Selecting the right blog niche. Should be easy right? After all there are no technical problems to solve. Just ‘follow your passion’ and write about your favorite hobby, yes? Well, maybe it’s not necessarily as simple as all that.
Here are the big questions I think you should be asking yourself before making your final decision on your blog niche will be:
- How much competition is there?
- Should you follow your passion and select your favorite subject/hobby?
- Is the niche very popular?
- How profitable is it compared to other niches?
- Is it sustainable over the longer term?
I’ll now consider each of these questions in more depth.
Is there much competition?
There’s an ongoing debate as to whether a lot of competition in a blog niche is a good thing or a bad thing.
One argument is that bloggers who are operating in your chosen blogging niche aren’t your competitors or ‘the enemy’, but rather friends and colleagues that you can work together with so that you can help drive traffic to each other’s blogs.
And anyway in 2018, we’re still only effectively in the early days of blogging. At the end of 2017, just over half the population of the world was using the internet. Thus the numbers of people continuing to come online are still growing rapidly on a daily basis, and are predicted to approximately double in the next few years.
Search on Google for say ‘Home cooking blog’ if that’s your niche, and see how many blogs there are in that particular niche.
Check out some of the more popular ones. If they’re getting lots of comments then you’ll know that they’ve got an active readership. A low number of comments could be a sign of a weak niche with little popularity or interest.
Sites with plenty of comments and followers are good indicators of a healthy niche, with loads of potential for a keen newcomer to be successful.
Are you passionate about your niche?
If your blog is going to be successful then you can expect to be writing about your topic of choice for years to come.
Thus whichever niche you select to blog about will need to be something that you’re passionate about, else your lack of interest will surely show through in your writing.
The likelihood of your persisting with the blog will also be greatly lessened.
If you select a topic for which you have a genuine passion and interest then:
- your passion will shine through in your writing, dramatically improving the likelihood of your blog’s success.
- you’ll have much less trouble coming up with great ideas for posts.
- you’ll find it much easier to make the time to write.
- your chances of getting tired of the subject and giving up on the blog are substantially reduced.
To start, create a list of all the subjects that interest you, whether it’s music, finance, fashion, cookery, sports etc.
Then decide which of those subjects interests you the most. If you come up with more than one and can’t make a decision, then examine successful blogs in those niches. Read the kind of articles the bloggers are writing and see if that helps make up your mind.
This post from First Site Guide is a great introduction to the types of blogs being written today.
And this post by Kristie Hill has a useful list of the most popular types of blogs.
Unsurprisingly, fashion tops the list (with 18,100 searches), followed by Food, Travel, Beauty, and Music.
In spite of ‘Money Saving Blogs’ being well down the list (320 searches) Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s blog in that niche, ‘Making Sense of Cents’, earns her a profit of over $100,000 per month.
Plenty of other blogs in her Personal Finance blogging niche are doing even better, which just goes to show that you don’t really need to choose a subject with a large number of searches to be successful.
How popular is the niche?
As shown by the success of Schroeder-Gardner in her Personal Finance niche, you don’t have to blog about the most popular topics to be successful. You do however want to ensure that the topic you choose has a large enough community of potential readers.
If you were to go by the list in the post mentioned above it might appear that blogging about fashion would give you the greatest chance of lots of traffic, and if fashion is what excites you most then that’s probably what you should write about on your blog.
You should, however, remember that the blogs with the greatest number of searches will also be the most competitive, so picking a subject based entirely on its popularity in search isn’t necessarily the best idea.
Is the niche a profitable one?
People start blogs for all sorts of reasons. Some do it for fun or as a hobby, and some are more business-minded and try to make a living from it.
Those hoping to profit from their blogs will want to investigate how ‘monetizable’ their potential niche is before starting their blog.
Things to consider would include:
- What are the chances of attracting lots of traffic?
- What sort of advertising can I attract?
- Are experienced bloggers in the niche making good profits?
- What kinds of affiliate programs are available?
Someone who’s a decent writer and willing to put in the hours can do well in almost any niche – see ‘How to Generate $100,000 a Month from a Brand New Blog for example.
Take your time before jumping in! Do your research thoroughly first before commencing your blog to avoid regrets and inconvenience later on.
Is your niche topic sustainable?
Before making a final decision on a blogging niche you should also consider its ‘sustainability’.
By sustainability I mean, does the subject have enough potential depth that you can be sure that you’ll be able to keep up a steady stream of new content?
The best way to check this is to write out as many different post topics that you come up with, and then browse through blogs in the same niche to get ideas for more topics you can easily add.
You want to avoid the situation of having written say 30 or 40 posts and then be struggling to come up with anything fresh or new to say.
If this situation should occur to you though there’s a great tool you can use: HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator.
It’s amazing for generating new ideas, e.g. pop in ‘Blog’ into ‘Noun 1’ and ‘Design’ into ‘Noun 2’ and it’ll present you with five creative titles to choose from.
If you don’t like any of those just run it again and get five new titles. You should find something you can use sooner or later.
There’s no need to make a hasty decision as to a blogging niche as any blog is likely to be a long-term commitment.
If you think there’s even a slight possibility that you might later change your niche, giving your blog your own name or some other non-specific name could be a good idea.
Real or made-up names that don’t commit you to any particular subject matter allow you to keep your options open. Some names that spring to mind are Yahoo!, Google, Vine, Apple, Amazon etc.
If you can find a blogging niche that meets all the criteria I’ve listed above then you can be pretty sure it’s a good one. Whether or not it fits all criteria though, as long as you’re prepared to put a sustained effort in (and know that few achieve quick success) then you still have a great chance of doing very well.
Starting a blog can be compared to rolling a snowball down a hill – it starts off slow and small and gradually builds up speed, becoming bigger and faster as it goes.
Just remember that even the most successful bloggers started with no posts, no audience, and no followers!
What other factors do you think should be considered when selecting a blog niche? Let me know in the comments.
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