You want to start a blog.
You may even have a few ideas in mind.
Now, it’s time to figure out how to choose a blog niche.
As simple as it sounds, that really isn’t the case anymore. Over the years, blogging has become quite complex. It’s not the same as it was many years ago when you could just write about anything you want and become a successful blogger.
At least, not if you want to make money blogging.
That’s why it’s important to take a little more time in figuring out what you want your blog to be about. And, just as importantly, how you’ll go about discussing that subject.
The good news is, there’s a method to all this blogging “madness”. That is, there’s a reason why it works that way.
And, I’m here to help you through it. When you’re done with this article, you’ll know everything there is to know about picking the perfect blog niche for YOU. More importantly, in doing so, you’ll set yourself up to create a profitable blog.
What is a Blog Niche?
Simply put, your blog niche is the topic your site will be about.
If you look at your favorite websites and blogs, you’ll probably notice that they focus on one theme. That’s the niche they’re in.
Here are a few examples of well-known blogs and their niches.
- Nerd Fitness – all about getting in shape/fitness
- Bob Vila – talks about home improvement
- Pinch of Yum – focuses on food recipes
Notice that each of them center around a specific topic, their niche.
Broad and Narrow Niches
You may also notice that the three websites listed above all focus on broad niches. By that I mean they cover a large topic.
For example, Pinch of Yum talks about all sorts of recipes. In the same way, Bob Vila will cover everything there is to know about home improvement.
That’s one way to go about things. But, it isn’t the only way.
What I mean to say is that you can drill-down into a narrower subtopic within your niche. Here are some examples.
- The Points Guy – is a travel blog focusing on how to maximize your costs. Notice that they could have just focused on the larger topic of travel. But they opted to choose something more specific, travel reward points.
- Oh She Glows – is a vegan blog. Instead of being like Pinch of Yum where Lindsay Ostrom writes about all sorts of recipes, Angela Liddon focuses on plant-based food.
- Money Saving Mom – focuses on saving money, particularly for your home, be it via coupons or store deals. In this case, Crystal Paine opted to go with this sub-niche because that’s her forte. In contrast, personal finance can be very broad covering savings, making money, budgeting, investing, taxes, retirement and so many more other money-related topics.
So, which is better?
Neither. Broad and narrow niches can both be successful.
The most important thing about them is to choose one that’s well suited for you. I’ll get to that below and how to choose a niche that’s right for you.
But as a final segue to help you decide if you want to go broad or narrow, here are each of their pros and cons.
- You need to know more about each of the different subtopics within that niche. Otherwise, some sub-niches you cover won’t have any articles.
- You’ll need to write more articles. Obviously, the more subtopics you cover, the more content you’ll need to fill in.
- It takes more time to think of ideas for each sub-niche.
- Your readers will like some sub-niches more than others. This is actually good as it lets you get their feedback on what content to write more of. The good news is, you don’t need to cover all sub-niches. Just choose 2-5 that you’re comfortable with. Or, enough to keep you busy without getting overwhelmed.
- You can always narrow down to 1 or 2 sub-niches later on. This is especially true if you notice that your audience responds to these sub-topics better. It’s like doubling down on your winners and letting your losers go.
- In the long-term, as your blog’s authority grows, covering more sub-niches makes you an expert on the bigger topic. Also, because you have more articles, you’ll get more traffic from Google’s search
- You’re more focused. That means you don’t need to write about everything in that niche, just that one subtopic.
- Less traffic potential. Because you’re focusing on a smaller topic, it generally follows that there will be fewer people interested in that subtopic compared to the broader subject. For example, only a subset of fitness buffs will be interested in cardio, because others prefer strength training, flexibility, losing weight and so on.
- It’s easier to become an influencer, authority or “big blogger” in your niche.
- You can always expand to a related or “adjacent” sub-niche come time to scale your blog.
- Your blog will be more relevant to your topic. For example, focusing on budget means majority of your articles are about this single topic. In contrast, a personal finance blog may just have a small section that talks about budgeting. So, in Google’s eyes, your blog is more relevant when it comes to content about budgeting. Thus, it will rank you higher given all other factors being equal.
If you noticed, the two are very different in their approaches.
But, they both have one thing in common: they’re just where you start.
- You can narrow down your sub-niches if you start out broad.
- Similarly, you can add more sub-niches if you started out narrow
So, there’s no need to worry about being “boxed in” because of the niche you choose.
But, the one thing you’ll want to do right from the beginning is to choose the right blog name. That is, pick one that’s versatile enough to let you adjust/scale up or down when the time comes.
For example, if your blog is the veganbaker.com, (not sure if someone owns that domain but, it’s just what popped into my head, so I’ll roll with it as an example) it’s going to be difficult to expand to dairy products or other baking subtopics that aren’t vegan.
That said, the good news is, you can expand elsewhere like focusing on the vegan lifestyle, veganism, its effect of health and so on, in addition to your vegan baking recipes.
As such, even when you get “boxed in”, there’s always a way out, it just depends on how creative you are.
There Will Always Be New Niches That Come Up
One last thing to keep in mind when it comes to blog topics is that sky’s the limit.
The reason for this is that new things keep popping up. And, when they do so, people will want to know more about them. As a result, someone out there will see the opportunity to start a blog about it.
Take for example digital devices. If you go back a decade or so, tech blogs were just all about desktops and laptops.
All of a sudden, Steve Jobs come out with the iPhone soon followed by the iPad. This changed the way tech blogs wrote about things. Now, they talk about mobile devices more than your desktop or laptop. Just as importantly, there are a lot of blogs that solely focus on smartphones or tablets.
Similarly, just a few years ago, there were very few Paleo blogs. But, once people realized they could lose weight using this “caveman” diet, there was a sudden rush into the niche. And so today, if you search Google for Paleo blogs, you’ll find thousands of them around.
Why Choosing a Niche is Important?
Now that you have a good grasp of what a blog’s niche is, it’s time to understand why your site’s niche is important.
Also, why you should take the time to decide which one to go with. After all, you may very well find yourself spending the next 3, 5 or even more years writing about it.
Readers know what to expect from you
The big question here is: Why is it important? Why can’t I just write anything I want?
Technically, you can. It’s your blog, you can pretty much do whatever you want.
If you want to make money from it, you’re better off sticking to a particular subject or topic. Or, in blog-speak, your niche.
The reason your niche is important is so that people who visit your blog know what to expect.
For example, if your blog is named thehomebaker.com (again, no idea if there’s such a blog or not, it’s an example I’ll go with). A visitor who sees that name will think, “Oh, it’s probably a site about baking.”
And, they’d probably be right.
But, what if they get there and the site is completely different, say it’s about sewing or fitness. Wouldn’t they get confused?
More importantly, its why your loyal readers keep coming back
You’ve probably heard me mention that your audience is the lifeblood of your blog. That’s because it’s true.
So just imagine if you write about all sorts of things. This week it’s about parenting, the next week about your hobbies, and the week after about budgeting.
At the end of the month, who’ll be left reading your blog? Will it be those interested in parenting? Or, will it be those who are into your hobbies? Or, will it be visitors who came to learn how to budget?
You just don’t know. And in all probability, your readers aren’t sure as well.
The reason that people keep coming back is that YOUR BLOG offers them something that they’re interested in. As such, staying in topic increases the odds that they’ll stay interested. In contrast, writing about different topics reduces that possibility.
So, if they’re interested in parenting, that’s what they’ll come back for. But, if you suddenly start talking about something else, it reduces the likelihood that they’ll maintain their interest. Thus, lessen the odds of them coming back to your blog.
Google plays a very important role in letting people find your blog. And, in doing so, it increases the likelihood of getting more visitors.
That said, one of the factors that Google’s ranking algorithm puts a lot of priority on is relevance.
For example, let’s take the term “how to run a marathon for beginners”. What do you notice with the top results in the image below? All the results except for one (the NY Times one) are fitness/running related websites.
Basically, it tries to give you the most relevant result for your query. And, it is for this reason why focusing on one topic is helps your blog posts rank higher, THEY’RE MORE RELEVANT TO YOUR TOPIC.
Let’s take for example you’re looking for information about German Shepherds. My question is, which website do you think focuses more on German Shepherds?
In all likelihood, you guessed letter (c). That’s because the site probably only talks about German Shepherds. Thus, their discussion on this particular dog breed will be more relevant that letter (a) which covers all sorts of pets ranging from cats to hamsters. It’s also a step up from letter (b), which may only have one or two sections on German Shepherds.
In contrast, if letter (c) has 100 articles, you know they’re all about German Shepherds. That makes it more relevant for your query on this specific dog breed.
That’s how Google gauges relevancy. In short, it prefers websites that focus on ONE SPECIFIC NICHE because that gives it topical relevancy.
In doing so, you increase your chances of ranking in Google, which in turn ups your odds of getting more traffic from search.
Give visitors a more consistent reading experience
The best way to understand this is to take things from a reader’s perspective.
So, let’s say you visit a new blog and find a very interesting article about saving money.
You’d think to yourself, “Wow! I wish I had known that earlier, it would have saved me an extra $200 a month.”
The next thing that probably comes to your mind will be something like, “Does this blogger have more tips that will help me save more money?”
So, you go and search for more articles on saving money.
But alas, there are none. You soon realize the blog talks about all sorts of things ranging from their pets, their hobbies, colleges, saving money and driving.
But, there’s only one to two posts about each of these topics.
What do you do next?
In all likelihood, you leave the blog, right? After all, you’ve found what you were looking for. And, there’s nothing else about what you’re currently interested in, saving money.
Now, let’s rewind and go back to the beginning.
But this time, after realizing you can save an extra $200 a month and searching for more articles, you find that the entire blog talks about all sorts of ways to save money.
Woohoo! You hit the jackpot!
“I’m going to save even more money!” Yeah, that’s what your brain’s telling you at that moment.
So, you end up staying on the blog for an hour and searching for all the useful posts. You probably won’t be able to read them all in one sitting. Thus, you bookmark it and take note of the important articles and their URLs.
Notice the difference between scenario 1 and scenario 2?
Which would you rather as a reader? And, more importantly, form a bloggers perspective, in which of the two scenarios will the reader come back?
Ultimately, the more valuable experience is the one where your readers keep coming back. That’s because it gives you a chance to build a relationship with them each time they visit.
After all, that’s how you develop friendships, right? Spend time with a person. That’s the same thing with blogging.
You focus all your effort on one thing
If you’ve spent any time reading about productivity, you know that multitasking is less efficient than focusing on doing one thing at a time.
That’s the same when you focus on one topic as opposed to multiple topics.
Reading, researching and writing about one topic allows you to hone your craft better than if you spend little chunks of time with study different subjects.
Single Niche vs. Multi-Niche Blogs: Which is Better?
At this point you’re probably thinking, focusing on one niche is definitely better than trying to cover many niches at a time.
Yet, if you look around, you’ll see a lot of very successful websites that write about many different topics.
So, in this section, I’ll pit the two head-to-head. That is, single niche blogs vs. blogs that cover multiple niches.
Let’s start by defining them.
Single Niche Blogs
These are websites that talk about one specific subject. The subject may be a broad topic like fitness, or a subtopic like intermittent fasting, weight loss or weight training.
The most important thing about single niche blogs is they choose one topic and focus all their content around that one topic.
As such, it’s important to choose a subject that’s broad enough. Otherwise, you run the risk of running out of things to write about after a year or two.
Examples of Single Niche Blogs:
- I Will Teach You to Be Rich – This is Ramit Sethi’s personal finance blog where talks about credit cards, boosting your income, saving money and everything related to your finances.
- $5 Dinners – Erin Chase’s blog focuses on the food niche, more specifically, a narrower sub-niche: $5 meals.
Notice the difference between the two?
While both are single niche blogs, the first one concentrates on a broad topic: Personal Finance. On the other hand, the second blog focuses on a much narrower sub-topic, $5 dinners only.
Multi niche blogs talk about different niches.
If you look around, there are 2 main types of blogs that fall under this category.
- Blogs by digital media companies. The reason for this is that these blogs are very well funded. As such, they can spend tens of thousands of dollars a month on content to cover all the topics. In addition, they have funding that allows them to have their own social media and SEO teams, if not they can afford to farm out the work to agencies. This lets them overcome the hurdles of covering many topics since they can produce massive amounts of content and build authority in all of the topics as well.
- Blogs that are at least 4 years or older. Many of the older blogs were designed to be like this. That’s because back then Google didn’t enforce topic relevancy. As such, covering lots of topics allowed you to attract more visitors.
Basically, multi-niche blogs aren’t bad. They just take more work, especially to rank on Google because of how the search algorithm has been programmed.
Examples of Multi-Niche Blogs:
- Huffington Post – this monster blog covers everything from politics to entertainment to health and many more.
- Making Sense of Cents – this is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s wildly successful personal finance blog. But, if you look closely, she not only talks about personal finance topics but also pets, travel, and her living accommodations be it in a small home, boat or RV.
Which is Better?
It depends. Yes, I know. I overuse the phrase.
- If your blog’s main target traffic source is Google, it’s a good idea to stay within a niche. This lets you rank faster with a lot less effort as well.
- If your blog’s main traffic is social media, it’s your choice.
If you aren’t concerned that it will take a lot more time for traffic from Google to trickle in, then going with multiple niches is probably a better idea. Here’s why.
- It lets you get feedback on which topic/s you should stick with. This lets your audience decide for you. As such, it will be very easy to tell which one they want. You’ll see 1 or 2 niches with much larger traffic than others.
- This also allows you to attract different visitors to your blog. This is a good thing because you can then sell them different products. More niches = more product ideas.
So, the bottom line is: If you want to get traffic from Google as quickly as possible to supplement your initial surge of visitors from social media, then sticking to single niche works best.
What Should You Do?
Here are 4 strategies you can implement depending on which of the above approaches you decide to go with.
Strategy 1: Start Narrow, Stay Narrow
This is the ideal situation.
The reason I say this is because you KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO BLOG ABOUT. That means you’re picking one niche and sticking with it all the way.
This lets you get traffic from Google faster with less effort. And, it stays on the subject, so your readers always know what to expect.
Because you’re picking one specific niche, you need to make sure you do enough research to ensure that it’s something you’re interested in and has profit potential.
I’ll explain how to do niche research below.
Strategy 2: Start Broad, Narrow Over Time
In this niche strategy, you start with multiple niches and narrow them down to one or two as time passes. The decision will be easy because your traffic will show you a clear winner.
The best part about this is that you’re letting your audience decide what they want to read more from you. So, there’s no guessing involved.
This approach is Ideal if:
- Your initial main source of traffic will be social media
- You don’t mind that traffic from Google will take longer before trickling in
- You’re planning to sell products and services
Strategy 3: Start Narrow, Broaden Over Time
This is the opposite of strategy 1. Here, you decide on a single niche.
The goal is to grow it as much as you can until you’ve become an authority on the topic.
And, when the traffic from that niche has saturated, you expand over to related or “adjacent” niches.
For example, you start with yoga. Later on, you expand to meditation, being that it is very closely related to yoga.
This approach is Ideal if:
- The main source of traffic you’re targeting is Google
- You know the topic well
- You’re sure that the niche has enough interest (ie. isn’t too small a market)
- You want to focus on just one subject
Strategy 4: Start Broad and Stay Broad
Here, you start with many niches and stay with those niches.
This strategy is harder. The reason being that it takes more time and effort before seeing the gains from your work. As a result, it requires more patience than strategies 1, 2 or 3.
That said, there’s a bigger reward at the end.
So, the goal is to get through the initial part where you have to create enough content for each topic. Then build enough authority for the entire site so that it ranks well despite being less topically relevant.
Some examples of sites that do this are:
Notice that they’re all big digital media firms. That’s because their nature allows them to have the resources to cover many topics at once in a short period of time.
Doing so gives them the biggest bang for their buck.
A good analogy would be a small business that can borrow a lot of money. The money allows it to expand so fast that its earnings will beat the small mom & pop store that doesn’t borrow money and instead only re-invests its earnings back to its business in order to grow.
This is why venture capital money is so vital for tech startups. It allows them to grow very fast in a very short amount of time.
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing a Blog Niche
Before you head on to the section below on how to choose your blog’s niche step by step, it’s important to know what factors to consider when choosing your blog’s main topic.
In all, there are 5 factors. The first 2 are by far the most important. But you should consider all five when choosing your blog’s niche.
So, let’s get to it.
What do you like or are interested in?
That’s the question you want to ask yourself here. The reason being that you’ll be writing and talking about this topic for the next 3, 5 or 10 years.
So, it ought to be something that you have some kind of interest in.
Now, some people will go as far as to say: “choose something you’re passionate about”. And, that’s all good.
But, I’ll take a slight step backward and say it’s not necessary, albeit AMAZING if you can find something you’re SUPER PASSIONATE ABOUT as long as it fits with the remaining criteria on this list.
What’s important here is to choose something that you won’t hate doing, get bored of, or want to avoid as time passes. Because if you pick a topic or niche you’re not interested in, you’ll end up hating to work on your blog.
This scenario isn’t much different from an employee who hates their job, would it?
More importantly, if It’s something you don’t like, after a few months, you’ll hate writing about it, won’t care to do any in-depth research or try to learn more about it.
Even worse, you’ll start losing interest.
That’s not where you want to end up. You want something you’ll be excited or at least interested to keep learning, writing and talking about.
So why isn’t passion a requirement?
It’s because you don’t necessarily need to be super passionate about something to create a successful blog about it. Of course, that would be the ideal situation.
But forcing yourself to choose something you’re passionate about over something you’re likewise interested in that’s more practical and more profitable isn’t always the way to go.
That’s why I mentioned that you at least need to be interested in the topic.
One great example of this is Tony Hsieh, who’s one of the earlier internet success stories when Zappos was sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion back in 2009.
Zappos is an online shoe store. But, Hsieh was never interested in shoes. Yet, he came in as the CEO and grew the company until it became so enticing that Amazon came in to acquire it.
So What should you do?
Make a big list of your interests. Don’t think too much, just list them down. You’ll narrow down your options later anyway.
Here are some questions that will help you come up with a few ideas.
- 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?
The next important criterion is profitability. I’m on the assumption that you’re starting a blog to make money somewhere down the road. If not, then you can skip this item.
The question to ask yourself here is:
Are people in this niche willing to pay you for some product or service you may create later on?
Just as importantly, you need to find out:
Does the audience in this niche have purchasing power? And, are they willing to spend for things?
Yes, the questions do sound capitalistic and all.
But, if you plan on making a living from blogging somewhere down the line, you need to know whether or not the market you’re going into is profitable.
Otherwise, you may end up being the biggest blog in the niche without an effective earning stream. Or, in blogspeak, monetization strategy.
One example of this is the food/recipe niche.
It’s harder to monetize food blogs because people who visit them come in with a “FREE RECIPE” mindset. That is, their intention is to find free recipes to try or cook, ie. they’re not looking to pay you for that information.
This is why most food blogs earn from display ads and sponsorships. Both of which don’t require their readers to buy anything from them.
The saving grace for food bloggers is that while their readers (those who come to find recipes) don’t buy from them, there are a lot of people who want to start food blogs. As such, they’re able to sell ebooks and courses teaching other people to start a food blog.
So, in a way, they went the roundabout route. Instead of selling to their main audience (people looking for recipes), they end up selling to would-be food bloggers.
But, that’s what’s great about blogging. The opportunities are limitless. It’s all about finding them.
That said, you want to plan ahead with how you’re going to make money off your blog before investing hundreds of hours on it.
Here’s where to start.
Look for options within these 3 categories. Often, people within these 3 groups are willing to spend money.
- Pain. These are problems that bother people. Some examples are weight loss, back pain, acne, and dating. Things that constantly bother you so bad that you want to solve them as much as possible. When you have problems like that, you’ll be willing to pay to find a solution.
- Passion. These are things people really like. Often, they fall under sports and hobbies. But, it’s important to choose a sport or hobby where there’s a skill to be learned or something to buy. One example is my dad. He’s a golf nut. As such, he has quite a number of golf clubs, shirts, and shoes. He also travels once in a while to play in specific golf courses outside the country. So, just there, you already have a few monetization options. Additionally, within the golf niche, you can also create tutorials and instructional courses that will help people learn the game or lower their handicaps.
- Lifestyle. These are part of a person’s life. More importantly, they’re such a big part of their day to day life, that they’ll spend on them. Some examples are yoga, dogs, paleo, parenting, pregnancy, and fitness. I’ve had dogs ever since I was a kid. And, I can tell you that as much as you love playing with them and having them around, they’re very expensive to care for. The dog food, vet, grooming, and accessories all add up. Then there’s dog training as well. If you own a dog, you know these things aren’t cheap, especially if you have a large breed. Yet, each time one of our dogs passes away, we get a new one. Again, just from an overview of the dog niche, you can quickly see a few options for making money.
The question to ask yourself here is:
What you’re good at, have experience in, did for work, know how to do or are willing to learn?
This is the least important of the top three. But it does go a long way if you already have that kind of knowledge or expertise in the niche.
That lets you jump right out of the gate and start creating AWESOME content that your audience will love. More importantly, with so much information on the web, it’s easy to be overshadowed or feel that what you’re writing isn’t up to par with what others are producing.
But, if you know a topic, or are really good at it, then it gives you a clear advantage. You not only have the confidence that you can provide better information, but you’re also able to do so by giving readers a unique perspective, in-depth knowledge, personal anecdote and more.
Say, for example, you’ve been gardening for years. This gives you an upper hand over other bloggers who are just starting out with the hobby or don’t even garden that much.
What’s great is that sometimes the topic you’re looking for is just hiding in plain sight.
Let’s say you’re a stay at home mom with 3 kids. That gives you a distinct advantage when it comes to raising kids. So, you can start a blog on helping moms who are expecting, the things they should know before and after childbirth. This is SUPER valuable, especially to first-time mommies.
Or, you can likewise create a blog about being a stay at home mom. You can talk about what it entails, how to avoid boredom, how to manage your time, and even how to make money from home.
4. Topic Popularity / Traffic
This is related to the size of your niche.
The question to ask yourself here is:
Is the niche big enough? Or, how big is the audience in this niche?
Since your blog will focus on the niche, it’s important that there are enough people interested in the topic. Otherwise, you’ll be struggling to get visitors and buyers for your products.
So how do you do that?
The best way to do this is to do some basic keyword research.
Paid Keyword Tools
Unfortunately, the best tools are paid tools. My favorite one is Ahrefs. But, it is considerably expensive.
Other tools include:
Here’s how it works (I’ll use the Ahrefs tool for the example).
Let’s say you’re doing keyword research for the term “make money online”. All you have to do is type in “make money online” into its Keyword Explorer feature and it will show you a long list of terms related to “make money online”.
In just a few seconds, you get a ton of potential keywords you can create blog posts around.
For the term “make money online”, there more than 15,000 potential keywords you can check. Ahrefs also shows you the Volume (monthly search traffic for that keyword) and KD (keyword difficulty).
This lets you sift through different keywords quickly to find blog post ideas.
With it you can easily asses whether a niche has enough keywords to write article about or not.
Free Keyword Tools
There are also many FREE keyword tools. Unfortunately, almost all won’t show you how many searches the keywords get on a monthly basis.
Here are a couple of keyword tools you can use without having to pay for them.
At the top of the list is UberSuggest, which is what I recommend if you don’t want to spend for a monthly keyword tool subscription.
This tool has all the basic keyword research features you’ll need.
Other options include:
But neither offer you the depth and information that UberSuggest does.
What to Do
The goal here is to make a list of 5-10 common keywords within your potential niche.
Then, check to see what kind of monthly search volumes they have via the keyword research tools.
Ideally, the big keywords will have over 1,000 searches per month.
Just as importantly, take a look at the keywords related to the main one you entered.
Your keyword tool will spit out these related keywords.
In a good niche, there will be quite a few of these related keywords and many of which have a decent amount of searches per month (at least 300-500 monthly searches or more).
These keywords will be the topics you’ll be writing blog posts about.
So, you don’t want to find 20 or 30 only. Because if that’s the case, you’ll probably run out of things to write about by year 2.
Evergreen Niches vs. Fad Niches
Before moving on to the next item, here’s something worth mentioning.
One thing you should look out for when choosing a niche is fads. You don’t want them.
Sure, they’ll be popular when you search them on Google Trends.
But, when the fad dies down, nobody will be talking about it. As such, the search volume will dry out then.
Take, for example, Gangnam Style. You probably remember that catchy tune by Psy a few years ago.
Back then, it was all the rage. Everyone was dancing it, including Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) and Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt.
But, come 2019, you never hear it anymore.
You don’t want that to happen to your blog, because it if does, you’ll likely end up starting a new blog a few years later since the searches for that fad will disappear.
Instead, focus on evergreen niches. That is, topics that will always be around. These are fairly obvious if you stop and think about them for a few seconds.
Some examples include dancing, travel, food, fitness, surfing, home décor, and many others. You know that people will still be talking about these things and looking for information about them 10, 20 or 50 years from now.
The question to ask yourself here is:
What are the blogs in the niche?
You want to know the big bloggers, the medium-sized blogs and those that are just starting out.
Interestingly, you actually want a lot of competitors.
Yes, the more the merrier. That’s because ultimately, your competitors will be people you’ll make friends with. As such, you’ll collaborate and form partnerships with them. Just as importantly, you’ll be able to get some of their visitors.
The reason is that almost everyone reads more than one blog. As such, there’s room for everyone. That’s why the fact that there are over 400 million blogs around doesn’t mean it’s too late to start a blog.
It’s also why it’s important to come in with this mindset: Your competitors are your friends.
That said, there are three types of blogs where competition isn’t a good thing.
- Amazon Associates blogs. These blogs compete for the number 1 spot on Google for a fixed set of keywords. As such, the more blogs in that niche, the harder it will be to outrank them.
- E-commerce blogs. Because you’re selling the same products, people that buy from them will likely not buy the same product from you.
- Blogs that sell items people only buy once (before having to buy again). These include items that last for a very long time. Or, things you only buy one of. For example, a laptop, freezer, house or mattress. Similarly, it works for services like gym or yoga memberships, insurance, cellphone, and internet provider. Often, these are high-ticket items or recurring services. The problem here is that once they buy from your competition, they likely won’t buy from you because they’ve made the investment.
For the rest of the blogs, your competitors are your allies. Treat them as such, and they’ll help you succeed.
How to Choose a Blog Niche
Now that you have all the details, it’s time to make a list of potential blog niches and assess their viability.
Step 1: List Down Potential Niches
Make a list of all your passions, hobbies, interests, things you know and are curious to learn about.
Put them all in a spreadsheet under one column (Column A). You can use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets for this step.
Step 2: Add the Criteria Columns
Next, add the following column headings to your spreadsheet.
- Column A: Niche Idea
- Column B: Interest
- Column C: Profitability
- Column D: Knowledge
- Column E: Traffic/Popularity/Market Size
- Column F: Competitors
Step 3: Assess Each Niche Based on the 5 Criteria
For each niche listed in your spreadsheet, fill in all 5 criteria columns using a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest and 1 the lowest.
Here’s a quick guide on how to assess each of the columns:
- Column B: Interest. If you’re somewhat interested in it, give it a 3. Anything less gets a 2 or 1. If you’re very interested or passionate about it, give it a 5.
- Column C: Profitability. Check out the different big blogs in the niche and see how they make money. Do they sell courses, are they affiliates, do their blogs have tons of ads or are some of their posts labeled as sponsored? The more options you get the better.
- Column D: Knowledge. How well do you know the niche? Or, how willing are you to learn about it?
- Column E: Traffic/Popularity/Market Size. Using a keyword tool, take a look at how many relevant keywords (ie. those you can use to write articles your audience will enjoy reading) are there and count how many of them have monthly search volumes of over 1,000. Ideally, you want to find at least 15 of them. But, the more the better.
- Column F: Competitors. Are there are a lot of big blogs in the niche? That’s a good sign there’s potential to grow.
Step 4: Total the Scores & Make Your Shortlist
Finally, sum up the totals for each row.
The maximum score for each niche will be 25 given that you’ll score each criteria a maximum of 5 points and there are 5 criteria.
The higher the total score, the better.
Here are a few extra guidelines.
- Ideally, you want to discard niches with total scores that are under 15. That means you’re getting about a 3 for each criterion. While that’s satisfactory, it’s doesn’t really excel in any way.
- Pay special attention to the scores for Interest and Profitability. Discard niches where your Interest or the niche’s Profitability scores a 2. You don’t want to lose interest over time. Nor do you want to struggle to find a solid monetization strategy.
- If you like a niche that has a 2 in either Traffic or Competition, make sure there’s an adjacent or related niche you can expand to. This lets you add a topic in case there’s too little traffic or room to grow in your current choice.
Based on the totals, you’ll be able to narrow your choices down to a shortlist of the ones that make the cut.
If too few options make the cut and you don’t really like any of the ones left on the list, go back to step 1 and brainstorm a new set of niche ideas.
Step 5: Compare the Niches in the Shortlist and Decide
As much as we all want the numbers to make the decision for you, that’s just not going to happen.
Your shortlist gives you your top picks. Now, it’s up to you to decide.
- Do you just want to get the highest total?
- Do you put more priority in Interest compared to Knowledge or the other criteria?
- Which niche would you prefer disregarding the numbers? This sounds ironic, but it lets your instinct decide. Since they’ve all made the cut anyway, it leaves the decision to what you really like.
List of Popular Blog Niches to Consider
Here’s a list of popular blog niches you can go through to find inspiration.
- Personal development
- Personal finance
- Saving money
- Any sport
- Any hobby
- Arts & Crafts (including drawing, painting, watercolor, sewing, knitting, DIY, woodworking, crocheting, etc.)
Your blog niche is one of the most important things you need to address before setting up your website.
It lets you know what to focus your content on.
… And allows your audience to better understand what your blog is about.
If you follow the steps above, you’ll understand all there is to know about choosing your blog niche.
And, if you’re better off going broad or narrow, and if you should focus on one specific niche or spread out over multiple topics.
What is your blog about? Or, if you haven’t started a blog yet, what niche do you plan on focusing on?