Okay, this sounds obvious. The approach is different if you are planning a for-profit site or a not-for-profit site but conceptually similar.
Be Focused in Your Topic Selection
There are some factors that you want to consider when you select a topic for your website. In general, focus is a key ingredient in success. If your site is all over the map, people do not know what it’s about. When people search for something online, they are searching for a specific topic. They are not interested in sifting through any more chaff than is necessary.
As an example, let us assume that you a a huge fan of NFL football and you want to create a fan site. Then everything on your site should be about NFL football. You may have a soft spot for rugby, but it is a distraction on a site about football. You may want to brag about the 100-inch TV that you just bought at a Superbowl sale, but it has nothing to do with the topic. People want to read about the topic that they are interested in and not some tangental topic.
If you are creating a website for fun, pick a (single) topic that interests you and stick with it.
If you are creating a website for profit, then you need to do some research about your topic. Specifically, some keyword research.
Keyword research involves going out and determining what people are searching for that you can provide. If your topic is too broad you will never be able to get any visibility and nobody will know you exist. If your topic is too narrow, they you may attract the 38 people who have that interest, but their numbers are insufficient for you to make any money off them.
Here is the bad news. You need to come up with the keyword to search for on your own. If you do not know where to start, start with topics that interest you. After a while it becomes easier.
The normal way that people do keyword research is by using Google’s keyword tool. Just search Google for “keyword tool” and it should be the first result. There are some premium tools available to help you, but I’ll get into those another time.
Below is an image of the keyword tool. When you get to this screen you want to do the following:
- Unclick the box next to “Broad” and click the box next to “Exact”. This will make Google search for the exact term that you are interested in.
- Enter the term that you want to analyze.
- Everybody’s favorite, fill in the captcha box.
- Click “Search”.
For this example I followed steps 1 through 4 using the term “electric guitars”. Below is a snapshot of the results.
- The keyword that was searched for.
- The Adwords competiton for eyes with that keyword.
- The number of monthly searches made for the researched keyword.
- Similar keywords and their results.
From the data returned from Google, we can see that although there are a lot of people searching for “electric guitars”, there are also a lot of people pursuing those eyes. So as a keyword to base a website around, it’s not very good.
As a rule of thumb, a good keyword will have low competition and 2,000 to 5,000 searches per month. Anything falling in that range can be dominated with some work. So while you want to base your site off a keyword with that criteria, you should also look for keywords returned in the results that have low competition and 200 to 1,000 searches per month. Those keywords are great for individual pages or posts.
So to conclude, pick a topic that interests you to start with and do some keyword research to find a niche that has sufficient traffic and few competitors. Once you have done that, you are ready to take the next step.
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