How to Pick Your Blogging Niche

You think you want to try blogging as a way to make money, but aren’t sure what the first step is? Lucky you found this post!

The absolute first step in starting a blog is to pick your niche. Before keyword research, before getting a domain name, before picking a blogging platform, before anything else, you must decide what it is you’re going to blog about.

Here are some tips to help you pick a niche that will work for you.

The Niche You Know

Topics you know and are passionate about work well. If you can’t get both of those qualities, then pick something you’re passionate about, whether you know anything about it right now or not. You can gain knowledge through learning and research, but it’s hard to gain passion if it doesn’t exist at the start.

Why is passion so important? Simply put, you’re going to be writing about this topic for a long time. A daily posting schedule is great for building readership and keeping your readers interested. But think about what a daily posting schedule means. Seven days a week, you have to come up with content that’s interesting enough to be read. Days when you’re not feeling like writing, days when you’ve had a fight with your spouse, days when you couldn’t sleep, days when you missed the mortgage payment. You still have to write.

If you’re not passionate about your topic, you’ll skip days and lose readers, and eventually stop writing altogether. There’s a reason most blogs don’t get past the six month mark.

Popular Topics

If you have a choice between passions, blog about something popular. You want to make money with your blogging, which means getting as many people to read your blog as possible. A blog about the wear patterns on ant thoraxes might be interesting, but probably won’t get you the volume you need to make serious money.

Don’t be afraid to blog about topics you don’t think are popular, though, if that’s where your passion is. It’s a big world out there, and you never know who else happens to be Googling looking for a blog about ant thoraxes.

Unpopular Topics

If your passion is on a topic that is distinctly unpopular, that’s fine too. Note that I don’t mean unpopular as in nobody else is interested in it, but unpopular in that everyone hates the topic. You can generate a lot of blog traffic by being unpopular. Controversy is an amazing attractor.

Stay Away from Making Money Online

Just because you want to make money online doesn’t mean your blog has to be about making money online. There are plenty of people making respectable incomes blogging about various topics that have nothing to do with making money online. You might want to make money online, but are you passionate about sharing your knowledge on the topic with others?

Think carefully before starting a blog in this niche.

Write Daily Articles

Once you have a topic picked, then it’s time to write some articles about it. Don’t setup a blog, don’t pick a domain name, just write an article a day about the topic for a week. This is your dress rehearsal, to see if you can actually write about the topic and keep your passion for it.

When you make it through the week and still feel like you want to keep writing about the topic, then you’ve found your niche! Now it’s time to pick a domain name, do keyword research, identify categories, pick plugins, etc.

After you setup your blog, you already have those seven articles written. Post them all at once to make your blog seem lived in, and then start writing your daily posts.

So how did you pick your niche?

13 Replies to “How to Pick Your Blogging Niche”

  1. Hi Jay! Great, sensible advice for those planning to join the blogging fraternity. I made the mistake of starting with Blogger instead of WordPress. But then I was new to blogging, so I thought getting a free hosting was good enough. That was about a year ago. Now I’ve built up my three blogs to have PR status from 3 to 4. I’m thinking of moving my PR4 blog to my own domain which I already registered. But I’m having cold feet because of the fear of losing my ranking.

    What do you think if I create a new domain name (same as the present PR4 blog but without the “blogspot” tagged on to it), get it hosted, and, in a step-by-step process, transfer some of my posts over to get things going? From there onwards, I guess I can have a new lease of life with this hosted blog. Will this work?

  2. Hi Mark, the blogspot-less domain name would help with branding issues, and would be an easy adjustment for people. But, if you really like a different domain name, and think it’s easier to brand, I’d just go for it.

    It’s a pain to switch domain names. I’d probably put a link from the Blogger blog to the new domain for people to follow (and to get some PR from), and start doing everything on the new blog while you work on getting some of the backlinks switched to point to the new domain name. Individuals who’ve linked to you probably won’t mind switching their links, and you can always add new directory entries.

    Eventually you’ll want to use WordPress’ Blogger import facility to bring the old content over to the new blog, once you’re ready to remove it from the old blog. I wouldn’t have it both places because of the duplicate content hit you’d take in Google.

    Good luck!

  3. I’m still trying to figure what is my niche. When I started my blog, two months ago, I made a list of things I have opinions about, and about which I like to read. I thought those would be my keywords. I thought I had defined my niche.

    However, as the weeks passed, I’ve discovered that I’m blogging about other topics than I originally intended or expected.

    Maybe for personal bloggers, who aren’t targeting a niche as the objective, the niche and keywords develop over time? I hope so. I hope that after a couple months more of generating content, I’ll have better defined my identity as a blogger.

  4. A personal blog can very well change its focus over time, and the niches grow organically based on what you like to blog about. It’s less important to identify a niche ahead of time for a personal blog than it is for something like Online Opportunity, which was designed to be very focused on a specific set of topics. Even so, I continually an amazed by what keywords visitors use to get here.

  5. [quote comment=”482″] Even so, I continually an amazed by what keywords visitors use to get here.[/quote]

    So true! Maybe you’ll post some of the more interesting ones? It would be related to your niche, for sure!

    On the opposite side of this, Problogger is doing a contest (he started it today) for the first person to come up with his most popular referring search term.

    Sometimes, I wish I could contact the people who searched for weird things that landed them on my site. I watch where they go after the search.

    There have been people who have searched for something that landed them on a very different page. I wish I could e-mail them and let them know the correct page was just a click or two away.

    Others have searched for terms that I could have helped with, yet the blog post wasn’t yet written. A couple of search terms have provoked me to write on a topic I hadn’t considered.

    You know how Ernest Hemingway, in a demonstration/defense of brevity in writing, wrote a story in six words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Sometimes the search terms tell a story in a similar fashion. These can be poignant and haunting. {sigh}

  6. [quote post=”226″]So true! Maybe you’ll post some of the more interesting ones? It would be related to your niche, for sure![/quote]

    I’ll put that on my to-do list. Most are pretty ordinary, but some are quite interesting.

    [quote post=”226″]Others have searched for terms that I could have helped with, yet the blog post wasn’t yet written. A couple of search terms have provoked me to write on a topic I hadn’t considered.[/quote]

    That’s one of the great benefits of having some sort of analytics on your site. You can get ideas for topics that are close enough a search engine already found you, and fill that gap.

    Although it’s a bit like reading someone’s mind as they walk into a store, to know what brought them there. I’ve always felt just a bit bad for the invasion, even as valuable as the information is to a webmaster.

  7. I think that I am going to start a new blog(inspiration from you) about parenting and children. I love this topic and have every magazine to prove it. I also figure that I could mix a few books into it to draw money. Thanks for writing this post.

  8. Hi Rosa, that’s a great niche! I keep meaning to start a blog in that niche myself, and run some Adsense ads on it. I think you’ll attract enough readers to make something from it.

  9. I have way to many blogs. I try to keep up with them. A few of them have fallen into the cracks and there are only three that I actually still work on. One is for advertising with sites like sponsored review, one is for drawing readers to my other blogs, and the last one is my greatest blog yet. I put the last one together in only a few weeks. I learned a lot from having blogs. I was going to bring my other ones back to life but I make a lot of mistakes on them, like I said, I have learned a lot. It is defiantly hard to keep a lot of blogs going. I want about five that I can work on full time and not let them fall into the cracks. I guess, like Jay said, you have to be passionate about them and this is what I want to work towards.

  10. I find it challenging to keep one blog up to date. I try to post something each day. The comments take almost as long to handle.

    Here I am, commenting like crazy on Jay’s blog, when I have about a week of unanswered comments to find on my own blog. Maybe it’d be easier to keep up if it weren’t for this sneaky contest!

Leave a Reply