How do you pick a niche for your blog? Wondering what to blog about? This is the most difficult question that new and aspiring bloggers need to answer. It is the foundation for every step that comes after.
A niche is a clearly defined topic that appeals to a small, specialized population. Choosing a niche, or a specific topic, to blog about can help you clearly identify your audience and will help ensure that your blog is successful.
Most people are searching for specific information. A blog that provides a lot of detailed information about a specific topic will rank higher and be more profitable than a blog that addresses many topics shallowly.
Prepare to spend a lot of time thinking through this question! In my experience, choosing your niche and your domain name are the two most time-consuming steps to establishing a new website. Neither one of these steps should be rushed.
Here are five things you absolutely must consider before you decide on your blog’s niche.
What are you interested in and passionate about?
What are you naturally interested in? What are you passionate about?
You will spend a lot of time thinking about, reading about, learning about and writing about whatever niche you choose. Pick something you will enjoy!
The answer is different for each of us. In my case, I am passionate about saving money and finding great deals. The cheaper (and freer), the better! Low Income Relief began with five basic posts about discounts I discovered in my community.
How much do you know – and how much are you willing to learn?
To truly succeed at niche blogging, you need to be able to establish yourself as an authority on the subject. You need to be willing to become the ultimate expert on whatever niche you choose.
Ask yourself these two essential questions:
- How much do you know about this topic?
- How much are you willing to learn?
- How much do you enjoy learning about and researching this topic?
It’s likely that other blogs on this topic already exist. What value are you going to add to the information that already exists? Do you have unique insight? Do you have an unusual approach? While not necessarily required, these things are a definite bonus that can help you differentiate yourself from the competition.
Since I already had some experience living the low income lifestyle, I was comfortable with the low income topic. It aligned with my interests, passions and expertise. My unusual approach was as simple as gathering information from all over the web into one easy-to-use website.
How popular is this subject?
You can blog about any subject but that doesn’t mean you can find an audience for every subject. It’s an unavoidable fact that a blog about ugly babies in Renaissance art will have a much smaller audience than a vegan cooking blog.
Google Trends is a free tool that you can use to identify how popular a given topic is. Simply type your search term into the field and the Trends tool will show you a history of how interested people are in that subject.
Please don’t choose a broad topic like “cooking” or “cars” for your blog. If you do, you are setting yourself up for failure. These topics are wildly popular but too competitive for a successful niche blog.
By choosing a more specific niche, you will be able to optimize for a very specific set of keywords and you’ll avoid the frenzy of competition for the larger keyword. It’s much easier to rank for “diabetic recipes” than just “recipes” or for “American classic cars” than simply “cars.”
On the other hand, you also don’t want to become too narrow in your niche. Blogging about feline pet care is fine but exclusively focusing on how to care for a 30 pound Siamese cat is probably too specific.
For your best chance of success, avoid fads or recent trends. Instead, choose topics with a strong search history. Content that is always relevant is also called “evergreen content” because it retains its popularity year-round like an evergreen tree retains its color. The most successful niche blogs are built on evergreen content.
What is the competition like in this niche?
Ideally, you will find a reasonably sized niche with little competition. Although this doesn’t happen often, it is definitely possible!
Do a few Google searches to see what websites come up when you search for relevant topics. Scope out your competition and see what you might be up against.
Even if there is competition in the niche, you can set yourself apart with a unique approach. Delve deep into the relevant subjects. Use a unique approach. With hard work and persistence, you can overcome quite a bit of competition.
Who is your audience and how will you relate to them?
Once you have an idea for a niche, consider the human who is searching for the information in that niche. Who is your audience? Who is your average reader?
When I began Low Income Relief, I envisioned a younger version of myself: a young, frustrated mom who was trying to make the most of her meager food stamps budget. I wrote information that I wish had been available to me in those days. I made sure to frame my about page in the terms of our near-homelessness so that my readers would know that I’d personally been there and that I understood the struggle.
Your site will obviously be different. Nevertheless, you need to consider who will be reading your content and how to connect with them in a compelling way that will set your site apart from the competition.
Once you’ve considered all these factors… CHOOSE A NICHE FOR YOUR BLOG.
Once you’ve weighed these factors, make a decision! There is no golden guarantee that a specific blog in a specific niche will be successful… but there is an absolute guarantee that your site will never go anywhere unless you get started.
Once you’ve made your decision, it’s time to move on to the next step: