Choosing Your Blog Niche and Topics

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Blog Niche or TopicsOne of the most common stumbling blocks I see new bloggers make is the conundrum of choosing the right blog niche and topics.

If this is the situation you find yourself in, then know you aren’t alone, there’s no shortage of things to blog about and it can be overwhelming trying to decide.

This problem can be because of a number of different reasons and by the end of this post, you should have a much clearer picture of what you should be blogging about or how to find out with a little bit of research.

Whether you are just starting a new blog or you already have your blog set up this isn’t a problem and even with an existing blog you can change course and focus on different subjects as long as your domain name doesn’t pigeonhole you too much.

Does the niche or topic you are currently blogging about not feel natural? Maybe you aren’t passionate about the subject or lack enough knowledge or there’s no commercial intent and as such a lack of financial viability.

That can really kill your motivation!

Sure it’s not all about money, but if you want to build the greatest possible blog, niche or authority website then it helps if you are passionate about the topics you write about, understand them enough to help others and that the subject you write about can be monetized.

Blogs are businesses too, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money from your blog, but it helps if you have other motivators too and let’s face it, the only way to sustain a blog longterm is if it can pay you for your time and the cost of running it.

Choosing the wrong niche is one of the most common mistakes and while you can always change the focus of your blog later on it helps to at least have a rough plan of action from the outset.

Don’t worry you can always adapt and adjust course later when you start to gather some data.

Unfortunately, there’s no magical blog topics generator that can help, despite several existing tools that make that promise.

So you are going to have to roll up your sleeves a bit and get your thinking cap on.

Do You Even Need a Niche?

First of all, let’s talk about whether you need a niche or not as there are people on both sides of the fence.

There are different types of blogs and websites when it comes to the topic.

1 – Broad subject blogs, lifestyle blogs – These are set up in a way so they can cover pretty much any topic under the sun. This offers a lot of flexibility from the outset but unless you have a large team of writers it’s going to be difficult to create enough content to create any kind of coherence.

Examples: News sites, lifestyle blogs etc

2 – Niche blogs – Blogs that cover a specific niche and subject to specialize in and then focus solely on that topic. This allows you to improve your topical relevance, something that is vital when building an audience and wanting them to come back and consume your content regularly.

Examples: Health blog, doggy blog, Personal Finance

3 – Micro-Niche / Sub-Niche Blogs – These are blogs that have decided to go for the laser targetted approach. You can often get a lot more traction with a lot less effort and time if you specialize.

Examples: Calisthenics Blog, Pitbull Blog, Credit Cards Blog. 

Deciding how wide you should target will depend on a few factors including:

  • Time – How much time do you have to create enough content to properly cover each of your topics. There’s nothing worse than a blog with lots of categories with 1 or 2 posts in.
  • Budget – You can speed up content production by hiring writers, but this comes at a cost. If you are new to blogging this may not even be an option but you might have a partner or friends you are collaborating with to share the workload.
  • Ambition – Do you want to create a small blog and then consider launching other blogs on different topics later, or do you plan on putting all of your time and effort into this one project for the foreseeable future.

Personally, I think it’s good to decide on a niche and then dedicate yourself to producing the best possible content on an area that is big enough to keep you busy but not too big that the idea of writing becomes paralyzing.

On the contrary, it’s not essential to choose a niche or micro-niche when you first start your blog because you might benefit from blogging on several subjects to see what starts to generate the most traffic and then use that to influence the direction of your content strategy.

But it’s vital you start thinking about the topics you plan on writing about and work out their viability.

Your Passions

So we have talked about whether you should choose a niche or not, but what is the best way to go about doing so?

The best place to start when looking for a niche or subject to blog about is by digging into your own personal passions and hobbies.

Yes, you might have heard it before on all of the other blog inspiration guides and it might have become a cliche to say “follow your passions” however it remains the best starting point for the brainstorming process.

So what interests you most in life?

This usually leads to the things you know the most about too since you are more likely to spend time learning more about subjects that interest you.

If you are passionate about your writing, you have a much higher chance of success, you will also enjoy the process a lot more and stay motivated.

By choosing to blog about your personal interests you will also sound more enthusiastic, if you write about a subject that you feel is mundane, your writing will reflect that.

If you don’t really care about what you are saying, will your readers resonate with your words? It’s unlikely.

Another benefit of being passionate about your niche is that you will find it much easier to share and promote your articles on social media, to friends, colleagues and by doing email outreach.

However passions don’t necessarily lead to profits, popularity does!

If you intend on making money there needs to be an existing audience and related products or services available.

and while you need to find something that is popular enough one caveat I always remind students of is that while you should definitely prioritize your passions, keep in mind that some passions are oversaturated and this can make them extremely competitive.

In some cases, popularity or too much of it can become a barrier and finding something with the right balance of popularity and opportunity might be a better place to start.

Don’t let this put you off, but keep it in mind and adjust as necessary.

If you have two passions and one is far less competitive than the other, go for the low-hanging fruit first, especially if it has commercial opportunities or cover both topics and then use the data you collect from search traffic, subscribers and feedback to decide your next move.

If you aren’t passionate about anything in particular or can’t find a way to turn those passions into a blog there’s plenty of money in the less saturated topics that less people want to write about but solve real-world problems.

If money is enough of a motivation for you then you might not care about whether you are passionate about the writing.

Everyone is unique, draw from your strengths.

Solve Problems

One of the best ways to find a winning niche is not to think about niches first and instead start by searching for problems you can solve.

It’s no surprise that how to blog posts, tutorials and reviews are some of the most popular, these formats all aim to solve a readers problem.

Consider your ideal audience and buyer persona and then work out what their biggest struggling points are.

If you can craft a blog and content around solving your audience’s problems then you will have a much higher chance of connecting with people and building a true following.

If you have acquired useful skills in your career then using that knowledge could be the perfect platform for your blog.

Whether your blog subject is related to any practical work experience or not it helps to have at least some knowledge.

However, I hear a lot of people reluctant to blog on specific topics because they don’t consider themselves an expert.

Here’s the truth.

You don’t need to be an expert.

You can document the process of learning something new and often because you have only recently learned the basics you are better positioned to teach newcomers than someone who hasn’t been in that position for years.

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable in your writing as you go through the motions of learning something new and blogging about it.

Share your mistakes and failures.

People appreciate this human quality in a blog and helps people relate.

Niche and Topic Profitability

Let’s face it. If you want to build and sustain a thriving blog you need to find ways to monetize it and generate an income at the same time.

While many bloggers do it just as a hobby, to improve their writing or to pass time, one of the main motivations behind blogging is to create an income stream.

and there’s nothing wrong with that!

In fact, you are often doing your readers a disservice if you don’t monetize your blog.

Because by generating money from your blog it allows you to spend more time creating content and helping people.

So is your blog niche or topic idea profitable?

Are there products and services you can promote as an affiliate or create and sell yourself?

Some blogs act as an ideal route to sell freelance services, others can be used to talk about products or a hybrid.

Does your topic have products you can easily promote via your website?

Take a look on Amazon as that is the largest affiliate marketplace to find products in nearly every niche. Keep in mind the commission levels are very low.

Then take a look at other affiliate networks to search for companies and products in your space.

Checking ClickBank to see if there are many info products available for you to promote is often a good way to weigh up the commercial viability of a niche.

Finally look for websites of companies and products on Google and look to see if they offer affiliate programs in their footer.

By doing this exercise you can start to get an idea of how easy it would be to monetize your blog.

There are several other ways to monetize your blog but affiliate marketing is by far the best way to start with.

In addition to finding products that fall into the topics of your blog niche you also want to research your competitors to see if and how they are monetizing their websites.

Look for blogs in the same niche covering the same topics you plan to and analyze where they are linking to.

Whether making a full time living from your blog is one of your main motivations or not, consider that to sustain your blog it will be far easier if you have at least some revenue coming in directly from your blogging.

If your aim is to make money, don’t waste months of your time blogging about a topic that is extremely hard to profit from.

As exciting as space travel sounds, a blog on it would be very difficult to monetize, at least until Elon Musk takes mankind to mars!

For now, that would fall under the hobby category because there’s very little chance of turning it into a business.

Niche Competitiveness

This may be the most overlooked piece of criteria when it comes to choosing a subject or topic to blog about.

How competitive is the niche?

It’s easy to get excited when you have a new and fun idea for a blog that you are extremely passionate about to forget to think about how difficult it would be to rank on Google for a specific niche, but it matters.

It matters a lot!

If you decide to blog about a niche that’s too large, is long established and has a lot of connected products and services to make it commercially attractive you might find you are up against staunch competition.

The result of this can be a lack of traffic and subscribers which suddenly leads to bloggers and web entrepreneurs giving up before they even get going.

Niches like gambling, health, fitness, weight-loss, personal finance, hosting, dating, and beauty are some of the most popular blog topics and as such very competitive.

If you were to target any of the above you might find you have too many well-established competitors that are difficult to outrank.

Your best bet would be to niche down and look for more unique blog ideas. More on that in a moment.

So how do you decide if your niche is too competitive?

The best way is by using some SEO tools, this way you can perform keyword research and competitive analysis to find out.

If you have already performed your keyword research and compiled a list of seed keywords, primary keywords and longtail keywords you can start to work through them to see how competitive they are and check the websites ranking on page one for each term to check their domain authority.

If you find the difficulty scores to generally be quite high, and there aren’t many good longtail keywords with low competition you might be competing for a difficult niche.

If all of the sites on page one for the search terms you want to rank for have high DA (Domain Authority) and PA (Page Authority) scores this would also confirm the competitiveness of this niche.

Niche or Sub-Niche?

With some niches you might find that it’s simply “too niche” and as such the traffic and scalability will hit a certain point and it will become difficult to grow.

In this case, you will be left in a situation where you may be better off launching a second website in a new niche rather than doubling down your efforts on your first one.

The benefit of a sub-niche is that it’s easier to demonstrate your topical relevance to Google and much easier to stand out and start ranking for relevant keywords.

On the other hand, larger niches can be too competitive and you might find it difficult to stand out and attract enough attention to build backlinks, improve your domain authority and generate traffic and an income.

I have made both of these mistakes in the past.

There is no right or wrong answer.

If you want to blog about a sub-niche then that’s fine, but there are some tricks to allow you to grow later.

Avoid picking a domain name so specific that you can’t expand into fringe niches later on.

An example would be a dog site.

If you selected to blog about Dalmatians but you named your blog pupslove, then you could always expand into blogging about other breeds later.

If on the other hand, you chose to use the word Dalmatians in your domain then you would have pigeon-holed yourself too tight to do so.

To find out the potential size of your market use SEO tools to do some keyword research with SEMRush, KWPlanner or Moz Keyword Tool.

You can use these tools to search for seed keywords for your topics and then look at the competition and also keyword suggestions to see the kind of search volume there is in your niche.

Most of these tools will give you an idea of the search volume for each keyword as well as an indication of the difficulty rating for ranking on page one of Google.

You can also take a look at the pages currently ranking on page one to do some competitor analysis and take a look at other keywords they are ranking for.

Let your competition do the hard work for you, reverse engineer and take their keyword ideas.

While you are there you can also take notes on what they are doing to monetize their website or blog.

Are they showing display ads? do they have sponsored posts? Are affiliate links present or do they have their own products like an eBook or course they are upselling to their email subscribers?

While the data in all of these tools can vary in accuracy it’s enough to give you a rough idea as to what the money keywords are.

Brainstorming & Mind Maps

When brainstorming ideas for your blog or website make sure to create mind maps of the different niches you could potentially write about.

Then create branches out covering all of the categories or sub-topics you can talk about that have topical relevance to one another.

You can use MindMeister of Bubble.us which allow you to quickly create mind maps in your browser.

This helps me plan out the different topics I plan to cover on a particular blog or website before I get started so I have a holistic perspective on things.

If you prefer to jot your ideas out on paper then that’s totally fine too.

This will help you make sure you have enough content ideas for the foreseeable future and then you can begin to prioritize them based on factors like how essential they are to the overall information you want to share and how often they are searched for.

You want to also be sure that there’s enough material to cover so you can justify creating the blog. If not you may need to go broader and find some related subjects to include.

blog ideas that make money mind map

As you can see from my example mind map above. I have listed out blog niche ideas on the second tier and the third tier I have listed post ideas or topics I can cover.

You could then go down another level and start listing specific sub-niches and topics as well as listing out specific article titles, for inspiration review these blog post ideas while you do it.

Eventually, your blog content mindmap will turn into your blogs editorial calendar as you start to work out the order of priority to write your posts.

Your Unique Spin

Whether you select a broad niche or a micro-niche, there will always be other bloggers out there already covering the subject.

This is where you have to decide if you can deliver it with a unique angle.

What can you do differently to gain attention?

What can you do better?

These things may also help you choose between two niches you are unsure of.

Which one can you do the most justice for?

If you know more about one than the other, maybe that would give you the edge to give a more authentic and unique taken on the subject?

These are the questions you should be asking yourself to help make sure you have a unique value proposition with your blog.

Research Tools to Find a Niche Topic

To perform detailed niche research check out the following tools. You can take your main topics and use them as seed keywords to help you find out what people are searching for, the search volumes and look for other opportunities.

With these tools at your disposal, it’s much easier to find a niche worth pursuing.

SEMRush (Freemium/Paid)

SEMRush is one of the most comprehensive SEO tools on the market capable of helping you perform detailed keyword research, competitor analysis and coming up with new content ideas. Freemium product that has a very limited free version or a premium version I highly recommend once you start making your first $100 or so a month from your website or blog.

If you aren’t making $100 yet but have the budget, get this now, it will drastically speed up your ability to rank for target keywords and generate more traffic sooner rather than later.

Moz Keyword Tool (Freemium/Paid)

The Moz Keyword Explorer tool has been around for a long time and while only providing 10 searches per month for free users the insights are useful. Look at keyword difficulty, search volume, get related keyword suggestions and look at the sites ranking on page one.

One of several tools that are part of the Moz Pro SEO suite.

KWFinder (Freemium/Paid)

KWFinder is a newer tool that is great for hunting down longtail keywords. The free version only shows a limited number of results much like SEMRush, however, gives you enough information to do some basic keyword analysis.

The full version is highly recommended if you want to hunt down low hanging fruit longtail keywords (which you should).

Google Keyword Planner (Free)

Google Keyword Planner is part of Google Adwords. You will need to create an account however you don’t need to spend any money to use this tool as it’s part of planning your campaigns. This has to be mentioned because it’s free and okay if you have nothing else but it doesn’t give you a lot of information and doesn’t seem as helpful as other tools.

Google Trends (Free)

Type your niche or individual topics into Google Trends and you can get an idea of the popularity and if the interest is increasing, flat or decreasing over previous months and years. Great for finding emerging markets and new product trends.

Another great use for this tool is to measure keyword phrase changes. An example of this I noticed when doing SEO for the eCig market. Since it was a new subject people didn’t know what to call the products, so they had multiple names, over time the popularity of one variation outgrew all others which meant we had to adjust our keyword strategy.

Best Blog Topic Ideas

There are several main blog topic categories that generate the most traffic and money.

A study by Brandon Gaille shows a breakdown of this in a recent blog income report study.

Most Profitable Blog Niches and Topics

The diagram above shows the 6 most profitable blog niches and topics, though lifestyle is more of a broad area where people can blog about anything and a wide range of blogs fall under that category.

Marketing Blogs

Includes any blogs relating to business and marketing including things like blogging, SEO, social media etc.

This website would fall under this category for example.

Marketing blogs are easier to make a good return from without needing very large amounts of traffic because the type of visitor is more likely to invest in higher ticket items like courses, software and cloud services than other categories.

Food

Pretty self-explanatory, any food blogs, recipes, and some in the weight loss/diet space.

A very popular and competitive area that requires a lot of page views to generate a good return.

Most people browsing for food are looking for inspiration or recipes not to buy a product.

If they are interested in buying a product it’s more likely to be a low ticket item which leaves little commission for the blogger.

Personal Finance

Personal finance blogs dedicated to helping people save money, be frugal and make a side income. There’s quite a bit of crossover between those in the personal finance space and the marketing category at the same time.

Personal finance could involve finding ways to make money online, or ways to get discounts, be more organized, buy in bulk and so on.

These blogs are very profitable as they are often tied to financial products and helping people make money or save money, which people are willing to invest in.

Mommy

Mom blogs are probably one of the most common blog types and while also a lifestyle blog it has grown so large it deserves a category of its own. Blogs about parenting are very popular however it may be a little over saturated.

One trend we have seen is mom blogs that have a dual purpose. They journal the life and tips of being a parent but also have a secondary focus sharing experiences and knowledge in another field.

Travel

Travel blogs are another popular category since a lot of bloggers have the ambition of living the laptop lifestyle and traveling the world as a digital nomad.

What better reason than to create a travel blog? So you can pay your way around the world reviewing hotels and being an influencer.

While this is an attractive category there’s no shortage of competition here.

If you happen to be traveling then great, but otherwise you might struggle for content.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle includes blogs covering fitness, fashion, journaling, personal development and broad topic blogs.

Some of these are blogs that fall into the other categories and also cover secondary niches too.

An example might be a website that equally covered both travel and fitness.

Find a Blog Niche & Topics – Recap

In this article, you have learned how to use a combination of your passions, experience/knowledge to find the best blog niche and topics to write about.

We looked at how to check the commercial viability and competitiveness to work out how difficult it would be to build an audience and generate an income.

This is essential in finding blog topics that make money.

We also checked out some of the best tools for doing your research on keywords and competitors to help validate your idea.

Combining search volume for your target keywords with how difficult it would be to compete is a great method for finding easier blog opportunities.

So here’s the formula:

Passion + Knowledge + Good Profitability + Low to Medium Competition = The best way to choose your blog niche and topics.

While picking a niche eventually is important, you can start off by covering several subjects even if they are unrelated to get a feel for what you prefer and which content gains the most traction and resonates with your readers.

If you have your niche and topics chosen check out our guide on the things you should for every blog posts.

Or how to choose a name and domain name for your blog.

So now you know how to find a niche what are you going to create your blog about?

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David

Web Designer, Digital Marketer & Entrepreneur with over a decades worth of experience helping small and medium sized businesses evolve and adapt to the modern digital marketplace.