To really build up your online business you need to find some good niches to work with. That’s not always easy. Getting ideas in many ways is the easy part. Making them profitable is a lot more work.

The simplest place to discover niches is within your own interests. What do you spend money on? Hobbies? Necessities? Are there any you could see building a website on and earning an income with?

Sometimes that gets you a brilliant niche, one you can work with. Other times you need more help. A lot of it.

Where else can you get ideas?

Yahoo! Buzz

Yahoo Buzz is a sort of social site where people buzz up articles they think are interesting. They count votes, comments, emails and searches when they determine which stories hit the top.

This is good if you’re into news topics, but not so hot if you really want shopping topics.

eBay Pulse" alt="" />

Now this is good if you want shopping topics! What are people buying now on eBay? You can see the most popular searches and the most popular stores. Very good if you want to set up a product based site.

Amazon

Check out book titles. They can be inspiring. You can take a broad niche and narrow it down to something specific enough for a small website.

Also check out the magazines on your topic. If there’s a magazine, there’s people looking for information on that topic.

Each of these is a fair indicator that people spend money on that topic. That’s great news, especially if there’s a lot written on the topic you’re interested in. Just make sure you narrow things down enough for the size of site you want to make.

Now What?

Do people spend enough? That’s the next thing you need to discover for the niche you’re considering.

There are ways to figure this out. You can look at whether or not there are a lot of people spending money on pay per click ads in the niche you’re considering. That’s not a perfect test, and we all would love to find that perfect, undiscovered niche just waiting for us. That’s a rare find, but why be in the business if you don’t dream?

Just use the Google keywords tool and you can get a feel for the search volume for the keywords you want for your niche. It will also give you an idea as to how much advertiser competition there is, but the external keyword tool that you can use even without an AdWords account doesn’t give bids.

Related forums can help. Take a look at the questions people are asking and if they talk about products they’ve bought or want to buy. You can get some fair hints as to whether or not people are buying.

No matter how good the indicators, of course, in the end it’s down to whether or not you can successfully monetize the niche. There’s no way to guarantee success. But choosing your niche wisely can increase your odds.