Selecting a topic for my first web site

I decided that I want to focus on making money online by providing information that is supported by ad revenue. My next step, then, is to determine exactly what kind of information. There are a number of criteria I need to consider.

Picking a topic that I enjoy

This probably goes without saying, but if I’m going to stick with something, I’m going to need to enjoy it. Building a web site is going to have enough challenges as it is without hating its topic. So the first criteria I’ll use to narrow my focus is to narrow possible topics down to those that I actually like.

Of course there’s lots of things I like, and picking just one is a bit hard. In no particular order, I enjoy archeology, astronomy, international travel, personal finance, technology, Buddhism, scuba diving, and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL, also called ESL or EFL). That’s a pretty wide range!

To simplify things, I’m going to pick one where I feel I have an above average level of personal knowledge. I taught English overseas for a number of years, so this feels like a strong contender. I’ve also put together a few aborted web sites centered on this topic, so this won’t be completely unchartered territory.

I don’t plan to limit myself to one topic forever, but to get started, I need to focus my energies in a single direction. I’m going to tuck away the other areas for future consideration, and will likely pursue some of them as well in the future.

Narrowing the topic to a manageable niche

Now that I know the high level topic, I need to figure out a way to narrow it down even further. I suppose I could try to create some sort of super site that is all things to all people, but that seems a bit overwhelming. Also, there’s a lot of competition out there on the web these days, and if I’m going to have any hope of standing out, I need to pick a niche and pursue it.

From time time in my corporate life, I have wistfully remembered my days spent teaching English overseas. It was a great period of my life. At the end, I spent nearly five years pursuing it as a profession, teaching in such places as Prague, Istanbul and Taipei. When I move back to the States and got married, though, I decided I wanted to pursue something a little more stable and financially rewarding. It was the definitely the right choice, and one I don’t regret.

One of the ways I’ve scratched my nostalgic itch over the yeas has been to visit a number of sites that advertise overseas jobs teaching English. A few of them charge the schools for listings, while the majority make the listings free but place ads on the pages. My main challenge will be connecting with two audiences: teachers and schools. I’ll need to spend a lot of time discovering how to cost effectively market to those communities.

So, I’ve decided to launch a international job site for ESL teachers. I hope it will be a good first niche to pursue!

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