Your journey into the blogging world begins with selecting a niche. This is the most basic thing that you should do before even purchasing the domain, hosting, theme and others. Your plan, course of action will vary depending on your niche.
Choosing the perfect niche takes time. Rather than taking an instant decision, take your time to go through the points I have discussed below. Once you finish, you will be thankful that you didn’t take a quick decision.
As you can imagine, choosing the niche is a complex process and there are numerous angles to cover. However, I tried only the relevant and necessary points here. I discuss these things from my experience and I hope you will find them useful.
1. Choose Something You Know and Love
When it comes to choosing your blogging niche, nothing beats the age-old advice – Follow your passion. You should pick a topic about which you at least have a basic understanding and would love to know more about.
When you are starting a blog, there is not any guarantee that you will succeed. Specially, in today’s competitive world, it will take a significant amount of time before you find the light. You need to take risks, dedicate long hours, work hard and most importantly, you have do it all in uncertainty.
In order to do all of these things, you need to stay motivated. Motivation will be the driving force which will encourage you to put in the extra hours to write awesome content or to think of unique ideas to promote your blog.
And where do you think this motivation comes from? Or, when do you feel most motivated?
Numerous researches have shown that motivation comes directly from passion. You feel the most motivated when you are working with your passion. Continue reading to find out more about passion.
2. What’s Your Passion?
As a blogger, the first and foremost task of you is to find out your passion. It may sound easy, but trust me when I say that it’s really tough. You can’t just pick one topic, try it for some time and then pick another one.
Things do not work that way in the blogging world. If you want to be successful, you need to stick with one topic and be the one in that field.
If you don’t believe me, here are some quotes from people you can’t just deny.
“I think it’s important if you’re going to take on any big challenge, that you just love and really have faith in what you’re doing. That I think is the most important advice I would say, more than any specific technical thing about how to build a company” – Mark Zuckerberg.
“You have to love something to do well at it” – Warren Buffett
“People with passion can change the world for the better” – Steve Jobs
See? You really need to find out your passion and focus on it.
3. What if You Don’t Know Your Passion?
It is very common to find out that you don’t exactly know what your passion is. While we generally tend to think that we have a clear idea about the things we want, you will find out that they won’t come to your mind instantly.
In order to find out your true passions, you should take as much time as you need.
However, if you are not able to find out the passions on your own, there are other ways to do that. I discussed some common ways in our The Definitive Guide to Staring Your Own Blog, you should take a look at them first.
Besides those ideas, let me present to you two of the most effective and most popular methods for finding out your passion, introduced by Pat Flynn and Spencer Haws.
In the first core post of Niche Site Project 2, Spencer Haws provided some invaluable tips about finding out the things you are passionate about. Here are the key points for you –
– Make a list of the subjects that interests you, but you don’t know a lot about.
– Make a list of the common frustrations that people have.
– Make a list of your Interests, hobbies, passions. Maybe you read an interesting article in a magazine, or saw an awesome documentary in the television, include them too.
On the other hand, Pat Flynn introduced another interesting approach to find out your passion. In One of the epic posts of Niche Site Duel 002, he revealed his process of finding out a profitable niche.
He prepares a list of 7 passions (or interests), 7 problems and 7 fears. From these 21 different fields, he will make a list of top 10 fields. You will find more details about his process in the post.
Pat Flynn’s 777 Mindmap
If you honestly follow both of these approaches, I am sure you will have lots of potential ideas to start your blog.
That’s great news, but you still need to perform some other tasks. Continue reading to find out what are they.
4. Do You Have a Special Field Of Expertise?
While blogging about your passion is a solid advice, there’s another way to go too. It is likely that you have a special field of expertise. Maybe there is a field on which you have been working for a really long period of time.
It does not have to be the field about which you are passionate about. But it has to be a field where you have credibility and experience.
If you have such a field, you can start your blogging career in that field. If you can use your expertise and experience to deliver what people want to read, you will be golden. We will discuss more about how to find out what readers want in the next section.
You definitely know Pat Flynn (from smartpassiveincome.com). But do you know that he also started his blogging career with his area of expertise?
Yes, that’s right. He wasn’t doing all this podcasts and product promotions right from the beginning.
He was an architect before he came to the blogging world and he started his journey as a blogger with an architecture exam preparation blog. He wrote more details about it in a post.
5. Find out What Readers Want
If you want your blog to be successful, you need to understand what readers want. In the world of blogging, readers are the main driver, not the bloggers. Finding out what readers want to read is vital to attract new visitors and to keep your current visitors.
There are several ways you can look for content ideas that are in demand. You can start with social media analysis platforms like Buzzsumo or Ahrefs. Both of them offer free accounts and let you analyze other websites.
Find out some of the leading blogs of your selected niche. Provide the URL’s in Buzzsumo or Ahrefs site explorer tool. This will tell you what were some of the most shared (that means, most popular) posts of that site. You can also search for niches directly.
Quora is an interesting place to find out new content ideas. People asking questions in Quora are actually looking for information. Spend some time in Quora and I am sure you will find lots of new content ideas for your niche.
Reading the comments on popular blogs, reading product reviews, checking out relevant forums could be excellent sources for new content ideas too. Being targeted places, you will get the chance to connect, interact and gather information from people who are actually interested in the same field.
Last but not the least, you should also make use of relevant trending keywords. We will discuss more about keyword analysis in the later part of this tutorial.
6. Is Your Niche Too Broad?
If you have identified a passion or an interest, that is very good. Now you need to find out whether your selected niche is too broad or too specific.
For example, if you have selected ‘Making Money Online’ as your topic, it is an excellent choice. But at the same time it is also very competitive. It is almost impossible for an individual to break into Google’s first page for this niche.
But if you selected very targeted niches like recipes for single moms, how to train for a triathlon, how to create indie video games etc., then you stand more chances in ranking higher for your keywords.
Your bog should concentrate on one specific niche only (you can include relevant sub-niches) and let the visitors know that you are trying to solve their problems, rather than focusing on different types of things.
However, that does not mean that you couldn’t start a blog about broad niches. You certainly can, but you need experience and expertise for that. Therefore, narrow down your broad niche, start small, gain experience and then go for the big ones once you are confident enough.
On the other hand, it is also possible that your chosen niche is too specific. For example, if you have selected ‘best brushes for landscape painting’, you are being too narrow. You may find it very interesting but you will not have enough content to write about. If that is the case, you should reconsider your choice.
7. How to Succeed in a Saturated Niche
If you have done some study on making money from blogging, you may have already heard the advice that you shouldn’t enter in a highly saturated market. Various make money gurus will recommend you to go for less common, very specific niche markets where you can dominate.
While there is nothing wrong in choosing a specific, targeted niche, you should also keep in mind that there is something more about the ‘Saturated Niche’ market.
Before going deep, let me ask you what do you understand by the term ‘Saturation’? That there are lots of people and/or brand out there competing in the same niche?
Competition means when more than one brand is competing with almost the same product and same marketing strategy, which is not the case most of the time.
Additionally, competition is not an entirely bad thing too. A competitive niche means there are lots of potential visitors/customers at the end of the line. If people didn’t want the information/product, there shouldn’t be that much competition.
When it comes to blogging, highly competitive niches also have lots of variations in the keywords. What’s more, new visitors/customers are constantly entering into the market.
If you target long tail variants of the competitive keywords and adopt a solid social media promotion strategy, you can definitely make a place for you over time. If you have a really valuable product or useful information for the niche, there is no reason for you to not enter into the competition.
However, despite all the positive things, it is still not recommended for newbies to jump right into the big ocean of highly competitive niches.
What I said above takes time and requires constant monitoring and updating your plans. Being only a beginner, you need experience and expertise before going into these types of competition.
8. Did You Select a Profitable Niche?
If you want to earn money from blogging, this is one of the most crucial questions you have to ask during the starting process.
You need to find out whether your selected niche has earning potentials or not. While you should be blogging about your passion, you also need to make sure that your niche can produce some extra money for you.
So, how to find out if people are actually spending money in your niche?
There are several ways to do that. First of all, if you are planning to promote affiliate products, you should check out marketplaces like Clickbank, CJ, Amazon Associates, ShareASale etc.
If there are lots of products in your selected niche and they are selling well, you will know that there is a future.
Another way to find out the profitability of a niche is to check out the CPC rate for various keywords of that niche. We will discuss more about checking the CPC rate later in the tutorial.
In general, three are three niches which are considered evergreen – Health, Wealth and Relationship.
If you want to further break down these niches, diet and weight loss are very popular in the health niche, while making money online, internet marketing, forex, affiliate marketing etc. are popular sib-niches of wealth. The popular sub-niches of relationship includes online dating, how to attract male/female, how to get your ex back etc.
It is still possible to start your blog in any of these niches and become successful. But don’t forget to go deeper into the niche and be patient.
9. Choose a Niche Where You Can Be An Authority
This is another requirement for being successful in today’s blogging world. Unless you create some kind of authority or build a brand, you will not be able to generate any substantial income from your blog.
While other people are following the traditional approaches, you have to be different in order to stand out.
However, don’t think that you have to do better than the other established authorities in your niche. The vast amount of visitors and the wide nature of internet allow any niche to have several leaders or influential figures.
While you don’t have to compete against others, you have to be unique than others.
Unless you become an influential figure in your niche, you will not have a large user base and as a result, you won’t be able to secure a substantial amount of income from your blog.
In order to be really successful with your blog, you cannot just follow what others are doing. Besides doing those, you have to provide some unique values too.
10. Find a Gap in the Market
This is a field where you have to think from the visitor’s perspective, not from the writer or blog owner’s perspective. In this process, imagine that you are a visitor looking for something in your desired niche.
Analyze the leading blogs or websites in your niche. Analyze them from a visitor’s perspective and try to understand what they are missing.
Try to find a hole in their strategy and capitalize on that weak point. Find something which is working and try to make it better. Visitors want better content, and if you can give them that, they will follow you.
Actually it does not matter how much competitive your selected niche is, if you can deliver better content with smart promotion, you are bound to find success.
And in order to deliver better content to the visitors, you have to become the visitor. Read the visitor comments, go through reviews, forum discussions and try to find out what people are looking for. Try to find out what else people are looking for.
The main difference between you and your competition will be you are trying to deliver better content than them.
11. Find out the Niche Market Keywords to Work With
While it is not encouraged to focus too much on niche keywords, it is certainly good to know about the popular, on-demand keywords of your niche.
You have two solutions to do that – Premium tools like Long Tail Pro, Market Samurai or free solutions like Google AdWords. In this article, I will show you how to use Google AdWords.
Throughout this article, I have recommended using Google Keyword Planner multiple times. And I did that for reason. Compared to the premium tools, Google’s tool is absolutely free and works perfectly. Being a beginner, I don’t recommend you to spend anything on premium tools yet.
In order to use Google Keywords Planner, you need a Google AdWords account. If you have a Gmail id, you can open an AdWords account with that. After signing up with AdWords, log in to your AdWords dashboard. Go to Tools > Keyword Planner.
At this point, you will be taken to a page like the following –
In the page, you will find four options. Among them we will use the following three options –
– Search for new keyword and ad group ideas,
– Get search volume for a list of keywords or group them into ad groups,
– Multiply keyword lists to get new keyword ideas.
The other option is intended for people who want to display ads in Google search results.
Search for new keyword and ad group ideas
As the name suggests, this tool is useful for getting new keyword ideas. Keep in mind that the new ideas will be very close to your provided keyword(s). Click on the tool name to open the options panel.
As you can see, the new keyword generation tool is provided with lots of customization options. We will discuss all of them one by one.
The #1 field is where you put your keyword(s). You can enter multiple keywords as a comma separated list. To keep things simple, try to provide 1-3 keywords in the box.
The next field is intended for ad publishers, so we will skip it.
#3 allows you to choose categories or sub-categories for your keywords.
The next section is ‘Targeting’. Number 4, 5 and 6 fields allow you to choose the target country, language and search engine respectively. Number 7 allows you to define a list of keywords on which you don’t want to show your advertisements. However, this is not relevant for us.
If you want to limit the keyword search within a fixed timeframe, you can do that by clicking number 8 and providing the start and finish months.
Moving on, the ‘Customize your search’ section provides various options to further customize your search. Clicking on number 9 will open a small pop-up like this –
In the ‘Average monthly searches’ field, you can set the minimum or maximum amount of average monthly searches for your keyword. ‘Suggested bid’ lets you do the same for the average CPC of the keyword.
‘Ad impression share’ is useful for ad publishers, not us. And lastly, you can choose the type of competition from High, Medium and Low.
Number 10 allows you to define how broad your search will be. It is recommended that you leave these options as they are. And if you want to include any specific keyword(s), provide them in the #11 box.
After setting up all the necessary options, click the ‘Get ideas’ button, which is number 12.
We will talk about the result page later. Before that, let’s see what is possible with the other two tools.
Get search volume for a list of keywords or group them into ad groups
If you have a list of keywords and check their search volume, this is the tool for you. This tool will not help you in finding out new keywords. Clicking on the title will open a box like the following –
Provide your keywords in the #1 box. Put each keyword in a separate line. If you have the keywords in a CSV file, you can upload the file by clicking the #2 button.
Like the previous tool, you will find options to set the country, search engine, exclude specific keywords and limit the search in the #3, #4, #5 and #6 fields respectively. After setting up the necessary options, click ‘Get search volume’.
Multiply keyword lists to get new keyword ideas
Now, let’s see what the third tool offers for us. If you click on the title, you will be provided with a new section like the following –
This tool is helpful for merging groups of keywords and converting them into new sets of keywords. This is especially helpful if you want to find out all the variations of the keywords people are likely to type in.
To use the tool, provide the list of keywords in the #1 fields and another set of keywords in the #2 field. If you want to add a new set of keywords, you can do so by clicking the #3 button.
In the targeting section, you will find the usual settings like the country, search engine, keywords to exclude etc. in the #4, #5 and #6 boxes.
Once you have set up the options, click the #7 ‘Get search volume’ button to find out the mixed list of keywords.
Analyzing the Result
Now that we are familiar with the available Keyword Planning tools, let’s see how to analyze the results. The result pages of all of these tools are almost same. That’s why I will discuss the result page of the first tool only.
And do you remember what our first tool was? Yes, that was ‘Search for new keyword and ad group ideas’.
So, if you click ‘Get Ideas’ after setting up the options, you will get a result page like the following –
#1 will show the keywords you are searching for.
#2 displays the targeting settings you have set for the search. You can update the settings by clicking on the relevant field.
#3 shows a monthly graph of the search volume for the defined timeframe.
#4 provides you with two options – Ad group ideas and Keyword ideas. The first one is irrelevant for us.
Now, #5 is the most important section of the page. This section contains the keywords along with lots of useful information. I will introduce to all the relevant fields below.
Keyword (by relevance) – According to Google, these keywords are most relevant your provided keyword.
Avg. monthly searches – The title says it all, right? This field shows you the average monthly searched for the keywords. You will also notice a graph icon just before the number of avg. monthly searches.
Hovering over this icon will reveal a chronological search graph for that keyword. This is very useful to find out whether the keyword is seasonal or not. This can also tell you about trending keywords that are gaining rapid popularity.
Competition – Google divides the keyword competition into three categories – High, Medium and Low. The competition is defined on the number of advertisers for that keyword.
Suggested bid – This is another useful indicator of finding out potential keywords. The higher the value of the keyword is, the more attractive the keyword becomes.
If you have read the above discussion carefully, you should have got a solid idea about the various steps of selecting the niche for your blog. So, what is it going to be? Dare to give some hints about your niche?
Or if you want, you can just mention the broad niche like weight loss, online dating etc. Let me know your choice by leaving a comment below.
Lastly, if you find this tutorial helpful, please share with your friends.