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Choosing an Affiliate Marketing Niche: Two Simple Questions

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Affiliate marketing success or failure is often determined before you write the first word of your website. If you have chosen a good topic for your website, you have a good chance of success. If you have chosen a bad topic for your website, don't even bother writing that first word.

Here are two questions to ask yourself as you test your website topic before diving in:

Do you want to learn more about this topic?

If you want to create content about a topic, you better want to learn more about it. Otherwise, you're doomed to short-term success at best.

Let's say, for example, that you use one of the various keyword tools available--WordTracker or Google AdWords--and you come across a seemingly golden keyword: high demand and low supply, and there are products related to that keyword that people want to buy.

Unfortunately, you have absolutely no interest in spatulas. Still, the profit potential is there, so you grit out a simple initial website that's better than the existing competition.

At first, you get hits and you get clicks. And your clicks convert, at first, to sales. Great!

But over time (and not even much time, at that), you notice yourself slipping down the search results, you can't think of anything else to say about spatulas, and you just sort of don't care. Google notices your apathy, and suddenly you're completely off the radar.

The crazy thing about the Internet is that there is someone out there who cares intensely about spatulas, and can write article after article about spatulas. As more and more people give this affiliate marketing thing a try, competition is getting keener all the time.

The best way to stay ahead of the pack is to love running.

Is someone else already killing this space?

Affiliate marketing is not "winner takes all," but winners do take an inordinate lot. If you are thinking about entering a niche that has more than one established, excellent competitor, you have to ask yourself if you are going to get fat feeding from the scraps of "Longshank's Table."

Because scraps is all you're likely to get, if Longshank is in the building.

Again, keyword evaluating tools such as WordTracker are helpful but not sufficient when conducting this test. Keyword tools tell you mainly about how much competition is out there, but quality of competition is paramount, and a highly subjective judgment.

Perform your own searches, putting yourself in the position of the person you want to attract to your website. When evaluating search results, focus less on how many sites come up, and more on if there are two or three that are really, really good. If there are those two or three sites that satisfy all your needs as a searcher on that topic, reconsider entering this niche.

There's nothing wrong with taking on the big boys, but there is something wrong with getting into the ring and only then realizing that Mike Tyson in his prime is your opponent.

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