Brett from Niche Laboratory here.
In this thread I'll dump the results from my experiment at starting a new forum.
This niche has so many big volume keywords and the competition is surprisingly low.
It's a niche that's been overlooked by marketing people like you. Why?
1) You're all using the same keyword tools.
2) You're all obsessed with the same niches (i.e. weight loss, forex, bitcoin, making money online).
See this NicheLaboratory.TV video in which I show you why you're using the wrong keyword research tools!!!
I've done some market research on my niche and I know I can:
1) Get traffic
2) Find good keywords
3) Get people to post on my new forum
Number 3 is really important! Just because you can get traffic doesn't mean people will want to go to the hassle of registering for your forum. No for that to work you need to start a forum in a particular niche.
My forum is now up and running I'm using phpbb. Version 3.2 is really nice and it's much easier to mod it compared to before. The downside is that forum spammers are still a huge problem. If you want to run a forum yourself then you're going to have to roll up your sleeves and become a little familiar with FTP, php and the like. Alternatively you can pay somebody to do the work for you or host the forum with a hosted solution.
Another good thing is that a lot of amateur forum owners are giving up. Most of them lack the technical expertise to deal with spammers. They also lack marketing knowledge to effectively monetise their sites.
This is where you come in!
If you're truly interested in building/maintaining websites and making money from advertising then you should be able to take all this in your stride.
A lot of big forums are shutting down and their markets are ripe for exploitation by you.
I know forum owners say people are going to social media to chat about stuff these days but I think there will be a resurgence of interest in forums. After all so many social media places have shut down (myspace anyone?) and facebook is dying. I no longer go on there much. I tried starting facebook groups but the stupid sods keep unpublishing my pages. I can't even keep the Niche Laboratory page published which makes it a total piece of junk for serious businesses. Hell the publishing tools are junk as well. It lost my last attempt to post an update so I just can't be bothered with Facebook anymore.
There's not too much other competition. Google Plus is dead. LinkedIn is boring and has the wrong vibe. Reddit has too many rules.
So I think there's definitely a need for dedicated forums. Go to FindAForum and see if you can find any niches that interest you. The cars niche is a particularly good one if you want lots of traffic (ha ha).
If you have any comments or suggestions about making internet forums then post a reply in this thread. I'll post updates when something significant happens.
A small victory: my forum is now in the Google search index.
I think this is the fastest I have ever started a new domain and then had data appear in the Google Search Console.
Surprise, surprise, I am already in the top 90 for the name of a forum that closed last year.
This is a reminder that keyword research DOES work. And I have Niche Laboratory Pro to thank for that as it came up with the keyword suggestion.
By contrast, the TEFL teaching blog I started back in January is STILL not getting any search traffic. I'm kind of disappointed about that. I was looking forward to testing out the teaching English overseas niche, as it ought to be a good one. But without any Google Search Console data, I'm clueless as to whether it's a great niche or not. I have so many good article ideas stacked up, but I'm not wasting any time writing them if the site's never going to get any traffic from search engines.
But back to forums and I think my new site could do OK. The worrying thing is that so many other forum owners are giving up. I think my advantage is that I have a lot of experience in monetising sites. Plus I'm a software developer so I can keep the spammers off and generally keep things ticking over. Both skills are VERY useful if you're going to follow my lead and start your own forum, regardless of niche.
Ladies and gentlemen, choose your niche carefully!
One last thing - here's a secret list of the easiest forum niches to rank in. But note that this list is so valuable that you have to earn the right to view it. I've spent 4 years collecting the data, and I'm gonna want something in return!
More threads for you to read and post comments on.
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