While I was reading the Warrior Forum, I came across a post about a guy who was making a lot of money flipping expired domain names.
Now there are quite a few guys trying to get your hard earned cash by selling WSO's about how to play the expired domains game. But I won't charge you for premium information - I'll give it to you free! One of their secrets is a little known site called ExpiredDomains.net.
This site is a great place to find domain names that have just become available for you to register. And if you have a particular type of domain in mind, then you can set up daily email alerts to keep up to date with what's recently become available.
Anyway, while reading one of my daily email alerts I happened to find that mobileinsurance.info had just expired, so I snapped it up for just $3 for a year's registration. I buy a lot of domains, especially if they're cheap and I like the name.
I figured that a little site about mobile insurance could have a lot of potential, so I did a quick bit of research on the mobile insurance keyword using the Niche Laboratory.
I know a little about insurance, but not a great deal about mobile phone insurance. So I fired up the Niche Laboratory app and set it to research my keyword - mobile insurance.
If you want to take a look at the report for this niche, then here it is:
So we've got our niche report, how do we use it?
Even in this digital age of paperless offices, I like to use a traditional notepad when I'm brainstorming new ideas.
When I'm using the Niche Laboratory report, I'll scroll up and down the report, making a note of any good ideas I find.
Here's my mind map for the mobile insurance keyword. I tend to start with my key idea in the middle (mobile phone insurance) then draw out lines to the key concepts in the niche:
By looking at the Keywords and Keyword Phrases sections of the Niche Laboratory report, I gradually fleshed out the key concepts of what's important to people who are interested in buying mobile insurance.
One major key concept I found was gadget insurance. While people are likely to want to insure their phone, mobile phone insurance is really just one of the niches within the broader gadget insurance niche. Gadget insurance encompasses cellphones, smart phones, tablets, laptops and specific gadgets such as Blackberrys and iPhones.
Insurance itself is the core theme of the site, and I found plenty of words and phrases to get me started on designing my mini-site in this niche:
Some other words and phrases also caught my eye:
Insurance is a horribly competitive niche, so to get any sort of traffic from the search engines then we'll have to think long, long tail keyword.
So I spent a bit more time looking through the Niche Laboratory report. Here's a few more keyword ideas that came to light:
The human mind is a wonderful thing. Computers have come a long way, but we're still superior when it comes to tasks such as designing a website from a Niche Laboratory report.
So have a really good look at the parts of the report that aren't related to keywords and phrases. Here are a few more ideas I got from other parts of the report:
The Niche Laboratory derives its data from the other sites already ranking well for a particular niche. So it's a great tool for sizing up the competition.
In the Keywords and Keyword Phrases part of the Niche Laboratory report, look out for words and phrases that might give you clues about what your competitors are up to...
One key phrase that caught my eye in the report for mobile insurance was MoneySavingExpert. This is a gigantic UK based personal finance authority site. It was founded by Martin Lewis - a guy who is a household name due to his numerous appearances on television.
So I did a little browsing of their site to see what they were doing in the mobile insurance niche. Sure enough, I found they had a really nice section about buying mobile phone insurance. There were definitely some ideas worth borrowing from this site!
After all that brainstorming, it was time to build my site.
Most people seem to use WordPress to build their mini-niche sites. However, I settled on Microsoft's MVC, not least because it gave me a chance to learn this hot, in demand skill. It's also easy to create mobile-friendly sites with MVC, which is of course really important given that our potential customers could well be using their shiny new gadgets to look for gadget insurance policies.
While you don't need any software developer skills to be able to build a website, it's worthwhile checking out some of the techniques they use.
I've been going to a lot of job interviews lately, and one thing almost all tech companies are into is what's termed Agile development. This is basically a technique for building software (or websites) in small, incremental stages, testing each new small feature as it's integrated into the whole.
What this means is that instead of building a 100 page website then uploading the whole thing, it's OK to start with a 1 page website, then add the 99 further pages at a later stage. Content management systems such as WordPress are ideal in this respect, as they allow you to start with a one page site, then build it from there.
In the second stage, I added a database to the site in which to store the details of insurance providers in one table, and insurance policies in another.
Not a programmer? Don't worry, you could easily do something similar with WordPress, or you could hire your own programmer on oDesk.
Back to my own little niche site - I populated the database with everything I could find about mobile/gadget insurance providers who provide cover to UK residents. Google have made it clear that it prefers sites that give value to the end user. I noticed that there was a little gap in the market with mobile insurance. There are lots of sites for comparing house or car insurance, but there didn't seem to be the same thing in the gadget insurance niche.
Agile development means it's possible to build in small features to a website. So when I got a spare couple of hours I built a Gadget Insurance Factoid widget that randomly displays a different insurance related tip on each of the pages I've included it. There are WordPress widgets that allow you to accomplish much the same. I also made a widget for displaying the latest insurance providers added to the site.
After all that website building, it was time to think about monetizing my efforts. Initially I chose to put AdSense on the site. AdSense has plenty of ad inventory in the insurance niche. Sure enough, after a few days I started seeing ads for some of the gadget insurance providers I'd already included in my database of gadget insurance providers.
As traffic grows, I'd probably take off AdSense and replace it with CPA offers from the insurance providers who offer their own affiliate schemes. These generally pay a fixed amount for each successful new customer referred to them from your own site.
If you want to see how the site turned out, here's a screenshot showing the list of insurance providers page, with factoid and latest providers widgets:
There's also a page which allows site visitors to compare insurance policies:
If the site starts to get some good traffic, then I'd definitely enhance this page to make it easy for visitors to find the exact policy appropriate for their needs.
Although the keywords the Niche Laboratory found for mobile insurance were mostly related to insuring mobile phones, laptops, tablets and other gadgets, a few words and phrases hinted at other types of mobile insurance. So I made a note of some other ideas that might have potential as different niche sites:
Remember if you come up with some promising ideas like these, then you can always research these keywords in the Niche Laboratory.
Personally I'd be most interested in building a niche site relating to mobile home insurance. Home insurance is a lucrative niche, but maybe there would be less competition for the mobile home insurance niche.
Catering vans are also a pretty good niche - good enough for Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income fame to build a little niche site around the mobile food vans niche.
Despite working in IT, I don't know much about mobile security apps. I did read that hackers are turning their attention to mobile phones - so maybe this is a niche for the future.
Finally, don't forget global markets. Too many niche site builders want to target the US market. But there are other markets that are just as lucrative, and you might also find they're a lot less competitive. In this case study I've targeted the UK insurance market, but gadget insurance is likely to be just as lucrative in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and obviously the non-English speaking countries in Western Europe.
I hope this case study has shown you how useful the Niche Laboratory is for finding ideas and keywords in new niches.
Now get started and see what ideas you can come up with :)
Got all your eggs in one basket? Here's a guide to monetizing your site using methods other than AdSense.
These are the current most popular broad niches being researched by users of the Niche Laboratory.
Key: = riser, = faller, = non-mover, = new
View more data on the Insights page.