What is a niche?
The definition of a niche is “A special area of demand for a product or service”.
For instance, if you were to search for “time management” on Google, you would receive over 137 million results.
Albeit, “time management” is a niche, it is rather large and generic. If you performed a Google search for “time management for nurses”, you would receive over 21 million results.
As you can see “time management for nurses” is a smaller niche than “time management”.
However, each one, “time management for nurses” and “time management” is a niche.
Why having a niche is important?
This is where many blog owners go wrong. They pick a niche because they THINK it will be a good way to make an income. They don’t realize to make money via a blog is not a ‘get rich quick’ activity – it’s a long-term activity and after 2 or 3 months when there is no money coming in, they get bored and give up.
It really is worth spending time on choosing your niche. I’ve come across so many people who start blogging in a niche and they make no money whatsoever. They work hard, they are committed but get that niche wrong and no matter what they do, they’ll never make any income.
Having a targeted niche means that visitors who come to your blog will be looking for what you are offering.
For instance, if your blogging niche was about “time management”, there are a million and one things you could write about “time management” and you will not be providing specific enough advice or products for the majority of your visitors as the niche is too vast.
But if your niche is “time management for nurses”, there is less to write about but you know the visitors who are coming to your site are interested in “time management for nurses” and are more inclined to return again and again (and purchase from you!).
Also blogging in a smaller niche means less competition.
How to determine your niche
Know your subject
If this is your first blog, or you’ve tried blogging in the past and failed it’s possibly because you chose the wrong subject to blog about. I always recommend you start with a subject you know well and are passionate about – a hobby, specialized skills or life experiences.
Because if you are knowledgeable and passionate about the subject the blog post creation will be much, much easier.
If someone you love has an on-going medical problem, for example, your experiences and knowledge will help others. If you love jazz or you own and maintain a vintage vehicle there will be lots of other people interested. A great blog educates and you become the teacher.
Passion is the key
Remember you’ll have to write hundreds of posts for your own blog, comment on others people’s blogs, write articles for distribution and possibly guest post, so the more you know about your subject and the more enthusiastically you can write the easier it will be for you and the more informative it will be for your reader – you want them to keep coming back.
Is there a need for your niche?
If there are other active blogs and forums relating to your subject, then you know there is an interest in it.
Blogs and other forums can be great sources of information and ideas. If you are passionate about your subject, you have probably already subscribed to your favorite ones. This is excellent because if you’ve been leaving helpful comments you have already begun building a reputation.
If you see the same questions and problems arising frequently, you can solve those problems and answer those questions by writing a post and linking your comments back to the relevant post on your blog. This helps to increase traffic and add a valuable backlink to your site and we’ll talk about the importance of backlinks in a later post.
There are very few subjects from which you can’t make money online these days and you probably already have an idea in mind. If you haven’t decided on a niche yet, it will make it a little more difficult, and spending some time doing careful research can save you a lot of money, time, frustration and heartache.
So if you have the knowledge, the experience, the passion and there is an on-line demand for such a niche…you could be onto a winner!
But there is one more major key ingredient:
Make your blog a business
Now it’s time to get down to business – and internet marketing is a business – your blog will be your business. If you want to make money from your blog you’re going to have to dedicate a set amount of hours to your business every week, plan exactly what you are going to do, set yourself goals and get organized.
Starting an internet marketing venture costs very little moneywise, just the price of hosting, a domain name, the monthly cost of an autoresponder service and any other tools or software you think you may need. If you can afford to, it’s always a good idea to reinvest any profits you make early on to make your blog creation more efficient. We will cover the best tools to use and outsourcing in a later article.
If you want to be successful this is something you can’t do just when you feel like it. A website can in theory become a completed product. The essence of blogging is like writing a journal – you have to keep adding to it on a regular basis to get subscribers and build readership.
In the beginning your biggest expenditure with knowing how to make a blog will be your time.
Look out for the next post on the series, “How to make a Blog” – we shall cover the topic of keyword research.
Happy New Year Andrew!
I took a few weeks off from commenting (and most everything work related:)
I have made the mistake of pursuing a niche based on demand, but without passion and it’s horrible. You have to fight to produce content and eventually give up. It’s not worth it and you usually don’t sound credible when you’re writing about something you don’t love. Check out my latest post yourself please. I really like it!!
I agree – I’ve done exactly the same. Then about 18 months I decided to just stick to what I know and one blog.
Loved your post and it’s so true – we all have something to share.
Like all (?) bloggers, this niche business thing initially confused the heck out of me. Do you look for a niche, or do you create your own? There are as many answers as there are people. Choosing a niche, or creating your own, or something down the middle – it’s clear, there’s no escaping the fact each comes with its set of risks and rewards. Whatever works for you – it works if you work it. The worst is to choose a niche and then complain. Niches are assets, not obstacles.
The problem I see a lot is people pick a niche they know little about just because they THINK it will make money.
In 99% of the cases…it won’t becasue they won’t be able to create the content to attract visitors.
Dear Andrew –
This series is a very generous offer.
Friends are always telling me they would love to have a blog but they don’t know how to start.
I have forwarded this to them so they can sign up and follow along.
(Now we will see if they are serious)
Action takes a lot of courage. Talk is easy!
We shall see!
Nice information. while deciding niche, passion is very important. without having passion for the subject, you cannot deliver your best. with passion, you can involve 100% and can deliver the best to your audience.
Agreed but it’s not just about passion if you want to make an income.
You also have to check that the niche sells on-line.
This can actually be quite hard to do and then stick to it. We often want to be as broad as possible to appeal to everyone but you are right, we should concentrate on a good niche. Thanks for the info.
A broad niche can be good – yu have to look at the competition.
I believe the key is to find a topic that you are passionate about. Either you already know the subject well and just love to share your knowledge, or you have a strong interest in learning about the subject and want to share your journey as you learn. You can pick virtually any topic for a niche as long as you have that passion.
As I said to Barry above…it’s not just about passion if you want to make money from it.
You’re right, it’s all about hitting your niche.
Sites can do shockingly well with a small audience and even just around 50 visitors a day if the traffic is targeted enough.
My 2 cents: Dont get temped to enter the massive search volume markets if you don’t have a passion for it. It’s best to find our niche and excel at it!
I have a few clients who get small amounts of traffic but the niche is very targetted and they make a decent income.
Blogging can be great. Most people find it’s not as easy as they thought it would be. Businesses are hard work and as you talk about, blogging is a business. Great series!
You make 2 great points.
1. People think it’s easy and it’s not. That’s because of all the hype around blogging and making money on-line.
2. Run your blog as a business. Again, many people make a blog without the knowledge of how to run a business.
Thanks for sharing,
This place is like a heaven for starters who doesn’t know where to start from.
You provide a great platform for them. Awesome!
It is really great Andrew for you to give out this information. When i started my niche was just “happiness”. I was making some head way, but not much until you talked to me about it and I changed it to ‘relationships”.
Just a little change can make a big difference.
Relationships are about happiness but it small niche to work with and write about.
Made a big difference for my blog.
Thank you Andrew many bunches for keeping me on the right track.
I’m glad it’s working out for you…keep going.
Even with passion it can be hard work to sustain a blog, so I’d hate to think what its like without! Also the issue of it being a business is important – blogging can be a very cheap hobby if thats what you want. Having a business mentality will create a different blog. My mistake was to be a bit of both.
I agree…as Joel said above…to be really successful you do need a business mentality.
So which one are you now heading towards…hobby or business?
Andrew, the niche thing can be so easy and so difficult at the same time! I think many of the top money making blogs are written by folks who’ve done a good deal of trying and failing before they got it right. That helps me not get discouraged in my own quest.
Another good point made…no-one is an overnight success.
These top bloggers have been blogging for many years now.
This is so true. I have few friends who ventured into blogging and wanting it to be turned into a business but they found it really hard to succeed on it and I think that this is one of their problem, not being able to find their own niche. Thanks for giving out this helpful information and I might save this link and email it to my friends. Good job!
I really believe this is the one step most blogegrs get wrong. They jump straight in or spend about 5 minutes ding research…becasue they are so keen to start.
What are some programs that help narrow ones niche market. A program that helps sort keyword to help search for a good niche market. Or is there a specific blog you can reccomend like yours that deals with Niche Marketing, or an e-book.
You may want to read parts 2, 3 and 4 in this ‘how to make a blog’ series. I think they will help you.
The niche I chose is definitely not one of the easiest. There are a million Hip Hop Bloggers, but I chose the thing I love, and I think that is the best way to go. Blogging never gets boring for me because I love music.
And so far…is it lucrative for you?
That’s what matters…right?
i think niche is very very important then other things in blogging .. i mostly have experience with 2 niches. 1.Tech niche , 2nd . Blogging Niche .. saying with my experience that Tech niche is very easy to get success and able to monetize with Adsense .. Blogging Niche is very hard to get success but its very very valuable then other niches ..
It sounds like you are making it work, though…right?
I’m glad to subscribe to your blog. You are right. As a newbie, I was very excited to get started till I got somewhere wrong without me realizing. Though I’m very passionate and have plenty of time for online business, I need to educate myself first before I jump to the pool! Thanks very much Andrew for your guidance.
This a really good article and I agree with all the things it says but it only says what you need not how. How do I know my niche isn’t too broad? Is there a resource I can use to tell me who is searching for what? What makes it a good profitable niche?
You may wish to read the next part in the ‘how to make a blog’ series…it talks about keyword research. That helps with the ‘how’.
Nice post Andrew. I am struggling to get my head around niche markets. I have a product that everyone needs so my brain tells me this is good. However everyone talks about niche markets. I wonder if I should establish a number of niche markets?
Are you saying your product idea is in a different niche to what your currently blog about?
If so and you have the time, then yes you need to start another niche.
Sorry Andrew, I should have been more specific. All my products are in the same industry, however some of them are specific.So I could have various niches all relating to my blog. I hope you are understanding what I am saying here? 🙂
In that case I would stick with the higer level niche – unless of course, it’s not working for you and you want to be more specific.
I agree with Richard.If we have the knowledge already so much the better. We are able to share it. However, we are still able to share our strong interest and search for knowledge in the journey we are experiencing in our chosen niche. I didn’t have the knowledge and experience in IM before starting my blog but I did have – and do have – the strong interest and desire to share my journey. We can all learn from each other as we go along.
A good tactic could be to share your mistakes.
Many bloggers don’t like doing that in case they come across as failures.
A niche is important to choose but it’s not necessary to have multiple sites to serve several smaller niches. My strategy with niches is to target several smaller ones using one single blog with every article on the site targeting a different micro niche.
For instance on my newest site I have pages to target several niches such as:
Making Money with Yahoo Answers
Building a Quality Website
Get rich quick schemes
etc. etc. Presently I have 15 articles targeting 15 micro niches that together make a larger site.
Some tend to forget that Google doesn’t index a WEBSITE. They index pages. What I mean is the search results we get from Google are a single page and WordPress makes it so easy to use this fact alone to target multiple niches with one Website. Of course, all the targeted micro niches have to have something in common otherwise we may just end up penalized by the Panda for a self-spamming site.
Speaking of Panda, structuring a site likes this also helps keeping that big bear happy. A lot of original, diverse and relevant content is what the beast wants to be fed with. And as long as you keep a site good quality, you don’t have to fear Google that much. I managed to make it to page 1, page 2 and page 3 for three of my chosen micro niches respectively without doing any off site SEO at all – literally zero links – just content.
I can understand what you are saying. And all of your micro niches fall under the same niche of ‘making money on-line’.
I think it would be wrong to have completely different micro niches on the same site like dog training, child psychology and time management!
Thanks for your insightful post. Identifying a niche market is the most important step for a blogger. I meet too many bloggers who don’t do this step or feel it’s a waste of time. Or maybe they don’t understand it.
You raised an important question we should all ask ourselves before investing a ton of time into our online ventures: Is there a need for your niche?
All too often blogger choose a niche without researching it. Just because they like and they expect the world will like it too.
Thanks again for an informative post!