The number one question new bloggers ask me (about a landslide) is:
How do I choose my niche?
Here is the simple truth:
The odds of picking the perfect niche when you’re just starting out as a beginner are infinitesimally small.
Think about it.
Typically, people start a blog, write about something they are passionate about, and then burn out when it doesn’t generate income.
If you want to start a real blogging business, you should choose your niche not based on passions, but on four main business factors:
- Audience income potential
- Affiliate marketing potential
- Professional leverage
- Keyword research
1. Audience income potential.
When you start a new blog, the most common question is “What should my niche be? “
The key is to find an area that you understand and solve a problem for your audience.
However, not only do you need to solve a problem, you also need to solve a problem that an audience is willing to spend money on.
As a blogger, you need to have a deep understanding of your audience’s challenges in order to deliver exactly what they need.
And the best place to start is by looking at yourself.
Ask yourself, “What audiences am I a part of? “
You are much more likely to understand the struggles of a specific group if you have found them yourself.
Take my blog, for example.
When I started this blog, I was a 31-year-old American man working in the tech industry.
I spent many hours, sacrificed time with my family and friends, and I was stressed and burned the rat race.
So I created this blog as a means to an end, a way to generate passive income, escape my 9-5 and regain control of my time and my life.
So my target audience were people similar to me:
- 25-45 years.
- Working 9 to 5 but I want to escape the rat race.
- Ready to hurry up and get to work.
- Smart and technical.
- People who want to generate passive income through a blog.
Understanding your audience is the first step.
The second (and equally important) step is to understand how much your audience is willing to spend to resolve its pain points.
This is the income potential of your audience.
It bears repeating: You need to understand your audience AND how much they are willing to spend on your solution.
For example, let’s say you’re planning to start a blog about human resources and job tips for millennials.
Your blog posts can attract different types of readers, including job applicants, working professionals, and college students.
To monetize a blog in this niche, let’s say you create a sales funnel:
- Write new content to attract an online audience.
- Next, create a “job interview checklist” lead magnet to generate email subscriptions.
- Third, you put affiliate links to some products that you want to promote.
- Finally, he offers a $ 300 product titled “Best Online Job Interview Prep Course.”
There is nothing wrong with this approach.
This is usually a common approach for most new bloggers. If I were to spend a few years creating content and building your email list, I estimate that you could start generating passive income in 2-3 years.
However, by slightly altering your potential niche, you dramatically increase the income potential of your blog.
All you do is change your target audience from job applicants to labor employers.
Let me explain.
By adding a B2B component to your blog, you change your audience from individuals to companies.
Businesses have larger bank accounts and are more likely to pay you without hesitation.
The beauty of this approach is that your blog launch, content, and marketing funnel are pretty much the same. However, with the B2B component, you don’t just stop at a $ 300 course. You can add the final 5-figure online consulting component.
Instead of writing a blog post on entry-level interview tips, rank as an expert and go after companies offering something like human resource audits or onboarding consulting for thousands of dollars a month.
When you’re just starting out and traffic is hard to come by, offering consulting services is a great way to generate more income with less traffic.
It’s simple math: If your new blog has 100 visitors, a 2% conversion rate, your two sales should be in the thousands, not $ 19.99.
Instead of concentrating on adding affiliate links and ads to your site when you have low traffic at first, see if you can create a high-end consulting offering to build momentum and earn money from the start.
Remember, understanding your audience’s pain points is not enough.
To improve your earning potential, a portion of your audience must be in a lucrative business niche and pay monthly on a recurring basis.
With this approach, I hope you are beginning to understand why I really think you can make $ 10,000 / mo in 90 days with a new blog.
These new funds will be used to accelerate your path to passive income, but we’ll leave it at that for now.
Let’s move on to something that I’m passionate about: affiliate marketing.
2. Your niche needs the potential of affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is my favorite form of blog monetization. It’s the most passive, and once you start getting traffic, you can earn money while you sleep.
Affiliate marketing It is the act of recommending products and services from other companies and making a commission on each sale.
Most large companies have affiliate programs that you can join. Once you apply for and are approved on your programs, you can get your unique affiliate links to add to your blog, view reports on clicks and sales, and see the future payments you are scheduled to receive.
Here are some steps to get started with affiliate marketing:
- Apply for participation in a company’s affiliate program, either on their site or in an affiliate network. To do this, you will need a website and email address for your domain, not just an email from Gmail or Yahoo.
- Once approved, take your unique affiliate link and copy / paste it into any text on your blog.
When a user clicks on that specific link, a cookie is stored on their computer, crediting the sale based on the duration of the cookie, generally 30, 60 or 90 days.
Now when you think of the word blog, what comes to mind?
- Perhaps they are lifestyle blogs that write about what they have been shopping for for their family lately.
- Or a fitness blogger who is giving you great advice on how to lose weight.
- You could even be an interesting person who writes your own personal memoirs.
I want you to forget about this type of blogging.
They may be interesting to read, but they are not the niches that will bring you the most income.
Instead, consider this simple formula.
- To make big money blogging, you need affiliate income.
- To earn affiliate income, you have to rank in search engines and get web traffic.
- To get web traffic, you need to rank for the keywords that generate the most affiliate income.
So what are these keywords?
The answer: keywords with the word “better” in them.
Here are some examples:
- In finance, they could be the best credit cards, the best car loans, or the best home insurance.
- In tech, the keywords could be the best laptop of 2020, the best VR headsets, or the best accessories for Mac.
- In marketing (like my blog), it could be the best email marketing software, the best web host, or the best website builders.
- In travel, your keywords could include the best travel insurance or the best coworking spaces.
These “better” Keywords are searched by people looking for product reviews.
They want to read a blog with detailed content about the “Better” something before making a purchase (and they’re not ready to go directly to a company’s website and buy something yet).
Think about it.
If you are looking for a new laptop, you can type “Best laptop of 2020”.
Google this term right now and look at the top 10 results.
Every website in the top 10 results is an affiliate. Notice how there are no real companies that sell laptops. There is no Best Buy, Walmart, Dell or HP, only affiliates recommending laptops.
Now try googling “best credit cards”. Do you see?
Again, each of the top 10 results is an affiliate blog.
Why do these affiliate sites outperform the brands that sell the products?
They write long and in-depth review articles that search engines (and readers) prefer.
In fact, 49% of consumers depend on influencer reviews and recommendations.
You’ll start to realize that most profitable blogs are in fact review websites that earn affiliate commissions from list posts.
And the truth is that these recommendations are mainly based on the amount of money the affiliate blog makes with its top recommendations, not on the actual quality of the product itself.
Once you understand this, when you learn how to start a blog, you will start to see affiliate sites everywhere.
So now when you think about blogging and planning your niche, replicate sites like these:
- Finance: NerdWallet, Fool.com, WalletHub, CardRatings.
- Technology: Tom’s Guide, Techradar, Wire Cutter, CNET.
- To travel: Nomad Matt, the point boy, expert tramp.
- Deal: The Balance SMB, FitSmallBusiness, FinancesOnline.
I think the most profitable niches right now for new blogs are finance, technology, travel, business, and marketing.
But there are many other options.
We’ll get to keyword research later, but know that your blog should have affiliate marketing income potential.
Let’s move on to the next weapon in your blogging arsenal: your professional influence.
3. Use your professional leverage.
After discovering a lucrative audience to add value to, the next learning step how to start a blog you are discovering its strategic advantages.
- What is my current level of professional experience?
- What connections do I have in my industry?
- Can I take advantage of this experience in a profitable blog?
- If I could submit any website in the world to contribute a guest post, who would choose me from the start?
To create a truly successful blog, you must first build influence.
And to build influence, you need to step out of your comfort zone and tap into your connections, professional experience, and everything else at your disposal like never before.
With a blog, you will also do a lot of outreach activities to make new connections. This includes building relationships so you can guest post to authoritative sites in your niche to get relevant and high domain authority (DA) backlinks.
And when you’re just starting out, you may not have a lot of connections or published content. You could say, “Why would someone introduce me?”
This is where leveraging your professional experience helps tremendously.
For example, if you’re a photographer, you might have a client base, local hangout group contacts, and even meet influential people in photography you’ve met in the past. If you can take advantage of these contacts in the future, you can accelerate the growth of your blog.
Make use of all the advantages that are available to you. These benefits will help you build a jump start with guest posts, backlinks, and social shares.
Now let’s move on to the final (and most important) factor in choosing your niche.
For me, keyword research is the most important step when choosing your blog niche.
It is very simple. Are people looking for the things you want to write about?
Each individual blog post should focus on a target keyword. And if no one searches for it, you will never get traffic.
It’s a fact – you need to have a basic understanding of keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO) in order for your blog to rank and get traffic.
People are online six and a half hours a day.
People google 63,000 times per second. That’s 3.8 million searches per minute, 228 million searches per hour, and 5.6 billion searches per day.
Also, organic traffic from search engines is far more valuable than traffic from social media. Rather than aimlessly browsing the web, people are searching with great intent to discover solutions to their problems.
The good news is that SEO tools exist to understand all of this search data. With tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs, you can view metrics for individual keywords, including:
- Monthly Search Volume: how many times a keyword is searched in a given month.
- Keyword Difficulty: On a scale of 0 to 100, how difficult is it to rank for that keyword based on the competition.
- Average cost per click (CPC): this is the value of the keyword if you created a PPC ad for it and paid per click. It is a good indicator of the value of the keyword.
So, what are you looking for?
You want to find keywords with high volume and little competition.
This is how I rate these competitive metrics.
Monthly Search Volume:
- 0-1,000: low
- 1,000-5,000: low / medium
- 5,000-20,000: Medium
- 20,000-100,000: high
- 100,000+: Very high
- 0-20: low
- 21-50: medium
- 51-75: high
- 76+: Very high
On my site, there are two main types of keywords that I target when it comes to SEO: high volume / high competition Y medium volume, low competition.
1. Revenue drivers: medium volume, low competition, high CPC keywords
The first keywords new blogs should look for are low competition, medium volume keywords.
For example, let’s take a look at my post on webinar software. I published this post and became number one for this keyword in four months.
- Target Keyword: Webinar Software
- Monthly Search Volume: 4,300
- Keyword Difficulty: 22
- Average CPC: $ 25.00
4,300 is not a very high monthly search volume, but since position 1 receives more than 33% of the trafficI could expect to get 1,419 visitors / month to my blog for position one in this period.
Also, with a low keyword difficulty of 22, this term should be relatively easy to rank for (in fact, I made it to page 1 only a few days after posting the blog post).
Finally, with an average CPC of $ 25, it’s a valuable, high-intention search term.
A quick side note on keyword search volume:
While the keyword webinar software gets 4300 searches per month, there are thousands of potential variations of this keyword, for example, best webinar software, webinar tools, webinar platforms, etc. This post can rank for all of these variations as well, so I typically double or even triple my volume estimates based on the main target keyword.
Using Ahrefs Also sort for report, you can see the keywords that the highest ranking pages for your target keyword also rank in the top 100 search results. This allows you to find less obvious keywords that you can also include in your post copy and captions.
The key to finding relevant keywords from this report to use on your blog is searching with more specific queries. For example, instead of “cooking,” use “vegan recipes.” Or “email marketing services” instead of “marketing.”
How to find this type of keyword for your blog:
Use a tool like Ahrefs and filter the results. Set the monthly search volume filter to a minimum of 1000 and the Keyword Difficulty filter to a maximum of 50.
What are these keywords for:
These keywords should make up the bulk of your posts and be the main revenue drivers for your blog. The key is to find a good number of long-tail keywords with medium volume and low competition in your niche.
If these keywords are preceded by terms like “how” and “best”, you are on your way to finding a profitable niche and solving a problem.
2. Blog creators: high volume / medium-high competition
The second type of keywords I’m targeting are high-volume terms that aren’t that easy to monetize, but can drive a lot of traffic.
For example, take my post How to Make Money Online.
- Target Keyword: How To Make Money Online
- Monthly Search Volume: 103,000
- Keyword Difficulty: 55
- Average CPC: $ 2.00
First, this keyword has a volume 25 times greater than webinar software. With high volume and all possible keyword variations, ranking in the top 5 positions for this term could generate 30-65,000 visitors per month.
However, this keyword also has lower search intent than webinar software. With the keyword webinar software, we know what the seeker wants.
With How to make money onlineThis user could be interested in anything from starting an online business to podcasts to coupon clippings, we just don’t know.
This is why the average CPC is just $ 2.00 – it’s more vague and harder to monetize. However, this keyword can drive a lot of traffic and get readers to click on your other higher-earning blog posts.
How to find this type of keyword for your blog:
Use a tool like Ahrefs and filter the results. Set the monthly search volume filter to a minimum of 20,000 and the keyword difficulty filter to a maximum of 75.
What are these keywords for:
These keywords must conform 5-10 pillar blog posts where you spend a lot of time and effort. While these high-volume keywords won’t generate immediate income, they do attract a lot of traffic to your blog and can increase the size of your email list.
3. Summary of keyword research
A blog needs a combination of both high volume keywords and high intention keywords.
This whole strategy comes into play when planning your first five blog posts. For example, some posts need to be great how-to guides with high search volume to attract readers. And some other posts should be low volume / high intention keywords that can be monetized.
Here are some of the tools you can use for your keyword research:
Finishing Choosing your niche.
Your niche needs audience income potential, affiliate marketing potential, career leverage, and keyword research.
Choosing a profitable niche will save you countless hours of wasted time and energy. This early planning is one of the most important keys to blogging success.