How to Decide What to Blog About / Blogging Niches

When you make the decision to start blogging, you will have a lot of different choices you then need to make.

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For one, you’re going to need to come up with a name for your blog. This is probably going to be the same as your URL but you need to decide if you want this to be a brand, your own name or something else entirely.

Next, you’ll need to decide what you want your blog to look like. What theme will you use? What color palette?

There’s also your monetization method to consider. Or perhaps you’re happy to make this entirely a hobby and not to make any profit from it at all?

But before you can make any of those decisions, there’s actually one even more important decision you will have to make first. That is your niche. Or in other words, what is your blog going to be about? Answering this is actually going to be one of the biggest choices you have to make and will have a huge impact on the outcome of your site. So let’s take a look at what you can do to make this decision and what factors you need to consider.

What is a Niche? The Marketing Perspective

The term ‘niche’ is very much one that is used a lot in internet marketing. Essentially, it just means your chosen topic but it can also be deconstructed a little further than that. That’s because a niche is normally considered to be a particular subject that gives you good marketing potential. In turn, this normally means that you’re writing about something that a particular group of people are interested in and that has a specific appeal but not too much competition.

Let’s take a look at the fitness niche for instance. This is one of the most popular blogging topics by far because there’s a lot to say on the matter and it’s very popular. That means there’s a lot for you to write about and it means that you have a potentially big audience. In that sense, it’s a big niche.

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But there is also a downside to this kind of niche, which is the huge amount of competition. Of course, this is a massive topic but there are also millions of websites out there on the subject. Some of these are particularly well-established like Men’s Health, Bodybuilding.com and Breaking Muscle. If you try and post an article on ‘How to Get Abs’, then that means you’re going to be going up against all of those massive sites and this will make it very hard for you to get to the top of Google or even to attract attention. It’s a big market but it’s also largely saturated.

So what do you do instead?

You can always go the complete opposite way and decide to blog about something much more niche. That might mean blogging about your favorite TV show or game, an obscure hobby, or… squirrels…

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So now you have a much smaller niche meaning that there are a much smaller number of people who will potentially be interested in your blog. That means you have a smaller total amount you can earn from just the one blog.

But at the same time, it also means that you have a lot more opportunity to market yourself and it will be easier to dominate. If your blog is about Doctor Who, then you will probably be competing with about five other websites. These websites probably have enough visitors to go around, so you’ll find it’s easy to work with those other sites and to promote each other. You’ll also find there are forums and places you can go to find fans of the series and when you post here, they’ll probably want to check out your link because they’re not inundated with content.

You could even go to conventions, or contact a Doctor Who magazine. These are called ‘routes to market’ – they are direct platforms where you can promote your site to the precise audience your blog is aimed at. If you can find a niche with a great route to market, then this is an excellent starting point!

This is a particularly great idea if you have a product you want to sell and in this case, your initial choice of niche is very likely to be the single biggest influencing factor when it comes to the success of your marketing!

Combining Niches, Finding Sub Niches and Coming Up With Something New

In this regard, it’s easy to see choosing your blogging subject as being a matter of weighing up the pros and cons of bigger versus smaller niches. Often it’s a balancing act of finding a niche with a big audience that doesn’t have too much competition…

But there are other options too and if you’re very smart then you can find the ‘third way’ that will help you get to where you want to be quicker.

One option is to look at a ‘sub niche’ or to combine two niches. One brilliant example of this is ‘Nerd Fitness’ (www.nerdfitness.com).

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What Nerd Fitness has done that is so clever, is to take the huge niche of fitness but then to hone in on a particular audience within that large niche. That audience is people who self-categorize themselves as ‘nerds’. This site now has the potential to have the broad appeal of fitness but it also has the unsaturated routes to market to get there. He can post articles like ‘Get Fit Like Batman’ but share them on nerd sites where there aren’t too many fitness posts normally.

There are many similar examples of sub niches like this. Sticking within the fitness category, you have ‘fitness for over 40s’, ‘fitness for over 60s’, ‘fitness for diabetes’, ‘staying fit for travellers’, ‘paleo diet’, ‘calisthenics’, ‘bodybuilding’, ‘powerbuilding’ and more!

This can also be seen as combining two different niches: fitness and nerd things. There are other great examples of this and in fact some sites could be seen as complex mish-mashes of lots of different niches altogether. Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Blog for instance is a blog that covers lifestyle design, productivity, fitness and learning – but it works!

There’s also the option to create something entirely new. To show another great example of a blog that has done this well, consider the brilliant Art of Manliness (www.artofmanliness.com). This is a blog that combines lots of different niches and specifically covers a combination of fitness, lifestyle, productivity, philosophy, survivalism and more. What’s really clever though, is that it is all tied together under a new banner that makes it a new subject, rather than just a collection of random articles. The clear theme of this site is ‘things that relate to being a man’ and that allows the blogger to write about all kinds of things without it coming across as too random.

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If you’re struggling to find a niche that ticks all the boxes you want it to, then consider combining multiple niches or thinking of something completely new and unique to you.

If you can come up with something unique then you’ll stand out and be memorable – and that’s great.

Niches That Make Money

There’s another consideration to take into account when choosing your niche though – and that’s money.

After all, some niches are always going to be much better than others when it comes to making cash. This is because different niches vary in their profitability. You could make the argument that it is possible to profit from any niche but some will definitely be easier than others.

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Let’s say that you’re going to be blogging about ‘making money online’. This is one of the most popular topics out there and one of the big reasons for that is that there are a lot of advertisers on AdSense and other advertising platforms. This means that advertisers need to bid higher on those platforms in order to get seen, meaning that publishers (like you) get paid more.

At the same time, people working in the ‘make money’ niche tend to have more money and a bigger budget to spend on advertising!

When it comes to making money from advertising, there are a few different niches that tend to make the most money. They include:

  • Making money online/marketing
  • Trading
  • Finance
  • Banking
  • Law
  • Fitness
  • Dating

But what if you don’t plan on making money from advertising? What if you have another plan to make money from your site – like selling an ebook?

In this case you need to think about something else: the value proposition.

A value proposition, simply put, is the value that you are promising to offer your audience with your products and with your blog itself. So where does value come from? It comes from the way that your blog or content can change someone’s life.
In the case of a fitness blog, that means that your value is coming from the fitness you’re offering someone and the way this impacts on other areas of their life – like their confidence, their dating and their health.

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This is important because it’s by focussing on your value proposition that you can create an emotional hook that will reel in your customers and make them willing to put down money. If you were selling an ebook on fitness for instance, then you might start your sales page with writing along the lines of:

“Wouldn’t it be great to wake up in the morning and jump out of bed, filled with energy? Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to take off your top at the beach and feel confident that people are looking at you for the right reasons?

This book will teach you not only to get incredible abs and biceps (though it will do that as well!) but also how to feel and look the best you ever have. Exude confidence, energy and health and see what a difference it makes when you have the body you’ve always wanted!”

This is going to make it considerably easier for you to make sales and it’s going to draw people to your site and your products. It’s the best way to sell in short.

But if your niche is Doctor Who, then you’re going to have a much harder time selling something that way. And in fact, there’s much less you can sell in the first place. Therefore, the total you can make from products on a Doctor Who fan site is considerably less than the total you can make for a fitness site.

The Most Important Factor of All

There is one factor that is much more important than all these others though – and that is that you need to write about what you love. If you have a passion for something then that is going to come across when you’re writing and it’s going to make your site much more engaging.

What’s more, having a passion for what you write will mean that you are much less likely to get bored when you have to spend hours working on your site and writing new content. It means you’ll be able to stick at it because you love doing it and it means you’ll be able to come up with original and unique angles no one else has.

And this also means you’ll probably have more opportunities for marketing and networking. If you LOVE fitness, then you are already probably an active member of the fitness community. You probably already have friends who like fitness, you probably already post on several forums and you might even have connections within the industry.

At the very least you should do what you know: blog about your current job for example and again you’ll benefit from all the contacts you’ve built up and all the expertise you have (and your career is very often going to be a good niche too).

At the end of the day, there’s never a guarantee that your blog is going to be financially viable. Don’t do it for the money, do it for the love!

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