Tuesday, June 03, 2014

A Simple Approach to Finding a Good Blogging Niche, Part I

If I had to choose one factor that would determine the long-term success or failure of a blog, it would trace back to the very start. The core question of each blog should be: “What is this about?”

Personal blogs where authors go off on tangents and rant about their feelings and opinions on a myriad of topics are great for personal expression, but when it comes to building an audience, it’ll just be too scattered.  It’s true that they might hit on a post that strikes a nerve with readers and spikes their traffic, but they won’t be able to sustain that for the long haul.  The blogs with focus and clarity are the ones that build audience, traffic, and ad revenue.

So, how do you find that niche?

There are a lot of factors that go into a great blog niche, and no one of them should make the final choice.  It’s always going to be a balancing act. Here are the primary factors:

  1. Your own interest and knowledge -  It’s tough to blog about something you know nothing about, and have no interest in. Sure, you could do research and dig in, but, really, how motivating is that?  A few months in, will you still be willing to put the consistency into it if you don’t care?
  2. Content - Can you think of or find information that’s relevant and interesting on an ongoing basis?
  3. Keywords - Are there keywords that are of interest that aren’t flooded in competition? Good keywords in the right places will be critical to successful search engine optimization.
  4. Monetization - Are there a good mix of products that could be promoted to the niche’s audience? Again, if you’re just doing a personal blog to shake your fist at the world, this isn’t an issue. But if you want to make some coin at it, you’ll need to consider this well up front.

It’s important to note that a blog or a website is in constant motion, and in constant state of revision.  You, as a blogger and site promoter will be constantly learning and growing and building on your site. The steps that I’m about to show you in the next few articles are designed to help you make a good, informed decision about the niche you’ll have.  That way, you’ll have a good foundation that can be built on, and you won’t have to tear it down and start over later on.

It’s important to note that these steps are intended to be simple and to get you do a good, solid decision quickly. Advanced SEO experts can use many tools and in-depth research to gather deep wells of data that can be sorted and manipulated to arrive at useful decisions.  This can take weeks or months to learn, and many, many hours to implement.  It’s good to learn these things, eventually, but it’s also best to learn them as you’re developing and improving your existing site, rather than to overwhelm yourself at the beginning and get mired in a swamp of meaningless numbers.

This article is part of a four-part series on researching and choosing your blog niche. The other articles can be found here:

  1. Introduction to finding a good blog niche
  2. Brainstorming blog niche and content ideas
  3. Keyword research
  4. Monetization product research


Mark is currently employed as an Internet Business Coach.

Mark also has other sites and blogs, including Mark's Black Pot - Dutch Oven Recipes, MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.

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