How to Blog – How to Choose a Blog Niche [5 Tips for Picking a Profitable Blog Topic]
Let’s face it… unless your blog is strictly for your own enjoyment, you’re probably hoping to gain readers and make money online. Therefore it’s important to give thought to what others might want to read. Determining how to choose a blog niche, or theme, is not very difficult. It may seem daunting a first but with a little homework and some self-reflection, you can be well underway soon.
In the following video I give some tips on picking a blog niche that will help generate website traffic.
Many factors will come into play when it comes to choosing blog niche – but the following are those that you should focus on:
1. Your Interest in the Blog Niche or Topic
I started out blogging on topics that interested me – but as I began to see the potential to make money from my blogs, I began to experiment with topics that I had less interest in but which I thought would be profitable.
What I discovered in creating these “money” blogs was that while they had the potential to make money… because I had little interest in the topic I couldn’t keep up with it. I struggled with blogging regularly. I had little to say on the topics. When I did write something I think that my readers could tell that my heart wasn’t in it. As a result the traffic did not build up as I didn’t develop a following. Nobody linked up and the blogs were far from profitable.
On the flip side of this – the blogs that I did have an interest in and a passion for have flourished. Although my interest wasn’t the only reason they did well, it did play a large part in my success.
You really need to do some self-reflection when selecting a blog niche. Ask yourself, “What am I about?” By choosing a blog niche that reflects who you are, you will be able to sustain it and your interest in the topic will reflect in your writing. If you are passionate about the topic… you will begin to attract others who are also passionate about it as well.
2. The Popularity of the Blog Topic
It doesn’t matter if you are extremely passionate about a topic if nobody shares that passion. It will end up being an uphill battle to build a blog that gets much traffic.
This doesn’t mean you need to choose the most popular topics. Actually it is better to not choose a blog niche the majority of your competitors are targeting. However you will want to choose a niche that has some level of demand for content.
There are many ways to do research on this whether topics are popular, but my favorite is to determine Google Trends. Do some searches on Google trends for keywords around your niches (and compare them) and you’ll see whether the blog topic you’ve chosen has been growing or shrinking and how it compares to other topics.
3. Blog Niche Competition
A major factor why I see some bloggers failing is that they fail to acknowledge how much competition there is for their selected niche. Worse, they fail to access the strength of the competition. The danger in choosing one of the popular niches is that you might be competing against some very powerful sites, or leaders in the niche who have a very strong following.
While the completion shouldn’t stop you from exploring a blog niche it should definitely be considered… and perhaps it can help you to shape your blog niche to give you a competitive advantage.
There are several ways to assess the strength of niche’s competition, but one of the simplest ways is to do some searches on Google to look at how many sites exist for keywords on your topic. You can do this by taking the keyword phrases you narrowed yourself down to using Google Adwords and putting them in quotations when searching in Google. For example if your keyword phrase is how to blog, then you would do a Google search with the entire phrase including quotations, “how to blog”. Google will then give you the number of websites that use this keyword phrase. This won’t give you an indication of the power of the competition – but it will give you some indication on the ‘size’ of competition and it will identify some sites that you will want to be monitoring.
As you assess your potential competition in a niche don’t worry if there is a lot of competition. Instead look at what other sites are doing look and look for opportunities in these two areas:
How to differentiate yourself
Look for gaps in the niche that the competition is not covering, or things that perhaps you could do that might differentiate yourself. Perhaps there is a sub-niche that everyone is ignoring, the websites all ‘look’ the same, or the competition all approach the topic in the same sort of ‘voice/style’. These things could be things to explore in offering an alternative to the established sites.
Ways to interact and model the competition
As you investigate look for websites that you might be able to connect with, contribute to and model in the building of your own blog. Find ways to be a content contributor for your competition, and you may find ways to help build your own site indirectly by getting your name out there or even building backlinks.
4. Will the Topic Be Something That Can Be Sustained?
Don’t forget to consider whether the blog niche is one that you can sustain over the long term. This partly relates to the interest and passion that you have for the topic, but this also refers to whether there is enough depth or future changes/evolution with the topic that gives you plenty to write. Some food for thought for two types of blogs include:
- ‘News’ Blog – is there enough news or developments happening in your niche to keep reporting on it?
- ‘How to’ Blog – Is the topic deep enough to be able to come up with enough tutorials or tips?
Remember that you need to post to your blog regularly, preferably several times a week if not DAILY.
5. Is the Blog Niche Profitable?
Since you probably also want to make money from your blog, you’ll want to assess the potential for profit before you start.
There are a few ways to get indications on whether a blog niche will be profitable – including:
Do a simple search on Google.com for your topic/keywords. Look at what ads Google is serving for those keywords over on the right side (or above the search results). Doing some analysis of these ads can be useful on a few fronts. For starters they’ll show you if any advertisers are actively targeting those keywords. This is handy to know if you’re planning on running AdSense on your blog. It will also be handy to check out who is advertising as they could be potential direct sponsors of your site. The other useful thing to note is whether any of the ads are for products that have affiliate opportunities as they could be products you could promote as an affiliate.
Look for advertisers for your particular keyword. If there is competition paying for the keyword, you know that this keyword is probably profitable.
Doing an affiliate search on your niche is key to making your blog profitable. Do a little hunting around to see if you can find any products online that support affiliate commissions. Sometimes this is as simple as Googling <keyword> affiliate product. Also check out commission sources such as Clickbank, Commission Junction or PepperJam (aff) to see if they have any relevant products listed for your niche.
Think of your own potential products
What could YOU sell directly to audience? It is always a good idea to think about what products you might be able to create and promote. These might include:
- information products like e-books, audios, videos, webinars
- membership areas where people pay a monthly fee for extra coaching, or to be part of a community
- personal services like coaching
- a physical product relevant to your niche – or something else.
Look at your competition and see what they are doing. Although you won’t want to copy them exactly, you can model what they are doing for their own products and come up with your own personalized approach. This should help you quickly come up with a list of potential products and services to promote. Just remember not to promote too many competing products… it will confuse your readers. You want to be solution oriented with the products you recommend and promote. When you advertise something on your website, you are in fact personally endorsing that product so choose carefully.
What Are You Waiting For?
Now get started today! Every day you wait is one day you are missing out on opportunities. You can always refine and improve your blog over time. Don’t let yourself suffer from paralysis by analysis.
Here’s to your future success!
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3. How to Blog – 10 Tips to Create a Six-Figure Blog