What Should I Blog About?
According to Statista, there are about 31.7 million bloggers in the United States alone, and every year hundreds of thousands of new bloggers join the fray. As I mentioned in my article about the best way to start a profitable blog, being a blogger can be very lucrative. But, with so many blogs on the internet, what should YOU blog about?
In this article I’ll share some tips and advice on how you can find a good topic or niche for your blog. It’s the first and most important step you have to take before you can start your blog. If you get this step wrong, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time.
Why Do You Need a Niche for Your Blog?
In order for you and your blog to be taken seriously by Google and visitors to your blog, you need to focus on a specific topic or niche. And you need to be seen as an authority on that topic.
For example, if your niche is dog training, all the content you publish on your blog should be related and relevant to dog training. You can’t have a site about dog training and throw in a couple of articles about water heater repairs and chocolate cake recipes. It will confuse both your visitors and Google on what your blog is about.
10 Tips to Find the Right Niche
#1. High Demand and Low Competition?
Many years ago nearly all online marketers preached the same message. They said: “Find keywords with a high search volume and low competition that are easy to rank for.” Some marketers are still preaching the same message today.
It’s a lot easier said than done, and Google has evolved a lot over the years. Today Google is more interested in how well you cover the topic of your niche than how you optimize your site for individual keywords.
Competition is good. It means there’s a lot of interest in your niche that you can profit from. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find any niche with zero competitors. If you do, you’ll probably quickly discover why you don’t have any competitors. It’s because nobody is interested in it and you can’t make money from it.
Don’t worry about finding a “high demand and low competition” niche. It should never be one of your top selection criteria.
#2. What Are You Passionate About?
Some online marketers say you should choose a niche that you’re passionate about. Others feel that passion is overrated. They feel you should keep your eye on the money and choose a niche based on how much money you can make from it.
I believe you should choose a niche that you know or are eager to learn more about. I also believe that passion does play a role. Passion is the fuel that keeps your desire to succeed burning.
Growing a blog takes time and hard work. If you’re not passionate about your blog topic, it will show in the content you produce. And you’ll run out of steam long before your blog takes off.
Ask yourself the following question:
“Will I enjoy writing blog posts in my niche one year and 50+ posts later?”
#3. Drill Down Until It Hurts
Your ideal niche should be a sub-niche of a larger niche. You can choose any niche you want as long as you drill down far enough.
If you want to strike oil you have to drill down!
For example, the weight loss niche is a very large and profitable niche. But it’s far too wide. You’ll never be able to cover the topic in sufficient detail to be seen as an expert by Google or your visitors. Your site will get lost in a sea of other weight loss blogs.
Rather focus on a much smaller sub-niche such as weight loss after pregnancy or weight loss tips and advice for parents of obese children. If possible, even drill down further.
#4. What Makes You Different?
Think about finding a unique value proposition (UVP) or unique selling proposition (USP). Something that will make your blog unique or different from other blogs in your niche. What value or benefits can you offer your visitors that other blogs don’t offer?
Ask yourself the following question:
“Why should people visit my blog instead of those of my competitors?”
Here are a couple of suggestions.
- Write better, more comprehensive content.
- Include case studies or practical examples people can relate to.
- Make YouTube videos for people who prefer watching videos over reading text, and embed it on your blog.
- Think about the blogs you read. What are they missing?
The downside of the above suggestions is that they are relatively easy to copy.
Here are a two things you can consider doing that can’t easily be duplicated by others:
- Do your own market research or surveys and publish the results on your blog.
- Add helpful tools to your website.
CodeCanyon (part of Envato Market) has thousands of scripts and plugins you can use to set your blog apart from the competition.
Look for products you can use to add value to your audience that will make them return to your blog. You can also use it to get ideas for products that you can have custom coded for your needs.
If you can’t figure out what you can do to be different from the other blogs in the niche you’re thinking of targeting, rather look for another niche.
#5. Target an Audience You Understand
Want to know the secret of some of the most successful blogs, YouTube channels, and social media accounts? They have an intimate understanding of their audience. They know what their audience wants and what content to create for them.
They don’t care about keyword research, search engine optimization (SEO), and how many competitors they have. They only care about delivering value to their target audience.
I would advise you against selecting a niche that you don’t really understand and don’t share a connection with.
Choose a niche where you can identify with your target audience. One where you’re a part of the group and not an outsider with no insight or experience of what your target audience needs and wants.
#6. Avoid the Trap of Copying or Imitating Others
It’s good to learn from others, but copying them is a totally different story.
Let me explain by using an example. Oprah Winfrey is regarded by many as one of the most successful talk show hosts of all time. What do you think the chances are of you achieving the same success if you start your own talk show tomorrow by copying everything she did?
You have virtually no chance of replicating her success. Why? Because you’re not Oprah Winfrey. You have not walked in her shoes and don’t have her experience. You don’t have the same mindset or share the same goals.
Don’t try to be someone else. Be the best version of yourself. Be authentic to who you are and your story. The same principles apply to your blog and niche. There will be other people in the same niche, and perhaps you can learn some things from them. But, don’t try to imitate them.
I know many people who have tried to copy or imitate successful bloggers. None of them succeeded. You have to find your own voice. In order to build a successful blog, you need to be a leader and not a follower or copycat.
Many people choose a niche because they’ve heard that someone else is killing it in that niche. I strongly advise you not to fall into this trap.
#7. Avoid YMYL Niches
YMYL stands for Your Money or Your Life and applies to the finance niche and health niche. Bad financial advice or incorrect health advice can have a disastrous impact on the lives of others. That’s why Google is cautious about new blogs that are targeting these niches.
New YMYL blogs take much longer to rank well in Google compared to other niches. You’ll also face some tough competition from large authority sites. However, it’s certainly possible for you to build a successful blog in the finance or health niche if you really want to.
Your expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T) play an important role. It will take time for Google to “trust” your blog as a credible source of information. Unless you’re really into the finance or health niche, I would advise you to choose another niche.
#8. Choose a Profitable Niche
Building a successful blog takes time and hard work. See yourself as the owner of a startup. The time and money you spend is an investment in your business. And, you’re entitled to a decent return on that investment.
If you choose a profitable niche you can potentially earn a good passive income from it for many years to come. Your income will largely depend on how well you’re able to monetize your blog.
Most unprofitable niches are hard to monetize. You’re often limited to monetization methods such as Google AdSense that don’t pay that well. Profitable niches on the other hand will typically afford you the opportunity to monetize your blog in a number of ways.
Monetization methods include affiliate marketing, coaching or consulting services, renting out ad space, and selling ebooks and online courses.
#9. You Don’t Need to Know It All
Many people are reluctant to start a blog because they don’t feel confident enough they have sufficient knowledge.
Nobody is born an expert! You don’t need to know everything about a topic before you can start a blog about it. What you need is a willingness to learn more about your niche while working on it. Most bloggers, even seasoned experts, learn new things every day.
If you can set time aside every day to work on your blog and to learn more about your niche, you will become an expert. It’s only a matter of time. If you’re going to wait until you think you know everything about your niche before starting your blog, you’ll never get started.
#10. Everybody Loves a Good Story
Everybody loves a blog that has a good story to tell. It’s how bloggers like you and I can compete with large authority sites than employ a team of writers to create their content.
Many of these sites are unable to attract enthusiastic followers because they don’t have a good story. You often have no idea who started the site and why. Emails sent to “support” often remain unanswered and you’re lucky if you get a generic, impersonal response.
Let me ask you a question. Which of the below articles on anxiety would you prefer to read?
a. An article on a personal blog about anxiety where the blogger shares how she struggled with it but managed to overcome it.
b. An article on a large health website that shares the latest theories on what might help to reduce anxiety.
Most people suffering from anxiety would choose to read the first article. It’s easier to relate to a personal story with a positive outcome.
Your niche should present solutions to problems. And if you can add your own personal touch to the topic, it can be a winner.
Do you have an interesting story to share with your audience? Remember you can also share a story about how you tried a [solution] to a [problem] and what the outcome was.
If you’re still struggling to find the right niche for your blog, here are some ideas that can help to get your creative juices flowing.
- Is there a topic you can talk about for hours?
- What blogs do you enjoy reading?
- What books or magazines do you read?
- Do you have any hobbies you can blog about?
- What did you enjoy doing in the past before life happened?
- What are you good at?
- Did you study something at college or university you can blog about?
- Do you have something on your bucket list you want to learn or do in the future? Why not start a blog about it that may inspire or motivate you and others?
- Have you overcome a big obstacle or challenge? Wouldn’t other people be interested in how you did it?
- Can’t you start a blog about your skills and job experience?
- What activity would you like to do if you had more free time?
- Do you have any plans on what you’re going to do when you retire?
- Do you have any dreams you put on hold that you would still like to pursue?
By truthfully answering the above questions, you should be able to come up with quite a few ideas for your blog niche. You can even ask your family and friends what they think will be a good topic for you to blog about. You might be surprised at their answers!
Finding the right niche for your blog is critical. By following the tips and advice shared in this article, you should have a good idea on what niche to choose.
If you can’t decide between two or three niches, don’t stress about it. Give yourself time to think it through. Have a look at what content other websites are publishing and how they’re monetizing it.
Bounce it off your partner, a family member or a supportive friend. Sometimes they’ll be able to advise you on what niche they think is best suited for you.
Starting a blog is a great way to make extra money. It only requires a minimal investment to get started and it can even turn into a full-time income. And if you want to learn more about managing your personal finances, have a look at my personal finance tips.
Have you decided what you want to blog about? Let me know in the comments, and please share this post.
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Welcome to My Blog!
I’m Casper du Toit, founder of xUSD.com.
Are you worried you may not be able to retire comfortably one day and might outlive your savings? It’s never too late to get financially savvy. My mission is to help you take control of your finances, even if you think you’ve left it too late.