Are you considering starting a blog? Great! You have the first step down. There are two types of would-be bloggers in this world:
- Those who know what they want to blog about
- Those who want to blog and have no idea what to blog about
If you are in the first group, good for you. Go ahead and get your blog set up and start blogging. If you are in the second camp then this post is meant for you. → Click Here to Get Your Free WordPress Blog Setup! ←
In this post, we are going to walk through the different steps you can take to figure out what you want to blog about and whether or not it will make money. If you just want to blog for fun then you don’t need to worry about any of this. Go right ahead and blog away.
Now you are about to decide what your blog will be about ensure that you don’t blog about what you will not like in future. So be selfish and find something you like talking about. You don’t have to love it. I’m not telling you to just follow your passion you have to also take note of what your readers will be passionate about. I’m telling you to make sure you won’t get sick of what you are doing. You can like talking about something without falling in love or being passionate about it. But it must be a solution to a set of people problems.
That’s because people search the Internet for one reason only: to solve a problem. That problem may be to find entertainment, or it may be to answer a question. It could be any number of imaginable problems. But when readers are looking to solve a problem and your blog is nothing but ramblings on random topics, how is your blog going to solve their problem?
That’s why niche blogs are popular. For instance, if you want to stay up-to-date on fashion trends, you’ll follow fashion blogs because you trust that they’ll continuously solve your problem. If you want to alleviate boredom, you might hit up Buzzfeed or any number of entertainment blogs that continuously deliver a solution to your boredom. A niche blog narrows your target audience, but it also keeps them coming back.
You don’t need to be an expert on the topic.
This is what holds a lot of people down. They think that they do not know enough about a topic to blog about it. There are two types of blogs that people love to read:
- Those done by experts
- Those done by beginners sharing their experience learning about the topic
Don’t let a lack of knowledge prevent you from pursuing a topic.
No Niche or Topic is Overcrowded
Another issue that holds some people back is that they believe there are enough blogs talking about a particular topic. Why should they create another blog to join the conversation? This is the wrong way to look at it.
Most businesses fail because they don’t do customer research. They don’t take the time to see if there is actually a market for their business. If you decide to start a blog on a topic where a lot of blogs already exist then that is a good thing. It means it’s a successful niche with an audience that is willing to listen and purchase. Your goal is to simply carve out your own little niche in that space.
The truth is that no matter what topic you choose to write about, there is already a blog or million out there in that niche. However, not everyone has explored every nick and cranny of every niche. That’s where the profitability can come in.
For instance, Not Just Online started because there were plenty of blogs about blogging, but there was nowhere for beginners and struggling bloggers to get their answers.
You can narrow your niche in the same way by adjusting your target audience to those who rarely get attention, such as novice versus advanced individuals in your industry. Another option is to focus on a certain geographical area.
NotJustOnline.com was launched in May 2014. Do you think that it was the first blog to talk about turning a blog into a business? No way.
In fact, it’s probably the 100,000th blog to enter this niche but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t going to be successful. Your audience doesn’t care how many blogs are in a niche. They just care that there is a blog around that will help them solve a problem.
Spend some time to write about everything that interests you. Cross out the things that you don’t think about often.
Search different social networks to see what people are talking about and what they like. From the list of the topics you are interested in, see if there are large sites/communities that talk about those topics.
Large in this case can be relative. A community of 50,000 for kites might be large for that niche and that works, while you can probably find a community of millions that talks about cookies.
This doesn’t apply to every niche but search Pinterest for pins in your niche. If there are pins with 1000s of repins then you are good to go.
In fact, I only start blogs now that I know can do well on Pinterest. The reason why is because it has a built-in audience that I can tap into to get traffic right away. Google traffic and traffic from blogs can come later on.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to stick with your first blog and its niche if you’re feeling burnt out. However, taking the time to explore which niche you want to start in can save you a lot of time and money in the future instead of jumping from niche to niche.
The biggest thing that will help you choose the right niche is to really think about it instead of jumping in head-first with no idea.
Still not sure? Tell us where you’re getting stuck in your decision-making.
Choose Something You Know and Like
Experts will constantly tell you to blog about what you’re passionate about. It may sound cliche and a little unrealistic on the surface, but there’s a reason for it.
Stacey Roberts on ProBlogger says, “Something that seems present and that shines through in the blogs that I read and love is passion.”
When you blog about what you’re passionate about, several things happen:
- You’re more likely to put the time and effort into your blog to make it shine.
- You’re less likely to abandon your blog in the future.
- You’re less likely to run out of ideas.
- It shows through in your writing, and your readers can feel that. This, in turn, will lead to a larger following.
If you go the other route and choose a niche solely because you think it’s profitable, you’re bound to run into burnout and dissatisfaction. Another disadvantage of going the profitability route is that you probably don’t have as much knowledge in those subjects as you do in what you are passionate about. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, why would anyone read your blog? To balance it, you must make sure that your passionate niche provides real solutions to a target audience.
How to Find Your Passion
Okay, so following your passion would be fine and dandy if you had any idea what your passion was. Just a few questions to get you started include:
- What are your hobbies?
- How do you spend your free time?
- What is the one topic you could go on about for hours if your friends or family let you?
- What types of classes did you enjoy in high school or college?
- What do you enjoy reading and learning about?
- If you could do one thing the rest of your life regardless of salary, what would you do?
Still not sure? Try this exercise: Start with your first instinct. Create a list of 10 separate blog post headlines/ideas. If you can’t come up with 10, then this probably isn’t the niche for you. If you do have 10 but aren’t thrilled about actually drafting the blog posts, then it’s worth considering a different industry.
If those 10 ideas sound good to you, consider writing up those blog posts on your computer before you get into developing your site. If you find it difficult to finish those first 10 posts and are already cringing at the topic, then it’s probably not right for you. The good news is that you didn’t waste time and money setting up a blog that you would only abandon later.
Do you find yourself excitingly coming up with more ideas after writing those first 10 posts? Then you could be on the right track! The good news? Now you have content to put up on your site once you’ve set up your blog.
Can Your Topic or Niche Make Money
I wish I could tell you to just follow your passion and don’t worry about making money, but at some point, you will want to monetize your blog, even if you don’t think you do. When you are making money from your blog it can be a lot easier waking up in the morning and working on it instead of entering month 28 without making a dime.
There are a ton of ways to make money from your blog and you don’t have to figure out how you are going to make money from your blog right from the beginning. However, you will want to see if it’s possible to write e-books, create courses, some other digital product, or sell some type of coaching.
Don’t think about ads. I beg of you. When you rely on ads you are setting yourself up for failure and severely limiting your earning potential. They can work as a short term solution but to make any income from them that is worth your time you will need a good amount of traffic and when you achieve that you are better off making money other ways.
I use ads on some of my blogs and it’s okay but over time I know there are better monetization methods for my audience.
You Don’t Need Big Audience
This is something else you have to watch out for. You don’t always need a big audience to do well with your blog.
As long as you are able to secure an audience of true fans then you are good to go.
This site made over $5,000 in its first 5 months and at that time the mailing list was only 400 people and pageviews never went above 7,000 a month.
You can have 100,000 people on your mailing list, but if only 500 people are purchasing what you’re offering then those are the only people you need.
Finding Your Niche
What if you have many passions and no focus? What if you’re not sure how to find your niche? In Finding Your Niche Online and Succeeding In It Amandalyn advises making a list:
If you have a hard time finding your niche, then ask yourself a few questions and write down all of your answers to make a list.
- What are your hobbies?
- What things do you like and enjoy doing?
- How do you spend your free time?
- What are your favorite topics to talk about?
- When you were young, what was fun for you?
- What topics do you know more than most about?
- Are there certain classes that you have taken extensively?
Finding your niche can be daunting at first because, truly, there are blogs in every niche. You are not going to be the first. However, if you look, you will see that there are holes to be filled. Find a need and fill that need. I started Not Just Online because there are many intermediate and advanced tech sites for bloggers, but there wasn’t a place for beginners and struggling blogs. Blogging about blogging wasn’t my first niche, either; it evolved from my first blog (a personal blog where I certainly didn’t even consider a niche as part of my blogging plan) where I was receiving a lot of questions about how to do specific things with a blog (like crossing out words or adding things to a sidebar).
Let that last part be a lesson too: You may start out with one thing and move to another. Sometimes the best-laid plans are just a stepping stone.
Dominating Your Niche
Now you have your niche, but you want to do even more. What’s the next step? In How to Dominate Your Niche, Brian Clark suggests
What you’re looking to do is intensify the niche by doing something more, or differently (or maybe even better) than the existing players. You do this by first evaluating and understanding where the niche is currently, and position your content in a way that pushes the envelope.
You can evaluate your niche simply by being part of the community of that niche. (Is it me, or do I always come back to community in my articles?) As you read and comment at other blogs in your niche you’ll have a sense of what is being covered and what is not. You can start to fill the holes in the niche or take a new approach to an old issue.
This, I believe, is where you’ll start to position yourself to make some money from your passion. As I wrote in How to make money from your blog if you have a product via your blog or are representing a business niche, it is easier to sell that product or specific niche to advertisers. Advertisers know who they want to reach and if your product or business is complementary, then they see the value of advertising with you more readily than they would if you were just a blogger without focus.
If you’re still considering starting a blog but simply can’t figure out what to focus on, I’m here to help!
When you start a blog, it’s good to have an idea of what your main focus will be. If you love fitness, then that could be your main focus. If you’re crafty, then a craft blog is a good bet.
But what if you don’t have anything specific you want to write about? Well, that’s where the beauty of lifestyle blogging comes in. You can simply write a blog around your life. If you made a really good dinner last night, share the recipe and photos on your blog! If you just started running again, blog about your experience there.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with a more narrow focus (like the ones mentioned above), keeping things general on a blog leaves you flexibility if you ever want to make changes.
If I have a running blog and all of the sudden, I get injured, or simply don’t want to run anymore, it’s going to be a more harsh transition to another topic. On the other hand, if I occasionally wrote about running in addition to a lot of other stuff, I could just phase out the running posts and just do more of the other content that I was already doing.
Some of the most popular lifestyle niches are: food, fitness, parenting, faith, fashion and beauty. Each of these niches have bloggers who make 6-figure incomes. There are also blogs who have no niche at all and make a lot of money. It really comes down to your ability to produce interesting content.
Choosing what to blog about really just comes down to (obviously) personal preference. If you start a blog over a topic that you are not excited about, you will most likely fail. If you start a blog about a topic because you think it will make you a lot of money, you will most likely fail. However, if you are passionate about what you are sharing, it will show in your writing and you will be able to build an audience based on your authenticity. That’s the ticket to a successful blog.
Rather than worrying about choosing what to blog about, make the choice (and commitment) to work hard on your blog and to stick with it – that’s the most important thing. After all, even if you’ve established a blog on one topic, you can always re-brand or start a new blog altogether.
While I don’t think you should just dive right in and start blogging without some type of concept of what you are going to write about, I also don’t think you should spend weeks overthinking things.
A blog is a blog. Some are good and some are bad. Your’s will be awesome.
Just spend a couple of days doing some research on the different topics that interest you to find one that sticks. You don’t want to blog about things that might be all over the map. For example, you don’t want to combine your love of cupcakes with your love of customizing cars. Find your topic and become the specialist in it. The rest will take care of itself.