When you start to learn about blogging, you inevitably stumble across the word “niche” (and wonder if it’s pronounced neesh or nitch). You’ll hear that picking the right one is critical to increasing your chances of generating traffic, building a following, and eventually monetizing your blog. That finding the right niche is one of the essential steps on your way to becoming a successful blogger.
And now you’re contemplating what that means for you. What is a niche exactly? How can a niche help you, and what’s the best way to find one? That’s exactly what we’re going to discuss. In this second article of our ‘Better Blogging’ series (Check out the first part covering the 6 reasons to start a blog in 2020 in case you’ve missed it.), we’re going into the trenches with you. When you’re done reading, you’ll have a much better idea about what a niche can do for you and how to choose one.
What is a niche?
In simple terms, a niche is the central theme of your blog. It’s the overarching topic that you cover. So, instead of writing about several random topics, all of your articles focus on exploring different aspects of one single topic.
To give you an example: Sports is a very broad topic. If you’re interested in surfing, then that’s a niche within this general topic. To narrow it down further, you could blog about surfing in Hawaii.
Now, many bloggers fear that by choosing a narrow niche, they will limit the size of their audience. And that’s correct! Let’s look at why this is actually a good thing.
Why you should have a niche
When you target a broad audience, it’s more difficult for your blog to get traction. Your traffic and search engine rankings will likely fall below your expectations. That being said, there are successful multi-topic blogs out there that keep visitors hooked, such as Popsugar or Buzzfeed. However, as a new blog, it will be very tough to compete.
That’s why establishing your blog around a niche has many advantages for upcoming bloggers. This approach will help you…
- Not burn out – Blogging needs to be sustainable for you. Imagine having to keep your blog up to date on multiple topics simultaneously all the time. A single niche is much easier to handle.
- Grow an audience quicker – People search the internet to solve their problems. When your blog happens to address the specific challenges of your target audience, they’ll likely stick around, waiting to hear more.
- Stand out as an expert in your niche – The deeper you dig into your niche, leaving no stone unturned, the more you’ll establish yourself as the go-to source of information.
- Monetize your blog – It’s easier to develop a personal relationship and trust with a smaller, loyal audience. If you decide to launch products, they’ll be much more likely to buy.
How to find the right niche
At first, identifying the perfect niche for your blog can seem like searching for a needle in a haystack. There are just too many options. Luckily, we have a guiding principle for you: Your ideal niche is where your interests, expertise, and monetization potential converge. Let’s look at each of these in detail:
What are you interested in?
Even though the advice to write about something you’re passionate about can sound very cliche, there’s truth in it. When you find a topic that you truly love, you’re more likely to put the necessary effort and time into your blog. You’re less likely to abandon it when you hit the first hurdle. And you won’t run out of ideas to write about that quickly.
Here are a few questions that can help you identify your interests:
- What is your passion?
- What do you do in your free time for fun?
- What are your hobbies?
- What do you enjoy talking about?
- What do you enjoy learning?
What do you know?
Many people shy away from starting a blog because they feel that they don’t know enough about a topic. They think that they’ll need to be experts to even attempt to help others. That’s not true, though! When you know the basics of a topic, you likely already know more than the majority of people. And if you’re genuinely interested in a topic, then learning more about it and building your expertise will feel natural. You can even write about any challenges that you encounter while learning and how you’re dealing with them.
To find out what you already know, ask yourself these questions:
- What are you good at?
- Which topics do you know well?
- In which areas do other people constantly ask for your help?
- About which topics could you talk to your friends and even strangers for hours?
Does the niche have the potential for monetization?
Not all bloggers are looking to make money with their blogs. But, if you are eventually, then it’s time to ask yourself a tough question: Could any of the potential niches that you’ve identified be profitable?
To answer this question, let’s look into these three factors:
- Audience size: Is there a large enough audience interested in this niche? Use a tool like Google Trends to find out how many people are searching for it. The graph will tell you whether the interest is increasing, stable, or declining. Picking a topic with a stable or rising interest means you can potentially drive traffic to your blog for many years ahead.
- Current competition: Are there already established blogs in your niche? If you find several existing blogs that are thriving, then this is a good sign that this niche is profitable. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to figure out how to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
- Monetization Options: Are businesses spending money on advertising in your niche? An easy way to discover this is to enter keywords related to your niche into Google. Look for paid ads on top of the search results. When brands are already investing in Adwords, then there’s the possibility for you to monetize your blog with AdSense ads. Of course, other monetization options like affiliate sales or your own products may also be viable options.
Selecting your niche
Choosing the perfect niche means finding the sweet spot between too broad and too narrow. Should your niche be too broad, you can get overshadowed by established, high authority sites. Is your niche too small and has no demand, you won’t make an impact.
Our advice is to invest sufficient time in researching several niches and then making a choice. Only once you’ve launched your blog and written your first posts, you’ll know if you’re getting traction. The good thing is that you can always pivot or start over if it doesn’t work out.