sites in the niche mean in terms of traffic and revenue?)

How to estimate potential traffic in a niche

Here’s how you do it. Let’s take one of the ideas we jotted down earlier: Hiking.

I’ll start out by Googling some short to medium tail keywords

These are just off the top of my head. For example, I’ll start off my searches with keywords like “hiking tips, how to hike longer, best hiking gear.”

One of the reasons we use short to medium tail keywords is because usually the most authoritative sites rank highly for broader terms like these (i.e. If they’re ranking for “hiking tips” they probably rank for a lot of other keywords related to hiking as well).

Here’s what a Google search brought back.

What I’m looking for here are ONLY sites specifically targeted toward hiking. I’m ignoring all the broad sites about multiple topics like NPS, Outdoor Australia, and Nerd Fitness.


Because we’re looking to build a hiking site, so we want to analyze other hiking sites.

Next, I’m going to input them into SEMrush one by one

SEMrush is a paid tool, and pretty expensive. It’s not absolutely essential to use SEMrush for this step. It will help you to get more accurate info faster, but you can just skip this part and do manual Google searches instead if you need.

But if you want to try it out, you can sign up for a 14 day free trial here.

I’m going to take one of the sites from the Google search result, and input it into SEMrush.

And if I click on “Competitors” I’m able to see a full list of all the competing sites in this niche. SEMrush lists the amount of search engine traffic each site receives, so I can find the biggest ones from the list.

Here are a few big ones that I found.

Clever Hiker
Search engine traffic: 145.9k

Section Hiker
Search engine traffic: 85.8k

Note: Choose the sites you analyze according to what you plan to build yourself. For example, I’m ignoring ecommerce sites, simply because I don’t plan to get into ecommerce for this project. I’m choosing content sites because that’s probably the route I’ll be taking myself.

This is important to note as well: As I’m doing research in the hiking niche, I’ve found that a lot of the bigger sites are broader. They’re not just specific to hiking, but target all outdoor adventure. This is important to take note as I might decide to do the same if “Hiking” by itself is not a big enough niche to meet my goals with this project.

A few of these sites include:

Switchback Travel
Search engine traffic: 355.3k

Outdoor Gear Lab
Search engine traffic: 358.4k

Next, use SimilarWeb

SEMrush only gives you the search volume data, and not the overall traffic the site is getting.

It also filters by country and device. So in the screenshots above, that was for US search engine traffic on desktop only.

We need to use SimilarWeb to give more accurate overall traffic numbers.

So, let’s input the 2 big hiking sites we found in SEMrush into SimilarWeb.

Starting with Clever Hiker.

400,000 visitors per month is a good sign, but not great.

Remember this site is one of the biggest in the hiking niche. So for one of the top sites to be getting 400,000 means that growing to millions of uniques may not be a big possibility in this space. But we’re not completely sure yet. We’ll have a better idea when we look at other sites as well.

The next thing we need to check is traffic source. We need to make sure that that traffic is mainly coming from search.


What we don’t want to see is a huge percentage of traffic coming from social. Again, this is because my own traffic strategy won’t involve much social media traffic, and will depend on search as well.

So now let’s look at the second site we listed: Section Hiker.

Another good sign at 500,000 visitors per month, and pretty consistent with the first site we saw.

And the traffic source is looking good too, with the majority of that traffic coming from search.

Analyze more sites

NOTE: Similar Web isn’t always 100% accurate. These two sites very well can be getting over a million uniques per month. So it’s important to analyze more sites. In our example, we only walked through 2 sites. You can (and should) analyze 5 to 10 competitors if you’re serious about entering the niche.

You can find more sites to analyze in SimilarWeb, too by scrolling to the bottom.

You can also just use Google and SimilarWeb if you don’t want to pay for a SEMrush subscription.

But if you do decide to enter any niche, it can be extremely helpful to have SEMrush, as you’ll be able to see exactly what keywords each competitor is ranking for.

Like this:

Next step: Analyze backlink data

The next step in the process is to analyze the backlink data of each site.

No need to get too deep in this section. We’re just trying to get a quick idea of how strong their backlink profiles are, compared to how much search traffic they’re pulling in.

To do this, I’ll just quickly run them through Moz and Ahrefs.

What I’m hoping I don’t see are huge domain authorities and hundreds of thousands of links.

Clever Hiker

Moz shows only 71 total links from 29 domains, and a domain authority of 32. Seems really low.

Let’s check Ahrefs.

2300 links from 379 domains. Makes more sense.

But nothing too crazy. I can definitely build a stronger link profile than this site.

Section Hiker

Moz shows that Section Hiker has a stronger link profile and better DA, but again… nothing too crazy.

Let’s check Ahrefs.

316,000 links from 2200 domains. Section Hiker is definitely a stronger site with more links, and it makes the next part make more sense.

Content Analysis

The next step is to analyze content. Ideally, I would like to see really thin, ugly, outdated articles on the site. That means that I can easily create something 10x better.

To do a quick analysis, I’ll open up BuzzSumo and check out their most shared content.

So let’s go through each site.

Section Hiker

And if we take a look at the top most shared piece of content…

You’ll see that it’s very bare. It’s just a list with thin content. Descriptions are short, and there are no nice visuals on the page.

It can definitely be improved. Easily.

This is what we want to see.

Clever Hiker

Let’s take a look at Clever Hiker now.

A lot more shares than Section Hiker. I’m also noticing that Facebook is the platform with the most activity in this niche. Good to know.

Let’s take a look at the content.

Their content is perfect, exactly the kind of content I would want to create myself. They have beautiful images (taken themselves it looks like) and they’ve organized the content perfectly with in-depth descriptions, and a lot of external links to helpful resources.

They’re a site I would want to model my own content after.

Thoughts on link profile and content

The link profiles make the content and traffic make more sense. Section Hiker’s content is on the thin side, especially when compared to Clever Hiker, but it’s pulling in more traffic because it has a much stronger link profile.

This is more or less a good sign for us. The site with strong content are not good link builders, and the site with good link building are not great content publishers. So there’s an opportunity there if we can create great content AND strong links.

Last step: Monetization Options

The last step isn’t crucial, but it’s important to have an idea of how the site is going to make money.

I’ll do this by checking how competitors are monetizing their sites. For the 2 sites that we looked at here, it looks like their sole monetization strategy is affiliate. They do best product reviews, and link out to the purchase links with an affiliate link. I don’t see any display ads, or sales pages for their own products.

Section Hiker doesn’t collect emails, but Clever Hiker does (but not aggressively). They also seem to only be sending out emails on a monthly basis.

It doesn’t seem like email is a big part of their growth or monetization strategy.

Monetization opportunities

One thing that I would do is be more aggressive with email collection, and engage the list on a weekly basis. That would help with both traffic, and in rolling out new monetization strategies in the future.

Although I feel that affiliate marketing should be the main monetization strategy, there are some other methods I can experiment with in the future.

1. I can sell info products (trail guides for the most popular hiking trails, or survival guides). They wouldn’t be huge products, most likely in the $20-$50 price range.

2. Physical products (things like a Hiking Kit, hat, shoes, etc). Of course, this would only be far into the future once I do build up good branding and a loyal audience.

3. Sponsored content. If the price is right, sponsored posts from outdoor brands could be pretty lucrative if I’m getting a lot of traffic.

But it seems pretty clear that affiliate marketing can be pretty profitable on its own for this particular niche.

Further analysis in the niche

One more step that you can do if you really want to go deep into the niche research process is to analyze smaller sites.

Look through SEMrush and find the smaller sites. Analyze their content, traffic, and backlinks.

Answer these questions:

1. How old are these sites?
2. Why are they not receiving as much traffic as the other ones?
3. How strong is their backlink profile and what kind of search traffic is that equating to?
4. How strong is their content?
5. Are any of these old, inactive sites that I could potentially make an offer for purchase?

Final thoughts about this niche: Does building a hiking site make sense?

So based on everything we looked at here, does a hiking site make sense? Would it be “enough” to make it worth the effort?

Yes, the niche looks pretty good if we’re looking only at the data we got from this analysis (that may change if we analyze more sites).

But… I wouldn’t target just hiking alone.

And here’s why…

The niche itself looks great. But I think there is more opportunity here. At this stage, I can only conclude that growing to millions of visitors per month with search traffic isn’t going to be very possible, unless I expand into other niches as well.

Hiking is very closely related to most other things that are outdoor adventure. This is truer here than it might be for other niches.

For example, if you’re starting an authority site about golf, it wouldn’t make sense to just target “outdoor sports” instead.

But hiking… if you’re hiking, you most likely love the outdoors. And that means niches like camping, kayaking, mountain climbing, etc are also viable niches to target under the same umbrella. That makes it much easier (and profitable) to expand and take advantage of your domain authority and power in the serps in the future.

If you remember, we did note that earlier…

A lot of the bigger sites that showed up in SEMrush had 3 to 5 times the traffic that these hiking sites were getting.

I’m not going to go through the entire process again here, but the next step would be to run this same analysis for those sites as well and compare it to hiking alone.

And then you may even want to go further and analyze each individual niche that they’re targeting.


Doing niche research properly and effectively is a lot of work. And depending on what you’re looking for, it can take a lot of time as well.

Hopefully this walkthrough has helped you better understand what exactly you should be thinking about, and looking for during each step of the way.

Originally, the plan was to analyze several niches in this blog post. But we’re already over 2,000 words in, and it seems like it would be overkill to go through everything two to three more times.

If you’re interested in more niche analysis articles, let me know in the comments. I’ll be happy to share some of the things I’m finding from my own research, and maybe do a few more of these posts where we analyze niches together πŸ™‚


  • Reply
    April 14, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Good stuff, thanks for the post Chris.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      April 14, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Thanks, Jacob.

    • Reply
      November 18, 2015 at 3:54 am

      i am doing niche research from 3 months but couldn’t find a perfect solution yet.
      My planing is to enter in affiliate marketing and i guess for that one must have a good reputed blog.
      Now the question is what should be the best niche for a blog to get enter in affiliate market. Any suggestions?

      • Reply
        Chris Lee
        November 18, 2015 at 5:04 am

        There isn’t a best niche. Research what other sites in the niche are doing and what they’re promoting.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Very interesting viewpoint.
    Is this approach related to adsence sites only or may also be applied to affiliate or CPA marketing? As far as I understand – it’s not.
    Another question is that how can I overrank huge authority niche sites in the issue? Ok, with better content my site will get traffic on long-tail keywords at once almost after publishing it and perhaps some rankings on these keywords. Then my site will grow into authority in it’s niche… But which way can I beat top sites on main keywords after that, all the same, my ultimate goal is this, right? Is this all about link profile? (It’s not the topic of your current post still interesting to know what you think about it and your further actions).
    And the last is related to SimilarWeb. There are some doubts about accuracy in traffic estimation. For example, a blog of known to you man – neilpatel.com/blog. Neil shows his monthly traffic number and it’s much lower than SimilarWeb estimates. This is the first example came to mind, there are some others with similar difference. Can you comment on this?
    Thanks, Chris.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      April 14, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      Hey Olli, this strategy is not only directly related to sites monetizing through Adsense. Adsense is only a monetization strategy.

      Yes, you’re right. Outranking the big sites currently ranking will require backlinking. But approach it understanding that you probably won’t rank for these keywords for a long time until you amass some high quality links. I’ve talked about strategies on backlinking in the past, and have a few more posts in drafts going to be published soon.

      No traffic counting software is entirely accurate, but SimilarWeb is close enough. The numbers brought back only show traffic stats to the entire domain. So that’s a fairly close number I would assume. Although his blog on NeilPatel.com has only recently been launched, his front page has been live for a long time, and he sends a lot of traffic to it from other sources – paid and free.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Thank you, I am really learning from your blog posts.
    Thanks again

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      April 14, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      Thanks for reading, Ron.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Hello Chris

    I really like your posts and i find them useful

    I wanted to ask you about social media..Do you also spend time on building for example FB fan pages? Or your niche sites are only getting traffic from search engines

    I have 2 sites but i still need a lot of time to increase fans

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      April 14, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      Thanks, Elena. I generally don’t spend much time on Facebook pages for my niche sites unless I see it as a viable way to get traffic from it. Not all niches are right for Facebook, and some niches are perfect for it.

      For the ones that aren’t, I find them a big waste of time that could be spent on better things.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    You Explain things so well Chris. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      April 14, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      Thank you, April πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Harry Singh
    April 18, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Thank you Chris… I am looking for the same information and thought to shot you an email about my queries. But after reading your post I am pretty much clear to proceed further. But I have long term and short term plan.

    Short term means i will definitely target high search long trail keywords with low competition and generate decent amount of traffic by following EMD ( Exact match Domain technique) I think it is still working.

    Long term means – Targeting high search keywords for bigger search traffic and build a real business.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      April 18, 2015 at 11:36 am

      Hey Harry, that’s exactly right. Thanks for reading.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    i’m start learning step by step, it’s second email i got and ready to read and understand all.. that’s for all you effort.. God Bless You

  • Reply
    Kulwant Nagi
    July 3, 2015 at 5:28 am

    Loved this priceless information.

    You completely changed the way I used to think about niche blogging.

    Thanks for such an awesome explanation.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      July 3, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      Cool, thanks for reading Kulwant:)

  • Reply
    July 5, 2015 at 12:05 am

    Just stumbled across this article and it’s a great read. One thing though I wouldn’t reply on imilarWeb much as it gives false readings. It’s not very accurate at all. Tested it on a few of my sites and some friends is well, the visitor volume can be off by over 60% sometimes.

    Either way good article.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      July 5, 2015 at 2:43 am

      Hey Franklin. Hmm didn’t know that. I guess they’re not that accurate for some sites. For every site that I tested where I knew the traffic volumes, it was pretty accurate. Thanks for letting me know.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Great article Chris. One thing that confuse me is the URL of the domain. You said “caninecentral.com” but then you said go up for one more level to maybe target more pet training. If so, your domain should be something like “pettraining101.com” isn’t it?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      July 12, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Hey Mike. Yup, that’s correct.

  • Reply
    July 23, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the post, Very good and interesting information, I read all your posts.

    My question is, When you go one layer up and who much up?
    Why not to go one layer up even if the niche isn’t too limited! Even two layers up! Or three… When to stop go up?

    For example:
    Dog training -> pet training -> pets
    (more options to expand into other pets on the same domain)
    or why not…
    Dog training -> dogs -> pets

    Weight loss tips for men -> weight loss tips -> weight loss -> Diet -> fitness -> Healthy Active lifestyle -> Health

    Waiting for your comment πŸ˜‰
    Thanks, Chris.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      July 23, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      Hey Fero, that’s why you need to do the proper planning. How much can you really handle. What do you want your site to be built around?

      Usually just one is big enough. Or else you’ll end up with a magazine type site about anything and everything.

  • Reply
    August 21, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    So what’s the minimum volume we are looking for here? 100k, 500k, or the million in your example?

    Also just found your blog and really loving your content.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      August 21, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      Hey Tony, I like to go with close to 100k.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Hey, I’ve never read another post on nice research like this.
    It’s the Best one.Thanks for sharing

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      September 21, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      Great to hear that, Smach πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Seng Sotharith
    November 15, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing these tips. It is very important for me to learn from you.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      November 16, 2015 at 1:41 am

      Seng, glad that it helped!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Hi Chris,
    Great post – thank you. My question is how big does your site have to be to be regarded as an authority site?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      December 3, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Authority isn’t measured on the number of pages but rather on your content quality/performance, traffic, and your positioning in your industry.

      Meaning… don’t pay much attention to how many pages you have πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    December 5, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    i’m confused regrading affiliate marketing. there low search keywords… is there any guidance ???

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      December 6, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      Kartik, not sure what you’re asking.

  • Reply
    Harsh S.
    December 16, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Hi Chris – I drop by here via searching for the best ways to search the right niche though I’m already working on one which is technology and programming. Anyways, after finding this post, I ended my search as I get lot of useful tips to move forward. And in addition, the manner you integrated the income generation part which is also very insightful. I’ve already read this post 2 times πŸ™‚ but will refer it again as it’ll keep me motivated and up on task. Thanks for presenting such an incredible information.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      December 17, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Great to hear that. Thanks for your feedback, Harsh πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    January 20, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Hello Chris,

    So, what criteria should you not tackled a niche then? I found quite a few keywords that has thin information regarding the search intent in the serps. But the sites that ranks have quite impressive backlinks.

    Or should I not worry about this and just go on and build my site?


    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 21, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      Hey Jonathan. You should always do competition research for your niche the same as you always do. But approach it with a bigger picture of looking at the niche rather than specific keywords.

      • Reply
        January 25, 2016 at 9:00 am

        Sorry but could you elaborate on that?


        • Reply
          Chris Lee
          January 25, 2016 at 3:25 pm

          I mean to look at the size of the niche and the overall opportunity rather than just a few keywords and their competition.

  • Reply
    Joseph Ybholy
    February 8, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    God bless you; am still on your second course! Hopes to become PRO after undertaking the last phase; you knows how to explain with authority.

    I respect you bro – thanks

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 8, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      Thanks a lot Joseph πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    February 17, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    I love your holistic, long-term vision of site creation. It resonates with me and at the same time is so different from what most other “experts” teach.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 17, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      Thanks Nathan πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    March 18, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Hey Chris, just discovered your blog and I am loving it! I am working on niche site and was wondering what you thought of .edu and .gov sites in the top search results? Bad thing? Good thing? Depends? Thanks.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      March 19, 2016 at 7:30 am

      Usually will be impossible to beat depending on what your keyword is and its search intent.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2016 at 2:16 am

    Hi Chris, while i get the idea of your post, do u really advice newbies to do what you?
    I mean can your method be replicated.
    It also seems like to me you dont really care each individual keyword diffculty at all.
    And seriously,do u use Only email outreach and guests post to drive traffic.?

    As i find that most of your posts you didnt mention how to drive massive traffic or u just let it happen naturally (which takes a long time).

    And if possible i like to suggest a post of an example of how your integrate those longtail and high searches keywords into your content.


    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      May 25, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Hey Jeff! Yeah, the post is really important for newbies to shed a different light on how to approach niche sites.

      The whole point is to treat it as a long-term business rather than look for shortcuts and rank for a few uncompetitive keywords.

      Outreach is a long-term game as well. Massive traffic comes from building authority to your site with these power links obtained from outreach, while targeting high volume keywords.

  • Reply
    Mantra Gayatri
    June 14, 2016 at 3:54 am

    It looks like authority sites are really the only way to go about keeping something for the long term. Oh well, looks like I’ll have to work hard after all.
    Keep up the great work.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      June 16, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      Yup they really are. Thanks Mantra!

  • Reply
    Apps for PC
    August 14, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing that informative post Chris. I was looking for this topic.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      August 15, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      Glad it helped.

  • Reply
    October 15, 2016 at 4:55 am

    Hi Chris,
    An awesome post, Chris. By reading this post i have open my mind and give me a new understanding about what we really need to do and must note once we begin to do the KW research to build the big and best authority site. As you write, that’s the mentality that we have to own. πŸ™‚

    This is my first time visit to your site but i am very impressed.

    Thanks once again Chris.



    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      October 18, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      Thanks Alinda πŸ™‚ Glad to hear that.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2016 at 6:36 am

    doing niche research from 3 months but couldn’t find a perfect solution yet.
    My planing is to enter in recharge and eCommerce or affiliate marketing and But i am not sure this is perfect or not…

    what should be the best niche for a blog to get enter in eCommerce . Any suggestions?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      November 8, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      There’s really no “best niche” out there.

  • Reply
    January 9, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Thank you so much for sharing that informative post Chris. I was looking for this topic. Keep on doing such work buddy. Appraising work was done by you.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 12, 2017 at 3:43 pm


  • Reply
    January 16, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Dear Chris,

    I devour your blog and find this post especially interesting…

    Having read this, I changed my decision about what niche to work on / what frozen web-projects of mine to revive…

    I read that you will release a course, I would be very interested… Sent you an email asking if the course will help with my existing website – must have landed in Spam

    The main competitor/ the authority, the goal to overtake – is a Magazine’s website and a huge team with 30 Mio. pageviews/month according to similarweb.

    I feel a lot of interest in the topic, which is hard for me in most other niches…

    So I wonder if your course could work with pushing a “hibernating” project, with no penalties I know of… or if the visitors are too many indicating too much competition? 30 Mio is 10x what you liked about the dog training niche in this article.

    Would love to hear if you could help me here

    Thx a million


    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      March 17, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      Thanks Dan πŸ™‚

      Depends on a lot of factors. Where is their traffic coming from? And to what pages for what keywords?

      Check their stats in semrush and buzzsumo and a link checker.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Thanks for Sharing This article. Well Explained piece of article. I used to fear Keywords with stiff competition. Its time i start facing the fear of not ranking. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 9, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Ekopa!

  • Reply
    February 11, 2017 at 4:01 am

    Hello Chris,

    I just came to your website and WOW, I am feeling really lucky that I land on your website. I have read few posts and totally surprised by the information that you are providing. Keep it up.Really appreciate your efforts.

    I do have a website on a subject called “Memory”. I mean related to human memory,concentration,focus and all those sorts of things.

    I just need an information regarding CPC. I do have 10 to 16 posts at the moment. Few keywords has CPC over $1 but has around 1000 to 2000 searches and few of them has 0 CPC but has 25000 to 50000 searches so how would get a revenue. Is it worth targeting a keyword of huge volume that has 0 CPC.

    I would get revenue keyword to keyword or it is related to domain name,niche or keywords. Sorry I am lost.

    I mean if someone lands on my post targeting a keyword that gets 50000 searches per month but has 0 CPC so what should I expect. I am totally lost in between good CPC but has few searches and no CPC but huge volume of search. What is the right way to go.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 24, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      Hey Tushar!

      At this point, remember that it’s far more important to create awesome content and increase your readership than it is to focus on which keywords are making you more money.

      Traffic first, and the money will come πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Francis John
    March 8, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Great perspective!

    I’m changing my approach. My site is relative young so I can still change how I lay the foundation. I’m excited!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      March 16, 2017 at 11:46 am


  • Reply
    Lenin Zapata
    March 9, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Hello, thank you very much for the article for beginners.
    A question, page of general subjects that inside has categories like: Politics, Entertainment, etc …
    And receive good traffic the CPC of these pages is less true ?.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      March 16, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      If it’s a quality site, sure πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    April 10, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Thanks for this thing that’s change my mine. Keep reading all of yours blogs.

  • Reply
    April 23, 2017 at 6:07 am

    A very intyresting articel. Information was shared in a very good manner. I am new in online Marketig, and I have a basic question, is there any limit of Nos of backling to be created on daily basis?
    Please reply

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      April 28, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      No limit if you’re building quality links πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    August 8, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I have tried tips of all the so-called internet gurus on niche research but none of them worked for me. You explained the topic really well and it cleared many of my concepts related to niche research. Will definitely try it and post my feedback again on it.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      August 12, 2017 at 12:35 am

      Great to hear that πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Nice post chris

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 31, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks Karan!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Great post Chris. Loved it. But I was expecting in the Monetization Opportunities for you to mention Adsense and will it be profitable using it in this particular niche analysing the CPC of these keywords.
    I want to see other posts like this one, this time analysing Graphic Design niche since you note it down. How profitable can it be with AM and Adsense and is it worth pursuing?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 31, 2018 at 3:44 pm

      Ah, right. Should have added that. Good catch.

      For this niche, the most profitable (and easiest) way would likely be affiliate, using Amazon and other companies if I can find them.

      Adsense should be used to monetize content pages not promoting any products, which I don’t see any of the sites doing at the moment. A lot of missed revenue with the given traffic numbers.

      • Reply
        February 1, 2018 at 12:13 pm

        Yes, that’s why Adsense is important for these sites. A lot of passive income is missed. Having 400k pageviews a month equals to more than 10k in AdSense if optimized right. Affiliate can bring a lot of money, but since Adsense it’s passive it’s a shame not to maximize the profit.

        • Reply
          Chris Lee
          February 1, 2018 at 12:58 pm

          For sure!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    nice guide about niche research. thank you for share this content.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 31, 2018 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Excellent info, clear and precise. I purchased your course and my frustrations are staying focused and to attack this methodically. Your course is great, no fluff just the meat. Thx!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 31, 2018 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks a lot, Rob πŸ˜€ Happy to hear that.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Great ones as always chris <3 but iam really confused about link building tell now!
    you talked before that quality over quantity but in this article you focused about quantity? am with you that the both are important but this is hard to get alot of contextual backlinks from relevant authority sites! so backlinks by nuke or gsa such as [ article postings- web 2.0 – wiki posts – social bookmarking ..etc ] are under umbrella of quality backlinks! or what? kindly more clarify and if you can write in the future post talking about how we get good backlinks profile it will be really great ^^ have a nice day..

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 31, 2018 at 3:46 pm

      Building quality links doesn’t mean building few links.

      And building lots of links doesn’t mean blasting it with weak links!


      Check out some of my other link building posts to see what kind of links I’m building out.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Super interesting!

    I like the logical process as well as the β€˜keeping your eyes open’ aspect for what info you might gather for that specific niche.

    Yep, I’d like to see more along this line. Even if your next posts were simply going over the next niches, it would still be interesting.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 31, 2018 at 3:46 pm

      Cool, thanks for the feedback, Steve. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Very nice article, kindly make an in depth similar post on content creation for such sites as I always find myself stuck in content creation. Thank you

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 1, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      Thanks for the feedback.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Gregory
    January 31, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Hey Chris!

    Thanks for the insightful walkthrough choosing a niche. Do you have a cutoff for Ahrefs DR? In your example your competitors had DR 50 and 55. What would be the max you would go, before competition is too tough?


    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 31, 2018 at 5:59 pm

      Hey Jennifer!

      Good question. That’s kind of changed for me over the years. Not really specifically looking at that at this point. Not if I’m looking to build a large authority site in a competitive niche.

      The only thing that changes when I see very high DR and DA is the initial keyword strategy, where I may focus on targeting more long-tail keywords for traffic.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Hey Chris,

    Thank you very much!

    This walkthrough surely made this process become much more clear to me. Finding the “right” niche and making sure it is profitable can be so difficult and frustrating you can end up having done so much research, but still end up not having even one site built.

    These steps and how you plan to expand your niche sites make so much more sense, as well, especially when almost everybody around the block are teaching that one must niche down, as much as possible, and build very targeted niche sites.

    Would be interested in more niche research like this. Can you suggest though a free and reliable tool that works similar to SEMrush?

    By the way, I really like how your site is so clean and organized. Just perfect!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 31, 2018 at 6:02 pm

      Hey Jove, happy to hear that πŸ™‚

      At the moment, I haven’t come across any free tools that are similar to SEMrush.

      Thanks! I’m glad you think so πŸ˜€

  • Reply
    David T
    January 31, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Great post, and a very solid strategy. Do you ever give consideration to the amount of pages ranked in the sites you are researching? Some sites might take lots of pages to achieve the same traffic as one with lots left. I just thought that might affect the resources you need to achieve the results you want.

    Cheers, David

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 31, 2018 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks David! Excellent point, and also checking pages indexed is helpful to see how large the sites are.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Hey Chris,

    For the monetization part you mentioned creating info products – guides for hiking trails in this case. If you were to enter this niche, how would you create a guide like that? By actually hiking all the popular trails?

    On the same note, do you have to be an expert in a niche to create an info product? What if your niche requires you to show your face (for eg video courses work better in certain niches) and you’re not an expert?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      January 31, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      Hey Owen,

      Most likely would try to find someone off of Upwork, or through a listing on a local job site like Craigslist. Really depends on how large the site is at that point and how much time/money I’m willing to invest into creating it.

      I think being the founder/creator of a large authority site with a strong brand is enough to make you an expert in a lot of cases (if you’ve been actively involved in the writing and content publishing of the site). Read this post: https://www.staging.rankxl.com/expert-authority/. Of course, for some niches like medicine or any kind of official training requires real-world expertise. But it’s rare that people enter niches like that with no knowledge.

      As for courses where you’re going to show your face, if you have absolutely no knowledge of the topic you’re supposed to be teaching, you shouldn’t be creating a course about it. Hire someone instead.

  • Reply
    gautam nagraj
    January 31, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    This is Gold Mine, Chris i Wanted to ask you something. You are expert in Blogging, SEO and Money Making Stuff with blogs so if i wanted to make blogs on health, golf, hiking then being not expert in that kind of niches how i can manage them ?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 1, 2018 at 11:54 am

      I’ve built plenty of sites where I had no experience in the topics. It depends what kind of site you’re creating.

      With RankXL, it’s very much a personal blog.

      With my other sites, I’m creating helpful guides/resources on the web. And it’s more about researching, curating, and presenting the information in the best way. You can also hire others to write content for you.

  • Reply
    Dex Antikua
    January 31, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    Hi Chris

    This is just an eye opening post. I will follow your deeply analyzed points. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 1, 2018 at 11:55 am

      Glad you enjoyed it, Dex!

  • Reply
    February 1, 2018 at 2:29 am

    Hi Chris, is your strategy the same each time for affiliate and Adsense websites? Also for those of us just started out, what would you recommend for us to do if we don’t have Semrush? For example, I use google serps to check competition and then when possible I use the free version of Semrush to check keyword difficulty or the free version of Keyword Revealer but even then I’m still limited. So before you had Semrush, how did you do your research on your sites?

    And I would definitely love to see more niche analyzing articles like this one!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 1, 2018 at 11:57 am

      Yeah, it’s pretty much the same. Those are simply monetization options. Traffic and opportunity are more important to analyze.

      You don’t need to get semrush. You can do the research manually just by Googling sites, and analyzing link profiles.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2018 at 4:46 am

    Hi Chris! Thanks for the detailed analysis you’ve put up here. There’s a question though. You’ve said:

    “2300 links from 379 domains. Makes more sense.

    But nothing too crazy. I can definitely build a stronger link profile than this site.”

    I’m wondering how you can build over 300 unique domain links with outreach methods you use? Especially if you personalise almost each outreach email.

    Even with skyscraper, I need to send out 10000s of emails to be able to convert potential targets into around 300 live links. With guest posts, it’s a ton of work and money to invest to land around 300 guest posts etc.

    I hope you understand my logic and confusion. What’s your take on that?


    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 1, 2018 at 11:58 am

      There are plenty of ways to help scale your outreach link building efforts. I’ll write about this soon.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Hi Chris,
    thank you for the post one more time.

    I have a website for about 4 to 5 months with 0 visitors and around 10 to 12 posts.
    My niche is about cisco networking and computer virtualization and my problem is that i only find brand websites results when i search for a keyword, so its hard to have links there.
    Should i change the Niche?
    Please give me an advice.


    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 1, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      I have no idea about that niche. You should check if there is enough traffic opportunity there, and if there isn’t then I would probably switch or just pivot slightly to something a little less complex.

  • Reply
    JL Faverio
    February 1, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Very informative, Chris. I’ve used all the tools you’ve mentioned above, but you gave me some good ideas about how to use SimilarWeb more to my advantage. Keep up the great content!

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 4, 2018 at 11:33 am

      Thanks JL!

  • Reply
    February 4, 2018 at 2:22 am

    Thanks for this very helpful tutorial , will sure to read about it again when I start another site

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 4, 2018 at 11:31 am

      Good to hear πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Edson Zandamela
    February 5, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Chris, thank you for this helpful Post.

    I am on a big trouble and i need your advice.

    SEMrush showed that My new blog MAIN ORGANIC COMPETITORS are:

    1 – Google
    2- Askubuntu.com
    3- Cisco
    4- Columbia.edu etc.
    I don’t understand why that is happening, its so bad to have those competitors.

    Please i need your advice.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 6, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      Your main organic competitors are sites that target the most similar keywords as you. Not sure what kind of keywords you’re targeting to be seeing those results!

  • Reply
    February 16, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Yes, as you say Chris, the traffic figures that these tools provide us with needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Sometimes the figures can vary wildly, depending on what tool you use.

    Although I have noticed that SimilarWeb have a function now that allows site-owners to verify their data by connecting their Google Analytics account. So that’s useful.

    But yes, the figures are only ever a rough guide – we can’t take them as gospel.

    Cheers for the write-up! It was an enjoyable read πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      February 17, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks Nigel! Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Another stellar guide, Chris. Thank you.

    Like a few other commenters, I’ve used the tools mentioned individually, but seeing how you’ve used them together has opened my eyes to new possibilities.

    Keep up the great work.


    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      March 14, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      Cool, thanks Ollie!

  • Reply
    March 31, 2018 at 11:44 pm

    Seems I am a little late to the party, but….
    I really enjoyed this post and found it very helpful. Thank you for posting such great content!
    I would definitely like to see more inch analysis articles!
    A quick question – signing up to all the tools you mentioned will cost hundreds of dollars each month even if you go for the cheapest options. Can you suggest free/cheaper alternatives to those tools?

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      April 18, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      Thanks Ron! I agree they’re expensive! I haven’t found anything similar at a cheaper price, unfortunately.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2018 at 1:24 am

    yes i would love to hear more on your niche research. i really appreciate your insights. thanks. – david

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      May 12, 2018 at 3:38 pm

      Cool, thanks David!

  • Reply
    Ryan Fletcher
    October 15, 2018 at 3:49 am

    Another amazing article Chris, definitely more in depth than your ebook. Overall the post was very engaging and to be point but I think you missed Adsense earning in monetization opportunities, as shown by the screenshots 440K and 500K is a hell of a traffic and could bring decent $$$$$ via Adsense.

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      October 16, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks a lot, Ryan!

  • Reply
    October 30, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    Hi Chris, I’m a bit confused by what you said about looking for authority sites.

    “Why? Because it’s most related to the site that I’m going to build. Sites like Wikipedia, eHow, Wikihow, etc. target everything. They’re too general.”

    Why wouldn’t you want to do the opposite? If the #1-3 results are Wiki, ehow, etc. wouldn’t it be even easier to target since there are no authority sites at the top?

    I get that you’re looking for insight into whether an authority site CAN rank there, but is that it?

    Love the blog btw.


    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      December 2, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Reason is that you want to research sites that are basically what your site will be in the future if you work on it.

      If you’re going to build a site about baking cakes, you want to research sites that are specifically about baking cakes so that you get a clear picture of what’s possible in that niche.

      If you research sites like ehow or wikihow, they’re about everything and anything. It’s not what you’re building so it wouldn’t make sense to look into that data.

  • Reply
    March 29, 2019 at 12:39 am

    Hi Chris, I have just started with niche blogging and stumbled upon this post. I must say this is really good. As of now I think I will start with micro-niche sites and will create an authority in that niche so that I can at least dominate that. Thanks for the valuable information

    • Reply
      Chris Lee
      April 9, 2019 at 2:10 pm

      Thanks Jay!

  • Reply
    Jeremiah Succeed
    April 19, 2019 at 8:55 am

    Hi Chris, I’m a web developer currently building site for local clients.

    Right now, I want to get into building niche sites (ex: PDF online tools like smallpdf.com) so I can later place ads on them. But they’re quite a good numbers of existing sites.

    I learnt a lot from this post. And I discovered using similarweb that the average traffic for most PDF tool sites is 500k visits per month. though the highest is about 1.3M. The major part of their traffic comes from google.

    Now, with that kind of traffic, is it good to enter that niche since money will mostly come from ads.

  • Reply
    April 28, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    Hi Chris, what was the name of your G Adsense course that you had a few years back? Thanks, Karen

  • Reply
    May 4, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    Thank you so much for writting great post. I read 2 time and understand whole process about nitch word. Awesome post…

  • Reply
    May 30, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Great article Chris
    I learn so much and going to read it again. This is an amazing example for people who are lost on what niche to pick. Picking a niche can be really hard since I have so many topics I want to do. Thanks again Chris

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