Brainstorm It! is the only niche-finding and keyword researching tool that you will ever need. Its two major parts, Brainstormer and Master Keyword List, combine to deliver unparalleled information and insights into your website content and structure. Share your best tips, ideas and strategies here.

Moderator: Mary from Mico

#1387259 by Vesna from the Twin Cities
Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:43 am

I ran my first ever Brainstorm It! sessions last weekend. I’m having problems with my 3rd round of seed word investigations: “books as art” and “cakes as art”. Both return only 1 keyword each. I find this hard to believe.

The problem: As these are areas in which I’m a newbie, I’m just not sure what seed word terms would be ideal here.

Google “books as art” and view the Images tab. That is exactIy what I’m after: books whose pages are folded and/or cut to create a work of art. If I use “folded book art”, I may exclude cut page book art. “cut and fold book art” looks great, but I’m not sure if I’m excluding any other technique categories. I can’t use “art books”, because I would get books discussing art. “book art” gets me hits for book “manufacturing”, as in bookmaking, OR art composed of books, which is what I want.

Google “cakes as art” and view the Images tab. This is also what I’m after, but I’d like to place less emphasis on artistic wedding cakes and more emphasis on cakes-imitating-life things like paint cans, crayon sets, vases with flowers, dragons, animals, sports balls, sandwiches, burgers, etc. I can’t use “sugar art”, because it looks like Google’s hits are for sculptures made from blown sugar. Cakes are part of the larger sugar art genre, however. “artistic cakes” looks like a good alternative at least from Google.

I know I don’t always use the same search words as other people, so it sometimes takes me longer to find what I’m looking for via Google, but this is a little discouraging.

How do I test seed words without burning up Brainstorm It! credits? How do I come up with more precisely targeted seed words? If I talk with experts in these respective fields, I might get good alternatives, but how do I know what the average Joe will use? Any guidance, helpful hints, or tricks of the trade would be appreciated.

#1387265 by Mary from Mico
Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:01 am
Hi Vesna.

Wow. These are wonderful topics.

Number One: I would not worry about using up BI credits. Buying the next set is so cheap, especially compared to how much freedom you'll have. For perspective, on one of my sites I bought the 500 and have not had to buy again - since about 2010 or something close.

About expanding your terms? Do you have the lateralizer options yet?

I have ideas for other topics like using a thesaurus and, as you've already done, looking at search results; yet I'm at a loss in your case. My only experience here was with a book Christmas tree spray painted gold over thirty years ago.

Is this something you already do in "real life"? If you can give us more info, perhaps we can suggest more ideas.

#1387290 by Maria from Agness
Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:01 pm
Hi Vesna,

I agree with Mary don't worry about using up the credits they are really cheap to buy and I also bought the 500 credits once and haven't needed more, the freedom to use brainstorm it as often as I need is worth the small price.

Both your niches seem very narrow could you tell us a bit more about what you hope to acheive. Do you make and sell either books as art or cakes as art? If so then it's possible to have much smaller numbers as your website will be more of an artists site where you can showcase your work to show to potential customers.

If you don't already make these to sell are you planning to? If you are just going to write about them and show others work in these area the niche is probably too narrow. I don't know a great deal about either subject so I may be wrong. Could you explain more of your plans so we can help you a bit more.

That's not much help but once we know more it's possible we will be able to help further.
#1387333 by Vesna from the Twin Cities
Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:34 pm
Hello, All!

I will take you up on your offers to help!

A little bit about me…

I retired last December from a long career as a Software Engineer. I’m only on Day 2 of the Action Guide (Find and Develop Your Best Site Concept), so I haven’t gotten into the lateral aspects of any potential concept, yet.

I am the inquisitive sort and fascinated by new technology of all kinds, which doesn’t lend itself easily to being an online business. I’m kind of like a kid in a candy store in the craft and hobby arena, but I haven’t excelled in any specific one nor do I feel that I’m an expert. I just plain haven’t found one that I can call my own, so to speak. I know for sure that I don’t want to lose my pleasure in doing a craft or hobby, because I have to work on it for my business.

Thoughts about my online business…

At this point, I don’t really want to sell my own products and deal with that whole arena of sales tax, but I may change my mind in the future.

Affiliate marketing has always been in the back of my mind and my intended business backbone.

One add-on I’d like to include in my business, if it’s workable, is a finder service. Having trouble locating “product x?” Let me find it for you. Cost would free (if this item/vendor would benefit my business), a flat fee, or by the hour (if excessively time consuming work is expected) with an estimate given to the potential client.

About the books as art…

I took a short class on folded book art this summer and the attraction is the cool things that can be created. I’m trying to find the umbrella term for the area that covers folded and cut book art, so the focus wouldn’t be so narrow. My initial thoughts are to depict a newbie’s adventure from the DIY viewpoint: discuss the various techniques (fold, cut, and whatever else there might be) and have a gallery of examples, ideas for book art gifts, what kind of books to use and where to find them (?), tools to get started, how to embellish simpler book art items, take some classes/read some books and share those adventures with my visitors, ask others to submit book/class reviews, have a place where others could post pictures of what they made (that social, sharing aspect), take on advertisers, maybe have giveaways for projects I don’t want to keep, plus monetize on affiliate links to resources (tools, embellishments, online classes, book sellers). I would also like to cover my bases for those who would just like to buy instead of make: have affiliate links to sellers. If I think I would sell my own creations eventually, I would only have affiliate links to high-end book art vendors, otherwise I would need to run the gamut of vendors to cover all kinds of budgets. My concern is all the DIY instructions, patterns, and videos already out there and the role of copyright infringement. A lot of websites have just a little here and there on the subject. I guess I would like my business to be a “books as art central.”

About the cakes as art…

In general, I don’t do a lot of baking. I was thinking of the business as a “cakes as art central,” however, I personally am not interested in actually making such cakes. Instead, I would prefer to enlighten the Internet community as to all the cool things that can be done with cakes. The business ideas would be very similar to the books newbie concept--helping to equip and educate DIYers, but give those who just want to buy only connections to others, i.e., bakeries/cake artists. I could review some books and course overviews, but I don’t anticipate going into a lot of hands-on production. Having giveaways would be debatable, but that could work. If I Google, there are a lot of shops that sell artsy cakes. One thing to include would be a search-by-location function for the vendors, since cakes can’t easily be shipped. That also means I should have at least 1 vendor in each state. I think that my lack of desire to create such cakes might be my downfall for this idea, since I’m not practicing what I’m preaching.

Sorry for the lengthy dissertation, but this is what I’ve been thinking about.

Really looking forward to your thoughts and ideas.

Thank you in advance for your help!

#1387339 by Mary from Mico
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:17 am
Hi Vesna.

Congratulations on your retirement!

I really think you will want to take your time choosing your niche. I remember watching the Action Guide and then rewatching it as I "did" the steps – sometimes 30 seconds of AG with an hour of "doing"…. It was a long time before I understood the power of the numbers in the MKL. I am sure I still do not understand or use the "full" power of BrainstormIt.

Yes, I agree that you're going to have to find the umbrella term for book art as it seems as if it would be hard to monetize it from my perspective. Finding the affiliate sellers would be a good first step in finding whether there is a market for this. I would love to know: "Are there 'high-end' book art sellers"? What a concept! Otherwise, you've got a great perspective. The numbers are where you need to be careful. Is there enough demand for such book art?

Too bad computers don't still use cards. We made Christmas wreaths from them for a couple years when I was young.

The cakes as art concept is in a similar situation, but worse if you do not intend to make the cakes you'll showcase. Your lack of desire would be a huge negative. Do not underestimate the power of your interest in your site concept.

Is there something more related to your career as a software engineer? Software? Engineering? Something about the company or companies for which you used to work?

Do you already have a hobby of some other sort, or something related to book or cake art?

I hope these notes help you think big.

#1387340 by Adrian from
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:53 am
Hi Vesna;

Put yourself in your website visitors shoes

Would you search for "books as art" ?, Not necessarily. I'm inclined to think a visitor might search for "The works of Geoffrey Chaucer" or "Books as Sculpture" or "Charles Dickens 1st edition" or any one of dozens of keywords related to the planets most beautiful books, old and new

Beautiful books also include writing style as an art form. Such as searches for "James Joyce novel Ulysses" You have discovered fold out books, which also encompasses fold out greeting cards. I Believe thats an entire niche in itself. So is medieval book illustration. Then there is the worlds most valuable books of which many are inherently beautiful.

Try to brainstorm all the possibilities and watch the connections. Even ask your friends what they would search for and what terms they would use. To be effective your website has to be all about the visitor and how it delivers what they want.

If you want to compete with other websites be way more passionate. Have you ever seen Catholic Sister Wendy Beckett when she evaluates the worlds raciest art. Do that for the most beautiful books.

I hope i have managed to light the fuse of your imagination so it explodes into a million barely manageable niches :lol:
#1387392 by Karen from Mackey
Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:02 pm
I agree with Mary about really taking your time and finding a passion that others want to know about.
I like the idea of folded and cut book art. I didn't know what it was so I searched the term. I did see some neat images and found a custom book for sale on Amazon.
You also said that you like technology maybe this would make a site that would keep you interested and bring visitors.
Finding your niche is an important, difficult step. All it takes is finding what you are passionate about, what others want to know about, and something that will make some money.
#1387416 by Vesna from the Twin Cities
Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:53 am
Hello, All!

Thanks for the input and advice.


I’ve already decided not to sweat the credits. No wonder we get 50 of them to start.

I’ve been working with an outplacement counselor for a little while on trying to figuring out what I want to do during retirement. Her deadline would be the only one figuring into my niche search. If I can’t find my path by her drop-dead date, so be it. I can’t rush my niche exploration.

About my hobbies and the “as art” concepts…

I don’t have any hobbies that are book art or cake art related, though I did take a 1 1/2 hour folded book art class this summer. As a teenager, I made a few beaded items, but did a lot of (stamped) embroidery and crewel kits. As an adult, I’ve made a number of twisted paper gift boxes. I’ve also done some clothes sewing, machine embroidery, and stained glass over the years, but couldn’t devote a lot of time to any of these hobbies because of working full time.

I’ve thought about the “cakes as art” concept some more and realized that not making the cakes myself would be the true kiss-of-death. I will drop it. The fascination was more about the wow-factor of the finished products, anyway.

I don’t think any umbrella term will work as a seed word for what I’m after with the “books as art” concept. Folks would search for each of the individual kinds of art. They would only look for the umbrella term, IF they’re looking to find out art genre those individual arts belong to. They would just search for folded book art, cut and fold book art, and pop up book art, altered book art, etc., or description terms like diy book art, simple book art, and easy book art, etc.

I guess “book art” might be the best seed word/umbrella word after all, even though a Google search showed me the top search result matches were actually books about art. I avoided using “book art”, because of this very fact. I did have luck Googling what I was looking for under derivations of book art—see the previous paragraph—so I should see folded book art, cut and fold book art, pop up book art, altered book art, diy book art, simple book art, and easy book art come back in BI as associated keywords.

The light bulb has come on! Yeah!

I will try “book art” and see how the numbers roll. I will still research the art world genre to confirm that the keywords above cover the range of the most common forms I would need to cover. As suggested, I will also need to keep in mind alternate terms such as "books as sculpture" and survey others to find out what they would search for and what terms they would use.

I just spent a little time looking for high-end/expensive folded book art. All I see are instructions, patterns, articles about artists, and some vendors, the same results like Googling the other keywords. Because these are affordable to make, just time consuming, vendors seem to be a dime-a-dozen with average cost $50 – $65, except for custom orders. Amazon has some very nice ones that are better than average for up to $125. That might be as high-end as it gets, unless I contact some of the artists who create those out-of-the-world pieces advertised in some of the online articles I found. Because developing affiliate relationships I would potentially break later on if deciding to go into business for myself would be awkward, I could just become an Amazon affiliate and avoid this situation entirely.

Taking a step back for a moment, I’m confident that I could conquer making book art easily enough and do justice to instructing others via my website. My first 2 creations turned out pretty good and what you can make is just so cool. As for becoming head-over-heels passionate, I’m a newbie looking to become a book art expert, so only time will tell.

About leveraging my former employers’ lines of business, my software engineer career, and my other passions …

Most of my former employers provide specialized systems and/or services to other businesses while the very last one facilitates stem cell transplants. Nothing really there to piggy-back off of.

I still love writing software and getting code to jump through hoops to create programs. I’m all for helping people by automating procedures and processes. I can’t consult, because the programming languages I know pre-date those in current use. I can’t even write the next killer app without retooling. :wink: There really aren’t any software and/or engineering areas where I’m considered an expert, so that’s out.

I love the interviewing, research, thinking, problem solving, and coding parts of being a software engineer. My counselor suggested Internet researcher, “expert”/consultant, fact checker, and travel planner, which don’t appeal to me, are a little too intense, and are an awful lot like a regular, stressful 9-to-5 job.

My underlying strengths are facilitation, organization, research, analysis, and problem solving. In another life, I would’ve been a professional organizer. None of these really lend themselves to an online business, except for professional organizer, which would require a certification to be taken seriously and seems to be a saturated field online.

Human beings are important to me in a number of different ways. Collaboration is refreshing and energizing to me. I’m driven to accomplish, to connect with others, and to help others. I believe my best avenues for doing these things and feeling fulfillment will be off the Internet. I think it would be more gratifying for me to help people I know, help out at church, find meaning in supporting a cause that speaks to me, or solve a problem bigger than myself by collaborating with others. I think I need to feel that I’m making a difference somewhere.

Some of my other passions are dance-related. I’ve did BIs on flash mobs (-all-out impromptu fun-), folk dances, and folk dancing (Serbian or “Balkan”), but there just don’t seem to be a lot of people looking for those kinds of things. It would also be hard to make money in those areas.

My all-too-evident everyday passions are a fascination with cool-looking things (think photos, cakes, book art, and extrapolate from there), reading human interest stories, and reading articles about new technology. I was hoping to capitalize on the time I’m already spending on these fascinations by making them my online business, but I think my website would just end up being a news feed of other news feeds and would require constant updating. Also, I can’t think of a way to add meaningful content, much less monetize to my advantage.

In summary and in closing…

I will BI with “book art” and see where that takes me.

I will also take the keys points in the “leveraging” section and put them into a post in the Finding Your Niche forum to see if someone has any ideas about niche-ing my everyday passions.

I am considering this post as 100% successful.



Look for me in the future. I plan on paying your kindness forward.

#1387419 by Mary from Mico
Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:08 am
Hi Vesna!

I'm so glad to see your notes.

Do keep at it with BI!

Also, do like the Action Guide said and keep a notebook with you or a 3x5 card to jot notes if you think of something else along the way.

I think you've already written a rough draft of your About Me page. :D

Brainstorm away with perfect freedom!

#1387433 by Katia, Anastasi, Apostoli from We Love Crete
Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:08 am
Hi Vesna,

Good on you for all the brainstorming and soul-searching.

It will all come together.

One way is to research the websites coming up in the MKL against the keywords that you like. Click on the 'i button' under the column titled 'search it!'

This brings back 'site info for xxx xxx keyword phrase'. This is a mine of information.

Go to a website in your niche and check it out. Then right click on any page and select 'page info' to see what keyword is being used on that page. There will be new, fresh ideas there.

I find this helps to jig me out of the way that I am thinking and provide a fresh take on things.

This also helps to get to know your niche.

Happy building :)

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