Highly targeted, focused sites that are related to specific market segments are highly advantageous and can often be created using existing web content. The key is to provide value.
Think of the time spent surfing the web gathering resources and information. By creating a topic-centric resource compiling information, webmasters are providing a service or value. In many cases that value is simply the compilation of topic-specific information in a single resource. The compilation of this information in itself is the value.
These highly focused content sites can be great supplemental portals that are invaluable as a marketing tool for niche products. Niche portals help define expertise in a specific market segment, not to mention the added benefit of providing valuable topic-specific links. The topic-centric portals also tend to achieve high search placement and will often provide advertisers high quality exposure, allowing webmasters the opportunity to capitalize on their efforts.
What to put in topical portal?
Many article writers allow webmasters to republish their articles.
Search the large article directories for quality topic-specific articles using keyword searches. The articles contained in these directories often allow publishers to freely reproduce the article's contents as long as the hyperlinks in the article and article resource box remain intact.
Resource for finding articles for publication:
GoArticles - http://www.goarticles.com
By nature, RSS feeds are designed for syndication. Most RSS feeds can be freely reproduced. Locate topic-specific feeds using keyword or category searches. The contents of the feeds can be used to populate web pages. There are a number of free scripts available that allow webmasters to display the contents of an RSS feed (see http://www.rss-specifications.com/displaying-rss-feeds.htm for instructions on displaying feeds).
Resources for finding RSS feeds for syndication:
RSS Network - http://www.rss-network.com
RSS Locator - http://www.rss-locator.com
While this takes a little more time, compiling a collection of niche websites on related topics can significantly enhance the value of a portal. Topic-specific directories and search engines can achieve high search engine rankings with the larger engines like Google and MSN, and can easily be optimized for a collection of search terms. The process can even be automated if you have programming experience.
Sample Link Directory - http://www.investing-partners.com
TOPIC SPECIFIFC FORUM
The most successful forums are those that are highly focused and niche-oriented. Establishing a community of individuals with common interests will result in return visitors. Managing a forum is not overly complex and there are free forum scripts available that will provide the forum structure. Many of the forums have scripts available that will allow for search engines to spider the contents and forum posts. As the content flourishes, the site will increase in value.
Free Forum Scripts: http://www.phpbb.com
More on topic-specific portals or information radars can be found in Robin Good's book 'Newsmastering'.
A site that is focused on a relatively narrow range of goods and services will find that there is less competition. Topic-centric websites that provide a gateway to niche information related to a particular industry, sector, topic or market segment are becoming increasingly valuable and popular. Compiling the resource using free resources will minimize the capital investment. Regardless of whether you are marketing a product, service or advertising, narrowing the topic focus will attract a targeted audience who genuinely are interested in the website topic, allowing you to monetize the portal, and minimize the expense.