Picking the right profitable niche for your blog is key to its ultimate success. Pick something too obscure — like felted miniatures of short-haired cats — and you won’t have an audience. Pick something too broad — like working from home — and you’ll never be able to cut through all the competition and get your site noticed.
Picking the right niche is part planning and part luck. While you never know when an idea will strike gold with readers, there are several things you can do to choose the right niche for success without having to go to excessive lengths to make it work. Here are a 5 tips for selecting a profitable niche for your blog:
Brainstorm What You Love
Start by thinking about the things you are really passionate about and would enjoy writing about for months or even years on end. Computer tutorials may be a profitable niche, but if you love artistic pursuits like painting or sculpting and find technology to be dry and boring, then you’ll hate writing about this topic and it will show in your writing. Make a list of all the topics you enjoy, including related topics and subtopics. Once you have finished the list, you can whittle it down based on other criteria for selecting a profitable niche.
Find the Demand
Now that you have your list of suitable topics, start doing your research. Use the Google Keywords Tool and other keyword research tools to determine what niches have profitable potential. You can enter your keywords and get statistics on how many searches are conducted both locally and globally for those terms, and how much competition there is for those words.
Make sure you are looking at the number of exact matches and related matches for all your key terms. The higher the exact matches, the more profitable those keywords will be. There is no hard and fast rule about the number of hits a keyword needs to be successful, but most bloggers seem to agree that at least 1,000 is necessary. However, that also depends on your competition for those keywords. If a keyword is only getting a few hundred hits a month, but there is no competition for it, then you could easily rank for these terms and increase your conversion rates.
With that in mind, the next step is to look for keywords that do not have high competition. Terms like “making money online” and “blogging tips” may have high demand, but they also have very high competition, making it unlikely that you will be successful trying to rank for these key terms.
Use suggestions from your keyword tool to find related searches in your proposed list of niche sites, or to brainstorm other sites that you did not include on your list.
“Starting out on the right foundation will lead to long-term blogging success…”
Look at Trends
Keyword tools and other advertising resources — such as Google Trends and Google Insights — can help you understand what the trending topics are and where advertisers are more likely to spend their money. Finding a niche that deals with these topics is an easy way to draw in those advertisers and get a lot of traffic to your site. Look at trending topics to see if there is any convergence with your proposed list of niche sites, or determine if you can create a connection between a trending topic and another area that you are passionate about or in which you have expertise.
Of course, trends have a way of becoming fads that day out as quickly as they became popular. Be sure to analyze trending topics to determine potential for longevity. Setting up new sites to chase trends isn’t the best way to build a reliable source of passive income, and it may actually cost you profits in the long term.
Understand the Market
Not all niches are created equal. Even if there are a lot of people searching for information about how to build a container garden, these people may not be the converting kind. In other words, they may not be likely to click through on your ads or your affiliate links, or to purchase your eBook or sign up for your newsletter list.
Certain demographics are more convertible than others, and you need to understand the types of niches that appeal to them. For example, blogs about technology or online marketing are more likely to attract a market that will convert. Readers of these blogs are usually more comfortable with online shopping, and are more willing to share their personal details and pay for items online.
Niches that provide a need or meet a demand are also more likely to convert. For example, a site with eBooks about losing weight is more likely to make sales than a site with eBooks about World War II history.
Focus Your Niche
The more specific you can make your niche, the more likely it is to be profitable. Focusing your blog on a micro niche can help you rank higher more quickly on convertible keywords. For example, “jewelry” is an overly broad market and keyword search. You can improve your chances of ranking your blog by focusing on keywords such as “turquoise jewelry” or “Art Deco jewelry.” You can improve your potential for profits even more by focusing it further to “Mayan turquoise jewelry” or “sterling silver Art Deco jewelry.”
This concept gets to the heart of real-life search behavior. Think about it: When you search for something on Google, do you enter phrases like “How to fix my phone?” or are you more specific with something like “How to fix the screen on my iPhone 4?” or “How to save my water-logged Android phone?” The more specific you are in your targeted keywords, the more likely customers are to find you over your competition for a real need that they have — making them much more likely to convert.
Picking a profitable niche doesn’t have to be as difficult as picking the next winning stock. A little market research and some brainstorming can help you find something that you will love while also turning a profit. Starting out on the right foundation will lead to long-term blogging success.
How did you find your niche when you started blogging? Are there some things you wish you knew about your niche then that would have changed your mind? Tell us your stories of success, as well as your trials, in the comments!