One of the keys to succeeding online—whether you are selling products or just trying to get traffic to your blog—is to understand what people are looking for…what they want or NEED. By researching these trends, you can focus your efforts (and product offerings) with laser accuracy and increase your chances for success exponentially. I’ve compiled a list of 40 different resources that are free for you to use in your trend research. While each website tracks trends in a wide variety of different ways, not all the resources may suit your needs. However, I would encourage you to spend some time familiarizing yourself with each of the sites to best determine which ones will provide you with the best data on the trends within your niche market.
For ease of use, I’ve listed the websites in alphabetical order.
Alexa’s traffic rankings are far from perfect, but the Movers and Shakers list may help you to identify some current trends.
Alltop links to popular sources of content in a wide range of topics.
Amazon’s Best Sellers list includes various categories and can provide a glimpse that may be helpful, especially for affiliate marketers.
You can follow Amazon’s Hot New Releases list to stay on top of the latest products that are of broad interest.
Amazon’s Movers and Shakers may not be the top sellers, but they’re the products that are gaining the most in terms of ranking.
AOL Hot Searches is similar to MSN A-List with a variety of information on hot topics.
Ask.com also has its own list of top searches.
xRank keeps track of notable people and puts them in order for you.
The eBay Pulse shows what items are selling right now, and which items are being watched the most.
See which pages are being linked to the most by Friendfeed users.
With Google Insights for Search, you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, and time frames.
Google trends provides data on search phrases that are hot.
Enter a URL and Google Trends for Websites will show you where it’s visitors are (geographically), other sites that they visit, and other searches that they perform.
Google’s Zeitgeist is the collective effort of other Google trend tools mentioned in this post.
Download a Hitwise widget to bring the latest online trends to your desktop.
Ice Tocket’s Trend Tool will letter you enter a word or phrase (or multiple phrases) to see how often it has been mentioned on a timeline.
Keyword Forecaster from Microsoft AdCenter forecasts the impression count and predicts demographic distributions of keywords.
Most popular searches for NYC Classifieds.
The Lycos 50 lists the top 50 search phrases of 2008 on Lycos.
MSN A-List provides information on popular topics, people searches, and rumors.
mySimon’s Top Searches reveals what products people are searching for in nearly any category.
The New York Times also provides a look at popular searches on its site.
At Popurls you can quickly see what is doing well at a large number of social media sites.
RSSmeme shows popular blog posts that have been shared.
Search.com popular search list provides a quick way to see what is popular at the moment.
Updated once daily, SEOmoz’s Popular Searches is an aggregation of popular search queries gathered from various sources across the web.
The Shopping.com Consumer Demand Index (CDI) makes it easy for you to put your finger on the pulse of consumer demand.
Shopzilla provides some useful information that shows what shoppers are searching for.
Techmeme is a constantly updated site that publishes links to tech news.
The Leaderboard at Techmeme shows which sites are mentioned most frequently on Techmeme.
Technorati’s Popular page will show you some current trends of the blog world.
Your search for hottest wholesale and retail trends can now begin and end at the latest go-to trend-tracking site, Top Ten Trends
With 9+ million monthly views, TrendHunter.com is the world’s largest, most popular trend community.
Trendpedia lists popular search phrases and also lets you compare trends of multiple phrases.
trendwatching.com is an independent and opinionated trend firm, scanning the globe for the most promising consumer trends, insights and related hands-on business ideas.
Truemors allows you to follow news and rumors.
Twist allows you to see what is being mentioned on Twitter.
URLTrends will provide a trends report based on a particular URL.
For finance-related content, Wall Street Journal will show you what’s popular.
Yahoo! Buzz tracks the buzz about anything — from breaking stories on major news to viral videos on personal blogs.