If you have an interest in running a successful Internet-based business – to take that crucial first step to financial freedom as an online entrepreneur – then finding your niche will be one of the single most important decisions you’ll have to make.
The decision you make for your blog niche will impact everything from this point forward, from the design of your blog to the type of content you share, to the type of visitors you’ll attract.
Even monetizing your blog for a product or service will be decided by the niche you choose.
Before you dive in headfirst creating your blog, you need to read this article from top to bottom to learn how to go about finding a niche that can work for you and your soon-to-be-successful online business.
By the end of this article, you should have a thorough understanding of what makes a suitable niche for starting an online business – which will arm you to make the right choice for your Internet-based business.
Most importantly, you will see how choosing the right niche can virtually guarantee your success, enjoyment, and profitability, as well as ensure that you actually enjoy the day-to-day process of maintaining your online business.
Understanding this concept will be the difference between years of struggle and gradual success.
This is Part 1 of 2 of the ‘Find Your Niche‘ Series:
- How to Find Your Niche (Crucial First Step to Make Money Online)
- 10 Most Profitable Blog Niches for Making Money Online (as a Blogger)
What is a Niche?
So, if you want to write about weight loss or fitness, you’d be in the ‘Health’ niche.
If you wanted to write about making money online – you’d be in the ‘business niche’, or the ‘making money online’ niche.
The dictionary term for ‘niche’ is as follows:
“A specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.”
“Denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.”
Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Niche
A survey through Warrior Forum states that the most popular blog topics in cyberspace include:
- Making Money Niche
- Health Niche
- Dating Niche
- Betting Niche
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should automatically jump into one of those niches due to their popularity, but these are a good place to start the thought process.
IDENTIFYING “YOUR THING”
Your target market and chosen niche are often used interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing.
A target market is the specific group of people you want to serve. A niche, on the other hand, is the expertise you specialize in offering this target market.
According to author Meera Kothand who wrote the book ‘But I’m Not an Expert,’ choosing your expert niche is a three-fold decision that involves YOU, the marketplace, and your audience.
An ideal blogging niche is one where there’s a match between a hungry market that is actively looking for help to solve a specific problem and your ability to deliver the results they are looking for.
Here are some crucial factors to consider when trying to find your niche.
- Are people actively looking for solutions to problems associated with your niche?
- Are they willing to pay for these solutions?
- Are there methods for creating a passive income once you find your niche?
Most Solopreneurs think of digital products when they consider ways for earning money online.
These money-making methods can be in consulting, coaching, services, affiliate marketing, masterminds, live events and workshops, conferences, and even physical products.
Consider if your chosen niche will help people become better versions of themselves or give them something that they want but don’t have.
This better version doesn’t have to be about making more money. It could be in areas such as personal development, food, finance, and fashion/beauty, as well as a lifestyle that includes travel, outdoor/survival, and home decor. Each of these topics can also encompass a wide range of sub-niches.
Her specialty was content marketing, but there were several businesses and experts offering content marketing services. She decided to drill-down into one aspect of content marketing that she delivered the best – storytelling. She realized that there is a huge demand for it and that most online businesses don’t know how to do this well or even how to start. She branded her business with the tagline “helping tiny online businesses tell better stories” and started offering high-touch consulting services.
From the Book – But I’m Not an Expert ~ Meera Kothand
MARKETPLACE – Is There a Market for Your Niche?
Are there others who have successfully monetized this niche regardless of the business model they used?
Is there a big enough marketplace for it? Heard of the saying: money follows passion? That’s not always true, especially if there isn’t a large enough marketplace of paying clients or potential customers to sustain that passion.
- Can you see yourself writing about or researching in this niche market for the next 3 to 5 years? Are you eager to learn more about it?
- Do you want to be associated with this niche for the next 3 – 5 years?
- What type of clients or audience do you love working with?
- Are you able to reach your target audience? What social platforms will you use to find them? What social media platforms do they use? What websites do they read?
If you can’t connect with them or reach them, they’ll never be able to do business with you.
For instance, there is plenty of email marketing advice for B2B firms and huge companies but hardly any in-depth information tailored to personal brands and solopreneurs. That was the opportunity gap that Meera Kothand wanted to fill.
Sure, finding a niche means turning some people away, but you also become the obvious choice for people looking to solve a specific problem. You stop competing on price, and it becomes incredibly easier to focus your marketing and have it speak clearly to a hungry market.
She started looking at what people were asking about and what she had an interest in as well. She came across the ketogenic food niche and decided to zone in on that. But she didn’t just share recipes and videos, she also infused her love of history and talked about how her recipes were inspired by different types of cultures and where they originated from. Having such a targeted niche and specific type of reader, she was able to attract sponsorships from companies who want to work with online entrepreneurs with a keto-centric audience like hers. She also has a book in the works.
From the Book – But I’m Not an Expert ~ Meera Kothand
Value is changing perceptions and mindsets.
Value is being the person your audience turns to make sense of it all.
The person who shows them not just what they could do but what they should do.
The idea is not to be radically original. The idea is to differentiate yourself.
Unearthing Your Perfect Niche
It’s likely that the niche you choose will be one that you have a passion for or experience in.
Learning everything about that niche will be much easier if you’re writing about a topic that you enjoy.
This will help you thrive by providing the highest valued content, especially when you are learning the ropes.
Here’s a quote from Jeff Sanders of JeffSanders.com
“Curiosity may be your most powerful tool. When you are passionate, inquisitive, and fascinated about learning as much as you can about your content, you invest more time, energy, and enthusiasm into discovering and sharing your best and brightest insights.
Your audience will easily recognize your genuine curiosity and then naturally find themselves leaning in to learn more as well. Likewise, if you lose interest in your content or become jaded over time, your audience can easily detect that too.
Let your own genuine curiosity guide you as you explore more about your area of expertise – it will serve you and your tribe like nothing else.” ~ Jeff Sanders
Another thing people wonder is, should I be an expert in the niche I choose?
Here is an excerpt from Russel Brunson’s book, ‘Expert Secrets’.
“How in the world did you teach that class? You don’t know anything about advanced sociology?”
He replied, “All I had to do was read one chapter ahead of the students.”
The point this mini-conversation makes is that you don’t have to be the most knowledgeable person in the room on your topic; you just have to be one chapter ahead of the people you are helping.
The best niches will keep you excited for the long haul, enough so for you to stay motivated, which will always help you find something to write about for years to come.
Moral of the story – find a niche that’s right for YOU!
* Avoid This Common Strategy for Finding Your Niche *
One of the most common misconceptions for new bloggers is to find their niche by looking for the largest niche in terms of audience.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Unfortunately – this is one of the quickest ways to make life as difficult as possible for you.
Example: let’s say you choose to write about fitness.
The fact that the fitness industry is such a popular niche – would make a terrible choice for a first-time blogger.
If you decided to create a blog in the industry of fitness, you will now be competing with 1000’s upon thousands of other blogs.
These would include competing against BodyBuilding.com, Fitness.com, and the like.
There are thousands of fitness sites in the blogosphere with far more blogging resources to dump into marketing and Search Engine Optimization – plus, they have BRAND visibility.
Let’s say you write about ‘How to Get Six Pack Abs’. You’d be competing with over a hundred million other articles for getting six-pack abs.
How would you ever be able to stand out from the crowd and get noticed?
The same goes for other niches like dating or finance… you’ll be competing with millions.
There are people who simply choose a niche based on popularity, then find disappointment after several years of plugging away at their chosen topic and don’t get anywhere.
What happens next? THEY GIVE UP!
How to Research Ideas for Your Blog Niche
There are some bloggers that have a burning passion inside them that they just want to release in the form of the written word.
Yet most other bloggers have no clue what they want to write about – and that’s why they are here!
Which one of these is you?
Whether you know exactly what you already want to write about or whether you are still on the fence, let’s brainstorm some ideas to help you narrow it down to a specific niche.
One way is to follow the data and do market research before you dive in headfirst.
2 tools that are my go-to for market research are AnswerThePublic and UberSuggest. In Ubersuggest, you can enter keywords related to your expert niche, and it shows you search volumes as well as related search phrases.
In AnswerThePublic, the tool takes the keywords you enter and presents related questions that people search on Google. It maps out the questions into a diagram Like the one below.
If you’d like to take your research one step further – all the phrases you see are linkable and will send you to a Google search page when you click on the link for all related pages to that keyword phrase.
If you are still having a difficult time choosing a niche – jotting down a list of answers to the following questions will help greatly.
Below, you will find ways that can help you find your niche market.
1. Ask Yourself the Following Questions – Write Down Your Answers:
- What are you passionate about?
- What talents and skills do you have?
- What topics get you excited to talk about?
- How do you spend your free time (hobbies)?
- What advice can you offer your audience – what problem can you solve?
Consider the target audience you are serving and the content available to them.
Write down all your answers to these common questions, whether you think it can make a great niche or not.
At this point, we are just brainstorming for ideas.
Looking over your list, does any specific topic stand out more than others?
2. Make a List of Things You’ve Accomplished in Your Life
Cyberspace is filled with blogs that teach you how to do something…
Similar to this blog that teaches you how to create a roadmap for a successful online business, there are other sites that teach content marketing, photography, getting out of debt, etc.
What have you done in your life that you can pass on in the form of writing on your blog?
Are you physically fit, or have you been successful at losing a significant amount of weight?
Are you a super-mom – great with child-rearing?
Have you held together a successful marriage for 25-plus years?
These are just a few examples… brainstorm what you’ve accomplished that others would like answers to.
There are millions of people looking for answers to their problems, what can you offer them?
3. What Books, Magazines, or Blogs Do You Enjoy Reading
For me, I read nothing but business or self-help types of books, magazines, and blogs. No romance novels for this guy!
These reading materials have helped me skyrocket my blogging business further – all because there are so many accomplished authors and entrepreneurs willing to pass on their business success and knowledge.
So… ask yourself…
- Which magazines inspire you?
- What types of books do you often read?
- What blogs in cyberspace give you answers and inspiration for what you want to accomplish?
You might discover you have a broad interest or one general focus point, like saving money or getting out of debt.
You might start to realize you have a thirst for the tech industry.
You may have a passion for photography – whatever it may be, the list is endless!
Make your list of the book, blogs, and magazines, etc., that you read to see if they shed any light on any general topics for your niche.
How to Be Creative in Choosing Your Niche Market
A popular piece of advice is to ‘write what you know.’
What does this mean?
It means for you to write something that you have experience with and that you find interesting and enjoyable.
In a perfect world, you should NOT be thinking of writing on your blog as ‘work’.
Rather, it should be something that you actually enjoy and actively look forward to spending time doing.
Interpretation… you should pick a niche that is already a hobby or interest to you.
This will automatically give you a head start because you will be bringing loads of knowledge to the table.
Writing a blog on a subject, you have an interest in means that it won’t be a chore to keep it updated with fresh content.
This also means that you will likely fill your pages with a higher quantity of content and will likely be of higher quality at the same time.
Your passion and love for the subject will come across with enthusiasm which will show on the pages and keep you writing on a regular basis for many years to come.
Choosing a Niche About Personal Interests
Most of us don’t have the traditional hobby or interest.
Many of us are so darn busy with our family or working the 9 to 5 that it doesn’t leave much time to pursue a new language, travel abroad, or take up photography.
Many of us aren’t particularly in great shape, don’t know how to cook well, or know much about finance.
The majority of people will spend their free time watching TV and playing with their kids.
So, if you don’t have a hobby or interest, how are you supposed to turn that into something you can write about?
The trick is to understand that just about anything, within reason, can make a good niche, and it doesn’t have to be something that you’d consider a hobby or interest in the traditional sense.
You could write a personal blog about being a mom. You could write about what it takes to look after an elderly relative or even about your pets.
Take a look at your personal experiences – where have you traveled to? What have you studied in the past?
Combining a Niche with a Personal Brand
You are a unique individual and probably have a unique perspective on many things.
Why not tap into that and create a whole new niche that only you could write about?
Have you ever heard of Nerd Fitness?
This is a highly popular blog that combines two completely separate niches – ‘nerds’ and ‘fitness’, which usually don’t go hand-in-hand.
Yet, because of the creative idea, this site is making it BIG TIME.
This idea was an entirely new concept because most nerds probably wouldn’t show their faces in a gym due to being afraid of being picked on or ridiculed.
Another example is the ‘Art of Manliness‘.
“The Art of Manliness is a one-stop resource for actionable advice that covers every aspect of a man’s life: character, career, relationships, fitness, style, skills, and much more.”
This is an entirely new niche that won’t fall into any ‘Top Niche for Blogging’ list, and it revolves around what the author finds interesting.
So, if you don’t find yourself with a hobby or interest – take a long, hard look into who you are, what you’re truly interested in, and what you can offer that no one else can.
Otherwise, think about how you can cover an old topic – and input your unique personality in a new and interesting manner.
A Different Topic – Love of Learning
Here’s a niche that many don’t think about – learning something new!
The only stipulation about this thought is that you must have things you find interesting.
You must have the desire to improve yourself along with things you’d like to learn – and this is why you can create an exciting blog around the idea that you are learning and sharing what you’ve learned.
Wish you could speak another language? Why not share your journey and provide blogging tips along the way for your audience.
Wish you could take beautiful photos? Buy a nice camera, learn all you can, and write about your progress in taking beautiful photography.
Why Should Anyone Listen to Someone in the Learning Stages?
You are probably wondering – “why would anyone want to read advice from me if I’m not an expert? What could I possibly have to offer?”
In actuality, writing as a learner has its advantages – you are sure not to scare your potential customers away with intimidating jargon.
Many times learners make the best teachers because they have found that it is much easier to put themselves into the shoes of the people they are trying to teach.
Additionally, this gives your blog content an interesting narrative as you can discuss your learning journey along its path.
This can also give your blog content a bit more personal touch, which can be fun for your audience.
The majority of blogs out there in cyberspace are those learning from someone else. The information available in cyberspace has to start somewhere.
If you write as a learner, you are admitting that you’re in the learning stages and, therefore not an expert on the subject – and that you are likely to make mistakes.
As a result, people will be much more patient with you and more sympathetic with you, which will give you more freedom to write freely without fear of criticism.
An example of a highly successful blog in this concept is ‘The Personal MBA.’
This blog was the pet project of Josh Kaufman, who started it in order to take notes on his progress in, learning about business.
He wanted to go for his MBA in business but didn’t have the time or money to do so.
So, he started a journey to see if he could learn all the principles taught by the colleges and kept his blog as a journal of this learning for his own reference.
As a result, he created a go-to resource for entrepreneurs and businessmen, and women alike.
His result was a popular blog and eventually a book deal. Ironically, this is now his business.
This little excerpt could just inspire you enough so to take this approach as a newbie and create a unique angle as Josh did.
Using this concept – build a blog for yourself, and you’ll most likely be building it for others too.
Of course, all this doesn’t only apply to learning an actual topic. You can also take the ‘new to the field’ approach to other types of activity or more general ‘growth’.
Fitness blogs are often a popular example if you were to start off with the aim of losing ‘X’ amount of weight. Someone who is overweight themselves would likely find it reassuring to read your experiences rather than hear advice from someone who has abs of steel!
Likewise, you can choose a niche for personal growth. Why not talk about how you’ve set out to become a better, more confident person. This is essentially what ‘Art of Manliness’ or ‘Nerd Fitness’ have created – with a twist.
Making Money from Your Niche
Now all this is great, but at some point, in order for you to find financial freedom, so you can give notice to your boss someday – you will need to think about the money.
As with the designing stage of any product on the market today, it’s important to test that there is an actual audience out there before you invest too much time and effort into building your site and producing content.
This is why you need to think about how you’re going to monetize and whether the niche you’re thinking of choosing will support the business model that you have in mind.
And yes, some niches vary drastically in terms of profitability, so this is a skill you should learn early on!
What Makes a Niche Profitable?
So, what makes a niche profitable?
To start with, you need to think about what options you, as a blogger, have for monetizing your blog.
One of the methods you may have heard of is placing Google AdSense or banner ads on your website. You know, those images of products that are related to your site.
The problem with those is they are for seasoned bloggers – those that receive 100,000 or more monthly page views.
These are actually the least profitable forms of monetizing your blog because they pay very little, and you will be sending your visitors away from your site each and every time they click on an ad.
They are ugly and just clutter up your beautiful website. If you are a newbie especially, it’s time to think about other options.
Other options for monetization are as follows:
- Promoting Affiliate Offers – promoting other people’s products or services for a commission… #1 in my book
- Promoting Online Courses – courses like the BloggingFastLane, which I highly recommend
- Membership Programs – this is where a person would pay a monthly fee to be a part of a community
- Services – examples: consulting and coaching services, website design, etc.
- Physical Products – like gifts, calendars, planners (which are becoming the rage), T-shirts, and more
- Digital Downloads – eBooks, learning guides, templates for business and mobile apps
Now… something to think about if you are a newbie blogger. If you are just starting out and you are wanting a passive income on autopilot (making money while you sleep), then the first 3 are your best bet.
Eventually, for the highest profit margin, you will want to create your own physical or digital product(s), I.E., eBooks, learning courses, etc.
High-Earning Niches to Consider
One of the main reasons a niche might be a high earner is that it offers some form of investment for the customer.
People like me will spend thousands of dollars on online courses to learn how to make money from blogging.
The reason they will, and the reason I have, is that they will earn their money back – I.E., it’s an investment.
Other highly profitable niches are ones that promise to change your readers’ lives in a measurable way.
You ever wonder why the fitness niche is such a profitable venue?
People are willing to spend quite a chunk of money on fitness books or workout equipment because they believe that they will benefit from abs to make the ladies drool or for the ladies – tone their buttocks to make every man’s head turn.
I don’t mean to sound sexist, it’s a fact!
Another example is the dating niche. Dating is something that many of us feel very strongly about, so if you wrote about that topic, you’d probably earn a lot of dough.
On that note – you will want to think – how can I make a person’s life better?
Profitability and Your Niche Market – Target Audience
To make money from your blog, people must read it.
Something you need to ponder is the type of audience you will be writing to on a particular subject… who will read your blog?
Who are you writing for? You must figure out who your ideal reader is; your demographic.
If you are writing about computer games, then your demographic will most likely be of a younger age – at least the majority will be.
The point I am making is that they may not have the disposable income to spend as the older audience would.
This happens to be a reason that the ‘Silver Surfer’ audience is so popular at the moment – as they have the tendency to have a lot of disposable income.
Profitability with Evergreen Sites
Another thing to think about is whether you find a niche to always be profitable.
Example: let’s say you are writing about Star Wars, and you write about your predictions for the final movie soon to be released.
In doing so, you have instantly dated that content, so if people run across it 7 years from now, it will most likely be of little interest to them.
Fitness sites stay evergreen – other than a trend every now and then.
Even diets like the Paleo diet will most likely lose its flavor and soon be replaced by the next, latest and greatest diet.
The unfortunate thing is no single niche, except for, in my opinion, Making Money Online, has it all. I don’t think this niche will ever lose an audience.
Whatever you pick, you will be making some compromises.
Profitable or Not – Searching for Signs of Making Money
Now it’s time to figure out whether your niche will be able to make money or not.
With all of the information I have given you to this point, it’s time to research for signs of a niche making money.
For many folks that are creative, it is possible to make, at the least, some money from pretty much any niche, the key being if you have an audience that is willing to invest in what you are offering.
So, what is the trick to figuring out if you can earn some money with your chosen niche?
See if there are other bloggers making money within the same topic or sub-topic you are wanting to cover.
If others are making money with their blogs, then you know there’s a market for your chosen niche.
Do some Google searches for your chosen niche and visit some sites.
When you land on their site, start poking around.
- Are they displaying banner ads?
- Is there a ‘Resources’ or ‘Recommended Products’ page?
- Any signs of affiliate products from Reviews pages or other blog posts?
- Any signs of selling their own informational products or services?
All you are looking for are signs that they are making money somehow.
Another way to know whether a niche will work for selling digital products as an affiliate would be to research what’s currently on offer.
You can browse the best Affiliate networks like ShareaSale.com, ClickBank.com, or JVZoo.com to see if there’s a market for your niche idea or which could help you narrow down your niche.
The Amazon Affiliate Program is another area to research to see if there’s anything you could sell as an affiliate.
If you enjoy shopping, you can write reviews about products and get paid a commission from Amazon when you sell a product through their site.
You could brainstorm ideas for your own digital products like an online course or an ebook – selling these products to your audience.
Zeroing In On Your Demographics – Your Buyer Persona
Image Source: AmyWright.me
As previously spoken, some demographics have more disposable income than others – plus, some people are more likely to spend their hard-earned cash over others.
Thinking about your audience is a different approach when trying to figure out your niche, and can be an interesting method to help come up with a more specific topic to cover with your blog.
A recommended source for creating a buyer persona would be to use the online tool MakeMyPersona from Hubspot to help you automate this task.
Time to Narrow Your Audience
Choosing to operate in a mega-sized niche like fitness will make for a difficult path for you to stand out and compete with others who have been around for years.
Fortunately, there are ways to niche down – to have your cake and eat it too.
One way to niche down is to take a broad category like fitness and narrow it down to a more specific niche.
Examples: fitness for those over 50. Or, for those moms and dads, parenting for people who work from home.
This is very similar to the example I gave earlier for Nerd Fitness.
Honing in on a small, more narrow audience is a great way to make your blog stand out from an already saturated niche, and it creates opportunities for marketing your niche, especially for promotion because you now have a specific crowd and a number of different ways to reach them.
Let’s look at some demographics to help you get started.
- Income Level
- Education Level
- Interests (fitness for the fashion-conscious)
- Illnesses (fitness for diabetics)
- Religion (the popularity of Christian blogs is rising)
And, of course, there are many more, so put your thinking cap on and get creative.
Choosing Your Target Audience
Any niche you choose is going to affect the type of audience you’ll attract.
The thing you need to keep in mind is that some topics will appear more towards the older crowd than the younger.
Some will appeal to one gender more than the other.
This is just one more reason that you need to think carefully when selecting your niche market.
As previously mentioned – no niche covers everything.
So, to provide the best guidance in selecting your specific niche, let’s consider what makes a great target audience.
- Passion and commitment to the topic (the reader’s desire to make their dreams come true)
- Disposable income (the willingness to spend money on your promoted products)
- Personality (wallflower or the life of the party – introvert or extrovert)
- Free time (having the time to spend on your site)
- Impulse (a willingness to spend money on products, whether digital or physical)
As mentioned earlier, the ‘Silver Surfer’ generation is a particularly profitable niche and very popular at the moment.
Mainly because they have more time on their hands and disposable income.
What does this mean to you? This means that they are more likely to spend a lot of time on your blog and to spend money on the products and services that you will be offering.
Don’t get TOO excited just yet!
Something to keep in mind… although the Silver Surfer has much time on their hands and disposable income, they are likely to be in a happy relationship, most likely retired, and they might not have the same interests in spending money on a new computer or books on fitness.
Consider every aspect of the niche market, along with your target audience, before you finalize your niche.
Is Your Niche Evergreen – Will it Stand the Test of Time?
The goal here is to find a niche that is still active in the online community. So, you’ll want to find a niche topic that is still developing, this way, you will always have information to write about.
You ideally want topics that will remain evergreen, not die off after a couple of years, I.E., trends.
This is another reason that learning a new subject can be a great strategy to consider – as you learn, you teach.
As long as what you learned and passed on in the form of an article is accurate, it should still be useful information even when someone reads it 10 years later.
This is another scenario where broad subjects can be good.
We’ll break it down using the ‘Art of Manliness’ as an example.
He covers anything that can be considered Manly… from working out to the manly hand-shake, trimming your beard for the GQ look, to smoking cigars.
There are literally hundreds of different topics to cover that will be within his niche.
Even if you don’t choose to go broad for your niche, consider being a little different so you will have original content to come up with.
Final Thoughts for How to Find Your Niche
When a person is passionate about something, they will stick with it. If a person doesn’t care about a topic, finding the drive to continue will be difficult.
Once you’ve confirmed your chosen niche market, you will need to start developing your blog, start writing about your passion, and start generating traffic and a following.
As it is said: “Building a Successful Online Business is a Marathon – Not a Sprint”
Keep in mind that there is no magic pill for finding your niche.
If you believe you have a good place to start – take the plunge and get going.
In unfamiliar territory, an Entrepreneur will dive in headfirst and learn as he goes.
Avoid ‘Analysis Paralysis’ – perfection will come with time.
Don’t feel like everything needs to be perfect before you get started. This, unfortunately, is the way that many people never get started with their dream because they get stuck in the planning stages.
Jump in headfirst, get your feet wet, tweak, and refine as you go.