One of the first things you have to think about when starting your blog is your niche and how to choose it. Your niche will determine the entire direction your blog will take.
If you are planning to make any money with it, it will also guide you on what and how to market your products or services to your audience.
However, choosing a niche is just the first step. You also want to make sure that the niche you go for is profitable and has good potential for growth.
This article will cover everything you need to know about niches, what they are, and how to choose the most profitable ones for your online business.
What is a niche?
A niche is a group of people who have the same likes, dislikes, and needs. This group of people is what defines your audience.
If you want to make money with your blog, you need to make sure that it caters to the needs of this audience by solving the problems they have or promoting the products and services that they want.
In blogging, and in general business, niches are like onions: the more you understand them, the more layers you realize they have.
This process is called “niching down”. The more specific and focused you get within a niche, the more the likes, needs, and interests of your audience become similar.
Here is an example: “women” are a pretty broad niche. While all women have a lot of things in common, it is hard to create a product or service that all women love.
You can niche down from this to a slightly smaller niche with “mothers”.
However, this is still a pretty broad niche with lots of different preferences and experiences.
There are lots of sub-categories of mothers, but for our purposes, let’s choose to niche down to “first-time moms with newborns.”
Now you have an audience with a lot more in common.
You can choose to stop here and create content that appeals specifically to the needs of this group: answer their questions, solve their unique problems, and promote the products and services that they need.
You can also opt to niche even further down and target the various sub-categories of first-time moms with newborns. How about mothers to twins?
First-time moms of color? Moms with disabilities? Or even first-time moms living in a specific city? The options you have are endless.
You get the idea. If you need more niche examples, this post contains 10 profitable blogging niches and 11 profitable upcoming niches that may be worth your while.
Why pick a niche?
Niches are important because it is impossible to cater to the needs of everyone.
With a niche, you can be specific about where you choose to focus your efforts, leading to higher efficiency, quality, and results.
Choosing a niche for your blog is the best path to success.
How to choose a profitable niche for your blog
Here is a step by step guide to help you pick a niche for your blog:
Step 1: Identify what your interests and passions are
Ever wondered why 90% of online businesses fail before the first year? Simple: lack of interest and passion.
Ideally, you want your niche to revolve around something that you actually like. There is no point in putting in the time and effort into something that you barely care about.
Remember, your blog is just like any other business; there will be ups and downs. If you do not care about your niche, when times get tough, you will likely give up and quit altogether.
Sit down and come up with a list of at least 10 topics that you genuinely care about.
Also, be sure to include things that you’d love to learn more about even if you don’t know much about them yet. Because that’s exactly what your blogging journey is going to be; a learning process.
Here are a few questions that might help you come up with your list:
- What are your hobbies and interests?
- What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
- If you could do one thing every day, what would that be?
- Do you love your job? How would you like to talk about it every day?
- What do you enjoy learning about?
- What YouTube channels are you subscribed to? How about Facebook pages or magazines?
- What membership to clubs and organizations do you hold?
- What topic can you spontaneously talk about for at least 20 minutes without reading up on anything?
- Have you read anything lately that interested you?
- What was the last thing you did a lot of research on online?
Step 2: Understanding your niche
It’s now time to analyze your list. You just made a list of at least 10 potential niches, and therefore 10 potential audiences.
How can you offer value to these audiences?
For the topics that you are passionate about, you can probably identify problems that need solving.
For example, in our “first-time moms” example, the problem could be the lack of a reliable forum for these moms to ask questions.
Or the lack of information resources for first-time moms in certain areas. Or even the inaccessibility of certain products or services.
If you have a good understanding of your audience, you know what their problems are and how to solve them.
What if you don’t know much about your potential niches? There are still several tricks you can use to identify their needs:
- Do your research. Now that you are not in the picture yet, where do people in your niche currently go to meet similar-minded individuals on the web? Forum sites like Reddit and Quora can be a treasure trove of ideas, insights, and leads
- Talk to your potential audience. Again, specialized forum sites can give you access to huge numbers of people in a tiny niche. They’ll have all the answers
- Perform some basic keyword research. Tools like Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Google Trends can show you what people are searching for in your niche. This will point you on the direction to follow with your blog
Step 3: Research the competition
Remember, you are not the first person to do this. You want to build upon the success of those who came before you.
Do a quick Google search of sites that do the same thing you do. What are they doing that you can do better?
If there are a lot of competing sites, that’s actually a good thing: it means that the niche is highly profitable.
You just need to be creative in how you find a way in. What can you bring to the table that will make you stand out from what everyone else is doing?
You want to pay close attention to the site that is performing best in your niche. Focus on this site and try to come up with ways you can improve upon what they have to offer.
Poor content quality, lack of transparency, and paid advertising are all signs that if you play your cards right, you will be able to beat the competition in no time.
Step 4: Research the profitability of your niche
Going through step 1 to 3 should have reduced your number of potential niches by at least 5.
The next thing you want to do is figure out whether or not the remaining niches are worth investing in.
To do this, go to a popular merchant site like Amazon or an affiliate site like Impact Radius. Find out what the top products are in each of your remaining niches.
Finding very few products is bad news. It means that is a tough niche to monetize.
Finding too many products is also bad news. It means that too many people have already discovered that niche, and it’s going to be really hard to stand out among all that competition.
The sweet spot is finding a decent number of products: not too many but not too few.
This means that the niche is ready to be conquered. It’s not too crowded yet, and if you get in now, you will be one of the pioneers when it eventually goes mainstream.
The next thing you have to do is find out what the average product prices are. This will guide you on how to price your own products and services.
If you don’t want to sell your own products and services, you can promote other people’s stuff through affiliate marketing and earn a commission for every sale you make.
Here is a list of 136 profitable affiliate programs to begin with.
Step 5: Testing
In blogging, the best way to test out your idea is to simply start your own blog.
If you have no idea how to do this, I have a complete step by step guide that complete beginners can use to set up their own blogs and make money in 7 simple steps. You should check it out!
However, since this is the testing phase of your business, you don’t want to spend too much money on it yet. You just want to have a great domain name and the bare bones of a working site in place.
You’re not expecting too much traffic just yet, so you can start out with a cheaper hosting plan to save money then upgrade later on.
Use this trial phase to get a feel of what you can expect. It is also a great way to road-test your craziest ideas in a low-risk environment.
If something works out, or if you realize that there’s real potential here, your business will already be running. Just a few tweaks here and there and you’ll be good to go!
There are a few things you need to do during the testing phase.
First, you have to populate your site with high-quality content. Do this just as you would if you were running with this niche idea for real.
You also need to keep an eye on your metrics. If you do something that gives you a spike in traffic, do more of it.
If something does not resonate well with your audience, drop it then move on to the next thing.
It’s all about testing, refining, rinsing, and repeating.
The third thing you need to do is listen to your audience. You want customer engagement and feedback to be as high as it can go.
Listening to your audience is one of the best ways to get innovative ideas that you can implement and stand out from the competition. Plus, it’s free advice!
Finally, you need to set weekly goals and do all you can to hit them. When you surpass those goals, set new ones and beat them, too.
You’ll be amazed at how much your blog will grow in a ridiculously short time.
Step 6: Launching and Marketing
After the testing phase, you’ll need to implement your best ideas and launch. Invest heavily in what you now know works.
Keep testing, refining, and improving every aspect of your business.
You also want to market your blog to your audience. People need to know about this amazing business you are building.
Traffic is everything for online businesses, so you want as many people as possible to know that you exist.
The more focused your niche is, the more important it is to get the word out and inform the people who need what you have to offer about your business.
Here are a few marketing strategies you can use:
- Posting regularly on your blog to position yourself as an authority within your niche
- Social media marketing
- Starting a Youtube channel
- Contributing to relevant niche forums
- Building your email list
- Guest posting on other blogs in the same niche
- Interviewing niche influencers on your site
- Paid advertising
- Collaborating on projects with community members
- Through networking sites like LinkedIn
- Asking happy customers for referrals, testimonials, and ratings
The list is endless. If you want to learn more about how to drive traffic to your site, I have a detailed post on that subject here.
Blogging and online businesses are more of an art form more than a science.
Things work differently for different people. However, there are a few common things that everyone does that have been proven to work.
One of these is choosing a profitable niche. With these tips, you should be able to select your niche and finally start your very own blog! I’d love to hear how that goes!
If you found this article helpful, please tell me all about it in the comments below.
Also, if you have any thoughts or ideas on how to find a profitable niche for your blog, I’m sure everyone would love to hear all about that, too!
And don’t forget to share this post with anyone else who might find this info helpful!