Picking a niche for your blog is like choosing a career after highschool. It’s not just one of those decisions you make when you wake up in the morning, like… hmmm “what do I eat for breakfast?”. It’s a decision you can only make once and it’s either you make it or you blow it.
But don’t make it too hard on you. It’s not as hard as I make it sound. Sit back and relax and open your mind.
First, let’s define a niche. I could define it better by telling you first what it isn’t. Contrary to popular notion, pet training is not a niche. I’d probably raise some eyebrows here, but I would say it again, pettraining is a not niche. Why isn’t a niche?
A niche is a very specific segment of bigger category of things, that affects a very specific demographic of the population. Therefore, I wouldn’t consider pet training a niche because it’s not very specific enough. There are different kinds of pets and training each of them requires a different approach. Training a horse is different from training a dog. They are different niches in the pet training industry.
Catering to these niches is called niche marketing. Carmakers like Toyota provide the most excellent examples of niche marketing. Toyota produces cars that are marketed to different niches. They have cars for environmentally conscious people (Prius), the trendy crowd (Scion), the luxury market (Lexus), sportscar lovers, truckers, soccer moms, and frugal people.
Using this framework, cars are not a niche, in the same way as dog training is not a niche. If only to stress the point at the expense of being repetitive, a niche caters to a very specific segment of the market, addressing a specific concern, problem, or interest that is affecting a very specific segment of the population.
Step 1: Goals and Motivations
So you’ve decided to create a blog and you are shopping around for a niche. But first let me ask you:
What is your goal and motivation? Is it among the list below:
- Express yourself (artistic, political, rants, personal)
- Promote yourself, a business, a profession, a skill or talent
- Connect with people with the same problems, concerns and interests
- Share knowledge and help solve problems (computer, health, relationships)
- Make money (sell/promote products, services, and advertising space)
Asking yourself why you want to blog or put your name out there should be the first step in picking a niche. Your goal and motivation determines what niche you will pick for your blog.
Step 2: Choose a path
Based on your goals or motivations, there are two paths that lead to the same end: picking a niche.
If you are inclined to blog about a topic that you feel passionate about (cause, idea, skill, talent, knowledge), then your niche will be that topic that interests you. This niche centers around “you” — what you feel strongly about, what you know really well, what you really want to do. That is is your path.
The other path takes you into market research. In this path, you are concerned less about yourself as you are about that people want or need. If you do this, you are intent on finding out which niches will attract more blog readers because you more concerned with what people want than what really interests you. This can be a dangerous ground to thread on, specially if you are just starting to blog. Let’s say you find out that a lot of people are interested on weight loss, so you then decide to pick this niche for your blog. But let me warn you, you really got to have the drive and the intensity to learn and write. Without the desire to learn and write, you can never blog about weight loss if you know nothing about it.
Faking and feigning interest and knowledge in a niche can have disastrous results. It not only shows in your work, but you will not be able to sustain the blog. You will experience burn out.
Step 3. Market and keyword research
Now what you have picked out a niche (whether it’s based on your passion or based on what’s popular), it’s time to do some research to find out:
- The number of people who are searching keywords related to the niche
Keyword research is important because blogging blindly without care for what people are looking for not only affects web traffic going to your blog but also will affect your blog’s relevance in the eyes of the search engines. Honestly, do you enjoy the thought that nobody’s reading your blog except your family, friends and your dog? If you do, then probably that’s your goal but generally, people blog because they want to reach out the widest audience as possible.
- The products/services you can potentially offer to your blog readers
In the early days of blogging, blogs were just journals where people posted pictures of their pets and maybe ranted once in a while. But today, most blogs are monetized and this is a step you might want to take in order to sustain your blog. Even if you make money just enough to buy you a cheesecake once a week, hey, that’s better than nothing right? Seriously, you can make a six-figure with your blog.
- The level of competition in the niche
I view competition in a positive way. A high level of competition is a good sign that the niche is a goldmine in terms of traffic and potential revenue. Some marketers would advise you to avoid niches where there is a lot of competition; but I would advise you to go ahead and compete. Where there is lot of competitition, there are more bloggers you can interact with in the same niche and there is a livelier atmosphere in the air.
Step 4. Affirmation and commitment
This step is crucial, and it deals with the mindset. The reason most niche bloggers fail or most bloggers fail in a niche is the question of having the affirmation and commitment to pursue the niche and continue blogging. Even if you have the passion, or your niche is sitting on a goldmine, without affirmation and commitment, failure is just around the corner, waiting for your next turn.
Step 5. Action
The last step seals the deal and this is where most of us fail. After going through Steps 1 and 4, why would you stop? Isn’t is about time that you take action and create your niche blog? Steps to take:
- Register domain name
- Get Webhosting
- Install WordPress
- Enable SEO plugins, pick a theme
- Make your first 10 posts/articles, your “pillar content”
- Promote: Twitter, RSS, Facebook, blog commenting, article marketing, forum marketing
This post is about how to pick or choose a niche for your blog. If you want to see a list of 101 potential niches for blog, signup to our newsletter and get the list as a free gift.
To your success!