The first step to starting a blog is choosing a niche. A niche is simply the content focus/topic of your blog.
Although the first step, picking a niche is the most important part of creating a blog. Get it wrong, and you’re destined for failure from the get-go.
And believe me, it's heartbreaking to work on a blog day after day, month after month, only to realize that it's never going to go anywhere because of the niche you chose.
Unfortunately, this happens to many would-be bloggers. But, it doesn't have to happen to you! With a little bit of forethought and research, you can you avoid such a situation.
To learn how to choose a niche "the right way" continue reading.
Pick a Topic
Choosing a niche begins with picking a topic.
To pick a topic brainstorm ideas by making a list of all of your interests.
When making your list keep this in mind, behind nearly every successful blog is an author with a passion for what they write about – you should too.
To get ideas for possible niches think of the following
- Are you an Enthusiast – Is there a subject you could talk about all day long? Football, politics, gaming.
- Can you teach something – Do you have skills that other people want to learn? Photography, baking, painting, fishing, etc.
- Can you provide information – Are you an expert or knowledgeable in a particular field? Tax, SEO, nutrition, accountancy, etc.
- Do you have life experiences that can help others – Have you overcome trials and tribulations that can help people who are in a similar situation.
Although you might have many interests, choose only for the focus of your blog. Blogging on different topics like travel, health, fitness, pets under the one blog roof makes it harder to get traction and build an engaged audience.
Identify Your Audience
Choosing a topic is only the first part of honing the focus of your blog. The next phase of the process is identifying the audience that your blog will serve.
So what do I mean when I say identify an audience.
- You might be a professional fitness coach but starting a blog about fitness, in general, is too broad in scope. Instead, create a blog about fitness for Women or fitness for people over 50.
- A career guidance professional could create a blog that targets students who are just out of college, providing tips and information to help them land their dream job.
- Instead of blogging about healthy food, in general, build a blog about "eating healthy on a budget."
- If you're into photography, create a blog focused on photography for beginners or advanced tips for budding experts.
The takeaway here is that a topic in itself is not enough; you need to create a blog that resonates with a particular audience, this will make it easier to build authority, attract followers, and get traction.
Confirm there is an Audience
You might be passionate about Mongolian Face Masks (not sure if they are a real thing), but there might be very few other people in the world who share your passion.
While you don't need an audience of millions, there should be enough people (tens of thousands) searching for information related to your topic to warrant building a blog.
If you want to use paid research tools (for more in-depth keyword analysis), I highly recommend Long Tail Pro – it has been my go-to keyword research tool for the last five years.
To perform keyword research think of what people would search for when looking for information related to your topic.
If you want to blog about “Eating Healthy on a Budget,” you would probably think of keywords such as.
– "Cheap Healthy Meals" – 27,000 Monthly searches
– "Cheap Meals" – 33,100 Monthly searches (People looking for cheap meals would probably also like to eat healthily)
– "Cheap Recipes" – 12,100 Monthly Searches
– "Healthy Meals on a Budget" – 8,100 Monthly searches
– "Healthy Eating on a Budget" – 6,600 Monthly searches
– "Cheap Healthy Recipes" – 3,100 Monthly searches
– "Cheap Healthy Snacks" – 2,900 Monthly searches
– "Cheap Healthy Family Meals" – 1,900 Monthly searches
As you can see, people are searching for information on this subject.
Outside of keyword tools, the presence of competitors in your niche is a good indication that there is an audience. Never the less, even if there are other competitors, I still recommend getting some hard numbers through keyword research.
Determine How You Will Generate Income
Before you pour your heart and soul into a blog, you should have a clear understanding of how it will eventually generate income. You don't want to build a blog only to find the niche has limited earning potential.
There are multiple ways to monetize a blog. However, be aware that some topics are easier to monetize and have more revenue opportunities.
Below are some of the commons methods used to generate blog income.
- Affiliate Marketing – You make a commission for recommending 3rd party products and services.
- Selling Services – You can provide online services like coaching, consultancy, and freelancing.
- Digital Products – You can create and sell digital products like eBooks and online courses.
- Display Advertising – You can display 3rd party ads and get paid (a small fee) when someone clicks on them.
- Sponsorships – Brands and advertisers will pay you to promote their products and services to your audience.
If you are unsure how to generate income from your blog, then look to your competitors and others in your niche to identify how they are monetizing. Maybe they use some or all of the methods listed above.
Check There is Enough Content to Sustain a Blog
The niche you choose should be content rich. To sustain a blog you need lots of content. You don't want to run out of ideas after a few months because there is nothing left to write on the topic.
Before you pull the trigger on a niche research the content landscape – the content related to and surrounding your topic.
To conduct content research use.
- Keyword tools to help you discover what your audience is searching for – you can turn the search queries into blog posts.
- Quora, Reddit, Facebook groups, and related online forums to tap into the conversations your audience is having and the questions they are asking.
- Answer The Public. If you don't know it Answer The Public, check it out, it's an excellent tool for content discovery.
- Google to research what competitors are other publications are writing in relation to your topic.
I recommend compiling a list of at least 50 blog post ideas (and that should just be scratching the surface of the overall content landscape) before you commit to building out a blog.
Identify How You Will Stand Out
What makes your blog different from your competitors? If you cannot differentiate yourself, you will find it hard to get ahead – this is especially true in competitive niches.
To understand the competitive landscape, conduct competitor research. Your competitors are the other blogs and websites that are serving your audience.
Pick, five to seven competitors and deep dive into how they serve their readers (sign-up to their email lists, read their content, watch their videos) to identify what you can bring to the table that is different.
Consider some of the below points when conducting your analysis.
- What is the quality of the content your competitors are publishing and can you improve upon it? Maybe you can create more in-depth, better-researched content.
- Can you put a slant or twist in how you approach the subject matter relating to your niche? The Mama Natural blog is a terrific example of a blogger with a different slant on a topic.
- Can you identify content gaps? Quite often topics that relate to your audience are not sufficiently covered or not covered at all – this presents an opportunity for you to get ahead.
- What are the typical formats of content – Text, Video, Podcasts, Infographics? Like content gaps, you might see an opportunity for creating content formats that your competitors are not utilizing.
Once you identify how you differentiate, you have a fighting chance of competing in any niche, no matter how tough.
There is a sea of failed blogs on the internet. Many failed because the authors behind them did not put enough forethought and research into their niche before pulling the trigger. Don't let your blog be among them.
To give yourself the best chance of success first perform due diligence. You can then move forward with confidence.
I hope you enjoyed this post and it helps you make the right choice when choosing a blog niche.
Should you have any questions or other tips, please feel free to leave a comment below.