Choosing a blogging niche is one of the hardest parts of starting a blog.
It’s where a lot of would-be bloggers get stuck…permanently.
They never get their blog off the ground because they just can’t decide what to blog about.
If that’s you, then you’re in the right place. This post will walk you through my signature step-by-step process for choosing a blogging niche and making sure it’s profitable!
Now maybe you’re already a blogger, and you’ve chosen your blogging niche.
And perhaps you’ve been blogging consistently.
But, you just can’t seem to get any momentum with your blog.
You sit down at your computer to write a post and your mind blanks. You’re not sure what to write about.
Or you’ve been creating tons of content, but no one seems to be interested. And you just can’t figure out why.
If that describes you, then you’re in the right place too.
Do you know why so many bloggers struggle? Especially with content and traffic? There are two main reasons.
The first reason is that they have chosen the wrong blogging niche.
The second reason is that their niche is not focused enough.
So if you’re struggling with your blog, there’s a good chance one of these reasons could be why. If you follow the steps below, you’ll find that this post will help you too.
Just do me a favor. Make sure you approach this post with a beginners mind. Don’t skip steps just because you think you know it or you’ve done it already. Start from the beginning and follow each step through to the end.
Now before we dive in, let’s look at where choosing a profitable blogging niche fits into the overall blogging success path.
The Blogging Success Path
There are 8 key steps to building, launching and growing a profitable blog. You can read all about them in my post: Make Money Blogging: The 8 Key Steps to Blogging Success.
In that post, I shared a visual map of what the blogging success path looks like. I’ve included it below for your reference.
As you can see from the map above, choosing a profitable blogging niche is right at the beginning.
The only thing that comes before it, is planning and prep – which is pretty much all mindset and set up stuff.
That should tell you how KEY finding the right blogging niche is to a solid blogging strategy.
Each step in the process builds on the step before. So if you skip a step, you are jeopardizing the success of your blog.
I can’t emphasize this enough.
Choosing a profitable blogging niche is key to the success of your blog.
Choose the wrong niche and everything else will be that much harder.
So now let’s talk about what a blogging niche actually is.
What Is a blogging niche?
A lot of bloggers get confused about what a blogging niche actually is. And that’s because the term is used in so many ways.
You’ll often hear bloggers refer to a blogging niche as the topic of your blog. In other words, what you write about.
But that’s only a part of it.
The term niche (pronounced either as neesh or nitch) is a marketing term.
In the marketing world, a niche is the specific group of customers you serve.
Now take a second to read that last sentence again.
There are a few words and concepts that I want to pull out and highlight. They are SUPER important to understand if you want to make money blogging. That’s because making money blogging starts with choosing the right blogging niche. Yes, you’ll be hearing me say this a lot!
A Blogging Niche is Centered Around People
There’s a BIG mistake a lot of bloggers make when choosing their blogging niche. And it’s this: They ONLY think about WHAT they want to write about, not WHO they are writing for.
Who you are writing for is as important as what you are writing about.
Now let’s throw around a few more terms here.
Your “WHO” are your readers. You’ll also hear them called your audience, or your tribe.
When you know who you are writing for, it makes it much easier to create content.
A Blogging Niche Focuses on a Specific Group of People
You want to focus on people who have similar interests. And/or similar demographics.
Let me give you an example.
Imagine that you are passionate about fitness. You want to turn that passion into a blog.
Fitness is a huge topic. How do you figure out what to write about?
You brainstorm post ideas and decide to write a post on adding a simple fitness routine into your day.
What does a simple fitness routine look like? Well, it depends, doesn’t it?
What if you’re a stay at home mom with young kids? The gym near you doesn’t have daycare. So you want a quick and easy routine you can do at home.
What if you’re a full-time shift worker? Working out at home isn’t realistic for you, so you want a quick gym routine.
What if you’re in your last trimester of pregnancy and you want to stay active?
What if you’re a senior with mobility issues?
Or, what if you’re in a low-income bracket? You can’t afford a gym, and don’t have the money to buy any equipment to use at home.
How would you write a blog post that addresses all of those needs?
You really couldn’t.
Stay-at-home moms. Shift workers. Pregnant women. Seniors. Low income.
What each of these readers need is totally different.
So what do you do?
Well, you could try and write a post for every single one of those reader groups. Of course, that would take a really long time.
But for argument’s sake, let’s say you did. You write 10 different posts. A simple fitness routine for 10 different types of readers.
Well, there are probably more than just 10 different scenarios. So what about the people you missed?
And then what happens when you want to create the next post type. For example, a simple meal plan to support your fitness goals.
Are you going to create 10 different posts for those 10 different groups of readers again?
Of course not. That’s a surefire way to blogger insanity. Or blogger burnout.
So what’s the alternative?
You pick ONE of those reader groups to focus on.
Can you see how much easier it would now be to create content for them?
A Blogging Niche is Focused on Serving Your Tribe
A super important word to pay attention to from our definition of niche is “serve.”
In the early days of blogging, blogs were pretty much just online diaries. Bloggers wrote about their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and opinions. Basically, their blog was all about them.
In today’s world, if you want to build a tribe of loyal fans, followers, and customers, then your blog has to be about your tribe.
Hear me on this.
If you want to build a successful blog your blog can’t be about you. It HAS to be about your readers.
The one question that has to guide everything that you do is this: “how can I best serve my tribe?”
A Blogging Niche Should Attract Potential Customers
The last word I want to highlight from our definition of niche is the word “customers.”
While I truly believe we should always think about how to help our tribe…that’s not enough. To make money with your blog and build an online business, you have to think about attracting customers.
Think about it this way.
It takes time to create quality content. Especially content that makes a difference in people’s lives.
Realistically, you can’t do it all for free. At least not if you want blogging to be your primary source of income.
In the 9-5 world, we get paid for our work. We expect to get paid for our work.
Blogging is no different. When you truly serve your customers, you are providing huge value.
You deserve to be paid for the time you are investing in creating that value.
So what does that actually look like?
It means you are generous with free content. AND, you also offer products and services that you charge for.
BUT remember, just because you have stuff for sale doesn’t mean people will buy it. To make money, people have to buy what you are selling and/or promoting.
This should be obvious, I know. But you’d be surprised at how many bloggers don’t think about this.
It’s not enough to attract any ol’ reader to your blog. That’s why those follow-for-follow, comment-for-comment and link-for-link pods that are so popular, don’t work.
You want quality readers. If you only attract freebie seekers and tire-kickers that won’t help you.
A successful blog attracts readers who are ALSO potential customers.
In other words, people who see the value of what you share for free. AND are willing to make an investment in you to learn even more.
How you set up your blog determines what kind of readers you attract. Meaning, what you write about, who you write for, and how you write.
A Blogging Niche Defined
So what’s the true definition of a blogging niche?
A blogging niche is the topic you blog about AND the specific segment of customers that you want to serve.
Why Do You Need To Choose A Blogging Niche?
I can’t help but cringe every time I’m in a blogging-related Facebook group. Especially when I see discussions about what to write about.
The conversation usually goes something like this:
Question. I’m struggling with what kind of content to create for my blog. I’m interested in a LOT of different things. I don’t want to have to limit myself.
Answer. You don’t have to limit yourself. Write about whatever you’re interested in. Then look to see which of your topics gets the best response and write more of those.
A million times over. NO!
This approach is a “what happens, happens” approach. You have no control over the readers and the audience you end up with.
When you choose a blogging niche, your content will be more focused. Focused content will attract the type of people that YOU want to serve.
When Your Content Is Too Scattered You’ll Lose Readers
You’ve heard me say that writing about “everything you are interested in” is bad advice. Let me give you an example.
Take your typical lifestyle blog. What are the topics they write about? Fashion. Beauty. Fitness. Health. Lifestyle. Travel…etc. etc.
Now imagine that you are a new or recently new blogger. And you want to break into the lifestyle blogging space.
You write a post about a 5-minute power morning skincare routine. It goes viral on social media. Traffic flocks to your blog. They read the post and then they want more. So they click around your blog.
They find a post about trending fashion accessories. A post about traveling Europe on a budget. Another one that shares 5 exercises for a share-worthy butt. And a post about why you cut coffee from your diet.
They don’t find any more posts about what brought them to your blog in the first place. Skin care (or beauty).
You plan on writing more, but you haven’t had time. There are just too many categories to write about.
What do you think that your new reader will do?
And probably never come back. They don’t have time to wait. After all, it could take weeks or months for you to create another post on skin care.
They are looking for answers now.
So what do they do instead? They look for a blog with a lot more info on skin care.
There is one big thing I want you to takeaway here.
You may love a lot of topics, but there’s no guarantee your readers will too. And if they don’t, you’ll lose them.
A Scattered Blog is Bad for SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It means making your site friendly for search engines. Google being the largest.
There are millions of blogs on the web. And there are millions of blog posts published every day. That means that there is a LOT of competition.
Obviously, not everyone can rank on the first page of search results. Or even the first few pages. So how do search engines decide which posts they’ll show and which they won’t?
Let’s take Google as an example. Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
And let’s apply it to our lifestyle blogger example again.
When someone searching for information about skin care, what would be most useful? A blog post from a blog with only a few articles about skin care. Or, a blog post from a blog all about skin care?
A focused blog is more likely to offer quality content and a better user experience. Which is what Google totally cares about.
This means that posts from blogs on a single topic, are more likely to rank highly in search results.
Let’s face it – we want our blogs to rank highly in search results. If your blog shows up on page 10 of search results, that won’t help you. Why? Because very few people dig that deep.
So the moral of the story here is that you need to rank to drive traffic to your blog. And the best way to rank is to show search engines that you offer a lot of quality, useful information, on a particular topic.
It’s Hard to Make Money From A Scattered Blog
Your blogging income is directly related to your audience quality.
People visit your blog because they are looking for solutions. When your free content helps them, they are more likely to consider buying your paid solutions (i.e. products and services).
Not only that, but there are many monetization methods that rely on traffic. And we’ve already seen how a scattered blog will get less traffic.
Less traffic, means less potential customers, which means less chances to make sales.
Focused Content Attracts Engaged Readers
So what’s the flip side to writing about everything that interests you (aka a scattered blog)?
It’s to start by focusing on ONE topic that interests you. And then creating a bunch of posts around that topic.
Let’s go back to our lifestyle blogger example.
In this example, we are imagining that you are a new blogger. And you want to break into the lifestyle space.
You’re interested in a lot of different topics. But, you know that it’s going to take time to create a solid amount of content in each of these topic areas.
So, you decide to choose your favorite topic to start. Beauty. Specifically, skin care.
You create your post sharing a 5-minute power morning skincare routine. Your post goes viral, readers practically run to your blog.
They devour the post and then click around to see what else you have.
They find a review on the skincare products you recommend. You have skincare tips for different types of skin. They find a power nighttime routine. There’s a post that lists supplements for healthy skin…and so on…
You may only have 5 to 10 posts on your blog – but it’s a treasure-trove of skincare info. They sign up for your freebie “10 secrets to flawless skin,” and bookmark your site.
Voilà! You now have an active, and engaged reader.
As a focused blogger, your goal is build a solid amount of content on skincare. Once that’s done you choose another related topic you love (ie. maybe makeup tips) and start the process all over again.
The BIG takeaway here is:
When you stick to one topic you’re at an advantage. There’s a really big chance that readers who are attracted by one of your posts, will be interested in your other posts too.
The Benefits of Having a Niched Blog
So far we’ve talked about: what a blogging niche is; the elements of a good blogging niche; and why you need to choose a blogging niche.
In this section, I want to review the benefits of having a niched blog.
But first, let’s quickly review the two different approaches to blogging:
A multi-topic blog focuses on a many topics. For example, the scattered lifestyle blog.
A niched blog focuses on one main topic or core theme and audience. For example, the lifestyle blog focusing on beauty.
So how will a niched blog help you?
Content Creation Will Be Relatively Effortless
Have you ever been in an ice cream shop that offers dozens of flavors? And what if there are a lot of flavors you love?
It can be a real struggle to decide which one to go with. Especially if you’re not “feeling” a particular flavor.
Now what happens when there’s a limited number of flavors?
It’s a lot easier to choose, isn’t it?
Too many choices can be incredibly overwhelming.
Same goes for blogging.
When you have a million different things you COULD write about, it’s easier to get stuck.
That’s usually the #1 cause of blogger’s block.
Your brain has to work so hard making a decision, it decides to shut down.
With a niched blog – you give your brain boundaries. And it’s free to roam within those boundaries.
When you know your topic and you know your audience, it’s a lot easier to come up with ideas. From there, it’s figuring out which of the many post options you start with.
A Niched Blog Will Up Your Expertise
Let’s talk about expertise for a minute. A lot of people get hung up on this word.
Being an expert is NOT about having specific credentials.
In the online space, being an expert in your niche means having the knowledge and experience to help people.
In other words, you have successfully walked the path you are leading others down.
An example that I have used before is that of my 19-year-old niece.
My niece taught herself to play Ukulele on second-hand instrument using YouTube videos.
She spent about a year learning. Then, she put an ad on Kijiji looking for students. She now has several students ranging in age from 10 to 60.
She is not a certified teacher. She’s not even an expert player.
But she knows enough that she can have fun playing the songs she wants to learn.
And that’s all her students want too.
So the moral of this story? To help people, you just need to know a little more than they do.
As long as you have more knowledge, skills, or experience than your audience – you are “expert” enough.
There’s another advantage to a niched blog. When you focus on one topic, your expertise will grow over time.
As my niece has been teaching, she has been continuing to learn and grow her own skills. She is also becoming more skilled because of her teaching. You have to be able to break something down to teach it to others. This forces you to really get to know your topic inside and out.
A Niched Blog Will Position You As An Expert
We now know that a niched blog will amp up your expertise.
A niched blog will ALSO amp up how OTHERS perceive your expertise.
We are all, as humans, hard-wired to learn. When we learn something from someone, that earns our respect. Especially if it makes a difference in our lives in some way. When that happens, we see that person differently. Because they helped us, we assume they must know what they are talking about. Not just in that area, but in other areas as well.
So focus on creating quality content around a single topic. When you do, you’ll notice that people will start to see you as an expert.
A Niched Blog Will Help You Attract a Tribe of Engaged Followers
Creating focused content will attract readers interested in that topic.
The more content you have, the more time they’ll spend on your site. And when they see you creating content consistently, they’ll keep coming back for more.
A Niched Blog Is Easier To Monetize
As we’ve seen, a niched blog attracts more traffic and has more engaged readers. That naturally makes it easier to monetize.
With focused content it’s easier to come up with product ideas.
When you have more traffic, your products get in front of more people. The more people it’s in front of, the more you’ll sell (statistically speaking).
Engaged readers who love your content will be hungry for more. You’ve proven you can help them. They’ll trust you to solve bigger problems, and will be willing to pay for your help.
How to Choose Your Blogging Niche
Okay. So we’ve talked about what a blogging niche is. We have also talked about why you need one. Now let’s talk about how you go about choosing a blogging niche.
Remember, this is for you even if you’ve been blogging for a while. And even if you have already chosen a niche. Especially if you’re struggling with content or traffic.
Step 1. Ask Yourself: What Am I Passionate About?
You can’t make money blogging on passion alone. That’s the plain and simple truth.
But you also can’t swing the opposite way. When you choose a blogging niche based on profit alone, there are other issues. The biggest being that you’re more likely to experience blogger burnout.
Why? Because blogging is hard work. It takes time and it takes consistent effort. Plus there are a lot of ups and downs in the blogging journey. And it’s easier to get through the “downs” when you have a bigger purpose than money.
It’s way easier to keep going when the going gets tough, when you are passionate about your blog topic.
You are more likely to keep plugging away no matter how tough things get. You’ll have an easier time coming up with post ideas. Plus you’ll create more engaging content. Not to mention, your passion will naturally shine through. And people are attracted to that.
Last thing. When you’re passionate about your blog, you’re less likely to give up on it when you’re really struggling.
So make a list of everything that you are passionate about.
Step 2. Ask Yourself: What Do I Have Skill, Knowledge and Experience In?
This one seems kind of obvious. But you’d be surprised how many people start blogs about things they have no business teaching.
Just because you read something, or are interested in something, that does not qualify you to teach it.
Knowledge is not enough. You HAVE to have skill and experience in that area as well.
Your skill doesn’t have to come from formal training. And you don’t have to be certified. Your skill can be one you taught yourself.
Your experience should be personal. You successfully did it yourself, OR successfully helped someone else.
There’s another reason to choose a blogging niche where you have skill, knowledge and experience.
It ties back to the reason I started this blog – Blog to Biz Strategies. I don’t just want to help you make money.
I want to help you change lives.
The most successful blogs make a real difference in other people’s lives.
To change lives you have to be able to deliver on what you promise. In other words, you have to have the skill, knowledge and experience to help your readers. When people know you offer real change, they will be willing to pay you for your help.
This will ultimately make your blog successful.
So focus on the change you can offer people. That will naturally lead to the money.
Now make a list of all the things you have skill and experience in.
Once you’ve done that, look at the topics you are passionate about. Compare it to the topics you have knowledge, skill, and experience in.
Then, make a list of the topics which hit both criteria. Topics you are passionate about AND have skill, knowledge and experience in.
Step 3. Ask Yourself: What Audience Would I Love to Work With?
You may be wondering why this question is important.
After all, don’t we just want to get as many people as we can to our blog?
I’ve touched on this already in this post. There are tons of window shoppers, tire-kickers and freebie-seekers in the online world.
To make money blogging you need an audience interested in your content. They should need what you have to offer. Most importantly, they should be willing to pay for your help to solve their issues.
These people are your ideal audience.
Your goal as a blogger is to attract your IDEAL audience to your blog. You then want to entice them to sign up to your email list. Ultimately, you want to woo them into becoming your customer.
So your first step, is focusing on attracting your ideal audience.
In order to attract them, you first need to know who they are.
Make sure that you choose an audience you are passionate about working with. Or if not passionate, at least very interested in working with.
Why? People can sense your passion. And when they sense it, they respond to it.
What if there are a lot of different people you would like to work with?
Then it comes down to your personal experience.
What do I mean by that?
Well, let’s review an important marketing principle. It’s called the “know, like, trust factor.”
What it says is this:
In order for someone to buy from you, they have to know you, like you and trust you.
That means your audience needs to feel like you understand them. They want to know you can relate to the challenges they are facing.
Which means you should have successfully walked the path they are on right now. Or if you’re still on the path, you should be further ahead.
You want your audience to trust that you can help them. They need to know you have overcome the same challenges they are facing. Or, helped others overcome those challenges. In other words, your audience needs to see you as a guide.
That’s why I recommend choosing an audience group you are a part of. Or have been a part of.
If not, at the very least, it should be a group that you have experience working with. Or a group you are trained or certified to work with. My preference is that you are or were a part of your audience. Why? It’s easier to build relationships when you have shared common experiences.
Let’s go back to the example of the lifestyle niche.
Imagine once again that you are a new lifestyle blogger. You are starting off your blog by focusing on skin care.
Now imagine you are in the 20-something age range.
What would happen if you were blogging about skin care for mature women (60+)? Would 60+ women trust a 20-something woman to know about mature skin? Unless she’s a dermatologist, probably not.
So to recap. When choosing your audience, pick a group of people you would love to work. You should ALSO have experience with them. Either you were in that audience, are in that audience or have experience working with that audience.
Step 4. Ask Yourself: Are You Giving Your Audience Solutions?
There are two main approaches you could take when it comes to your blogging niche. You can be solving a problem, or “creating a delight”.
Let’s look at solving a problem, because this is a pretty obvious one. People are motivated to solve problems that are negatively affecting their life.
The greater the negative effect, the more motivated they will be. And the more open they will be to paying for help.
Imagine you’re a parent of a toddler. You’re having major discipline issues. Wouldn’t you be really motivated to find help?
Let’s say you find a blog with great content around discipline for toddlers. That blog also happens to offer a course. That’s a winning combination. Especially if you’re struggling to find real solutions or help out there.
If you see the free content works, you’ll be pretty motivated to buy the course.
Now imagine the same niche – parenting toddlers. Let’s say you are looking for rainy day activities for your toddler. That’s not really an urgent problem (depending on your toddler of course). Plus there’s a ton of free content on the web. And really, there’s not much that’s unique when it comes to toddler activities.
Which means you won’t be super motivated to pay for a product. UNLESS it’s very different from the free stuff out there.
All together, a blog focusing only on toddler activities would likely struggle.
The second approach I mentioned was creating a delight. The most common way to do this is by helping people develop a skill. For example, teaching people how to DO something or become better at something that they are passionate about (or super interested in). Niche examples that create a delight are things like cake decorating, card making, knitting, sewing, painting, car repairs, woodworking, photography, playing an instrument, improving your golf game…and so on.
People love to learn how to do new things. If they find a blog with quality instruction, they’ll be a lot more likely to buy the products offered.
So…what would be an example of a niche that doesn’t solve a problem or create a delight?
Celebrity gossip. News. Sharing Stories and Life Experiences. There are others as well, but I won’t go into them all here.
These niches are entertaining. And interesting. But they aren’t things most people are willing to pay for. They make great topics for a hobby blog, but are super hard to monetize.
So solving a problem or creating a delight. Those are key elements for a profitable niche.
Step 5. Ask Yourself: How do I want to Make Money?
Whoa! Why are we thinking about this right now?
The answer is simple. You can’t monetize all niches in the same way.
Imagine if you choose a blogging niche and you’ve found proof it’s profitable. Only later to discover you are limited in your monetization options.
For example, let’s say you decide you want to start a blog sharing stories about an experience in your life. And you want to do it from a humorous perspective.
There’s no problem/solution in that niche. These types of blogs primarily monetize with ads. Or perhaps they may sell branded products (mugs, t-shirts, prints, etc.)
Monetizing with ads is a really tough way to make money blogging. Especially when you are just starting out. Why? Because it relies on a lot of traffic.
Monetizing with physical product is ALSO a hard way to make money blogging. With physical products your profit margin is really low. Again, you need a pretty big pool of buyers.
The monetization methods with real income potential don’t typically work in a niche like that (with no problem to solve or skill to develop).
So where does that leave you? Certainly nowhere I’d want to be.
Think about HOW you want to make money now. That way you can search for proof it’s a viable option in the blogging niche you are considering.
So what are your different options when it comes to monetization? Let me give you a quick overview.
Different Ways You Can Monetize Your blog
There are a lot of different ways that you can monetize your blog.
Here are some of the most common ways that bloggers monetize their blogs.
Pay Per Click Advertising
You’ve probably seen this on blogs a lot. Ads are displayed throughout the blog. Bloggers are paid based on the number of clicks they get on the ads.
This is where a blogger creates a post that features products from a particular company, and they are paid for it.
A blogger promotes a product and then earns a commission for every product sold through their unique link. A common example of this is Amazon Affiliate marketing. Another example you’ll see is when bloggers promote software and tools that they use.
This is where a blogger works one-on-one, or with small groups, and coaches them towards achieving certain results.
Done for You Services
This is pretty much the same as freelance services. And there is a whole host of things you can do. Some examples in the online marketing space would be managing people’s social media, creating content, designing graphics, setting up tech etc.
Digital Information Products
This would be things like eBooks, PDFs, files, workbooks, templates, etc. It would also include online courses.
This is by far the best way to monetize your blog because digital info products are low cost to create and super easy to scale.
Membership Sites Or Paid Online Communities
This involves creating a site with member-only content and charging a monthly fee for your members to access the content. The content can be delivered in many different forms. Essentially, with a membership site the blogger is committing to creating new content for their members, every month.
This could be either in-person events or live virtual events. It includes symposiums, summits, workshops, bootcamps, challenges etc.
This includes any product that has a physical form and needs to be shipped to the customer.
So there you have it. Although that doesn’t cover every single method of monetization – it covers the most common.
Read through the list and think about what method or methods most appeal to you.
Step 6: Finalize Your List of Potential Blogging Niches
Have you gone through the questions above? If yes you should now have a short list of topics. They should be ones that you are passionate about AND have skill, knowledge and experience in. These should all be niches focused on solving a problem or developing a skill. And you should have decided on what audience group you want to focus on for EACH. You should also have a good idea of how you want to monetize.
This short list should have 2-5 topic/audience combinations.
The next step is to prioritize your list. Start with the topic you are most interested in. Work your way down to the topic you are least interested in.
In case you’re wondering…
We want a short LIST because we still have to assess whether our topic of choice is profitable. If not, you want to have some fall-back options.
I’ll talk about how to assess the profitability of your topics in the next section of this post. Before I do, let’s go over some other things to think about when putting together your short list.
Things To Think About When Putting Together Your Short List of Blogging Niche Ideas
Can You Niche Down Even Further?
We know that focused content attracts focused readers.
So take a look at your short list of topic ideas. Ask yourself, can you break them down any further?
Let’s look again at our example of the lifestyle blogger. Her focus is on skin care.
She could niche down further by focusing on beauty for women in their 20’s.
As another example, let’s look at a food blogger. Imagine you have a food blogger who wants to start a blog sharing recipes.
What are some ways that blogger could niche down even further?
She could focus on a regional cuisine. For example French, Italian, Asian, etc.
She could niche down by diet. For example, Paleo, Keto, or Vegetarian.
And then there’s niching down by cooking method. For example, Instant Pot, slow cooker, baking etc.
Even some of those niches could be niched down further. For example, within the vegetarian diet, a blogger could choose to focus on vegans.
Within the baking niche, a blogger could choose to focus on bread.
I’m sure you get the idea.
But you may be wondering, how niched is too niched?
A good rule of thumb is to see whether there are other blogs in the niched-down space you are considering. If not, or if they are few and far in between, then it’s likely too niched.
Are There Any Gaps In Your Niche?
No matter what niche you choose, there are likely a million other blogs in that niche.
But even though there are a lot of blogs, it doesn’t mean every single aspect of your niche has been explored.
A great example of this is Kim Constable from the Sculpted Vegan.
Kim is a vegan passionate about building a sculpted physique. When researching her niche, she found plenty of blogs online about veganism. She also found plenty of blogs about bodybuilding for women. But Kim couldn’t find much info that combined the two.
So she started her own blog. And ended up building a 7-figure online business within a few years.
She had found a gap in the bodybuilding niche and run with it. With huge success, I might add!
Is There Something That Makes You Unique?
Is there something that makes you different from others in your niche? What’s your magic sauce?
Keep in mind, this isn’t so much about having a new and different idea. It’s about having a different take or approach to an idea.
Remember Kim Constable? She’s a vegan and a bodybuilder. There’s nothing unique about either of them. However, there wasn’t much online for vegan bodybuilders. She had a unique take on bodybuilding. She looked at it from the angle of being a vegan.
Here’s another example. Back when I had my card-making blog, I taught people how to make cards using Stampin’ Up! products. My unique take on it had to do with the way I taught people to use their products.
Then, and even now – pretty much all card making classes use a huge variety of products. So if they teach you how to make 20 different cards, each of those cards will use different supplies.
My premise was that people always want to buy what they see. And most people don’t have the budget to buy everything. This can leave them paralyzed with indecision. So they don’t buy at all. Or they buy much less than they might have.
My approach was to teach my readers how to make the most of the products they bought.
I would choose a collection of products and then ALL the cards in my class used those same products. Only the designs were different.
So take the time to think about your topic and what kind of angle or approach you can take.
Can You See Yourself Writing About The Topic A Year From Now?
At the end of 2016 I took all my blogs and businesses offline. With family and health issues, I couldn’t manage them any more.
After about 6 months, I got really bored. I decided that I wanted to start another blog.
At the time, because of my health, I had made a lot of changes to my diet and exercise routine.
Now I love to cook. I love to create my own recipes. And as a former Registered Dietitian, I am passionate about both food and nutrition.
Naturally, I thought this might make a great blog. So I decided I was going to become a food blogger.
That lasted less than a month.
I loved coming up with recipes and cooking. But I hated blogging about it. I hated having to style my food, type up the recipe, do the nutrition info etc. So I ended up shutting that blog down.
So really think about what you would have to do to create content for the niche you are exploring. And then think about if that is something you can see yourself doing for at least a year, if not more.
If not, take it off your list.
What If You Want to Blog About More Than One Topic?
We’ve already talked about the problems with multi-topic blogs. But let’s say you don’t think you could blog about the same topic for years on end.
What do you do then?
If that describes you, don’t worry, there is a solution to this.
And that is, you tackle your topics in stages.
Once again, let’s revisit the lifestyle blogger example.
Let’s say you want to blog about beauty and fashion. Two totally different topics (although related).
You start with the one you are most interested in. You create a solid amount of content for that topic.
Then, you tackle the other topic and create a solid amount of content for that topic.
From there, you go back and forth, splitting your content creation between the two.
You always want to make sure you have at least 10-20 posts for EACH topic on your blog (when the topics are very different). These posts should tackle the topic pretty thoroughly. In other words, there should be enough content there, that it helps your audience solve a problem.
Okay. So we’ve gone through some additional things to think about when brainstorming ideas for your blogging niche.
It’s now time to bring money into the equation.
By now you should have some great ideas for your blog. But remember, great ideas aren’t enough.
If you want to make money blogging, you have to know your niche has profit potential.
So how do we figure that out?
That’s coming up in the next section.
How to Tell If Your Blogging Niche Is Profitable
We now get down to the reason I had you come up with a short list of 2-5 different ideas for your blogging niche.Because there’s a good chance not all of your ideas will be profitable. And you’ll definitely find that some ideas will have more profit potential than others.
Now before we get into the steps for testing your niche, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
And it is this: Why is testing your niche so important? After all, aren’t there bloggers making money in pretty much every niche there is?
Let me give it to you, plain and simple. With enough hard work, with enough time, and by investing enough resources, you can make money in pretty much any niche.
But here’s the thing. When you choose a niche with low profit potential (based on testing) and try to make a go of it anyways, you’re going to hit the following roadblocks:
- You’ll have to put a lot more time and effort into it.
- You may have to invest more into it.
- There will be limits on how much you can earn.
- You’ll need a healthy dose of luck.
Are you willing to gamble?
Are you willing to put in a ton of your time and money into something that may not work?
If yes, then by all means skip this section. If no, then read on.
Step 1: Start With the Blogging Niche You Are Most Interested In
Go back to your short list of blogging niche ideas.
Take your top idea and go through all the steps that follow.
One of two things will happen.
You may find proof your blogging niche has profit potential. If that’s the case, you’ll be good to move onto the next key step. You can read about it in my post Make Money Blogging: The 8 Key Steps To Blogging Success.
OR, you will find your niche idea is a bust. If that happens, then you pick idea #2. And you rinse and repeat.
Listen, I know it’s discouraging when an idea you’re excited about doesn’t pass the test. But in the long run, I promise you it will save you a lot of heartache.
Step 2: Make a List of Keywords and Keyphrases That Describe Your Blogging Niche
Keywords and keyphrases are search terms. They are what your audience uses to search for information about your blogging niche.
A keyword is typically one to two words. A keyphrase is usually a sentence. So it will have three or more words.
An example of keywords would be healthy eating, online marketing, blogging, parenting, fashion, beauty.
Keyphrase examples are “best diet to lose weight,” “how to start an online business,” “how to train my puppy”…etc.
As a general rule, keyphrases are better because they are more descriptive.
When someone is searching using the term “parenting” – they could be searching for just about anything. They could want information on disciplining a toddler, finding a school for a child with special needs, they could be looking for vacation ideas with teenagers…you name it.
On the other hand, when someone searches for a specific phrase like “how to potty train your puppy” – you know exactly what they are looking for.
So think about the blogging niche you are exploring. Brainstorm as many ways of searching for it as possible.
If you’re stuck, let Google help you. Enter a broad search term and then look at Google’s suggestions.
Then, scroll to the bottom of the first page of search results for even more options:
To double check your search terms are on track, enter them into Google and see what comes up. If the sites on the first page of search results are similar to the kind of blog you want to create, you’re on the right track.
Step 3: Identify the Keywords With The Highest Search Volume
Install the extension Keywords Everywhere to your Chrome or Firefox Browser.
It’s awesome because it shows you monthly google keyword search volume (i.e. how often a term is searched every month). It also shows you how competitive a keyword is. Finally, it gives you additional search term suggestions (so you can add to your list from step 2). See the screenshot below for an example.
Make note of the monthly search volume for each of the search terms you identified. Then make a list of the most-searched for keywords.
Look for keywords or keyphrases with a monthly search volume over 1K but less than 100K.
So how do you actually use the monthly search volume? There are two possible scenarios. Low search volume (less than 1K a month) means there is a good chance your niche idea is too focused (not enough interest). A high search volume (more than 100K searches a month) could be a sign the market is too competitive.
What do you do if you fall into one of those two camps?
The first thing you could do is see is try other search terms. For example, when I was researching my idea for this blog, I was originally looking at the keyword “blogging.”
Blogging had a search volume of over 3 million! Way too many. So I started looking at different keyphrases related to blogging. They keyphrase “start a blog” had 24,000 monthly searches and make money blogging had 5,600 searches. Both of these were in the sweet spot.
Step 4: Check Google Trends
Google trends quickly lets you see how your potential niche is trending. You are looking to see whether there is increasing or decreasing interest. You can also see how something trends over time.
What’s really valuable is that you can compare one term against another.
For example. Let’s say you have an interest in paper crafting (this used to be my niche). And you have two further interests – scrapbooking and card making. You can plug those two terms into Google Trends and see how they compare.
As you can see from the screenshot, since 2004, interest in scrapbooking has been steadily decreasing over time.
Card making on the other hand has remained fairly stable.
Don’t worry about where the lines fall on the graph. You are not looking at the numbers, you are looking to see the trends.
Step 5: Get the Scoop On Your Competitors
When it comes to assessing the profitability of your niche, this is the most important step of all.
You WANT to see evidence of competition in your blogging niche. When I say competition I mean blogs and websites that are in the niche you are considering.
But it’s not just enough to find the blogs, you need to see proof of profit potential.
When it comes to competitor research, there are two red flags. The first is if you can’t find any blogs in your niche.
Trust me when I say that you’ll almost never be the first one to come up with an idea. So if you don’t see any blogs in your niche, 99.9% of the time it’s because it’s not a viable niche.
The second red flag is if you find blogs, but they are not selling anything. Or they are only monetized with ads and affiliate marketing.
How do you find your competitors? Plug your keywords and keyphrases into Google. And then look at the sites on the first page of search results.
Click on each link and take a look at the site. Does it look similar to the kind of blog you want to create (the content)? If yes, then it’s a competitor.
From there, create a spreadsheet for yourself in Google Drive. You want to gather as much information as you can about them. What you really want to see is how they are monetizing. You also want to check out their prices.
Look for between 10 and 20 competitors in the blogging niche you are considering. Make sure you see at least 10 who have monetized their site. Look for things OTHER than ads, sponsored posts and affiliate marketing.
Why? Because ads, sponsored posts and affiliate marketing only generate significant income when you have high traffic (i.e. more than 100K visitors a month). That makes these methods of monetization a poor option for new bloggers, or blogs with lower traffic.
It’s okay if some of the blogs on your list have these methods. But you do want to see other types of products and/or services as well among your competitors. And ideally, you should see a range of product prices (not just really cheap stuff).
If you do, then you have found your proof of profit potential my friend!
A lot of bloggers struggle with their blogs when they could have avoided it by choosing the right blogging niche.
The right blogging niche is one that:
- You are passionate about.
- You have skill, knowledge and experience in.
- Is focused on solving a problem or developing a skill.
- Focuses on a specific audience group.
- Shows proof of profit potential.
- Can be monetized in the way that you want to monetize your blog.
Follow all the steps in this guide and I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll find a blogging niche that hits all of those important criteria.
Here’s how to take action on what you learned in this post:
- Read through the post again with a notepad by your side.
- Think about and answer the questions in the section on how to choose your blogging niche.
- If you have several blogging niche ideas that you are equally interested in, go through the profit research for all of them, and then choose the one with the most profit potential.
- Did you find this post useful? If so, I’d love it if you’d share it with your friends.
- Have questions you’d like an answer to or “aha’s” you’d like to share I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.