Picking a niche
Okay, so you’re new to the scene, you’re raring to go, and at the back of your mind you want to make money from your blog at some point. Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap that I did when picking a niche. I spent weeks trying to work out what I could turn my hand to that was going to turn into the most profit. That was my first mistake, chasing the money. The second mistake was choosing a low ball keyword in Google with a high amount of visits and not very much competition. My eyes were rolling with pound signs before I had even begun, and already I had missed the most important part.
Bloggers write because it’s their passion to write. It’s not about the money, honestly.
If the passion isn’t there then you’re going to fail very quickly when you find out that at the start there isn’t any money to be made. Just serious effort with little return. Blogging is most definitely a long game. Luckily I loved to write, so I didn’t mind churning article after article out with no reward. Sometimes I’d get a like or two on Facebook from my close friends, if I was lucky.
I think I went for some ridiculous keyword in dating which made my site sound more like for porn rather than anywhere to go and read good articles about relationships. Luckily, I had a few good friends that gave me a harsh talking to, they broke my thinking as to say. Educated me that picking a niche was an art, not an obsession. Stopped me chasing the money. So I’m saying to you, choose something that you love to talk about.
Make sure people will want to read you
But make sure it’s of use to people. Make sure people would ‘want’ to read you.
A lot of bloggers fail at the first hurdle, or certainly I did back in 2005 when I dabbled with my very first blog on Myspace. I began telling everyone about my day. I visited the Cinema to watch Star Wars, yay for me! Which is all very well and good, but if they didn’t know me, why would they care if I went to the cinema? My day? Who cares, right?
And as for picking a niche – there is no right or wrong, only that you have a passion for it and love to talk about it. People will come. Passion shows, just as partial disinterest does.
I had a young girl email me last week asking me for some tips on how to expand her audience. She was in awe with the social presence I had built for myself and wondered how she could go about doing the same. It was simple for her, she needed more content. She had barely written three posts. Why do people seem to want to be at the winning line before the race has even started yet? I blame the instantaneousness of our society. A click of a button and within 30 mins you have a pizza at the door. Spending two years slaving hard and writing for peanuts seems incomprehensible!
And she was a recent Psychology graduate, budding and raring to jump into the blogosphere, but she feels that she has a long way to go before she can articulate her feelings in the same way that I do to my audience. She wanted help picking a niche too. And this, this is where a lot of people fail too.
Everyone sells themselves short. Everyone.
Don’t sell yourself short
She was comparing my 3 years middle management experience, 10 years as a community teacher, 2 years inspiring others to be amazing, a whackload of learning, and at least ten years her senior on life – to her abilities. And in my eyes she was absolutely selling herself short. She wanted to talk like me but feels she doesn’t have the life experience to do so. In my eyes picking a niche should have been easy for her, but it wasn’t, and I understand that too.
So then why not talk to an audience of her own age that are experiencing things on her level? I’m slightly envious, she’ll be talking to a LOT more people than I will be. I can probably relate more to a school teacher than a student, and my comprehensive education days were a millenia ago. Picking a niche for me wouldn’t be as all encompassing as it can be for her.
And everyone gets it wrong these two ways, unless of course you start a blog to hash your feelings out and think about monetising much later.
Stick with what you know. And it has to be something that you are definitely confident with, or you’ll run out of ideas pretty damn quick. I had a friend who started a blog giving advice to people on wordpress. She wrote about five posts and then gave up because she realised that she didn’t actually know much about wordpress. She only thought she did. My main blog has over 300 posts on human connection and still, new topics arrive in my head daily. You need to be able to work on that level of interested, or knowledgeable.
I’ll give you an example. My knowledge on humanity, sociology and psychology is deep and diverse, I’ve worked with it before in a professional capacity and it also highly interests me. If I were to stand up and give an hours speech to a crowded stadium-like audience there would be a range of topics I would be able to cover and feel comfortable discussing. This is how I would choose a blog subject for myself.
Think about you. Could you do that? What topics could you cover and confidently do so? Think not of the crowded stadium and how nervous you would feel, only of the topics you could confidently discuss.
And again. DON’T SELL YOURSELF SHORT.
Follow your passion
If all you know is football and that’s your passion? Then so be it. You’d be joining a lot of other well-known and passionate sports bloggers out there. 20 years ago I could more than likely have written a dissertation on the sport of Golf.
And it needn’t stop there. There are so many things you could write that covers every day life that anyone can talk about. No-one needs a Degree in the arts to blog, only a burning passion to discuss and get yourself out there. You could discuss High School and how it wasn’t as great as you thought, or you could discuss being a young male, or a young female. Delve into food, art, travel, fashion, or even alcohol. So many topics, so much to choose from – just make sure that you stay true to your heart. Write your passion. Anything else will fail. I promise you that.
There are also plenty of writing resources on the web for people that need pointing in the right direction over what niche to pick. Also, I’m a frequent offender of this, I’m regularly scouring Pinterest for writing prompts. Sometimes I have the passion to write but my head is blank, it happens, it’s natural. From time to time we can experience a lul in imagination. Usually that’s called writers block (more on that later), but these are an excellent way to keep your content flowing and smooth.
The main thing I’d concentrate on right now is focusing on choosing a niche. Because it’s quite a hard slog at the start finding your passion, for me, it took three domain changes and six logo design changes before I finally found my niche and where I belonged. Whatever you do, write first and see where the winds of life take you. I found out dating and relationships were only a small portion of what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to cover the entire topic, relationships. From friendships to business colleages. You might find the same too.
I’d also like to state that a lot of other websites advise you to decide at the beginning whether you want to be an authority site, or a niche site. For me that’s too much deciding right at the beginning where I barely know if I’m coming or going. I started of as a little dating & relationships niche site, but I’ve grown into quite a large authority site on human connection. Choose later. Don’t be too pressurised into making decisions that you have no idea of predicting how it will be a year in the future.
So just relax, and pick a niche