(The Entrepreneur Ridealong) Building A Kids’ Toys Niche Site From $0 to $120,000: Niche Selection
My name is Alton Alexander and I’m building a website about STEM toys. Today we’re going to be talking about niche selection. So before you can select any niche you need to define your goal. In this case, my goal is to build a website that we can flip in one year for around $120,000.
In order to do that, the earnings need to be at least $3,000 per month in net profit. The plan is to monetize the site and the traffic using affiliate sales and display advertising. The first thing I like to do is hop onto Empire Flippers and browse some of the sites they’re selling just to confirm that you’re in the right space. I want to make sure that the numbers make sense, and also to gauge some of the other niches. And sure enough, toy stores come up and it’s certainly a viable option that we’ve seen before.
I just want to throw out that subscribing to Empire Flippers and checking out other brokers and resellers is a helpful way to just gauge that there’s an opportunity and think about who’s going to be the ultimate buyer.
Who will buy the site?
1. A mommy blogger who has a baby site but wants to upgrade or add a pre-teen site
2. An engineer who wants a side project
3. A portfolio manager or someone who specializes in taking sites to the next levels
Can you guide us through the key factors you considered when choosing your niche?
I don’t think there needs to be a lot of pressure to get it right the first time. In fact, for this entrepreneur ride-along, I actually at first thought I was going to do a site about bicycles, bike riding, and cycling. But I instead decided that it was not something that I wanted to pursue.
What niches or factors about niches do you try to avoid and why?
- Not too technical
- Something that you hate talking about
- Something you have no interest in learning
- Something illegal or immoral
You might have several different ideas, but then you narrow it down and as you’re doing this, you want to validate whether or not the niche is worthwhile.
Your selection process might help you decide which one you want to pursue. In my case, I knew that this was a topic that I wanted to talk about and that was something that I could consider.
Let’s just talk about how to validate a niche. Here are the ways that I validated this:
Items to Validate:
- Monetization – you want to make sure that there are affiliates and ad revenue opportunities.
- Traffic – make sure that there is sufficient traffic. This means that people are actually searching for this and that out of the things people are searching for, it is not overly saturated.
- Competition – you want to know if there are competitors that either have done what you’re trying to do or are there competitors that are easy enough to knock off at the level that I’m starting at.
Tools to do this Faster:
- Google Search- we use this to identify different opportunities
- AHREFS- tool for uncovering more information about websites
- Content Curator – niche discovery tool
For example, we’re talking about STEM toys and type that in the search bar of Google. And right off the bat, you can see that there are Google suggestions. When we do keyword research, we will have to scrape these and get more information out of them. If you search for “STEM gift ideas” in Google, you will see that this is not only informational but also targets people that are in the buying phase with these sponsored products. You can also see that there are a lot of competitors which can be hard to beat, like Science Buddies.
So I’m going to copy the link for the Science Buddies search result and then paste it into AHREFS. Looking at the result, it shows that this is a DR 76. This isn’t always accurate, but it’s a good gauge of where it stands. Certainly, a site like this is going to have lots of backlinks and traffic, so while this might be an aspirational competitor, this is not a site that I will compete against anytime soon.
So we saw Science Buddies is going to be competitive as well as Wired, Play Osmo, and Tech Crunch. These are going to be difficult to knock off. I’ve done this search before and one that stood out to me is STEMsational.
This is for the “top 10 STEM gifts for girls who love science”. Let’s take a look at this one actually. If we take this site and we drop it into interest to get a sense of where it stands, even though this is at a high DR 57 site, I think this might be one that even in the short term will at least represent where I want to be at the end of say, 12 months.
Even though they’ve been operating for a lot longer period, this at least confirms that there’s a lot of opportunity in this space. One of the things I like to do as I’m doing this research is to start recording the different competitors that I’m seeing just so that I have a record and I can come back to it. We saw that the age of this site was three plus years and the monthly traffic was something like 55,000, and then we also check the number of pages just to see where they stand and how they’re doing the top pages.
There are roughly 900 pages, and then the organic keywords would like to just see the spread and what they’re doing. Maybe get inspiration and ideas for other things. So you can see right here they’re talking a lot about making things like recipes, bread, slime, Lego builds, and Valentine’s bracelets.
So I’m starting to get some ideas for topics. I also want to look at the volume of searches.
So it looks like there are several dozen pages that are getting more than 300 visits per month according to AHREFS. So this is a good sign. We want to make sure that there’s good traffic and that there are things to talk about. So as I’m doing this, not only am I filling in the domain information about those, but I can also start to track.
When we’re building out the site, I want to store all the different ideas for the topical map and maybe which categories and topics I want to go after first. So already we saw some recipes and seasonal infusions, right? And so for example, one of them was slime and then we have Valentine’s and Christmas. We also saw when we did the Google search there were gift ideas by age and by gender.
Now that we’ve started to look at just a few of these ideas using AHREFS for validating, I want to show you how I like to do this in a more streamlined and powerful way using the Content Curators niche discovery tool.
So the link will be provided, but basically what you can do is for different niches that you’re considering, you start with a top-level category. These categories map exactly to ad and content targeting categories. So for example, we could start something more similar to shopping and under shopping there’s children specific toys and other items. And then under children’s specific toys, you can see there are video games. These are just several different topics that we might want to explore. And one of them here is learning toys.
When you sign up for this tool, you get free reports that you can run. So running this report, it costs one credit, but you get free reports when you sign up. It only takes a couple of minutes. And basically what this does is it’s not just one Google search. It does several and it identifies within those searches which domains are niche sites, meaning they are ad monetized and or have Amazon affiliates just like what I’m going after.
So I’ve already run this. And so we can jump ahead, but I’ll come back to that exact same report just so you can see what the report looks like. Previously I selected educational toys and currently, it’s running for learning toys, which is very similar to educational toys. It came back with 94 different sites.
And as I’m looking at this list, I can go down and see examples of niche sites such as School Kids Stuff. And if I just pop that open real quick, I can see school kids’ stuff. These aren’t necessarily the most glamorous sites, but this just gives you an idea of here’s an Amazon affiliate monetized site.
Some of the sites in the report have DR, traffic averages, and number of pages. But for some of them, you still have to look up to yourself. You may come across some starter sites, very similar to how my new site’s going to probably look in the first few months.
I think that hopefully, I’ll be able to blow this out of the water without diving into it. It’s hard to say what they did or haven’t done, but it’s helpful quickly just to look at what are some of the keywords that they happen to be getting picked up for.
In this case, it looks like matches letters and educational stuff for kids tracing toys, and pictures that match. So there are some interesting things maybe that we could consider going after, specifically maybe just one or two of these pages that we might want to scrape and pick off.
However, there’s not a lot of information here, so we want to keep diving in and really find some competitors that we can either get topical ideas from or add to the list of competitors, either because they’re mature or they’re new sites.
So in this case, I’m going to dive into a couple of other sites that I found using this method. As you scroll through Easy Mommy Life Learning to Stem Blessed Homeschool, there are big ones, right? The Retro Dodo and Board Game Oracle. Let’s take a look at that one real quick.
Board Game Oracle looks like a directory of board game sites and it’s not really the direction I want to go. You can see it’s Amazon affiliates and clearly they have ads running. As I said, I did several of these different reports, and here are some of the pages that stood out to me.
One is STEMsation. Certainly, this is a very simple theme and it’s targeting all kinds of different birthdays. But let’s go ahead and just pull this one up and try to see why it popped for “STEM toys” and maybe get some ideas.
You can see this one has a low DR and it’s at something like 10,000 a month-ish. And so this definitely has some opportunity and represents where we want to be in the first six to nine months.
If I’m looking at some of the topics that it’s ranking for, you can see different birthdays, which I think is a great idea. Certainly, this is targeted a lot more towards all ages but some of these might be super relevant. We could even try doing a partial match on STEM and see if there are any specific pages that stand out.
So it’s not ranking that well, but you can see that there’s certainly opportunity and that might be one to consider. There are several others that I pulled up. Like I said there’s Think Playtime, Bucket of Toys. All these are on the earlier side. Here’s something similar: Playroom Chronicles with toys by age, and then we have Learning to STEM.
These ones more or less represent the earlier stage that is more similar to what I’ll be targeting. The Toy Zone looks interesting as well, even though this covers more than just STEM toys. We’ve got various types of toys, but you can see it certainly is monetized by Mediavine, which gives me a good indication that they’re doing pretty well in terms of traffic overall.
Unless it’s part of a portfolio and they snuck in without hitting the 50,000 a month threshold, which it looks like maybe they did and AHREFS isn’t fully accounting for their total traffic, which is fine. Or maybe they got in maybe during the holidays when they were surging for traffic.
So, so now that I’ve checked the box on several different aspects to validate this niche, I know that I certainly am in a spot where not only should I be able to monetize, but the traffic should be there and there is competition at all different levels. Even as I’m doing keyword research and competitor analysis, there are ones that I can learn quickly from.
So that gives you an idea of niche validation. Let’s just confirm by the numbers real quick and make sure I’m communicating and level-setting on exactly what it is the goal.
If you remember from the introduction, this is going to be ad monetized 50% and a target of affiliate monetized the other 50%.
So if we assume that after 12 months, I can get this to 60,000 visitors per month. Then from ads alone at 25 RPM (which I think should be conservative), that should be the first half of the 3000 a month.
And then the other third should basically come from an average order size of $40 on Amazon which means that it’s going to need to be a 2% conversion rate on the total visitors, which would yield just over a thousand orders per month. And at 3% that nets at the other $1,500. That definitely feels doable.
And so 60,000 visitors per month, what does that mean on a daily basis? Well, that means that the site needs to hit basically 2000 visitors for this to apply, meaning a hundred dollars per day. To make this actionable though, I like to look at it on a per-page basis. And the target I try to go for is, on average, can each page drive 300 clicks sessions and if I can get 300 per month or 10 per day, per page, then I just need 200 pages.
And as I filled this out, I can really gauge what are the number of pages, what’s the monthly traffic and what’s the average traffic per page. And also like you saw going in here and looking, for example, at the toy zone, we can look at their top pages. And even though they only have just shy of 400 pages, you can see there are several that are in that 300 range.
That is the target for the monthly traffic, right? Obviously, there’s going to be longtail and there’s going to be some that get a large percentage. But that’s just the ballpark that I’m looking for.
This is going to be pretty straightforward to build out and talk about several different aspects and angles within this niche.
The last couple of things are, now that you’ve had a chance to see how I perform niche selection, I just want to give you a heads up that in the next update, I’m going to be talking about domain selection.
It’s like choosing the brand, the stuff that goes into before we actually set up the site just so that there’s a good idea carving out that space. A lot of this takes into account the niche selection and the preliminary work on some of the competitor analyses.
But this is what I wanted you to know. That’s coming soon. So I’ll talk about what makes a great domain name, and things that you need to avoid when you’re choosing a name so that you don’t get stuck in a rut. I’ll be using an aged domain and I’ll talk about how to do that.
How do you value an age or premium domain? How do you know if you’re getting a good deal, whether it’s at auction or from another domain vendor?
And ultimately I just want to wrap up and say thanks for following along and you can tag me or follow or ask me any questions on Twitter: @Alton_Lex.
And of course you can go back to the introduction and please follow along there on Empire Flippers.
And as you saw, I used the niche site tool for exploring niches, and that’s free to use. Just simply sign up on contentcurator.com and navigate to these tools and you’ll be able to do the same for your niche.
I hope that was helpful in evaluating and understanding how to choose your niche. I look forward to chatting more in the next update. Thanks, bye.