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How To Choose The Right Niche For Your Blog

Choosing the right niche can make or break your blog.  Here’s why.

When you’re starting out, you’re excited.  You’ve got a ton of ideas. Which is exactly what you need to get started! So don’t get discouraged and read on!

But what happens when you run out of steam?  

Where will your blog be 6 months from now, or a year from now?  Where will your ideas be then?  A blog isn’t really a short term thing.  It’s a long term commitment.  It’s a puppy that you have to feed and water monthly, weekly and sometimes daily.

 

Which is why choosing the right niche is so important.

I really cannot stress it enough.  If you don’t choose a niche that can go the long haul, your blog will be over before you know it. 

So what makes a great niche?

Well, quite a few things actually.  Below I’m going to ask you a series of questions.  Questions only YOU can answer.  And at the end you’ll find an awesome worksheet to help you get your ideas down on paper.  It’s a great way to start. Or, if you’re impatient like me, you can download it here.

What if you choose the wrong niche?

There really isn’t a “wrong” niche as long as you’re true to yourself. The reason I pose this question, is because I recently saw a social media post from someone and it really struck a chord.  If you’ve been blogging for a while, you might be able to relate.

Here’s what it said:

This year I failed a lot & learned a very hard lesson, do not be part of a niche that you do not like just because you think it will make you money.

I spent a lot of time, energy, at one point I even brought one of my best friends in to work on a finance blog.

I read so many articles that said, “start a profitable blog” and I thought that I was doing the “right and smart” thing by having a finance blog. This did not work out for me and my best friend.

Neither of us wanted to work on it and we just didn’t like it. Neither one of us want to go to FinCon either. I didn’t like networking with finance bloggers, a lot of times I felt like I was “sucking up” to them instead of networking.

Then I came across bloggers that were successful in the weirdest niches. After talking to them they told me that they are successful because not a lot of people go into their niche since most choose popular blog topics to blog about.

It troubles me that this person went into a niche just to make money.  I know there are plenty of blogs out there that tell you they’ll make you money.  But if you don’t LOVE your blog, people will see right through it.  The two blogs that I have that I am passionate about, this one and my parenting/lifestyle blog Chocolate & Chaos I’ve made money on.  In both cases, though, money wasn’t my goal.  My goal was to share and write content that mattered around the subjects I’m passionate about.

The other thing about this person’s statement that I love, is that she’s realized that there are bloggers out there that are successful in weird niches.

That, my dear blogger friend, is the key.

It may sound strange, but if you think about it, there are a million parenting blogs out there, a million finance blogs, you get the idea.  You have to have a unique value proposition (or UVP).  What is that?  Essentially it’s what makes you different from EVERYONE else.

Weird niches are one way to do it.  Another way to do it is to take a current niche and make it your own.  Make it unique and no one can touch you.

To give you an idea of what I mean, have you ever heard a commercial on TV or the radio that touts that they are the only ones to have XYZ system or inspection… Essentially what they’ve done is taken something fairly standard in whatever industry they are in, tweaked it just a bit and put a name on it.  They aren’t falsely advertising because they are correct, no one else has what they have with the name they’ve given it.

So moving on, let’s get into it and get you settled on  your niche.

1. What is your passion?

I don’t just mean your interest.  I don’t mean a trend or something that you’ve liked for the last few months.  When you choose a niche for your blog, you MUST choose something that your passionate about. If you don’t, you run into the very real danger of running out of content.  And then you’ll give up.  And if you’re here, my gut tells me you definitely don’t want that.

For me, it’s blogging.  I know that sounds silly.  Plus, saying I blog about blogging really sounds strange when you tell people about it.  But it’s true!  I LOVE spending time online trying out new online tools, building websites and sharing my discoveries, failures and accomplishments with others.

When you find yourself doing something without thinking.  When you’ve got a few spare minutes and it’s the one thing you always look for on Pinterest, or go to a specific site to read up on, or even something you pull out of your drawer and continue working on…  THAT, my friend, is your passion.

And THAT is EXACTLY what your blog niche should be. 

It’s simple!  It is, but it is so totally difficult.  I’d be lying if I told you it was easy.  It’s hard to dig deep, really deep and figure out what you’re passions are.  Sure you like things.  But once you start blogging, there might be a day that you realize you aren’t so crazy about things you thought you were.

To give you a good example:  My first blog was called The Career Effect about, you guessed it, all the joys of job hunting, resumes and other things that people only care about when they are looking for work.  I did it for a living at the time, so I thought it would translate well as a blog.  It did for a short time.  Too short.  That blog lasted only a few months before I grew tired of it and wanted to move on.

I tell you that story so you don’t make my mistake.  Dig deep and pick something that works for you.

If you need help digging, don’t forget to check out our downloadable worksheet to help you find your way.  

2. What topics fit within the niche you've chosen?

Do this once and do it right and you will NEVER run out of things to write about.

While the worksheet helps you with this part, I urge you to try out Mindmeister if you haven’t yet.  It’s a mind mapping online tool (Free and paid options available.) that makes it so easy to get all of your thoughts down on paper.

To give you an idea of how easy it is, the image below took me about 5 minutes to put together.  And it’s just the beginning of what I’ve laid out for Mommy Blogs It.

Using an online mind mapping tool is a great way to brainstorm blog post ideas and when selecting the niche for your blog.

Once you get started, it’s amazing how the ideas flow.  Ideas not coming?  Maybe the niche isn’t for you.  Keep trying until you get it right.  There is no right or wrong answer here, it’s what is best for you.  So dig deep and get those ideas down!

3. Why are you starting this blog?

Not what you were expecting right?

But really, take a moment and think about why you’re starting this blog.  I’ll wait…

Ok, you’re back.  Good.

Have an idea? Now write it down.  Make it into your mission statement.  Your slogan, your tagline.  Tweak it until your happy with it.  That is something that I didn’t do with my first blog.  I just started writing.  With no real idea why I was writing it or who I was truly writing to.  And that is probably the biggest reason why my blog failed.

The truth is, it takes guts to start a blog.  Real guts.  You’re putting yourself out there.  But don’t let that scare you.  Back yourself up by knowing why you’re blogging and that you know your stuff.

And finally…

What is the goal of your blog?

Is it to connect with others?  To share your experiences or your passions?  Is it to give advice, or get through something?  Is it to make money?

Now, I know I threw the money one in there when I talked about it above.  Here’s the thing, it shouldn’t be the ONLY reason you start a blog.  Think of money as an added bonus if it happens.

I know there are so many bloggers out there that tout their income reports and try and tell you that you can just suddenly have an online business and make enough to quit your job and work full time.  They are the 1%.

Do it for fun, for adventure and for the betterment of all of us, but don’t start a blog solely to make money.

Let’s Recap It!

So we’re talking about picking your niche.  Which is TOUGH!

Even if you have an idea of what your niche will be, sometimes you have to peel down a few layers to really get to the nugget of what your blog should be about.  Something unique, something totally you.

So what have we covered?

  1. Don’t start a blog just because you think that niche will make money.
  2. Mindmaps are awesome for brainstorming your blog niche.
  3. Really consider why you’re starting this blog (or blogging in the first place)
  4. Make your blog and your niche unique to you!
    1. Weird is GOOD!

There you have it!  Just as a helping hand, I’ve created a downloadable worksheet to help you select and narrow down a niche for your blog. I hope you find it helpful!

What are your thoughts?  Did you have trouble selecting a niche? Was it easier than you thought? Share with me in the comments!

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