If you want more information on what is a blog, who blogs, or why blog, make sure and take a look at our blogging overview post.
Everyone has a different motivation for blogging. Some of you might be here hoping to become the next TechCrunch, Mashable, or Perez and others may just be looking for a way to connect with others interested in the same hobbies. Either way, you need to choose the niche of your blog.
The niche, or topic, of your blog, is going to influence a lot of the decisions you make as you start blogging. Your topic will control how you want your blog organized, the types of blog posts you create, and how you will bring visitors to see your blog posts. In this segment of our Starting Your Blog Guide we'll help you choose one for yourself.
Blogs that have passion behind them are much more successful. When you choose a topic that you love and want to share with the world there are a few major benefits:
Think about something you are passionate about. You can probably come up with 3 blog post ideas right way. That is a great way to get your blog off to a successful start.
Have you ever read a blog post where you knew the author wasn’t very excited or informed? Did it make you want to come back?
If you really believe in what you are blogging about and want to share it with the world it will be much harder to put your blog aside and forget about it. By getting this far you have already proven you are motivated to get your blog started. Don’t let a topic you aren’t excited about get in your way.
You will constantly be learning about the latest and greatest parts of your topic since you are already interested in it. You will then be able to share the latest information directly with your readers and get them up to date. The content writes itself!
This strategy is great for people looking to start blogs where they intend to write about their everyday life, current events, or whatever is on their mind. Unless you have put a lot of time into thinking about your blog already, you probably don’t have a perfect idea of what it will look like in the future (and that is OK).
By letting your content choose your direction, you have the flexibility to write about whatever you want. If your readers enjoy your posts about your kids you can write more about them. If they enjoy hearing about your travels, you can focus more on that topic instead.
The truth is, nobody knows what blog topics are going to be the most successful when starting out. If you don’t have a specific topic in mind, you don’t need to worry. Start off with a blog on broad topics and see where it takes you.
In this strategy, you will come up with a fairly specific theme for your blog and use it when making decisions further along in this guide.
When I say specific I don’t mean “dachshund puppies riding in a bicycle basket” specific. I mean things like Our Family, Parenting, Photography, Pets, or Travel. By narrowing in on a topic, you can start to shape your blog around it. Choosing something specific will help you focus on the blog posts you will write about and with what type of readers you want to connect.
In general, more specific blogs end up being more successful. When you write about a single topic it is easier to connect your blog posts together, keep your readers engaged, and become someone that your readers trust about a certain area of information.
When I started blogging I didn’t really know what I wanted to write about. I decided to choose a broad topic for my blog that was going to focus on my daily life and work (I was working in marketing at the time). One day I would write about the new hole-in-the-wall deli that I found for lunch and the next I would talk about my project at work.
After doing this for around 6 months, I found something pretty interesting. The fewer topics I wrote about, the more people visited my blog and connected with me through comments and email. My visitors didn’t want a wide range of topics (I initially thought the more topics the better because more people with different interests would visit my blog, right?), they wanted someone they could trust and viewed as an authority. Someone who had a lot of blog entries about a single topic that they were interested in reading.
So, here is what I did. I split my blog into two parts. I created one section that was focused on food where I highlighted the restaurants I visited and to help other locals. My second section was focused primarily on the problems I was tackling at work. By separating my initial blog into more specific topics, I was able to give my readers a more focused resource and when they visited my blog they knew exactly what they were going to get.
It took me 6 months to see what type of readers were visiting my blog and which topics they were interested in reading about. Once I found their interests, I narrowed the focus of my blog to tackle those topics. If I didn’t blog on a wide range of topics, to begin with, I would not have been able to find the topics that were the most interesting to my readers.
When readers visit your blog about a specific topic they want to see other topics that are closely related. This will help gain their trust and make it easier for them to connect with you.
The topic of your blog will most likely change over time (and that is HEALTHY). Blogging is about adapting to your readers, helping them get the information they need, and sharing what you love. Don’t get too stressed over making it perfect right away.
For those of you still undecided about the topic of your blog we have created a list of the most popular blog types.
Go through this list and see if you can find a few that are interesting to you.
Find one you like and drill into it. See if you can find something you are passionate about and want to share with others.
This is probably the #1 question I get asked around this topic. A lot of people come here looking for information on how to build a successful blog so they can eventually make money. A lot of the other online resources will tell you to go find a profitable niche before starting your blog or to do in-depth keyword research or analysis before taking the first steps. In my experience, this is putting the cart way before the horse.
The foundation of a successful blog isn’t the topic you write about or the ‘profitability’ of the blog posts you create. The foundation of a successful blog is the person and the passion behind the words. I 100% believe providing quality content about something you are passionate about is the only way to be successful.
The foundation of a successful blog is the person and the passion behind the words.
The other thing to keep in mind is that there are ways to make money in every blogging topic. Whether you plan to sell your own products, sell advertising or any of the other numerous ways to make money through your blog, you can do it through the topic you choose.
So, focus first on the quality and once you have visitors you will find a way to start making money, I promise.
The internet has been around for almost 50 years. There is most likely a blog around the topic you are interested in. But, that shouldn’t discourage you. There is always room for more and better information. Do you see how much low-quality and spammy content there is on the internet right now?
Use your blog as a way to provide something valuable, unique, and useful based on your own experiences and opinions and the readers will come.
When I started my food blog there were already a ton of other blogs out there focused on ‘the best restaurants’, but when I created quality content that connected with my readers I gave them a different experience than they had on the other blogs. The result: they kept coming back to me for new information.
In a lot of ways, blogging is similar to teaching. People are coming to your blog to get information and you are teaching them about it based on your experience and research.
You don’t need to be an expert. You just need to have quality content to help someone who is new to the subject.
Sure, some of your readers may have more experience or be more of an expert on a specific topic. But, isn’t that a great way to make connections and learn something from them?
Remember, most people who are visiting your blog don’t know much about the topic you are writing about. Any quality information you provide is going to help them and move them in the right direction.
In this section we are going to just brainstorm a bunch of ideas to help you get started. Don’t worry about choosing the best options at this step, just get the ideas down on paper. Try and generate 15-20 ideas if you can. This will make sure that you have enough options to choose something great.
Answer the following questions and create a list based on your answers:
Now go through your list and choose your top ideas. When making your decision, answer the questions:
If the answer is no, cross it off the list.
Then, prioritize the list based on your gut feeling. You want the entries at the top to be the ones you are the most excited about. Either mark them with #1, #2, #3 if you are using physical paper or reorder the list on your computer.
Nothing is worse than writing your first few blog posts and then getting writer’s block. Before you choose your topic we want to make sure there is enough easily-accessible content to get you started.
For your top three niches:
We found that by getting started on a few blog posts (even just the first sentence) we had an immediate emotional response to the topic. It was fairly obvious whether or not we really wanted to continue writing about it. Remember, you want to love what you are going to write about.
Now cross out the niches where you couldn’t come up with 5 blog post ideas. If you couldn’t come up with 5 right away it is going to be hard to write consistent content.
Next, take a look at the score you gave each after finishing the previous exercise.
Does one stand out as the clear winner? If so, you have found your blog topic, congratulations!
If not, you should repeat the exercise with the next niches in your list until you have a clear winner.
If you are still undecided I have a trick for you.
Take the top 2, assign one of them heads and the other tails. Now flip a coin. When the coin was in the air, which side did you hope landed on top? That is your topic. Your subconscious won’t lie and it will help you choose your topic!
You did it! You have a blog topic!
Honestly, this is one of the hardest parts for most people. But, now that you have chosen a topic, it will be easier to generate content, connect with your readers, and lead your blog to success.
Let's name your blog!