The Complete Guide to Choosing the Right Blogging Niche for You (6 Steps to Niche Clarity)
Choosing a blogging niche can easily become “Destination Procrastination” for so many people when they first start a blog, which is why I created this guide.
The first major decision you have to make after you’ve decided to start a blog is: What is it going to be about?
This can be a tough question to answer because most of us are multifaceted. We aren’t just good at one thing or passionate about one thing. We typically have several directions we could go.
After going through this six-step process for choosing a blogging niche you will not only know exactly what you want your blog to be about but you will also feel confident about your decision.
This post is all about how to choose the best blogging niche for you.
Let’s dive right in!
Blogging Niche Basics
What is a Blogging Niche?
A blogging niche is a combination of what your blog is about and who it is for.
For example, you may decide you want to start a blog about cooking. Cooking is a very broad topic, which means it’s going to be difficult for you to stand out.
So you would want to narrow it down by deciding who you are creating the blog for.
For example, you may decide that you want to focus on recipes for those following a keto diet.
Now, we are getting much closer to a niche.
We have the what: Cooking blog.
We have the who: Those following a keto diet.
Why Should You Even Choose a Niche for Your Blog?
If you aren’t creating a blog with the goal of making money then choosing a niche doesn’t matter.
But if you want to make money from your blog, then it does.
Here are some reasons why:
It’s a fact of blogging that if you want to get people to your site then search engines like Google need to know what your site is about.
If one day you write about knitting and the next day you write about your trip to Spain and the next day you write about your favorite soup recipe, Google is NOT going to know what your blog is about. However, if you focus your blog on one thing, it will.
For example, if you have a blog about keto recipes, and you publish a series of posts about chicken keto recipes, then keto desserts, then keto breakfast ideas, Google will be able to pick up on this theme. And it will know what keywords to rank you for. Woo hoo!
One of the ways to drive traffic to your blog is through social media. Social media platforms want to serve up content to their users that they think they will like.
If your niche is clear, it will make it a lot easier for them to know who your content is for.
If you are constantly changing the topics you are posting about, your audience will be confused, and it will actually make it difficult to gain followers.
You want to become the “go-to person” for your topic, and if it’s constantly changing, that will make it difficult for your audience to know why they should follow you.
Do You Have to ‘Niche Down?’
I am not of the opinion that you have to ‘niche down’ forever, but this is a good strategy when you are first getting started.
Going back to our keto cooking blog example… Once you’ve established yourself as the keto-recipe girl and your articles are starting to rank, then you can start adding in other topics.
Start with topics that are relevant to your primary topic. For example, someone who is interested in keto might also be interested in supplements to support a keto diet or fitness tips.
As your audience gets to know you more, they will start to be more interested in you as a person, which gives you an opportunity to branch out and start including content that is more personal.
Case Study: How a Book Blogger Moved Beyond Books
For example, one of my favorite book bloggers is Anne Bogel of ModernMrsDarcy.com. When she started the blog, it was all about books.
As the blog grew in popularity, she started sharing posts about all kinds of things such as her favorite recipes, her favorite clothing items, Christmas gift ideas, and even just interesting reads from around the web.
She could start branching out once her audience started to become more interested in her as a person.
The 6 Step Process to Clarify Your Niche
Step 1: Brainstorm Session and Data Collection
List Your Skills
Get out a blank piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. (There's also an area on the how to start a blog checklist where you can do this, too.)
In the first column, make a list of the following:
- Any skills you have
- Anything you have extensive knowledge about
- Any proficiencies you have
- Anything others say you're really good at. (If you aren’t sure, reach out to your friends and coworkers and ask them.)
List Your Passions
Next, make a list of all of the things you are passionate about. These are those things you are excited about and give you energy when you talk about them or do them.
They do not have to be things you are an expert about or have established skills or knowledge.
For example, you might be passionate about keto, but you may not be a keto expert.
Step 2: Process the Data
Look for Matches
Compare the two lists, and circle or highlight any matches you find.
In this step, you will start to see some clear niche options start to emerge.
But because we are always changing and growing, you may be looking for something different, which is why I don’t believe you should stop here.
Look for Outliers
To do this, you are going to go back through your list of skills and passions. Put a star next to any passions or skills where you have developing skills or passions.
The purpose of this step is to find an outlier niche that you may not be considering because you don’t think you have enough expertise (even though you may have a passion for it).
Or sometimes when we start to learn a new skill, we start to develop a passion the better we get at it. That’s actually how I developed a passion for SEO. I had to learn SEO for my day job, and the more I developed my SEO skills, my passion began to increase.
Case Study: How Someone Who Was A Financial Hot-Mess Started a Blog on Personal Finance
For example, one of my favorite personal finance bloggers is Kumiko Love from The Budget Mom. When she first started posting about personal finance, she was in the process of getting out of debt and getting her personal finances organized.
In other words, she had not achieved the thing she was posting about. But she used her platform to share with others her progress and document the methods she was using to keep herself organized and get out of debt. And now her blog is all about helping others do the same.
Another example might be someone who is trying to lose weight or a first-time mom who wants to share what she’s learning about taking care of a baby.
Step 3: Apply the KonMari Method to Your List
I’m not sure the KonMari Method needs any explanation, but just in case, I will explain what it is.
In 2014, Japanese organizational expert Marie Kondo published the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Kondo and her book became so popular that it resulted in a Netflix series.
When decluttering, the way Kondo teaches her readers to decide whether they should keep something versus getting rid of it is to hold up each item and ask if it “sparks joy.”
That’s what you’re going to do with your list of niche options. Go through each one and ask yourself if it “sparks joy.” Or other ways to think about it are:
- Is it something you are really excited about?
- Does it give you energy when you think about it or do it?
This is an important step because whatever niche you choose, you will be writing hundreds of blog posts about, and you don’t want it to become something you are going to grow tired of talking about.
Cross out any niches that don’t make the cut and put a star or heart next to the ones that pass the test.
Step 4: Write a Blogging Niche Statement With This Formula (Three Options)
For any niches that you have left, I want you to plug them into one of the following niche formulas.
- (Passion + Skill) + Audience = Niche Statement
- (Passion + Developing Skill) + Audience = Niche Statement
- (Skill + Developing Passion) + Audience = Niche Statement
You’ve already done the work for what goes in the parentheses, but now we need to start thinking about your audience. (This is how you are going to narrow down the niche even more.)
Think of your audience as who your niche is going to serve. You will actually be more successful if you have a certain group of specific people your blog is for versus just writing it for everyone.
If you aren’t sure who your audience is, sometimes it’s good to start with people who are going to be in a similar situation as yourself.
To stick with our keto example, someone who wants to start a blog about keto recipes may have a niche formula that looks something like this:
Step 5: Test the Niche
In this step, you want to find out two things:
- Is there enough interest in the topic? (In other words, is there an audience for it?)
- Can you monetize it?
How to Test the Interest Level
Find out if the blog niche is profitable.
Look for Other Blogs in Your Niche
Do a Google search for the topic and see what blogs appear in the search results. Do they have a lot of content? Check the comments. Are people engaging with their content?
Check their social media accounts to see what kind of following they have.
Look at Pinterest Trends
Pinterest is a great platform to promote your blog, especially if your blog is for women. More than 76 percent of the audience on Pinterest is female.
Go to Pinterest Trends and search your topic.
It’s okay if you see spikes of interest throughout that year, but you want to see if the topic has consistent traffic.
When I search in “keto recipes,” you can see that there’s a spike in January (which makes sense, right?), but it has consistent traffic throughout the year.
Check Google Trends
Since Google is the largest search engine, you definitely want to check to see what kind of interest it has on Google Trends.
For keto recipes, like Pinterest, there’s a spike in January, but it has consistent interest throughout the year.
Check Social Media Hashtags
Social Media platforms that use hashtags are Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. And they will typically give you the number of posts published with relevant hashtags.
For example, when I put in “keto recipes”, you can see that there are plenty of posts about this topic and ways to niche down.
Another way to test the interest of the topic is to do some simple keyword research.
Most Keyword Research tools will allow you to do a limited number of free searches. For example, Ubersuggest will allow three free searches per day.
You can see from the search volume that this niche definitely has a ton of interest.
That being said, do not think that you need this type of volume for the niche to be successful. I would aim for a minimum of 1000 searches per month for the overall topic.
It’s always helpful to get feedback from a real person.
If you know others who you think would be in your audience, ask them for feedback.
Can I Make Money From This Niche?
Look for Relevant Affiliate Programs
One of the primary ways that bloggers make money is through affiliate income.
Check Amazon: One popular website that has a widely used affiliate program is Amazon. So I would do a search on Amazon and see if it sells books and products that are relevant to your niche.
Google: You can also Google search your niche with the term “affiliate programs” and see what comes up.
Check your favorite niche-related brands: Go to the websites of your favorite niche-related brands and look to see if they have an affiliate program listed. You will typically find affiliate programs listed at the bottom of the home page.
The other primary way that bloggers make money is through ad revenue.
To see if you can make ad revenue from this niche, go to other blogs within the niche and see if they include ads.
Also, the more traffic a blog receives the more ad revenue it will receive. When you tested the interest of the niche, and it had decent search volume, this is a good sign that you will receive enough traffic to make money from ad revenue.
Other Monetization Options
Go to blogs within your niche and see if there are other ways they are making money.
Look for digital products they are selling, courses, and books.
Step 6: Start Posting Content
You will really know if a niche is right for you when you start posting content about it.
This quote from Marie Forleo is really helpful here: “Clarity comes from engagement not thought.”
Sometimes we think we want to do something, but once we actually start doing it, we realize we hate it or it will confirm that we made the right decision.
Or you may discover you want to go in a slightly different direction.
But the only way you will know for sure is if you start doing it.
Write a couple of blog posts about the topic. Or if you are still stuck between a couple of niches, write blog posts about both topics and pay attention to which one you are most excited to write about.
If you just went through this whole process, you should have a clear idea of your blogging niche. The next step is to come up with a blog name.
I want to hear from you!
Did this process help you narrow down your niche? Which step was the most helpful? Did you have an a-ha moment?
Tell me about it in the comments section below.