Boring niches can make a lot of money

I saw somebody on Twitter the other day had dived into the Inc 5000, which is the top 5000 companies in America.

Turns out there are some hidden gems in there, like learntobeabookkeeper.com. This boring-sounding website provides online training for anybody wanting to become a bookkeeper, and it makes over $4m a year doing it! In fact, learning finance seems to be en vogue, as I also found Crunch Digits while googling how to work out the present value of my investments.

I got to looking and there are actually many boring niches out there that are making a killing, from HVAC training blogs to SWIFT code databases, and everything in between.

What’s the most boring but lucrative niche you’ve found on the web?

Finding good fonts is hard

I was recently working on a project with a client and they were very picky about the type of font we used to portray their brand.

There’s so many different font families and types that searching all of the foundry sites is a pain in the arse.

Then I came across All Fonts. It’s a library of fonts across different foundries so it’s your one stop shop for your finding the font you need.

They have a massive tag cloud in the sidebar that lets you drill down by very niche and specific areas, which is perfect for what I wanted.

In case you were wondering (you weren’t) the Garden Grown font is the one we ended up with for this particular client 😉

Is domaining dead?

Back in the day domaining was a great way to turn a profit. Find an expired domain, register it, sell it on warrior forums or reddit to the highest bidder – done!

But times have changed and you can’t just do that any more. I’ve noticed that domaining seems to be back in fashion though, with a number of different sites popping up in recent years.

  • Domainz.io – This is a subscription service that monitors expired domains that have you dropped. You get the expired domain for the $10 reg fee
  • topfive.domains – This is a unique take where users list their top 5 domain names they own and buyers can bid on them. Seems a little bit abandoned but a nice idea!

Have you got an experience domaining? Is it still a thing? Answers in the comments.

Selling websites

I just saw a very interesting project posted to reddit called “We Want Websites”.

They are positioning themselves as a Flippa alternative, which lets be honest – is very much needed!

I have in the past bought and sold small websites from Flippa but the number of scammers on there made it suck as they grew. The last site I bought had completely fake figures and I got burned.

With www (as they call themselves – thought that was neat) the sites are heavily reviewed beforehand and only the best of the best will get listed.

I signed up to their newsletter and dropped them an email and it seems they are currently in a sort of “beta” phase where they need both buyers and sellers in order to grow.

I’d imagine for this sort of project that buyers would be easier than sellers so if you ARE a possible seller, sell your website with them so that they can hopefully become a legit alternative to Flippa!

Niche web tools

Since my last post about Anya and her maker projects, I’ve been hearing from a bunch of solo developers and makers on what they are working on. I love the web! There are so many cool people, doing so many cool things!

Here are just a few of the awesome projects I’ve seen recently:

  • BIN Checker – I didn’t even know what a BIN was. Apparently it’s the first 6 digits of your credit or debit card number? Anyway, this tool lets you look that number up and find out information about the bank, including the name of the bank, the account type, the country of origin etc.
  • Domains Index – This product came by accident. They were building a database for an SEO tool, and ended up with a database of over 200m registered domain names. They now sell this data in various sets for some pretty decent prices.
  • NoCode – Advice, tools and tutorials on how to build a business or become a “maker” if you have no code or web development experience. This is very inclusive for non-techs to create stuff as well, and I love it!
  • everyday – This is a habit tracker that I have actually started using myself and I love it. It’s so elegantly designed, so sleek and stylish. It just works and it’s absolutely brilliant. It’s $12 a year, which is so cheap!
  • Rest – A simple pomodoro timer that reminds you to take breaks during your work day. It’s vital for productivity and health and happiness if you work in an office. I’ve used pomodoro for years and this app just works.

Got any decent web apps you think I should highlight on the blog? Let me know!

in Web | 285 Words

Online makers and the future of the web

I’ve been noticing a big trend on social media that is rising in popularity every single day. It’s a group of very tech savvy, sometimes coders (but not always), people who call themselves “makers”.

They differ from entrepreneurs in a few ways but one of the most important is how they identify. A maker is somebody who bootstraps and gets things done. They often work on very specific and niche projects, and they also like to tweet and blog and share their journey of what they are working on, if it’s working, and why they choose to work on it.

My encounter with a maker

I met a 21 year old maker the other day in a Twitter chat, and after some back and forth DM’ing, I knew I had to blog about it.

Her name is Anya, and she’s an accountant, mathematician, and hobbyist web developer who is combing her passion for spreadsheets, numbers, development and writing with a blog to provide help and tutorials for anybody interested in finance – personal, corporate, stocks/bonds etc. She’s focusing on financial formulas and ratios during the launch and is aiming to make it very simple to figure out exactly how these complex formulas work.

What I love about this is that Anya has a passion, and is making something. She’s learning as she goes. Her goal is to make $1,000 a month from her projects in order to pay rent and utilities, which in turn will give her more free time and energy to pursue new projects, whatever they may be.

Are you a maker? If so, please reach out to me as I’m looking to do some case studies on what makes them so different, and why I think they are the future of the web.

First post on the new blog

Welcome to Tom’s Printing. The only place to get musings on new and old media, edtech, the web, and more – all from a gormless gonk living in Truro, Cornwall.