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How to Choose a Niche Topic for Your Blog

Speed-Posting@jonathanguinn asks: “I am new to internet marketing and am struggling to find my niche. Maybe some pointers about that would be helpful.”

There are many factors to consider when choosing a niche. I’ve written about many of them in this post – but for me a lot of it comes back to choosing something that you know about, that you feel you can say something useful and interesting on – ie what are YOU about?.

After that I’d take a good hard look at tools like Google Trends where you can track the popularity of different search terms over time to see if they’ve been trending up or down. Ideally you want to find a popular niche that’s growing so that you can position yourself for the future growth.

Other factors of course come into play including the number of other blogs and websites on a topic already (ie competition), whether the topic has monetization streams (if you’re doing it for money) etc – but you can read more aobut them in my post on choosing a niche for your blog.

PS: another useful tool in choosing niches is SEOBook’s Keyword tool which can help you think about the popularity of different keywords.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Sheamus says:

    It seems like every day for as long as I can remember I stumble upon* some incredibly useful tool (often, admittedly, through a post or comment on here) and it was only 24 hours ago I first had a look at Google Trends.

    Even in this brief period of time I’ve realised how essential that site is. It could save you many man-hours and, possibly more importantly, advertising dollars chasing after dead markets. Of course, it isn’t the answer to everything, but it’s a useful start.

    In particular, the front page has a top 10 of ‘today’s hot trends’ and that alone could trigger a post or two for one’s blog.

    * Pun not intended

  2. Nick Schmidt says:

    Maybe jonathanguinn is trying to what kind of blog he wants to develop, not just the popular trend.

    I have this problem too. My blog is more of a video personal reality show.

    But I love interacting with new people on their blogs, new cool gadgets, internet marketing, advertising, accounting, business, brainstorming, fashion, art, video,
    music, photographs, and the new cool websites. (plus more)

    Point being, I’m subscribed to a lot of blogs & websites because I’m interested in many topics.

    However, I’m always questioning myself, if I should all the elements of my interests to the blog, or just start up a new one for each? All seem valid to me because that is what I like, but the readers may not like all that information.

  3. Rather than struggle to find a niche, realize that the topic is something you’re passionate about and perform each day.

    Perhaps it’s maintaining a healthy lawn or finding the right shade of eyes for dolls. You’ll recognize the niche when you least expect it; it just happens, and then you’ll have your topic.

    That’s what happened to me eight years ago, and now one of my niche blogs has splintered into four, all of which are at the top of their category because my passion for the topic is evident in each post.

    The same will happen for you, but try not to rush to a decision on the niche topic. The idea will come from nowhere. Then begin documenting the subjects you’ll address, and with patience and promotion, you’ll have a runaway hit on your hands.

  4. Steve J says:

    I think that “competition” is perhaps a wrongly addressed factor. Yes, it is harder to make it big in a niche that has lots of competition, but you also have to remember that these niches have the most consumers and customers.

    Furthermore, once you’ve gone and out and made the greatest and most amazing niche site possible (which should be your goal), being the best in a competitive niche can be much more rewarding than being the best in a small niche.

  5. Great post! I get a lot of questions from clients on how to find a specialized niche topic, and these are all great resources. I’m sure there are more, but these are definitely a great starting point.

  6. I’m just gonna warn you now; there is such a thing as TOO niche a topic to get into sometimes.

    I’ve been struggling like crazy with my webcomics blog — the market is there, but the category is all over the place to the point that my webcomic is doing better than my blog about webcomics.

    Go figure.

  7. Sheamus says:

    I was very impressed by your blog Rachel and think there’s definitely a market there. For what it’s worth, my only advice would be a proper domain name – something memorable and catchy that you may want to research extensively using the keyword and trend advice on this site – and maybe considering porting it over to WordPress on a hosting platform. This not only expands your options and flexibility (notably with themes, but also plugins, etc) but the combination of all this would, IMO, significantly boost your popularity both with search engines and your prospective userbase.

  8. Cindy King says:

    1. The whole positioning aspect for the onine niche is also very interesting.

    Sometimes its hard to figure out:

    - When your niche traditionally does not make money online.
    - When your offline and online business are so different.

    2. I’m happy I started my blogs on international sales and international business.

    It has only been two months – the onlilne feedback from visitors and readers has given me so much more insight into new market possibilities for my expertise.

    My online niche is different now than when I started. It changed more through feedback than keyword analysis or other tools.

    I needed to be online and getting feedback to identify where my niche really is.

    And I wonder where it will take me in a years time.

    Being able to talk about my subject non-stop made me take the leap – not knowing if there might be a real niche.

  9. Fabien says:

    My blog is in the entrepreneurial niche, it is a very broad niche where I can talk about several aspects of the entrepreneurial concept. My blog also includes several other topics such as business, blogging, writing skills and web design. I think this is an aspect of my blog that has positives and negatives. Positive because I have a broad range of topics to blog about but negative because it is difficult to provide equal amounts of content for each topic.

    The niche you pick should certainly be a topic you know a lot about, but it should also be about something you want to learn more about. When I say this I mean that you should know enough to post on a regular basis, but your posts should be left so they are open to interpretation and opinion by many – don’t take the stance that what you write goes…because it does not always – people have differing opinions and it is important to understand this as well.

    Picking a niche is also, as Darren mentioned, about ensuring that the niche is popular enough. If the keyword count is anywhere below 100 or 200 searches per day, you don’t really want to be entering the niche – because it is just not worthwhile. You will not be able to attain a large enough audience to sustain your blogging efforts. That being said, niches are always growing and you can find potential subscribers on social media sites.

    I find that a lot of blogs start a particular type of blog for it’s monetization value. Let’s say a blog about Hannah Montana is created, this is obviously a very popular topic at the moment which gets a lot of searches, but are you really passionate about Hannah Montana – or are you in there for the money. If you’re in there for the money, life will seem harder and you’ll burn out much more easily. The big name bloggers are right when they say ‘do what you love’ and ‘talk about what you know’. It is the best policy.

    The most important thing to remember is that, in any niche, you should have your own voice, your own opinions, don’t regurgitate what other people have already said – put your own spin on things. A great example of this is the recent Alexa rankings change, I read a wide variety of opinions on different blogs – people didn’t just say ‘Alexa changed their rankings’ – they added why they do or do not like it, what they think about it, and future prospects for Alexa. This is a key factor to consider when writing blog posts of any sort.

  10. Thanks for the post Darren. I’ve never used Google Trends either, but it does look interesting. I’ll have to try it out.

    - Dave

  11. I like to write about what is close to my heart! By doing it this way, I have no problem being motivated to write a post.

    Chose main theme for your blog and follow it religiously!

    So if you like to write about how to be a blogger do that. You into traveling, write about that.

    I am a Human Right Activist, and I write about that.

  12. David Hobson says:

    Great post and Google trends is an excellent way of picking a niche to write about.

  13. Jummy says:

    The questions you ask at the end of “what are YOU about?” seem simple but I really am having trouble answering the first one in a way that leaves me with a clear path to explore. It’s been very thought-provoking though; thanks!

  14. There are hundreds of self-styled internet marketing people who hunt around for a popular niche and try to mine it (based on the false prophets that are peddling their own wares – a few blogs such as Problogger excepted). Most marketing driven bloggers will be history in five years, having found that they can’t keep an interest and it shows through in their blog. We know the value of finding your market before your start but Google Trends doesn’t help you discover anything about yourself.

    I have tried to “force” myself into some niches in the name of internet marketing and it doesn’t work. I learned that, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

    If I ever start to think of my myself as an Internet Marketer (let’s kill that phrase soon) rather than a blogger with a good knowledge of my subject, that will be the end.

    I would suggest that “internet marketing” as a real profession is a fallacy and the only guys making money in 5 – 10 years will be :

    The good writers.
    Those will real passion for their subject.

    Anyone struggling to find a niche for their blog should really consider the longevity and value in any decision they make after such a struggle.

    If it doesn’t come easily, it isn’t you and won’t last.

  15. Kevin says:

    Great post! Thats the biggest problem how to find a specialized niche topic, and these are all great resources. Of course there are more, but at least a great starting point.

  16. Gley Yahya says:

    I think success in blogging is not about choosing the right topic for your blog. It’s about what topic you can blog about. Blogging is not relevant for any kind of businesses and a blog can’t be a business on it self like what I’m seeing online.

    Most of new home business starters are influenced by the loud noise of pro-bloggers. Without even thinking, they decided to take the plunge and start blogging.

    They fail to realize that blogging is a wrong way for creating a business. It is not a business strategy either. Blogs are best used for publishing news or the thought of the day. They are a good medium for supporting a website.

    You can’t build a web presence by creating a blog and don’t expect to make good money from it either.

    I know there’s a lot of bloggers out there making good living from their blogs. But that is a very, very small minority.

    Don’t take what they say seriously. Hey, I don’t mean they lie. Most of them speak from experience. What I mean is, before diving head first study their websites, blogs, strategies, etc… and find out:

    - What topics they are blogging about?
    - Are they individuals or communities?
    - Do they have established staff with expertise in their industries?
    - Who is behind someone success?
    Etc…

    If you create a theme-based content website and support it with a daily updated relevant blog you will do well.

  17. Tim says:

    I have a question for you – I run a very niche-specific blog for ESL students in Sydney (Sydney English Student Blog in case your interested, just starting), but it is so ‘niche’ that there are no other similar blogs that I can a) get linked from b) generate traffic. Publicity is more traditional – hitting the footpath to distribute flyers, post posters etc. I suppose what I am saying is, maybe I have gone for too small a niche – though I do have exclusive access to it. Any suggestions are appreciated – otherwise, just sit back and laugh.

  18. SalesBlogcast.com has been up for just over a month. At this point, our strategy has been to publish three posts per week… Sunday night, Tuesday night, and Thursday night. I’ve had conversations with some of my subscribers and found a mix of responses… some are asking for a daily post… others think we are just right… and then there are those who want to read the latest posts… but don’t have enough hours in the day. These folks seem to catch up on everything over the weekend. I like the way ProBlogger sends one email each day showing all the latest posts. We will move in that direction in the future!

    Doyle Slayton
    Executive Director & Sales Strategist
    http://www.SalesBlogcast.com

  19. Leon says:

    My blog doesn’t have a niche. It’s pretty much a mixed bag. It’s a strength a well as a weakness. It fails to attract a specific genre, but the varied topic attracts a variety of people.

  20. Niche blogging is something I hear a lot about. Like business it is best to limit yourself to an area, but like business you can also limit yourself to an area that is so narrow your blog is doomed to fail. I have seen many businesses fail because they limited themselves to a niche that was so small they couldn’t find enough stuff to even fill have the retail store they opened!
    Finding a niche is important though, keeping a business or a blog focused on a limited number of related topics will produced a better result. For example, you don’t want a blog that talks about both; how to make incense and the wonders of underwater basket weaving. How do you tie these two subjects together?

  21. This post has been featured in FullTiltBlogging.com’s Daily Blog Summary today. Great post!

  22. Bisco says:

    that ‘David at FullTiltBlogging.com’ guy is spamming you Darren. That’s the 3rd time I’ve seen that comment on your blog this week. He’s done the same on other blogs too – ban the sucker!

  23. Jodith says:

    Like Tim, the niche for my blog is extremely small. You wouldn’t think so. Administrative Assistants are everywhere, but as it turns out, very few of them are blogging about what they do. So using traditional methods of building subscribers is a bit difficult.

    When I started looking for a topic to blog about, I mainly concentrated on 1) what I know and 2) what I’m interested enough in to actually write about several times a week. Writing about what I do for a living didn’t actually occur to me until a month or so of pondering the idea. When I did think about it, I figured it would be a niche that was already overflowing with bloggers. Boy was I wrong. I’ve only found a couple of blogs and websites here or there. So, at least I’ve gotten in on the ground floor of this niche. The down side is it’s harder to build traffic to start with.

    I’m thinking about doing some traditional advertising, but I need to build up some funds for that first.

  24. Dr. Bardou says:

    And what about narrow and small niches? For example nuclear physics. :) Where too little low-frequency keywords for SEO. Can such niches be commercialized?

  25. Affiliate17 says:

    thanks for the useful information

  26. Guys, I have read the articles and comments but if you want to find a niche that is successful then you need to research the keywords buyers are using to find those niches. I have some sites using niche keyword phrases but for non-niche areas. ie. one of my sites if for a very popular product but I have optimised the site and blog for the more niche keyword and lsi phrases within that area. One of my keyword phrase searches has around 4000 searches a day with only around 1500 competing websites which to me in niche but its not a niche product i’m targeting so I end up making more money…