So, you have decided to blog. You are all excited, and ready to go. And the very first question that you encounter is:
What should I blog about? How do I choose a blogging niche?
There is no simple answer to this question – you would need to figure it out yourself.
However, all good niches share certain characteristics. Here is a list that would help you select the topic to blog about.
How to choose a blogging niche – The 3 traits of a successful blogging niche
When you choose a blogging niche, evaluate the niche or area you want to select for blogging according to the following three parameters:
- Your interest in the topic
- The appeal of the topic
- The profitability of the topic
Let’s discuss each in detail.
Your interest in the niche
Let’s face it – blogging is a long term venture. You are not going to succeed overnight. You would have to keep writing irrespective of whether the initial response is good or not. Eventually, you would get traffic, comments, fame, money or whatever else is your aim from the blog. But trust me, it would not happen in a month or two or three.
The key to your success in the blogging world is persistence. You would have to keep writing numerous articles on the topic you choose, and therefore, it is very important that the topic you blog about should interest you.
I am not saying that you need to be an expert at what you want to blog about (although that helps!). Maybe it is a topic you don’t know anything about, but want to learn about.
All you need is an interest in the topic. Because that would ensure that you would enjoy writing about it. And you won’t give up in the initial few months when you don’t see any results to talk about.
Do keep this vital factor in mind when you choose a blogging niche.
The appeal of the niche
The second factor is the appeal of your niche. How broad or narrow should it be?
A broad topic would appeal to many readers, but you would face a lot of competition as well. Also, since you would be talking about many subtopics, some readers would always remain unhappy!
On the other hand, a narrow topic would mean fewer people as your audience, but less competition at the same time. You would also be able to write focused articles and keep your readers happy. However, the topic should not be so narrow that you run out of ideas to write about!
Bottom line: The niche you select should be narrow enough to allow you to focus, but broad enough to not constrict your writing. You need to find that balance.
Example: Let’s say your topic of interest is “Clothing and Apparel”. Now, this is a very broad topic, with many sub-topics. At the other end of the spectrum, “Suits” is a very focused and narrow topic. It is something you can’t write too much about for a prolonged time. A nice balance might be “Formal Clothing” or “Formal Clothing for Men” or “Formal Clothing for Women”. Now that can be a great niche to blog about!
How to tell if the niche you are considering has a broad or narrow appeal?
If you are knowledgeable about a niche, you can probably make an informed guess about a topic’s appeal. However, there is an easy proxy: keyword research.
People would be using the internet to look up information about your topic of interest and using their search terms data, you can find how broad a topic is. If the search volume for the search terms related to your desired niche is high, it means many people are interested in it and it has a broad appeal. On the other hand, if the search volume is low, it just means that only a few people are interested in it and it has a narrow appeal.
The profitability of the niche
You might have many objectives for starting a blog – helping others through your expertise, to chronicle something, to become famous, etc. But for most people, one of the objectives behind starting a blog is to earn money (something popularly known as “blogging for dollars”). So the niche you want to target should be profitable and should have commercial appeal.
Now I understand that you might not be interested in earning from your blog, and want to blog only as a hobby. Even in that case, it makes sense to pay at least some attention to the profitability aspect – who knows, the blog based on your hobby may become extremely popular due to your passion, and your hobby can evolve into something bigger!
Again, there is no easy way of finding a niche’s commercial viability. Most blogs don’t disclose their income figures, so there is no way you can judge the profitability of a niche from existing blogs. However, there is a good proxy to find this out!
Yes, keyword research comes to our rescue again! Here is the logic:
If a niche is profitable, many companies would be willing to advertise in that niche. Due to this high competition, the amount they would be willing to pay to get clicks would also be high.
So if you analyze keyword data and check the “Cost per click” details for the keywords in your targeted niche, you would know if there are enough companies wanting to advertise. This is an easy workaround for an otherwise complicated problem!
Google keyword research tool
Google has a good (and free) keyword research tool that can provide you with data regarding search terms used, the volume and the competition for the keywords. This tool is available at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal.
However, this tool presents just raw data and you have to do your own analysis.
The shortcut for choosing your niche
I use an excellent tool for keyword analysis and research – Market Samurai. It does all the hard work for me and provides the details that really matter to me. (Here’s the full review of Market Samurai)
If you are using Market Samurai, you just need to worry about 1 out of the 3 factors listed above – your interest in a topic (of course, that is something no tool can do for you!). Then, you just need to enter it in Market Samurai, and would tell you:
- The number of searches made for the keywords (tells you about the appeal)
- The competition for the keywords
- The likely dollar amount you can earn for top search engine position for the keywords (tells you about the profitability)
Of course, it provides a lot more data than this, and there are many ways to slice, sort & filter the data. (For details of the features of Market Samurai and discounts available, please read “Market Samurai – All in one solution for keyword research”)