How to Choose a Blog Niche in 4 Simple Steps
This is a crucial moment, isn’t it? After you make THIS ONE decision everything will start to fall into place and your website will gradually grow.
That’s a little scary. But don’t worry, I’m here to help and tell you how to choose a Blog Niche that’s perfect for you.
But first, let me say…
If you choose the wrong Blog Niche now, it’s not the end of the world.
I know because it’s happened to me.
- My Failed Blog Niche
- Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Step-by-Step Process
- A Practical Example
- Before Making the Final Decision
- 20 Niche Ideas
My first website was called HowToRun5K.com.
At first, I got really excited by the possibility of writing to people that – like myself – enjoyed running short distances.
It seemed like the perfect idea:
- A regular runner faces a variety of difficulties while training (injuries, bad weather, busy schedule, just to mention a few). And I would be able to address each one of them suggesting solutions.
- Likewise, I could also talk about ways to improve their performance.
- There were tons of products I could promote within that niche, tennis shoes, clothing, all types of accessories, books, movies, memberships.
I soon realized that my knowledge about running 5K was somewhat limited and if I wanted to write quality articles (which I did!) I would have to do A LOT of research.
Well, after not too long, writing became harder and less joyful. The initial excitement was gone.
Don’t get me wrong, doing research was not the issue. I didn’t mind the hard work, in fact, I knew it was part of the process.
The problem was not being passionate about my niche.
Things just got too overwhelming for me. I was already focusing on learning a new skill set (internet marketing) and all of a sudden I also had to make an extra effort to write about something I discovered I didn’t like that much…
That’s when I realized I had made the wrong choice.
After this experience, I’ve been through this process of choosing a blog niche several times. Every time I was moved by something different: a passion, a money-making opportunity, a learning experience.
And now I can say – with no doubt – something that became clear to me: you don’t have to be PASSIONATE about every niche you choose.
But passion sure helps a lot. Especially when you’re just starting out at learning about Affiliate Marketing and are trying to figure things out.
The bright side of that initial failure is that I actually learned a few things.
- Too broad of an audience – e.g. “runners”. It’s hard to communicate to all kinds of runners, young, old, men, women, long distance, short distance. Narrowing down usually leads to much better results.
- Niches that are already too targeted, too competitive – e.g. “making money”. Although it’s not impossible to rank on these niches, the high competition makes it harder. The best thing is to try something more specific, like “making money through affiliate marketing”.
Another important thing I learned was a simple efficient method to choose blog niches.
I made a few adjustments to it according to my own thinking and work ethic. You can do the same.
Let me share it with you now.
Step 1 – List your Areas of Expertise/Interests
Write down those areas you know a lot about and could help other people with.
If you’re not really an expert on anything, come up with topics you’re interested about, things you’d like to investigate, study about and eventually become an expert.
Step 2 – List your Passions
When you think of your Passions, list those things you don’t mind spending hours talking about. Or things you would have fun reading about (books, magazines, online articles), watching videos and documentaries.
This was my problem with my first blog niche, I liked running 5k, but not necessarily talking about how to have a better performance or reading books about successful runners.
Remember that you may not be an expert on something yet, but you will learn and gradually become one.
Until then, there will always be people who know less than you. They are the ones you should target.
You should also think about their ages, gender, nationality and every aspect that helps you identify who you’ll be writing to. Communicating in a way that lets them recognize themselves will help you get their trust and engagement.
Step 4 – Check if there’s a Real Market for each of them
Be realistic. Don’t just trust your gut. You know that phrase: “I have the feeling this niche is going to be a hit”?
That’s not good enough…
You need to do some research to find out if there really is a market for your niche. (Don’t worry, I’ll show you how. Just keep reading.)
Otherwise, you’ll soon get frustrated when you notice your blog isn’t getting enough traffic and there’s very little conversion.
Let me show you each step of this process with a hypothetical example:
- Speaking a foreign language, Italian
- Cooking desserts
- Reading and recommending novels
- Traveling on a budget
I would teach, give tips, and promote products/services related to:
- Speaking Italian fluently to English-speaking people.
- Cooking desserts to beginners.
- Reading and recommending novels to romantic teenagers.
- Traveling on a budget to middle-class families with kids.
For the matter of this exercise, I’ll choose one of the niches in Step 3. Let’s say “teaching Italian to English-speaking people“.
>> First, let’s do a simple search on Google to come up with ideas of keywords (terms used by people to search on Google, Bing, Yahoo etc). Start by typing “Learn Italian”, Google makes some suggestions: “Learn Italian fast”, “Learn Italian in Italy”… These suggestions are all based on real prior searches from people using Google.
I like “Learn Italian fast” and “Learn Italian online” because they make sense of what I’m going to talk about at the blog.
Okay, I know now that there are people checking these keywords. But how many people? Are there any other websites exploring these same keywords?
>> That’s why we need to check the keywords’ Search Volume and Competition.
There are quite a few keyword tools online. Unfortunately, a lot of them are not very reliable.
I use one called Jaaxy that gives me a complete set of information that other tools don’t, like the quality of the keyword, the probability of ranking on the first page, and if the website is available if I want to buy it.
Just choose one that you trust, or – if you want to try for yourself – you can access Jaaxy now and get 30 FREE keyword searches.
Check out the results it shows when I search for the 2 keywords:
- Avg (average number of searches for month): 633
- QSR (competition): 163
- KQI (quality): Great
- SEO (probability this will rank on the first page): 82%
- Domains (available if I want to buy now): LearnItalianOnline.net and LearnItalianOnline.org
- Avg (average number of searches for month): 352
- QSR (competition): 144
- KQI (quality): Great
- SEO (probability this will rank on the first page): 91%
- Domains (available if I want to buy now): LearnItalianFast.org
As we can see, both seem to be good options with great potential.
First one gets more searches per month (633 vs 352) but it also has more competition (163 vs 144).
I would go with the first option for 2 reasons:
- it’s got a lot (80%) more searches per month.
- people searching for “Learn Italian Online” are definitely looking for a digital solution (which I intend to offer).On the other hand, someone searching for “Learn Italian Fast” could not be interested in blogs, ebooks, and online courses. This would result in some of those 352 searches leaving my website the minute they realize its online nature instead of a local school, for example.
>> The last verification you need to make is if there are profitable products/services to promote. There’s no point in building an affiliate blog if there won’t be anything interesting to promote, right?
Just Google “your keyword” + affiliate and look at the results.
Here’s what I got when I googled “learn Italian + affiliate”:
Not bad! And these are just a few. There were more results there.
You can also access Amazon and do the same search. If you find good opportunities there, you can apply for Amazon Associates (which is Amazon’s Affiliate Program).
I personally would not go on with this blog niche simply because monetizing would be difficult. Commissions on books, dictionaries, and even language courses wouldn’t be enough to make this a profitable website.
Once you have all the numbers (search volume, competition, the probability of ranking on 1st page, product commissions) take a closer look at your niche idea. Do the numbers show the reality of facts?
I suggest you watch this video and listen to these guys’ arguments when they say if a niche idea is a good or bad one.
They speak from their own experience and there are some pretty good insights.
That’s the kind of thinking you’ll want to have when analyzing the numbers, before making your final decision.
Pay attention to things like what they say around 9:54 about a “General Golf” niche idea. “If I’m a total beginner, maybe I’ll buy a set of clubs online.” You see the importance of knowing who your audience is, advanced, beginner? And where are they buying?
Another example: when they talk about the Technology niche and TV Reviews (“the big money makers”). At 4:54, they mention that there are “huge websites” reviewing TV’s, so it’d be tough to rank for those keywords.
I agree, sometimes numbers indicate not a lot of competition but when you check who is ranking on the first pages of Google you only see Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy… Hard to compete against these guys!
So, yeah, take a close look at your competition not only the numbers before making your decision, okay?
Here are some ideas (in no particular order) for you to explore.
If you see one that you like, go through the Steps above and get to your own decision.
- Make Money Online
- Kids toys
- Beauty & Fashion
- Personal Finance
- Healthy & Fitness
- Web Design
- World languages
Please note that these are all Broad Niches and you can easily think of Sub-Niches within each of them.
And one more thing, remember to write To your Audience. It’s all about them and How you can Help them.
There you go, a lot of things to think about and start taking action!
I know this list doesn’t cover all the possible niche ideas. There are a lot more. Any other ideas? Please share in Comments.