How to choose your blogging niche
First, bear in mind that you’re in the best position to choose your own blogging niche — because you understand yourself, your capabilities, and your tendencies more than anyone else does. So, asking other people to choose a niche for you is a huge blunder.
Choose a niche model
To choose your niche, your first step is to decide whether your choice would be interest-driven or income-driven. Either model has its pros and cons, which you’ll understand better in a bit.
The interest-driven model
This is quite in line with what most blogging mentors teach their students: Choose a niche based on your area of interest, knowledge or experience. If you’re a tech freak who enjoys talking about latest mobile devices and their fascinating specs, then you’d be fine with the tech niche — or even more specifically, the mobile devices niche.
Similarly, if your mum has been running a poultry farm in your compound since you were very young, and while growing up you’ve been able to understand everything about the business and have even developed some interest in it, then you’re in a very good position to start and run a blog on poultry farming.
So, all you have to do is to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are some topics that I enjoy talking about?
- What are some subjects or ventures that I have deep knowledge of and would like tell others about?
- What are those topics that and topics that I don’t necessarily know about but am very much interested in and would like to research extensively about?
- What are my hobbies?
Answering these questions will help you come up with a good number of niche options.
This niche model places your interest, knowledge, or experience at the forefront. And if you’re adopting this option, you shouldn’t bother about potential income streams or blog monetization options from the start.
No, I’m not saying you shouldn’t expect to make money from the blog. Of course, you’re blogging with the ultimate aim of making money. But with this model, your priority is to choose a niche that is well within your comfort zone, start your blog, grow your audience, and then start considering different monetization options later on.
Here are the advantages of the interest-driven model
- Writing and publishing your blog posts would be relatively easy because you’ve chosen a topic that always piques your interest and that you’re passionate about.
- Your interest and passion for the topic you’re blogging about would keep you going when things look bleak from the start or somewhere along the line.
- You’re unlikely to run out of blog post ideas.
- You’d be able to position yourself as an expert in your chosen subject, and over time you’d be regarded as such.
- Over time, your blog would be widely regarded as one of the authority go-to websites for topics you blog about. And this authority would be all you need to attract advertisers whose products or services cater to your blog’s audience.
- Over time, you’d be able to build a large pool of loyal readers who would visit your blog regularly without being prompted to. At that point, you’d no longer have to work your ass off to attract attention and traffic.
- When your blog is ripe enough for monetization, there are usually multiple options.
And well, here are the disadvantages
- Some subjects are difficult to monetize. For example, if you start a religion blog, you might be able to grow your followership over a relatively short period, but your chances of making decent bucks from such a blog are very slim. Why? The reason is that when it comes to matters of religion, people are not inclined to buying informational stuff. All they want is a little motivation to boost their level of faith, and nothing more. Only a few Nigerians would buy e-books on spirituality. And worse, Google Adsense and most other ad networks as well as affiliate marketing programs have little or no provisions for religion blogs.
- Some subjects you’re interested in or passionate about might not appeal to many people. If you’re very good at bead making, for example, it might strike you as a smart idea to start a blog on bead making. But the truth is, not so many people show interest in learning bead making, let alone actively search the web for information about it
B. The income-driven model
This model simply involves choosing your niche based on how exactly you intend to make money from your blog, not based on your interest. Adopting this model means you don’t care about interest or passion for the topic. What you care about is to make money, regardless of the subject that will make that happen.
So, if you find that a lot of people are searching the web for information on teeth-whitening products, for example, you can decide to create a blog aimed at promoting various teeth-whitening products as an affiliate and generating commissions from that. In that case, your niche selection is income-driven because you have opted for affiliate marketing as your monetization strategy from the outset, and you’ll be tailoring your blog for that strategy.
Similarly, if you want to make money as a freelance writer and would like to attract clients consistently, you might want to start a blog on a topic that appeals to the class of clients you intend to work with. So, if you think Internet marketers pay writers very well, a smart way to show them your writing skills is to start a blog on Internet marketing or any other topic that Internet marketers would be interested in. Here, you’re not choosing that topic because you’re interested in it, but because you’re looking to make decent income crafting content for Internet marketers.
This strategy is what most people imply (even though they don’t understand) when they say, “I want to start affiliate marketing” or “I would like to start making money online through Google Adsense”. And if you’re anything like such people, you should be ready to settle for any topic or subject that goes in line with your monetization strategy. There’s no room for interest or passion here. No comfort zone! It’s strictly business!
To select a niche based on the income-driven model, all you need is objective proof that your chosen topic or subject appeals to a sizable audience and is compatible with your monetization strategy. This is where some knowledge of keyword research would come in handy.
Here are the advantages of the income-driven model
- If you play your cards right, you can start a blog based on this model and start earning decently from it within 7 to 9 months.
- With this model, you require few blog posts to achieve success because of the relatively narrower scope. I once started a blog based on the model, published just 10 posts on it, and 6 months later it started earning over $200 monthly.
- This model makes it easy to actualize the passive income dream. That is, once a blog based on this model starts to make money, it will consistently earn income for subsequent months to years even if you do nothing to it. That’s income on autopilot — the dream of virtually everyone in online business.
- Because you don’t have much to do on a blog based on this model, you have set up as many similar blogs as possible. What I do is build one to the point where it starts to earn, create another one and replicate my efforts, create a new one, and so on. This way, I’m able to diversify my income.
- You can decide at any point that you want to sell off your blog. Money-spinning blogs based on this model are very lucrative, and they presently sell for between 20 – 25 times their monthly earnings. So, if your blog earns $200 per month, you can sell it for $4,000 to $5,000. Sometimes, you want to sell a blog because you’ve built additional ones that are also doing fine, or you need money for some personal projects. It’s easy for the buyer to continue running the site because you’ve done all the hard work.
And here are the disadvantages
- You’ll have to write on topics that you’re not really passionate about or know nothing about. So, you’ll need to be an exceptional writer and researcher to succeed with this model.
- Because it’s difficult churning out blog posts consistently on topics that you’re not knowledgeable or passionate about, chances are high that you’d get bored or frustrated shortly after starting out.
- You’ll hardly be able to position yourself as an authority in your niche, especially is you run multiple sites based on the same model.
- Your blog can suddenly stop earning anytime whenever something goes wrong with your major traffic or income sources. For example, if much of your traffic comes from Google, your income would crash if your blog’s position in Google results pages should drop suddenly. Similarly, if the affiliate program you’re working with suddenly decides to reduce their commission rates, your earning would inevitably drop. And because you’ve tailored your blog to your traffic generation or monetization strategy, you might be unable to switch to other options if something goes wrong with the ones you started with.
Bear in mind, however, that the 2-option categorization I’ve explained here isn’t etched in stone. You might be able to come up with a niche-model that comes with both options. But most ideas you’ll have would align wholly or for the most part with only one of both options.[/emaillocker]
To Be Continued