It happens all the time. Beginner bloggers who disregard all the advice about choosing the best blogging niche. People who launch right in and start blogging away about everything that interests them.
Then wonder why it doesn’t work. Why no-one’s reading their blog and they’re not making any money.
I can tell you’re going to be different. For a start you’re reading this post. You’re one step closer to becoming a successful blogger.
What Is A Blogging Niche?
A niche is more than just a blog topic and that’s where most beginner bloggers get confused.
It’s a topic with an audience and it’s the audience bit that counts.
When you start a blog you need to know who you’re writing for. Otherwise you’re wasting your time.
So many blogs fail because bloggers think they can write about anything.
I hear from students all the time who are going to start a lifestyle blog and then list 3 completely unrelated topics they want to write about.
Such as gardening, mystery novels and relationships.
Now don’t get me wrong. All of these topics are potential money spinners, especially gardening with it’s endless list of how-to subjects.
Write about all three topics and your audience size suddenly shrinks. I mean how many gardening, mystery novel lovers are there with relationship problems? Maybe just one – the person writing the blog?
A niche is about the audience.
Finding a niche is about finding an audience to write for. It needs to be a sizeable audience and it needs to be something you can keep writing about for years to come.
What do you know about this group of people? Their interests, the problems that keep them awake at night and how can you help them.
How do you get this audience to keep coming back for more? Ideally reading all your posts and signing up for your email list? Buying your recommended affiliate products, your ebooks and your online courses?
Some of you may know I have a lifestyle blog. I call it a lifestyle blog but actually it’s a fitness blog. It doesn’t really matter what you call your blog, it’s the content that counts.
People landing on my lifestyle blog are trying to get fit, maybe lose some weight and take up running. They’re looking for answers and it’s my job to provide them. Writing for my audience.
Just like this blog. It’s aimed at people who want to start a blog. Who need real, honest answers to their blogging questions.
People who want to quit their jobs, get back some control over their lives and actually make money from blogging. I believe I can help them.
This is my audience. You need to figure out yours.
How Will Your Niche Make Money?
This is the big question. For some unknown reason many new bloggers don’t nail this one before they launch their first blog.
So many people launch their first blog and 6 months later wonder why it’s not making any money.
Often there’s a big mismatch between the blogging niche and the target income.
Adverts – the ultimate passive income source…
You see a lot of new bloggers try to make money from ads. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against making money from adverts. It’s the ultimate passive income source.
The introverts dream; just blog away, have zero contact with your audience and watch the money roll in.
At least that’s the theory. In reality to make a living from ads you need a ton of traffic. Around 100,000+ pageviews a month to make $1000 dollars. That needs a big potential audience and a fair bit of blogging know-how.
Going back to our example, gardening is one of those topics with a huge potential audience. Just don’t mess it up by talking about Megan and Harry, or how much you love cats.
You can only pull off talking about different topics if they’re related. This blog talks about working from home and blogging to make money. There’s a big overlap and both topics interest my audience.
Making money with a small niche.
Simply Hatch doesn’t have a huge audience. Helping beginner bloggers doesn’t easily lend itself to high numbers of pageviews. My often neglected lifestyle blog attracts almost double the traffic I have on this site.
You won’t find any adverts on this blog and I have no plans to add any. I make more in one day than I could make from a month of ads.
There are two ways I make money on this blog; affiliate marketing and selling my own digital products in the form of ebooks and online courses.
Affiliate marketing… not all products are equal.
The easiest way to start affiliate marketing is with Amazon Associates. You just need a blog to be able to sign up, link to your favorite products and away you go.
There’s just one problem. Making money from Amazon needs a ton of traffic.
It’s a great add-on if you have a high traffic blog. Monetize with ads plus affiliate marketing with Amazon. Don’t get sniffy. It’s a tried and tested way to make a lot of money. 250,000+ pageviews a month and you’ve got a full-time income.
Just don’t expect it to work with a small blog.
The conversion window with Amazon is just 24 hours and the commission rate is tiny.
How does affiliate marketing work for a small niche?
With a small audience you need affiliate products with commission payouts that are worth the effort. These products will be harder to promote. You can’t just dump a link to Bluehost on your blog and expect a result.
I came across a small blog last summer making a tidy income from project management tools. This blogger was making 3X the average wage as a side income.
Now project management tools is a small niche but the commissions are high. The tools are both complex and expensive, with users searching the internet for reviews before they buy.
This blogger uses her experience to provide an in-depth review of each project management tool. Her blog is a mix of reviews and management advice and she promotes each new post to her sizeable email list.
Selling high commission affiliate products only works if you build relationships and the best way to do this is with email marketing. The money is in the list they say and for good reason.
This is why you need a coherent audience. If you’re the gardening, mystery novel lover with relationship problems it’s not going to work.
By all means try and get people to sign up for your list but if you’re writing about Miss Marple solves a mystery one week and planting roses the next, no-one will read your emails.
Selling products with a small niche.
Let’s say you’re aiming for a full-time income from blogging of $5000/month.
There’s lots of different ways you can get to this figure.
An audience of 250,000+ pageviews/month could get you about $2500/month from ad income and the same from Amazon.
An audience of 10,000 pageviews/month with highly targeted affiliate marketing for high commission products. Earn 100 commissions at $50 a referral.
Sell your own digital products; 100 online courses at $50 or 10 online courses at $500.
If you’re selling just 10 courses a month you don’t need a big audience but you do need an audience of raving fans.
Your Niche Size Matters
I’ve seen lots of bloggers falling into the trap of writing for a very small selective niche and failing to understand their income streams.
It’s hardly their fault! There’s so much advice about finding your unique niche. An audience where you can really stand out. Often this niche is really small.
Now that might be just fine if you’re promoting $10,000 golden retirement courses to Fortune 100 Company CEO’s. These are wealthy people who love to spend.
It’s not so great if your tiny niche is bog snorkelling and you’re selling $10 how-to guides. Yes bog snorkelling is a real sport and even has a World Championship. There were 160 participants. Maybe one or two of them would buy your guide.
See how this niche thing can go badly wrong? You need to know the size of your niche and the spending habits. You can’t flog expensive courses to people who can’t or don’t like spending money.
Likewise it would be a huge mistake to pitch low priced products to lavish spenders.
It’s essential to work out the size of your niche and how it will make money before you start and give yourself some room to maneuver.
Getting your niche right at the start can be a difficult judgment call.
It’s a lot easier to engage a really specific audience. For example, specifically targeting mom bloggers on pinterest, can be really successful.
But what happens when you’ve sold your premium course to every person in your niche? Do you have to start over?
Blog Niches That Make Money
Now this is really sticking my neck out. I’ve written about 10 Types Of Blogs That Make Money. You can read about my 10 suggestions in the post but here’s the list:
- Personal Finance And Making Money
- Health And Fitness
- Diet And Nutrition
- Food And Healthy Eating
- DIY And Crafting
- Home Decor
- Beauty And Fashion
- Personal Development
It’s not a complete list and there’s no guarantee that if you blog about one of these niches it will work for you. There’s far more to being a successful blogger than just finding an angle for a niche.
There’s a few obvious omissions. Gardening is one of them. Probably because my ideal home is a flat and I just see gardening as a chore.
Do you need to enjoy these topics to be able to blog about them? It’s not essential.
Writing about your passion makes it easier to come up with ideas. Know what really makes your readers tick. I can’t image how you can write about trail running if you’ve never run up a hill but I guess it’s possible.
There’s a lot of bland blogs about that still make money. If you think you can write every day about a topic you hate I’m not going to stop you.
Just don’t make me write about gardening…
I have two takeaways for you:
- Make sure you understand your blogging niche size and spending habits.
- Know exactly how your blog will make money before you start and match your audience to your money making method.
Get these two things right and you’re on your way to a starting a successful money making blog.
Frequently Asked Questions
A niche is the audience your blog is aimed at. Most people talk about a blogging niche being a topic but it’s better to think about who you’re writing for. You want to know how big is your audience, what are their interests, pain points, spending habits and how can your blog help them.
Blog topics aimed at our needs and desires always have potential such as personal finance, health, relationships and survival. Some of the most successful blogs recently have tapped into huge audiences such as food, fitness, parenting, DIY, home decor, beauty and gardening. Writing about popular topics is a good way to grow a blog rapidly.
A good starting point is a topic you’re passionate about or at least can see yourself writing about for the next 5 years. Next research your niche audience. Is it big enough and does it match your intended money making methods? What are their spending habits? If you want to make money from ads you need a large audience – around 250,000+ pageviews/month for a full-time income.