How to choose the right niche for your blog
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Choosing your blog topic can be so hard! There are so many options. You can blog about almost anything. But that makes it so tricky to decide on the right niche. Read on to discover how to choose the right niche for your blog – and whether you really need one at all!
What is a niche anyway?
Before we talk about how to choose the right niche for your blog, let’s just back up a little and look at what exactly a niche is. A niche is basically the topic of your blog – the main subject you write about. A niche can be big and broad covering many topics like ‘lifestyle’ or ‘parenting’, or small and very specific, like ‘vegan and gluten free baking’ or ‘travel for families on a budget’.
Does my blog really need a niche?
YES!! Many new bloggers (and even some existing ones) think they can start a blog and just write about anything and it will be successful. But the truth is nearly all the really successful blogs have a niche – some are broad, and some are narrow, but they all have one!
The only real exception to this is if you literally just want to have a fun hobby blog – a kind of online diary for your friends and family. In that case, don’t worry about niche – just write and have fun! But if you want your blog to be a business, to be successful and make money, then take it from me YOU NEED A NICHE!
I suppose the only other exception is if you are already a celebrity. If you are a big, well known and popular celebrity you CAN probably write about everything and anything… as you already have an audience who will lap up everything you say. In a sense, for a celebrity, they are the niche!
Why is niche so important?
There are 5 main reasons why having a niche for your blog is so important:
1. Having a niche makes your blog more attractive to ‘your people’
If you have a tight niche and someone comes along to your blog and instantly identifies with your niche, then you will most likely have a loyal follower who signs up for all your stuff, follows you everywhere, hangs on your every word and maybe even buys all your products (or gets all the stuff you recommend with affiliate links).
I like to give the example of a vegan cupcake. If a general food blogger were to put a vegan cupcake recipe on their blog, yes, they may get quite a bit of traffic from vegans. But most likely those visitors will, at best, just print off the recipe and move on – they probably won’t want to start following a website that has lots of meat recipes on it.
On the other hand, if that vegan cupcake recipe is featured on a vegan baking blog, full of all kinds of different tips and advice on vegan baking and loads of yummy recipes and inspiration, vegans who find that blog via the vegan cupcake recipe will be much more likely to stick around, check out the other recipes, sign up for the newsletter, start following on social media and so on.
2. Niche fosters community
Not only does having a well-defined niche make you more attractive to your community, it actually fosters community among your readers and social media followers. We as humans all have this deep-seated desire to connect with ‘people like us’, with our ‘tribe’. By carefully defining your niche, you not only allow people to identify with you and your blog, but also with your other readers and followers. It is no coincidence that bloggers with well defined niches usually have the greatest engagement and interaction among their followers.
3. The riches are in the niches
How do you pronounce ‘niche’? ‘Neesh’ or ‘nitch’. I pronounce it ‘neeesh’ so this phrase doesn’t quite work for me!! It sounds much better if you say ‘nitch’!! But either way there is a lot of truth in this phrase. If you have a well-defined niche, a loyal band of readers is likely to follow. And if you can nurture those followers, help them and build trust and community, they are much more likely to buy from you or act on your recommendations.
Going back to the vegan cupcake analogy. If you are vegan, who are you more likely to buy a vegan baking cookbook from – the blogger who blogs about anything and everything including meat and dairy? Or the blogger who just focuses on vegan baking? A no-brainer, isn’t it?
4. Having a niche stops you getting writers block
You would think that the broader your niche is, the easier it would be to think of something to write about, but actually it tends to be the opposite. If you write about anything and everything then it’s very difficult to decide what to write about – the choice is HUGE! If you have a more specific and targeted niche your options will be much narrower, and it will be much more obvious to you where the gaps are in your content that you need to fill. On top of this, if you have an engaged and enthusiastic community, they will probably be interacting with you, telling you what they’d like to hear about and asking you questions that you can turn into blog posts.
5. Blogging in a niche helps you become an ‘expert’
If you write about anything and everything then you are a bit like that phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ – you know a little about lots of topics, but you are an expert in none of them! If on the other hand you write about one clearly targeted niche, then you will gradually become an expert in that topic – a ‘go to’ person, an ‘authority’. People will seek you out because they know you are an authority on that topic, they will recommend you to their friends – maybe you will be asked to write on that topic for the press, or go on radio or TV to talk about that topic. You may even be approached to write a book! And all of that will only be beneficial in making your blog more successful, which will in turn lead to more opportunities and exposure – it’s a virtuous circle.
What should I think about when choosing my blogging niche?
So now hopefully I’ve thoroughly convinced you that your blog needs a niche – but what should that niche be? How do you go about choosing the right niche for your blog? Here are 5 things to consider:
1. What are you passionate about?
If your blog does well, you are going to be writing about this topic for a loooong time. So, make sure it is something that you LOVE! What is it that you love doing or talking about? What is it that the thought of writing about this subject every day for the rest of your life really excites you? What are you always jabbering on about to your friends and family?
Not only will writing about something you are passionate be good for you and mean you won’t get bored, but also it will be attractive to readers – they will see your passion shining out of everything you write about and be more interested and engaged as a result. Enthusiasm is infectious!
2. What are you an expert in?
Do you already have an expertise in something? It could be an official one – like you are a lawyer… or a tax expert… or a registered nutritionist. Or it could be an unofficial one… What do you know a lot about? What do your friends and family always ask your advice about? What do other people think you are good at? Maybe you know everything there is to know about baby lead weaning or luxury travel. Maybe your friends and family are always asking for tips on hair and makeup or how to manage their finances better. If you already have an expertise, then that’s a great place to start!
TOP TIP: If you are not sure, ask – you may be surprised to hear the answer! One of the reasons I started this blog is because so many people kept telling me I was such an organised and efficient blogger. It hadn’t really occurred to me until they started telling me because it’s just who I am – its my ‘normal’, but to other people it’s a skill or an ‘expertise’ they don’t have.
3. What would you like to be an expert in?
But don’t fret if you are not an expert in anything…you can still become one! Simply by starting a blog and writing about that subject you will become an expert over time. So, if you can’t think of a topic you know a lot about, think instead about a topic you would really like to become an expert in. Think, if in 3 years’ time if a publisher came to you and asked you to write a book on your expertise, what would you like that book to be about?
One very popular type of blog is the ‘journey’ blog. It’s a blog where you start out as the student…you have a problem in your life or something you want to achieve, and you start to blog about your journey, but over the course of several years you go from being the ‘student’ to the ‘teacher’ and begin to teach others how to make the changes you made in your life.
Good examples of a journey blog would be a blogger who uses their blog to document how they lost a lot of weight, got fitter and healthier or turned their finances around. Over time those bloggers become experts and start teaching others how to lose weight/get fit/sort out their finances. These kind of transformation blogs can also be very lucrative in the long term (think ‘I lost 30lb and now I can show you how with this course’ / ‘I got out of debt and paid off my mortgage in 1 year, buy my book and I’ll teach you how to do it’) Which leads me nicely on to…
4. Can you make money from it?
If you really want your blog to be your business and to make money, then you really need to think carefully about whether it is possible to make money in that niche. Some niches lend themselves very readily to making money (anything to do with health/diet/saving or making money/getting more organised etc.) others less so. Before you settle on the topic, ask yourself ‘how will I make money?’ For example, can you think of products and services you could sell in that niche? Can you think of recommendations you could make that would lead to affiliate sales? Can you think of brands that might want to buy sponsored posts on your site?
READ MORE >>> How do blogs make money?
5. Is there a niche you can put your own unique spin on?
Is there a topic where you have something different to say? Can you see a niche that no one is really talking about yet? If you can be the first to get into that niche then you can have a huge advantage over everyone who joins you in that niche later (because if it’s super popular, they will). But two little caveats on this one…
Firstly, there may be a good reason no-one is talking about that – maybe you are the only one who’s actually into that topic. Do ask yourself whether there are enough other people who will actually want to hear and engage with that topic to make it worthwhile.
Secondly, don’t get too down about this one. It can feel like every niche has already been taken and you have nothing new to offer, but that is simply NOT TRUE. It is true that there are very few totally new ideas out there, but no one can write about that topic like you can! No one can be you and bring your own unique spin on that topic. In many ways you are your niche!
Should my blog have a broad niche or a narrow niche?
One final consideration to make is what kind of niche you personally want to have. Do you want to have a super narrow and well-focused niche, or would you rather have a broader niche that will allow you to write about more topics? This depends a lot on your personality. Whilst it is true to say ‘the riches are in the niches’ and generally the tighter your niche the more engagement you are likely to get and ultimately the more money there is to be made, you may personally feel too restricted by a narrow niche and prefer to write more broadly.
In which case the ‘lifestyle’ niche may be the one to go for, as it will allow you more freedom. You could then have a broader selection of topics you write about – travel, food, parenting and fashion for example. But don’t go too far the other way and throw out the idea of niche altogether – or your blog will feel messy and chaotic and people won’t connect so easily. You could for example make it a vegan lifestyle blog – blogging about vegan food, vegan fashion, vegan parenting and vegan travel etc. Or it could be a luxury lifestyle blog, blogging about luxury travel, luxury fashion, luxury parenting (does that exist??) and luxury food.
So, what is your blogging niche going to be?
I’d love to know what you are going to choose as your blogging niche! Do let me know in the comments below!
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I was thinking of starting a blog of my own and came across your page and have since made up my mind to not to read any other how to guide or instructions as I love the way you have explained how to go about starting our own blog. I guess I’ve found my instructor.
I’m an Architect from Sri Lanka and currently living in Malaysia and for obvious reasons I’m choosing the niche of Design in Architecture.
Aw, thanks Immesh. I am so happy to hear you like my blog so much 😀 Good luck with your new blog! Eb 🙂
I have been blogging for almost two years and I STRUGGLE with choosing a niche. I blog about how to homestead/live self-sufficiently. How-tos on a variety of topics: sewing, cooking, growing food, preserving food, building, financial independence, making own products, herbal remedies, living non-toxic/simply, etc.
I could talk all day about pretty much any of those things. It’s my life and the journey I’ve been on for 10+ years. Right now my focus in my own life is to grow enough food to feed our family for a year. I also plan on starting a project this summer to learn how to go off-grid.
Homesteading is my broad niche, but do I pick the narrower niche I’m currently focused on this summer which is the growing/putting up the food, or do I keep with the broad niche?
I guess I struggle because I feel like if I choose the narrow niche, I *can’t* (is this just in my head?) talk about setting up solar or knitting slippers.
Thanks! I absolutely love your articles and have learned so much from you!
Hi Steph, Thanks for your kind words about my blog! OK, I normally say that ‘lifestyle’ blogs aren’t the best way to go… as they are usually just a collection of random topics based on the individual bloggers favourite things. However, with something like ‘homesteading’ a lifestyle blog makes a lot more sense. In this instance, ‘homesteading’ really is the niche and actually having multiple topics makes a lot of sense, since homesteaders (and wannabe homesteaders) need to know about most of those topics. So I don’t necessarily think you need to niche down a whole lot more. What I would say is perhaps just narrow down your topics a little… so it’s not TOO broad, really focus on what your readers want/need to read about and make it clear what kind of homesteader you are (I don’t know a whole lot about homesteading, but I imagine there are different kinds… like for example with travel blogging you could be a luxury travel blogger / a vegan travel blogger / a budget travel blogger / a family travel blogger / an environmentally friendly travel blogger and so on… so what kind of homesteader are you? Make that the way you niche down, rather that narrowing down your topics a whole lot)
Hope that helps!
Hi Eb, I so much liked your blog and a subsequent PDF presentation that you’ve sent that I couldn’t stop reading your blog. I have come up with this idea for my niche: share my journey of learning a skill that will make good money. I am currently in the early stages of this journey: I am learning computer programming, as well as blockchain and crypto. As I learn, I come across things that I would like to share with others in a blog. This might be an explanation of a programming subject that I’ve just learned or my experience with different coding courses or my experience with learning blockchain or crypto. As many other people are learning these things, I hope this data might help them get answers to their questions. I thought I could call my blog “journeytoskills” or “journey2skills”. I googled for the phrase as you said and found a company “skillsjourney.com”. Do you think that’d be a problem? Or is there enough difference between skillsjourney and journeytoskills? And which version is better, with “to” or “2”? Thank you very much for your awesome blog!
Hi Irina, so good to hear you are enjoying my blog and finding it helpful! A journey blog where you share the skills you are learning can be a good way to start a blog – but I would definitely pick one specific niche / skill rather than going too broad. You want to get to the point where you can be the ‘expert’ as quickly as possible, as long term a niched down blog written by an expert in that topic is likely to do better. I would also be mindful of the competition. For example, I think a blog on blockchain / crypto could potentially be a very popular subject with lots of Google searches, but I imagine that the competition within that niche is also quite strong. Do plenty of research (google topics you might want to write about) to see what the competition is like. Personally, I feel “journeytoskills” or “journey2skills” is too broad for a name. I would go for something a little more specific. “journeytoskills” could mean absolutely anything. (But on the specific question of whether it’s to close to “skillsjourney.com”, no I think that’s fine.) Hope that helps! Eb 🙂
Thanks a lot, Eb!!!! Somehow I’ve written a new post (an update to the earlier one) before I saw your answer.
You made a very good point of getting to be the ‘expert’ as quickly as possible. I now think I could say (which is true) that I have mastered over a dozen skills in my life through self-learning, I spent many thousand hours self-learning, and in this blog I want to share with the audience the steps that I have taken, as well as the steps I am taking now to learn new skills. As part of learning new skills, I would share with the audience simplified descriptions of things I really had to search for as part of my own learning journey: things that weren’t readily available in a Google search or were poorly explained. I do run into such things, and I think if I had trouble finding answers, other people might too. (I still need to learn the SEO tool that gives the frequency of search requests, but that’d be at a later stage.) I could set up a survey form about the skills the users have self-learned, and maybe even ask if they want to share their skill-learning stories on this website. I could share feedback on online courses I have taken to learn new skills and maybe invite users to leave their feedback on their learning experiences, after moderation of course.
Regarding the name being too general as you said, do you think that “stepstoskills” is too general as well? I could also try “selflearnskills” or “beselflearned.” The idea of “steps” is very appealing to me, but I don’t have online experience to predict how people would react to it. Or how about “selflearnrocket” or “selflearningrocket”, with the idea of riding a “rocket” to self-learn toward one’s goal? How does that seem to you?
If all goes well, maybe at a later stage I could offer guided challenges on learning new things step by step: a user sets a challenge to learn something and then gets daily guidance/encouragement/reminder, or some such to keep them on track of their learning journey.
I very much appreciate your advice and will definitely use your referral link to get the hosting, once I finalize the name.
…(continuing the previous post), maybe “stepstoskills”? I see that “steps2skills” domain is taken, but the “to” version is not. I like the name, got a ton of ideas for it. This site would be about self-learning and would have 3 sections: (1) philosophy/how to challenge oneself to keep learning, the mindset to master skills; (2) concepts related to learning programming skills explained in simple words; (3) concepts related to learning web3/crypto investments and products explained in simple words. Does that seem like a workable idea?
Aaah, I see now I misunderstood your original idea – you want your blog to be about teaching people how to acquire new skills – is that right? In which case that makes sense and I can see how a blog that teaches people how to learn new skills well / fast / efficiently could work. The only thing that concerns me is that your 3 sections sound to me like 3 separate blogs / niches… all of which are good ideas, but I am not sure how they would work on one blog. It might be a good idea to pick one of those options to start with and expand later once you have established authority / expertise in the first one. Or perhaps combine the first 2 – where section one would be focused specifically on philosophy/mindset needed to learn programming skills. If indeed your blog is about teaching people how to acquire new skills, I love the word ‘rocket’ – it implies boosting / improving / getting somewhere fast. I feel ‘stepstoskills’ is still too vague and not exciting enough. Hope that helps! Eb 🙂
My name is Marcy. I want to blog about being 50+ years old. The Generation X. But I have no clue how to niche that down.
Hello from a fellow Generation Xer! The important thing to consider when choosing a niche is WHO will you help and WHAT will you help them with? The key to success with blogging is to focus on understanding who your target audience is, understanding what their problems are and providing solutions to their problems. You have identified that you want to help people who are 50+ But that’s a lot of people. Can you narrow that down a bit? And people in their 50s have a whole range of problems… pick one and write a brilliant blog that solves that problem really well… THAT is your niche! For example you might help overweight women in their 50s get fit (Be fitter now than you were in your 20s!) You might help people in their 50s who are struggling with money to learn to manage their finances better. You might help people in their 50s who have taken early retirement to travel the world. Whatever you do, don’t try and solve all the problems… pick one and do it really well!
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