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So you want to start a blog.
You’ve probably read my post on why I started blogging and 10 reasons you should too. You may also have read my tutorial on how to start a professional blog for profit. You have, or your about to sign up with SiteGround because they simply are the best hosting service around.
But now your stuck, in one of two places I’m guessing.
You have created your website. You’ve signed up to hosting. Now you want to start writing content. But hold on, what the heck is your blog actually about. (If you’re in this group I’m guessing that your blog name and domain is your own name or something quite general, more on this later).
Or you’re in the middle of signing up with SiteGround. (I mean other hosting services are available, but when you can go with the best, you go with the best right?) It’s time to type in your domain name and you suddenly realise you have no idea what your blog niche is and therefore what your blog name will be!
Do not fear my blogging warriors. I, Sammy, will guide you through the process of figuring out your blog niche and name. Helping you find an area that you will love writing about. And I will point you in the direction of those niches most likely to make you some serious money.
Sound good? Lets go!
Firstly we will determine your blog niche, then we can centre in on your blog name. I think its much easier and logical to go niche then name in most cases.
But before we start I just wanted to focus real quick on the importance of a blog niche. Some people think that if they only write about a few interrelated topics that they will be shutting out a lot of possible readers. Sure thats true. But what you want on your blog is a dedicated fan club that wants to read everything you write and buy all your products. What you don’t want is people who come and go but never really engage. Sure with that bunch you may get more pageviews, but I can promise you that those pageviews will not monetise well at all. Plus how are you meant to help people (which basically is what blogging is all about) if your audience is everybody and nobody. It’s just impossible.
Finding your blog niche – one that you will love
Okay. Rule number one in blogging. You must write about something you’re passionate about. Your writing has to excite people. It must be able to tap into their emotions. You need to be able to be authoritative and convince your audience of what you know.
You can’t do any of those things if you actually have no interest in your topic.
For example, if I started a blog on sports it would be the dullest thing you ever read. I could write what needed to be written, I would research so everything was accurate. But I wouldn’t be able to fake that excited, passionate, informal voice bloggers need. It would just sound like a school essay and those are dull lets be honest. You aren’t going to convince anybody to try your suggestions, follow your tutorials, buy your products or click on your affiliate links on your topic if you yourself clearly think its boring.
Plus, you are going to be writing a lot about your topic. You will get very very bored if you not insanely interested in your topic after the first 100 blog posts…
But what about ‘Lifestyle Blogs’, they write about everything…
First off ‘Lifestyle Blogs’ are quite difficult to get off the ground because they can be too vague. It’s very hard to build up a dedicated audience if your post topics vary too much.
Secondly, it may look like a ‘Lifestyle Blog’ has no niche to you, but you will often find that their niche is actually their target audience. So, a blog may post everything from recipes, to fitness, to home diy and you think well this blog has no niche. Look a bit closer. Particularly read the about me page of who runs it. You will probably find that there is a slant put on every blog post.
For example the blog owner may be into frugality. And actually all these random topics are written from the perspective of someone who is always trying to save money. So ’10 amazing meat free recipes to save you money’, ‘The perfect places to go running outside for free’ and ‘How I renovated my bedroom in a weekend without buying anything new’. They may not immediately seem to have anything to do with each other, but actually they are all written from the frugality perspective.
This is how seemingly niche-less ‘Lifestyle Blogs’ can cultivate a target audience. They do actually have a niche its just kinda hidden.
Finding your blog niche – one that makes money
Personally I think all blog niches can make money. But it’s a whole lot easier with certain ones compared with others.
Note – I use the word easy in this section, not in the traditional sense of the word. But as in easy compared with others. Nothing in blogging is ‘easy’ as such but there are ways and choices you can make that will make your own blogging journey easier.
There are four key factors and associated questions that you can use to assess the ease of monetising a blog niche:
1. Is it a relatively easy industry to get into?
For example, fashion is incredibly hard to be successful in and that goes for fashion blogging as well. It’s an oversubscribed and exclusive industry. Doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It’s just a whole lot more work than others.
2. Has it got the WIIFM factor?
WIIFM stands for Whats In It For Me. For nearly every blog post you write your audience needs to immediately determine what’s in it for them to read your post. In other words how are you helping your audience. So, example time, recipes make great blog posts because the audience knows exactly whats in it for them to read that post. A set of instructions on how to cook something new. Perfect, you have helped your reader by showing them how to make a new dish.
3. Are there affiliates available for it?
Whilst there are many different ways of monetising a blog, one of the most secure and passive is through affiliated marketing. Therefore you need to check whether there are any relevant affiliated programmes available within the blog niche.
4. Would it be possible to make a product within that niche?
You may have noticed that the blogs making the really big bucks are the ones selling their own products. Ideally things like ebooks and online courses as once they have been created, bar a bit of marketing, it’s purely passive income. So you need to determine if a product could be made for that niche and how passive that product would be to sell.
An example of a blog niche that is relatively easy to monetise is the ‘blogging’ niche. I’m talking posts like ‘how to start a blog’, ‘best ways to make money blogging’, ‘best blogging tools’, you get the picture. So lets go through the four key factors but focusing on the blogging niche:
1. It’s easy to enter the industry. Other bloggers are super friendly and always wanting to help. There are courses and tutorials on literally everything you want to know. Plus you don’t need loads of cash to get involved.
2. There are loads of possible WIIFM topics you can write about in the blogging niche. The posts I touched on earlier all clearly help your audience as either tutorials, educational or reviews.
3. Yes there are lots of affiliates you could use in this area. Think hosting services, social media scheduling software, stock photos, email campaign programmes…
4. You can easily make courses. I mean have you seen all the different courses available to bloggers right now! One could argue that there are already too many courses in this area so this may be the only sore point with this blog niche. But still I think there is ots of product growth still possible.
See how the blogging niche met all four key factors. Now I will demonstrate a blog niche that dosen’t meet all four key factors and would therefore be harder to monetise. Fashion. Whilst there are some fashion bloggers doing incredibly well it is a harder niche to monetise.
1. As I explained when I was introducing the four key factors, fashion and by extension, fashion blogging is difficult to enter. Oversubscribed and exclusive. You have to be very very very good at not only your subject but also things like photography to excel in this niche.
2. Fashion blogs often tend to be more this is what I’m wearing, rather than helping your readers and providing WIIFM posts. There are obviously ways you can help your fashion blog audience, e.g. ’10 ways to style glitter waistcoats’. (Are glitter waistcoats a thing… who knows). But they are less obvious perhaps than in other niches.
3. Affiliate wise there are a lot of clothing brands that offer affiliate programmes but the payouts tend to be a lot lower than with other affiliate associated with other niches.
4. Product creation in the fashion blog niche is of course possible but its a lot less obvious. Particularly a passive income style product. I can’t actually think of anything off the top of my head but then again I’m no fashionista…
See how much more difficult it was to answer the four key factors questions for the fashion niche over the blogging nice. That just shows you that the blogging niche would be easier to monetise.
You should now have a pretty good idea of how to determine if you can easily make money with a blog niche. Go through the four key factors and the associated questions with a few different niches and see what you find.
But you must remember, just because the blog niche is monetisable, even on the easy end of the monestiable spectrum. That doesn’t mean you will make money. There is a lot of other aspects that go into running a successful blog. Choosing an easy to monetise blog niche is just a good foundation if you do want to make money with your blog.
In the next part we will look at bringing all this info together. Your blog niche is coming riggghhhtttt upppppp!
Finding your blog niche – one that you love and makes money
Wooo now is time to bring the two concepts together.
I have a little exercise for you to do. Its super easy and quick I promise. Plus by the end of it you will have your blog niche!
Grab two separate pieces of paper. On the first piece write a list of topics that you are passionate about. The crazier the better! You want to aim for 10 ideally. But don’t bother writing any topics that you honestly couldn’t write around 4,000 words per week on for the next how ever many years of your life.
Pro-tip: If you can genuinely only come up with one topic on that list then that’s what your blog should be about. No matter how hard or easy it is to monetise. If thats the topic you adore then you will figure out a way to make it work.
Okay, grab your other piece of paper. Now write down 10 blogging niches that make money. Use the four key factor questions to help you determine if a niche is easy to monetise or not.
Need further help? Go back to the blogs that made you want to start your own blog. Are they making money? Good money? If so what is their niche. Write those down.
Now grab both your lists and put them alongside each other. Can you see any cross overs at all? Anything kinda related?
You might have some obvious ones like baking on list one, and food blogging niche on list two. In which case your blog niche could be baking recipes.
Don’t worry if there isn’t an obvious link anywhere. Instead can you make a link? Say you have mental health on list one and how to blog niche on list two. What about something like mental health and wellness for bloggers. Okay you would want to refine it some more but do you see what I did there. You would be able to take some of the easy to monetise aspects of the blogging niche and combine it with your passion for mental health. Perfect.
If your still really struggling to get your blog niche from your two lists then email me at email@example.com and show me your lists. Maybe I will spot something you haven’t seen, or perhaps you didn’t realise was monetisable. I’m totally up for this by the way and would looovvveeee to talk to some of you guys and help you out!
Just remember, the more individual and off track your blog niche is. The less competition you will have and the easier it will be to build up your dedicated fan base. Nothing is too crazy and you never know what’s about to be the next big thing.
Think how succulents (those cute little plants) have suddenly become really cool over the last few years. Cassidy over at Succulents and Sunshine has built an awesome blog that she’s monetising all about succulents. How freaking cool! Now this is probably not a topic most people would have thought of as a successful blog but just look!
Hopefully by now you have got an awesome blog niche picked out that you can’t wait to start writing about. Lets get that blog named!
Finding your blog name
Using your own name or something generic:
Now you may have noticed that quite a lot of bloggers use their own name or something generic that isn’t really anything to do with their blog niche.
I would recommend you don’t do this for two reasons. Reason one is that your audience will have no idea what your blog is about at all until they have had a good look round or read your about me page. So whilst they may jump on your site to read an article they won’t necessarily stick around because it isn’t immediately obvious that the blog is about something they are interested in.
Reason two, names can be really hard to spell. I’m massively dyslexic and when ever I spot a blog I like with a person’s name as their domain I just know its going to be so difficult for me to find it again because I won’t know how to spell the name. (Yes I know I could bookmark it or pin it, but sometimes I just forget to, or I’m being lazy or whatever. I know you guys can be like that too!)
Note – Some blog names seem generic at first but there is actually a story behind them. This is really cool but of course it still dosen’t give your audience any idea what your blog is about until they have read the story. Which they might not do because they have already left your site not realising it was on a topic they were into.
In my mind you want to make it as easy as possible for your reader. People are busy and so you need to make it clear what you blog is about in the shortest time possible. So they can decide if they want to stick around or not.
Using your niche to find your blog name:
This is in my eyes the best way to do it. That way as soon as someone rocks up to read some of your awesome content they can see immediately if the blog might be something they are into.
For example I might be researching different days out, I could click on two blog posts with very similar titles. Something along the lines of ‘The best day out for you and your boyfriend without breaking the bank’. Both articles could be about ways to go watch live sport events for little to no cost. Okay now I’m not into sport (neither is the boyfriend) so these articles wouldn’t interest me at all and I would be looking to click off. Except I’ve noticed the domain and blog names. Ones called www.Ilovefootball.com and the other is called www.livingfrugally.com (I actually have no idea if those are real websites or not by the way, I just made them up…).
Now I’m definitely going to click off the football one. But the living frugally one I will stick around and take a look because its a topic I’m interested in. See how the blog name has enticed me to stay and I might even become a regular reader!
Blog name essentials:
Regardless of anything there are a few things that your blog name should be. The unofficial rules of naming a blog.
- Easy to spell
- Short enough to remember
That’s it. Not so bad eh.
Now go ahead and brainstorm a few blog names for your niche. Try and come up with 3 to 5 that you really like.
This is the good bit. Go and ask your partner, or your kids, your friends, whoever, which blog name they like best. Wait ten to thirty minutes and go ask them again, but DO NOT remind them of the blog names. Which ever one they remember quickest is probably the one you should call your blog. Whether or not its the one they originally liked best…
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Have you got your blog niche and name?
Well? I’m really hoping you do by now. Butttt what if you don’t. What if your still looking at your two lists and can’t tie in a blog niche. Or you’ve found your niche but just can’t come up with anything good for the name.
Well you can always email me! I really really really love getting emails from my readers! Like seriously. And I would love it if you emailed me and I could help you out even more. So the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org I can’t wait to hear from you!
If you have got your blog niche and name totally sorted now then comment them below. I wanna hear your fantastic ideas and keep an eye out for your blog so once its up and running so I can check it out!!!