For Your Blog, Niche Ideas Must Be Your Niche Ideas
I could be like some other “how to” blog websites and just run you off a list of the most lucrative blog niche ideas and have you choose one of those. But I’m not going to do that, because it’s not the correct approach, at least not for the budding online entrepreneur getting started on a limited budget.
If you want to build a successful, “evergreen” blog, one that gets many visitors, some of whom go on to be customers and even repeat customers, and you want to achieve this with minimum expenditure, then just picking a lucrative niche willy-nilly with no forethought is not the way to do it.
You need to find your niche, not to just jump into one that has been recommended to you by someone else.Yes, your chosen niche does have to be something you either have a passion for or have some basic knowledge of if you are going to achieve long-term success.
Why is this? Well, to gain the authority you need to climb up the SERP (search engine results pages) rankings, you are going to have to write somewhere around 50 or more content-rich articles that offer value to your audience. It can be very difficult to do that with something you either don’t care about or have no basic knowledge of. (I’m not talking about being an “expert” here, you can become an expert as you research and write.)
If you don’t offer your audience quality content that is of value to them, you can be using the best SEO (search engine optimization) in the world, but people will see through it and won’t stay on your website for long. As a consequence, down the rankings your articles will go and your audience will disappear.
Yes, there are a few bloggers that can jump into a niche and make a quick buck, but their pages don’t stay ranked for long, sometimes for the reasons just mentioned and often because Google marks their websites as “spam”. For sustainability and staying in Google’s favor, you really do need to find your niche.
You do already know what this is, you just have to dig inside your brain to find it. So let’s go into just how you can do that.
The Birth Of Your Blog Niche – Make A List!
To get started in a way that will give you a workable number of options to choose from, writing a list of the things you know and the things you are passionate about is an effective way of giving you some relevant topics to choose from. This list will later need to be refined, which starts at the next step. Before that, your list is best constructed in the way I’ve set out below.
Begin With Your Career And Education
The easiest subjects you are going to find to write about are the ones you already know, the ones you are really familiar with. Think of all the jobs you have and the skills that you have gained. Write down everything that comes to mind.
Don’t forget to add all of your qualifications, exam passes, courses you’ve attended and anything else related to your career and education that you have gained knowledge and experience from.
These are the topics where, if you choose a related niche from one of them, you will only have to perform minimum research when writing your articles. This can greatly increase your productivity.
Next – Problem Solving
Many search terms typed into Google are from people looking for answers to problems they have, particularly ones they don’t want to discuss face-to-face with anybody. These people are relatively easy to sell to as they are ready to buy the products that help them get over their pains and offer a solution to their problems.
So, think of any of life’s problems that you have experience of solving and add all of these to your list.
Have you successfully freed yourself from an addiction such as smoking? Have you lost or gained weight through a successful diet or exercise program? Have you overcome an illness? Are you good with relationships?
These are just some ideas of problems that people need advice on. Rack your brains to think of every significant problem that you’ve had experience with and write them down.
Lastly, Sports And Leisure
Finally, add to your list of niche ideas any particular sports, leisure activities, arts or crafts that you participate in, follow or have an interest in.
This can include anything from playing or watching certain ball games or team games, gym training and individual sports to photography, sewing, knitting or solving puzzles. Again, write down everything.
If you end up choosing a niche from this category, in order to compete with other websites you will have to be prepared to carry out a lot more research in relation to how much you write than you would in the job skills category. This is simply because there will be competitors that know more than you, at least at first. Don’t let this put you off. As I say, you can become an “expert” as you research and learn.
Have You A List Of 20 Or More?
Okay, before we go on to the next stage in finding your niche, have you grown your list of blog niche ideas to 20 or more? We are about to go into a process of refining and eliminating some of your ideas, so a list of at least 20, preferably more, is a good amount to carry through.
If your list is considerably short of this figure, then I suggest going back and delving deeper into your brain cells and unearthing some more ideas that you may have missed the first time around. It really is worth spending a few extra hours doing this but don’t spend too long. If you don’t keep things moving on in this business you can start to lose enthusiasm, so try to keep the whole of this stage to about two days maximum.
When you have your list, store it away in a file that you can easily find in the future. You may need to refer to it if you ever want to start up another blog from scratch. It pays to keep this file updated, too.
Refining Your List – Striking The Balance Between Too Broad And Too Narrow
The chances are that your original list is going to contain some pretty broad terms, for example “smartphones”, “computers”, “photography” or “fitness”. Terms like these do not refer to niches but to entire industries. If you were to choose one of these or a similar broad term as a niche you would be swallowed up by the big-brand, household-name competition.
Besides, these broad terms encompass too many subtopics. People searching these terms could be searching for anything within these industries and not necessarily looking to buy anything. They may just be looking for an image or a piece of information. What you have to do is to narrow the best of your ideas on your list down to something more specific but not so specific (too narrow) that you haven’t left yourself much to write about.
Using our examples above, let’s see how we would narrow down each of these. Remember, these are example niches, not niches that I am actually recommending to you. I’ll stress again that it is vitally important to your success that you go through this brainstorming process to find your perfect niche.
A Look At Our “Smartphones” And “Computers” Examples
For “Smartphones” you would probably need to concentrate on just one sector of the market. Narrowing yourself down to one brand or one particular model of cell phone would be a mistake as you would very quickly run out of things to write about. It would be a better choice to pick something like “Best Smartphones Under $200”.
In this price range features are often compromised to keep the costs down, so you could write articles about which models have good cameras, which have the best processors, which have the most memory storage and so on. “Best Camera Smartphones” may even make a good blog niche in itself.
Beware what you take on, though, because unless you can afford to come into possession of every smartphone under $200, you wouldn’t be able compete with the established, big-brand review sites. Instead, as laid out in the previous paragraph, concentrate on extolling the best features of each model you write about and how these features will benefit your users. (Or not, if this is the case and the feature has its limitations.) You can also write about available accessories and peripherals, and promote those.
The advice is very similar for the “Computers” example. Don’t narrow down too far, such as a particular brand or model, instead try something such as “Best Laptops $250 Or Under”.
In both of the above examples, once you have mastered the lower-priced end of the market and you have plenty of content indexing at the top of page 1 of Google, you can expand by writing about smartphones or computers in the next price band up, or even jump straight to the more lucrative but more competitive luxury end of the market.
Our “Photography” And “Fitness” Examples
Now these two industries are not in themselves tangible products, you would have to write about a particular sub-niche of either of these and promote products that will help your users with the problem-solving information you have given them.
As you are probably now aware, “Photography” is too broad and needs narrowing down. “Action Photography”, is this narrow enough? – It’s still too big an area to cover with any authority and so must be narrowed down some more. “Sports Action Photography” may just be the sweet spot. Picking action photography for an individual sport would, in all probability, be too narrow.
You could talk about all the various technical aspects of shooting good action shots, the light, the best shutter speeds, which aperture works best with which shutter speed. You could then go on to talk about the best equipment available and which software works best.
The “Fitness” niche, being one of the biggest and most popular, needs to be narrowed down to one particular aspect of the industry to find a level at which the new blogger can compete and make a success of it.
Narrowing it down to “Fitness For Men” or “Fitness For Women” only cuts the industry in half and remains way too broad. ‘Fitness For Over 40s” will not do either simply because users never identify themselves by age when entering search terms.
Trying something like “Strength Training For Later Life”, “Energy Supplements For Endurance Sports” or “Best Road Running Shoes” might be just narrow enough. There are plenty of techniques and products to write about and recommend in all of these types of micro niches.
How Do I Know If My Niche Is Narrow Enough?
When you think that you have found the ideal niche for your blog, think about whether you can divide it up into at least 5 to 10 subtopics, each of which you can write a minimum of 5 to 10 articles about that will be of value to your intended audience and will keep them interested and informed. These articles you have in mind should be a minimum of 1,500 to 5,000 plus words in length and all based on low competition keyword search terms.
If you cannot envisage setting out these subtopics and writing these 50 to 100 articles, then perhaps you need to move up one to a broader level. Conversely, if you are having literally thousands of ideas, perhaps it would be an idea to focus them and narrow down a level where you will find it easier to rank your articles on page 1 of the SERPs.
Discard Non-Lucrative Niches
There are probably going to be some niche ideas on your list that are never going to make any money and, unless you want to get into blogging just for fun, you need to discard these.
You won’t be able to sell anything to people who are visiting your website looking for free information and then leaving. Typically, websites giving out daily news feeds and recipe sites are notoriously difficult to make money from as an example. There are no “big ticket” products to sell and no visitors with a ready-to-buy mindset. Revenue from these sites is scraped together from schemes such as Adsense.
The good niches from your list will be the ones where there are plenty of “buying” and “pain solving” search term keywords. The buying keywords are frequently the ones that start “The Best …….”, or “The Top 10 ………” or “Company A’s Product vs Company B’s Similar Product” whereas the pain solving ones will start with something like “How can I ……..?”
If you have short-listed niches that have many of these search terms each, then they are still in the running for selection. But will these niches bring in enough money to make them worthwhile?
Apply The Economics Of Affiliate Marketing
It’s a simple mathematical fact that you will have to sell a lot more low priced physical products than higher priced products to make the same money in commissions.
Commissions on physical products are generally in the 5% to 10% range on average. At 10%, to make $100 you would have to sell one hundred $10 products but only one $1000 product. In the world of internet marketing, it is a lot easier to sell one product than it is a hundred.
Digital products are different. Commission rates are much higher, anywhere between 30% to 80% usually. At a 50% commission rate, you now only have to sell twenty $10 products or one $200 dollar product to make your $100.
So, to eliminate some more choices from your list, only choose those where you can sell physical products over $100 retail or digital products at any price.
It’s Not All About Selling Products
You may have found a product to promote to your audience that solves a problem for them but selling a product isn’t delivering value.
The value comes from writing a few more articles around the product showing your audience how to get the most out of the product. The amount of articles will depend on the complexity of the product.
For example, rather than just writing an article recommending a particular pair of dog grooming clippers, you can publish more articles with further information that would be useful to the buyer of such a pair of clippers. There could be a piece on the different blades available and on which breeds and types of coat you would use them on. A further post could go through the various grooming techniques and another the different styles possible and how to achieve them. One other article could explain the best way to maintain the clippers in excellent working condition.
Overdelivery such as this is the key to gaining page authority, domain authority and high rankings. Each article would be focused on a different keyword or key phrase for which there was a low keyword competition score and high monthly search volume. I will talk more about keyword research and selection in another post soon.
Welcome The Competition (Most Of It)
It’s best to have as little competition as you can find with your keywords but competition within your niche is mostly a good thing as it reassures you that there is money to be made there. The competition wouldn’t be around if this was not the case.
I would only consider abandoning a niche if the keyword research repeatedly turned up the same big brand names for all of the keywords. I mean the really big names like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, WebMD, MayoClinic, etc. If these types of companies are dominating the search engines pages you have little chance of ranking above them.
You can use your competition to set your standards. With normal competition, all that you have to do to outrank them is to take a look at their pages that come up in the search results and work out what you can do better than them and how you can deliver even more value than they do to the user.
Ready To Take The Plunge?
Armed with this information, you should now have whittled down your original list into a shorter list of viable concepts. You will now have to pick one as the niche that you are going to go ahead with.
Here are a few points recapped if you need a tie-breaker:
- Go with the niche that you feel you will be most comfortable with creating a hundred or more pieces of content, spread over 5 to 10 sub-topics, that will be of value to your audience and keep them engaged on your website.
- Your niche should not be so broad that it encompasses an entire industry, yet not so narrow that you will run out of ideas within a few days.
- Make sure that the niche you choose has a buying audience that will purchase your recommended products to resolve their problems.
- Your niche of choice should feature physical products that retail for over $100 or digital products. Otherwise, it will be difficult to earn a significant and worthwhile amount in commissions.
Don’t Over Elaborate
At the time that I was first trying to break into the affiliate marketing industry I was working in the precision engineering industry where everything had to be perfect. I made the mistake of transferring that need to this industry. Wrong!
It’s much better in this industry spending a couple of hours getting together something that works rather than spending many hours striving for perfection. “Done is better than perfect!” is an adage much repeated throughout the internet marketing world.
So don’t spend too much time researching and deciding on your niche. Get your list together, brainstorm it, and choose the one to go for.
When you have decided on your blog niche, you are going to want to decide on a suitable domain name to compliment it. To read my detailed post on choosing a domain, click on the link below:
Don’t Be Afraid To Get It Wrong
As a mentor once said to me when I was an apprentice, “He who never makes mistakes never makes anything.” It’s an observation that’s stayed with me ever since and it certainly applies here.
If you get it wrong, if a month or two down the road you find you’ve made the wrong choice, it doesn’t matter!
The only people that fail in this industry are the ones that get a setback and give up.
I’ve been there. You will know when you have got it wrong as you will have run totally out of ideas for content and you will have no enthusiasm to carry on.
Please, do not give up! If you do make a mistake and find that your niche isn’t working, you can always go back to your list (remember I said to save it?) and choose another niche, or brainstorm another list.
Your time will not be totally lost if you make a mistake as you will have gained some very valuable industry experience which you will be able to use to your advantage the next time and, if necessary, the next time and the next time.
If you have any comments or questions related to this blog niche ideas or this website, please use the comments box below. If you prefer, you can email me through the Contact Stephen form.
Bye for now.