Choosing an affiliate site niche in 2020

Choosing a niche for your affiliate site is the hardest but most important step. A good niche connects to strong buyer’s markets not saturated with competition. A bad niche will kill passions and consume resources without benefit. This article explains how to choose a niche for your affiliate website.

Choosing an affiliate website niche
The choice of niche has a huge impact on the potential success of your project.

Quit your job, work for yourself

Here’s my background in affiliate marketing. It started with four years of working as an SEO specialist with an agency. The work is challenging and interesting, but it wears you down. Clients would ignore big victories and go insane with rage at small bumps. No matter how well we did, they always demanded more.

In year three, I started looking for a way out. After a few months of research, I invested in a brand new affiliate website. I dreamed of a future where I could stop slaving away so others could make money.

For the next two years, I continued working full time at the agency. I spent evenings and weekends working on my site. The struggle paid off when the site earned enough for me to quit my job.

Having full-time effort to put in skyrocketed my progress even further.

You can do the same. It starts with choosing the right niche.

Choosing a niche in 2020

It’s important to choose a niche that connects with your passions. Try to combine your interests with a searchable topic that people are willing to spend money on.

Two basic niche types

Start by splitting niches into two types: fixed market and emerging market. Fixed market niches are already established. Examples include hand towels, baseball bats and cutting boards. Check out the Google Trends for “cutting boards”:

Google trends for cutting boards
Cutting board trends are steady and predictable.

Interest in cutting boards peaks every year around Christmas. Outside of the Christmas peak, cutting boards hover around an interest level of 50 (100 is the highest).

Emerging market niches have room for growth. Examples include esports, computer graphics cards, and 3D printing. Because these are still developing, it’s possible to find emerging search terms. Look at the difference between trends for “cutting boards” and “3D printing“:

3D printing Google trends
The green box indicates the ideal time to have started a 3D printing affiliate site.

Here’s another example of an emerging niche: consider the search term “Xbox One”. It has massive search volume and intense competition for top ranking spots. It’s too late to crack that market, but there are future possibilities.

The next big Xbox release happens in late 2020. It’s called the “Xbox Series One”. Here are the search terms compare in Feb. 2020:

Xbox Series X search volume
Nobody is writing about the new XBox yet because the demand isn’t there — yet.

Niches to avoid

“Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) is a Google term. They changed their algorithm in 2018 to hold certain pages to a higher standard. The gist is that some pages could impact “future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety”.

Google holds these pages to higher standards in the sense that authors need to be legitimate. Google will only rank pages written by verifiable experts with experience.

Be careful with any topic that Google could consider YMYL. Here are examples from Google:

  • News and current events: international events, business, politics, science, technology, etc.
  • Civics, government, law: information important to maintaining an informed citizenry. Examples include information about voting, government agencies, public institutions, social services, and legal issues. Legal issues include divorce, child custody, adoption, creating a will, etc.
  • Finance: financial advice or information about investments, taxes, retirement planning, loans, banking, or
    insurance.
  • Shopping: information about the purchase of goods/services, particularly webpages that allow people to buy online.
  • Health and safety: advice or information about medical issues, drugs, hospitals, emergency preparedness, etc.
  • Groups of people: information about groups of people based on certain criteria. These include groups based on race, gender, religion, disability, age, nationality, etc.
  • Other: there are many other topics related to big decisions that impact people’s lives. These include fitness and nutrition, housing information, choosing a college, finding a job, etc.

Suggested affiliate niches for 2020

Start by looking for emerging niches. Choose ones that you have an interest in. We’ve done this exercise for you with three picks.

Mobile gaming

Gaming is a multi-billion-dollar business. The big niches (hardware, game reviews etc) are already saturated. Sub-niches (gaming chairs, peripherals, training guides) are also saturated. But mobile gaming looks good. Mobile games made up 60% of revenue for the global video game market in 2019. The mobile gaming market is forecast to grow 2.9% annually to hit $56.6 billion by 2024.

As phone technology improves, so will the games. Thin of what needs will emerge as the tech evolves.

Homebound introvert gear

Global pandemics are now a part of our reality. The world is getting more dangerous. People have many incentives to spend more time at home these days. What needs will emerge as many people start working from home? How would entertainment consumption differ if people no longer went out? What food prep items would be useful for shut-ins?

If you can stand brainstorming under a pandemic cloud, there’s plenty of fertile ground here.

The trick with this niche is to avoid going into full-blown survivalist mode. The Internet is a boneyard of failed survivalist sites. Survivalkits.org has been trying to sell on Flippa for several years. The problem with these sites is that they don’t offer legit products. Most stock cheap medical kits and canned food.

If you go down this route, look for products that fill real needs for average citizens.

3D printing

Analysts valued the global 3D printing market at USD $8.08 billion in 2017. It’s projected to reach USD $49.74 billion by 2025, growing at a rate of 25.5% from 2018 to 2025.

This industry includes 3D printers, materials, software, and services. It is estimated that printers will account for about half of the market revenue in 2022. Software and related services also look to experience significant growth.

Combine research into 3D printing for home-bound introverts and you might find a winner.

Conclusion

Using the thought process laid out in this article should yield a few niche ideas. Once you have enough ideas, arm yourself with a free keyword research tool. Then start looking into the keyword essentials of your niche. Make a Google sheet with different tabs. In each tab, you can have a different data set. Examples:

  • High volume keywords
  • High volume, low competition keywords
  • Popular search phrases
  • Top-ranking sites

The resulting data will give you a broad idea of what articles to write, against what kind of competition. If you like what you see, the next step is to develop a content plan. We’ll cover that process in a future article.

About the Author

Anil Ramsey has been a media pro in Asia for 15+ years. He is a former print editor (Japan and Korea), NGO media director (China) and ad agency executive (SE Asia). He currently leads the production of several affiliate and authority websites. In his spare time, he shares what he learns as a part-time consultant.

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