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Building a Business from the Ground Up – Part 1

If you want to build a business the right way, it takes many different skills to succeed. By now, every internet marketing pundit across the web will have likely beat into your head the fact that any potentially successful site requires quality content in order to compete in the highly competitive online world, and I am in absolute agreement.

What most will not tell you, however, is that there is much more to creating a profitable online business other than simply adding well thought out content to your site. Like any business model, there needs to be proper game planning to ensure success, rather than hoping that you get lucky and one of your blog posts goes viral.

If you were to invest your hard-earned money into a brick and mortar business, you would likely agree that it would be foolish to not scout the area out, decide whether or not there is a viable market for what you are selling, and also have a solid understanding of the competition.

Believe it or not, you should treat your online business in the same manner. Just because there is a much smaller initial investment, people tend to treat an online venture as more of a hobby, instead of what it really is…a legitimate business opportunity.

Of course, there are those that simply don’t know any better.

Today, we are going to take a look at the most overlooked aspects of launching a successful online business before you even begin to worry about social media, creating tons of content, and the other areas that most people tend to get bogged down with.

The Initial Research

Whether you have an idea of what niche you’d like to pursue or not, there is an initial phase that is required in order to conclusively deduce whether or not there is a potential profit to be made. For most, I’d suggest pursuing something that you are passionate about because internet marketing takes a lot of time and effort.

Those that have no interest in their subject matter tend to quit far before the profit ever begins to flow. There are those that are a bit determined and are able to continue on in a niche that they are indifferent towards simply because they enjoy the pursuit of success.

Neither choice is wrong, but from a beginner’s standpoint, it may be optimal to choose something that piques your interest.

The only major flaw in this line of thinking is that not every interest that people have is profitable and not every profitable niche is newbie friendly.

If your interests revolve around endangered Afghani duck feeders, you may have difficulty finding enough buyers to make your online ventures worth it. On the other hand, if you jump into a niche that is far too saturated, it’s incredibly easy to get lost in the sauce.

For today’s post, we will be looking at the “coconut oil” niche.

Use the “Big G”

An easy step to help narrow down whether or not your niche is worth pursuing is to begin with a few Google searches. If you see competitors, this is a good first sign. With approximately 1 billion websites online, it is likely that at least one other person has though of entering the same niche at some time or another.

If their site is successful, then there is money to be made. If there are no competitor sites, however, it is a good sign that others have tried and failed because the demand for that market was simply not strong enough.

Pro Tip #1: If you happen to come across a forum within that particular niche, then that is a strong indicator that there may be a need for new products/services because it means that people have a strong enough interest to seek out and socialize with others that are interested in the same topic.

Pro Tip #2: Ads are also a very good sign that a niche is profitable. Businesses would not shell out the cash for targeted ads unless there was a reasonable return on their investment.

google adsRemember to vary your search queries in order to find as many competitors as you can. Once you’ve found a number of competitors, you can use an analysis tool such as SEOquake to gain an idea of how strong your competitors are.

At this particular point in your research, a competitor that has achieved a reasonable page rank and has been in service for a few years is actually a good sign.

It means that there is enough money to be made for these websites to stick around for several years and put in at least some effort to achieve a higher PR over that time which can be found using the SEOquake plugin.

seo quake

It’s also important to search for recent activity. How often do they update their blog? Is the year date on the footer accurate?

Note: As of right now, you are simply gaining an idea of whether or not to spend further time and effort on this particular niche and not doing a full analysis…yet. All you want to do is find out whether or not current businesses are making money within that niche.

Google Trends

The worst possible scenario would be to jump head first into a dying niche. Though ads may be appearing within the search results and it appears that sites have been around for quite some time, the niche itself may be drying up.

This may occur from time to time as new technologies appear, new methods become available, or something simply loses its “coolness” and becomes obsolete. There are countless reasons as to why a niche loses popularity, but the end result is the same; those that are invested in it will lose money.

In order to gain insight into how a specific niche is performing, try adding some root keywords into Google Trends. This will provide an idea of the popularity of that root keyword over time.

google trendsAs you can see from the image shown above, the keyword phrase “coconut oil” has become increasing popular over the last decade. You may notice that the popularity of some keyword phrases will go up and down depending on the time of year as seen in the image below for the keyword phrase “snow boots”.

google trends2Overall, the trend seems to be steady, but there are some incredibly sharp increases and subsequent drops in popularity throughout the year, indicating that this particular keyword phrase will only be truly profitable a few months a year, which is not viable for long term success.

As of right now, ‘coconut oil” is looking pretty darn good. Of course, this is only the first few steps in a much longer process, so it is far too early to draw a conclusion. The last thing we want to do is to base your business solely on this information and to skip the next integral steps.

What’s Next?

This is only the basic framework of deciding whether or not to enter a specific niche. Yes, this may take some time, but it is absolutely essential that you have a deep understanding of what you will be getting yourself into.

There are no short cuts to success, only short cuts to eventual failure.

In Part 2 of this series, we will continue with our research phase of deciding whether or not “coconut oil” is in fact a solid niche to enter. The upcoming Part 2 will feature more in-depth information that cannot be missed.

Stay tuned…

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them in the section below!

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...


  1. I always want to be successful about anything and this includes being successful with my online business. I have read all your posts and they are all very helpful. This one is great. Thank you so much!

  2. Thanks for this piece of information Sean! Hats off! This is very helpful for me.

  3. I will be referring to all your posts to be successful in my online business! Thank you so much!

  4. Thanks Sean! I am looking for posts like this. I was looking and reading your other posts and they are all very helpful!

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