There are millions of websites and out there and thousands of new ones appearing every day – what chance is there for the average traveler with a laptop to carve out their own niche?
Actually the opportunities are countless. It does take some initiative, originality and ingenuity but the web is still only in its early days. Granted, the obvious themes like travel, dating, health or art have been well covered and your start-up listings site isn’t going to make Craig’s List lose any sleep.
But you don’t need to take on the major players to be a success. The web is all about niches and there are millions of cracks and alleys that haven’t been developed yet. Evolution is all specialisation and that’s where your hot idea comes in. Spend a long time on the net surfing around and take note when you can’t find what you’re looking for – it could be it’s a hot topic that no one has developed yet.
There may be many sites about New York but has anyone ever done a really specialist guide to Manhattan? Sure, there’ll be a few pages here and there but has anyone written about or reviewed every single restaurant, cinema, club, shop and community space on the island? Has anyone written a guide to finding an apartment there, a job, fitting into the Manhattan mindset? Has anyone compiled an extensive photo gallery of every significant street in Manhattan, with all the phone numbers, addresses and weekly updated listings of every event, concert and workshop there?
Probably not. But if you did, it wouldn’t be long before your site would be considered the resource on Manhattan and inbound links would start pouring in. Now it may be that there’s just not enough people interested in Manhattan in the first place so traffic could be slim – there’s your market research – but the likelihood is that you would have carved out a niche for yourself.
The key to deciding what to build a site about is to follow your own interests. If you don’t enjoy building your site then you might as well get a day job to pay the bills. And your passions can be a big clue as to what you could develop. If you’re a voracious reader then maybe you’ll offer a literary review of all the books you’ve ever read by subject and develop a readership who’ll consult you before going shopping on Amazon.
Or if you’re a sports fan you might build a fan site with all you could ever want to know (and more) about your favourite player. The trick is to find something with wide appeal and any subject that involves famous people or places is a good start.
Alternatively, you might come up with a new service like hostacat.com where people volunteer to look after other people’s pets whilst they’re away on vacation. Or maybe you write songs for people’s birthdays or weddings. The key is to come up with something novel.
The real beauty about the web page is that no one knows whether you have a successful, thriving office behind it or whether you’re typing away on your laptop by candlelight to save on electric bills. Your website is your shop front and people may well take out their credit card just on the basis of what they see there. So make it good.
Some more ideas for websites:
Be a guide for new comers/tourists to your area.
Write the authoritative resource on your topic of interest.
Develop an extensive photo library of an area and let people use the images in return for a link back.
Review a line of products so that people come to depend on your opinion.
Provide a unique service.
Develop a networking site where mutually interested parties can meet such as findatennispartner.com
And failing any of the above you could always get naked online at frequent intervals…