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7 Steps To Choose A Niche For Your Blog

Written by George Manty  · April 25, 2007

It’s the day you’ve all been waiting for— the long-awaited first post for my new Blog Traffic Series. (Okay, maybe you haven’t been waiting for it, but I’m excited that I’m finally writing it.)

The first step to get solid traffic to your blog is to choose the right niche.

There is no surefire way to pick a profitable niche. Even professional bloggers admit that they sometimes choose a niche that doesn’t get enough traffic or make enough money to make it worthwhile. So don’t worry if the first blog you start flops. Just try again. Perserverance is the key to success.

Here are 7 simple steps to choosing a niche that is right for you:

1. Make A List Of Your Passions
Write down all the things you are passionate about. If you aren’t passionate about the topic you write about, it will show! Passion is one of the biggest keys to keeping people interested in your blog (yourself included). This is the most important step in choosing a niche. If you don’t follow any of the other steps in this post, make sure you write about something you are passionate about.

Here is an example of what your list of passions might look like:

1. Basketball
2. Playing Video Games
3. Officiating Tennis Matches
4. Internet Marketing
5. American Idol
6. Reality TV
7. Being a Good Parent
8. Model Rocketry
9. UFOs
10. Bird watching
11. Carpentry
12. Ridding the world of Ants
13. ...

2. Make A List Of Things You Do Well
Write down all the things you do well. It is advisable to ask other people for input on this. Find out what other people think you are good at. They might mention things you haven’t thought of. You might also show the final list to your friends and family to get further input on the list.

An example list of things you do well might look like this:

1. Basketball
2. Officiating Tennis Matches
3. Cooking
4. Teaching
5. Running Marathons
6. Open Heart Surgery
7. Being a Good Parent
8. Model Rocketry
9. Calculus
10. Bird watching
11. Sailing
12. ...

3. Merge The First Two Lists
Take the lists you made in steps 1 and 2. Write down all the things that are in both list 1 and list 2. This will give you a good idea of things you can blog about as an expert. However, you don’t have to be an expert to blog about something. If you are really passionate about something, but aren’t good at it or are just learning about it, you can still blog about that topic from the perspective of someone trying to improve in that area.

For Example, if we merge the example lists from step 1 and step 2 the list would look like this:

1. Basketball
2. Officiating Tennis Matches
3. Being a Good Parent
4. Model Rocketry
5. Bird watching
..

4. Choose Your Favorite 3-5 Niches
Out of the list you compiled from step 3 (above), which ones are you MOST interested in blogging about? It doesn’t matter if other people write about it. It doesn’t matter if it’s extremley competitive. Just write down the top 3-5 things that YOU want to blog about. It’s okay if you are down to 1 niche at this point, but 3-5 would be better.

NOTE: At this point you have at least one niche you could start writing about. However, if you want to make money from your blog, you need to do more research.

From our example, let’s say that you would want to blog about the following three things from your merged list:

1. Basketball
2. Being a Good Parent
3. Bird watching

5. Determine The Traffic Potential
There are a lot of ways to do keyword research and determine the traffic potential for a niche. To simplify things, you aren’t going to worry about competition, you are only going to concern yourself with demand.

Go the Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool (which seems to be working again). Type in the primary keyword(s) for the niches you selected in step 4. Then you will come up with a list of keyword phrases and their search numbers for last month on Yahoo owned Search Engines.

Note: If Overture doesn’t work, try the free wordtracker keyword tool.

In my opinion, you really want to see more than 10,000 searches a month on Overture for the main keyword, otherwise it’s going to be really hard to get decent traffic to your blog.

Let’s go back to the example and turn your list into a primary keyword list, with a list of the Search Engine traffic. It would now look like this:

1. Basketball – 37845
2. Parenting – 33457
3. Bird watching – 5500

At this point, you might think that bird watching was out of the picture, but what if you wanted to write about birds, in general? What if you wanted to write about your favorite bird, the hummingbird (which had 17354 searches last month)? It is still possible to get a lot of traffic to a bird watching blog, but for the purpose of this post I am just covering a quick and easy method to analyze the potential traffic. You can expand your traffic analysis by looking at other related keywords if you like.

6. Determine The Blog’s Money Making Potential
Common sense might suggest to you that there are products to be sold to people looking for each of the things in our example, but is there a way to be sure?

Here is a quick and easy method you can use to help determine a blog’s money making potential. Go to Google or Yahoo and do a search for your primary keywords. The more advertisers you see paying for sponsored results (PPC) the better. If you don’t see anyone bidding on those keywords then it may be more difficult to monetize your blog but not necessarily impossible.

The sponsored results are the ads that show on Google and Yahoo at the very top and the right hand side of the Search Engine results, under the title “Sponsored Links” on Google and “Sponsor Results” on Yahoo.

So, for our example, I went to Yahoo and did searches for each keyword and wrote down the number of ads I saw:

1. Basketball – 10
2. Parenting – 10
3. Bird watching – 10

From our quick test, it looks like all three niches are capable of being monetized. Sometimes you will type in a word, and there won’t be any sponsored results. For instance, go over to Yahoo or Google and type in “underwater basket weaving”. When I tried it, there were no paid ads on either Search Engine. That is probably a good sign that there isn’t much money to be made in the underwater basket weaving market.

7. Make Sure You Have Time For The Niche
Is the topic so broad that you just don’t have time to blog about it yourself? For instance, if you choose basketball as your niche, do you really have enough time to cover ALL basketball news on your blog? If not, then you either need to:

A. Start a group blog with enough other people to cover the topic.
B. Narrow the focus of your blog. In our example, maybe basketball is too broad for you to cover. If so, you might choose to cover your favorite basketball team or write about funny basketball moments, etc.

There you have it, 7 steps to choosing a niche for your blog.


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Comments

22 Responses to “7 Steps To Choose A Niche For Your Blog”

  1. Joey on April 25th, 2007 8:54 am

    Good advice. I like the idea of two lists and then merging the common denominators.

  2. Amanda on April 25th, 2007 9:25 am

    Thats a really good idea list, have you seen Wendy’s niche list where it has all those great ideas for niches? It’d be a good link in around the web next time .

  3. George Manty on April 25th, 2007 11:41 am

    Thanks Joey.

  4. George Manty on April 25th, 2007 11:42 am

    Amanda,

    I will check out Wendy’s list.

  5. Sourav Sharma on May 18th, 2007 12:56 am

    Great tips…

    Keep posting….

  6. George Manty on May 18th, 2007 6:33 am

    Sourav,

    Thanks!

  7. Nick on June 27th, 2007 4:03 am

    Hi,

    Very interesting! I have never actually thought of it this way when choosing the right niche for myself! LOL….good advice!

  8. the insomnia cures guy on November 20th, 2007 11:12 pm

    Great post! Wordtracker pwns overture if you ask me. Nice blog, I’ll be returning, keep up the good work ūüôā .

  9. Austin on December 4th, 2007 11:39 pm

    Very helpful, effective tips you have here. I’m sure the beginners (as well as the experienced marketers) will find your tips very useful. And I must add—- motivation and patience in following up, maintaining and developing your niche further can truly pay off as well.

    Austin
    http://www.findaniche.org

  10. David on December 13th, 2007 9:13 am

    You need to consider KEI. Just having over 10,000 searches means nothing if the competition is too high. You will never get a high enough ranking.

    Look at the number of searches per month and the number of pages competing for that niche. Fine tune using the allintitle:”KEYWORD” and allinurl:”KEYWORD”. This will help fine tune

  11. George Manty on December 13th, 2007 9:23 am

    David,

    KEI is overrated. allintitle, allinurl are better. allinanchor is probably more useful than allinurl and possibly even more useful than allintitle for judging competition.

    I personally don’t worry as much about competition as I used to, but there is value in it.

  12. Brian Free on January 28th, 2008 11:26 am

    I have started a couple of blogs in niches hoping to make some extra income. When I chose my list I created a similar list. Your example chooses basketball, I actually chose hockey. I now have a blog up and running and an affiliate site (www.nhl-apparel.com)to accompany it. So far the blog is pulling in 500 uniques a day and it has only been up since New Years. I am continuing to develop the main site and I hope I can make some pretty good money off it and considering I am so passionate about hockey, it sure makes it easier to write about the subject.

  13. Affiliate Marketing Guide on February 25th, 2008 8:53 am

    Interesting approach.
    I think being passionate about your niche is a good way to start. However it is not often that your passions are in a profitable market.
    The flip side which is how I approach things is find a profitable market and get passionate about it.

    It is easy to get interested in a niche with a hungry market, especially when the profits start coming in.

    Getting great results from a project is a huge motivator

    Webmaster

    Affiliate Marketing Guide

  14. Moin on March 5th, 2008 9:14 am

    good Advice!

    Sometimes your favorite Niche’s are NOT good money makers which might end up, you leaving it!! What I’ve learnt in 2.5/3 months is to just stick with it and work … To be honest, if you are blogging to make money or making it the first priority.. you might not end up well.

    MoiN
    http://www.anewmorning.com

  15. Dimson Hastings on March 6th, 2008 4:46 pm

    hahah.. “ridding the world of ants”.. great tips btw.. i use almost the exact same steps

  16. David Hurley on November 19th, 2008 6:39 am

    Great post. I think you are right to call Step 1 “Start with your PASSION” and not just “start with your interest” – let your passion guide you and the money will follow…

  17. Basketball Drills on November 24th, 2008 8:23 am

    I followed your 7 steps and came up a great niche, I hope! I am currently working on another niche using your 7 step method.

  18. George Manty on November 24th, 2008 9:07 am

    Great to hear. If your next niche is related to the previous niche that you chose, it will be easier to promote, so you should take that into consideration when choosing your next niche to go into.

  19. Dinheiro Ja on February 18th, 2009 10:00 am

    Hi,

    Well, the first place to find good niches, is by taking a look in to our selfs … deep.

    If we use our brain, we will find that is no hard thing to find a good niche.

    eBay, Amazon, and social sites are a good source of new niches.

    Last, i used to watch TV top find out new niches, but in this days i find Twiter most usefull tool to find then also …

    Cumps.

  20. Caroline Fay on September 30th, 2009 2:01 pm

    Great tips. I am real new to niche marketing. I have spent a lot of time searching the net for tips and advice. I think you have done a great job putting this together and I will be able to use and apply this advice to my project. Thank you, I will be visiting your site again.

  21. marcus on May 9th, 2011 12:26 pm

    thanks, this definitley is a different perspective on choosing a niche, and it is like a breakdown into microniches.

  22. Adesida Oluwasegun on October 22nd, 2011 9:24 pm

    Good one here but I think that competition need to considered because I believe that the higher the keyword,the more profitable the niche will be.
    Hope I’m right with this?





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