This is by far the most important article you will ever read before you start a blog. The knowledge of blog niche will define your future success or lack of this knowledge, might lead to failure.
There are countless people who started a blog and had quit it before they could have discovered the glory they were destined to.
What I found most interesting here is, the majority of them echoed the same voice:
- I quit because I couldn’t drive blog traffic
- I quit because I could not make money
- I was unsuccessful
- I was not lucky
For me, it is disheartening to hear this, as I know the issue is not the hard work of these quitters, but lack of understanding of profitable blogging, and especially zero understanding of blog niche.
Now, today I unravel the secrets of niche selection, which will become your foundation to create a profitable blogging business.
This is a long read, and you should also bookmark this guide for future references. Grab a mug full of coffee or green tea, and close every distraction.
Read every word with a clear intention of learning something new, and you would not only find success with your next blog, but you will also avoid making niche selection mistakes, which makes a lot of bloggers unsuccessful.
What is the blog niche?
According to the dictionary
Denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.
The most common way to think of blog niche is:
- What is your blog topic?
- What is your blog about?
The biggest mistake in niche selection?
There are a few mistakes that a lot of beginners make when it comes to niche selection. Let me pen down a few of them.
1. Getting into a generic niche:
A generic niche is a broad niche, which is usually high competition, and very broad. For example Health niche, tech niche, Fashion niche.
A better way to look into it is, by focusing on a specialized narrow niche within a broad niche.
This alone would ensure your blog becomes a success in terms of popularity, traffic, and money.
Moreover, you become a specialized expert, since you would be spending a lot of time researching, learning, and writing around one focused topic.
2. Fewer monetization options:
A lot of beginners get into blogging by focusing only on AdSense. This is mostly due to lack of information, and this should not be the only criteria of profitable niche selection.
You need to widen your horizon and focus on a niche that provides an option for more monetization opportunities.
This could be in the form of (but not limited to)
- Direct advertisers
- Affiliate programs
- Online courses
Read my guide on how to make money blogging, this would help you learn about more options for blog monetization.
3. Without Research, Failure Happens:
If your goal is to make a sustainable business (income stream) from your blogging effort, you need to spend time researching and using data to pick a niche.
This may require 2-3 days before you could start your blog. But, this exercise alone would help you validate your idea, and your decision is not solely based on passion and gut feelings.
On the contrary, gut feeling is not a bad thing, as long as you are well nurtured with the right information, prior to launching your blog.
4. Sticking To A Wrong Niche:
“It is ok, I will make it a success”, such kind of thought often lead to frustration in the near future, and ultimately would let you quit working on your blog.
Often when you realise you are working in the wrong niche, you have an option to start a new website (in a new niche), and then make it work for you. In fact, your second blog might be a success, as you will be utilising your knowledge from the old blog, into a new one.
In my 12 years of career as a blogger, every new blog has become a faster success than the earlier one. So do not be afraid of leaving your old niche, and starting a new one when you realise the old niche is too saturated, or you have no interest in it anymore.
Take all this advice with a grain of salt, and ponder on it, before you make any decision about changing your niche. If you are part of ShoutUniversity, you can always ask me about your niche.
5. Not Starting Due to Lack of Niche:
Niche selection is definitely #1 step for becoming successful with profitable blogging, but you should not be stuck at this stage for too long. There are many more challenges that are waiting, and you should complete the entire process of niche selection within a week.
Even if it meant you have selected the wrong niche, you can always course-correct later. The key here is, not to get stuck in the process of niche selection.
Moving on to the benefits…
What Are The Benefits of Niche Selection
1. More Traffic – Google Love:
Since you will be taking the help of data to pick the niche, the probability of you building a high traffic blog would be higher. Also, since you are working in a laser-focused niche, you are more likely to get rewarded by Google in terms of organic traffic.
2. More Loyal Users:
Being in the right niche also lets you attract like-minded users. Since your blog is going to be about one topic, your being in the right niche also lets you attract like-minded users.
Since your blog is going to be about one topic, your readers are more likely to stick around.
You would notice that you have less bounce rate, high avg. page on time and your community would expand. This whole process may be slow in the beginning, but eventually one day everything would just change.
3. You Might Become an Expert:
Learning is a slow process, but as you spend regular time daily on learning about one subject, eventually you would end up being top 1%-5% in that particular field. The best part is, you would not even realize how you gained such kind of knowledge, as your hunger for learning more will never end. This difference is mostly noted by others, or by you when you will compare your recent writings with the old ones.
4. Marketing Becomes Easier:
This reason alone should compel you to spend a significant amount of time selecting a niche. When you have a focused blog, your marketing efforts become a bit easier than an unfocused blog, and you would see better results with fewer efforts.
5. More Mullah 💸:
Once your blog starts getting traction, you would be approached by advertisers. This stage of your career would be game-changer, as your initial niche selection will help you make more money in comparison to your peers.
Due to the laser-focused niche, the ads should be getting high CTR from the hyper-targeted audience, this would be maximum mullah. In one of a niche that I worked on, it netted more than $12000 on a single day because I was in a focused niche. Now, you may or may not repeat the same result as mine, but you will be definitely better off than starting a blog without niche selection.
Generic Niche Vs. Laser-focused niche (Micro niche)
- Freelancing vs freelancing for writers
- Technlology blog vs Tech blog for Apple user
- Fashion Lifestyle blog vs Fashion & life style for College goers
- SEO vs Backlink Building
5 Principles to pick a niche for your blog:
1. Your interest a.k.a passion
Use your past experience, hobbies and learnings, current interest, readings and learnings, and your life accomplishment as a base to choose a niche. For example, if you have lost weight, you can think about starting a health blog or if you have become financially free, you can start a finance blog.
Always remember: One learns better by teaching!
The way I do it is by creating a list of subjects I’m passionate about and then running through other filters as listed below.
This ensures that the niche you will pick is not only something you are passionate about but also profitable in the longer run.
2. Low Competition Niche Means Easy Win:
Competition is another factor that you should consider before zeroing down on a niche. You should avoid high competitive niche, as a lot of other webmasters are creating a website in the same niche.
You should remember this as the topmost principle for successful niche selection. Your goal should be to pick a niche that is not very competitive, and not a lot of users are looking into it. At the same time, it has the potential to grow over time (See trends in niche selection) to have a clear understanding of this.
3. Your Area of Expertise:
Well, passion is one compass to find a great niche, you should not discount your existing expertise when it comes to niche selection. Especially, as a lot of websites rely on Google search to drive traffic, expertise is one criterion you should consider.
A few years back Google made it clear that they look at author expertise to rank a website. High ranking means, you will be rewarded with more organic traffic, which in turn will help you to be successful in your blogging endeavor.
In fact, Google took this one step ahead and started de-ranking websites where expertise is not clear especially in certain niches like health, finance, and anything to do with money matters.
Generic niches like fashion, tech are quite fine right now, but we can’t be certain it would stay the same in the near future. Your qualifications, your official designation (Example: Engineer, Doctor, Management degree), should be considered when picking a niche.
If you don’t have one of these, then avoid getting into a niche where the qualification matters. There is a workaround related to this situation, but it is not as straightforward as it seems. So along with passion, do consider a niche where you could highlight your own expertise, or hire expert writers. A workaround to this is by having an expert review your content (For example, health niche can work with a medical practitioner, to review the content).
4. Topic Relevancy In The Future
So you identified a few niches for you, but what about the future of those niches?
Checking the trend, and ensuring that trend has increased over time ensure you stay relevant in the time to come.
There are exceptions when you are working on a micro-niche, and your time horizon for that blog is not more than 1-2 years. A good free tool to check the trend of a topic is by using Google trends.
Here is how you can use Google trends.
- Head over to Trends.google.com
- Enter your niche topic
- Select the target country (Ex: Worldwide, India, United States, Australia)
- Select the year range (Ex: 5 years)
And Google would show you how the interest of users have increased or decreased around that topic.
5. Is Your Niche Monetizable?
This is another important factor that you should consider when finalizing a niche for building a profitable blog. This is not uncommon to find beginner bloggers creating a blog on things they are passionate about, but struggle to monetize it.
The reason being, there are many high-traffic niches, which are hard to monetize. The reason being, there are not enough advertisers, who would like to advertise in such niches.
Google AdSense or Media.net is certainly the most common way of monetizing any niche, but as I shared in my how-to make money blogging webinar, there are higher levels of monetization that generate more revenue.
There are a few ways to gauge the monetization opportunities, and one of them is by analyzing the similar websites in that niche. This strategy is also known as competitor analysis.
Analyze other blogs in a similar niche (broad or narrow), and see how they are monetizing their blog.
A few things to pay attention to:
- Are they using only contextual ad networks like AdSense to monetize?
- Are they running any direct ads? If yes, which all brands?
- Are their affiliate links on the website?
- Are they selling any products (Courses, eBooks, Merchandising)?
- Are they offering consultancy?
This kind of study will give you a head start, and also idle for your blog business plan.
Final words for successful niche selection:
Before you move to FAQ’s related to niche selection, I want you to know one thing:
Even though this guide should be used as a guiding principle for your niche selection process, but it should not be the only thing. There are often outliers who think unthinkable, and you should keep that in mind.
Nonetheless, some principles like using data to validate your niche selection idea would ensure you don’t make niche selection mistakes like many others.
This guide is meant to help you learn the tricks that professionals use for niche selection. In the real world, you would end up paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars to learn all this wisdom. Today you are learning this for free, however, all this knowledge would be useless, if you skip even a single principle of the niche selection process.
If you already have a blog in a particular niche, you can use this guide to give it a new direction. This way, you not only make your future success proof, but you also will not end up like many bloggers who quit blogging due to the wrong selection of niche.
A. Well, the best way to learn anything is by teaching. As long as you applied these principles to find a good niche, and start writing about it, you will start becoming better.
As you move ahead in your journey as a learner, you may go back to edit old articles, which is completely natural. Overall, you don’t have to be an expert to start a blog in any niche, you become an expert by learning and writing. In fact, when you learn to write, you end up researching and learning better, as writing requires more preparation. Even though the starting few months will be slow for you, but in the long run, you will have a better impact.