People come up with ideas for web sites all the time. Some of us (like me) come up with too many ideas for the time we have available. The concept you pick for a web site is the foundation for all the money you intend to make – so you better make it a good one!

This post is part of the Concept to Cash series.

Guidelines for Picking a Concept

Choose a concept that you know something about: When choosing a concept for a web site or blog it’s easier to turn that idea into cash if it’s something you are already knowledgeable about. It gives you experience to draw from when blogging, makes it easier to write articles, and easier to find and research keywords. It’s also easier to work for little or no money (in the beginning) because it’s something you’re passionate about already and interested in.

Choose something that gets enough traffic: You don’t want to go to all the trouble of setting up a web site or blog on a topic only to find out later that people only search for it 50 times per day. I think ideally to sell something each day, you need to try and get 1,000 visits per day or more.

Many people blindly setup web sites or blogs without doing any research at all to find out what the potential search volume for them will be. You can do basic research to figure this out, or spend a lot of time and money getting really in depth with the results. I recommend visiting compete.com’s Keyword Destination tool. You can find out which web sites get the most clicks from keywords. You get the first 4 results for free and further investigation requires a paid account. The top 5 results are enough for me to find out if my concept is good enough to get started.

For example, I have a domain that has been sitting for a very long time that will feature new and used laptops. I did researched the keywords “used laptop” at compete.com to see what kind of traffic that phrase gets and this is what came back:

compete.com keyword query used laptop

Using the compete.com keyword query tool we see that my keywords seem to be pretty good with about 200 million people per month being referred on those search words to just the top 5 sites listed. I also got 4 domain name competitors to check out, but I got some other very telling stats as well. Check out the #1 results “usedlaptops.com”. They get 34,000 search referrals per month for the keyword phrase “used laptop”, but that’s only 2% of their total monthly traffic!! Do a little math and that means they’re getting a million and a half views per month! But now I’m very interested in finding out where the other 98% of their traffic comes from – what other keywords are they successfully using?

Choose keywords to get that traffic: Choosing a concept that gets a lot of searches is very important, but it’s even more important to know exactly what combinations of keywords to target to actually get a cut of those searches! Now that we know our keywords “used laptops” actually get traffic – we also found out the top 5 competing web sites. Using those domain names we can enter them in a web site called SEMRush to find out more about other keywords they’re using like this:

SEMRush used laptops query

According to this report at SEMRush usedlaptops.com has a total of 1,190 keywords they rank for, and they’ll give you the top 10 for free. You not only get the keywords, but the position in google search pages in addition to monthly search volume. So in our original lookup at compete.com we found that “used laptop” sends 34,000 search referrals, but now at SEMRush we find “used laptops” sends 40,000 per month. We also see some keywords that might even be better such as “cheap laptops” which sends 74,000 searches per month.

It’s good to decide which keywords to target for your home page and domain name, but getting some additional keyword phrases to target in other sections of your site is also great ammunition you can use later.

Choose a domain name containing the keywords:

Now that you have your idea and some keyword phrases to target it’s time to find the right domain name. It’s kind of common knowledge now that getting a “keyword rich” domain name is best. This means that your main keyword phrase should be in the domain name. My keywords to target are “used laptops” for my main home page, and I already have the domain name used-new-laptops.info. It would have been ideal to get usedlaptops.com or .net (or .org), but of course they are all taken. I bought this domain name two years ago anyway and haven’t done a thing with it. I’m using for the purposes of this series, but if you’re buying a new domain name here are a few pointers:

  • Use four or less words
  • Don’t use unneccessary word (the, or, and, not, is, a)
  • Try not to exceed 30-35 characters total
  • Use dashes only if you have to
  • Add a keyword if you have to
  • Go for .com first, then .net, .org – try NEVER to use .info

Try and use common sense here, and please don’t register some godawful 58 character domain name. The shorter the better, use the best keywords you can, and in my case I wanted a domain “used laptops” but even with dashes couldn’t get it. I went with “used-new-laptops.info”, and even that (I now know) wasn’t very smart. I should have done something like “used laptops cheap”. For the purposes of this series I’ll use that domain as an example. The reason that you no longer want to use .info domains is because google deindexes them so quickly – especially if you have a BANS niche store. I register all my domains with goDaddy, it’s just my preference. I don’t have hosting there, but I like their domain manager and have all of them in one place to manage (even though I have 3 or 4 different hosting accounts).

In the next installment of the Concept to Cash series we’ll talk about setting up a web site or blog./