“If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.” – Dan Quayle
There’s a lot to think about before deciding what blogging niche to choose – these are the factors that I think you should be considering:
How Interested Are You?
If you’re hoping to blog successfully then you’ll be expecting to write about your chosen subject for years. Thus it will have to be about something you have a passion or strong interest in writing about, otherwise your lack of interest will likely soon be evident to your readership. The chances of your persisting with the blog will also be greatly diminished.
If you can blog about a subject you’re passionate about, then:
- you’ll find it much easier to come up with ideas for posts.
- you’ll find it easier to make the time to write.
- your likelihood of getting bored and giving up is greatly reduced.
- your enthusiasm will shine through in your writing, greatly increasing the chances of your blog’s success.
Start by making a list of all the subjects that interest you, whether it’s finance, music, fashion, cookery, sports etc. Then decide which of those interests you the most. If you have more than one and can’t decide, then look at blogs in those niches and see the sort of articles the bloggers are writing and see if that helps sway your decision.
This post from First Site Guide is an excellent introduction to the types of blogs being written today.
And this post by Kristie Hill has a great list of the most popular types of blogs. No surprise that fashion tops the list (with 18,100 searches), followed by Food, Travel, Beauty and Music.
I was interested to see ‘Money Saving Blogs’ way down the list at 320 searches, as for instance Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s blog ‘Making Sense of Cents’ famously earns her a profit of over $100,000 per month. Many others in that niche are doing even better than that. Which proves that you don’t necessarily need to choose a topic with a high number of searches.
How Popular is the Niche?
While the Money Saving niche example proves that you don’t need to be in one of the most popular niches, you still nevertheless want to be blogging about a topic that enough people are passionate enough to form a community around. “If you build it they will come” might work for dead baseball players but won’t necessarily apply to your blog.
Going by the list in the post mentioned above it might seem that blogging on fashion would give you the best chance of a big readership, and if fashion is your main interest then yes that’s probably where you should be blogging. Just remember however that the blogs with the highest number of searches will also have the most competition, so don’t choose a topic just based on it’s popularity in search.
How Much Competition is There?
As to the importance of competition in your niche, there is a fair amount of debate as to whether it’s a good thing or not. Some say that bloggers operating in the same niche aren’t competitors at all but friends that you can network with so that all can prosper. And anyway in 2018 we still appear to be in the early days of internet blogging, with the numbers of people coming online still growing rapidly.
Search on Google for say ‘home finance blog’ if home finance is your thing, and view how many blogs there are in that niche. Click on some of the most popular ones and see if they’re getting lots of comments, to gauge how active their readership is. If they’re not getting many comments that could be a sign of a weak niche.
Do the same on Facebook and check to see how many followers the sites have (should be at least 2000.) If the sites have lots of comments and lots of followers then that’s a good sign of a healthy niche, with plenty of potential for a determined newcomer to succeed.
Is it a Profitable Niche?
People take up blogging with differing ambitions – some just want to do it as a hobby, while others hope to make enough money to retire and live entirely off their blog profits. If you’re one of the latter then you’ll want to investigate how ‘monetizable’ your potential niche is before taking the plunge.
Things to consider are:
- How easy will it be to attract advertising?
- What affiliate programs are available to you? (you’ll want a decent amount of traffic first for many of them)
- What are your chances of attracting good traffic?
- Are established bloggers in the same niche making good profits?
If you’re good enough you can prosper from almost any niche – see ‘How to Generate $100,000 a Month from a Brand New Blog for instance (recommended – it’s a good read!)
However we’re not all Neil Patel, so why make it hard on ourselves? Take your time and do your research first before starting your blog (on the other hand if you’re the perfectionist type, just jump right in since you might never begin otherwise.)
How Sustainable is the Niche Topic?
Another thing to consider before deciding on a niche is it’s ‘sustainability’. By this I mean, does it have enough depth that you can be sure that you’ll be able to keep up a steady stream of new content?
The best way to discover this is to list as many different topics that you can think of, and then look through posts from blogs in the same niche to find out how many more you can reasonably add. If the potential supply looks relatively unlimited then you’re obviously on to a good thing topic-wise. You don’t want to find yourself in the situation of having written say 20 or 30 posts and then not be able to come up with anything fresh or new.
If you do happen to wind up in this situation though there’s an excellent tool you can try: HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator. It’s great for coming up with new ideas, e.g. pop in ‘Blogging’ into ‘Noun 1’ and ‘Tips’ into ‘Noun 2’ and it’ll present you with five snappy headlines to consider. Or just run it again and get five different ones. You’re bound to find something you like sooner or later.
Just remember that you’ll be blogging for a long time, so there’s no need to quickly make an impulsive decision. You can even do what many top bloggers have done and register a domain with your own name, so that if you change your subject matter later on then you won’t need to change your site name.
And then of course there’s an infinite supply of real or made-up names that don’t commit you to any particular subject matter. A few that spring to mind are Yahoo!, Google, Vine, Apple, Amazon, Mashable, Flickr, Twitter, Bing, Moz, Spotify, Giphy—the list is endless. Some of those companies have even achieved a certain degree of success…
If you can find a niche that ticks all the boxes above then that’s great, go for it! It doesn’t matter if it’s not a perfect score on all criteria though, since as long as you’re prepared to put a sustained effort in (and realize that few attain overnight success) then you still have an excellent chance of doing well.
Blogging has been compared to a snowball rolling down a hill – it starts off slow and small and gradually builds up momentum, becoming bigger and faster as it goes. Whatever happens, at least it’ll be a learning experience!
What other factors haven’t I considered that you should think about before choosing your blogging niche? Let me know in the comments.
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