In our first post in this “make money blogging” series, we looked at turning your passions into income.
To begin your journey to an income-generating blog, you need a blog topic, as well as your special slant on the topic. With luck, it will be a slant which is unique to you.
Blog topics can be divided into “niches”, that is into sub-topic areas which interest a small segment of the population. You can divide almost any topic into niches. Brainstorm ideas.
Dogs for example. That’s a big topic, with many niches: dog food; dog training; show dogs; specific breeds… For the topic of cooking, niches could include diets (Paleo, vegan, etc); barbecues; bread baking…
When you’ve chosen a niche, you need to consider your special slant on the topic. A slant is a viewpoint; a twist. It may come to you naturally (your opinions on the niche will be unique), or you may need to think about your slant.
We’ll look at steps to find the perfect blogging niche for you in a moment. Tip: find an area in which you can create your own products.
Firstly, let’s revisit creating a “starter” blog to test your niche.
Make money from your passions: create a freebie starter blog
In our first post in this series, I recommended creating a freebie starter blog. Read the post for more on that: I’m mentioning it because testing your niche is always a good idea.
You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a blog design then realize you’d rather poke sharp sticks into your eyeballs than write another post on your chosen area.
Create your starter blog after you’ve decided on a niche.
Onward to the steps.
1. Gauge your enthusiasm: how intensely does the niche interest you?
Back when I flipped blogs (created, monetized and sold them), my sole interest was in creating an easily monetizable blog. In those days, before 2012, it was easy.
I’d research topics, keywords, advertisers, and affiliate products; then create a blog. Mostly they’d sell without much effort.
A decade has passed. Competition for keywords and visibility is tougher. This means that if you want to make money from a blog today, you need to gauge your level of enthusiasm, and then research your niche.
When a friend and I discussed monetizable blog topics recently, I said I’d choose a cooking niche.
She stared at me. “You can’t! That area’s hugely competitive!”
Nevertheless, I stuck with cooking as an area: niche to be decided. Not only do I enjoy cooking, I adore reading Elizabeth David’s and M. F. K. Fisher’s books; I’d love to write something similar. A blog would be an ideal playground.
Please assess your interest and excitement before you commit to a niche. It’s more important than anything else. Yes, you can still flip blogs. That should be a last resort. You could get lucky, but it’s unlikely you could get back the time and money you invested.
2. Research the niche: can you make money?
You’re intensely interested in your niche.
Now assess its potential.
Type some relevant keywords into Google. Are there advertisers? Is anyone selling stuff you could promote? (As an affiliate, that is.)
Take notes. Spend a few days on this. Nothing is more important.
Try news sites too: type relevant keywords into a news website; Google or Yahoo News. Any news stories?
3. Research your audience: the more you know…
When you create a blog to make money, your audience and monetization options are vital.
Get to know your prospective audience. Spend time on Facebook groups related to your niche. Make a list of a group’s hot topics—this will be handy when you’re creating content.
Research any large websites which might be visited by your audience too. For example, if I were serious about the cooking area, I’d visit Reddit, Quora, mommy blogs, health blogs… Any sites which might help to get to know my audience.
Using all of this audience research, I’d create a couple of marketing personas.
4. Your exit strategy: could you sell the blog?
Flippa is a marketplace to buy and sell websites, apps, domains, etc.
As a final step in finding your perfect niche, investigate Flippa and similar marketplaces to gauge prices, should you decide to sell out at some stage.
If you want to make money, research is vital
Please don’t skip research. You never know what you’ll discover. For example, you may find many more opportunities than you expected, or an uncrowded niche you can make your own.
Good luck. 🙂
Looking for quick and easy ways to increase your writing income? Here are some ideas to get you started
You CAN write. It doesn’t matter why you think you can’t. You can write, and writing will become easy for you.
More info →
Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.