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How to Blog: Choose a Niche for Your Blog [Why Niches are Important]

While I get many questions from bloggers asking for advice on ‘how to blog‘ perhaps one of the biggest questions a new blogger needs to ask themselves before they move on to the HOW to blog question is ‘WHAT will I blog about?’

There is no real right or wrong answer to this question as blogs come in all shapes and sizes and focus upon all manner of topics. However thinking through the question before you start a blog will help you make some of the other decisions that you’ll want to make later on in this guide (for example the domain name and the name of your blog will probably come out of this decision).

Reasons to Focus Upon a Niche with Your Blog

Choosing a niche to blog about is important for a number of reasons. These include:

1. Niche Blogs Appeal to Readers

My first blog was a personal blog with no real niche focus. It did start with a main focus upon Spirituality, but over time began to cover a large range of topics including blogging, photography, culture, politics, personal stuff that I was doing etc. The more topics I covered the less I appealed to everyone.

Sure a certain group of people were interested in Spirituality and Blogging, but less of them were into photography, even less also liked my stuff about Australian Pop Culture….. each topic narrowed the chances of me writing something that would appeal to all of my readers. I started to get complaints from them – ‘stop writing about XXXX’.

When I began to break topics out onto their own blogs my audience responded well – those who were into photography gathered around that topic, those that were into blogging gathered on that blog.

In the end this is about relevance – people seem to be drawn to niche focused blogs because they know that they’ll see content on them that focuses upon the things they are specifically interested in.

2. Niche Blogs Monetize Better

I tried to make money from my personal blog for a while but found the going really tough. At the time I mainly tried to make money from advertising and found that sponsors were simply not interested in promoting their product (which had a specific focus) to an audience who were there to read about a whole range of things.

What camera manufacturer wants to promote their latest camera on a blog about photography that also touches on spirituality, politics and what movie I saw on the weekend?

Niche blogs also tend to work better with contextual ad networks like AdSense. AdSense is getting better are providing ads that related strongly to what is on a specific page of content but I have seen instances where blogs covering lots of different topics attract ads that don’t always relate to content on a particular page.

The other thing about AdSense is that it is a system that gives advertisers the ability to target specific sites. These types of targeted campaigns can be quite profitable but they are less likely to happen if a blog covers a large range of topics, many of which don’t relate to that advertiser.

When I went niche I found monetizing with advertising a lot easier. In fact monetizing with a variety of methods seems to be easier on niche blogs. Affiliate promotions and selling your own products work better because your audience is there to get information on certain topics – so when you promote products on those topics…. they’re much more likely to buy.

3. Niche Blogs Do Better in Search Engines

It is possible to rank well for all kinds of topics on a generic/multi topic blog. It’s possible – but I find it is easier when you have a blog with a focus upon a niche topic. If your whole site is about the one topic Google treats it as more of an authority on that topic the more content you add, the more you interlink the posts, the more other sites in your niche link to it etc.

There are certainly exceptions (mega sites like Wikipedia are obvious ones) but unless you have the pulling power of a massive site like that a niche focused site could be the way to go.

4. Niche Blogs Build Credibility and Profile

One of the consequences of moving to more of a niche focus with my blogging was that I noticed I was starting to become known for that topic.

The first time this happened was after I started my first photography blog and 2 months later had a phone call from a city-wide newspaper asking for a quote on a photography related story. This had not happened to me before as a result of my personal/multi topic blog but having a site purely focused upon a single topic gave a perception that that topic was ‘my thing’.

For me having niche focuses has helped me to become known on different topics – which has led to all kinds of opportunities in those niches – including writing books, speaking opportunities around the world, main stream media appearances and all manner of partnership opportunities with wonderful people in my industries.

Not everyone wants to build their profile and become known in an industry – but if that’s part of your goal then a niche blog on those topics can be powerful.

Note: Niches Need Not Just be Topic Related

Before I conclude this post on niches I thought it might also be worth noting that a blogs niche need not only ever be focused upon a topic. I explored this more fully in a post titled – Does Your Blog Focus Upon a Niche Topic or a Niche Demographic? As the title of that post suggests – there are some successful blogs around that cover a variety of topics – that appeal to a similar type of person or demographic.

So instead of just writing about video games – a blog might choose to blog about topics that appeal to teenage boys – video games being one of the topics that they might have an interest in.

Worth noting though is that if you do decide to target a niche demographic rather than a niche topic – you could be opening yourself up for a lot of work. Covering a diverse range of topics can certainly work – but to cover them all comprehensively can take a lot of time and energy.

How to Choose a Niche for Your Blog

Now that we’ve looked at some of the reasons WHY a niche can be a powerful thing to think about before you start looking at HOW to blog – later this week I’m going to continue this post with a followup post exploring a number of factors that those looking to start a blog might consider when choosing a niche.

Update: here’s that post – How to Blog: How to Choose a Blog Niche

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. Jon Bergan says:

    @John Hewitt,

    I think the trick is finding something you truly love and not something you think everyone else wants to read about. It comes back to my last point about finding who YOU are and what YOU want to write about. Once you know that, you’ll come up with content everyday and you’ll want to write that content everyday.

    JB

  2. Julius says:

    I like the idea of finding a niche topic and then examining what the people in that niche are interested in. I think this is one of the best ways to keep customers in the long run.

  3. Pauline says:

    Hi and thanks for such an insightful article. I am mesmerized by your authority and the kind of audience you have garnered. Allow me to ask how long it took you to get such a great following? You inspire me to keep working on narrowing my niche, as you mentioned in your article that you started off in general bore specialinsing. I dabble on internet marketing and self development at the moment but very little traffic to my site. Mainly because am relatively new and those 2 are very saturated fields. It just so happens that am interested in both and learning about them everyday. So I choose to share my experience to my targeted audience. Would that be considered a niche?
    Thanks and kudos to ya’:-)

  4. ToolGuyd says:

    Darren, I greatly appreciate the response. I do see and understand your point, and as you said my POV is perhaps somewhat idealistic and biased.

    As a reader, I sometimes look to blogs for information about niche topics. I’ve come across good blogs, great blogs, and absolutely terrible ones.

    It is okay for a blog to be a learning experience for the author(s), but I have found that some of the worse ones were run by so called bloggers who had absolutely no idea what they were talking about. Despite their incompetence, the worst of those bloggers sure knew how to implement context and pop-up ads all over the place!

    Again, as a reader, I am concerned that I will come across blogs while searching for information only to find generalizations, fluff, and regurgitations instead of anything of real or trustworthy value.

    Consider if you will the act of choosing a field to major in at college. I knew a lot of people that chose finance, medicine, engineering, etc, because those were considered to be profitable fields.

    Well, as it happens, many of those that chose their fields primarily because of potential future profits had ultimately changed their majors. Why? Because they did not have the interest or passion to stick with it and in some cases the choice was to switch majors or fail out of school. The potential for profit simply did not provide enough drive to get these guys through to the end.

    I understand that many problogger readers are interested in earning a profit with their blogs, but if they choose a niche they have an interest in, and consider such criterion higher than the particular niche’s monetization potential, not only would the blog stand a better chance at survival and success, it will likely be a better blog.

    -Stuart

  5. While I was reading I remembered when I started my first blog about online business covering all aspects such as marketing, design, monetization, ect. I found that the majority of my readers wanted to hear how to make money online so I decided to branch out and use other blogs for the marketing aspects and design. Anyway like you said creating niche blogs will do much better than trying to cover everything with one blog. Good post.

    Kris,

  6. excellent post!
    main problem for niche writing is picking up a topic and u put good light on those topics.
    niche blogging and niche stores really doing good now a days for earning money. u can find out good results on build a niche store on wordpress by writing “dynamixgate wordpress bay” on google search.
    well done darren. amazing post :)

  7. Love your insight Darren! I’ve been at my niche for almost 2 years, and the opportunities that have come are pretty amazing. I’m curious to see more on the topic!

    I also agree with some of the other comments about being yourself – I’ve made friends that I will never meet, but we’ve connected through our other (kids/family) common interests.

  8. I totally agree with ToolGuyd that the potential of profits is not enough. I am also concerned that a time would come when web will soon get filled of such so-called-niche-blogs with poor content and it will make searching for quality content difficult.

    In my niche for example, There is huge advertiser interest and it is attracting incompetent bloggers to it. Now these people don’t know anything about this particular field of Graphic Design but they are writing articles and stories about it almost daily. If I had to compete with people who knew graphic design I think I would have done much better. But unfortunately I am competing with Search Engine Optimizers, energetic social junkies, spam addicts and mr-i-know-it-alls. so there is very little chance for me to win because thats not my field of business.

  9. But Darren — it seems that personal blog with large niche can became starting point of many blog in narrow niche as you write in this article that you create your niche blog base on your personal blog.

  10. Shrink Films says:

    One mustn’t go into niches which are not profitable at any rate, even though it may be popular. Neither should one get into niches that one does not know anything about. Too many crap blogs about FOREX for example, made by people who know squat about FOREX.

  11. Derek Jensen says:

    In your ‘note’ I strongly believe that having a blog demographic allows me to create a stronger voice and better interact with my audience. For instance I created a blog that is striving to improve the college life experience for students like myself.

    We are all striving to effectively interact with our audience. I feel it’s more rewarding to interact with a very well known audience than say just a site that provide college resources for everyone to know about. This also focuses my voice and it feels more natural.

    The only challenge will be, what happens when I am not a college student anymore?

  12. Video gaming itself is already such a broad niche. It’s gonna be extremely tough to be broader than that…you might just lose your already loyal audience.

  13. r4 sdhc says:

    Another important aspect of niche blogs (or niching in general) is relationship. It is difficult to cultivate trust and a meaningful relationship with readers when your content covers too many topics. The more deeply you can delve into your niche, the more value you bring to your readers, the greater your expertise, and the richer the relationship over time.

  14. Alain Miles says:

    What you say about finding and focusing on your niche as a blogger holds true for creative writers these days too, as they work out their marketing plans. It’s not just waiting for books to jump off the bookshelves any more – we need to go hunting for our readers. And we can.

    Nice work. I’ll be sharing.

  15. The old saying goes, “There are riches in niches” and there is a reason for this.

    First, you have a defined marketplace you’re trying to attrack. If you have a tight niche you can find where you folks hang out and find out what’s important to them and give it to them in your blog, direct mail or whatever marketing vehicle you are using.

    One of the MOST important aspects of starting a business is to niche it!

    Thanks for the post!

  16. I have been struggling with this thought all week. I cover about 5+topics on my blog all related to a working mom. But I agree it can become a lot of work trying to keep up with those topics. So I am trying to decide if I want to narrow it down or which direction to go into.

    Thanks for this post.

  17. Gary Chow says:

    Narrowing your focus is a fundamental marketing principle. It’s not just blogging where this is important but business in general. Often small businesses seek to target too wide a market, and end up spreading themselves too thin. When you narrow your scope and hunt with a rifle as opposed to a shot-gun, you can more readily establish a point of differentiation. What’s interesting is that when companies succeed by targeting a narrow segment, they then think they can extend their brand and start branching out into other areas. This is usually a bad move, and typically driven by bean counters appealing to greed. Stay focussed and stay narrow.

  18. KS Chen says:

    We need to have a niche blog in order to make money online easily. I do agree with you that the niche blog is better for search engine ranking. I have learnt how to blog since last year. But still there is a lot of thing to learn. Hope that i can really learn to choose a good niche from here. Thanks!

  19. John, As to finding a niche you can write about day after day, there’s a post over at Copyblogger that addresses this very issue. Essentially, keep learning and you’ll never run out of things to write about. http://www.copyblogger.com/out-of-knowledge/

  20. Brett says:

    OK I’m confused, I have a humor blog called Brett and the City, where I deal with really inappropriately funny things that happen to me living in NY. Would that be considered a niche market? Although my traffic is great, it monetizes pretty horribly.

  21. Tola Fam says:

    I’m just starting my blog, so is this differently a great article for me… I’ll most likely come back here and read more about it as time goes by.

    That said, I’ve always been a fan of getting a niche, but sometimes I think it really hard to get into a niche which is ready quite saturated! But I’ve made up my mind about my blog and I’m just going to keep at it, and hope for the best!

  22. drt says:

    Love your post Darren. After reading the first few pages of 31DBB, I decided that I will concentrate on ‘Wellness’ information, instead of jumping around writing in a wider topics. I have created my elevator pitch, but I think it’s too long. Right now I’m using: “Sharing wellness info one story at a time” but I’d like to change it to “Sharing wellness stories one at a time.” What do you think?

    Of course I still need to post on what do I mean by ‘Wellness’ and it will come soon.

    Thanks.

  23. Thanks for sharing. While I was nodding with most of the points you made, I hadn’t thought about the fact that they would have better search results, believe it or not. I’ll have to do some test searches and see how I come up. Thanks!

  24. Macca says:

    Hi Darren,

    Your post has helped to confirm my reasons for choosing my blogging niche. I’m still having a lot of trouble finding traffic and trying to get my head around monetization, but because I love my topic I’m happy to persevere.

    Thanks again!

  25. I agree with you, a specific niche in every blog is very important because it attracts more readers. And also, like what you’ve said, it monetizes better.

    Good post! :D

  26. Yeah, I would say that niches are extremely important. Taking your time to do proper research on a niche before jumping in can easily be the difference between a lot of work with no payoff and a little work with big payoff. Great post!

  27. proson says:

    Good point Darren,

    “So instead of just writing about video games – a blog might choose to blog about topics that appeal to teenage boys – video games being one of the topics that they might have an interest in.”

    Generally advertisers are interested in demographics because it is how they market their brand names…. if you get give them the target they are happy to advertise!

    So why we need niche blogs!

  28. Niche blog is the way to go, except you got resources like wikipedia, wise geek or amazon to backlink your blog. If you are a one man team, with limited resources, don’t bother going for all topic sites, except you can wait till your site become a mega site.

  29. Wannabe says:

    Choosing a niche is important, I experienced it myself when I maintained a blog

    Wannabe
    http://www.HotBlogorNot.com

  30. Tola Fam says:

    I think choosing a niche is definitely a good thing to do. That way, people know what to expect from you when they land on your blog. That being said, how do you survive in a niche that is already quite saturated? I think thats one of the reasons some people diversify their blogs, to try to get a larger crowd.
    But like you said, this might not always work the way it was planned to. I never looked at the monetization in that angle, so I’ll definitely bear that in mind. Thanks for that!

  31. priya says:

    Niche blogs are quick way to create an impression on readers mind. It makes a home-like feel for the readers.

  32. jules says:

    I agree I have tried a few blogs, but the one that works is very niche, just about the Flip Camera

    http://www.myflip.co.uk

  33. chandan says:

    Yes I agree all of your point. Niche blog work better than other blogs. We can drive targeted traffic on niche blog and hence also can monetize our blog.

  34. abercrombie says:

    Niche Blogs Appeal to Readers? i don’t really think so.After reading the first few pages of 31DBB, I decided that I will concentrate on ‘Wellness’ information, instead of jumping around writing in a wider topics. I have created my elevator pitch, but I think it’s too long. Right now I’m using: “Sharing wellness info one story at a time” but I’d like to change it to “Sharing wellness stories one at a time.”

  35. Try something that you really great in, even you think that it is weird. Why? Because that is not only you do that ‘weird’ stuff. Millions of people are doing that ‘weird’ stuff.

  36. Jim says:

    I think if you find your readers you found your niche.target your audience needs and what they like.

  37. scheng1 says:

    At first I’m a bit confused about niche and topic. However, I understand it better after reading the earlier post. I think I have to remember it as “categories” instead of confusing “niche” with “topic”

  38. Thank you for your suggestions. It will really help me to do blogging on specific topic in my site.

  39. Forex EA says:

    Trading forex has helped me get out of debt, although it took a while to get the hang of things in terms of terminology and market factors.

  40. Ganapathy says:

    I am trying to build a blog focussed on young managers in India. I have began with project management and leadership topics and with this advice, I am going to stay focused.

    Thanks
    Ganapathy

  41. Andrew Suta says:

    I have a very little idea to create a niche blog. I am more interested in general topics that may come my way.

    Hope one day I can create a profitable niche blog as is said in your article and to make money at the same time.

  42. Aglolink says:

    I just know that Niche actually has a big secret in the blogging. Thank you for the information, it makes me feel more understanding about Niche blog!

  43. E. Moore says:

    I never read a blog until yesterday – 03/18. But I’m just starting a new online business and my business coach is educating me in the ways of doing business online. Blogging is the first thing that he has tasked me to do. I have to read at least ten blogs on any subject and possibly leave comments. I find your blog about finding a niche very interesting, considering that this is exactly what I’m in the process of doing. In the next few days I will have to find a niche so I can start a blog. I have never been much of a writer but it looks as if that is about to change. Because your article has at least sparked my interest, I will re-visit your blog from time to time. I’m sure that I will learn something about blogging.

  44. Allureweb says:

    Niche blogging is absolutely the way to go if you want search engines to recognize your blogging interests. Great topic here, you have identified some important points here! Its good how you write about your own experiences and relate back to the topic you are blogging about.

  45. iGoGadget says:

    Finding Niche is truly the Best thing to be the first to do before getting into blog-world and launch yourself as proffessional blogger, with best Niche the other thing to know is some-how you need to monetize and at the same time it should attract the mass and give you a decent pay.

    Darren Rowse you made a new blogger life more ease with this top-level tips, who would later really thanks you in near future

  46. Excellent! If I could write like this I would be well happy. The more I read articles of such quality as this (which is rare), the more I think there could be a future for the Net. Keep it up, as it were.

  47. Tony Coelho says:

    Darren,this article is very helpful for all of us, bloggers.
    I started to issue some blogs, some time ago, thinking in monetize them, without any success, talking about cell phones, moleskines, etc. We must understand that even thinking in money, we must write about something we really know and we like.
    As an example, I am now issuing a blog about Blossom Dearie, a jazz singer, recently died, that I love. It is a pleasure for me to research about something I like.
    I live in Brazil, but the most important market is in English Language, for this reason I started by the English version of the website and then I will translate it into Portuguese. Anyway to buy mp3 musics online, there are no boarders.

  48. Paul says:

    This article is very help as I think about and design a potential blog. I’m glad to see your article about targeting a Niche demographic… this seems to be the way my mind is going with my blog.

  49. Corey Heller says:

    How can I tell if my niche (parents raising children bilingually and multilingually) can actually bring me an income? I feel that it can but I don’t know where to begin to figure it out. Or do I simply do what I can, give it a try and see where it goes? When do I know that it isn’t going anywhere and it is time to switch to something else entirely? Any tips are helpful!
    Thanks,
    Corey