Start a Mini-Site
Now I’ll look at the place to begin after your determination that building a mini-web site is most appropriate for your online presence. I especially want to concentrate on your preparation, before you even begin designing that first page.
The most important study to do before you undertake anything else, including before purchasing your final domain name, related to the relationship between your niche and its keywords. To be successful with a mini-site, you must be willing to focus on a few relatively low traffic keywords, especially long-tail key phrases. You also need to make sure that the small list you select for a given site are quite similar semantically.
Let me unpack that last paragraph a bit by defining the most important terms. Much of niche research is simply a combination of analyzing the competition and conducting thorough keyword research. Keyword research is discovering what words and phrases your prospective customers are likely to use when they are searching for information, products or services similar to what your business offers. “Long-tail keyword” is merely the term that is applied to a search term that has more than just a few words. I’ll use this as my example: “Television” could be a keyword for your niche–a high level, highly competitive keyword, at that. “Panasonic high definition television” has a longer tail. “Buy Panasonic high definition 46 inch television in Omaha” is a very long tailed keyword. The last example phrase has the benefit of signaling commercial intent. The person who enters such a keyword is very likely to be ready to make a purchase.
Competition research can be broken into two parts. One way to study your competition is to visit the sites who rank in the top twenty on Google when you conduct a search using each of the keywords for which you are thinking of competing. You want to learn what keywords they are using, how many external links are directed toward that landing page and, while you’re there, a bit about their marketing strategy. The second meaning of competition research is to get some sort of measure of how much total competition there is for each of your chosen keywords. A quick way to gather that information is to see how many sponsored ads appear on google for each of the keywords that you plan to use. Google, for example, places eight to ten advertisers on the first page of search results; if there are eight or more advertisements appearing in the search results, then you have chosen a competitive keyword. Don’t panic if you find a high number of ads; competition is good in this instance. You probably wouldn’t make any money promoting a keyword that nobody else is interested in.
Remember that I also insisted that there be a close relationship among all the keywords that you select for your mini-site. If we look at the last of my sample keywords from the paragragh a bit up the page, we could simply substitute other cities and those different key phrases would still be substantially the same. On the other hand, we might also want to change the screen size option to other large televisions that Panasonic actually offers (perhaps, “36,” “42” or “54”) Or we might want to change the beginning word of the phrase to “purchase” and “deliver” and “best price for” and so on.
This homework is vitally important. Many businesses who recognize its significance elect to outsource keyword research to experts who possess both the experience and the necessary software. Some will also outsource the competition research. Obviously that decision is yours to make. Your business does belong to you!